"Generations" War for Cybertron: Earthrise Megatron Toy Review

12/30/20

General Information:
Release Date: August 2020
Price Point: $29.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Amazon, Target, Walmart etc.)
Accessories: Fusion Cannon, Sword/tank barrel, Tank Panel

Official product photos are from the Amazon.com:

  • DISCOVER EARTHRISE: The siege is over, but the War for Cybertron has just begun. The Autobots and Decepticons have left Cybertron, but their battle rages on as they speed through space in pursuit of the Allspark
  • BUILD THE BATTLEFIELD BEYOND: Earthrise figures allow fans to build out epic space battle scenes, featuring figures that can convert into Modular Battle Station modes and connect together to expand the battlefield (each sold separately, subject to availability)
  • G1 EARTH MODES AND WEAPONS: Megatron figure converts into classic G1 Cybertronian tank mode in 17 steps and comes with 2 weapon accessories
  • EXCITING REVEAL: Every pack includes a piece of the Transformers Universe map and a red decoder to unlock the map's hidden paths. Collect other Earthrise figures to piece together the full map. (Each sold separately. Subject to availability)

Build the Battlefield Beyond -- The siege is over, but the War for Cybertron has just begun. The Autobots and Decepticons have left Cybertron, but their battle rages on as they speed through space in pursuit of the Allspark. Now, fighters must instantly adapt to battle anywhere in the cosmos. With the advanced A.I.R. (Adaptable Interconnection Retrofitter) Locks system, fighters don’t head to the battlefield -- they become it. Bots capable of converting into Modular Battle Stations can A.I.R.-Lock together in custom configurations to fit the needs of battle. Earthrise figures allow fans to build out epic space battle scenes, featuring figures that convert into Modular Battle Station modes to expand the battlefield (each sold separately, subject to availability). The cunning Decepticon leader, Megatron, converts to tank mode mode in 17 steps. Includes 2 accessories. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

It is virtually impossible to have a Transformers toy line come out without certain key characters nowadays, and one of them is the Decepticon leader himself: Megatron! For Earthrise, Megatron has taken on a (slightly) new form. This figure is a redeco and retool of the Siege Megatron figure so you will want to check out that review too. This write up will focus on the changes made to the base figure for this release.

Packaging:
Megatron is packaged in a standard Earthrise box. This box is roughly rectangular with an angled section on the left side. Megatron can be seen in robot mode through a large plastic window with the Earthrise logo over his legs. Requisite elements such as the Transformers logo on the side and the Generations logo above it are present on the right side of the box. The Earthrise logo is displayed prominently on the front end. The angled part of the box features artwork of Megatron hunched over a control panel on (presumably) the Nemesis while a hologram of The Ark shows in front of him. The back of the box features Megatron in both modes calling out a 21 step transformation.

Accessories:
Part of the retooling for this release involves Megatron getting a whole new set of accessories. Here's a rundown:

  • Fusion Cannon: At first glance it looks like this is the same Fusion Cannon accessory included with Siege Megatron. They both are roughly the same size and shape. However, this version is much more streamlined than the Siege version. The Siege version had all sorts of greebles on the sides and back. Meanwhile the Earthrise Fusion Cannon is much smoother, looking more like the Fusion Cannon from the G1 era. From a functional standpoint it is the same, featuring a 5mm peg the top and bottom of the middle section.
  • Sword: In place of his cannon/sword from Siege Megatron's new sword is part sword and part front-of-tank-turret. I'm not exaggerating here. Literally half this accessory is just the front part of the tank turret and the cannon barrel. This piece is cast in grey plastic with black paint details. It features a peg on the bottom and a port on the barrel allowing you to attach the tank panel accessory (see below). As much as I have tried, I really cannot bring myself to like this accessory. It is big in an unwieldly way and from an aesthetic standpoint the sword plade is way too short while the cannon barrel is way too long creating a very uneven look when attached to Megatron's arm.
  • Tank Panel: This is not much of an accessory but it still counts. This panel is made to fill in a gap in vehicle mode, but it has a 5mm peg on it that allows you to have Megatron or other characters use it as a small shield. This piece is made of black plastic with no deco.

Robot Mode:
Earthrise Megatron is a fairly significant reworking of Siege Megatron. At first glance I wouldn't blame you if you thought both figures were the same toy with some different accessories, but several parts are actually different:

  • The new head sculpt is a bit taller and more smooth in detailing than Siege Megatron's. The "helmet" section especially is much more curved and the brow section above the eyes is much less prominent. Of the two head sculpts I prefer this one as it looks more like the G1 animation head design.
  • The arms share most of the same design and sculpting as Siege Megatron but there is a key difference. The upper arms have a piece on the back that bulks the arm up a bit. It also eliminates the ability for the points on the shoulders to swing back and out of the way. It is not really needed for the transformation so it is not a big deal but it did cause me to do a double take.
  • Like the arms, at first glance it looks like the torso piece is exactly the same as Siege Megatron's, only featuring new deco. However, the two are different, though very similar. The two main distinguishing factors are the small, horizontal triangles on the chest and the mid-body area. The small triangles on Siege Megatron are just indentations. On Earthrise Megatron they feature vertical lines. The other big difference is the section under the chest. On Siege Megatron this area was segmented into a larger section on top and a more narrow one under it. On Earthrise Megatron it is just one large section with the square "control panel" in the center.
  • The waist/hip piece is different, featuring a similar shape to the equivalent piece on Siege Megatron but less greebles and mechanical details.
  • The lower legs are completely different, featuring a much more robust looking set of treads.
  • The treads on his back are new pieces, featuring thicker and larger treads than Siege Megatron.

