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Galvatron

Transformers Classics
by yo go re

In Transformers: the Movie, Megatron got his ass handed to him, had his body dumped in space, and was reformatted as Galvatron. Basically it was a big ploy to sell more toys, and it's been picked up by every version since - usually as a straight repaint of the line's existing Megatron toy. The new Universe line (also known as "Classics 2.0") has bucked that trend, by releasing a Galvatron who's entirely new.

Arrogant, powerful and ruthless, Galvatron has emerged to seize control of the scattered Decepticon forces. He has formed what was once a loose confederation of assassins and warlords into an army capable of threatening the entire universe. Rumors abound, but no one knows where he came from; they know only that he arrived, and swiftly crushed all opposition to his rule. Some Decepticons hope another leader powerful enough to challenge him will emerge, but most are too afraid of him to even hope for someone better.

Okay, that's a cool little easter egg most folks will never notice. In order to avoid spoiling the movie, the original 1986 Galvatron toy's Tech Specs made absolutely no mention of his origins or his real place in the Decepticon hierarchy - his function was listed as "City Commander," same as Ultra Magnus. Now, this bio does specifically state he's in command, but there's still no mention of Megatron. Is that a throwback to the original bio, or is history changing? Interesting!

Rather than some kind of futuristic space-cannon, this Galvatron turns into a fairly normal tank, STBLDF an Israeli Merkava. That may seem an unlikely choice, but hey, maybe he's an upgraded version of the "Ultimate Battle" Megatron, who was also a tank. In any case, the tank is detailed well, and looks like something you might actually see in service. Well, it has a big translucent orange barrel, but other than that. There are plates and hatches, seams and ventilation, and overall the presentation is very nice.

The tank turret turns, and though the barrel can't raise or lower, it can actually fire the included missile. The treads are just sculpted, of course, but there are four hidden wheels to move the tank around. There are extra weapons molded on the vehicle, and "GALV-25" is printed on both sides - a reference to the upcoming anniversary. Galvatron is 5¾" long, 3¼" wide and more than 2" high.

As you convert Galvatron (a surprisingly difficult process, for a Deluxe toy), you'll find two weird little "feet" that end up poking over his shoulders, but they have more joints than seems necessary to get them in place. Why? Because Hasbro's Japanese partner, Takara, designed this figure, and intended him to have a third "walking tank" mode. Hasbro, however, thought it looked stupid, and left it out of the instructions. Maybe the Japanese "Henkei! Henkei!" release will explain it, but there are several fanmodes floating around out there.

The shoulder-feet aren't the only problem Galavtron has in robot mode. Oh, he looks nice enough, with some definite parallels to the G1 figure (particularly the chest and head) and a surprising color scheme - while the tank was all-gray, with just a bit of silver, the robot introduces a lot of Galvatrony purple. The design isn't bad, if you don't mind all the tank kibble, but the engineering is poor.

To begin with, the balljoint that forms his left shoulder is ridiculously loose - in many cases, falling out of place as you open the package. Yes, it reattaches just as easily as it falls off, but it's too weak a connection to adequately move the hinge it's connected to, making transformation difficult. The kibble on his back doesn't lay flat, because of the underlying design of his torso. His right shoulder is just a plain swivel, of all things, but the backpack prevents him from turning it very far. Forget being able to have him raise his cannon and aim it, you have to dislocate his arm if you even want him to shake hands.

Galvatron could have been a great figure, but the way he's made... he's just disappointing. It's not a bad toy, once you fix his loose shoulder and figure out a way to work around his kibble, but coming up on the Transformers' 25th anniversary, should you really have to do that? His design could have been simplified, while still retaining the vehicle mode and his essential "Galvatron-ness," and things would have been much better. Now that I've used the glue trick to tighten up his shoulder, I like Classics Galvatron a lot better than I did when I first got the toy, but that just means I won't be returning him, not that I recommend him. Galvatron is merely adequate.


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