Transformers Classics (Megatron Review)

in 2006, Action Figure Review, Classics, Decepticon, Generation One

General Information:
Release Year: November 2006
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $19.99 (Average depending on retailer)
Accessories: None

Images:

Tech Specs:*
Motto: "Data is power."
MEGATRON is the most feared and powerful leader in the history of CYBERTRON. His might is legendary, and his name is spoken only in whispers. He will stop at nothing in his drive to conquer the universe. So great is his will to power that even his own followers are little more to him than fuel for his war machine, and his enemies are less than the dust he grinds beneath his heel. He is always at the front of any DECEPTICON charge, soaring into the sky and vaporizing enemy positions with his anti-proton pulse cannon. The mere sight of his snarling face is enough to break the spirit of many an AUTOBOT.

Strength: 10 Intelligence: 10 Speed: 6 Endurance: 10 Rank: 10 Courage: 10 Firepower: 10 Skill: 7

The Classics Transformers line seeks to return Transformers to basics. The idea was simple: take iconic Transformers characters from Generation One and update them as faithfully as possible using today's design aesthetics and engineering knowledge. The name Megatron has reverberated throughout the Transformers line from day one. Since the line's creation in 1984, Transformers has had a figure named Megatron almost every year of its run. Even though the line is now over twenty years old, younger fans who perhaps grew up with Beast Wars or even Armada will know the name Megatron. This of course made it a requirement that he be part of the Classics line to lead the Decepticons.

Blaster Mode:
The difficulty in staying true to the original Megatron figure is recreating a gun mode without well, creating a gun. Since the 80's, laws regarding what toy manufacturers can and cannot do regarding toys that look like guns have become more strict. The exact laws very from state to state, but some laws require bright orange to be seen on the toy. Other laws require purple and green. These are all intended to help prevent anyone from confusing a toy gun for the real thing.

Since the original Megatron was reissued in Japan years ago, Hasbro has considered various ways to re-release that figure here, but because of its realistic gun design (never mind the colors) the task was impossible. Now in 2006, we finally get Megatron again as a "blaster", a more PC (and probably legal) term than "gun". Impressively enough, the blaster mode actually manages to hark back a bit to Megatron's original gun form a bit and look like some type of science fiction weapon without looking "cheesy".

Much of Megatron's robot form is contained within the middle to forward sections of the gun. The result is a forward section that conveys a sense of power. The sides have a bullet chamber designed to resemble something you'd find on an old six-shooter, but more sleek. The bottom is rectangular and looks like it could house extra bullets. Mounted on the top of the gun is a scope that G1 fans will recognize instantly as Megatron's arm mounted cannon. It is this piece that harks back to the original Megatron where his cannon also served as the gun mode's targeting scope. The handle is angled back and there is a hammer.

There is plenty of sculpted detail on the figure. The center of the targeting scope features a large, sculpted Decepticon symbol. The sides feature lots of cut lines leading from one end of the gun to the other. The handle features raised lines for grips and the "bullet chambers" are rounded with sleek lines carved into the sides.

While purple, orange and green do appear on the figure, the color combination is nowhere near as garish as you might expect. Much of this is because of the primary color that makes up the blaster mode: light grey. The grey makes up most of this form, from the front to the hammer and the trigger. Where there are purple parts, they are balanced by black parts such as the targeting scope. A bit of translucent green shows on the side where the bullet chamber is, but it is painted in the center with grey and purple, giving it a nice scifi appearance. Some yellow and metallic gold details are found here and there, but they do not overwhelm the figure at all. If anything on the figure approaches looking too bright, it would be the neon orange used on the barrel of the blaster adn the end of the targeting scope. However, without these color applications Megatron would not be a blaster at all, so it is a compromise in design that I am willing to accept.

