Transformers Prime Voyager Class Ultra Magnus Toy Review

in 2012, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Prime, Robots in Disguise, Voyager

Transformers Prime

General Information:
Release Date: December 2012
Price Point: $22.99
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Hammer, Missile

Images:

*Images above with asterisks and text below in italics from the The Official Transformers Web Site:
If there is any 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 armored feet have stepped has ever been yielded to the DECEPTICONS.

DECEPTICONS better look out, because an enemy more terrifying than OPTIMUS PRIME is on the battlefield! This super-detailed ULTRA MAGNUS figure is a powerful warrior for the AUTOBOT side and he comes with a glowing battle hammer that converts to a blaster cannon in robot mode! Whether he’s in powerful truck mode or robot mode, he’s got the strength and weapons he needs to keep the DECEPTICONS on the run. Will he prevail? Keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever his enemies dish out!

Powerful ULTRA MAGNUS robot-to-vehicle figure! Blaster cannon converts to battle hammer! Battle hammer really glows! Missile snaps on in truck mode. Figure comes with accessory and missile. Voyager Class Series 1 006 ULTRA MAGNUS. Includes 2 button-cell batteries. Ages 5 and up.

Ultra MagnusEarly last year, fans were introduced to a "Transformers Prime" version of the classic character Ultra Magnus via a Commander Class version of the character. Towards the end of 2012, fans were finally given the chance to own a larger scale version of the character in the form of a Voyager Class figure.

Robot Mode:
Once upon a time, Ultra Magnus was the successor to Optimus Prime as leader of the Autobots. He was also fairly big and blocky by today's standards. Even his "slimmed down" animation model had a lot of hard angles and chunky parts in robot mode. However, recent years have seen a change in "Transformers" design, with a penchant towards more curved designs that look more humanoid in shape. Even armor is now more sleek, thin and tightly pressed up against the main body of a lot of Transformers. This look began to dominate with the live action movie series and has since become a big part of the "Transformers Prime" design aesthetic. Ultra Magnus' design reflects a lot of this design theory. Instead of the big, blocky design of G1 Magnus, we have a lot of thin, curved parts on the main body, the waist, thighs and legs. Many of these sections involve layers of panels that curve around the body and end in sharp angles. His knee armor looks like thick blades and even his feet come to sharp points at the end. Not all bulk is lost however. The arms still echo the blocky design of his G1 ancestor in the form of large shoulder armor (made from the front end of the vehicle form), blocky forearms and hands with rectangular digits integrated into the design. Overall it's a strikingly different look for the Autobot, deviating quite a bit from his G1 namesake.

All that said, Ultra Magnus does have some design elements that are inspired by his G1 and "Animated" incarnations. These include:

  • The head design is a stylized version of G1 Ultra Magnus' head, complete with a high central crest and antennae rising high on the side of his head. Where it differs is the face design, which has no nose (a "Transformers Prime" design staple) and the helmet wraps all the way around the head, making Magnus look almost like he has a mechanical "beard".
  • The chest design is inspired by the chest armor piece from G1 Magnus. In G1, it was an arrow shaped piece, on this Magnus' chest you'll notice raised panels on the sides that lead to a beveled shape in the center. This is basically a highly stylized version of the G1 armor piece
  • The waist area has many layers of armor with a circle overlaid on top in the middle. This circle is a carry over detail from G1 Ultra Magnus' waist armor.
  • The tip of the missile accessory is designed to resemble the missiles carried by G1 Ultra Magnus.
  • The hammer weapon included with this figure is inspired by the hammer weapon carried by "Transformers Animated" Ultra Magnus.
  • The large shoulder armor is another feature that this Magnus shares with his "Animated" counterpart.
  • Inside the shoulder armor are parts that look like exhaust pipes and missile launchers at the same time. This seems to be inspired by "Fall of Cybertron" Ultra Magnus who had three exhaust pipes on each shoulder.

I really think it's great having so many design elements from Ultra Magnus' previous incarnations carrying over into the figure. It gives it a sense of history and richness while still allowing it to have its own distinct visual identity.

Ultra Magnus is cast in blue, silver, translucent blue and black plastic. Blue was one of G1 Ultra Magnus' foundation colors and it would appear silver has replaced white as the other "base color" for the character. Blue makes up most of the figure, with silver forming smaller parts such as his upper arms, fists and thighs. The translucent plastic is mostly found on the upper body, where it connects to his shoulder area leading down to the center of the chest. I think there's some type of intention towards light piping here on his body, as if to give his torso a "glow" but you pretty much ned to shine a light directly onto it in order to get that effect.

