Alternate Mode: Tank
Thanks to Goktimus Prime for loaning me Megatron for the purpose of this review.
Height: 9.5cm Length: 25cm Width: 15cm
A dark green tank with a navy blue cannon, black treads and various silver painted details here and there. There are also fluorescent red pieces scattered about and the odd yellow painted detail. There's a colourless panel with a Decepticon symbol moulded on it, on the front right corner of the turret. While Megatron is green, navy and silver, the outbursts of bright red really ruin any chance of realism here. The gap between the front treads doesn't help - the robot head (face concealed, antennae obvious) is in the gap. So Megatron looks like a toy tank, with lifelike colours as a starting point only.
There's far too much here getting in the way of this tank mode as a disguise - this is Megatron lying down and it looks like it. He's laden with gimmicks, which severely impacts on the realism, despite a fairly detailed sculpt. There are so many gimmicks that every piece of real estate either has a piece that move or some sort of generic mech detailing. That's not to say there isn't merit to all the play value here, but Megatron's tank mode isn't a great disguise.
There are a total of eight hardpoints available in the default position. On the front left tread there's a series of three plates which flip out via a switch, allowing you to access three more. On the front right tread Megatron has a fold out ramp of sorts, there's another hardpoint on the underside. Megatron has two different missile systems. Pushing back on the main cannon will cause it to fire a single fluorescent red missile. There's a hardpoint on the top right of the turret which slides back and locks into place, releasing a twin-launcher on the _left_ of the turret. Again the missiles are bright red, these ones are fire by triggers on top of the launcher. In theory you need to plug in a MiniCon for the slider to work, but in reality you don't need one.
There are other gimmicks, I'll try and touch on everything quickly. The rear left tread has a storage compartment, the rear right tread has a fold out ramp, there's a purple claw which I think catches MiniCons who venture onto the ramp. There's an array of light and sound gimmicks activated as you fire the missiles or plug a MiniCon into the live hardpoint on the back of the turret. There's a readily visible speaker on top, in the centre, of the turret while there's a red LED embedded behind the Decepticon logo. I'm not convinced of the merit of the Decepticon logo glowing _red_.
This is more of a playset than an alternate mode, really. While Optimus Prime managed a decent truck mode, Megatron is far from convincing as a tank. Okay, this is clearly a tank, but it's so far from being realistic that it looks like he transforms into a toy tank. Which goes against the whole concept of "Robots in Disguise", really. Perhaps the main thing that I find unsatisfying about this tank mode is that there's not really a single playset here - rather a really basic and poorly conceived tank with a whole bunch of random gimmicks crammed into it.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Pull the rear treads back to form his legs, rotate the waist. Flip up the feet and heelspurs. Rotate the turret 90° and swing the cannon down to form a hip-gun. Open the grey panels on the front treads, swing out the arms and close the panels again. Stand Megatron up, slide down the plate covering his face.
While the faceplate and arm cover plates put this transformation ahead of MiniCons, the layout is simpler than quite a few MiniCons. Megatron barely transforms, and at his sizepoint (ultra) he's spectacularly simple.
Height: 25cm Width: 15cm
A silver, black, purple and green robot, Megatron has a more sensible colour scheme now, even if it's still not what you could call unified. The bulk of his torso and arms are silver while the hands, elbows and Decepticon logos on his shoulders are purple. The logos are raised and painted, sadly the relief is also painted - as was common in the Armada line. His thighs are also purple while the boots represent the only green area now. Megatron's feet are silver while the head is blue with huge antennae, featuring some of that awful red. He has a silver face with red eyes and enormous black shoulder pylons which are obviously the treads. While this is not a great colour scheme, the reduced role of the red makes this a better colour scheme than that of the tank mode.
Ironically, Megatron's tank theme is stronger here than the tank mode in a way. The treads on his shoulders are so prominent that they clearly defined him as a tank. Sure, it's a transformed tank, but the toy tank aspect doesn't come through. The giant cannon on his right hip also helps in this regard. The huge shoulder pylons actually help offset the antennae - which still look strange but without the pylons they would looks ridiculous.
