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Numbat's Review: Megatron

Name: Megatron
Function: Decepticon Leader
Subgroup: Dark of the Moon Mechtech Voyager Class

Megatron has lost battles, but he has never been truly defeated. Even after his near total destruction by the AllSpark, he returned. This latest loss is nothing to him. He has plans thousands of years in the making that are finally coming to fruition. This time, nothing will stop him from annihilating the Autobots completely.

Megatron has had a raw deal in the live-action Movieverse toylines. While the movie designs themselves are highly intricate and wholly alien, the toys themselves have struggled to deliver decent physical versions. I think this may be due to the impossibly complicated and incompatible robot and alternate modes from the first film, and then due to the fairly last-minute finalisation of Megatron’s design for Transformers Revenge of the Fallen (ROTF). The first film’s Leader Class toy delivered compromises in both robot and alien jet fighter modes, and had a painful contortion as a transformation, while the second film’s Leader Class toy delivered a superb robot mode (if based on a slightly outdated design that did not appear in the film...) and mediocre tank mode with a transformation that left him as little more than a glorified and expensive G1 Action Master Elite. Some prefer the Voyager Class versions – although I fail to see the appeal of the first movie’s Voyager Class Megatron, which looks little like the film design and is permanently encased in random chunks of ice, while ROTF Voyager Class Megatron is a horrible green colour, has feet tacked on to his treads (at least feet are optional in the Leader Class version), and is horrendously kibble-tastic in robot mode (the tank just folds onto his back...). The Legends Class figures (Movie and ROTF) do reasonably well for their scale, but won’t be winning any prizes as the definitive versions either... I certainly prefer the Leader Class versions, but they do leave room for improvement...

Of course, in the Movie and ROTF, Megatron makes no attempt to hide in plain sight, as many Decepticons do. Why should he? He’s the Transformer Harbinger of Death – more than a match for any Autobot, and able to kill humans with the flick of a finger (as he does in the first film!).

But, at the end of ROTF, Megatron is crippled by his final battle with a powered-up Optimus Prime (using the power of the Matrix of Leadership and parts of the deceased Jetfire). He loses half his head! Unsurprisingly, this leads Megatron to finally take on an Earth-based-alternate mode for Dark of the Moon (DOTM). And what a lovely mode it is...

Frankly, the DOTM Megatron design is my favourite Megatron of all time. He is the perfect nemesis for Prime, and looks totally sinister and awesome!

Sadly, though, there is no hint of a Leader Class version of DOTM Megatron at the time of writing, and so I braved the Voyager Class incarnation. This is the first Voyager Class Megatron I have ever owned, and he actually measures up pretty well...

Alternate Mode:

The Movieverse Megatron has finally taken on an Earth vehicle alternate mode – a Mack Titan oiltanker. Of course, being Megatron, he’s not completely satisfied with this, and so his Mack Titan is heavily armoured, and looks as if it has rolled right out of a Mad Max film and smashed its way into a Transformers movie. It seems the absolute perfect alternate mode for Megatron – I was always a big fan of Scourge in Robots in Disguise as Prime’s nemesis. What could be better than an oiltanker truck as Prime’s evil counterpart? Oil itself has negative connotations (as it certainly did in the G1 cartoon series, and does in reality), and the rusted armoured hulk that Megatron becomes seems even more perfect.

From the moment he appears in the African plains, this mode has me totally and utterly sold.

But enough about the general design – how does the Voyager Class mould deliver? Measuring 8” (20cm) in length, Megatron is very narrow and does appear a little diminutive for a Voyager Class figure. This puts Megatron at roughly 1/70 scale (depending on which wheelbase was used). He is very well detailed, though, with rivets, panels, spiked bullbar, and other features moulded nicely (note – the protruding window on the lefthand side of the cab is part of the design – it’s reinforced). Moulded mainly in tan and grey plastic, with transparent red windows and black tyres and bullbar, Megatron is interesting to look at. The grey plastic stripes under the windows on the cab are a nice homage to G1 Optimus Prime’s design, if intentional.

He is nicely painted as well, even if this does not come across well in photos. The wheels are all painted tan (except for the spares on the side of the tanker, sadly), rust patches are picked out in dull orange, and other details are highlighted in silver and offwhite. There is a small black Decepticon insignia printed on the righthand side of the cab.

The rear of the tanker is covered in a shredded tarp, as in the film. This can be removed, revealing a fully detailed rear-end to the trailer. Unfortunately, this does not tab in anywhere, and so drops off easily.

The truck rolls nicely, there is zero robot mode kibble, and there are two nice touches in the Mack mode where the designers have gone above-and-beyond. The first is suibtle – the Mechtech port on the cab roof has a springloaded cover. You can still attached Mechtech weapons (which cause the cover to depress), but if you’re not so keen on these at least Megatron is not studded with a protruding port that would detract from the vehicle mode (a blemish poor DOTM Voyager Ironhide suffers from...). If you are into Mechtech weapons, though, there is a negative – Megatron’s weapon actually forms part of the oil tanker, and so if you want to deploy it in vehicle mode, you lose the front half of the tanker. On the plus side, the Mechtech weapon itself has a Mechtech port on top, so you can attach a weapon to the oil tanker, or you could double up on the Mechtech weaponry itself.

The second is much more significant – despite Megatron’s robot mode being formed from both the cab and trailer without any detachment, the designers have allowed the trailer to articulate in the truck mode (although it cannot be detached). This is a fantastic touch to the design, and I for one am very impressed!

Overall, despite being a little on the small side, Voyager Megatron’s armoured Mack Titan oiltanker mode delivers very nicely.

