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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Ganon's Review: Generations Ultra Magnus

Name: Ultra Magnus
Function: Warrior
Subgroup: Generations (Fall of Cybertron)
Size Class: Deluxe

Ultra Magnus is legendary among Autobots and Decepticons alike. The mere sight of his armored form charging into battle is more than enough to inspire his troops to victory, and his strength as a warrior is more than enough to break any Decepticon army.

Ultra Magnus. Where do I start? Ah yes, the toylines. Essentially every Ultra Magnus toy after G1 has been some sort of white Optimus Prime repaint. This basically means that unless you have some add-on kits, Magnus is rather boring and hasn’t gotten much love from HasTak. Plus, this situation just begs for jokes upon jokes about being a bleached Prime. Or Arctic Camo Prime. Or albino Prime. Luckily, Ultra Magnus’ fortunes started to get a little better with Transformers: Animated, and he got his own toy mold decked out in blue, white, and red colors. Fall of Cybertron Magnus sort of goes back to the Optimus Prime repaint ideal, but at least this toy is a non-white Prime repaint. And he actually got a decent head mold for a change!

As for the character, I won’t dig deep into the Generation 1 version of this guy, because this toy is technically not a G1 remake. However, I do need to mention that another load of Magnus jokes stems from his G1 movie line “I can’t deal with that now!”. Just insert whatever into “I can’t deal with _________ now!” and you’ve got some comedy gold. This particular version is from Fall of Cybertron - which is in the ‘Aligned Continuity Family’. This places him in the ‘Prime’ series of shows, not G1. For the most part Ultra Magnus retains most of his personality from Generation 1, with some slight modifications and a heavy emphasis on his leadership of the Wreckers. To my knowledge, Prime Ultra Magnus hasn’t actually made an appearance on the show, but he does have some story development via novelization, comics, and War for Cybertron on the DS.

I picked this Magnus up to fill in my Classics collection for my recently departed Classics Voyager Ultra Magnus from the 'Battle for Autobot City 2-pack with Skywarp (I can’t afford a FansProject City Commander set); he really plays the part of Generation 1 Ultra Magnus – in robot mode that is. More on that later. On to the review!!!

Alternate Mode:

Ultra Magnus transforms into a Cybertronian truck, which means he resembles nothing whatsoever. I’m not sure how to explain that this mode is rubbish without it completely destroying your faith that this is still a fun toy. Maybe this: the alt mode isn’t terrible, it just isn’t special in any shape or form. I’ve never been impressed with any toy that turns into something Cybertronian. For the most part, the toy ends up just looking like something, without any true resemblance to anything. I always think of Cybertron Metroplex as a good example. Awesome robot mode, complete garbage alternate mode. In my opinion this is true of all the WFC/FOC toys so far: fantastic looking robots, random jumble of compacted parts for alt modes. Now that I’ve stepped off my soap box, let me get to the good points of Ultra Magnus’ alt mode. The detailing is well done and paint apps are frequent - the majority of the color scheme is blue, but there are many spots of white, red, and silver to be found all over. The wheels have some silver apps as well, which is quite rare on recent toys, especially in the deluxe size class.

The tilted smoke stacks/exhaust pipes are pretty neat, and they are tipped in silver as well to give a little depth. Panel lines are everywhere and give the mode quite a bit of detail. The front bumper is a point of concern though; it doesn’t securely lock into place anywhere, and relies on one small hook to hold the two separate pieces together. One good feature of the alternate mode is the ability to house both weapons on the outside of the truck. The sword can fit into a 5 mm peg on the side, and the gun has a dual handle system that allows for handling in robot mode as well as pegging it to the top of the truck ‘bed’. If anything, at least you won’t have spare weapons sitting around when in alt mode.

Overall, the design does what it needs to do. It looks like a Cybertronian truck, if there’s some sort of standard Cybertronian truck that I don’t know about. On the upside, the design itself looks quite similar to the War Within Titanium Ultra Magnus. I don’t know if that was planned or not, but it’s a nice little similarity.

