#2748: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

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.

#2747: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS: PLATINUM EDITION (HASBRO)

“Ultra Magnus is an inspiration to the Autobots under his command, and a source of terror for the Decepticons who fight against him. His ancient hammer – a mighty artifact known as the Forge of Solus – is a symbol of strength with which he defends Autobot ideals. The thunderous strike of this incredible hammer has been known to topple even the greatest Decepticon warriors.”

While Transformers: Animated was certainly a success, the cartoon proper was partially financed by, and therefore partially owned by, Cartoon Network.  Hasbro was, at the time, looking to get into their own side of the media thing, launching their own television network, the Hub.  Along with re-runs of some of the older Hasbro-based shows, they also had some original programming, including a new animated series, Transformers: Prime.  Joining the show in its third season was my boy Ultra Magnus, voiced therein by veteran actor Michael Ironside.  I looked at one of Magnus’s show-based figures already, but today, I’m looking at one more.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus was released, not as part of Prime‘s direct tie-in toyline, but instead as part of the Transformers: Platinum Edition line, as well as part of Hasbro’s “Thrilling 30” initiative celebrating the franchise’s 30th anniversary, where he was numbered 3 of 30.  He was released in 2013, through both Big Bad Toy Store and Toys R Us.  In his robot mode, Magnus stands 9 inches tall and he has 21 points of articulation.  As a post-show-appearance Prime Magnus figure, he’s actually based on the character’s show design, rather than the earlier toyline-exclusive design.  Much like the Voyager Class version of the character I looked at last year, this guy is built largely from Optimus parts, specifically the Weaponizer Class Optimus from the Prime line’s first year.  He’s got a new head, shoulders, and chest plate, which bring him in line with the changes to the Optimus model made for Magnus in the show.  The new parts go well with the old, and he certainly looks the part.  He keeps Optimus’ internal weaponry gimmick.  Pressing the button on his left side, launches two spinning guns over his shoulders.  They’re pretty cool, though one of them spins just a bit longer than the other, which is somewhat amusing.  Magnus includes the Forge of Solus Hammer, which is quite a sizable piece of plastic on its own.  I definitely dig it.  He’s also got a small white gun piece, which is alright, but not quite as Magnus-y.  His color scheme departs from the Beast Hunters version, which was itself not super cartoon-accurate.  This one changes the blue to a better match, and changes the hands to a proper red, but swaps white for the sections that should be grey.  It’s not a terrible set-up, though.

Ultra Magnus’s alt-mode, much like the smaller figure, is a truck mode, very much similar to the one that Optimus had.  It’s notably a little differently handled from how the smaller version did things.  Rather than the extra plastic added by the new shoulders being shifted to the top and back of the truck cab, it’s now be changed into some additional armoring around the sides.  It’s honestly not as convincing from the front, but it’s really just as much of a trade off as the other one in the grand scheme of things.  The weapons gimmick is still usable in his vehicle mode, now launching from beneath the front grill of the truck.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This particular copy of this particular Ultra Magnus is nifty, because he’s actually been owned by three separate All Time Toys employees over the years.  He was first owned by Pat, who traded him in 2019 when downsizing his Transformers collection.  I was planning on snagging it then, but Max wound up snagging it first (this was before we’d really established the precedent of me getting first dibs on Magnuses, so we were still operating on him getting first dibs on Transformers), and then Max ultimately brought him back in last year, at which point I got him, and boom, here we are.  It’s funny, because I actually got this figure before a bunch of the other Magnuses I’ve picked up, but he got set to the side for a while, and now he almost feels kind of quaint, I suppose.  He’s certainly fun, and also one of the largest Magnus figures I own, which I suppose is pretty neat.

#2746: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

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.

#2745: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS: CLASSICS (HASBRO)

As commander of Autobot City on Earth, Ultra Magnus commands the most powerful forces ever assembled, of which he is among the greatest. He was given the honor of City Commander by Optimus Prime because of his superior intelligence and incredible might as a warrior.”