Megatron's robot mode is relatively simple, with the sculpt being largely generic although not poor as such. His facial sculpt is complex, if not especially impressive. The torso sculpt is similarly detailed, but much of that detailing is generic. It fits into the overall mood here - Megatron is big and simple. He doesn't quite have the majesty that I think the designer intended, mind you - the antennae are more comical than regal and the cannon is just plain awkward.
Most of the gimmicks from the tank mode are left behind there, although the cannon still fires its missile in the same fashion - which is why it has been wrapped around to the side. Some of the hardpoints are still available - on the boots and pylons, while two more are revealed on his forearms. The hardpoint on the left forearm is live - sliding it forward causes a small black blade to slide out of his forearm and flip up (as if handheld). While I don't care for most of the gimmicks on this toy, this one is creative, unobtrusive and actually enhances the robot mode, rather than just distracting you from it.
The poseability is quite limited, although as Armada goes it's not all that lacking. I've heard a lot of negative about his poseability, and while it's nowhere near the average Beast Wars or Beast Machines toy, Megatron is no worse that some of the other bricks Armada produces. Anyway, his head turns, the shoulders swing and lift out to the sides, the elbows hinge and rotate. The right shoulder is limited by the cannon, the left has no such issue. The right fist rotates, the left hand is not a fist, the thumb and the fingers are each on springs, his hand can open (it'll snap shut once you release). The legs _are_ unposeable - his hips lift out to the sides and that's it. The heelspurs are small, but then they really don't have to do a lot. Megatron's waist turns, but with such static legs, this doesn't really do much for his actual poseability.
While it's a big brick, I find this robot mode to be more rewarding than the tank mode. Partly because I love the blade gimmick but also because there's not as much of that red. I also appreciate the fact that the gimmicks available here are generally less visually obtrusive. While it's a mediocre robot mode, I find it far more focused that the tank mode, which is all about cramming as many gimmicks in as possible, to its detriment.
Alternate Mode: Truck
Height: 3cm Length: 4.5cm Width: 4cm
A small grey truck thing with a single driver yellow cabin at the front and two large fluorescent red cannons above the roof. Leader-One has four black plastic tyres and navy front fenders. I call this a truck but it looks more like a Sci-Fi Lunar rover than anything else. While it's not a bad idea, the red cannons really hurt the visual impact. Black or navy would have so much better.
The cannons can lift up and down a little, the wheels roll, and that's it for the play value. It's interesting to note that while his name is lifted from the Gobots line of the 80s (whose creator, Tonka, is now a Hasbro subsidiary) the alternate mode is nothing like that toy - which was an F-15 Eagle fighter jet.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Unfold the top back to form the legs, stow the cannons inside the back of the boots. Stand up and position his arms.
Height: 6cm, Width: 4.5cm
A silver MiniCon with navy arms and thighs, Leader-One has a yellow eyestrip and extensive black painted details on the torso. The powerlinx port is on his groin, with the pin itself painted black. A painted pin is kinda phallic, so I'm black that the black conceals the pin itself. Overall, this is a good colour scheme, if very subdued. Considering how bad the red is in this set, I'm perfectly happy with subdued.
The rear wheels sit on the outside of his hips, protruding notably. The forearms are permanently bent, and he can swing his shoulders, knees and hips. It's scary that Leader-One's legs are easily more poseable than Megatron's.
None as such, although Megatron was repainted in purple and named Galvatron (Leader-One was in turn renamed as Clench).
A playset and little more, really. The tank mode will displease fans looking for a robot in disguise, because Megatron basically lies down and becomes a pile of random gimmicks. Some of the gimmicks have merit, but overall the tank mode is not a very satisfying tank. The transformation is ridiculous, the robot mode passable. Leader-One essentially works, although he's not really memorable. If you want a toy packed with gimmicks, Megatron has merit. As a Transformer, this is a very disappointing flagship toy - 3/10