"Generations" Combiner Wars Megatron Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: March 2015
Price Point: $44.99 (Depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blasters x 2, Missile

*Images with asterisks and text in italics from Hasbrotoyshop:
There was a time when the name of Megatron was honored by many across Cybertron. But power inevitably corrupts, and none is so powerful as mighty Megatron. Long ago, he forgot he was a hero, and became nothing more than a tyrant. The war he launched eventually drained his home planet of life. Not even the death of a world could sate his hunger for conquest. That hunger has led him to Earth, where only the Autobots stand between him and total domination.

Converts From Robot to Tank

This Megatron figure changes from robot to tank and back in 15 steps and comes ready for battle with a firing missile launcher and 2 connectable blaster accessories. You'll also get a collectible Megatron character card featuring art based on the Transformers Legends mobile game.

There are certain constants in every "Transformers" line and for the most part Megatron has been one of them. Whether you're talking about Generation One or the experimental era of the "Beast Wars" the name Megatron has always been part of the mix. With the latest extension of the "Generations" toy line, a new Megatron toy has emerged with the release of Leader Class Megatron. "Generations" added the Leader Class with last year's Leader Class Jetfire figure and it's cool to see the segment continue into 2015.

A note about this review, it's pretty lengthy so under the main headings of "Robot Mode" and "Vehicle Mode" reviews I've created some sub-headings in italics to break the review out a bit more. With shorter reviews this generally isn't necessary but I thought for this one it would be helpful.

Megatron is packaged in robot mode in a large window box. The box has a black background with the Transformers logo and Autobot symbol in red against the black. The idea is to create a "premium" look to the packaging similar to the Star Wars "Black Series". On the side of the packaging is a bit of artwork specific to this figure. A bit more can be seen on the side of the box. The back of the box features a brief write up about the Decepticon leader with official photography of the toy itself. Megatron comes with a trading card that features artwork of the character from the "Transformers Legends" mobile app game. This art is based on Megatron's appearance in Generation One and was one of the earliest pieces of art released for the game. You can see the card tucked behind the figure inside the packaging through the window.

Robot Mode:
Nowadays, most megatron figures wind up transforming into a tank in their alternate forms (for example the Legends Megatron figure from a couple years back). Megatron first transformed into a tank in the "Generation 2" series when selling a robot that turned into a realistic gun no longer became possible in most markets. This figure continues that legacy with Megatron designed to transform into a tank, but take several design cues from his Generation One counterpart.

Because this Megatron transforms into a tank, it would be easy to associate his design with that of the Megatron currently appearing in the IDW Publishing comic books. However, I would say this figure takes most of its design inspiration from G1 Megatron whereas the current IDW Publishing model borrows heavily from the Megatron seen in the old Dreamwave "The War Within" series (who himself was made into a toy in the old "Titanium" line). Of course many versions of Megatron use the original G1 version as a starting point, so whether we're talking about the IDW Publishing version or this toy, there will be some details that appear on both (among others that have been released over the years).

Let's go down a list of some of the details inspired by G1 Megatron:

  • The head sculpt is G1 Megatron's cartoon head design with some additional detail embellishments. He has the iconic "helmet" that comes to an angle in the middle, a brow over the eyes with triangular sections and very prnounced angled lines forming the cheeks.
  • The chest design borrows heavily from G1 Megatron. It's rectangular in shape with three distinct vertical lines on either side. There is a distinct "collar" section that sits in the middle leading to the neck and head.
  • Megatron's main weapon is a large cannon (known as his "Fusion Cannon") attached to the right arm. The cannon's general shape and some of the smaller details all come from G1 Megatron. This includes distinct, rectangular shapes in the middle and on the length of the barrel.
  • The inside of the forearms have distinct, mechanical designs that echo those found on G1 Megatron's forearms.
  • The area right under the chest takes most of its design cues from G1 Megatron's animation model. This includes curved sections with rows of horizontal lines and a square section in the center with what appear to be buttons or lights.
  • The waist area features panels on his hips that look almost like pouches. These are designs inspired by G1 Megatron's cartoon/comic book design which featured similar "pouch" like designs.
  • While this Megatron transforms into a tank, his legs are designed to be reminiscent of his G1 counterpart who transformed into a gun. In that design the legs formed the handle of the gun, so they had a distinct curved shape that came outward at the knees and angled in from there before coming out again at the feet. This Megatron uses that same distinct shape on the legs with the knee armor sticking out, angling down and then leading to the feet which stick out at the bottom.
  • Each foot has a raised trapezoid on it, reminiscent of a similar design on G1 Megatron's feet.