Man, I really enjoyed reviewing that Ultra Magnus figure yesterday.  Perhaps I’ll review just one more.  Okay, I’ll be up front with you: that’s a bald-faced lie.  I’m not just reviewing one more Ultra Magnus.  This is low-key gonna be a Magnus week. Okay, that was another lie; it’s not gonna be low-key.  It’s just a Magnus week.  Deal.  I don’t have time for your complaining now.  What I do have time for, however, is another Ultra Magnus review.  Let’s get on that, huh?  For today’s focus, we jump ahead from 2001 to 2007, just before the release of the first live-action Transformers movie.  Ah, a simpler time.  The movie was pushed back from 2006 to the summer of 2007, so Hasbro opted to fill this gap in the schedule with some G1-inspired re-imaginings, dubbed Classics.  It’s not a huge line, and was driven at least in part by use of repaints.  Hey, Ultra Magnus can be a repaint!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus was originally packed alongside Skywarp in the Target-exclusive “Battle for Autobot City”, a 2007 addition to the Transformers: Classics line.  In an effort to keep with the whole “just doing repaints” thing they were going for to expand the line, Hasbro opted to neglect Magnus’s distinctive fully armored look, in favor of just recreating the inner bot what looked like an all white Optimus from the original release.  I suppose that’s fair.  In his robot mode, he stands about 6 inches tall and has 20 workable points of articulation.  Unsurprisingly, his sculpt is a complete re-use of the Classics Voyager Class Optimus Prime figure.  As far as Optimus sculpts go, this one certainly is one.  Okay, fine, I’ll actually go into more detail, I suppose.  This sculpt is a pretty good example of exactly what the Classics aim was, updating the classic G1 toy into something that felt more modern in the era of 2006, and definitely serves as the precursor to the likes of the War For Cybertron trilogy.  It doesn’t strive so much for animation accuracy as later versions would, opting for actually updating the character’s design somewhat, while still keeping all of those touch stone elements.  It’s an updated Optimus design that’s not just lifted from other media, and that’s honestly pretty cool.  For the most part, it’s a pretty decent sculpt, but it does suffer from some rather awkward kibble, especially when it comes to the forearms.  Effectively, the sides of the cab from the truck mode are just one flat piece, so they just have to hand there on the sides, and they never really look all that natural.  It’s definitely the figure’s main flaw in robot mode.  Magnus, of course, changes up the color scheme, going for his usual predominately while look.  It does stray a little further than usual from his vintage equivalent, swapping out the white lower legs for blue, and giving him black hands.  I think the lower legs thing was probably an attempt to give him more of Magnus’s usual color scheme, since they weren’t able to do a whole proper Magnus.  Like the Optimus figure, Magnus included two gun pieces, which are also part of his transformation.

Said transformation has him turning into a more modernized (at least, circa 2006, anyway) style of truck cab.  It definitely feels more like an Optimus alt-mode than a Magnus one, but I guess most Magnus alt-modes are an Optimus alt-mode first and a Magnus alt-mode second.  It’s not a half bad design on it’s own, and it’s aided by the guns turning into his smoke stacks and the top of the truck respectively.  The top of the cab does have a little trouble staying secured, but otherwise the transformation process works pretty well, and it’s not overly complicated.  Even more of the blue is evident in the truck mode, and I actually think it works pretty well for the design.  In general, the vehicle mode does seem more cohesive than the robot mode, so I’ll give it the win there.

THE UNOFFICIAL TOTALLY NON-SANCTIONED ADD-ON ITSELF

Transformers has a rather intensive and expansive third party market of all sorts of items to improve your official figures, or even outright new figures to accent your official figures.  Or outright new figures to accent your other non-official figures, depending on how you go.  In 2007, it was in a far more primitive, much less intense state, but Magnus played a rather sizable part in changing that.  Classically, both Magnus and Optimus are trucks with a trailer of some sort, but for the purposes of Classics, neither of them got the trailer.  For Optimus, he’s still the core bot, but for Magnus, that missing trailer means he lacks the robot mode that most people actually associate with the character.  Enter Fansproject’s TFX-01: the City Commander.  Right out of the box, it’s in trailer mode, measuring about 7 inches in length.  It’s not really patterned on Magnus’s car carrier mode quite so much, relying a bit more on Prime’s usual trailer, again keeping the vehicle more tied to Prime than Magnus.  That said, it does mesh pretty well with the cab of the truck, and they even managed to get the four extra wheels on the back end to match up pretty closely to the ones on the figure proper.  The color scheme again sticks with a lot more blue than G1 Magnus in this mode, but I like it, and it continues the visual theme that Hasbro started nicely.

