#2925: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE (HASBRO)

Faithful readers will probably know that today marks my eighth anniversary of this humble little toy review site.  As with all of my anniversary reviews, I like to take a look at something that’s not quite your average day’s sort of significance, but is rather a little more special to me.  I’ve covered all sorts of various lines in these posts, mostly exploring my earliest days of collecting.  Because of this focus, Transformers is kind of out in the cold, since they’re mostly a recent addition to these collecting habits.  Today, however, I give them some time in the spotlight with, unsurprisingly, an Ultra Magnus.  Look, I like what I like, alright?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus was a Super Class scale release in Hasbro’s Transformers: Robots In Disguise line, hitting retail in 2001, alongside the similarly Super Class scale Optimus Prime (with whom he could combine to form Omega Prime).  In his robot mode, Magnus stands 10 1/2 inches tall and he has 21 workable points of articulation.  The legs are generally rather restricted, largely due to there not being any articulation until the knee, which is about 6 inches up the leg.  On the plus side, the arms get quite a bit of mobility, in classic Magnus fashion, really.  Magnus’s molds were repurposed from Takara’s Car Robots God Magnus figure, based on the animation of the same name, which was adapted into RiD‘s own cartoon equivalent here in the US.  As with the smaller scale Spy Changers version of the character, this Magnus is just all legs.  Just the absolute epitome of legs.  ZZ Tops “Legs,” but in Transformers form.  Guy’s got long legs is what I’m getting at, really.  Given his much larger scale, this release is, of course, a far more complex take on the same design, allowing for a lot more detail work, as well as the already mentioned improved articulation.  It marked a pretty radical change-up from the likes of the G1 line, where larger figures tended to be much more immobile.  At this scale, the kibble from his vehicle mode is also a lot less of an issue, making for a generally cleaner look for Magnus.  Magnus is packed with his “Blue Bolts” cannon, which can be configured into a few different layouts.  There are supposed to be two missiles for it as well, but they’re missing from mine.

Magnus’s alt-mode is an updated, more sci-fi-esque take on his G1-version’s car carrier mode.  The transformation sequence is quite involved, with a lot of moving parts, as well as some old-school partsforming, which requires the legs to be removed and reassembled as the actual car-carrier parts.  You definitely need to take some time to figure this one out, and I actually outsourced it to Max for the first transformation out of a paranoid fear of breaking the thing.  In his vehicle mode, he’s quite sizable, about 11 inches in length.  He’s large enough to hold three of the deluxe class cars from the line.  And hey, all of the wheels are actually working wheels on this version.  With proper rubber tires and everything.  All in all, it’s pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure is very special to me, for a lot of intersecting reasons.  While I was never a Beast Wars kid, something about the 2001 Robots In Disguise, and especially Ultra Magnus really stuck with me.  I very much wanted this figure as a kid, but at the time, I didn’t quite have the ability to articulate that to my parents, who mostly stuck to getting me the things they knew I liked, rather than the outliers (that’s not a knock against them, by the way; they were genuinely really good at getting me gifts I really appreciated, and I was also enough of a go-with-the-flow kind of person that I probably never once mentioned to them wanting this toy).  So, I never had this has a kid.  I didn’t have any Ultra Magnuses at all, until Siege, when the use of this guy’s alt-mode as a G1-style Magnus’s Cybertronian design was enough to get me in the door and create something of a monster.  For 20 years, this guy was on the back of my mind.

During the period where he was on the back of my mind, he was, at least at some point, on the forefront of the mind of Jason, owner of All Time Toys.  When Jason fought for custody of his oldest son Chance, he wanted Chance to have his own collection of things that the two of them could bond over.  For Chance’s first Christmas, Jason made it a point to go all out and get him some of the best Transformers he could.  This Ultra Magnus was included.  When things got complicated with the custody battle, Jason couldn’t spend Christmas with Chance, and those gifts had to wait.  But Jason won that battle, and Chance got that Christmas, even if it was a little late.

Fifteen years or so later, my crappy IT job that was slowly killing me laid me off in the middle of a pandemic, and I found myself needing full time job, which Jason gave me.  A month later, Jess and I got the news of her cancer, meaning that just as I left a situation that was slowly killing me, Jess was in one of her own.  The next year was unquestionably the hardest of my life, but Jason, Max, and Chance (who was now my coworker) were all there to help me.  In the midst of all that hardship, Chance decided to part with his Ultra Magnus, and gave it to me.  If I’d gotten it all those years ago, it would have never meant this much to me.  But now it’s got so much meaning behind it.  This is my very favorite Ultra Magnus.

