Skyquake87's Review: Megatronia
Bio: The fusion of Mega Empress and her four guards, Megatronia is among the mightiest of Combiners, using her rail fusion cannon connected to her energy core and her planet-shattering Distopia sword to dominate her enemies.
Yes, that is the smell of money for old rope, with the 94th use of some now over-familiar Combiner Wars moulds to trot out another collector exclusive set. Which I've obviously fallen for, as like most Transformers fans, I can't get enough of gestalts. Especially when they're ones like this, that freshen up the same old same old with some new heads, tooling, accessories and a snazzy paint job. Why, its almost like Takara Tomy saw me coming! I'll do my best to lend some enthusiasm to some moulds that, by now, we're all a bit sick of.
Megatronia – the Woman Decepticon Warrior (good one, Takara Tomy) – is a Mall exclusive and came packed with a collector coin which has Hasbro copyrights, the western 'Combiner Wars' logo embossed on it and an Autobot faction logo printed on the card sleeve, as if to sign post that this is nothing more than a cheap repaint. Not that I mind, as Takara's raiding of the paintbox has produced something a little more sexy looking than the searing eyesore that is Victorion. As I don't read Japanese, I've no idea what these characters are about (hopefully not just girlfriends of some 'male' characters, though), but the scraps of Manga I've seen online make these five girls look adorable and lots of fun. Bit disappointed, if I'm honest, that there's no story pages included in the set, although the use of the term 'Decepticon', rather than 'Destron' on a Japanese set did make me go 'ooh, that's different', so that sort of made up for that (not really, but I'm easily distracted).
Mega Empress Robot Mode:
A rather lovely spruce up of the feeble Combiner Wars Hotspot mould, Mega Empress is a fab homage to the original Megatron, all silver, black and red. She looks pretty, with a nice looking lady-face and hat. The new torso plate does a lot to add some beef to this otherwise hollow and very flat mould. She wields a very frightening looking cudgel called 'Judge Pickel' that you wouldn't want to be on the wrong end of. She can also use the ladder assembly as a sort of cannon thing, but whilst this works reasonably well in fiction, it looks a bit silly on the toy itself. As with Hotspot and Onslaught, all her articulation outside the arms and head is a bit useless, with the ladder getting in the way, unless you move it away from her back and crumple it up a bit.
Mega Empress Alternate Mode:
No major improvement on what we've seen before, although as ever, painting up the hubcaps does do wonders to hide cheap construction. The wheels continue to fail to roll very well and are prone to popping out of the housings, so looks alright, but rubbish to play with.
Lunaclub and Moonheart Robot Mode:
I'm doing these two together as they're the weakest part of the set for me. Lunaclub (the hot pink one) and Moonheart (the blue one) just don't look all that great. The Alpha Bravo mould is still pretty good and the new heads are fine, but they both just look a bit plain. Takara-Tomy went with two-tone paint jobs for the limbs, but I think these would have worked better if they'd reversed the black areas as the colours are just too strong and aren't broken up enough to make them look interesting. The daft swords don't help much either.
Lunaclub and Moonheart Alternate Mode:
Having just moaned about how dull the blanket use of colour looks on the robot modes, in helicopter modes, the placement actually looks pretty neat. It would have been nice to have the windows down the sides painted up (for once), but otherwise they look good. As ever, the rather flat underside leaves this mode in need of some landing gear or something to give it a bit of lift to make it look good. Sadly, Megatronia's shoes just don't do the job here.
Trickdiamond Robot Mode:
Poor Trickdiamond is lumbered with the unflattering Breakdown mould, which for my money is the worst of the Combiner Wars limb moulds by a country mile. I'll take Brawl's funny waist joint over this malformed body shape any day. The cute round head and nice new chest piece struggle to bring any femininity to this poorly conceived robot mode. The stick arms and fat legs coupled with the odd swivel-y hip ball joint assembly make this a difficult outfit for Trickdiamond to work. To add insult to injury, she also gets to wave about something that looks like a cross between a palm tree and a scarab beetle. The colours do a lot to rescue her, but its not quite enough.