Of course, the main appeal of this set wasn’t so much giving Magnus a trailer, as much as it was giving Magnus that fully formed, armored appearance that we all know and love.  The transformation process from trailer to armor is a rather involved set-up (I definitely made good use of the comic book-style instructions included), with a lot of partsforming and moving pieces.  Ultimately, it’s not terribly far removed from the likes of the War For Cybertron Magnuses and how their respective armor up features work.  You disassemble the trailer, reconfigure the smaller pieces, and clip them onto the Classics figure.  The resulting armored up Magnus now stands about 8 1/2 inches tall, and is a big ol’ chunk of plastic, just like he should be.  The armor’s definitely boxier and blocker than other Magnuses, taking things a slightly more divergent direction from the G1 toy than later official Hasbro pieces.  You can very definitely feel the era of this item’s release creeping into the design, but I can really dig what they were going for, at it fits pretty seamlessly with the other Classics style figures.  The head goes a bit more robotic for Magnus, which is different, but still not a bad look, definitely in keeping with that diverging from the G1 figure the other direction.  He also at least slightly addresses the issue with the cab doors on the forearms, mostly by just making the forearms much larger in general, and thereby giving the doors somewhere to more properly sit.  Rather amusingly, that portion’s really the only bit of the underlying robot you can still really see.  The colors do a good job recalling the original Magnus, while also being a really good match for the colors used on the Classics figure, which is certainly a plus.  While the original piece didn’t actually have any sort of official logos or anything, mine did get at least the one repro label Autobot insignia, making him feel a little more official.  After you’ve got the whole armor set-up placed on the figure, you’re left with a chunk of the core trailer parts, which, again in keeping with the era of this release, can be folded up into an absurdly large gun/cannon thing.  It’s so goofy, but I love it.  There also were a few add-ons to this add-on, which is where mine got the shoulder mounted rockets, as well as the more G1-inspired rifle piece, both of which are pretty fantastic in their own right.  There also exists a slightly more G1-based alternate head, but I don’t actually have that one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My love for Magnus is predominately linked to his full armored appearances, since that’s what I actually think of when I think of the character.  With that in mind, I’ve been largely steering away from the “just a white Optimus” Magnuses as I’ve been tracking down older ones, and that meant Classics wasn’t high on my list.  I knew of the City Commander add-on kit’s existence, of course, but it’s not the most easily found thing, and even the Classics Magnus isn’t exactly growing on trees, so getting them both seemed like a bit of a long shot.  Boy, am I one for long shots, apparently.  Last summer, Max gave me a heads up on a sizable Transformers collection that was coming into All Time, and said Classics Magnus was in there.  I was about to pass, but then he followed it up with “and they also have the add-on set with the armor.”  And that’s when he got me.  Kinda hard to say no to getting the whole package all at once, isn’t it?  As my first real venture into the whole third party thing, I will say this was certainly a fun piece, and is a nice sort of precursor to the sorts of things that Hasbro would begin doing in-house.  I do really like him, quite a bit.

#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?

#2719: Autobot Elita-1

AUTOBOT ELITA-1

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON TRILOGY (HASBRO)

