Robotmasters Toy Review: Megatron

in 2004, Action Figure Review, Beast Wars, Predacon, Robotmasters

Robotmasters Transformers

General Information:
Release Year: July 2004
Retailer: Japanese exclusive
Price: $25 (Depending on Import Retailer)
Accessories: Missile launcher, Missile, Tail

Images:

Every Transformers line needs its lead villain, and for Robotmasters, it's Beast Wars Megatron, referred to as "Beast Megatron" for this line. For the sake of simplicity, I'll just refer to him as "Megatron" for the review.

Tech Specs (Translated by Doug Dlin):
Name: BEAST MEGATRON
Function: Emperor of Destruction

Profile: Major player in the Destron forces who came from the planet Energois (actually ancient Earth). Laser Buster Beam fired from dinosaur mouth on right arm can shatter a 60-ton boulder. His manner of speech is pleasant, but when it comes to playing foul, he's in the top class of his forces.

Weapon(s): Megatron Gun, Missile Launcher

Rank: 10 Power: 9 Defense: 8 Stamina: 10 Speed: 8

Robot Mode:
When early pictures of Megatron surfaced, I thought he was just a shrunken down version of the Beast Wars Ultra Megatron toy. But in fact, he's not. He is a completely new sculpt, making him one of the few original sculpts in the line.

The evolution of this character to this point is an interesting one. Way back in 1996 when Beast Wars was the main Transformers line, the animators of the television show were given toys to scan and use in the creation of their CGI models for the television program. This led to a fairly unprecedented accuracy
between the television show and the toys you could purchase. However, they did take many liberties with the designs of the toys. With Megatron, this included the elimination of the hip missile launchers and the inclusion of a left arm, which the toy didn't have (it only had a claw-ish type thing, which was really the dinosaur tail).

With, Robotmasters Megatron, the designers decided to use the televison show model as its inspiration. Of course, at first glance, there appears to be very little difference between the original toy and this one. Size is a major factor of course, with this figure standing at approximately four inches tall.
However, the details of the toy are made to match the television show. For instance, on the chest the original Beast Wars toy had ovals with straight line details in them. But the television show turned those lines into more triangular details, something reflected here.

There are bigger changes however. The original Beast Wars Megatron t-rex toy only had the beast mode tail with a claw-like end for the left arm. This time, like the TV show, Megatron actually has a fist and arm there holding on to the tail piece as a weapon. Albeit "holding" is a bit of a stretch. Really what we have here is the tail being hollow, with a small section that the lower arm rests on. Then you close the flaps that make up the top of the tail and the piece holds on to the lower arm (instead of the other way around). Still, the effect works, and what's even better is that they gave him an additional weapon - a missile launcher. It's the same design as the one included with G1 Convoy, but the end is colored metallic gold rather than silver.

The other major change isin the hip blasters. On the original Ultra Megatron toy, he had missile launchers there that show out projectiles. This time around, the details match those of the TV show: dual blasters on both sides. They are small and subtle details, but they definitely add a lot to the toy. Plus, it eliminates the need for triggers that break the "skin" pattern on the outside of the hips.

Another change is in the right arm/dinosaur head. This part no longer features a "squirt" feature on the tongue piece, so now it's just a sculpted head. The top of the head moves up for an open mouthed position (generally used as his "firing" position for that arm in the show).

One part of this 'bot that I think could have been sculpted better is the head. It's not that the head is totally inaccurate or anything, I just think the designers could have found a more threatening look for the leader of the Destrons. The helmet sculpt is spot on. The only detail they kept out (and for purposes of the line, I understand why) is the Predacon symbol on his crest. The face however is a bit off. The eyes here are a bit triangular, when in fact on the show they were much more straight and horizontal. And the position the mouth is in is this really sad looking kind of frown. It doesn't make Megatron look unhappy - it makes him look like he's grumpy. I would have preferred a snarl or the charismatic smile he used on the show so often. Oh well.

This toy seeks to emulate the TV show model not only in sculpt, but in color. The purple used here is a bit deeper than the purple used on the Beast Wars toy. Also, the chest is a combination of silver and black, something that is closer (but not 100% accurate) to the show. In fact, the parts that are silver here were actually purple on the show, but this is a heck of a lot more accurate than the all black chest of the original toy. Also, the helmet around the face should have been a much darker shade of silver. What they did get is the color of the small cylinders on his upper chest. Those are painted blue, which is the color the animators shaded that area in the TV show.

Despite some nits here and there, the robot mode really does rock. I love the way it looks overall, and the functionality of the left arm is a big plus.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the missile launcher from the fist (if it is attached).
  2. Take off the tail from the left arm (if it is attached).
  3. Push in the heels on the feet.
  4. Push up the right arm (dinosaur head) so the black part of the arm is no longer exposed, lining up the green parts on the shoulder and dino head.
  5. Pull the chest piece forward and swing the head back.
  6. Move the piece forward and swivel it around so the beast mode head points up.
  7. Push the hip blasters against the body and rotate them down.
  8. Swing the dino body halves up and snap them together.
  9. Rotate the dinosaur legs around.
  10. Attach the tail and snap it into place.

Beast Mode:
Megatron's beast mode is a t-rex, the form he had in the first season of the Beast Wars television program. Unlike the robot mode, the beast mode of the original toy really didn't differ that much from what we saw on screen, so there was not a lot to "improve" on as the designers did with the robot mode. Rather, the designers basically took the concept of a t-rex Transformer and just sculpted a different "take" on the character. This version of Megatron is very much like the original. A purple dinosaur with some additional coloring, and anatomically correct in the "non-tail dragging" department. Like its predecessor, this toy has a lot of sculpted lines and parts that resemble folds of skin and wrinkles, giving it a wonderfully organic look.

The part that is probably most different from the Beast Wars Megatron is the head. Its skull lines aren't quite cut as deep, and it has a big toothy smile going on rather than a neutral expression. This toy's got personality!

Megatron has eight points of articulation in this form, including his knees and dinosaur arms. His mouth can open and the head can rotate at the base of the neck, allowing for additional expression.

To be frank, there's not a whole heck of a lot one can do with a "realistic" Transformers t-rex that really hasn't been done already. But this manages to deliver a nice toy all the same.

Final Thoughts:
Megatron is a neat shot at creating a more "cartoon accurate" Megatron toy. It succeeds in many respects, but ultimately, if you're already happy with your Beast Wars t-rex Megatron, this may not be for you. If you want a more cartoon accurate, smaller (more portable) version of the toy, this is for you!