Armada Toy Reviews: Megatron

in 2002, Action Figure Review, Armada, Decepticon

Armada

General Information:
Price Point: Gigacon
Retailer: General (K-Mart, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart etc.)
Release Date: July 2002
Transformation Difficulty Level: 4 (Expert)
Accessories: Leader-1 Mini-Con figure, Missiles x 3

If any name is synonymous with Decepticons, it's Megatron. Carrying on a name that has been around from the start is a new Decepticon leader with some new tricks up his robotic sleeve. This Megatron comes with the Mini-Con, Leader-1. This review will first briefly cover Leader-1 and then Megatron and how the two figures interact.

Leader-1 Review

For those thinking that there's something odd about the name "Leader-1" being used for a Transformer, you probably are not alone. Leader-1 was the name of a character from what was (at the time) a competing show with Generation One known as the Gobots. However, the company that produced those toys, Tonka eventually became part of Hasbro, and thus, its intellectual property. The irony that "Leader-1" was the leader of the good guys in that show is sure to make many fans chuckle (go ahead, you know you want to).

Vehicle Mode:
In vehicle mode, Leader-1 is an attack vehicle. He looks something like a dune buggy with weaponry. His primary colors are silver and metallic dark green. The barrels of his cannons are orange. The cockpit windows are painted yellow. Because they form his legs, the cannon mounts can easily move up and down, allowing for "targeting".

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing back the cannons and fold them up.
  2. Stand the figure and move the robot arms forward.

Robot Mode:
Leader-1 remains the same colors with only a bit more black showing. His robot visor/eyes are painted yellow.

Leader-1 is sculpted nicely in this mode, with the Mini-Con symbol on the center of his chest a nd a bit of mechanical detailing on his chest and legs. He has six points of articulation, which is pretty good for a toy this small.

Megatron Review

Vehicle Mode:
Megatron returns as a tank, a form that two past Megatrons have taken. The color is mostly dark green with silver, dark blue and orange thrown in for detail work. Silver is mostly reserved for mechanical details and the ornage is used sparingly. A dash of yellow is tossed in for details such as headlights.

The sculpt for this toy is quite intricate, with lots of exposed panels showing wiring and mechanical bits that really help drive home the feeling that this is a war machine. The Decepticon symbol is molded in translucent plastic on the turret, a spot that lights up when Megatron's electronics are activated.

Megatron is designed to be able to connect up to ten Mini-Cons in this mode. He is simply full of features
in this form:

  • Attach a Mini-Con to the purple Powerlinx connector on the turret and when you slide it back, the
    missile launchers on the turret engage, activating a launching sound. The missiles can be fired by
    pressing two buttons on the missile launcher itself.
  • Attach a Mini-Con to the green Powerlinx connector on the turret and you can activate a perpetual
    machine gun noise by turning the connector to the right or left.
  • Push the cannon barrel down to activate firing noise and launch the missile inside. This is a nice
    use of the pressure missiles with a ball shape at the end.
  • On the left front are three panels. Press the black button on that section and they pop open,
    allowing three Mini-Cons to attach.
  • On the left side rear, slide out the green and silver panel and it opens up to reveal a storage bay.
  • Turn the turret to the side and Megatron yells "Decepticons, attack!" followed by firing noises.
  • On the right side, front, the orange platform can have a Mini-Con mounted on it as is or you
    can flip it up to use it as a launching pad.
  • The right side, rear swings down to reveal a capture claw and ramp.

With this much going on, this is no doubt a seriously fun vehicle mode. It really pushes the point of having Mini-Cons interact with the larger toys to enhance the play pattern.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Flip the tank over so the bottom faces you. The structure of the robot becomes obvious this way.
  2. Swing down the robot legs which are formed by the rear treads.
  3. Rotate the hips around and flip up the grey pieces at the ends of the legs to form the robot feet.
  4. Turn the turret so that the cannon can swing forward near the right hip, then swing the cannon forward.
  5. Flip open the panel on either side of the front tread sections and swing the robot arms out.
  6. If it is up, push down the panel covering his face by using the purple tab on the center of the chest.

Robot Mode:
Megatrons colors change somewhat in robot mode. More silver and purple show through, mostly on the upper body. This color scheme brings back memories of the Generation One character Scorponok who was largely green and purple. A bit more orange shows up to on his hips and near the shoulders.

The sculpt of this toy is very well done. Molded Decepticon symbols appear on each shoulder, nice big and purple. A smaller one is etched into the tab on the center of his chest. The treads on his shoulders and his rather blocky legs actually serve to give him the appearance of a powerful warrior. His face sculpt is very different from any Megatron to come before. It seems the designers wanted to go with something new rather than evoke the "classic" Megatron appearance. I'm fond of any Transformer that has many unnecessary details sculpted in and Megatron definitely counts. His legs are simply full of mechanical details such as exposed
machinery, bolts, screws and beveled edges.

Megatron has ten points of articulation in this form. However, he does not have the ability to move his legs forward and back. It would have been a nice touch to have that level of poseability. Technically, you could add two points to that list since his left hand can move its thumb and four fingers (attached together of course), but they snap back into place and really cannot be posed.

Of course, these toys are about the gimmicks and features! Here's the list:

  • Attach a Mini-Con to his lower left arm and slide it forward to reveal his small knife. This
    can be done without a Mini-Con attached as well.
  • If you lift the chest component up and then swing the turret around, you can use a dial on the left side
    of his waist to rotate the turret in a "super firing" mode.
  • You can open up the panel on the left shoulder and attach the missiles to grooves inside and close
    the panel to give the appearance of missile launchers.
  • Mini-Cons (especially thinner ones) can fit into the right shoulder to give added firepower.
  • Mini-Cons can attach to any number of pegs on his legs or shoulders to enhance his power/firepower.

There was a time when Megatron would have been made like this as a stand alone figure. The Mini-Con features serve to enhance the play value of the toy exponentially. Coupled with an excellent mold this toy is highly recommended.