“Search for Alpha Trion” introduced a radical new concept to Transformers: women!  Okay, actually, it introduced gender in general, since previously they were just robots, and technically genderless.  Then these supposed “fem-bots” came along, and everything got kinda gendered…I guess.  The episode reveals that not only are there a force of female Autobots running around on Cybertron, but also that they had their own equivalent to Optimus Prime in his female counterpart, Elita-1 (whose name even has a similar root translation of “Best First”.  Pretty clever, right?).  Though central to “Search” and a fixture throughout the franchise’s various incarnations, Elita has remained a slightly less frequent choice for toys, which is really a shame.  Like Bumblebee, she was a character given a rather sizable role in Netflix’s War For Cybertron adaptation even before getting a toy in the accompanying toyline, and also like Bumblebee, she got her first War figure courtesy of the Walmart-exclusive tie-in to the show.  I’m taking a look at that particular figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Elita-1 was released as part of the second Deluxe Class assortment of Walmart’s exclusive War For Cybertron tie-in line, alongside Bumblebee and re-decos of Wheeljack, Red Alert, and Impactor.  In her robot mode, Elita stands roughly 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 24 workable points of articulation.  While these figures are theoretically meant to be more show accurate, Elita joins Bumblebee in being, well, not.  I mean, she’s not *incredibly* far off, I suppose.  The basics are there, but as I touched on in Bumblebee’s review, it’s a case of Elita’s show model being one of the few that didn’t have a pre-existing toy CAD file to work from, meaning it’s not quite as play-tested and ready to go as some of the others.  So, she is instead built on the underlying structure of the Earthrise Arcee mold.  It’s not an awful choice, since they’re supposed to be rather similar in design, and they did just tool up the Arcee mold and everything.  She does get a fair portion of new parts to differentiate, with a new head, torso, pelvis, and shoulders.  They do quite a respectable job of changing up the look, especially the silhouette.  I quite like the new head sculpt, and I do like how the new torso actually gives Elita a slightly different body shape than Arcee.  There was some confusion regarding the shoulders for this figure; initial renders showed unique shoulders, but early production samples had Arcee’s more simplified shoulders.  In hand, however, she’s back to the unique ones.  Also the subject of some changes was Elita’s paint scheme.  The exact placement of the darker red and tan sections changed around a bit between renders and then the final product, with the final settling on full red for the lower arms and tan for the lower legs, as opposed to the reverse.  It’s a pretty nice set-up, and what’s actually painted is nice and clean.  Elita is packed with the same weapon that was included with Arcee, molded in a darker transparent blue.

Elita-1’s alt-mode is exactly the same as Arcee’s.  Now, as you may recall, I was not much of a fan of Arcee’s alt-mode.  I didn’t actually refer to it as “garbage,” but I certainly thought it.  I thought it a lot.  With that in mind, prospects weren’t high for this figure. If I’m entirely honest, it didn’t bug me quite as much as I expected it to.  I don’t really think it’s because I like it any more, but more because I just knew what I was getting this time, and didn’t really get let-down by it this time around.  The transformation scheme’s still kind of involved and not super fun, and I’m still not really convinced by the final product or its playability.  But, I suppose it could be worse.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve been watching the admittedly less than stellar Netflix show’s two seasons, one of the few things I didn’t hate was Elita and her Cybertronian crew.  So, I was definitely looking to get her for my collection.  With Max’s help, I was able to get both Soundwave and Bumblebee from this round back before the new year, but I wasn’t able to snag and Elita quite as quickly.  I happened to mention to Max just the other week that I was still looking so if he *happened* to see her, I’d still be interested, and as luck would have it, he found her about 10 minutes later.  I’m certainly not complaining.  Elita’s got a cool design, and she makes for a decent toy.  Yes, she inherits the same issues Arcee had, but she’s also got the same strengths.  That means she’s got a kick-ass robot mode, and I’m not gonna knock that.

#2699: Grimlock & Autobot Wheelie

GRIMLOCK & AUTOBOT WHEELIE

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Grimlock, Wheelie, and the Dinobots storm the Quintesson Courtroom to save Hot Rod and Kup from Quintesson judgement”

