Blackjack's Review: Transformers Prime Megatron
Transformers Prime: ĎRobots in Disguiseí, Voyager Class
Fusion Cannon; Gauntlet
So, for some time there was no news of any toys for Transformers Primeís Megatron, short of a Deluxe two-pack in the ĎFirst Editioní line. And being one of the physically largest characters among the cast, a deluxe-classs toy thatís dwarfed by Starscream isnít really the best size class to represent Megatron... not with a glorious voyager class Optimus Prime available to us. Not to mention that the two-pack is diminishingly difficult to find, being part of the horribly-distributed ĎFirst Editioní subline and everything. Besides, despite how pretty the stock pictures make it out to be, the deluxe class toy actually underwhelmed me the one time I saw him in retail.
So anyway, First Edition came and gone (or never came in the first place for a good number of us) and the ĎRobots in Disguiseí line was released, a wee bit late into the show. And I saw RID Megatron on the shelves, and since I already bought Starscream and Soundwave, I decided to complete the Decepticonsí classic trio. After all, I loved this show. Megatron is more of a plot device than an actual character compared to Optimus Prime, but compared to his predecessors Primeís Megatron is very, very entertaining to watch on the large screen. He embodies the G1 characterís brutish one-track mind and the Animated and Beast Warsí genre-savvy tendencies and theatrics to great extent, topping it up with the Movieverseís raging monster thing going on.
So since the character is like the distilled essence of past Megatrons, the design needed to evocate that too. With Optimus Prime itís simple, simply Xerox the G1 Optimus Prime design, slap on some cues from the Bay Movies and Animated, and youíre done. Megatronís not that easy, since heís not one for constant designs. While Optimus Prime is always a truck and the only deviations are it being flat-nosed or long-nosed, plus the occasional fire-truck (and gorilla in the case of his counterpart Optimus Primal) Megatron has gone from being a gun to a tank to a tyrannosaurus to a dragon to a big floating head-shaped warship to an insane dragon-bat-jet-dragster-giant hand six-changer to another tank to a gunship to a batmobile/batwing triple-changer to an insane trident-jet thing to a flying tank to a twin-rotor helicopter to a spiky tanker truck to another Cybertronian jetÖ and those are just the alternate modes! Without touching Galvatron-themed power-ups!
Weíve not even touched on colours, or even heads! Megatron canít even have a constant, iconic head, let alone an iconic full-body silhouette!
All of these stemmed from the fact that the very first Megatron transforms into a gun. I thought that the toy looked cute in a mangled sort of way, and the resulting cartoon/comic design was pretty iconic, but then since itís a gun and toy guns are apparently not as legal to own as real guns he got turned into other thingsÖ but thatís where it all went downhill. As the Transformers franchise evolved, so did Megatron, and his entire appearance changes very much between different series. Even the movieís Megatron looked nothing like any previous Megatrons, other than being the general shade of gray that G1 Megatron is. I think Animated Megatron is the only one whose design actually evokes the original Megatron, and even then itís hybridized with the Movieverseís equally iconic design. A G1/Movie hybrid seems to have become Hasbroís standard definition of any new Megatron, though, so at least for the next, oh, two or three series Iím hoping weíll get some consistency in Megatron designs.
So basically Prime Megatronís silhouette, like his Animated counterpart, is modeled after G1 Megatron. Heís got the bucket-shaped helmet, heís got a predominantly grey colour scheme, heís got the iconic arm-mounted giant fusion cannon again, heís got those sloping gun-handle feetÖ whereas the rest of him is inspired by Movie Megatron. The chest, the skull-like face, the shoulders and the general spiky greebles all over his body evocates the Movieís aesthetics, although this is a feature common to all members of the castÖ the Decepticons being spikier than the Autobots. And it works very well, because Megatronís silhouette ends up to be rather menacing. And in a move thatís probably inspired by Movie Megatronís ROTF design, his fusion cannon also doubles as a collapsible blade, although this time itís a more standard sword than a big-ass murder crab claw thing. He also transforms into a jet like this
, which is a big shout-out to the Movie Megatronís first alternate mode, a crazy Cybertronian jet with long, sweeping wings and a massive prong in front.