As I mentioned before, the alt mode isn’t terrible, it just isn’t special.

Robot Mode:

Right above in bold is the reason I bought Ultra Magnus. 99.9% of the time, my collection is displayed in robot mode. Matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve found a Transformer yet where I favor the alt mode over the robot mode. In my opinion, Ultra Magnus does not disappoint as a Classics version of this character.

Ultra Magnus is a repaint/remold of FOC Optimus Prime, and I think the color palette works way better here. Optimus seems kind of plain, whereas Magnus stands out a bit and has more painted detail overall. Simple things like the red, white, and silver paint apps on the chest, red abdomen ‘muscles’, and the charcoal grey hip joints diversify the mold and make him stand out. The molded detail is the same from the alt mode, and does a good job of not making him look like flat plastic. The head mold is superb, and has a slight FansProject City Commander vibe to it with the pointed chin and somewhat squashed face. There’s no light-piping for the eyes, but it really doesn’t matter since they are painted red and stand out on their own. The head plastic is blue, and the face and ear stacks are white; the whole package looks great. I’m really glad they gave him a new head instead of just repainting Prime’s dome.

Magnus has quite a bit of articulation, though I feel some of it is hindered – mainly in the shoulders. Top to bottom he has articulation on the neck, shoulders, upper arms, elbows, wrists, waist, hips (2X - ball and swivel), knees, and ankles. All those joints and his large feet as well as his weighted balance allow for some pretty good poses. As mentioned above, I think the shoulder design is the only drawback. They're pretty boxy, and if you put the smokestacks up to resemble a Classics feel, the shoulders close in on his head. It’s not a huge issue but more of an annoyance.

Ultra Magnus also comes with two weapons – the original gun from FOC Optimus, as well as a sword. The sword is pretty fantastic but almost ridiculously large. Luckily the weapons aren’t so large as to throw off his balance like in some of the MechTech weapons in the DOTM line. One fun feature with the weapons is their ability to combine. Overall it doesn’t really do much beside make the sword larger than it already is. I don’t really care to display him that way; I rather like to have him dual wield the gun and sword. I guess if you fancy the gun blades from the Final Fantasy series, the combined mode may be right up your alley. Furthermore, if you want Magnus to only hold one weapon or the other, you can store either weapon out of the way via a 5 mm peg hole on his back.

Overall I think Ultra Magnus’ robot mode is really solid, and should be the main reason to consider a purchase. Couple that with the combining weapon and you have yourself quite a bit of fun for ~$15 USD.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 4. Very simple. There’s nothing shocking about simply rotating a legs and arms around until you get something that vaguely resembles a vehicle.
Durability: 9. Magnus is really quite sturdy, and I think the plastic quality is a step up from some recent figures like FOC Shockwave.
Fun: 8. The robot mode is awesome. The vehicle mode is meh. The sword/gun weapon is pretty slick; Magnus can handle them individually, combined, or store either on his back.
Aesthetics: 8. I love the design, but some people don’t. I think the character is a great update with a decent G1 feel (I know it’s supposed to be in the Prime continuity). The head mold reminds me of the FansProject Ultra Magnus add-on kit.
Articulation: 8. There are pretty much joints everywhere, but things like the shoulders are awkward. They move well, but don’t have the range of motion to get into fantastic positions.
Value/Price: 7. Current Deluxe costs are over-priced, in my opinion. Magnus has a great robot mode, but the vehicle mode is forgettable.
Overall: 8. I want to tell you Ultra Magnus is fantastic. I really do. I absolutely love the robot mode design, head sculpt, color palette, and weapons. But from an objective toy perspective, he leaves a bit to be desired. The vehicle mode is passable, and the transformation is rather boring. As a robot display piece, he’s awesome.
 
 
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