Posts tagged with "megatron" - 1
Posted September 19, 2020 at 10:15 pm

When listings for Earthrise toys started leaking last year and we began to learn we'd get a few of the Cybertron-mode Stege guys back in new Earth mode toys (hello Starscream and Optimus Prime), many of us figured, yeah, okay, they probably won't do a new Earth Megatron.  There's a long history now of Megatrons just sticking to their Cybertronian modes, the Stege toy is fine and a passable tank, and honestly it's the one toy from the Voyager Class pricepoint range that tends to shelfwarm.  We knew we were getting a Grapple, so wouldn't that slot be better taken up by Grapple retooled into Inferno?  

BUT NOPE!  

EARTHRISE MEGATRON!  

And he's like the Stege Megatron toy, but retooled to be worse!  See, one of Stege Megatron's nicest features was that his tank barrel transformed into a sword.  The blade halves folded out from underneath, eclipsed around the barrel, and bam! sword.  A sword that was sword-shaped!  It just had a neat barrel encased in the middle.  I liked that!  It was based on the sword that the original 1985 Japanese version of Megatron came with (in lieu of the fusion cannon, actually), which isn't precisely my cup of nostalgia tea, but it did the job very well!  

Earthrise Megatron just sticks the tip of that same sword design onto the back of a giant chunk of Abrams tank that includes the barrel.  You peg it onto Megatron's forearm.  It looks like a giant chunk of tank with a little pointy pokey part.  If it weren't so wide, he could probably use it to stir his morning coffee.  And then you remove a part of the tank from the back (from between where the legs go) and peg it onto all that.  

It's a terrible, embarrassing change that makes a toy worse.  

I mean, the reason that chunk exists is that they want to keep Megatron having his little 1984 Walther P-38 pistol hammer halves on his shoulders.  The chunk of Abrams tank covers them up when you transform him into tank mode.  Stege Megatron transformed into a Cybertronian tank, so he could have the front of the tank look however it wanted.  (though the tops of the arms transformed a little to obscure them)  

But it's... super not worth it...?

Beyond that, Earthrise Megatron is actually a pretty extensive retool of Stege Megatron.  They essentially transform the same, and all the new parts are shaped similarly to the old parts, but like 80% of him is different.  New head, new, chest, new crotch, new shins, new Abrams tank front half parts, new fusion cannon, new backs of his upper arms, new... barrel shield pointy stick... 

All this is in service of making him more of an Earth tank who transforms into something even closer to the old cartoon Megatron design.  He's got those little vents on his obliques and smoother, slopey legs that sort of resemble gun handle shapes better.  His fusion cannon looks more like a pistol sight.  He's got a ... new cartoony Megatron head that looks worse than the Stegey cartoony Megatron head.  

And he's two to a case, with one Quintesson Judge filling out the third spot!  Oh boy!  

anyway because of this he's much easier to get one's hands on, i got one, and i stole stege megatron's head and arms and sword/barrel, stuck them on earth megatron, painted his obliques red (the stege head had already been painted by me), and now i have an earthier Marvel Comics-style Megatron that has a better-sculpted noggin and doesn't carry a dumb-looking chunk of terrible tank/barrel/butterknife around on his forearm 

(see image on right)

Sure, in tank mode the barrel area doesn't look as Abramsy, but THAT'S AN OKAY TRADE-OFF.

(the plastic colors are the same, and the head and arms swap real easy, don't even gotta unscrew anything)

i recommend doing this, if only so you all help get these guys off shelves before Kingdom shows up next year, if straggling earthrise megatrons are the reason there's no shelfspace for a new dinobot toy to reach saturation i will murder everything

(walmart-exclusive netflix stege megatron pictured in comparison images)

Posted April 16, 2019 at 11:05 pm

gonna get this out of the way first, but the rubber ducky is a season two thing, and this is a season one megatron toy, so no it wasn't gonna ever come with a rubber ducky and no it's not weird or wrong that it doesn't

Many people assume Dinobot is my favorite Transformers character.  I do like him a lot, and I collect him religiously, but he's not actually my Number One.  My favorite Transformers character is actually Dinobot's nemesis, Predacon Megatron.  Megatron's an intellectual and physical powerhouse whose only weakness is he loves being evil with style and class.  He's not just a jackass, he also enjoys being a jackass, and he wants you to know he enjoys being a jackass.  It's fun to watch him fail, it's fun to watch him succeed -- it's just fun to watch him, which is rare for a Megatron.  

So the Masterpiece toy line has finally gotten to my favorite Transformers character, and... it's a big'un.  He's not the biggest Masterpiece toy so far (Ultra Magnus and Star Saber are larger), but he towers a bit over the G1 and Movie Optimus Primes and G1 Megatron.  Masterpiece toys have long maintained a strict robot mode scale, and if you want Megatron to be in scale with Masterpiece Optimus Primal and the nearly-as-large Masterpiece Dinobot, you're going to have a giant-ass Beast Wars Megatron toy.  