Keeping in mind this is meant for kids, I was quite happy to see the weapon fits in my thirty year old hands just fine. The targeting scope actually has a crosshair in it, so you can look through it to "target" unwary Autobots. The trigger does pull back, and makes a rather satisfying "click" when pulled all the way. Overall it is about as functional as a blaster toy can get without the added cost of lights/sounds/projectiles.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the sides of the blaster (the parts with the bullet chambers) to the sides and then swing them down on the center hinge.
  2. Swing the sections with the hammer and the end of the blaster barrel up.
  3. Swing the section attached to the targeting scope back.
  4. Rotate the section with the blaster barrel around so the Decepticon symbol faces the same direction as the three circles on the waist.
  5. Swing the section with the blaster barrel down.
  6. Push the section with the Decepticon symbol (aka the robot chest) down into the black waist piece.
  7. Swing the section with the targeting scope up into the robot chest.
  8. Flip the purple panel on the chest out, then swing the robot head up and swing the panel back into place.
  9. Rotate the arms around so the purple parts become the lower arms.
  10. Swing the targeting scope up against the lower right arm.
  11. On each lower arm, flip out the wrist panels and swing the fists out, then set the panels back into place.
  12. Swing the trigger section (along with the wings) onto the back, rotating it around and attaching it to his back via the clip.
  13. Straighten out each robot leg and flip out the feet.

Robot Mode:
Megatron's transformation is so different from his G1 incarnation that the designers were given a lot of freedom in terms of his appearance in this form. Unlike the G1 figure, this Megatron has a very sleek looking body in robot mode. His torso is almost square in shape, leading to a rectangular waist connected to a waist section and long legs made from the gun handle and part of the front of the gun. The sleek look is aided by the wings on his back. The halves of the gun cylinder now look like thrusters on his back and the wings give Megatron a regal appearance, almost like a futuristic cape on his back.

The chest has a central rectangular section with a Decepticon symbol sculpted into the center. The shoulders are rather wide leading to thick lower arms. By giving the illusion that his chest is more narrow than it really is, this gives him a distinctly powerful appearance. His waist piece has two hinges on the side (part of his transformation), so his hips have two tubes on the ends, and then in the center is a larger one (which frankly looks like he has three headlights on his waist). I would have preferred more straight angled designs like a rectangle in the center instead. Still, it's a minor hiccup in an otherwise great looking sculpt.

Megatron's cannon is mounted on the underside of his right arm. Thanks to the articulation on the arm, you can rotate it around so it looks like the cannon is mounted on the top part of the arm, but still the fist is then positioned oddly. The best solution to this would have probably been to make his wrist rotate, but this is a minor detail. It is great to see how this cannon takes design cues from its G1 predecessor. It is made from the targeting scope, and it is large and powerful looking, with details running from front to back including sculpted Decepticon symbols in the center.

Megatron's head is also very much in line with the design of his G1 head. It has the familiar outer "bucket" helmet and the face inside. The black brow that was a part of the G1 Megatron's forehead is present as well, except now the black color extends up at angles into the helmet portion, which looks fantastic.

The legs are created from the halves of the gun handle, just like G1 Megatron. Like his G1 predecessor, his feet are wide, allowing for stability in a variety of poses.

Megatron's blaster mode colors carry over into this form even though some of the parts are hidden in gun mode. For those loyal to the classic look of Megatron, he has a fair bit of light grey. From his head to his upper arms down to the upper legs, G12 Megatron's color influence is clearly felt here. Although its prominance was questionable in the early years of G1, purple has since become one of the colors most associated with Decepticons - so it only makes sense that Megatron himself would have this color in abundance. From his chest to arms to his legs, purple is found throughout his form. Gold and white are used to fill in smaller details such as lines down the middle of the lower legs.

Megatron has seventeen points of articulation, not including the wings on the back. What's great is that these include points of double articulation. Not only can his arms move forward and back, but they can swivel out to. The legs can bend at the knees and turn outward. While hardly revolutionary for the Transformers line as a whole, it is fitting articulation for an update of one of the most iconic Transformers characters ever.

Final Thoughts:
Considering it was only a couple years ago that we thought we would never see Megatron as a gun ever again, this figure clearly shows Hasbro's dedication to creating a Megatron faithful to his roots. Add to that excellent sculpting and a color scheme that comes together surprisingly well, and you have one figure that is highly recommended!