So anyway, I rambled about the designs for a bit too long there, but long story shortÖ itís going to be damn difficult to turn that sleek death machine into a bulky robot. Starscream and Soundwaveís designs looked impossible to turn into toys, let alone good ones, but Hasbro and Takara managed to get something right once in a while and turned both of them into wondrous, show-accurate toys that are actually good toys to muck around.
Megatron? Well, not so much. Heís not going to wow you the way Starscream and Soundwave did. Iím going to describe Megatron the best as I could, and you be the judge on whether you should get him.
Megatron transforms into a Cybertronian jet. If you havenít watched the show, or (like me) saw nothing but a quick silver jet-like blur, scroll three paragraphs up and click the link to see what the jet is like. Itís not something that can easily be replicated in a toy, let alone a toy thatís supposed to transform into a bulky robot. And since the jet modeís never going to be show-accurate anyway, plus Megatron does everything interesting in robot mode, Hasbro and Takaraís designers canít do anything but sacrifice the alternate mode for the greater good.
Of course, all things considered Megatron does look more like his supposed alternate mode than some other toys that transform into random Cybertronian vehicles. Itís still a pile of robot parts folded together, but at least thereís still a semblance of attempt to replicate the show model going on. Itís rather difficult to describe (but thankfully thatís what pictures are for). Megatronís got the reverse-oriented wings down, heís got the general hull shape down, the robot mode arms and toes kind of substitute for the spiky tail-wings, the robot head peeks out of the center of the jet mode (but thatís in the show model, so thereís that) and the front of the jet tapers out in some prong-like mass of spikes. And heís got a fusion cannon strapped onto his back. A disproportionately oversized and severely off-model and terrible-looking fusion cannon, but weíll get to that later.
Of course, not everythingís all fine and dandy. The front endís prongs are very obviously the robot mode chest and the robot mode abdomen detailing doing their best to look all prong-y, and theyíre connected to an attention-grabbing chunk of clear purple plastic. Itís ridiculous and looks terrible. The robot-mode thighs poke from the clear-purple parts without any attempt to hide them. The wings look too short, and the robot modeís shoulder spikes kind of just hang out between the wings and hull rather randomly, looking terrible. Both ruin any effect the toy might have at being a fighter jet. The general clunkiness and not-sleekness of Megatronís jet mode, despite the designerís best attempts to try and make it look good, does not really work at all. At the very least, though, the wings and hull are show accurate (random Decepticon insignia tampographed on the left side notwithstanding).
Bottom line, alternate modeís nothing to write home about. Itís barely serviceable as a representation of his show model, and I donít think anyone buys this toy for Megatronís jet mode anyway.
Megatronís robot mode is a very clean and faithful reproduction of the showís model. Of course heís more light gray than silver, but in the flesh he looks so much nicer as compared to Takaraís ridiculous entirely-chrome toys. His secondary colour is purple, and I like how the gray bits act like some kind of outer armour and the purple bits are like Megatronís internal flesh or something poking out. As this is RID, the purple bits on Megatronís lower arms and his entire chest are cast out of clear purple plastic. If this was anyone else Iíd bitch the hell out of this (Iím not a fan of clear plastic at all) but Megatron is an exception. He uses Dark Energon several times in the series and its effects give him some kind of awesome purple aura, and the clear purple actually helps to give the effect that heís channeling its power, so I donít mind it at all. Beige rounds up some details, like his toes, hands and part of his abdominal armour, and it works very well in the flesh, unlike how my stupid camera puts it to be. The contrast isnít all that jarring. Megatronís face is painted silver, with a sinister death-like smirk.
Heís kibble-free, as mentioned before, but then he doesnít have kibble per se, transforming into a pile of jumbled up robot parts and all. The transformation folds everything back where they belong, and the two actual pieces of vehicle kibble Ė the hull pieces that swings over the head Ė fold perpendicularly away from his back out of sightÖ and if you see him from the side it looks like heís got wings or something. Iím indifferent to this, although it might put off some prospective buyers obsessed with show-accuracy.
Megatronís got a decent range of articulation, although not as much as Iíd want to. Heís got articulated toes, knees, thighs, head, shoulders, elbows and his wrists bend inwards. Ideally his hands would be articulated more and he would have had a hip jointÖ but I absolutely adore how they made the spiky shoulder armours separate from the actual shoulders. Both move on independent joints, so they make posing Megatronís arms far easier and unhindered by large spikes catching on Megatronís torso and getting in the way.