2021’s line-up for the core Transformers product lines is split between Beast Wars and Transformers: The Movie.  How about something that’s a nice transitional ground between the two?  Yes, it’s Grimlock, leader of the Dinobots.  They’re notable for being a group of G1 bots that *aren’t* vehicles in their alt-modes, which was a bit of a switch, huh?  They proved to be rather popular, I guess.  I mean, I think people like robots, and people like dinosaurs, so I suppose robots that turn into dinosaurs are a safe enough bet.  Well, it got me in the door for at least one toy, so let’s look at this here Grimlock figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Grimlock is the entire Leader Class component of the ’86-branch of Transformers: Studio Series.  He’s officially numbeded 86-06, making him the last of the Transformers: The Movie figures….so far.  That won’t be sticking, though.  Whatever the case, he’s the last of the first batch, and is likewise the last of them to arrive on shelves, getting in a few weeks behind the rest.  In his robot mode, Grimlock stands a whopping 8 1/2 inches tall and he has 22 workable points of articulation.  Grimlock is the largest of the post-War For Cybertron Leader Class figures, going back to almost Prime Wars scaling for the Leaders, which works well for Grimlock’s typically much larger size.  And, despite being much larger scale, his construction is still pretty solid, with minimal hollowed out points, which I’m always glad to see.  The smaller-scale ’86 Studio Series figures are generally lifted pretty directly from the movie’s animation models, which were generally a little more detailed than the corresponding cartoon models.  Grimlock’s was a little more simplified, especially given how little of the film he actually spent in his robot mode.  This figure’s robot mode is very definitely G1-animation inspired, but it gains some additional smaller details which bring his design more in line with the Siege/Earthrise figures.  That, coupled with the presence of the 5mm ports that the Studio Series figures have by-and-large dropped, points to Grimlock being a figure that was possibly meant for the main trilogy line, before moved over into Studio Series.  Regardless of its original intended placement, the sculpt is a very nice piece of work.  It’s a nice, solid, chunky sculpt, and a great fit for the character’s design.  Like I said when I reviewed Optimus, this isn’t the toy you had as a kid, but it’s as cool as you remember that toy being as a kid.  Grimlock’s color scheme was subject to a few changes over the course of production.  Originally, he was shown with flat yellow and a clear window piece on the chest.  We then saw him with that same set-up, but changing the neck of his beast mode to a transparent yellow.  For the final product, however, the neck was back to opaque, the window on the chest is a smokey color, and the yellow was shifted to a metallic gold.  The final product’s honestly the best set-up in my mind.  Grimlock is packed with a rifle weapon, as well as an articulated figurine of Wheelie, whom he spends a good deal of time with in the movie.  Wheelie is a non-transforming figure, but he does get articulation at the neck, shoulders, waist, and hips, can peg into Grimlock’s shoulder, and has his own included slingshot accessory.

Grimlock’s alt-mode is, as it usually is, a robotic (and historically inaccurate) T-Rex.  It’s got a pretty nice transformation sequence, and one that’s pretty intuitive and doesn’t have any notable issues or misalignments on my copy.  The final product is just as bulky and solid as the robot mode, and features a similar styling to the detailing, going heavy on the G1-look, but with a little bit of extra detailing.  He’s fairly posable in this mode as well, with the smaller arms in particular having quite an impressive range on them.  In this mode, Wheelie can again be placed atop Grimlock, though he doesn’t plug in quite as securely this way.  Still, I doubt he’s really going anywhere in either mode, and Grimlock is certainly impressive in either of his two modes.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Grimlock is one of those G1 designs that has always kind of stuck in my head, even though my direct experienced with him have generally been pretty limited.  He’s certainly got a distinctive visual in both of his modes, and I’d definitely been hoping for some version of him to be included in the “modern” lines.  This guy’s really quite nice.  He’s just a really solidly put together figure, and I’m not sure they’ll be able to top him.  Definitely another fantastic addition to the line.

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.

#2698: Bumblebee & Spike Witwicky

BUMBLEBEE & SPIKE WITWICKY

TRANSFORMERS: BUZZWORTHY BUMBLEBEE (HASBRO)

Despite his increased presence in the franchise in the last few years, Bumblebee has been without any major presence in the main core line of the toys since the beginning of the War For Cybertron Trilogy.  He’s gotten a couple of figures in Studio Series, of course, as well as the one notable exclusive figure from Walmart for the main line, but that’s admittedly kind of minor given how many Optimuses and Megatrons we’ve gotten in that same span of time.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s at least a little bit aware of the seeming lack of Bumblebees, and they’ve got a whole subline of stuff dedicated to him.  Isn’t that nice?  I mean, I think so.  Most of the line is re-releases, but there’s one new item in the starting line-up, a Bumblebee and Spike Witwicky two-pack, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Bumblebee and Spike Witwicky are part of the Target-exclusive Buzzworthy Bumblebee line, specifically under the War For Cybertron branding.  Though dubbed as a two-pack, the focus of the pack is really the Bumblebee figure.  He’s part of the newly launched core-class size, which is a slightly smaller scale at an appropriately smaller price point.  In his robot mode, Bumblebee stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 9 practical points of articulation.  Design-wise, this Bumblebee is definitely G1-inspired, though not quite as 100% cartoon accurate as some of the larger scale WFC figures have been.  There’s a little more stylization to this mold, and it matches up pretty decently with the other G1 figures we’ve seen from the core-class line-up so far.  The kibble is a bit more intensive on this robot mode, since his smaller scale makes folding such things up a little more difficult.  He’s also got some more hollow and exposed portions in robot mode, again thanks to the smaller size.  Ultimately, he’s pretty impressive for the smaller size, and he’s a fun little figure.  Bee is packed with a small blaster pistol, styled after his G1 weapon, which is pretty nifty.  He’s also joined by Spike Witwicky…or at least Spike’s exo-suit from Transformers: The Movie.  Spike’s about 2 1/2 inches tall and he’s got movable arms, and that’s it.  The sculpt’s pretty rudimentary, and is designed in such a way that you can’t actually see anyone inside of the exo-suit.  Silver lining: that means it can just as easily be Daniel!

