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Hotshot81's Review: Prime RID Ultra Magnus

Name: Ultra Magnus
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Commander
Accessories: Missile Launcher, and Battle Hammer/Blaster

Ultra Magnus is one of the older characters in the Transformers' universe. Originally, in Generation One, he was a pillar for the young untested Prime, and was respected by both the Autobots and the Decepticons as a warrior. The next time we saw him, in Robots in Disguise, he was the jealous brother of Optimus Prime, which isn't a surprise give how they've shared the same mold in more than a few ways sometime so many times. In Transformers Animated the Magnus part of his name was made a title, and he was the supreme leader. It does sound a bit funny to think of someone named Ultra, but hey I don't write this stuff. As a character, it seems the older Ultra Magnus gets, the more distant he has become.

Right off the box here, "If there is an Autobot the Decepticons fear as much as Optimus Prime, it is Ultra Magnus. His battle hammer has crushed chassis from one side of the galaxy to the other. No battlefield on which his armoured feet have stepped has ever been yielded to the Decepticons."

In Transformers Prime he is a pillar for an established battle tested Prime. He is used to being the one who backs up Optimus when the chips are down. I've got to give the guys who wrote Transformers Prime their due for is giving him the sense of power that Ultra Magnus is due. As a second in command who plays it by the book, he has a sense of authority, which isn't easy to convey.

He doesn't appear in a flash with a dozen other bots. He arrives with a plan, and maybe not a desire to lead the Autobots, but he accepts the responsibility to lead them. Does he shirk hard duty when it calls? No. He goes toe to toe with Megatron himself to do what any self-respecting commander would. He presents the essentials of a good commander, by taking on the hardest jobs himself, and not really being emotional. Other characters have shown surprise when Optimus is resurrected, what does Ultra Magnus do when this happens? He compliments Optimus Prime using a word not normally heard in a cartoon and goes back to work bashing Decepticons and trying to save humanity.

As a collector, I was dead set to pick up Ultra Magnus the second he made his appearance in Scattered. Optimus is always a great leader, but there was something in the way Ultra Magnus looked that just made him on the must buy list. Maybe it was just the fact he expected to be addressed as Sir, by everyone blow his rank, or just the way he carries himself in the show.

Editor's note: This review is about the Robots in Disguise Ultra Magnus, released before Magnus' actual appearance in the show and is based on an older concept art and is not accurate to his appearance in the show.

Robot Mode: This is how Magnus will start off. If I dare say so, this is how he looks his best. Magnus had nice wide shoulders, is taller even than the voyager class toy of Optimus Prime. In part due to his transformation, and in part to great design, he has 16 points of articulation. It's not like he's got one or two poses and that's all folks.

I will admit if the robot mode of Ultra Magnus didn't hold up to what I expected from the show, I wouldn't have bought him. He looks like a great leader; I wish I could better articulate it. Yes he has that gimmick at the back of his head to shine a light, but there isn't anything in the front. His hands are locked in the position between being flat, and being a fist. They can hold things, but based on their stance/position, it's hard to imagine Ultra Magnus doing much with them. He has "hidden" wheels on his back, maybe something from an earlier design? They don't move, but it gives the initial impression of wheels back there to move.

He does come with two weapons, well three in a sense. The first is what I assume is supposed to be a rocket launcher. The warhead even looks like the one he had in G1, mind you the rest of the launcher looks like a bazooka. There is just one problem, it doesn't fire, it just sits there, and it has zero moving parts. The hammer does transform. Pulling the gun barrel towards the hammer to transform it, there is a tab to lock it into place. I found for reasons unknown it doesn't lock in the hole, but above the hole for reasons unknown. The head of the hammer and the swinging motion it does to transform feels flimsy, like it will break off. Given how this hammer is probably supposed to be the Forge of Solus Prime, it doesn't remotely look like the hammer seen in Transformers Prime.

The missile launcher can go anywhere on Ultra Magnus, and it doesn't create a balance problem. However, the battle hammer/blaster tends to drag his arm down, and it can hold the hammer's shaft in one hand, while the head in the other.

Vehicle Mode: There are several ways to transform Ultra Magnus. Just realize my instructions are how I do it, and do not reflect the official way.

Bend his feet down away from this rest of his body, completing this part of the transformation. Grab the wheel mountings from the inner-leg and unwrap them so the wheels face you as you face Ultra Magnus. This will reveal some inner gray tabs, pull them around 180 degrees. You can also use this time to link his legs, fit the blue peg near his leg ankle into the right counterpart.

The inner arms are easy to unfold, as is folding the hands into the space revealed. Bend the arms down, and flip the shoulders up 90 degrees up. Move the arms towards you forward facing style, stop them at about 45 degrees. Bend the legs into the kneeling position towards Ultra Magnus's face.

You will want to slide the gray cylinders under the cab, slid the cab forward, after flipping the small gray triangle 180s degrees out. Hey presto, by closing it all up. Ultra Magnus is now completely transformed. There are several pegs and holes where his missile and blaster fit. Including the fact that they can be even fit together. Just speaking for myself here, I think he looks the most impressive with the blaster on top of his cab and the missile launcher on one of those gray clips mentioned earlier.

As great at Ultra Magnus looks in robot mode, he looks like a brick, and an incomplete one at that in vehicle mode. Even by looking at a Transformers with a Cybertronian alternative mode, you can guess what their function is. What is Ultra Magnus's function is, is hard to guess. He could be a cargo hauler or an assault vehicle. Problem is he's lacking the final pieces to complete either role.

The weapons he has does make him a potential assault vehicle .Yes, the gun looks great on top, and it could be even put in the back as an anti-air weapon with the missile launcher. By the same token it can also go on the side, where you'd have to have no sense of taste to put it. You'd need extra weapons, to make him seem like an assault vehicle.

Given the long body, and the tabs that make up part of his feet, I can see a cargo trailer being designed so Ultra Magnus could bring something to the battle. Even with the gun on top as a last line of defence weapon, this look would work for him. If I didn't know how he transformed, I would even imagine him transforming like his G1 counterpart did with a trailer.

To me what separates the weak Transformers from the rest are the "Where to start, or where is X" factor. I could roll off countless names and series of Transformers where you don't know where to start, when they are in their alternative forms because all the obvious body parts are hidden. Ultra Magnus lacks this. Everything from the waist down on with him can be spotted without much looking. You flip him over, and see everything there is to see. It's almost a crime to see a transformer with such a great robot mode, have such an bad and indecisive vehicle mode.

Marks out of ten for the following
Transformation 4: I have to put him in the 3 or 4 rating for a fun transformation at most. He's not that hard to transform, and compared to other transformers who have 2 or 3 transformation difficulty rating. He's not that fun. Overrated is the first word that comes to mind when I think to how Hasbro rated him.

Durability 7: Ultra Magnus doesn't have any obvious break points, and does have a load of ballpoints, which is great. The downside is that mine has fallen from 3 feet, and he's chipped. First transformer I've ever seen chipped from any fall.

Fun 9: The fact that he has so many poses, and looks great as a robot definitely ups the fun factor in him.

Price 6: I paid $40 for him, which was above what local retailers were charging for transformers in his size. If it wasn't for the chipping, and the ease of the transformation, I wouldn't feel like I got my money's worth.

Overall 7: There are three ways to look at Ultra Magnus, as a potential purchase. If you are a kid playing with him, he's great because he has the neat transforming weapon. If you are a collector looking to display him, the robot mode looks great. If you are someone who is going to leave him in his vehicle mode, he's not that great.
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