Cliffbee.com: Laser Rod Ultra Magnus Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Ultra Magnus
Series: e-Hobby exclusives
Allegiance: Autobot
Alternate Mode: Tanker Truck



TRUCK MODE
Height: 12cm Length: 38.5cm Width: 8cm

   A clay blue tanker pulled by a white longnose cab, Ultra Magnus is a repaint of Laser Rod Optimus Prime. The colour scheme broadly matches that of the original Ultra Magnus, despite the drastic change in truck. The front of the cab has a grey paint that fades to white, along with G2 Autobot logos stamped on the doors. The windows and headlights are transparent blue while the front grille & bumper are chrome silver. The trailer has some red, grey and white aspects and another G2 Autobot logo on the front. Since this is a limited repaint, the sticker sheet is identical to that of Laser Prime - who comes with mural stickers for the trailer which depict Prime wielding a flamethrower, along with the words "OPTIMUS PRIME OCTANE". I've left these stickers off, since they depict a different toy (and character). The colour scheme works fairly well as long as you leave the mural stickers off. It's ever so slightly disjointed, but the homage to the G1 version is what matters really, and this colour scheme does well in that department.

   The truck has ten plastic tyres, with three pairs on the cab and two at the back of the trailer. There are moulded (and painted) lights on top of the cabin along with grey smokestacks behind the doors. There are a lot of moulded details on this truck - the others are mostly minor, but add up to make this a good truck mode.

   The hitch turns freely, allowing Ultra Magnus to turn corners, and the wheels roll quite well. There's a button the roof of the cab which, while pressed, will cause the headlights to glow as long as you press. There's an LED underneath the cabin on one side which also glows - but this is for the robot mode. I'm really impressed with Magnus's red headlights - Takara bothered to change the LEDs from Prime's orange ones for a limited run. There's a disc-launcher on top of the trailer which fires large red plastic discs - and while it's intended for the battle station mode, it's easily accessible here. While the play value here isn't that impressive for a toy this big, there's a sackfull coming, so I'm quite happy to forgive this mode's largely static nature.

   The colour scheme is good, assuming you leave the mural stickers off (they really don't belong on this toy). The sculpt is good, making this one of the most realistic G2 vehicle modes. The overall effort here is better than that on most G2 toys, and better than a lot of eHobby exclusives.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Detach the trailer and set aside. Remove the clear blue sword stowed underneath, set aside for a moment. Extend the hitch section to form his boots, fold up the feet and split the boots. Split the nose, swing out to the sides (dragging the sides with the halves, forming his arms. Stand the robot up, open his waist compartment, swing out the head, rotate the head and close the waist again. Give Ultra Magnus his sword and you're done.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 20cm Width: 14cm

   The colour map in robot mode is markedly different to that of Laser Prime - which I really appreciate. The chest, forearms and boots are dark blue while the fringes of the waist and the thighs are red. His groin, fists, elbows and shoulderpads are white, as is the head. Ignoring the head, everything is painted to mimic the larger robot mode of the original Ultra Magnus - although the blue is a darker shade. The head resembles the smaller robot mode's, with the distinctly Optimus Prime like shape and a clay blue mouthplate. He has transparent blue eyes and a good lightpipe. The colour map here involves painting some elements that weren't painted of Laser Prime and some plastic colour changes. With a very different shape and a darker, metallic blue, this robot isn't a great copy of the original Magnus - but is still an obvious tribute. I'm happy with that.

   There are some stickers on his chest which feature a Matrix motif and yellow stickers on his shoulders with g2 Autobot logos - both new stickers for the reissue Laser Prime. The shoulderpads actually mimic the shoulder pylons of the original Magnus, which is pure coincidence. There aren't any truck elements visible here, although the torso is designed to resemble the front of a shortnose cab.