Like the other Beast Wars Masterpieces, Megatron is meticulously decoed.  He's got metallic paint and/or plastic to match the look of the mid-90s CGI.  He's got texture-mapped deco across his dinosaur skin surfaces.  The color matching is meticulous.  There's no places where the paint runs out because it goes around a corner and the budget's thin.  He's painted from every angle.  

He's electronic!  Batteries go into both of his heads.  The batteries in his robot head make his eyes light up.  The batteries in his tyrannosaur head play speech clips.  They're all in Japanese, of course, but there are quite a few of them.  

For the reasons listed above, he's also pretty expensive!  Amazon.jp has pretty good discounts on preorders, but without them, he was the most expensive Masterpiece toy thus far.  That is, until the third Masterpiece Optimus Prime comes out this fall.  (Prime's shorter, but he comes with, you know, a trailer.)

Megatron comes with a handful of accessories.  He's got two extra faces in addition to the neutral one.   There's the trademark grimace, which should remind us of the original toy's expression.  And most importantly, there's the Grin.  Some call it the Triangle Grin, some call it the Eric Cartman Grin, but it's the Grin.  I love that face.  It's the "Yeeessss!" face.  It's the "I love being an evil jackass" face.  And finally it's in plastic.  

There's also a toothbrush.  Yeah, there's a toothbrush, so you can replicate that scene in "Before the Storm" where we catch him with all his extra parts off brushing his dinosaur hand's teeth.  ...the extra parts also all come off.  You can yank off the hip guns, the tail itself from the arm, the kibble piled on his back, and the shoulderpads.  This leaves you with a pretty skeletal Megatron robot that's only got the dinosaur hand, his dinosaur boots, and the dinosaur taint.  And it's all so you can more faithfully replicate that time he brushed his dinosaur hand's teeth. These Transformers folks at TakaraTomy are madmen.  

Megatron comes with the shotgun he carries in "Call of the Wild."  He also comes with an adaptor for Dinobot's stand so you can mount Megatron on the stand's arm so that Optimus Primal can stand under Megatron's raised body -- also to replicate a scene from that same episode.  (There are also stand adaptor pieces for both robot and dinosaur modes.  There is no stand itself included -- you've gotta use Dinobot's or get a second Dinobot.)  There's also a weapon blast effect that you can plug into one of the shotgun barrels or into Megatron's open tyrannosaur mouth.  

Transforming him the first time isn't fun!  The instructions actually come with a second, smaller sheet of... corrections, so that you transform him properly without breaking him.  Some of his hinges -- especially within the pile of tyrannosaur hide that bunches up on his back -- feel a little fragile.  The instructions want you to fold them in the proper order.  It's also difficult to pull the tyrannosaur hide parts apart the first time.  They're locked together pretty well, and you don't know yet where the connection pieces are and where the hinges are.  It's a pretty large web of interconnected thin plastic sheets.  

The second problem area is transforming his torso.  Most of it pulls out along a slider, and that sucker is, like, paint-locked or something.  It requires excessive force to pull out the first time, and you're not really sure what you can leverage against without breaking something.  I recommend... pushing with your thumb against the inside of the top of the pelvis while yanking back?  I dunno. 

It's all much easier the second time around.  You know where the tabs are, you know where the weak points are, and everything stops being so hard to yank out as it was the first time.  Which is good, because both modes are excellent (unlike Dinobot's) and so you're actually going to want to spend time with both of them.  

Some people have reported problems with the purple swirly plastic in the crotch.  A handful have reported cracking, and a few more have reported fear of cracking.  It's swirly plastic, and there are already some carved grooves in there, and so once you hear about splitting, every facet looks like breakage.  Mine, so far, doesn't seem to have any problems.  It's been suggested that the problem is not actually weak plastic, but that those few handful of cracked crotches were because of a rarely-occurring gear misassembly inside the crotch.  Meaning, hopefully, that it's not something inevitable that will happen to everybody's Megatron, but something that will happen immediately to maybe five people once they move a hip in any direction, and everybody else's will likely be fine.  

Since mine seems to be okay, really the only downside to this fucking gorgeous toy is that my kids expect me to transform it constantly, and also transform it immediately.  Like, children, okay, but come back in half an hour, all right?  This is not a satisfactory answer to them.  They want dinosaur mode right now.  

I hand them Rescue Bots T-Rex Optimus Prime.  You just twist that guy's waist and he's done.


Posted February 19, 2019 at 3:38 pm

So far the Studio Series Leader Class toys have been pretty baller.  Like, Blackout and Grimlock?  Very good.  And here comes Dark of the Moon Megatron and... oh no, he's also baller!  Dang!  Oh no!  These are all great!

For Dark of the Moon Megatron, it's about time.  He's my favorite live-action Megatron design, largely because he actually turns into some kind of Earth thing.  Plus he's wearing a tarp on his head like he's Obi-Wan Kenobi, chilling in Africa shooting elephants (but only in a scene cut from the movie but left in the various adaptations).  He's such an impressive visual that Megatron even looked like that for a bit in the IDW Generation 1 comics.  

The original Dark of the Moon Voyager Class toy of this design was Not Impressive!  He was this dinky, skinny little thing.  Gangly, even.  And so that never really satisfied.  

