Wednesday 25 October 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Legacy Evolution Armada Universe Megatron

Transformers Legacy Armada Megatron 01

Release Date: June 2023
RRP: $54.99/£55.99

The Transformers Legacy line made quite the impact when it was revealed it would be featuring characters from across the franchise's 37-year history, and that doesn't look to be changing any time soon as the range moves into its second year with the Legacy Evolution line. After dipping its toes into Transformers: Armada with Starscream and Hot Shot, Hasbro are now moving onto to the big guns as both the Autobot and Decepticon leaders make their appearance. Transformers Legacy Evolution Armada Universe Megatron is an all-new mould and the first show-accurate remake the character has ever officially had, though he did receive a remoulded figure in 2015 as part of the Combiner Wars line.

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As a Leader class figure Armada Universe Megatron comes in one the larger variations of Legacy packaging, and when the artwork is as good as this the fact these boxes are now windowless feels much of an issue. Alongside the bold "Legacy Evolution" toy-line logo is some incredible new artwork of Megatron - poised to attack in robot mode and mid-fire in alt mode. This alt mode artwork is repeated on one side of the box alongside bust artwork of the robot mode, while the other side of the box features more general Legacy Evolution artwork showing off some of the other figures available in the range. One the back of the box you'll find two large images of the toy in both modes, together with smaller images showing off its various functions and the now-familiar "steps to transformation" image. Inside Megatron is packaged in alt mode, fixed to a cardboard tray. The front end of the gun barrel has been removed and stored separately in the bottom corner.

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Megatron's alt mode is that of a Cybertron H-Tank, which as the name suggests sees his limbs create the shape of the tank's body while his head sticks out at the front. In any other transformation this might seem a bit lazy, but with his face completely obscured and those beetle-like horns/antlers facing forward like a pair of claws it makes the vehicle that extra bit imposing. The alt mode is an excellent recreation of the original Armada design and toy, making a few slight changes here and there but overall keeping the colour scheme and colour placement intact. The original had a little more in terms of functionality due to the added Mini-Con, but at least things like the missile pod hatches have been made part of the moulded detail here so that they aren't completely left out.

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Megatron's tank mode isn't exactly loaded with features, but it being able to do the standard functions of a tank is more than enough since that isn't always a guarantee with Transformers (although admittedly it's a bit more expected on a Leader class figure). In addition to multiple free-rolling wheels Megatron's tank turret can rotate, though strangely it's locked to around 255 degrees rather than a full 360. That's fine though, because that's still more than enough rotation to make it look good. The gun barrel can also raise a full 90 degrees as well as even lower somewhat, meaning Megatron can fire towards the ground as well as straight up.

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After a relatively straightforward 23-step transformation that isn't too far removed from the original toy, gaze upon Megatron's robot mode in all its glory. Again while there is a little bit of stylising here and there it's a really faithful recreation of Megatron's original design, which is great for those who are just looking for an updated version of a now 20 year-old toy. Even the moulded detailing is fairly consistent with the original, with perhaps just a bit more going on with the grey forearms to synch better with the rest of the design. As you would expect, the cannon can either be slung to the side behind Megatron or brought forward to sit underneath his right arm. Megatron sports two different moulded hands - a closed fist right hand and a slightly open left hand, although both are capable of holding any accessories you may have in mind for the toy. The horns/antlers are also flexible so can be pulled outwards for a more diagonal, or just removed entirely should you feel like it.

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The original Transformers: Armada figures might still be top of their game when it comes to sculpting, back in 2002 articulation wasn't quite what it is today so to get a fully articulated Megatron to this level really is an exciting prospect. Altogether Megatron features;
- Ball jointed head
- Swivel hinge shoulders and hips
- Hinged elbows, knees and ankle tilts
- Bicep, wrist, torso and waist swivels
The toe and heel portions of the feet are also hinged, and although that's more to do with transformation design those parts can be used for balancing in more dynamic posing. It is worth noting that there is some arm restriction as the shoulder pylons themselves aren't jointed, and instead those front cover pieces (the ones with the Decepticon insignias) lift up to give the arms more forward movement. It isn't ideal, but it is accurate in that seems to be how his arms worked in the cartoon as well (toy art is a different story entirely). But knees, knees on a cartoon-accurate Armada Megatron figure! It's a rather strange design with a fair few fiddly bits, but even with only the slightest movement this figure still manages to look dynamic. After all not only is he the leader of the Decepticons, but he's also practically a walking battle-station with that level of firepower.  

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Although Megatron doesn't have any accessories there are a few cool little features that you can utilise in robot mode. The front half of the tank barrel can be removed and plugged onto either wrist, which is done by flipping the chosen hand back inside the forearm to reveal a 5mm peg. This gives Megatron a G1 Shockwave-esque gun hand, which honestly doesn't really add much to the overall look but is an interesting play feature nonetheless. Far more interesting however is the figure's "Evo-Fusion" gimmick, which is a replication of the original toy's Full Blast Mode. In this mode Megatron's abdomen section swivels around, bringing the tank turret to the front of his body. From here the tank turret (or "chest-mounted fusion cannon") can point directly forwards, along with and additional two orange gun barrels above it that can both lift upwards and swivel outwards. In the absence of the main Transformers: Armada gimmick, it's great to see key functions from the original design being brought forward - especially since this is something Megatron utilised on the show too. Hopefully it'll also mean that if a Legacy Tidal Wave figure does come that Megatron is fully prepped to combine with it as well.

But ultimately it's the same disappointment here as it was with the rest of the Legacy Armada figures - where are the Mini-Cons? As arguably the most iconic thing of the series it just seems bizarre that Hasbro omitted these from the figures entirely, although with the reveal of Powerlinx Hot Shot coming with Jolt the notion that Hasbro held them back just so there's more incentive to buy the Powerlinx repaints doesn't seem too farfetched. Even if they just released Leader-1 as a core class figure somewhere down the line, it would be nice to have Megatron with his partner Mini-Con without having to buy a whole new figure to do it. In the meantime, if you really want an accessory for Megatron he hold the Star Saber that came with Starscream - though it is a little undersized to say the least.

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G1 and Beast Wars have been getting plenty of love for some time now, so it's amazing to see Hasbro finally explore some of the other corners of the Transformers multi-verse and Legacy Evolution Armada Universe Megatron has to be one of their most fun offerings yet. Unlike the weirdly stylised Animated and Prime offerings the line has been churning out, this figure perfectly captures Armada Megatron as he should look - with changes to the design kept to a minimum. Though the Mini-Con gimmick may have been sadly nixed, this figure more than makes up for it with its fantastic sculpt, a straightforward but nonetheless fun transformation, good articulation and a nice throwback in the shape of one of the original toy's gimmicks. More of this please Hasbro.

1 comment:

John Hood said...

An excellent review of an excellent Transformer! I was about to order him when Transformers Legacy United Commander Class Beast Wars Universe Magmatron was announced at Hasbro Pulse Premium 1027!