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numbat's review: Legends class Megatron

Name: Megatron
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Deputy Leader
Sub-Group: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Legends (Wave 2)

Whereas Optimus Prime / Convoy is essentially the same character throughout Transformers Universes, there is no consistency with Megatron. He has varied considerably from his G1 self, to the bizarre character in RID, to the upperclass lordly fellow in the Unicron Trilogy. However, the live action movie continuity has attempted to bring him back towards his G1 self, whilst still playing within the wide boundaries set by the disparity of previous lines. Unlike Prime, Megatron offers some room for developing a unique character.

And, in this vein, the 2007 Transformers film introduced a megalomaniac harbinger of death that chose to keep his monstrous (and very spiky) Cybertronian form. Why not, after all? He had been frozen in this form for millennia! Similarly, the designers took the liberty of having him transform into a Cybertronian jet, bearing similarities to Energon Megatron’s alternate mode, if anything – at a stretch.

Of course, Megatron was killed at the end of the 2007 film, and his body buried with those of other fallen Decepticons in the Laurentian Abyss.

I doubt anyone expected him to remain ‘dead’, and it comes as no surprise that he has been resurrected for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (ROTF). However, as a welcome break in Transformers tradition, Megatron has not returned as Galvatron. He is still Megatron. Indeed. And, courtesy of ‘The Doctor’ (‘Scalpel’ in the toy line), he is rebuilt using the remains of dead Decepticons and a sacrificed Construction (‘zee little wun!’).

The result is a bit like Frankenstein’s Monster – with one gammy arm (which looks to have largely originated with Brawl / Devastator), tank treads for feet and, at last – a canon arm!.

And, now, Megatron transforms into a Cybertronian tank, that has the ability to extend wings, reminiscent of his jet mode in the first film. So, he has become a triple changer – almost.

Unfortunately, Megatron has also been cursed by poor toys throughout his long and glorious career. With the exception of G2 Leader and Hero figures (and the Robot Master Reverse Convoy based on these), there really are no great Megatron figures that most people will agree on. Even Masterpiece Megatron (my personal favourite) gets mixed reviews due to his inordinate complexity and poor balance.

Alas, as with the original Movie toy line, Hasbro and Takara’s designers seem to have had difficulty in producing figures that suitably represent the ROTF Megatron design. On the one hand you have the Leader Class toy, which provides an excellent robot mode [sans canon arm elbow articulation, unfortunately) and relatively poor tank mode (providing the terrestrial mode, without the ability to convert to the flying mode) in the correct colour-scheme, and on the other you have a Voyager Class figure with a superb flying mode (and no terrestrial tank mode) and unfortunately poor robot mode (huge amount of kibble on the back – basically a shell-former – and a poor gammy arm [but with canon arm elbow articulation]) in an incorrect blue colour-scheme. It’s a shame – at least the 2007 Leader Class figure represented compromises in both modes. But, then, if you’re after a good robot mode, you have ROTF Leader Class, and if you want a better alternate mode go for ROTF Voyager Class.

However, in 2007, the Legends Class Movie Megatron figure provided a superb interpretation of the Movie design. In some respects, this is easier to achieve at a small scale, as a lot of detail is lost, and expectations are lower. Therefore, has the Legends Class version of ROTF Megatron similarly succeeded? Well, sort of…

Alternate Mode:

As noted above, Megatron now transforms into a Cybertronian tank. This tank has two modes, as seen in the film – a terrestrial mode, and a flying mode (flattened with extended wings, formed from armoured plates covering the treads in terrestrial tank mode).

This makes ROTF Megatron a triple changer of sorts.

Unfortunately, none of the figures allow for both modes. Leader Class provides terrestrial tank, Voyager flying mode, and Legends Class is a miniature terrestrial version.

The tank measures 2” (7cm) in length, but is quite bulky for a Legends Class figure, and more flattened (and film accurate) than the Leader Class toy, which also turns into the non-flying terrestrial tank configuration. It has many spiky armour plates moulded on, along with wheels and other pieces of vaguely alien machinery. With the exception of the turret, the figure is moulded in black plastic with silver paint picking out the armour, which works very nicely. The treads are black, while the odd plate and mechanical detail is painted a darker iron colour. The turret is moulded in silver plastic, and actually blends quite nicely with the painted armour. Unlike the Voyager and Leader Class figures, Megatron’s head is not visible at the front of the tank (as it is in the film), but is fairly hidden beneath the turret at the rear – which will appeal to some people, but is not actually movie accurate.