But this new toy does that design very well!  Does it an amount of justice!  You may be put off at first by the soft goods, since it's very obviously a small piece of beige fabric that does not look like it is actually a very large tarp on a very large robot.  But you can squish it around a bit in your fingers, or get it wet and drape it better until it dries, or other kind of weathering techniques, and it starts looking pretty okay.  I am not really done playing with mine yet, because I didn't want to make too many changes before taking photography.  Didn't want to give off too false of an impression.  But I'll be wadding it up a bit now that I'm wrapped here.  See if I can get properly to Ragged.

Impressively, Megatron scales well to Studio Series Optimus Prime in vehicle mode.  Like, their semi cabs are the same size, with Megatron towing a large covered trailer behind him.  How does this work, with Megatron transforming into only a slightly larger robot?  Here's the secret:

the truck cab is essentially hollow

For real, look under it, and there will be nothing in there.  It's a shell.  It breaks up into pieces and then compacts into his legs, which are much less hollow, because they are several strata of truck cab wadded up.  And then his thighs and upwards become the entirety of the trailer.  Fold the tarp over the top, wrap his little rubber chain harness across that, and you're done.  It's a very large truck-and-trailer mode, and it looks very neat.  Very Mad Max, with the spike bumper and what-have-you.  

And then you unwrap it back into a large hunchy robot with half its skull blown off and wearing a hood.  He's got a lot of personality and I like it.  

Bonus: He comes with Igor, the little disembodied head guy who appeared in the movie but otherwise didn't receive a toy, possibly because Hasbro didn't know he existed until it was too late.  Hasbro also didn't know DOTM Megatron carried a shotgun, and they released the shotgun with an Optimus Prime from the following movie.  It happens.  But hey!  Igor!

I really like Megs and Igor.  They're neat.

Posted November 15, 2018 at 12:10 am

Honestly, from initial photos, I was kind of meh on this guy until I mentally envisioned what he'd look like with a darker helmet like Marvel Comics Megatron and suddenly dang I needed him.  I haven't painted it yet, as of this writing, but it will be very soon.  

I was initially kinda meh because, like, it's another G1-style Megatron.  I have a few of those!  And Combiner Wars Leader Class Megatron is pretty great already.  I use him on my Lost Light shelf, since he's properly Magnus-sized.  And my regular ol' Decepticon shelf has Classics Megatron, who is an amazing toy.... but is severely yellowing.  But is still an amazing toy!  It would hurt to replace him.  He transforms into a Nerf Gun.  It's hard to beat that. 

I didn't think I needed yet another Megatron.  I already skipped the regular Titans Return Megatron for the same reason.  (I later ended up getting the purple Takara Tomy redeco of him because, well, he's really Beast Wars Megatron and comes with a tiny Savage Noble.)  

But here I am with another Megatron again anyway.  And, you know what?  This is a pretty solid Megatron toy.  He's just trying to be a really good Megatron, The Way You Remember Him.  And he generally succeeds.  Sure, he transforms into a Cybertronian-style tank and not a gun, but the latter isn't gonna happen again and Megatrons transform into nonEarth stuff all the time now.  Megatron's been a Cybertronian vehicle for three out of his four movie appearances.  He was a Cybertronian jet for all of Transformers Prime.  He was a Cybertronian tank for all of More Than Meets The Eye/Lost Light.  And so, like, Megatron not being an Abrams tank or a Walther-P38 but some kind of space tank doesn't really register on the Not Megatron scale anymore.  He could be exactly this toy in a toyline full of otherwise licensed Earthy guys and you wouldn't blink an eye.

If you're a fan of 1984 Megatron, other than a gun transformation, this toy has basically everything you want.  He's obviously cribbing a lot from the original cartoon/comic book character model.  He's got an arm-mounted cannon that looks like a gun scope instead of a tank barrel.  His head is incredibly buckety.  And he even comes with a big sword, if you pine for the original Megatron accessory Japan got but we didn't.  You can peel the blade away and attach the tank cannon inside the sword on his back, if you want to duplicate the barrel placement of the original Megatron model.  (It may take some Cog pieces to get it to attach around his hip like the original toy.  I haven't tried, but it might be possible.)

Again, Stege emphasizes articulation.  There's that ankle tilting again, though you can lock those ankles in place completely vertically if you want.  Megatrons rarely have rotating waists, due to their transformations, but this Megatron manages.  His head really only turns left and right, but it's on a panel that rotates forwards and backwards a little before you rotate it too much and it looks kinda dippy.  

The transformation is more involved than you'd think.  I mean, he's a Cybertronian tank, so he could look more like a pile of Megatron parts if Hasbro wanted him to be.  But his chest tucks away underneath, and the hull of the tank folds out of his back and wraps around the front.  Like Sideswipe, a panel opens up on his legs to give room for his thighs to hide inside, though Megatron's thighs do some 90 degree bendery to make it more interesting.  The arm-mounted cannon pegs onto the arm via the usual 5mm peg, but it doesn't remove for transformation; it rotates around, pointing backwards in the middle of the turret that the arms fold.  The sword transforms into the tank's barrel and plugs into the back of the arm-mounted cannon.  The sword halves themselves tuck under the turret.  The turret can rotate in tank mode, which is always a welcome feature as it's not always possible.  The feet, uh, stick out the back.

