Series: Generation 1
Function: City Commander
Alternate Mode: Laser Cannon, Laser Pistol
Height: 13cm Length: 33cm Width: 12.5cm
A long grey cannon with a transparent orange barrel at the front, Galvatron has two purple struts at the front with grey treads while the rear of the cannon is supported by a long backwards-pointing foot (the handle of the pistol, folded up). There's a purple sight on top of the main body, which sports his rub symbol on the left side. There are some red elements here and there, notable on top of the support struts. The orange plastic on his barrel contains fine glitter, giving it a distinct and notable sparkle, while there's some silver chrome on the top of the toy and around the collar of the barrel. This is a good colour scheme - even if it's a wild departure from the cartoon version's colours. The grey is a dull colour, but serves as a good backdrop for the purple and orange elements.
While this is a "Cybertronian" weapon mode, it's convincing enough, rather than being defined by the blurb on his box. The orange barrel really confirms that we have a weapon here while the sight and treads tell us this is a moveable cannon. The main body is broadly tubular, making it look quite powerful - and the sheer length helps in this regard. The main weakness of this toy is the number of easy to lose important parts - the two-piece barrel detaches while the sight unclips fairly easily, and without those two this mode is a loss. Still, if everything's in place it's a good cannon mode.
There are wheels underneath the treads and trailing foot, allowing Galvatron to roll, although with his electronics and 9v battery he's too heavy for the wheels, and he tends to slide. Still the idea is nice and I'm glad they bothered, and none of the wheels are too obtrusive which I can also appreciate. There's a black button behind the sight which activates the electronics for as long as you hold it, and a black switch right at the base of the sight which changes the function. The left side position gives us a low, droning, sound; the middle gives us a high, uptempo squeal; the right side is intermediate in both pitch and tempo. All sounds are accompanied by a flashing light at the base of the barrel, whose tempo matches the sounds'. The 9v battery lives inside the front of the main body (his chest) along with the concealed speaker. I prefer the midtempo effects myself, but none are distorted, which is nice (especially compared to some of the modern-day soundchip effects). I'm generally not a huge fan of sound and light effects but Galvatron's are well designed in that the toy has been designed around them without ruining the Transformer itself, and the effects are worthwhile.
Show accuracy aside this is a great cannon mode (and the colours are a decent match for Galvatron from the Marvel comics). The electronics are effective, the scale makes this an imposing weapon and he exhibits one of the best uses of a dull grey, which allows the other colours to grab your attention. The main problem here is that this mode is reliant on the barrel and sight to work, and all too many Galvatrons on the second hand market are missing one or both. Still, if you find a complete Galvatron, this mode is certainly worthwhile.
TRANSFORMATION TO LASER PISTOL MODE
Pretty simple really - fold down the handle, swing out two small panels on either side, swing back the struts and rotate the treads up on top of the struts.
LASER PISTOL MODE
Height: 12cm Length: 30cm Width: 12cm
While this is essentially the same weapon with some stuff shifted around, it's not your typical intermediate mode in that it's a feasible alternate mode in its own right. The main body and barrel haven't moved and the electronics are essentially the same. The red trigger underneath can now be accessed, giving you two ways to bring the gimmick to life (although the trigger is dead on mine). The battery compartment is easier to get to here than in cannon or robot modes, since the arms/treads are out of the way.
Galvatron is horribly out of scale compare to other Transformers, but like Megatron, he's perfectly sized for a human hand (kid or adult), making this intermediate mode a lot of fun - it brings play value that not even Megatron had (Shockwave is the only other G1 Transformer that can offer this sort of play value). Unlike Megatron or Shockwave, he has the cannon mode as well, so you've still got a scalable weapon mode.
TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE
Rotate the rear half, extend and split to form the legs, flip out his feet. Lift out and fold up the sight on his back, which will release the chest cover, slide this down to reveal his head. Swing the handle up onto his back, attach the purple barrel mount to his upper right arm and move the barrel from his head to the socket in this mount. Swing out his forearms, fold down the hip pads, give him his black handgun and you're done.
The transformation from cannon mode is slightly more complex, only because there's a little more armwork. Incidentally, the mount can clip onto the left arm if you want Galvatron to be a southpaw, but it's traditionally on the right as part of his evolution from Megatron, who couldn't mount his fusion cannon on his left arm.
Height: 24.5cm Width: 12cm
Again mainly grey with purple upper arms and upper thighs, red shoulders and waist, black feet and a dark grey face. There are four chrome silver panels on his chest to match the collar and panels on his kneecaps. Again this is a clever colour scheme, with the grey allowing everything else to catch the eye. There's more red, which makes things a little more interesting, which is appropriate for his primary mode. The eyes are transparent orange, but without glitter, and the lamp sits inside this orange piece. There's a red sticker on the top of his chest with a Decepticon logo in the middle, in case you were wondering what side he's on (purple and grey is a common colour set for Decepticons, mind you).
Galvatron stands a lot taller than Megatron, in fact he stands over most Decepticons of his era, which seems appropriate for such a powerful character. The bodyshape is good, which should be the case for a toy with fantasy alt modes, but with the electronics included some toys end up pulled out of shape, so I'm very happy that this robot form is good. The face is well sculpted and quite detailed, although in dark grey it's easy to miss. The crown on his head looks good, and is a simplified version of that we see on both cartoon & comic Galvatrons.
The electronics are again functional, accessible through the black button now on his groin (I'm not going to delve into that!), with the sliding switch now partially obstructed on his back, but still accessible. The sounds are the same while the light now shines through his eyes, and does so quite brilliantly. The dark grey of his face provides an excellent backdrop for this bright orange lamp. The barrel on his arm no longer lights up, but is still a central feature of this robot mode.
The poseability is pretty good for a G1 toy with electronics, even if it is mostly limited to his arms. The shoulders rotate and lift out to the sides while the elbows bend and can swing inwards. Granted, these joints are all part of his transformation but still bring Galvatron some meaningful articulation. There are "knee" joints towards the bottom of the thighs and some swing in the hips, allowing limited leg posing.
Like the cannon & pistol modes, the weakest point of this mode is it's reliance on easy to lose pieces. The mount plays no part in the other modes and hence is fairly easy to lose, and without either that or the orange barrel, Galvatron will be without his signature weapon. The black handgun (which I don't have) is a side issue compared to this main weapon, although at least the robot mode is still a robot without the arm cannon. Assuming you have everything this is a good robot mode that's fun to play with. Again Galvatron makes great use of his colours, despite not being very show accurate. The large arm cannon makes him a great display piece, to boot.
The original, which I've covered here is grey with purple. In late 2005 Takara reissued him in cartoon colours, while in early 2006 eHobby released a grey version which has some yellow highlighting, as Galvatron II from the Marvel comics. Both reissue versions have a new set of sounds.
While it's not quite the Galvatron that's central to Transformers: The Movie, this is a good toy and one that's certainly worthy of the Decepticon leadership. Both weapon modes are good, with the pistol mode great considering it's essentially an intermediate mode. The colours are good and the electronics work well, with reliance on loose accessories being his main weakness - 8/10