TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: KINGDOM (HASBRO)
“Ultra Magnus is all soldier. He is most comfortable when he is carrying out Optimus Prime’s orders – giving it all of his magnificent fighting skills, courage and gift for battlefield improvisation. And he is uncomfortable when the mantle of leadership is placed over his broad shoulders. He sees himself as a follower, not a commander, and is reluctant to assume authority until it is clear that he has no choice but to lead. And when he does finally lead, he is resolute, fair and courageous beyond reproach. He is ever-ready to sacrifice himself for the good of his companions and mission, and unstinting in his preparedness so that his ‘people’ will be as protected as possible.”
Oh, did you guys see this one coming? I bet you didn’t! Oh, yeah, it’s another Ultra Magnus! What a crazy turn of events! Who could have predicted this sudden and shocking twist? …Okay, so, yeah, we’ve got another Magnus today. I know, it’s very on-brand for me these days. But hey, this one’s new! It’s a much rarer occasion that I get to look at a new Magnus figure. Now, as I’ve brought up in the Studio Series reviews, this year marks the 35th anniversary of Transformers: The Movie, and Hasbro’s been using that as a reason to give us updates on most of the film’s core cast, split between Studio Series and Kingdom. Magnus found himself as a part of the Kingdom component, and, after a cameo appearance in this year’s April Fool’s Day post, I’m taking a look at that particular figure proper today!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Ultra Magnus is the new half of the second Leader Class assortment of the Kingdom line, packaged alongside a re-pack of the Beast Mode Megatron figure. As I touched on above, he’s designed to be compatible with the Studio Series ’86 figures, and is as such quite a bit more G1-animation-inspired than the Siege Magnus was. In his fully-armored robot mode, Magnus stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 20 workable points of articulation. This version of Magnus shares much of his engineering, and a few of his parts outright, with the Siege Magnus. Siege Magnus was one of that line’s best offerings, so it’s certainly not a bad starting point. The internal stuff is where most of shared parts are, as well as a good chunk of the arms and legs. The biggest changes are definitely on the figure’s upper half, which grants him an all-new head and shoulders, and well as a rather reworked chest piece, and an adjusted pelvis piece. The end result crafts the far more animation accurate exterior of the figure. It’s quite a bit cleaner, lacking most of the greebliness of the Siege sculpt. I appreciated the Siege set-up for what it was, but there’s definitely something that really works about the much cleaner animation-styled look. I also really like that they’ve adjusted the head sculpt to give Magnus the lenses over his eyes that he gained in animation, further differentiating him from the vintage toy style eyes on the prior release. The paint work does it’s fair part in continuing the animation look, as it strays from Siege‘s battle-damaged look entirely, crafting again a much cleaner appearance for the character. I also really dig the light piping added to this one’s head sculpt; it adds an extra bit of pop. Magnus is packed with the same larger rifle as both Siege releases (in a shade of silver between those two), as well as a revamped pair of shoulder rockets to match the cleaned up design. Mine actually came with two right rockets, rather than a matched set, but Max was nice enough to loan me his for the purposes of the photos. It doesn’t really bum me out too much, however, as I kind of like him a bit more without them on.
Much like his Siege counterpart, Magnus gets the inner robot mode underneath of his full armored appearance. For the most part, it’s not too far removed from the Siege figure’s inner robot mode. All of the sculptural changes are confined to the figure’s torso, which is the element that’s been most frequently changed on this guy. Since his torso is more or less just the cab from his vehicle mode, it showcases to change to the more Earth-mode set-up. Also, while the stock shots of this figure had the front end of the truck still all the way down on his back, giving him a rather unfortunately-sized back end, it does still slide up onto his back like the Siege version, which helps things look a little less awkward for him. The inner robot gets some subtle changes to his coloring, shifting to a starker white and a slightly darker blue, as well as losing the silver brushing. It’s a good look, but as with any Magnus, this one’s not going to be getting much time as the inner robot on my shelf.
Magnus’s vehicle mode borrows a lot from the Siege figure, but does try to change things up as much as possible in order to grant him a more G1-esque Earth-mode vehicle look. For the core cab, it works out okay for the most part. The actual cab follows the classic design fairly closely, and the front portion of it looks pretty good. The back end of it’s kind of just Magnus’s arms and legs just sort of sitting there, but that was true of the Siege version as well, and I wasn’t really expecting it to change here. Magnus’s armor still transforms into a trailer for the cab, and in fact changes into almost the same trailer that the Siege armor turned into. Some of the surface details are slightly adjusted, but the general set-up is identical. They’ve changed the exact connection to the cab, so it sits a bit further back, but it’s otherwise not really adjusted, and it doesn’t really look much like the G1 car carrier mode. In their defense, it’s kind of a necessary trade off, given how the armor up feature works, and how much of the armored up bot is the same as the inner bot. There’s just only so much you can do with those pieces, which is probably part of why the Siege figure went with the RiD style vehicle mode in the first place. I was initially a bit put off by this sort of slapdash feeling vehicle mode, especially in contrast to how spot-on the robot mode feels, but as I’ve had some time to mess around with it, the vehicle mode has grown on me a little bit.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I absolutely love the Siege Magnus, and he remains my favorite figure from that particular line-up, but with all that said, I did sort of have this nagging for perhaps a slightly more cartoon-accurate version of the character. With Earthrise redoing a lot of the Siege figures in slightly more accurate Earth-modes, I did sort of hope we might see a Magnus, but I knew it was a long shot. When Earthrise wrapped without an updated Magnus, I figured that was it, and was consigned to just be content with the Magnus I got. But, then the Studio Series 86 figures were leaked, and I was kind of hoping there might be a Magnus there…and then I got it on good word not too long after that this particular release would be coming. And, oh boy was I excited. He was initially slated for release over the summer, so that’s when I was expecting him, but All Time happened to get a couple of cases of him a little on the earlier side, and I happened to get mine from one of those cases, which I certainly wasn’t going to complain about. I think this guy’s my new favorite Magnus. He’s just really nice. The robot mode is definitely the real winning portion here, because man is it spot-on. The vehicle mode’s maybe not quite as strong, I suppose, but I definitely like it more than I’d expected to, and the overall package is just a really nice set-up. To me, this really feels as close to a definitive Magnus as we’ve gotten.
Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review. If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.