What else is there to say? Megatronís a rather great robotÖ except for one thing.
The fusion cannon. Itís enormously gigantic, and looks nothing like the show design. The show design is pretty slick, predominantly purple, and is a clean cylindrical affair with only a simple silver curvy-spike thing near the business end. It looks elegant and deadly at the same time. Instead we get a beige mess with a horrid-looking battery access panel slapped terribly on top of it running near its whole length, random protrusions for your fingers to snugly press against marring its sides, a giant purple button thing that looks simply awful, and asides from the general cylindrical shape thereís nothing in common between this terrible accessory and its in-show counterpart.
Now, the deluxe class toy came with a delightful reproduction of the show modelís fusion cannon, and why does the larger Voyager class toy, which was designed far later, have this ridiculous, oversized ugly beige thing? Why, to accommodate the latest horrible gimmick, of course. Inspired by DOTMís Mech-Tech, Prime RIDís Voyager class toys, called Weaponizers or some equally ridiculous thing, have a gimmick of weapons that look nothing like their show counterparts, and you can pull a button or lever to turn them temporarily into a proper weapon. And itís clear plastic as well and the weapon will Ďlight upí which really adds nothing to play and simply ruins the impression of the weapon. Itís probably good for about two seconds of amusement before you realize that youíre going to have to display RID Voyager Dreadwing and Optimus Prime with a pile of squares as their very threatening weapon.
With Megatron, the fusion cannon remains intact, at least, non-fusion-cannon-y as it is, and pushing the button causes three clear purple blade halves (which are, by the way, brightly visible, pokes out of under the cannon and annoys the hell out of me in either mode) to swing out and in theory combine to give the illusion of a blade, and a huge chunk of the cannon swings up to reveal a LED light that shines a red light onto the blade. Unfortunately, in addition to the finger pegs that ruin the cannonís cylindrical shape even further, the blades will never ever ever align properly, and the LED light doesnít even shine properly into the blade. Why they even bother with this shit I donít even know.
So a defining characteristic for Megatron is marred by a stupid, stupid gimmick.
Why they couldnít have just had the cannon and blade as separate, non gimmicky accessories, I donít know. The fusion cannon could peg onto the 5mm post near Megatronís elbow, and the blade could peg at the post near his wrist. No, instead they included some random gauntlet thing that pegs into that post (or on a similar post on the cannon) whichÖ I have no idea what the heck itís supposed to be. Megatron never used such a weapon, it looks nothing like any of the weapons in the show and itís beige and looks ugly.
So yeah, Megatron has a great robot modeÖ but doesnít have much more going on for it.
Marks out of ten for the following:
3/10 Poorly executed. Itís sort of fun to do, but the jet mode is so terrible and looks so inaccurate that I donít think Iíll ever transform this toy again.
9/10 Megatron feels pretty solid. Obviously, being an electronic thingamagig the fusion cannon is likely to break, but I couldnít care less. ĎTis a shit accessory.
7/10 Megatronís robot mode is a wonderful replication of his show modelÖ albeit a bit shorter than it should, compared to the Optimus or Starscream toys I own. Of course, itís again marred by the extremely terrible fusion cannon and a less-than ideal jet mode.
4/10 Below-average. Like I said, heís missing a waist joint and proper wrist joints. Granted, he could pull off most poses youíd want Megatron to do, but he still feels stiff nonetheless.
7/10 Heís a major character and I have an Optimus Prime for him to face off against. Now if the blade could actually, you know, deploy properlyÖ
4/10 I got him at retail price, so no, not really that good. Iíd rather have the money.
4/10 Megatron is not really a great toy. I mean, I like him since heís a great, show-accurate display piece that works wonders next to Optimus Prime, or next to the rest of the Decepticons. He poses well in robot mode andÖ thatís about it. Heís got a poorly designed alternate mode, and might as well as come without the fusion cannon. Heís not a good toy in any stretch of imagination, though, but should you buy him for the express purpose of posing him in robot mode or as part of a collection, you wouldnít be disappointed too badly.