Cliffbee.com: Animated Ultra Magnus Toy Review

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Individual Review




Name: Ultra Magnus
Series: Animated
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Armoured Truck

Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Ultra Magnus for this review



ARMOURED TRUCK MODE
Height: 9cm Length: 22.5cm Width: 9cm

   Ultra Magnus is a not especially stylised armoured truck, relying more on the pale blue colour at the front for his cartoonish look. That front end is accompanied by a dark blue on the sides and the back, while his eight tyres are black and there are some mid blue element here and there some painted and some transparent plastic. His windows are black and the headlights yellow, rounding out a fairly simple colour scheme which is somewhat cartoonish, and not really one you'd associate with the name. It looks nice enough, mind you, aside from a glaring lack of Autobot logo (this is a Leader class toy, after all).

   As I mentioned, Ultra Magnus isn't especially cartoonish here. There are few curves, instead there are a lot of straight lines and angles - he really looks like he belongs in the Cybertron line, not Animated. At any rate, it's a fairly convincing armoured truck even if it's a little generic on detail on some places - especially the back. The sculpt is fairly detailed, especially for an Animated toy, even if most of the detail is rivets and diamond grip.

   There's quite a bit of play value here, which you'd hope for at this level. There are three separate sets of concealed guns. The silver front bumper folds out to reveal twin black gatling guns while the front folds down to reveal two tri-barrel guns which float above the roof of his cabin (and these barrels extend). Two large blue blocks on the back flip up and forward, and move independently of each other, revealing yellow LEDs. If you press a red button on the left side of the truck the LEDs will flash seven times while a laser gun sound is emitted. There are twin guns on top of these blocks which slide out very cleverly, managing to stay concealed without getting in the way of the LEDs. The eight wheels roll quite well, too.

   There are no glaring flaws here, although I don't like the panels at the back sporting the transparent blue taillights - the float at an odd angle, appearing mistransformed. I wont count the angular nature of this mode a s negative, but it doesn't quite fit the theme of Animated, and some might find this incongruous.

   A good truck mode with decent detailing, decent colours and an array of weaponry. Ultra Magnus is stable and the weapons are all very integrated. The taillight panels are disappointing and he doesn't fit the aesthetic of this line as well as he possibly could, but for something as boxy as an armoured truck I can let that one slide (and I'm not just saying that because I dislike Animated as a concept).

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   I'm not going through this one because there's a lot of twisting which is hard to describe, but it's quite involved and clever. Some joints are far stiffer than they should be - especially some in his shoulders - but the idea is excellent. There are two points where the now standard transformation sound is triggered (although in theory both would be activated at once). To simplify things, the front becomes shoulderpads while the forearms, torso and head are concealed underneath the front half. The rear half becomes the legs while the tyres cleverly fold away in his boots. the LED blocks end up floating on either side of the head while a hammer weapon is released from between his legs.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 24cm Width: 19cm

   Again based on that darkish blue, Ultra Magnus has pale blue on his face, shoulderpads, fingers, kneecaps and across his waist while the elbows, thighs and feet are black. There's some red across his chest including an Autobot logo, which has unpainted relief. The red brings these colours a little closer to the archetypical Ultra Magnus colours, although it's still a long way removed. These colours work well, and certainly give this toy a character of its own.

   While Ultra Magnus is all about straight lines in vehicle mode, there are a lot of gentle curves here and aside from the shoulderpads, not a lot of straight lines. Which is testament to how well engineered the transformation is. There's no giant electronics block, either - the torso houses the electronics but is relatively small - as much as I dislike most electronic gimmicks in Transformers, Ultra Magnus does them well in that they don't dominate his transformation and stay out of the way of other aspects of the toy as well. His face is cartoonish but manages to avoid the giant jaw that is common amongst Animated toys. There are silver antennae which tribute the white ones found on his G1 namesake, which is a nice touch. The lower body tapers out as is often the case in this like while there are gentle angles on his torso.

   All three sets of guns are available here - the blocks on either side of his head and the rest on his shoulderpads. The hammer itself unfolds during Transformation - the handle unfolds and the transparent blue blocks on either side pop out when you pull the handle. Ultra Magnus can hold this hammer loosely in one or both hands, and it's designed to clip into the palm other either hand as well. The electronics expands here. When you press the Autobot logo into his chest, the yellow LEDs will flash along with a red LED behind the Autobot logo and a green one inside his eyes, while Ultra Magnus will emit one of three phrases, "Ultra Magnus here", "Don't be a hero Optimus; it's not in your programming" and "We must return the Allspark to Cybertron". If you push the logo in far enough the head tilts back while his lower jaw stays still - opening his mouth. The mouth will remain open as long as you keep this switch pressed.

   On top of all this, Ultra Magnus features some poseability. It's not at the level of the better Leader class toys since his clever transformation limits some joints, but he can still strike some poses. His head wiggles a little, since it has that opening jaw gimmick, and there'd be no point in a turning head with those blocks on either side. His waist is fixed. The shoulders swing while his elbows are hinged with rotators. His wrists are fixed but the fingers open as one (his thumbs are fixed). The hips swing and lift out to the sides while his knees are hinged with rotators. While his feet are fixed there's enough movement in his knees and hips - as well as enough stability - for some dynamic poses.

   While the poseability has some shortcomings and the tribute is again fairly weak, this is a good robot mode with a range of _useful_ gimmicks and weapons which stay out of the way of the Transformer itself. Ultra Magnus does make some poseability compromises, but he's still poseable and none of the gimmicks are poor. The sound gimmick idea is well worn, but the voice is distinct enough that I'm happy with it. He's visually impressive with good colours and none of the proportion issues that some Animated toys suffer from. A good robot mode which offers a lot of play value.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although there is a Roadbuster repaint.

OVERALL

   More than anything else, I'm impressed with the clever and complex transformation that takes an angular, blocky truck and gives us a curved, cartoonish robot in return. There's a buttload of play value in both mode, and none of the play aspects fail or get in the way of the Transformer itself. The tribute is relatively weak, but the colours work, the vehicle mode works and the robot mode looks good. There are some joints in his transformation which are tighter than they should be and the taillight panels really needed more work or an extra joint, but this is a good flagship toy - and it's refreshing to see one which isn't Optimus Prime. If you like Animated, or Transformers with a lot of play value, I'd recommend Ultra Magnus - 9/10

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