Cliffbee.com: Jafcon Black Megatron Toy Review

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Name: Megatron
Series: e-Hobby exclusives
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Commander
Alternate Mode: Walther P-38 handgun

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Black Megatron for this review



GUN MODE
Height: 11cm Length: 18cm Width: 3cm

   A black life-sized handgun with a brown handle, this Megatron is essentially a reissue of the black Microchange gun released alongside the grey one which became Megatron. So it's quite similar to the standard Megatron, yet it's instantly recognisable as not quite the same. Most of the gun is black, however the chamber, mid barrel and hammer are a dark chrome (I guess as close to black as chrome gets), there's a black attachment point on top of the gun, towards the rear. The front of the handle is black, and the bottom of the handle is silver die-cast metal. The silver stickers are absent here - but otherwise this gun mode is very similar to the regular Megatron. It's quite realistic, too, other than the Decepticon symbols on the sides (which are unapplied on the toy I have here). The brown plastic is metallic and looks wonderful.

   As I said, it's life-sized - you can hold Megatron in your hand. He even has a hammer moulded onto the back, a hammer locking mechanism on the left side just in front of the hammer and a sight on the top just in front of the hammer. There's also a safety on the left above the trigger. Of course, none of this is active, but the detail in the mould is good. As with all the recent Japanese versions of this mould, Megatron can actually fire pellets - they're red as on the normal Megatron.

   There's some play value here. The trigger, which is inside a trigger guard can be pulled back and clicks. The pellets will fire about 6 metres, there's a hole on top (above the trigger) into which these pellets can be inserted, one at a time. I should point out that Megatron is not actually on a 1:1 scale, in fact he's 80% of actual size. Still, this gun mode fits naturally into the hand - so he's still effectively life sized. Thanks to henry for this info.

   The flaws in this mode are minor. The attachment on top of the gun stops the sight from actually functioning since it's taller than the sight and the chrome doesn't quite fit against the black. I can see why Hasbro went for the grey one all those years ago, silver chrome blends with grey a lot better than this chrome blends with black. It's still a nice look, just not quite at the same level. Overall, though, the detail and the play value all make this a very good gun mode. And we're not finished yet - adding the stock gives you an extended gun mode, which I'll expand on now.

EXTENDED GUN MODE
Height: 14.5cm Length: 53cm Width: 3cm

   Formed by adding his fusion cannon to the attachment on the top of the gun, the stock to the back and a silencer over his barrel, the extended gun mode is more like a sniper's gun than a simple pistol. It's also the Megatron gun featured in the cartoon.

   The fusion cannon forms a sight - compete with a crosshairs if you look through it, the stock can actually sit against your shoulder (although it's a tad short, it still works) and the silencer adds a lot of length to the barrel. The shooting mechanism still works in this mode (in the versions that have the mechanism), thanks to a hollow silencer. The fact that this mode is half a metre long really makes Megatron look like a formidable weapon.

   The only real flaw this mode has (aside from those of the regular gun mode) is the fact that the added bits have various protrusions and holes, needed for the tripod-mounded weapon they can form for his robot mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Difficult if you don't know what you're doing. Remove the added bits (the fusion cannon can stay attached). Pull the handle's grip down to form the legs, lift the legs out and fold them forward over the trigger. Slide the die cast panels underneath the legs forward to form the feet. Flip the black section below the hammer down (it's the robot head). Separate the rear into two halves, which fold down to either side. Lift up the middle section of the gun, fold down the barrel slightly and swing it right slightly. Rotate the middle section to form the chest, at the same time fold the barrel underneath it. Swing the arms so that they're "upright", then lift the arm-head assembly up and it'll click into his chest. Rotate the arms around, give him fusion cannon if you detached it. It's probably difficult to grasp all of that - you really need to see it to understand this rather involved transformation.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17cm Width: 10cm (without fusion cannon)

   This mode looks more like the Megatron we're used to than the gun mode, because there's more chrome and less black. The chest and arms are chromed while his head, groin and shins are black. His fists, the outsides of his boots and his cheeks are brown. The thighs and feet are die-cast metal. The insides of his arms and legs are red while there's some stickered detail on his waist - which is basically the section revealed underneath the gun shell as it's lifted up. The face is silver with yellow eyes, and is essentially the same as the original Megatron, save for the brown cheeks (although the reissue Megatron has red eyes). It's a good colour scheme, even if it is very close to the regular version.

   There are some proportion problems in this mode, it must be said. The legs, being handle halves, are quite narrow. The groin isn't solid, it's formed from the top section of the handle wrapped around the trigger, but doesn't actually clip on. The trigger is in a rather phallic spot, actually, it's a good thing it's inside the groin and not just sticking out. His arms stick up past his shoulders. Still, considering that this robot mode is formed from a realistic gun mode, I'm not complaining that much.

   What I like about this mode is that they've cleverly taken the gun's shape and made a robot out of it, without huge amounts of kibble. The front of the barrel is stowed on the right side of his torso, and that's really the only part that qualifies as kibble, and it's pretty well dealt with. On his cartoon & comic version, this barrel sits on his back. It can go on his back, but it's not really designed to, looking better on the side.

   The head is the basis for the now familiar "buckethead" design, but it's not actually that shape. It's curved on the back, with a lip, and this was the basis for marvel's buckethead, which is far less curved, and continues around the sides of the head (which are actually flat on this toy).

   There's a fair bit of play value here. The only real poseability is the swinging shoulders, but he has that big-ass canon on his arm, and the attachment parts which can form two different gun emplacements - both able to fire red pellets. The central piece of the stock can clip in behind the barrel, allowing Megatron to shoot pellets from his hip. Megatron comes a big silver handgun and a silver sword, but no mace, as Megaplex.

   Overall, while there's some proportion problems in this mode, it's a very good robot mode considering what they started with. There's a lot of attention to detail here, and his weaponry is quite impressive. The chrome looks better here, and while the brown is largely in the background here, the black and brown give a unique feel to this robot, even if it's very similar to the original.

VARIATIONS

   In effect this is a release of the black Walther P38 Microchange toy, with stock extensions. No actual variants that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   While the idea is nice, the gun mode is a little broken up, so I don't think this toy is quite as successful as the regular Megatron (or Megaplex). Still, the dark chrome and metallic brown are still nice colours, and I like the fact that the black Walther has been brought into the TF sphere. I would certainly recommend Megatron, but I'd recommend the original over this one. If you get the chance and have the funds, this is a repaint I'd recommend, but I'm not sure he's worth actually hunting down - 7/10

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