The feet sticking out the back is really the toy's only visual downside.  

If you want a good, no-nonsense Megatron that gives you a good feel for the classic iteration of the character, you can't really go wrong with this guy.  Again, I think that's essentially what they were going for.  

Posted June 12, 2018 at 1:56 am



I was never big into Street Fighter II.  Mostly I liked playing Blanka because he could bite the other guy's head.  But I don't have the dexterity for pulling off any kind of special move, so the game was mostly lost on me.  But it was an everpresent part of kidvid growing up, so it's there in my brain just through pop culture osmosis.  Not many strong feelings.

Not many strong feelings, but not none.  Like, for instance, if TakaraTomy were to go friggin' bonkers and redeco a set of four Transformers as Ken, Ryu, Chun Li, and M Bison?  Yeah, that intersects my interests.

(note: m bison's name over in japan -- and thus on this toy's packaging -- is vega, but i am going to be calling him m bison anyway)



Seriously, what the fudge.  These two sets are nuts, and they came outta no where.  Megatron, Optimus, Hot Rod, and Arcee are all decoed like the human characters from Street Fighter II, down to having flesh tones where the characters have flesh tones.  It's equally ugly and visually captivating.  Ken has bare feet?  Yes, let's paint Hot Rod's toes pink.  Let's paint his Headmaster's toes pink, too.   And the toys are posed in their packaging doing their special moves.  M Bison is launching sideways, Chun Li is doing her upside-down spin kick, etc.  

Unfortunately, they're packaged in a way that made me buy them both.  I really only want Megatron/M Bison and Arcee/Chun Li, and not Optimus/Ryu or Hot Rod/Ken, but they matched each of the two I wanted with one I didn't, so whatcha gonna do. 



Look, I'm gonna be completely honest with you.  I bought these sets because of Raul Julia.  I wanted a Raul Julia M Bison Transformer.  That dude knew how to have fun playing an incredibly goofy fascist dictator, with, like, octopus hat racks and everything.  He chewed scenery like it was friggin' beef jerky.

And so now I have a Transformer of him.  He's a redeco of Titans Return Megatron, who's a triple changer.  (Which itself is essentially Blitzwing with a new chest and head.)  M Bison transforms from tank to jet to robot and back.   His head transforms into a little robot guy who's ALSO painted to look like M Bison.  It's a pretty solid toy, and it has a good presence as M Bison.  



Arcee as Chun Li probably has the most interesting deco of the set.  Ken's a solid red guy and Ryu is that scheme but in white, and M Bison is red again but with silver... but Chun Li gives the Generations "Thrilling 30" Arcee toy a nice blue/brown/yellow/peach ensemble that's more engaging than the others.  Plus nobody doesn't like Chun Li.  She's friggin' Agent Melinda May, yo.  

Unfortunately, she doesn't have the same Headmaster gimmick as the other three.  I guess TakaraTomy didn't want to use Titans Return Windblade or Titans Return Arcee for her.  

They're probably not gonna do more of these.  But if they did, I'd take a Blanka, please.
Posted April 21, 2017 at 3:30 am

As was my singleminded plan from the start, I customized my Masterpiece Megatron to appear more like his color scheme in the original Marvel comics.  I mean, that's why I bought this guy, really, so my customized Masterpiece Marvel Ratchet would have a sparring buddy.

First I cracked open his faces to paint his eyes yellow.  ... Well, gold.  I was leaving most of Megatron's colors unaltered, and he's a very rich and sparkly gray, so I figured gold would mesh with that better than primary yellow.  Thankfully, on each of Megatron's swappable faces, Megatron's eyes are on a separate piece from the rest of his face.  This piece is a real doozy to remove.  It pulls out like a slotted battery cover, if that battery cover were also pegged in and not meant to ever be removed.  And so I had to violently crowbar it out with the smallest flathead screwdriver I had.  The back of these faces is a hacked-up mess.  A mess you'll never see since it's behind the face and inside the head when assembled, but a mess nonetheless.  And the gold paint would often scrape off the eyes as I squeezed the eye-piece back in, and so sometimes I'd have to crowbar it back out again and repaint and retry.  

Compared to that, the rest of my customizations were a breeze.  I got a big flat brush and painted Megatron's helmet gunmetal.  The gunmetal acrylic I used is a little shinier than the dark gray on the rest of the toy, but I'd never be able to match that in a million years -- it's speckly and textured paint.  It's close enough at a glance, however.  This process was relatively easy because you could remove the face to paint most of the helmet, which considerably lowers your chances of accidentally getting paint on the face.  You still have to paint each face's forehead, but that's way less surface area to need to be exceedingly careful with.

