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Megatron

Transformers
by yo go re

To celebrate the release of Transformers on DVD, electronics giant Best Buy offered two exclusive toys: the Autobot Ratchet, and the Decpticon Megatron. To learn more about what a headache that was, see Monkey Boy's blog post. Now, we already had two movie Megatrons, in the Leader and a Voyager size classes, and neither of them was especially difficult to get. Did we really need a third Megatron, a straight repaint of the ice-bound Voyager Class version? Probably not, but does that mean you can ignore it?

Best Buy Megatron Locked in frozen stasis for hundreds of years, the vast and monstrous mind of mighty Megatron slept and dreamed of conquest. His conscious memory of that time is fragmented and confused - a stop motion zoetrope of images that filtered into his optic processors during periods of slight warmth. He remembers a vast herd of shaggy creatures nearly as big as himself; a tribe of tiny, primitive organics who worshiped his inert body as a god; the heat and fire of a battle likely fought over the incredible technology encased in his form. Now, for the first time however, he feels his entire body coming alive again as warmth and a complete sensorium return. Megatron rises again to functionality. He rises again to revenge.

In the movie, Megatron is some kind of crazy Cybertronian jet - in fact, he's the only character we see in a fully native Cybertronian form. Sure, we see the Autobots arrive in their protoforms, but those were the shapes they adopted for interstellar travel. It's not like they transformed into comets back home, you know? But Megatron's alternate mode was already space-worthy, so when the All Spark was blasted off from the planet, he could follow it right away. And since he didn't need to disguise himself on Earth, what you see is what he looked like on Cybertron.

no, really. The jet is definitely non-terrestrial. He actually looks like Energon Megatron, what with the odd wings on the back of the plane, and the two "prongs" on either side of the fuselage. Unlike all the other movie figures, there's no "real" object to compare the toy to, so you can't really judge the sculpt on that basis. It's got a lot of nice detail, but there's also a lot of unused space behold Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent and undeniable kibble, and there's more bulk at the rear of the toy than there was at the rear of the CGI model. The jet is 10¼" long, 2½" tall and has a 6" wingspan.

Actually, the wings would be wider, if they didn't fold down at the tips - you can pop them up and fold out some of the ice parts for an "attack mode," which is a big pincher blade controlled by a lever at the rear of the plane. The nosecone houses a missile launcher, which can bit tricky to fire - there's no separate button. The trigger is actually the entire underside of the launcher; push it straight back to shoot the missile. If you can keep your fingers out of the way.

The packaging lists the transformation as an "Advanced Conversion" - a 3 out of 4 - but that might be a bit inflated, especially since Megatron's head is visible the target look in jet mode and his legs just stretch out beneath the plane. There are several uses of "automorph technology" on the figure, and they work pretty well. Begin by splitting the front trident of the plane to form arms, but be careful not to put your fingers on the outside of the new shoulders, or they won't move. Straighten out the wingtips, and unhook the heels from the tail section. As you fold the legs down into place, the shoulders will raise up and the ice shield will lower to fully expose the face. Springs in the feet mean they automorph open when you stand him on a flat surface, and the wings fold flat against Megatron's back. In robot mode, he stands 6½" tall.

Based on what we saw in the film, that is undeniably undersized. Megatron seemed to be the largest TF in the movie, but you'd have to put him with the Legends Class Jazz for the scale to even be close. That's one advantage the Leader Class Megatron has over his little Mini-Me.

You might think that having the feet automatically close redeye themselves whenever you lift the robot would be annoying, but it actually works out nicely. Not only do they open easily when you put him down, but they position themselves automaticaly as you pose him. Lift one foot slightly off the ground? The toes keep contact, adjusting to keep him standing. Very neat. The ankles are balljointed, as are the knees and hips, while the waist is a swivel. There are two finger joints in each hand, the elbows are hinged, you can swivel the upper arms, and the shoulders have the range of balljoints. The head is a ball and socket for maximum movement. The wings' attack feature is still useable in this form, as well.

Megatron's design doesn't have as strong see his mighty fusion cannon a G1 connection as some of the other movie TFs, a fact which had the fanboys up in arms when he was revealed. One thing this version does have, though, is a giant blaster mounted on his arm. Two hinges hold the plane's nose on Megatron's arm, and you can nicely pose it like the classic cannon. Of course, it's attached to his left arm instead of his right, but you can fix that with a screwdriver if it really bugs you.

The fanboys hated the ice on this figure when the first pictures showed up online - those who didn't think it was some kind of joke swore they'd just remove the clear pieces when they got it home. Sorry, think again. Maybe the pieces on the shins and shoulders could go, but the one on his chest hides the head uh, blue? in vehicle mode, and the wings are completely made of the stuff. Just accept that this is the frost-encased version of Megatron, and live with it.

Best Buy's exclusive makes it easier to live with the ice than the standard release did. The reason that everyone was clamoring to get this version can be attributed to one fact: he has a new paint job. While the standard release had a blue-tinted gray for the body and translucent blue "ice," the exclusive is a great-looking silver with nearly clear ice. There are also more complex apps of black and gold to bring out the details. His face is still black, but his light-piped eyes now have a red app on them to make him more menacing. This is honestly what both of the standard Megatrons should have looked like.

Unlike Robo-Vision Optimus Prime, good luck ever seeing this box Best Buy Megatron doesn't get a nifty new name to set him apart from the standard Voyager release. His packaging just says "Megatron" and has a sticker with the Best Buy logo. Well, okay, it also points out the "limited edition metallic finish," as if you couldn't tell that for yourself. The box is a neat angular thing, with the red seen on all the movie packaging and a gray robot eye as the background. Megatron is packaged in robot form, further differentiating him from his mass-market brother.

Megatron is an oddity. The figure is small, the robot design isn't all that great, the alt mode is strange, the ice looks like feathers and half the transformation is less complex than the $4 version's. The only thing he has to recommend him over any other version of the figure is the color, and that's not saying much. And yet, I find myself playing with Megatron constantly. I don't think he's spent more than an hour in one mode or the other since I got him. He was totally worth the purchase, and if you have the opportunity to get him, you should. Just because of the paint, apparently. How weird is that?

Megatron isn't a must-buy; no version of him is. But if you're dead-set on buying a Megatron for some reason, the Best Buy exclusive is unequivocably the one to get. Because of the way Best Buy handled things, you're probably going to have to pay scalper's prices, but don't go too far above the $20 SRP, or you'll feel ripped off.


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