Cybertron Toy Reviews: Menasor

in 2006, Action Figure Review, Cybertron, Decepticon, Galaxy Force, Giant Planet/Gigantion

General Information:
Release Year: June 2006
Retailer: General US (Toys R Us, Target etc.)
Price: $24.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Accessories: Cyber Planet Key, Heavy Load Mini-Con
Difficulty Level: 4

Menasor Packaging art

Images:

Sound:

Tech Specs:
Menasor knows the power of the Giant Planet. he burns with jealousy of the glory of Metroplex, and is disgusted that the leader of the Giant Planet uses all of the power at his disposal only for peace. Menasor has waited centuries for the arrival of an ally like Megatron - a true leader with the wisdom to know the true purpose of power. With the might of the Decepticons at his back, he hopes to overthrow Metroplex and thurn the Giant Planet into what it was always meant to be - a conquering war world at the center of a Galactic Empire!

Strength: 9 Intelligence: 8.5 Speed: 7.5 Endurance: 8 Rank: 8 Courage: 9 Firepower: 9.5 Skill: 9

Heavy Load

Heavy Load is one of the few original Mini-Con sculpts to be released since Armada. Using the name once borne by the Robots in Disguise dump truck.

Vehicle Mode:
In vehicle mode Heavy Load is a dual purpose construction vehicle. He is essentially a dump truck, but mounted on the front is a large shovel. It is difficult to see details because of his color scheme, but they are there. On the rear section are line details. The cabin has windows sculpted into them. On the left side towards the rear is a Mini-Con symbol sculpted into the side. The front shovel has teeth in the front and V shaped lines on the front.

Heavy Load's colors match Menasor's. His rear storage/dumper mechanism, wheels and shovel are cast in black. The shovel arm can be moved up and down.The cabin and the section under it are gold and the lower rear portion are teal. I would have loved to see more colors on this (maybe silver to accentuate the details) but it is a good basic sculpt.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the halves of the storage/dumper to the sides.
  2. Swing the shovel forward so you can push the robot head down. Swing the shovel back into place.
  3. Swing the robot legs/hip section down.

Robot Mode:
Heavy Load is a very tiny robot, even for a Mini-Con. Like the vehicle mode, there are not a lot of paint apps here, but he has good sculpting. the robot head has a central crest with points coming out the sides and a triangular face, akin to some of the Generation 2 head designs. The arms and torso mostly have horizontal line detail. The lower arms have fists sculpted in. The arms are rather large in proportion to the rest of the figure, giving him a touch, powerful appearance. The legs are thick, with both horizontal and vertical details.

Paint details are found on the head and the legs. The robot head is paitned gold with red for the face. The legs have metallic silver on the lower legs.

Heavy Load has six points of articulation in this form. His arms are ball jointed and his legs can move forward and back at the hip joint.

Heavy Load is a nice Mini-Con, and I am happy there is a truly new Mini that is not a redeco or retool of some previous sculpt. However, I would have liked to see much more detail painted in.

Resurrecting a name from Generation One, Menasor is not in any way a homage to the G1 Stunticon giant. However, like other Transformers names such as Inferno, Menasor is a name that can be applied to different characters and still hold individual meaning. In this case, you have a powerful (and rather threatening looking) robot from the Giant Planet, who would no doubt be a potent force in any battle - so the name definitely fits.

Each Cybertron Transformer comes with a Planet Key with a code printed on it. Menasor's code is us4r. Unlocking this at transformers.com gives you an image of his color chart and the following text:

Menasor, like Repugnus and others, is another creative use of an older Transformers name. The original Menasor was actually the name of of a giant, super-robot that was created when five other smaller robots combined to merge into the larger form. It’s fitting, since the current Cybertron version of Menasor is from Gigantion, the Giant Planet. The differences far outweigh the similarities – for even though the old Menasor was also a Decepticon, he was made up of 4 different racing vehicles and a semi-truck!!

Vehicle Mode:
Menasor's vehicle mode is the type sometimes called the "because we say so" variety. Some fans see this is a bad thing, preferring more recognizable and realistic forms such as Armorhide's truck mode or Lugnutz's motorcycle mode. This is entirely a matter of preferance of course. Personally, I have been a science fiction fan longer than I have been a Transformers fan (albeit, not by many years, but still) so "science fiction" vehicles are something I have always loved so having a Transformer (who are science fiction robots to begin with) turn into one is not a stretch for me.