And finally, I painted his outward ab sections red.  Just red. There doesn't seem to be any gloss (non-transparent) acrylic reds from brands I recognize, so I just got a regular red off Amazon.  I have a flat red, but I wanted it as shiny as possible.  While painting, I transformed Megatron's many torso shards out of the way so I could have as unobscured a view of the parts I wanted to paint as possible.  

The comics also painted his gun barrel a medium blue, which was probably supposed to be a medium gray, but 1) this was never colored consistently and 2) I'd DEFINITELY never get the silencer attachment on again with fucking everything up, so no thanks.  Another detail I didn't bother with is moving his Decepticon chest symbol over a little to his right.  I'd never be able to match the gray, and they'd stopped off-centering his logo eventually anyway, as it was based on a bad perspective error on his model sheet which the artists seem to have eventually figured out.

He still transforms.  I checked.  And, really, the parts I painted seem to be more safe from scraping than the factory applied paint he came with.  There's more clearance around his helmet and his ab slabs than on, say, his barrel and silencer.  My modifications just mean there's a strange black area just in front of the trigger guard.

 
Posted April 9, 2017 at 1:23 am

Look, I gotta crank out this Masterpiece Megatron (the second one) review so I can paint the head of mine dark gray like in the comics.  I've taken billions of photographs of him in his various modes and all the various stuff he comes with, and I've processed them, and they're all friggin' accessories from the friggin' cartoon, and I've just gotta de-cartoonify this guy.  I bought this dude to face off against my Masterpiece Ratchet, dangit, Marvel comic style -- I don't need no Giant Purple Griffin doofus.  

(I do like his Prime Problem mind-control helmet because it is hilariously ridiculous.)

The original Megatron toy was awkward.  Its robot mode looked awkward, it transformed awkwardly using tiny struts that easily broke, and the little curly-q scribble across his chest probably said "awkward" in some alien script.  The comic and cartoon strongly anthropomorphized the robot design further, essentially ending up with a robot mode that didn't really have a lot of recognizeable gun kibble on him.  They altered the shape of the chest so it didn't look so much like a gun chamber, his legs were thickened up, his head shape rounded away from looking like part of the grip, and maybe the halves of the hammer were left on top of his shoulders.  And, yeah, there was a relatively unaltered scope on his arm, but now it was a cannon!  

There was an attempt at a Masterpiece version of Megatron early on in the line.  It was number five, if I recall, after some stuff that was easier to retranslate animation models into toys, but eventually you gotta do the Decepticon leader.  Even if he transforms awkwardly into a handgun.  And, man, this first Masterpiece Megatron was awkward.  I think we learned recently that it was designed in a rush, like over a weekend, and I guess that explains a lot?  It just didn't look good, it was thin and gangly, stuff popped off it if you looked at it wrong, and it was a chore to transform.  Oh, and its metal parts rusted on you overnight.

WELL GOOD NEWS, at Masterpiece Number 36, there's a new Megatron.  Since the first MP Megs came out, there was an adjustment of scale, and not only was the original Masterpiece Megatron an ugly piece of crap, but he was also excessively oversized.  But, again, the source material is awkward, and so I feel like TakaraTomy kind of pushed this one off for as long as they could.  They redid Optimus Prime at MP 10, but Megatron?  Ehhh, 36.  After, you know, Cheetor.  

Where was I?  Oh, right.  GOOD NEWS.  Because this guy is... way more complicated.  Waaaaaaaay more complicated.  He's half the size and probably has twice as many parts.  But!  He's not an ugly piece of crap.  He is goddamned fucking beautiful.  See, that's the secret -- you can make a handgun transform into Megatron's animation model if you essentially sculpt the thing from one form into the other like clay.  That's how many parts this guy is made of.  Transforming him feels like you're changing his shape on a molecular level.  At that point, anything can be anything else.  

Much like Masterpiece Cheetor before him, Megatron's chest is fake.  It's a fake gun chamber.  Because, as I mentioned above, the animation model's chest wasn't really that gun chamber shape anymore.  They angled it up all to hell and ended up with something new.  Instead, the gun chamber is the entire rest of his torso, which was split up into shards and crumpled up behind the fake gun chamber chest.  To transform him, you unwrap the shards and essentially form the gun chamber around the fake chest as if you're wrapping it up in aluminum foil.  It takes a while.  

Meanwhile, the legs have to go from being thick cartoony Megatron legs into much thinner, less-stylized gun grip halves.  You basically unwrap them, squeeze them skinnier, and then reattach all the ends elsewhere.  It is impressive.  It's not fun, but it's impressive.

And that, I think, is my take-away from this toy.  I think I hate transforming it, but I RESPECT it.  There was a goddamn lot of engineering work put into making one thing magically morph into another thing.  This toy is amazing.  I am in awe of it.  But, also, I'm probably never going to transform it again because goddamn.

I am surprised at the amount of charisma this toy has!  Like several other recent Masterpieces, Megatron comes with a few extra faces with different expressions.  And his laughing face?  It is the best.  My MP Megatron with his laughing face is the most I have ever liked G1 cartoon Megatron.  He's just so happy.  So happy and evil.  I want to be the friend of this dope.  