Robot Mode:

After an enjoyable transformation that smacks of a more complex version of the Gobot Road Ranger, you get a robot mode with zero kibble and a good degree of detail and poseability.

Standing 7” (18cm) tall, Megatron is not as small as people have been complaining. He looks fine alongside ROTF Voyagers such as Long Haul (who stands 8” (20cm) tall) – after all, many of the Decepticon Movieverse characters to have received the Voyager Class treatment are hulking monsters that would loom a little over Megatron anyway. However, something nobody can deny is just how slight Megatron is. The Voyager Class figure is not the barrel-chested beast of the movie at all, but quite slim front-to-back, with almost a wasp-like waist. No doubt the design was tricky to execute at this scale, and these were necessary tradeoffs, but they are compromises to be aware of.

That aside, Megatron’s robot mode is very impressive indeed! There is zero kibble for starters, with everything finding a proper place. There are even some nice wee touches, such as the front four trailer wheels folding in to give a nicer and more film accurate look to the legs – something the designers really needn’t have done (and by all accounts they must have been feeling generous, when you compare him to the kibble-tastic mess that is DOTM Voyager Prime!). Megatron is hyper-detailed in this mode as well, right down to his trademark armoured torso and half-destroyed head (which is very nicely sculpted!). He looks like the alien warrior/monster design we’ve grown used to (and fond of – me at least!) with twisted hints of Prime (I like the angled bumper on his chest!).

You can choose to shroud Megatron in his ragged tarp-cloak if you like as well, and it’s a really good look. Unlike in truck mode, the rubber cloak can tab in to the robot mode, but I do find that the cloak limits poseability with both arms (the tab hinders the right, and the cloak itself restricts the left). I never thought I’d like a design for a Transformer from a live-action-film wearing ‘clothes’, but, frankly, it looks awesome on Megatron! Very well executed.

The colours are much the same as for the truck mode – tans and light greys dominating, with black on the shoulders (nice spiky bullbars!). A small amount of silver paint picks out details on the head, which also benefits from large areas of effective light piping (for the eye and destroyed right-hand-side of his face).

It is a bit of a shame that none of the Movie toys of Megatron ever got the hands down right – instead of those menacing claws, we’re given spindly crooked spikes for a third time. But, hey, you can’t have it all, and at least the figures are consistent with this.

Megatron is well balanced and nicely poseable, with 18 points of meaningful articulation giving many display possibilities (although this will depend on whether you use the cloak and fusion cannon or not).

Thusfar, only three DOTM figures have interested me with their Mechtech – Leader Sentinel Prime, Voyager Shockwave and Voyager Megatron. As far as I can tell, these are the only figures who’s Mechtech weapons either appear in the film (Sentinel and Shockwave) and/or are designed as part of the toy, as opposed to a tacky afterthought add-on. While Megatron does not posses his fusion cannon in the film (sadly), the rear of the tanker transforms into his iconic weapon and can be attached to either arm as a nice nod to G1. Unfortunately, I find it can take some careful arrangement for him to actually support the weapon (it is heavy, and his arm joints loose), but support it he can (unlike Masterpiece Megatron...).

DOTM Voyager Megatron is the best Movieverse Megatron figure we’ve ever had, and is also the best Movieverse Megatron design we’ve ever had. If you’re intending to buy any DOTM figures, you’d be daft not to include Voyager Megatron on your shopping list.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation Design: 10 – Megatron’s transformation is not particularly complicated, but it is well thought out, with zero kibble in either mode and even a turning trailer worked into the design! Perfection!
Durability: 7 – Megatron seems pretty solid, but the bullbar halves can be stiff to separate and tend to pop off instead, which is a worry, and the fingers are very thin and could perhaps snap. You could lose the cloak, which would be a shame, but not disastrous, while if you lost his Mechtech cannon you destroy any chance of a decent alt mode – guess that’s the price of the weapon being worked into the figure’s design, but I’d happily choose this over the tacky afterthoughts most other DOTM figures have been gifted with.
Fun: 10 – Megatron is great fun in either mode (his trailer turns! Woop woop!), and has a satisfying transformation. Plus he has his fusion cannon. Can’t fault at all.
Aesthetics: 9 – Megatron looks great in both modes, but loses a mark for his wasp-waist. However, this is the best Megatron design I think we’ve ever had in Transformers history, the sinister armoured Mack oil tanker truck the perfect alt mode, and definitely the best Movieverse Megatron figure to date. He’s win-win.
Articulation: 10 – Megatron is very well articulated, given his size, transformation, etc. I don’t think you could expect any better.
Value/Price: 9 – Voyager figures have gone up in price to around 25 on average. However, this figure is worth that price. If you look around, though, some stores are reducing prices here and there for the odd week or two, and you could get him at the old 19.99 as I did (which I think is the sweet-spot for this size-class).
Overall: 10 – I paused before putting the final score, and considered carefully. I rarely give ‘10’, although think I tend to score highly. I don’t like to suggest a figure is a must-have for everyone, but I really think this is the best Megatron design and toy we have ever had. If you’re a fan of Bayformers, I’m sure you already agree with me. If you’re not such a big fan, at the Voyager Class price-point this figure is still a must-have for your collection – if you’re going to have any Movieverse figures (if you have more money to burn, though, I’d recommend ROTF Leader Prime and Hunt for the Decepticons Leader Starscream over him – but they are considerably more expensive!). I am extremely pleased Megatron finally got a superb Movieverse design – even if it was for the last film he’s likely to appear in.
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