Bumblebee’s alt mode isn’t the usual G1 VW Beetle, and is instead a more generic tiny little car.  Given the lower price point on this guy, the VW licensing probably wasn’t going to be worth it.  This is an okay alternative.  It’s generic, but not a terrible look.  It’s also a pretty easy transformation, and pretty fun to swap back and forth.  Spike’s also got an alt-mode…in theory.  You lay him down on his front and flip one panel over.  Boom.  He’s a…thing?  It’s a different thing, I guess?  I don’t know.  Hey, he’s pretty much an accessory; anything extra’s cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kudos go to Max for setting me up with this set.  I’m not in dire need of any of the Core Class stuff, and I was content with just the Walmart Bumblebee, but the inclusion of Spike’s exo-suit made this set a bit more worthwhile for me.  Ultimately, he’s not the star of the set, and he’s pretty basic, but the price point on this set is also low enough that it doesn’t really hurt too much to pick it up.  The Bumblebee being a nifty figure on his own helps things out too.

#2697: Black Roritchi

BLACK RORITCHI

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

Most of this week’s Transformers reviews are quite current.  Today is different.  You may ask “why?” and I would answer that I have this unfortunate habit of buying Transformers and then maybe kinda sorta forgetting that I even got them, for a space of at least a few months each.  This is especially true of the Generations Selects figures, which have a tendency to be more obscure characters, and also are repaints, occasionally of figures I’ve already got.  They’re kind one of those items that I use to fill out a week of reviews, and also the most frequently dropped items when I decide to rework my schedule.  All of this is to tell you, my dear readers, why there’s this one not-from-this-year review in the middle of this week.  Now you know.  And knowing is half the battle.  Crap, that’s the wrong in-house Hasbro property.  Well, let’s roll out, I guess.  There.  I said a Transformers thing.  Are you happy?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Roritchi was released as part of the Generations Select portion of the War For Cybertron Trilogy, falling under its Earthrise component.  He started hitting right at the end of last year.  Roritchi is another Modulator, like Greasepit.  He’s based on a previously Japan-exclusive concept, the companion piece to BlackZarak, a Scorpinok retool from the Super God Masterforce line, who was also the leader of the Guardminders from the cartoon of the same name.  I’m sure those are a bunch of words that make a lot of sense to a very large portion of my reader base, right?  Or at least a few of you?  Okay, to be fair, they only barely track for me, and I’m the one who wrote them.  In robot mode, he stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 22 workable points of articulation.  Black Roritchi is largely a parts re-use of the main line’s Fasttrack.  It’s a sensible choice, since the original was likewise a re-deco of the original Fasttrack, and his animation model was also recolored from Fasttrack.  The only change between the two figure’s sculpts is that Roritchi’s head has been modified to remove Fasttrack’s antenna, an erroneous change made due to Roritchi’s antenna being black, and the reference image from the cartoon having a black background.  Hey, at least they didn’t misspell his name twice on the box, I guess.  That would sure be embarrassing.  Honestly, at least this way he’s a little bit different from Fasttrack, making them at least a little bit unique.  Regardless of which character the sculpt is representing, it’s a solid generic looking Transformer design.  It moves well, and the details cover all of the important elements shown on the vintage figure, while also adding a few more elements in order to make him a more thoroughly detailed figure in general.  The original Black Roritchi was all gold with purple wheels, but this figure uses the Guardminder Leader’s coloring, so as to make him a little more visually interesting.  Roritchi includes two blaster attachments and a small dagger piece.  The blasters can go over the hands, but the dagger doesn’t have any similarly built-in uses.