Trickdiamond Alternate Mode:
Although the robot mode is cobblers, this mould does turn out a very tasty vehicle mode. Here in its sleek black and yellow get up, it looks very nice indeed. Especially with the silver paint used on the windows, lights and hubs.
Flowspade Robot Mode:
What the lord giveth, he also taketh away. So it is that the best figure of the set gets lumbered with a really rubbish name and a weapon that looks like antlers (if you squint, you can pretend its a crossbow, like I do). *Sigh* The Dead End mould is pretty flawless, so its endless reuse never seems to get tiring and Flowspade looks all kinds of sexy rocking this thing in her neon purple and black. Love her!
Flowspade Alternate Mode:
Sexy black and purple robot turns into sexy black and purple car. Hooray! Even those sides of the door panel which are permanently cast in a different colour on this mould look awesome here.
Megatronia Robot Mode:
The gestalt with its unifying colour palette looks great and its probably my favourite thing about it. I like how cohesive it is. Structurally, Megatronia has the same problems as Combiner Wars Bruticus and Defensor – the torso bot mould is just too hollow to support the weight of the limbs and tends to tilt forward at the waist. It's a shame we're far beyond the days of die cast, as I reckon a solid lump of metal down the spine would have helped weight these Unite Warriors/Combiner Wars titans a lot better. That aside, the robot mode does have greater stability thanks to those new feet. Whilst they can't double as hands or guns, the size and tilting mechanism do help give Megatronia more poise and grace than the other gestalts from the range. Just a shame the design of these things resembles high heel shoes, because... girls, which is rubbish and the sort of stereotyping we'd moved beyond. The new hands are also nice, and I like the shaping of these. The movable trigger finger is a nice touch and helps lend some expressiveness to the figure. All the individual robot modes weapons make a lot more sense when plugged together to form this power sword looking thing, although in keeping with Japanese tropes, this thing is massive and very silly looking. Topping off the figure is a mad looking head. I've no idea what's going on here. I like the face and visor, but the rest is just a bonkers looking mohawk and it makes her head look like a particularly elaborate shoe box and its just a shade too tall for my tastes.
Marks Out Of Ten For The Following:
Standard Combiner Wars stuff. There's nothing new here and its difficult to objectively score this for a bunch of new characters that use the same sequence we've seen ten times previously. 7/10
The figures all feel solid enough, save for Mega Empress' wheels. Some slight signs of the endless reuse of the moulds is noticeable as they feel slightly more fluid than on their first outing. This does feel more like its due to the grade of plastic used here, which feels a little rougher and more papery to the touch. 8/10
With each figure having around 14 points of articulation, there's really very little to grumble about, given the design compromises made to make a set of five fully functional transforming action figures and a posable gestalt. 8/10
Megatronia's fun factor is mitigated somewhat by the familiarity of the moulds and there's just not quite the same level of imagination as say, Sky Lynx, to make the characters top of your mind when rummaging trough the toy box. The Combiner Wars moulds are good, solid toys though, but I think we're really at the point where the same half dozen moulds have now been utterly exhausted. 6/10
For an exclusive figure, Megatronia isn't any more expensive than the other Combiner Wars/Unite Warriors gift sets out there, which is impressive. 9/10
Depending on how much of a purist you are will maximize or limit your enjoyment of these 'Neo-G1' characters accordingly. For my money, they're a cute looking bunch and I appreciate having some female characters that aren't done out like Barbie dolls (although that's more due to the limitations of the moulds than a design choice). The colours are excellent, they look great hanging out together as a team or as a fearsome singular warrior and anyone already in thrall to Combiner Wars will get a lot out of these ladies – more so than their Autobot counterparts. 7/10