#2744: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE (HASBRO)

My personal experiences with Transformers are, admittedly, slightly different from most of those within my age bracket.  I was exactly the right age for Beast Wars, and yet was never really all that enamored by Beast Wars, which I suppose is slightly odd.  Ultimately, the first incarnation that really grabbed my attention was Armada, but before that one hit, I did have something of an appreciation for its immediate predecessor, 2001’s Robots in Disguise.  Perhaps most notably, it proved my first exposure to the wonder that was Ultra Magnus, albeit in a slightly angstier form than usual.  RiD‘s tie-ins were rather brief, since it was really just filler, but there were two Magnusi of note, one big, and one small.  I’m looking at the small today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus was released in 2002, as part of the fourth and penultimate wave of the Basic Class-sized Spy Changers for the Robots in Disguise line.  They are, effectively, equivalent to modern day Core Class figures, or, before that, Legion Class.  Magnus and his wave-mates were notable for being new-to-the-line molds, based directly on the RiD characters, rather than being reissues of older G2 molds or releases of previously shelved molds.  Magnus is, of course, based on his RiD design, which was something of a departure from his classic design (though not as far removed as some of the others, including Optimus himself).  Pretty much, he trades in his shoulder pylons for extra leg height.  That’s important thing really.  This is a Magnus that does not, under any circumstances, skip leg day.  In his robot mold, Magnus stands 3 1/2 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  Yes, he can move at his neck and shoulders, as well as getting some weird side-kicks on the hips.  This Magnus can do splits, and isn’t that what you’ve always wanted out of a Magnus.  The sculpt’s not actually too bad, especially given the scale and style.  It makes for a reasonable approximation of Magnus’ show model in robot mode, and while it’s got a fair bit of kibble hanging off the back of it, it’s not terrible looking from the front, or really even at a slight angle.  Really, it’s just the arms, and the bit of the back with the front of his vehicle mode hanging off of it that are weird.  Honestly, weird’s probably not even the right word; they’re more rudimentary than anything.

Rudimentary is generally an appropriate word for a lot of things about this figure, including his alt-mode, or more specifically, his transformation into it.  You pretty much just collapse him down into his alternate car carrier mode.  It’s not hard at all, and takes all of 30 seconds, and that’s if you take a break in the middle to stop your hands from getting all cramped and stuff.  He turns into an okay approximation of his some what sci-fi looking truck mode from the show, albeit one that seems a little bit on the squat side.  He’s got two sets of working wheels, and three sets of non-working wheels, which does seem a little wonky, but again, at the scale and price point, it’s not the weirdest thing.  Probably the weirdest bit is that they painted one of the three non-working sets; why not just leave them all un-painted?  I guess I shouldn’t complain too much about extra paint.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

RiD was my first exposure to Ultra Magnus as a kid, and I thought he was just the coolest thing.  It’s amusing, in retrospect, because he’s a rather different take on the character, and not really the by the book Magnus I would come to love in later years.  I never had any Magnuses as a kid, which seems an awful shame, really.  I’ve been slowly amending that, and Max was here for the assist on this one in particular.  He was clearing out two large totes of Transformers junk from his garage, and this guy was in one of them, so he passed him along to me.  How thoughtful!  He’s not technologically astounding or anything, but he’s a fun little piece, and I can definitely get behind that.  Also, it’s another Magnus, so, you know, who am I to stop it, right?

#1504: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE

Another Transformers review?  Already?  It’s only been two weeks since the last one!  For someone who doesn’t really follow Transformers, I do seem to review a surprising number of them, don’t I?  Now, as I’ve said a few times in the past, my all-time favorite Transformer is Soundwave.  I tend to be drawn to figures of him.  Of my four Transformers reviews on the site, two are Soundwave.  But see, neither of them actually transformed.  Today’s review fixes that little wrinkle.  Let’s roll out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave was released in the 10th Warrior Class assortment of the Transformers: Robots in Disguise toyline, based upon the cartoon of the same name.  He’s a part of the “Combiner Force” sub-line of figures.  From what I’ve been able to figure out from my researching the subject, this Soundwave is based on the characters design from around Season 3 of Robots in Disguise.  To the outside observer, this means he roughly translates to a decent approximation of the classic Soundwave design.  In his robot form, the figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 19 points of workable articulation (counting his articulated shoulder cannon).  Given how restricted the actual movement on Jazz was, it’s actually pretty awesome just how many strides Hasbro has made improving that.  His sculpt is nicely handled.  Very clean, and lots if really sharp work, especially on the head.  He’s bulky, but sleek, and I dig the overall style.  Sure, the “real world” application’s sort of gone out the window, but I don’t mind so much.  He’s just a really cool looking robot design.  Soundwave’s alternate form this time around is some sort of a tank or something.  I’m not 100% sure exactly what it is, but I know it’s not a walkman, which does make me a little sad.  I’ll get over it.  There’s a 14 step process to turn him into the whatever it is, at least according to the back of the box.  I found 14 steps to be a little more fluid than the diagram on the back indicated and had a little trouble getting him to transform at first.  I did get it figured out in the end, and he makes for an interesting enough car-thingy, I suppose.  Soundwave’s paintwork is decent.  Not super complex or anything, but it works.  I dig the various transparent parts, and the light piping on the head is definitely a fun touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Why another Soundwave, you might ask?  Because sometimes I just really want to buy a figure, but there’s not anything new at retail.  And that’s when the Transformers start to tempt me.  Sitting there, looking kinda cool, and easily attainable.  A while back, I saw this guy and almost bought him, but talked myself out of it.  I ended up not seeing him again for several months, but I was admittedly not looking very hard for him.  Anyway, I was at Target the other night, trying to kill some time while Super Awesome Girlfriend was looking for a few things, and they had this guy there.  Since I hadn’t seen him, and he was relatively inexpensive, I figured he was worth it.  He’s pretty awesome, and I’m glad I grabbed him.  And now I’ve fulfilled my Transformers quota for at least a little while.