Also, his articulation is far and away the most extensive of any Masterpiece so far, I think.  Which for a Megatron is weird, because I don't think one's had even a rotating waist before.  Usually the transformation gets in the way of that.  But no, his waist rotates, he's got an ab crunch, both his elbows and knees are doublejointed so his limbs can bend back on themselves, he's got small amounts of finger articulation, and his neck has some good range of movement.  You can get this guy to do a shitload of stuff.

(there's more photos on my tumblr)

Okay, have I talked enough?  Can I go try to start paintmatching the gunmetally grayblack he has?  Good.

 

Posted October 26, 2016 at 2:01 am

The year was 2001!  Transformers Beast Machines, the toyline, was not doing so great!  And so a bunch of tail-end product was shuffled into the next toyline as store exclusives.  A toy of Beast Wars/Machines Megatron as a robot that transformed into his Giant Head Spaceship Thing, But With Legs was eventually released at KB Toys as Robots in Disguise Megatron Megabolt.  The back-of-the-packaging bio recast the toy as not Beast Megs but as RID Megatron, the redubbed Gigatron from the Car Robots anime.  

I bought it, because, like, it was a BW/M Megatron toy I was worried we wouldn't otherwise get, and tried to personally ignore who the toy was "officially."  

I'm not good at this.  It bothered me.  I am anal retentive.  

Yeeaars later, Japan finally imported the series, sort of, but, like, on some weird nobody television station and released a bunch of Beast Machines toys in extremely limited numbers.  And so the toy that would have been Beast Megs was finally released as himself.  But he was, again, extremely limited, which made him both hard to find and expensive, and I was much poorer then.  I sucked it up and shrugged.  My Megatron Megabolt was close enough.

BUT I WAS STILL SECRETLY REALLY BOTHERED, YO.

Anyway.  I decided recently that this hole in my otherwise pretty comprehensive Beast Megatron collection was something I now needed to plug.  Easier said than done.  Once again, extremely limited production run.  Even if you have the money, you can't buy what isn't available to buy.  My pal Robowang grabbed one off eBay earlier this year while I was lax in searching there, and for a pretty good price, if I recall.  Like, it was listed under a typo or something.  Anyway, he got one.  He keeps it in his bathroom.  I think he does this to taunt me.

Finally, after checking eBay for "Beast Wars Returns Megatron" every other day for several months, another one popped up, and I grabbed it.  It's mine!

Megahead Megatron is a robot that transforms into a head with spider-legs -- y'know, like Mr. Freeze in New Batman Adventures.  If you roll the spider-legs-head thing along the ground, the wheel-gears on the underside open and close the mouth (and launch the missile out of the mouth) while the spider legs articulate up and down.  It's pretty awesome.  It's hard to not like a head with spider legs.

In robot mode, Megahead Megatron is.... very back heavy.  The whole spider-leg-geared contraption is an indivisible unit unto itself, and it's gotta go somewhere.  It goes on the back.  The robot mode's legs are a series of multiple ball joints, and you can imagine how well that goes.  If the ball joints aren't tight, he's gonna collapse like a marionette.   The balljoints on mine are thankfully stiff, but he's still a balancing act.

The head mode's missile launcher is springloaded to flip over the shoulders of the robot and land on the robot's head, giving Beast Wars Megatron's head a Beast Machines Megatron helmet and facemask.  This is also pretty neat.  There's magnets involved.  I don't think toys can afford magnets anymore these days.  Or springloaded missile launchers.  And certainly not both at the same time as the geared spider leg contraption, anyway.

The huge difference between this Megahead Megatron and the US release Megatron Megabolt is the red was swapped out for purple.  The silver plastic is also a little more purple.  And although the Japanese-release Beast Machines product mostly didn't alter the American paint operations at all, this guy has a new set of paint operations -- the teeth on the giant spiderleg head are now painted white.  It's a good addition.

Undocumented feature: Head mode fits on top of Fortress Maximus really nicely.  Fits even better if you pull the balljointed spiderlegs out.  

Posted July 31, 2016 at 10:40 pm

People have been feeling kinda sore over the last new (non-live-action) Galvatron toy we got, way back in 2008, because that toy was garbage.  It was!  It's one of the few toys I skipped from that line because it just looked terrible all-around.  It was way too short and it looked awkward and it just wasn't very good.  I did end up getting a later redeco of that toy as part of a box set that came with a comic book I wanted.  My feelings did not change.

Since then, folks have been clamouring for a Non Sucky Galvatron, one that was a little more substantial.  And eight years later, lo, there was another Galvatron, a size class higher, who transformed into his classic cannon mode instead of a realistic Earth tank, and also there was a third jet mode, sure, why not.  WILL THIS BE THE GALVATRON WE WERE WAITING FOR???

I waited for the TakaraTomy version of the toy, which had some additional paint apps I wanted, though the plastic colors itself are a little too lilac for me.  The American one's a very dark and vibrant, classic purple.  But, eh, I have plenty of toys in that purple, and at least the lilac's kind of a change of pace.  

