TRANSFORMERS: ANIMATED (HASBRO)
“Commander of the Cybertron Elite Guard, Ultra Magnus is the most powerful Autobot warrior in the galaxy. He has trained for hundreds of years in all forms of fighting known on Cybertron, and several other planets. No Autobot is more courageous, or more dedicated to the protection of life and freedom. He is a master tactician who has never been beaten on the battlefield, and was instrumental in driving the Decepticons from Cybertron and into deep space.”
Yesterday, I took a glimpse at the G1-inspired Transformers: Classics, which was a lead-in, but on the flip-side of the live action Transformers movie in 2007, was another reinvention of the franchise, this one, much like the movies, aiming at updating the G1 core cast into an all-new universe. The result was Transformers: Animated, perhaps one of the franchise’s most popular incarnations, at least as far as the fanbase goes. Despite not being part of the movies, Ultra Magnus never the less found himself with a fairly well-sized role in the show, and, by extension, it’s toyline. Dig it.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Ultra Magnus was released in the second Leader Class wave of the Transformers: Animated tie-in line, which hit in 2008. He’s quite a sizable fellow, standing just shy of 9 inches tall in his robot mode. He’s also got 19 workable points of articulation in that form. Like the rest of the line, Magnus was pretty closely patterned upon his in-show animation model. Magnus’s Animated design does a lot to keep the most classically “Magnus” elements present for the character, while at the same time, trying to remove him a bit more from Optimus’s design, as well as making the robot mode one self-contained thing, rather than the armor up type thing of the G1 figure. I’ve always found it to be one of the strongest designs to come out of Animated but I’m admittedly a little bit biased on that front. I mean, sure, there could be more presence to the shoulders, because that’s really where the most Magnus-y elements lie, but I suppose what he’s got going on here will do. Obviously, when it comes to the sculpt for this figure, there are some concessions made in order to translate a 2D character model into a 3D toy, but for the most part he stays quite faithful. Mostly, he gets a few more squared off angles than in the cartoon, as well as getting a few additional details that aren’t seen on the animation model. These extra details aren’t enough to overcrowd the design, however, so they’ve been pretty well placed; mostly, they just make the larger canvas of the figure a little more interesting to look at. Magnus had an action feature that allowed him to “talk.” Pressing the insignia on his chest plays one of three clips of him speaking, as well as lighting the eyes up, and moving the mouth and brow a bit to make it look like he’s actually talking. It’s certainly gimmicky, but it’s pretty fun, and, most impressively, it doesn’t really take away from the figure when it’s not in use. Unobtrusive action features are always the best, really. In addition to the talking thing, Magnus can also make use of his various built-in weaponry, in his shoulders and on his back, granting him all sorts of fire power. Or, if you’re a fan of Magnus with a hammer (and why wouldn’t you be? That’s, like, peak Magnus), he also includes his Magnus Hammer, which is quite an impressive piece.
In the cartoon, Magnus’s alt-mode got an update, going from the previous car-carrier set-up to a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck, which I guess better fits with his “I’m just a soldier” ideology? I don’t know. It looks pretty cool, so I can’t really complain. The figure, predictably, follows suit with the alt-mode change-up, and does a pretty alright job of translating the animation design for the vehicle into toy form, albeit with a lot of the same caveats as the robot mode. The transformation sequence isn’t too rough on this guy, and even gets its own set of sound effects, which are, again, gimmicky, but not in the way of the actual functionality, so that’s alright by me. The Magnus Hammer gets its own spot in the transformation, and he still has access to all of the built in weaponry in this mode as well, which is pretty fun.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I wasn’t really doing Transformers when Animated was around. Which is a shame, really, because there’s a lot of cool stuff surrounding it, this guy included. After getting into the franchise, and especially after I started delving into the older Magnuses, this guy was very high on my wants list, but I was really just patiently waiting for the right one to show up. The same collection that had yesterday’s Classics Magnus also had this one, and Max gave me the heads up on him as well. I wound up getting him right in the middle of a somewhat stressful week last summer, and I sort of reset myself a bit by sitting down and transforming him back and forth a few times. It was actually really nice. This figure’s really just a fantastic piece, and definitely the height of the Animated line for me, though, again, I may be a touch biased.