Cliffbee.com: Megabolt Megatron Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Megatron
Series: Beast Machines (although he was held over until RiD, and sold in that packaging)
Allegiance: Vehicon
Alternate Mode: Head



HEAD MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 10.5cm Width: 14cm

   A grey head with a fade to purple paint at the back, Megatron has six black legs, composed of a flexible plastic. There's a blue Vehicon spark crystal on top - on a reddish patch, and some hints of red here and there. The eyes are green and the protruding chin at the front is indigo. It's an understated colour scheme, and while it works fairly well, the head concept itself tends to catch the eye more than his colours.

   This alternate mode represents the giant floating head Megatron's spark inhabited for a period of the Beast Machines cartoon. I'm not really sure why they actually attempted this as a toy (it's not like this head transformed in the show), but it would have made more sense without the legs. While a giant transforming head might be unexpected, the insect legs make it even less logical - since they detract from the original point of this toy. I can see that the designers wants it to do more than Be A Head, but that's exactly what Megatron did in the cartoon.

   Anyway, there are three wheels underneath. If you roll him along a flat surface and press down as you do so, the legs will move, imitating insect legs. It works reasonably well, but takes this toy away from the floating head idea. And introduces a chunk of plastic underneath (later to become backpack) to fit the gears. Frankly, this mode would have been better without the legs, and I suspect the legs were added for this fairly random play value. There's also a missile launcher tucked away underneath, but it's not really meant for this mode. The missile will still fire randomly when you don't want it too.

   An odd concept and one with very limited appeal as a toy. So Hasbro decided to spice it up, but the random insect legs do too much to dilute the original point of the toy, making this a very weird and unfocused alternate mode. Sure, a giant head isn't going to appeal to a lot of kids - I get that - but I don't see why a giant head with legs for no good reason will appeal any more. The colour scheme is pretty well done, but overall this is a confused head mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   There's a lot of twist involved so I'll summarise. The back of the head becomes his legs, the arms are tucked away under the legs. The face panels become a backpack while the centre of the head mode becomes the torso and head. The legs and their associated block become his backpack. There are little boosters at the back which become heelspurs (I've left them to the sides in my photo, however). The spark crystal ends up on his chest.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17cm Width: 14cm

   A purple robot with silver paint washes on his forearms and chest, Megatron has a grey head and grey shoulderpads. His open hands are silver plastic while there's some lighter silver paint on his shins. The groin and torso feature some red, and there's a lot of red visible on the backpack as well. His mouth is painted silver (with little teeth), the crest is gold and his eyes are red. It's an attractive colour scheme.

   The bodyshape here is pretty good - which you'd expect since the alternate mode allows a lot of leeway. Despite that Megatron does have to lug around his backpack - complete with those legs. It's a little distracting visually, but still looks okay. Sadly it causes serious stability issues, since he's now very back heavy (I'll come back to this soon). The shoulderpads mostly stay out of the way, although they do crowd his head a little. The feet look surprisingly small, with the shin effectively being a bellbottom shape.

   Megatron has excellent articulation but it's largely wasted by stability issues. His head and waist turn while the shoulders, elbows, knees, hips and ankles are all ball jointed. The knees have a tendency to give thanks to the weight of that backpack. Some poses are available, but a lot will just topple over in a heap. The legs gimmick isn't available here. Instead that missile launcher flips out over his head, complete with a battle helmet that slots over his head. It's a nice idea - especially the helmet. It has a tendency to flip out during transformation or posing, anyway, and the missile has an annoying habit of firing at random moments - both springs are strong and easy to set off. While I like the idea of the launcher, it ends up quite annoying. The helmet is cool, but watching Megatron collapse in a heap only to fire his missile across the room kinda ruins the joy.

   A well articulated robot with good colours but as with the head mode, his gimmicks get in the way. The weight of the backpack makes him too unstable for any cool poses while the triggerhappy missile launcher is a pain in the skidplate. A nice display piece once you find a stable pose, but not fun to play with.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although he was repainted as Megabolt in the Universe line.

OVERALL

   An interesting concept and while it's a limited one, the underlying Transformer here had potential. The colours work and the head has some appeal to fans of Beast Machines. But then Hasbro decided the head mode needed legs and the robot mode needed a missile launcher that always wants to fire. He still looks nice in robot mode, but the head mode is confused and neither mode really shines. As innovative as the basic idea is, Megabolt Megatron really fails to do what he was originally meant to do. One for the completists - 5/10

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