I actually find it extraordinary just how many parts were changed out or altered to create Earthrise Megatron, and yet the aesthetics are very similar. Clearly the goal was to have Earthrise Megatron lean towards a more G1 animation look with smoothed out parts and much less "battle damage" paint. Unfortunately from an aesthetic point of view he winds up looking rather dull. It is not entirely the fault of this figure. The problem is that three versions of Siege Megatron preceded this figure, so fans have spent a lot of time looking at the baseline figure (which had an amazing deco for its Walmart exclusive release). A retool that, in some ways, takes the figure's aesthetics backwards is a tough sell to fans who may already own the Siege Megatron sculpt several times over.

Megatron features most of the same colors as Siege Megatron including grey, black and black plastic. His deco is "clean" for the most part, with only the legs featuring Siege-like silver "scratches" and "damage". Everything else has very standard deco including red on the elbows, silver on the face and a purple Decepticon symbol on his chest. The deco looks good. It has quintessential Megatron colors and they're applied nicely. It's just not particularly exciting for the reasons mentioned above.

There are twenty four points of articulation in this mode. This includes five in each arm and six in each leg. All the joints are still nice and tight. Each arm features two 5mm ports to attach accessories, and each shoulder has a small peg for Blast Effects. Each leg features a 5mm port on the sides while his feet also have 5mm ports on the bottom. The treads on his back also feature 5mm ports, allowing you to store his weapons back there or attach additional ones from other figures. Unfortunately the designers got rid of the 5mm ports that would have sat on top of the treads. These were neat on Siege Megatron because they gave him the option of having shoulder mounted weapons. You can still accomplish this by attaching pieces from Weaponizers, but it was nice when Megatron could do it all by his lonesome.

A word of warning: the peg on the sword accessory is attached to the sword piece by a small hinge. It is not pinned in. Instead it relies on raised nubs on either side to hold it in place on the sword piece. However, the 5mm ports on the forearms of my copy are so tight than when I attached the sword to either forearm the sword popped off leaving the peg in place. I had to use pliers to get the peg out so be warned.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
When I began to transform my copy of this figure I realized that the right hand did not form properly when this figure came off the assembly line. On my copy of Megatron there is extra plastic on the hinge, so when I try to push Megatron's fist into the forearm it will not go all the way. This does not hamper the transformation overall, but it is a very unfortunate quality control issue.

  1. Detach the accessories and set them aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  3. Rotate the top half of the figure around.
  4. Swing each fist into the forearms.
  5. Swing the arms up out to the sides to get them out of the way.
  6. On each lower leg, swing the inner panels out.
  7. Swing each leg up out to the sides, then swing them down at the knee joint to make each leg an "L" shape.
  8. Move each lower leg up over the thigh pieces, then swing the inner panels back into place.
  9. Swing the panel with the robot head and tank treads on it forward/up.
  10. Swing the robot arms in and swing them at the shoulders so they are set parallel to each other.
  11. On the panel with the head and treads, swing each tread out to the sides.
  12. Push the section with the front treads down towards the rear treads. Each tread has a tab on it that clips into a corresponding slot on Megatron's torso.
  13. Connect the ends of the front treads to the ends of the rear treads.
  14. Form the front of the tank by connect the tabs on the front panel to the corresponding slots on the front treads.
  15. Connect the tank panel piece in between the lower legs in the back. This is done by fitting the tabs on either side of the panel into the grooves on the insides of Megatron's lower legs.
  16. Swing the robot heel pieces into the feet and push the feet back so they are set at an angle.
  17. Attach the sword piece to the tank b connecting the tabs from the top of the robot shoulders to the slots on the sword accessory.
  18. Attach the Fusion Cannon to the sword piece by connecting the end of the Fusion Cannon to the peg on the sword piece. Also connect the pegs on the Fusion Cannon to the corresponding ports on Megatron's arms.

Vehicle Mode:
The goal of this vehicle mode appears to have been to create a more Earth-like tank without the "scifi H-tank" shape that Siege Megatron had in vehicle form. For the most part it works. The base of the tank looks like a large, solid piece with few gaps (unless you look at it directly from behind). The turret has a vaguely Earth-tank shape and as a toy there's a lot going on including ports for Blast Effects and the ability to attach a Blast Effect to the cannon barrel. The turret can also turn in a complete circle, something many Transformers tanks cannot do nowadays.

From a deco perspective, the lower part of the tank is the most visually interesting portion. There, black plastic has silver detailing all over it in various patterns including a brush pattern and a splatter pattern in front. The sides also feature a fun Easter Egg, the alpha numeric code "D16" in silver. "D-16" was the designation given to Megatron in Japan in the 80's. Releases outside of Japan typically did not use these alpha numeric codes.

Final Thoughts:
Earthrise Megatron is not a bad toy. Granted, my copy has a rather silly quality control issue with its hand and forearm ports. However, I can see past those issues and see how this figure would be fun to play with. The aesthetics are good for the most part but having been preceded by three different Siege Megatrons the sculpt has kind of worn out its welcome. Even with all the retooling and new colors, not enough about this figure distinguishes itself from previous Siege Megatron figures to make it worth spending a whole other $30 USD. If you can get this on sale for say $20-25 USD then I would say go for it, otherwise it is only mildly recommended.

Pros:

  • Good sculpt in both modes.
  • A lot of parts have been retooled.
  • Good deco.
  • Good articulation.
  • Fun play value.

Cons:

  • The sword weapon is rather ugly. It would have been cooler if the sword and cannon pieces could have separated into two accessories.
  • The quality control issue around the hand on my copy of this figure is worrisome.
  • The extra tight ports on the forearms are worrisome as well.