#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.

#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?

#2633: Ultra Magnus Merchandise

ULTRA MAGNUS PULSATING LIGHT AM RADIO & ELECTRONIC VOICE SYNTHESIZER

TRANSFORMERS: POWER TRONIC (NASTA)

As we come into the second day of the Post-Christmas reviews, I’m heading into some slightly uncharted territory.  Firstly, I’m looking at something Transformers related which, while not completely a first for Christmas gifts for me, is still sort of new and fresh, seeing as I’ve only recently really gotten into it.  And secondly, and in fact most differently, I’m not actually looking at action figures at all, but rather some action figure adjacent product.  It’s not explicitly a first for me, I guess.  I mean, I did review a stapler that one time, and that’s not even action figure adjacent.  That’s just oddball is what that is.  What am I getting at here?  Well, more or less that I’m not really reviewing action figures for the day.  Hopefully this will be just as good…or at least up to whatever the quality of my usual output is, anyway.  Whatever the outcome, I guess we should look at this Ultra Magnus Merch I got, huh?

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

The two toys in question are the Ultra Magnus Pulsating Light AM Radio and the Electronic Voice Synthesizer, both of which were produced in 1986 by Nastra under their Power Tronic brand.  They were both released to coincide with Transformers: The Movie arriving in theaters that same year, and to capitalize on Ultra Magnus’s role therein.  I can dig it.  Let’s first discuss the “Pulsating Light AM Radio,” a somewhat perplexing item.  I mean, if you’re going to make a Transformers-themed radio, wouldn’t it make sense to at least pick one of the characters who actually turns into sound equipment?  Or am I talking the crazy talk.  Given that I’m arguing against there being another Ultra Magnus thing, I may very well be talking the crazy talk.  The actual item’s not that crazy, I suppose.  It measures 7 1/2 inches tall, and is pretty much just a scaled up replica of the G1 Ultra Magnus’s armored head.  It’s not quite as human-esque as later Magnuses, of course, but I think that works somewhat to this item’s favor, because it looks a little bit more artistic, and less like someone’s just decapitated Ultra Magnus.  It’s molded in the same shade of blue as the figure, and uses silver paint for the appropriate details, which honestly looks pretty good.  The radio runs on four AA batteries, which are loaded into the Magnus’s “antenna” on the sides of his head.  There are dials on the back of the head for turning on and adjusting the volume, as well as tuning the station.  I was quite happy to find that the radio function on mine still works, however the pulsating light function sadly is no more.  Oh well.

The second item featured here is the Electronic Voice Synthesizer, which is clearly Ultra Magnus, but is not actually named as such on the item’s packaging.  The item allows the owner to “talk like a robot” by mouthing words into the plastic straw that pops out of the figure’s back, and is essentially a simplified version of an electrolarynx device.  They were somewhat common amongst licensed products in the ’80s, so Transformers getting in on the game is perhaps not the biggest shock.  The item stands 4 1/2 inches tall and actually does have articulation, with joints at both shoulders, and some slight movement on the neck.  Much like the radio, this item is clearly patterned on the G1 toy’s mold, just scaled way down this time.  It’s rather crude and rudimentary, and has a distinct lack of Magnus’s shoulder towers, but is overall an okay piece.  Rather than apply any paint to this one, he’s instead just molded in three different colors of plastic, meaning he’s more an approximation of Magnus’s color scheme than an accurate depiction.  The Voice Synthesizer runs on a 9-Volt battery, which goes in the base of the feet.  I haven’t tested mine because I just don’t really want to put my mouth on it, so, you know, there it is, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ultra Magnus is really becoming my main man when it comes to Transformers stuff, and I’ve picked up quite a healthy helping of Magnus-related stuff in the last year.  The stuff in the column of “what I don’t have” is becoming a bit more on the obscure side, and included these two, neither of which I expected to add to my collection quite this quickly.  I did add them to my collection quite this quickly, however, thanks to Jason from All Time Toys, who gave them both to me this year for Christmas.  They’re not standard action figure fare, but they are still a ton of fun, goofy fun, but fun to be sure!

#2502: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS PRIME: BEAST HUNTERS (HASBRO)

At the end of yesterday’s Soundwave review, I mentioned one more Prime figure coming along with him.  If you know really anything at all about my Transformers collecting habits, then it’s not even remotely surprising that the other figure was an Ultra Magnus.  He’s kind of my guy here.  Magnus was absent from the first two seasons of Transformers: Prime, but made his way to the show for its third and final season, which also meant he got in on the toys, one of which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus was released as part of the third Voyager Class wave of the re-branded Prime: Beast Hunters line.  In his robot mode, the figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 19 workable points of articulation.  Magnus’s sculpt is, of course, based on his cartoon appearance, which was notable, because he wasn’t the first Magnus figure in the Prime line-up, but he was the first to actually be based on his show look.  Said show look isn’t quite as far removed from the classic Magnus design as Soundwave was.  It’s really just streamlined and generally brought more closely in-line with how the show handled Optimus’s design, since the two are usually built out of at least *some* of the same parts.  That fully tracks with the actual construction of this figure, which borrows pretty heavily from the Powerizer Optimus Prime from earlier in the line.  Magnus gets a new head, chest plate, and shoulders, which bring him more in line with Magnus’s show design, and help to really sell them as, you know, different characters and all.  The new shoulders are in line with the usual Magnus tradition of big ol’ pillars on his shoulders, but are also functional, as they can shoot missiles out of the top…if you have them…which I don’t.  Also missing from my figure is his Forge of Solus, the big battle hammer this version of Magnus carried.  Not missing, however, is his wing-pack, because apparently Magnus needs some wings.  Hey, I can dig it.  What I can also dig, as show-inaccurate as it may be, is Magnus’s color scheme, which has that cool bright blue that the old toy did.  Most stuff these days goes with the more cartoon accurate darker blue, but I enjoy the brighter shade still showing up occasionally.  Magnus’s alt-mode is pretty much the same truck mode that Optimus got, them being mostly the same mold and all, but with a few surface details here and there changed.  It’s a transformation that’s a little tricky to get the hang of the first few times through, but I was able to get there, and it’s not so bad now that I have a few attempts under my belt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, obviously, I got this guy from Max, just like with Soundwave.  He knows I’m a Magnus guy, and he always keeps an eye out for the ones I don’t have, and he was nice enough to snag this one for me, also for my birthday.  Interestingly, the figure didn’t have any of his accessories when he got traded in, but Max has just so happened to have the wing-pack sitting on the shelf above his desk for over a year now, and was actually pretty excited that a matching Magnus finally came through.  And hey, it makes mine that much more complete!