G1 Megatron isn't the only inspiration for this figure. The two blasters included with Megatron are partly inspired by his appearance in the "Generation 2" comic book where most Transformers were armed to the teeth with a ton of extra weaponry. The weapon that has a distinct barrel in the front reminds me of the blaster included with the "Generation 2" Megatron tank figure and the blaster it connects to reminds me of a weapon that would have been seen in the "Generation 2" Marvel comic book.

While this figure is a G1 (and G2) love-fest in many ways, it also has its own distinct design elements. The arms in particular are mostly new designs with lots of extra detailing on them. Even the sections that are inspired by previous Megatrons (such as the chest and legs) have a lot of extra lines and details that give Megatron a rich, complex appearance. G1 Megatron was often drawn with very smooth panels and not a ton of distinctive detailing so this is a refreshing approach to the character's design. One last touch which I found amazing can be found if you flip the chest panel up. Underneath that panel is a small, raised circle that has angled lines in the middle. This is not called out at all in the packaging, but the detail represents Megatron's Spark Chamber as it was seen in the "Beast Wars" series, bringing the series references of this figure to four if you include the IDW Publishing comic books!

Room for improvement
Where I think the designers would have done better is the cannon. On many official photos the end with the missile sticking out of is pointed forward, but positioning it like that takes away some of the grandiose nature of Megatron's appearance. Ideally it's best to flip the cannon around so the wide barrel is pointing forward but when you do that the back of the barrel now looks too small. It would've been cooler if the designers had made one end wider and then collapsible (perhaps using hinges) so the weapon wouldn't look awkward in this mode.

While a lot of his detailing looks great, Megatron is a bit of an odd bird depending on how you have him posed. If you just have him standing straight with his arms and legs straightened out, he looks really narrow, especially for a Leader Class figure. If you pose him and spread the legs out a notch and move his arms out, suddenly the figure takes on a completely different profile and he looks more "alive" and striking. Another oddity comes with the design of the arms. If they are posed in certain ways (such as being swung forward) the shoulders seem to sit lower relative to the chest than you'd expect. Some of these are oddities that can be attributed to the transformation into tank mode, and to be honest they don't bother me much but I did think they were worth noting.

Megatron is cast in silver, black, red and translucent red plastic. Silver makes up most of the body, with black used for smaller sections like his waist and the cannon. Red plastic can be found on the inside of the arms, the shoulder joints and the missile inside his cannon. The translucent red is found on the eyes which have light piping capability. However, the true beauty of this piece comes out with its paint deco. None of the official pictures really do it justice. Almost all the primary panels on this figure are painted metallic silver from the head to the chest to the arms and large sections of the legs. You'd think this would look gaudy, but in fact the color just pops and brightens up the figure in an amazing way. The metallic silver offers a gorgeous canvas for the other colors including purple on his chest as well as red, blue and orange on the "control panel" under his chest. This is easily one of the most striking decos that has been released in quite some time.

Megatron includes a sticker sheet that has Autobot and Decepticon symbols. This is to allow you the choice of having him be "classic" Megatron (which you can just do by leaving the Decepticon symbol already printed on his chest alone) or an Autobot as he is in the current IDW Publishing comic books. There is a sticker with a row of lines for the cannon. The other two stickers are a series of curved lines that are inspired by similar designs on G1 Megatron. I love the stickers in concept, but their execution is one of the few failures of this release. Why? Because all the stickers are printed on a white background. That means when you take them off and put them against Megatron's silver parts they stick out like a sore thumb rather than integrating into his design. It mystifies me that the designers didn't go with a clear or silver background for the stickers. This doesn't affect the sticker for the cannon, but the curved lines for instance look terrible and I just wound up leaving them off.