There is a black Decepticon insignia on the rear right armour plate.

The turret only has limited movement, due to the transformation, but can be elevated, even if it can’t turn from side-to-side.

The various armour plates reconfigure in the film to form a flying mode in the film. This is not possible on this figure, but the configuration provides a surprisingly accurate version of the non-flying terrestrial mode.

I certainly prefer the tank to the jet in the first film. It’s a really cool mode, and nicely reproduced here in this detailed Legends Class figure.

Robot Mode:

Megatron’s transformation is not difficult (although arranging the arms to reform the turret can be a bit awkward), but it’s interesting that there are now three versions of the ROTF design with totally different transformations. And yet, none of them do a great job. And that’s a shame, as in this case a few tweaks would have made the world of difference.

Still, after the transformation you have a very bulky wee robot (the robot mode totally fills the bubble in the package). He’s not too tall – standing slightly shorter than ROTF Legends Prime and Movie 2007 Legends Megatron, at around 3” (7.5cm). But, as noted, this guy has broad shoulders and a barrel chest!

The moulded detail is good in this mode as well, but suffers from lack of paint applications. The Movie 2007 Legends Megatron, while suffering a bit with rubbery plastic and a blue-grey colour, at least had the details on his chest picked out with black. This would have worked wonders for ROTF Legends Megatron, but wasn’t done. The head is fairly well moulded – and more film accurate than the 2007 Legends Class figure – but it stands out from the body as it has been painted silver, while the body has been painted a darker iron colour for some unknown reason. At least he has red eyes.

The legs are a real mess – I’m sure they could have designed the transformation to create something a little more film accurate, but all in all they aren’t bad for such a wee figure in terms of detailing. The problem is, they stick out on thing joints, resulting in bizarre proportions and waist. Had the legs been able to collapse in towards the body on a slide, this problem would have been solved and Megatron would have looked a lot better…

And the arms? Well, at least he has elbow joints in both arms. And he has a gammy arm and a cannon arm. Well, when I say cannon arm, I mean Cybertronian litter-picker arm. Or maybe a high-tech broom? And what is that on his left arm? I wouldn’t care to guess. Basically, the designers seem to have called it a day two minutes after getting to the hands. ‘Yup Jim, that’ll do, let’s go get us some beers.’

A plus, though, is that the armour plates arrange nicely on his back, with the Decepticon insignia now upright. And he is well articulated at his arms (ball joint shoulders, hinge elbows), with ball joints at his hips as well. Although balancing him alone is an art.

Oh – and he can spear ROTF Optimus Prime and hold him in the air! That is fun!

So, ROTF Legends Megatron is not the shining light of the ROTF line. (I doubt any figure of Megatron is ever likely to be… Which is a shame, as he has a kick-ass design.) The Legends Class figure provides a great alternate mode, and a detailed robot mode, with some bizarre design flaws.

I wouldn’t recommend him, except for the fact that he may be the most affordable way of getting a version of ROTF Megatron roughly in scale with an Optimus Prime figure.

Marks out of ten for the following:

Transformation: 2 – Really not difficult, and not particularly inventive. However, it can be fiddly returning the arms to the turret for tank mode. A few tweaks would have made the whole affair so much better.
Durability: 5 – He seems solid overall, but his arms are ridiculously thin, and are a liability.
Fun: 6 – Despite his flaws, Megatron is at least some fun. He looks fantastic in tank mode, and can be posed skewering ROTF Legends Optimus Prime in robot mode.
Price: 5 – Legends Class figures have gone up in price. Whereas they were once under 3, they now retail at around 5 or $5 depending on where you live. I picked up Megatron for 3.99, which is a good price (at Sainsbury’s – they originally priced ROTF Legends at 2.99, but corrected that after a week). It’s pushing value, especially in this case, despite the bulk.
Overall: 5 – ROTF Legends Megatron is not a shining light in the ROTF Legends line. In fact, he is the opposite. And yet, a few tweaks would have made the whole affair so much better. I wouldn’t recommend him, unless you are a keen collector or wee Transformers, or want to have a Megatron and Prime set that are roughly in scale at a low cost. At the end of the day, there isn’t a good ROTF Megatron figure, and, in the words of Clay ‘all Legends are not created equal’. Megatron is one of the less equal.
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