#2432: Ultra Magnus Spoiler Pack

ULTRA MAGNUS SPOILER PACK

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON TRILOGY (HASBRO)

Okay, so, uhh, here’s something a little different, I guess.  At the beginning of the year, back when the world was still relatively normal, Hasbro debuted the trailer and accompanying toy line for their Netflix-based Transformers War For Cybertron: Siege cartoon, which is, of course, based on the toy line of the same name.  Despite the toys being pretty directly recreated for the animation (down to using the same CAD files), there’s still an even more-show-specific set of figures, which are a Walmart-exclusive here in the US.  At the center of this line is a rather gimmicky concept: a spoiler pack.  And before we get into any sort of confusion about this being a box of car parts, since that wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for a Transformers line, it specifically references spoilers for the show’s plot, although technically the contents of the box as well.  We found out fairly early on that the box contained an Ultra Magnus, but further details weren’t initially revealed…or at least they weren’t supposed to be.  I’m going to play nice to that small handful of people who might actually like to still be surprised when they open this thing.  If that’s you, the following review is technically a SPOILER, so you’ve been warned.

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#2332: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

THE TRANSFORMERS: COMMEMORATIVE SERIES (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.”

Last March, after firmly jumping aboard the Transformers train, I decided to take a look at the very first figure of my favorite Decepticon, Soundwave.  Well, as I’ve touched on at least once before in the last year, my favorite character on the Autobots side is Ultra Magnus, so it’s only appropriate that I take a look at his beginnings…more or less.  See, in 2002, Hasbro partnered with Toys R Us (in the US, at least) to put out reissues of some of the vintage Transformers.  Among these reissues was not-Optimus himself, Ultra Magnus, who I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus was released in Series 1 of The Transformers Commemorative series, alongside Optimus and Rodimus.  He uses the original G1 molds, meaning like his original 1986 figure, Magnus is a re-deco of Diaclone‘s Powered Convoy figure.  Unlike the relatively unchanged Soundwave/Cassette Man, Magnus was granted a wholly original color scheme from Powered Convoy (though early animation for Transformers: The Movie showed him in the Powered Convoy colors, and they would later see use as the separate Delta Magnus).  In his “Super Robot” mode, Magnus stands 8 1/2 inches tall and he has 8 points of practical articulation.  As with Soundwave, the vintage Magnus sculpt is definitely more rudimentary and basic than later versions would be, perhaps even a little less advanced than Soundwave.  Comparatively, Magnus is rather stiff and limited in his poseablity, with his only actual articulation in the super robot mode being limited to the arms.  It’s a fair bit of movement, in his defense, but you’re kind of limited by what you can do with him.  The sculpt proper is certainly a product of its time, but if you’re a fan of old robots (which I am), he’s certainly got a sort of charm about him.

Since Powered Convoy was an ugrade for the figure that would become Optimus Prime, that means that his super robot mode was really a sort of armor for a smaller figure, as we saw replicated on the Siege figure.  That said, the transition from super robot to standard robot is a whole lot simpler on this guy than the Siege release; you just take off the helmet, pop him out of the back of the armor, and put his hands in place.  And boom, white Optimus–I mean Magnus, who stands 6 inches tall and has 10 practical points of articulation.  He’s a minor retool of the same figure that would become Optimus, and like the larger figure, is kind of rudimentary in design.  He’s a little more poseable, with some joints on his legs, but they don’t amount to a whole lot.  He’s not quite as nifty as the fully suited up version, but it’s hard to compete with the chonk that is fully armored Magnus.  Magnus’s core alt-mode is a Freightliner, much like Optimus, but in white, with his armor transforming into a car carrier (which is sized to carry 4 normal Autobot cars).  The transformation is sort of a mid-way point between the Combiner Wars and Siege Magnus’, with more of an actual transformation like the CW, but still a touch of Siege’s parts-forming.  Magnus is packed with a blaster rifle (designed to work with both of the robot modes), plus two missile launchers and four missiles (which have been lengthened for this release so as to meet safety standards).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

A few weeks back, All Time Toys got the first piece of a rather sizable Transformers collection, which was heavy on the G1.  I didn’t think there’d be much for me in there, but I did think in the back of my mind that if there were a G1 Magnus in there, I’d probably have to buy him.  Well, you’ve probably pieced together what happened, haven’t you?  Yeah, I bought me a Magnus.  He’s pretty darn nifty, too, and he pairs well with my vintage Soundwave.  Plus, another Magnus for my Magnus collection.  Yay!

As I noted above,  I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, and a good chunk of the collection he came from is still available here.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.