Silver, white, red and green are the paint colors used for the robot mode. The white and red are welcome colors as they both are colors found on G1 Magnus. These two colors mostly appear on the chest, where they form line details in the middle, eleading out to the sides. White is also used to paint a small Autobot symbol on his collar and the aforementioned circle on his waist area. Silver is found on his shoulder armor, waist, lower legs, face and the crest on his head. I'm really glad the color is distributed as it helps break up the ton of blue color that makes up this figure. Finally, the eyes on the head are painted green. Normally I'd expect them to be blue, but given the sheer amount of blue already on the figure, I'm okay with a different color being used. Indeed, my main reservation about the color scheme is that it needs more red and white to help break up the blue. Just a bit more on the torso or legs would have done the trick.

Ultra Magnus features sixteen points of articulation in this mode. If you want to include his feet (which swing in and out as part of his transformation) you can stretch it and bump that number of up to eighteen. This includes four points in each arm and three in each leg (not counting the feet). I was happy to see the figure includes waist articulation as well. Given that one of his weapons is a big hammer, it's cool to have him able to turn a bit when swinging it!

The parimary weapon included with this figure is a combination blaster and hammer. In it's "default" state it's a long blaster with an end resembling a machine gun. Pull the lower part of the weapon down by the peg however and the translucent blue hammer head swings up and over. At the same time, a small green light activates right behind the hammer, giving the blue plastic a bit of a glow. A blue tab allows you to lock the weapon into place and the result is a serious looking melee weapon! The hammer has 5mm pegs all over it including the sides, the bottom, and of course a handle in hammer form. The missile accessory is just that, an accessory and not a projectile. It's cast in silver plastic with a red tip at the end (another nod to a design element of G1 Magnus). Magnus himself has three attachment points on each arm (shoulder, forearm and hands) for 5mm peg weapons and his back features another attachment point for weapons storage. The missile accessory itself also has a hole, allowing you to attach an additional weapon to it. I am so happy the hammer weapon can lock in its alternate form. Since the "Mech Tech" weapons of "Dark of the Moon" were introduced, I've really felt a limitation of these weapons was their inability to lock in their alternate forms. It's cool to see this weapon does not suffer from that limitation.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach both accessories and set them aside for now.
  2. On each leg, swing the panel with the wheel on the inside of the legs out.
  3. Rotate the panel with the wheels on each leg so the wheels face forward. A tab at the base of each leg connects the panel to the leg.
  4. Push the feet down.
  5. On the inside of each leg, there is a silver piece in the middle of the lower leg, swing that out so it is pointing towards the back.
  6. Connect the two legs together.
  7. On each forearm, swing the inner panels out, then swing the hands in against the forearms.
  8. Swing each of the shoulder armor pieces up.
  9. On the back piece, swing the silver grille piece down.
  10. Swing each arm forward and connect the shoulder armor pieces in the middle.
  11. Swing the back piece over the head and connect it to the panels from the arms.
  12. Bend the legs at the knees and push them forward, connecting them to the panels from the arms.
  13. Attach the missile to one of the pegs on the side of the hammer weapon.
  14. Attach the hammer weapon to one of the holes in the back. Alternatively, you could attach the missile to one hole and the blaster to the other.

Vehicle Mode:
Traditionally Ultra Magnus has been a truck of some kind. In the past he was a car carrier, but now he's more of a missile/weapons carrier. Still, there are echoes of past incarnations. The front end is a cab section with a flat front end reminscent of the one used by "Car Robots" God Magnus (aka Robots in Disguise Ultra Magnus). The top os flat, the windows angle down a bit and then the front bumper extends out, giving the front end a more angled feel instead of the purely flat design of G1 Magnus. He has a lot of the requisite "truck details" including lines on the top of the cabin section, lights along the top edge above the windshields and he rolls on six wheels. The sides also feature smokestacks and even small "steps", presumably to allow a driver to get into the truck. The back section is basically there to support the weaponry and looks pretty plain without it. Witht he weapons it looks like he could do some serious damage while charging at Decepticons!

Blue plastic dominates almost th is entire form. On its own, only a few colors stand out from the blue including the black wheels and translucent blue windows (and to be generous, the tiny silver grille in the front). Fortunately, paint is used to give the vehicle some extra color. Red is heavily used on the cab section, most notably on the top, but also on the sides, forming a stripe pattern that goes to the middle of the vehicle. White paint is used to create an Autobot symbol that overlays the red line on the sides. The front bumper and the "steps" on the sides are painted silver, giving some metallic coloring to the figure. Sadly, the wheels and most of the rear of the vehicle is left completely unpainted, making it look almost like the factory ran out of paint halfway through painting the figure.

Apart from the two holes on the back of the vehicle, two of the connection points from the robot mode arms can be used here since they wind up on the sides of the figure. The top also has a connection point, giving you a chance to arm Ultra Magnus to the teeth!

Final Thoughts:
Ultra Magnus is a cool figure, but he looks better in robot mode than vehicle mode. I give high marks for the sculpt the design and the fact that his weapon can actually lock in it's "hammer" mode. However, I do wish the deco on him included a bit more white and red and that the middle to rear section of the vehicle mode wasn't so plain looking. Recommended, but with reservations.