Black Roritchi’s alt-mode is a Cybertronian tank sort of thing.  It’s the same thing the original figure turned into.  Since he’s a Modulator, he transforms into it via partsforming, rather than an actual transformation sequence.  It’s not quite as much disassembly as some of the others, though, so it’s ultimately pretty intuitive.  Unlike some of the other Modulators, he’s only got the one dedicated alt-mode, but he can still be broken apart for use with other figures from the line.  Personally, I didn’t really find him as versatile as, say, the Siege Weaponizers, but I can appreciate the option.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After grabbing Greasepit, I kind of got attached to the idea of picking up the recolors of the Modulators, rather than the standard versions.  I liked the standard Fasttrack design well enough, but I opted to go with the slightly more unique color scheme of this guy when the opportunity arose.  He’s a nifty figure.  Not really essential, but nifty.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2696: Cyclonus

CYCLONUS

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: KINGDOM (HASBRO)

Yesterday, I kicked things off in a decidedly not G1 fashion for this week’s Transformers reviews.  Today, however, I’m flipping the script, and going for the decidedly G1 fashion.  See, in addition to this year’s focus on Beast Wars, the main line is also splitting that focus to take a look at the other notable piece of media with halfway notable anniversary, Transformers: The Movie.  While most of the ’86 focus is in Studio Series, it’s overflowing a touch into Kingdom as well.  One of Galvatron’s two lieutenants, Scourge, made it into the Studio Series line-up, but his other secondary, and today’s focus, Cyclonus is instead part of the Kingdom line-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclonus makes up one half of the first Voyager Class assortment of Kingdom, alongside Optimus Primal.  He’s designed to be compatible with the Studio Series figures, so his design is generally closer to animation accuracy than prior main line figures.  In his robot mode, he stands about 7 inches tall and he has 25 usable points of articulation.  In contrast to the two Beast Wars figures I’ve looked at from the line, the articulation on this guy is pretty nicely designed and laid out.  The movement is pretty smooth, and he’s got a good range of motion.  The sculpt is very cleanly rendered, and followed the animation model very closely.  He’s appropriately sharp and angular, which is really how Cyclonus should be.  The kibble from his alt-mode folds up nicely into the robot mode, and doesn’t impede his movement.  Generally, it’s a nice, very solid sculpt, and the figure really has a nice heft to him.  Additionally, thanks to the design of the legs, it’s possible to adjust the height of the figure a little bit, thus replicating Cyclonus’ slightly variable size from the animation, which is certainly a cool touch.  Cyclonus is packed with his “Oxidating Laser” weapon, which is a pretty nifty looking sci-fi-esque gun.

Cyclonus’ alt-mode is a space jet fighter, just like it was in the movie.  It’s a pretty reasonable transformation process, that isn’t too difficult to get through.  It’s certainly not as fiddly as some of the Studio Series figures.  I did get a kick out of the Russian nesting doll-esque nature of unfolding the nose cone over and over again.  The end result is pretty decent, though I did have some trouble getting the mid-section to clip into place just right on mine.  I’m not sure if that’s an across the board thing, an issue with my figure thing, or an “Ethan’s not always great with Transformers” thing.  It’s certainly a minor thing, so there’s that.  Like the robot mode, the jet fighter mode is fairly animation accurate, and even has some fun little touches, such as fold out landing gear.  The Laser can be mounted to the top of the jet mode, for a more offensive set up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With the ’86 guys, I’m generally more of a heroes guy than a villains guy.  Because of that, I opted to pass on Scourge when he hit.  Cyclonus is a slightly different story for me.  He did have a tendency to get paired off against Ultra Magnus, and he’s also notable in the small handful of Transformers comics I’ve actually read.  Plus, there’s no denying that he’s got a pretty slick look.  All of that made it pretty hard for me to pass this guy up.  I’m glad I opted not to pass on him, because he’s quite a nice figure, and makes me feel not quite so bad about Kingdom as a whole.  Definitely my favorite piece of the figures from launch.

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.