In-hand, the toy hits just about everything you'd want in a Galvatron toy.  It's sizeable, it transforms fine from robot to cannon to jet mode (jet mode's more interesting than cannon, I feel), and it has a good presence.  What's wrong?  Well, first of all, the arm cannon kind of gets in the way of itself.  It's so large and bulbous that Galvatron's right arm can't do much at all.  Getting it into positions is either a chore or impossible.  The cannon is easily removable -- it's required for transformation -- but a Galvatron without a cannon is probably on nobody's want list.

But the big deal is his goddamn head.  The Leader Class toys, Blaster and Powermaster Optimus Prime, have big-ol' helmets that deploy from the back and fold over the Little Head Dude, almost completely covering it.  And these helmets are included on the neck rotation hinge, and everything's fine.  Galvatron's little head dude (who is Megatron) plugs into the neck fine enough, but like the Leader Class toys, the part of the head that makes him look like Galvatron is stored elsewhere.  You open the chest, and the front of Galvatron's three-pointed crown helmet spring-load flips out and sort of almost does its job completing the look.  The face itself is buried a few millimeters deep behind the flip-out helmet part, and it looks kind of awful from any angle but head-on.

The real kicker is that the head can no longer move.   Oh, you can get a few degrees of movement left or right, just a fraction of a millimeter or so, but this is an inperceptible difference.  Though the inside of the torso looks like it might accommodate some rotation, it's the connection of the helmet to this rotational stuff that gets in its own way.  Effectively, Galvatron cannot turn his head.  

And so, between that and the very awkward way in which his cannon negatively impacts his arm articulation, there is not much you can do with his robot mode that does not make him look dippy.  It's such an incredibly frustrating problem, that quite a few folks have modded their toys, removing the Galvatron head piece entirely from the flip-up part and gluing it permanently onto the little head dude.  Without the flip-up part contraption, the head can move fine.  But this takes a lot of skilled kitbashing work, and you end up with a little Megatron headmaster dude that no longer fits into the cockpit of his own toy because of the added Galvatron helmet part.  

So if you're cool with a Galvatron toy that only looks good from directly head-on, then this is your guy.  I mean, his other two modes are pretty good, the jet in particular, but goddamn.  

Posted April 27, 2016 at 11:30 pm

Back in 2004, the official Transformers convention was run by different people.  One of their last gasps was releasing mockups of toys that would-have-been if they'd kept the license and Fun Publications hadn't taken over.  One of these toy concepts was RID Megatron/Car Robots Gigatron in red and gold with a new Beast Wars Megatron head.  Dubbed "Transmetal 3 Megatron," he would have come with a rubber ducky accessory with a 5mm peg and starred in the then-current Transformers: Universe comic books as the reincarnation of a post-Beast Machines Megatron.  

It was an okay idea.  At the time, I was lukewarm on it.  I have never liked RID Megatron's toy very much, and I liked Beast Wars Megatron as a dragon (instead of a T. rex) even less.  And so I was pretty okay with the toy not happening because of the change of licenses.  Back then Beast Wars Megatron was not a distant memory of a beloved favorite character, forgotten and buried under decades of subsequent franchises.  I didn't need another right then.

But I'm much more than okay with one now.  I miss Megs, and I'm super happy to get a new toy of him.  I've suffered a Beast Megatron drought, and this toy is a fresh glass of cool water.  

In the meantime, other people kept up demand.  They kept asking Fun Pub when they were gonna make this guy.  And their answer was always "eehhh we dunno" because, well, frankly, it wasn't their idea, and it makes sense to me that they'd rather do their own ideas.  You don't take over a license from somebody else and crib their notebooks, you make your own notebooks.  And so it kind of makes sense, in Fun Pub's final BotCon, to finally put this guy out there, as a bookend.  So as the previous licensee ended, so too will these guys.

If only they had made more than, like, five of him!  Jeez!

Anyway, yeah, this toy is pretty nice-looking.  He's still a toy that has ... nine?  ten? modes, and all but one or two of them are garbage.  But the robot mode is pretty fucking great, and the dragon mode is pretty okay.  The jet mode and the gargoyle-mode-you-can't-do-anymore-because-the-snout-was-removed-to-fit-megatron's-head and especially the car mode... they are not very good.  And you can make him into sort-of-a-hand, which is neat, but, like, there's still giant wings on it and that kind of ruins the illusion.  But, again, robot mode is beautiful.  

Some problems I should mention: He's started to immediately shed his chrome for some people.  Me, I put some clear nailpolish on him before I even transformed him, to stave this off.  So think about that.  Maybe in a few months when everybody's TM3 Megatrons are completely chrome-shedded, he'll come down from the like $800 he's going for on eBay.   Also, the forward-movement ratchets on hips can be... frightening.  Like, squeaky-this-is-gonna-break frightening.  So I had to open him up and sand off some nubs.  He also was erroneously given a Dinobot spark crystal instead of a Predacon one, probably because the Dinobot spark crystal tooling is the only spark crystal tooling that still exists.  There's a Predacon logo sticker that's sold separately that can cover this up.  So, like, keep that all in mind before plunking down major cash for him.  