   While modern poseability was only just beginning to appear in the Transformers line during G2, this toy, once the flagship of the 1995 line, got great articulation. The head and waist turn, the shoulders swing up 90 (the wires leading to the headlights get in the way of further motion), the elbows bend and there are rotators above the elbows. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees bend and the feet can swing backwards. While the poseability isn't anything special by 2006 standards, it still makes Ultra Magnus fun to pose.

   The sword can be held in either hand - I'd recommend the right hand, since there's a red LED nestled inside that causes the sword to glow (the same button, now on his back, activates this, along with the headlights now on top of his shoulders). Ultra Magnus also comes with a chunky white gun that can plug into his hands, and this weapon also has a lightpipe - the handle and twin barrels are transparent blue plastic, although the LED is unable to make this gun glow.

   A great robot mode that's a lot of fun to play with, with much more poseability than the original Magnus. The light up sword is quite effective, adding to the play value. The colour scheme is quite obviously a repaint, but does a good job of making this figure Ultra Magnus, so I'm happy.

TRANSFORMATION TO BATTLE STATION MODE

   In theory you simply fold down the front "cap" of the trailer and in theory everything folds out. You might have to help some of it along - especially the pneumatic launcher. Anyway, the sides fold out and bottom fold out, with a central section becoming a tower, out of which a launcher folds, creating a large cross on the floor. The disc launcher, now on one side, needs to be flipped up, while a pneumatic pump needs to be pulled out and a missile launcher detach and place on top of one side (opposing the disc launcher). Lastly, the black gun attaches to the top of the tower.

BATTLE STATION MODE
Height: 40cm Depth: 45cm Width: 50cm

   The dimensions are approximate - my ruler isn't long enough.

   A large cross with clay blue and grey "arms" and a dark blue tower in the middle. Ultra Magnus cannot man this battle station - it's a self contained offensive platform. The various projectiles are red while the pump is silver. There are a lot of battle station detailed stickers now visible, making this a pretty convincing weapons station.

   There's no real front or back, but for the sake of definition I'm calling the front of the trailer the front. So, on the back end we have a pneumatic missile launcher - which can fire a long white missile (with a soft red tip). The pump is loose, attached only by a hose, so you can place it wherever is easiest for you to fire. The launcher can aim up and down. The left side has a storage slot for a spare large missile (he comes with two), while the disc launcher sits above this slot, and can be aimed, both up and down and through 360. The discs can only be fired one at a time, but the launcher can store all five discs.

   The right side has a large white launcher which holds five smaller missiles. Below this is a storage bay for a further five missiles (Magnus comes with ten), and this launcher is on a ball joint, again giving a good range. The launcher has five distinct buttons on top - you can fire missiles individually or run your finger along, firing them in quick succession - the latter works really well. This launcher can actually be held in Ultra Magnus's hand - there's a post specifically for this purpose. Two hands and three good weapons - Magnus is spoiled for choice.

   Seven launchers, seventeen projectiles - this thing is armed to to the teeth. Granted, most of it's finer detail is stickers, but since it's bristling with firepower, you don't really notice. You can get G2 GoBots to man it in a few locations (or similar sized Autobots). The sheer scale of this emplacement is impressive, and with so many projectiles, it makes both a great display and is fun to play with. The colours aren't as unified as those of Laser Prime's battle station, but they're still decent and for a limited reissue like this, I'm satisfied.

VARIATIONS

   None as such. As mentioned this is a limited repaint of Laser Prime, sold only through eHobby in Japan. It's worth noting that this is the first new G2 Transformer in over a decade.

OVERALL

   While this is a big toy as far as repaints go, the concept of a Laser Rod Ultra Magnus is one that will appeal to a lot of fans. The repainted robot is great although the trailer/battle station isn't repainted quite so well, the play value is retained, so it's a worthwhile addition. This is likely to be a rather expensive repaint, so I'll stop short of recommending Laser Magnus, but if you have the means, this is a worthwhile toy - 8/10

"Transformers" and other indica trademarks of Hasbro and/or Takara.