Megatron has twenty two points of articulation in this mode. This includes six in each arm and four in each leg. He also has waist articulation which is always a nice plus. The arms in particular are interesting because he has a unique joint that connects the shoulders to the torso. It's not a ball or hinge joint but rather a bar connects the two and that point of connection alone has three points of articulation. He also has wrist articulation, something Transformers used to almost always have, but have lost in more recent years. It is also important to note that several points of articulation from the knees to the elbows are ratchet joints, giving him stability not only in being posed, but also in holding other weapons.

The cannon barrel can telescope out and you can fire the missile using the red button (whether the cannon is extended or not). Both his blasters can combine into one large rifle. His fists have 5mm peg holes in them, allowing him to use weapons from other figures. On top of all this, Megatron features a Mini-Con connection peg on his left shoulder. Why a Mini-Con port you may wonder? That's because this same sculpt was given a redeco and retool as Armada Megatron in the same assortment! There are two other Mini-Con pegs on the back connected to the tank treads. In addition to the 5mm peg holes in his fists, he has one on each forearm and one on each leg, potentially allowing you to connect nine weapons to this figure! I love the ability to attach Mini-Cons (it's a play pattern I've always enjoyed) and the ability to attach 5mm peg weapons is another favorite of mine.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach his blaster weapons and split them up, then set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and the legs.
  3. Swing the panels on the sides of the forearms forward to cover the fists.
  4. Push the feet up against the front of the lower legs.
  5. Rotate the cannon around so the wider end is facing down.
  6. Swing the torso panel up.
  7. Swing the waist panel down.
  8. Bring the two arms together. The cannon has a tab sticking out the side that fits into a corresponding slot on the left arm.
  9. Swing the tread sections from the back of the robot mode up, then forward. They tab into the sides of the torso panel, forming the front of the tank.
  10. Swing each lower leg out to the sides then in. There are tabs on the sides of the lower legs that fit into slots on the mid-body of the robot mode.
  11. Attach the weapons to the 5mm peg holes on the top of the turret.

Vehicle Mode:
A lot of the detail from the robot mode carries over into the vehicle mode, but a bunch of new detail is revealed as well. This is mostly thanks to the panels that form the sides of the tank which were largely tucked away in robot mode. Among the nicer details in this mode are:

  • The top of the turret has a cover for the entrance into the tank on the right side.
  • The sides of the vehicle have a series of rectangular armor plates set at angles.
  • If you look in the interior of the treads, you'll see mechanical details behind the wheels.
  • On both sides of the turret towards the front you'll find small doors with raised handle details.
  • From fromt to back there are tons of small circular indentations that appear to be bolts or areas where armor plates are riveted into the tank.

I'm really underselling it here, but suffice it to say there are tons more details than even those I mentioned above. You really have to take some time and absorb how much this sculpt has going on. I'm really impressed!

Megatron's silver-filled deco carries over into this mode, but now there's less black and flat silver parts breaking it up. Surprisingly it doesn't look too bright. Thanks to the black and red bits in the center from the cannon, it becomes very recognizable as Megatron's alternate mode and he looks great. I dig the way an extra Decepticon symbol was printed on the opposite side of the torso panel so it winds up in the front of the vehicle.

From a functional standpoint, there's quite a bit going on here. The turret can turn in a complete circle (though sadly you cannot raise the cannon barrel). This mode offers up three Mini-Con connection pegs (one on the turret, two in the front). There's technically one more in the back (formed from the robot waist panel) but it's at a rather awkward angle. There are two 5mm peg holes at the back of the turret. The sides of the turrets do have holes that appear to be 5mm peg holes, but really they're slightly smaller so attaching weapons in there can cause stress. Your best bet would be to find weapons with a softer peg such as Venin to attach instead. If you want to store his blasters away, they fit onto the black sections on the underside of the vehicle.

Perhaps the most impressive functional element of this tank are the treads. Most of the time Transformers tank treads are just pieces of plastic with tiny wheels on the bottom but not so in this case! The front and back treads function independently from one another, but they all have rubber treads attached to wheels that turn and they do so beautifully. The motion is smooth and there are no parts getting stuck or awkward bumps as you move the treads along.

Final Thoughts:
Leader Class Megatron is not a perfect figure, but he's a really nice one. Both modes look great, he has a ton of callbacks to the designs of other Megatrons. The ability to attach Mini-Cons and extra weaponry is a huge bonus in my book. Highly recommended!

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