He doesn't come with the originally-planned rubber ducky 5mm accessory.  There was a normal-sized rubber ducky sold at the convention, but, like, it's just a normal rubber ducky with the BotCon logo stamped on it.  


Okay, since this toy has like six (five?) modes, and I need a wall of text to fit all the pictures in, let's *sigh* talk about the convention comic these guys featured in.

Ever since "The Agenda" aired, the legacy of G1 has been used as a cudgel to beat any possible new life out of the Beast Wars cartoon.  For a good two seasons, Beast Wars gave us new characters in a new setting that divorced us so far from what we knew about Transformers we had really no choice but to submerse ourselves in these new possibilities.  And it was pretty glorious!  But then we got "The Agenda" and a hook back into G1, and it's like a switch flipped.  Beast Wars-the-cartoon was now chainganged to this fucking monster and was going to be devoured.  Everyone had their "this is how the old war ended, this is how the era of the Maximals began" story, and you want to know the secret?

They are all bullshit.  

Knowing that stuff is antithetical to what makes Beast Wars great.  To the Beast Warriors, G1 was the stuff of legend, a distant terrifying-yet-glorious past that is best left to the imagination.  ...sort of.  Some people's imaginations leave much to be desired, and those're the kind of imaginations that keep getting fucking put in charge of writing Beast Wars stories.  They decide, one by one, that each character/toy in the Beast Wars needs to be some guy from G1.  Sure, Beast Wars Grimlock was explicitly the G1 guy on his packaging bio.  We'll let that slide.  (but does he have to be on the Axalon????) Okay, there's a Soundwave, so maybe that Soundwave is the other Soundwave, even though that Soundwave is a goddamned bat/gator Animorph toy!  Hey, did you know that Magnaboss shared its components names with some G1 guys?  Well, you're in luck, because now Prowl, Silverbolt, and Ironhide from G1 are in Beast Wars.  Oh, there's ANOTHER Beast Wars Prowl?  Hey, guess what, now they're BOTH G1 Prowl, simultaneously, with one being a clone of the other!  

Was that already kind of annoying?  Well, this comic and the accompanying profile cards gives you more.  Two of the members of the Tripredacus council are probably old Decepticons you know!  Under-3 might be a famous Autobot!  Autobot Inferno might be Beast Wars Inferno!  There is so very little Beast Wars left when you get done with all this shit.  It's not even clever.  No one's going to be handed an award for noticing two completely different guys have the same name.

Did you like the enigma surrounding the Great War and the reverence the Beast Warriors had for the Autobots and Decepticons of the past?  Well, too bad, because everyone in Beast Wars was around for those years and were important and sharing the same space.  Remember when Beast Megatron was entering the Ark and everyone comatose onboard was large and special and magical, and the whole event felt like an intrusion upon sacred ground?  Well, fuck that, now Megatron knew those guys and was once as large as them and they hung out all the time and he bossed them around because he was in charge.  Beast Wars Megatron himself was a Decepticon.  Everyone in the Beast Wars was either an Autobot or a Decepticon.  All the show's talk of "our Decepticon/Autobot ancestors" is taken out behind the shed and shot.  

It just makes the universe so... amazingly, pathetically SMALL.  This comic book's universe is so small, you guys.  Did you like the mystery of the 300-year-span of time between G1 and BW?  Well, good news, turns out there wasn't anything new to know.  You already know the cast.  They were the guys you already knew, and some of those guys are also the same guys as the other guys, secretly!   You weren't missing anything.

I think how little regard the comic has for its alleged source material is made clear in the following: 300 years ago, Optimus Primal was already on board the Axalon (which is G1-robot-scaled), serving as its captain, and already going on exploration missions.  With Rattrap.  WITH RATTRAP.  After the comic was released and objections about Rattrap knowing Primal for that long were raised, the response was, "Well, they never say EXPLICITLY how long they knew each other!"  The fuck they didn't.  It was abundantly clear in their every interaction in the cartoon.  Rattrap's entire first season arc is buried in the idea that he starts out with zero regard for Optimus Primal and then over the course of the Beast Wars slowly warms up to him and respects him.  At no point does Rattrap literally say "I've only known you for like two days," sure, but he is constantly degrading and belittling Optimus Primal.  He places no value on his commander's life or on the lives of his fellow crewmembers.  He only cares for saving his own skin.  This is a guy who has served with Optimus Primal on this same ship for THREE HUNDRED YEARS?  How the hell was he not fired 299 years, 11 months, and 29 days ago?  "This your first day on the job or somethin'?" he asks.  "You sure you're cut out for this commander gig?" he asks.  The apologists say he's being sarcastic.  Is the entire first goddamn season's character arc also sarcastic?  

This informs my final point: This comic book feels like it was written from the Wikipedia article about Beast Wars.  It's like somebody's bad book report.  There's some attention to surface detail ("Rattrap doesn't outright say how long he's known Primal!") but there's no proven familiarity with the actual material as it is viewed in-the-moment.  But that's okay, because all what made Beast Wars great is obviously secondary to making it connect to G1.

That is sarcasm, by the way.

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