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.