Skyquake87's Review: Masterpiece MP-31 Delta Magnus
Bio: Leader of the Primal Vanguard, Delta Magnus is known for overusing the adjective 'glorious'. He was offered the post of City Commander, but turned the position down.
The turn of the century for me represented the most exciting time to be into collecting Transformers, with the mainline retail releases being some of the best ever figures produced – from the futuristic and wholly alien designs of the much maligned Beast Machines
, to the incredible complexity of the Car Robots
line and the early stages of the reissue program that would become a flood in later years. It was in this latter category that one particular reissue caught my eye – Ultra Magnus, but done up in his pre-Transformers Diaclone scheme. A limited release along with some horrid piss coloured clear version, it was expensive and hard to come by then, and prices have only increased over the years. So I was happy enough just to coo over pictures online from afar, like some sad porn-addicted wastrel. And then, joy of joys, Takara only went and re-released their spangly Masterpiece Ultra Magnus figure in these colours as Delta Magnus.
There's not much to say about Delta Magnus from the fiction, he's part of the Primal Vanguard and appeared in a picture/video of him and Ultra Magnus in a brief scene in IDW's More Than Meets The Eye
. He's probably big and powerful and brave and whatnot, but even this meager sketched-in story beats Dreamwave's 'its a wibbly clone'.
As I'm not a huge Ultra Magnus fan, I've been happy enough to skip over the recent incarnations in plastic, including the recent and highly regarded Masterpiece toy. Like the fickle and easily pleased fan I am, I was more than happy to fork out for the same toy in different colours with a new name. So lets' see what all the fuss is about.
In this age of gossamer light Trasnformers toys, with their weird, honeycombed innards and general lack of substance, it's so nice to pick up a Transformer that feels like there's something to it. Delta Magnus is weighty, tall, enormously chunky and has some resolutely old-school charm on the go. The guy is how toys used to be, y'know? Just proper and full of presence. He really is a lovely looking collection of shapes and I love how blocky he is, with great big Duplo bricks for arms and these massive great blue shoe boxes for legs. The colours are great, the blue/red/silver/black combo easily beating Ultra Magnus' patriotic deco. It's just so much more lively and interesting that I'm amazed this livery was passed over when the original Diaclone toy was brought over to Transformers. Love the stoic expression too – you can change this out for a bellowing face, but I'm not much of a fan. Although there is a something a bit freaky about him being able to cart around his spare faces in his back. I like as well that he doesn't look like he can actually turn into anything. The alt-mode stuff is so well hidden, this could be just a generic giant space robot, were it not for the moulded in Auto-logo on his right shoulder. Detail is a little on the light side in robot mode, there just enough vents and moulded detail to stop him looking too flat. I do like the hands and moulded screw detail by the thumb, and the joints moulded into the fingers. Good stuff. Being a repaint of Ultra Magnus, Delta's chest can open up to reveal a Matrix chamber, so you can have your own 'chosen one' style fun times. Would have been nice if the shoulder rockets could fire, but that's not the end of the world.
The armoured transport-carrier mode is like the original, just blown up on a photocopier and looks amazing. The tractor cab is strewn with detail – loads of rivets and rails on the go, plus some glorious chrome and squishy rubber tires. The cab roof opens up, so you can dump in the pack-in featureless candle Marissa Fairborne. I've no interest in her, so she just sits in the box. Nice as this mode looks, the weight of the die-cast in the trailer section does feel like its putting too much strain on the plastic cab – itself a rather hollow affair, as it collapses up during transformation. As with the original toy, you can stack this chap up with his Masterpiece mates for a road trip. He's an impressive length in vehicle mode, and again the colours just beat the pants off of old uncle Magnus. Pleasingly, the cab can also detach so you can tootle that off on its own, although beyond the chrome tanks, its a rather flat piece of nothing.
Marks Out Of Ten For The Following:
This is an impressive and clever-dick piece of work that gets you a beefy great robot out of an articulated lorry. It's a really cool trick to pull off, having the whole thing clump up to form this great piece of righteous might. The process is pretty intuitive, although I keep forgetting how the arms go, these having none of the sliding ratchets of the original toy, despite looking like they do. Other than that, its all good, and not the fiddly nightmare some MP toys have been. It perhaps feels less of an event than it should, this being a Masterpiece and all, but I'll take a quick and easy switcheroo over a complicated ballache anyday. 9/10
Being a big load of chunky chunks, nothing on Delta Magnus feels especially fragile, which is good. Even the antennae on his head feel sturdy, and with none of the slight wibbliness these things usually have. With his excellent center of gravity, he's not particularly prone to falling over either. 9/10
On a smaller figure, the articulation here would be excellent. He's full of hefty ratchet joints and has everything bar a waist swivel, but he's just a bit too blocky to make good use of it without looking like a fat bloke getting out of a Mini, so he's best just left stood around looking imposing. I appreciate it being there, all the same. 6/10
Easily the most fun Masterpiece figure since Grimlock, I'd say. He's just an unfussy joy-fest that knows its a toy and demands to be played with. And he's BIG. And we all know the bigger 'bots are more fun, right? 9/10
A good chunk of my Beast Wars
collection went towards paying the £115 this guy cost and I think that's a good price for what you get. Being a fairly unknown repaint, he can still be found for around that price and even at the top end of around £150, I'd still say he's worth it. 9/10
There really isn't much to fault Delta Magnus on. He's an imposing, impressive beast of a figure and one of the best Masterpiece figures I've come across. He's delivered exactly what I wanted and has made trifling concerns like the cab not being able to turn into a separate robot utterly redundant. 8/10