An Ultra class figure is the perfect size for Menasor. It is not outrageously large (so as to make him prohibitively expensive) yet he is imposing looking. His primary function in vehicle mode seems to be a mobile driller. The front section has two large arms on them. Each is full of detail. The left side arm has a drill at the end with several triangular points all over it. There are details including circles, cut lines and beveled surfaces. This arm also has two points of functionality. On the top, in the middle is a Mini-Con Powerlinx peg. On the side is a slot for his Cyber Key. Insert the key and the drill makes a "drilling" noise and inside the drill a red light blinks ten times. When you push the vehicle along, a wheel on the underside of the arm turns and spins the drill.

The right arm is a bit simpler in design. It is primarily a tube with line details on it and tubes. In its regular state a drill sticks out the end of the arm. On the top is a live Mini-Con Powerlinx point. Attach a Mini-Con, slide it forward and the drill extends forward. At the same time, two claws swing out from the sides and come together at the front. As you extend the drill, it turns. Unlike the left arm drill, it doesn't turn as you roll the vehicle along. Rather you have to slide the drill back and forth to get the drilling motion to work.

The center of the vehicle is, what can be best described, as a large cowcatcher. Of course, on this vehicle it is most likely meant to prevent any rocks (or other substance he drills through) to damage internal systems. It is angled towards the front, triangular in shape with a lot of cross hatch details on the top. The top of the vehicle has small designs that are meant to convey a sense of scale. The very top has a small control tower (which reminds me a bit of the head of the Robotech SDF-1 in robot mode), under that is a cannon in the center (no doubt to help with his drilling). Under the control tower in four directions are circles that I interpret to be gun turrets. The rear of the vehicle are (quite obviously) the robot legs with treads under them to serve as the rear supports for the drill vehicle. Each of the rear leg sections have two Mini-Con Powerlinx points on them, Combined with the two on the arms, this allows you to attach up to six Mini-Cons to him in this form.

Menasor is an interesting combination of colors. His primary plastic colors are teal green, black and beige. Smaller parts are translucent blue and gold. Paint decos (for the most part) match the plastic colors. For instance the cowcatcher is cast in teal, with a large portion colored beige (and smaller parts colored black). On the arms there are small turquoise colored details (matching equivalent colors on the shoulders). A bit of red is used on the top for the four round weapon pods. Finally, metallic silver is used on the very front of the arms, which is cool since that would be where wear and tear would happen if he drilled into rock a lot. Great touch!

Menasor has a variant vehicle mode called the "Assault Dozer Mode" on the packaging. To create it, detach the arms from the rear legs and swing them out one notch to the sides. The lower arms rotate so you can shift them to have the treads on the ground. Raise the shovel on Heavy Load and split the cowcatcher. Attach the angled lines on Heavy Load to the slots on the sides of the cowcatcher. Push the cowcatcher halves together. Essentially what this does is just make the cowcatcher wider (and more threatening looking). It's not a significantly different form, but it is nice having Heavy Load have a way to combine with Menasor in this form.

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Swing the rear sections back and straighten out the legs.
  2. Swing the hip sections down and connect them together.
  3. Rotate the lower legs around.
  4. Swing the robot arms down.
  5. Split the cowcatcher and swing the halves back.

Robot Mode:
Transformers generally subscribe to a basic design sensibility. Often time they are quite different than mecha or robots from other toy lines such as Power Rangers. Now and then however a figure deviates from that design sensibility (as some of the figures from Beast Machines did, and Menasor is one of them. His overall general shape is very interesting. With no hands and huge feet and the cowcatcher simulating the appearance of wings on his back, he has a dynamic appearance. He just has points coming out at all sides, a look accentuated by him not having hands but drill arms instead.

Menasor's head appears to be very non-traditional Transformers-wise. Upon closer inspection however, it isn't. He has a high central crest (something common to many Transformers head designs), his face is triangular, and in some ways resembles the the Generation 2 Decepticon symbol. The face is actually a small triangle with two small slit eyes - very similar to the Generation 2 Cyberjet heads in design.

The robot chest mirrors some design aspects of the vehicle mode It has raised surfaces that seem to overlap a lower section with crosshatch details. Four circles on the torso resemble those on the top of the vehicle mode, and there are clear plastic windows on the top of the chest that give it the appearance of a cockpit. This is no accident. Swing down the chest to reveal an small chamber inside. Heavy Load fits right into the space and you can close up the chest cover. You can even see through the window to see Heavy Load's head inside.

This mode shows more of the front of the legs than the vehicle mode. You'll find cross bars on the upper legs and machinery under the knees. The feet are wide, giving him tremendous stability. Details on the tip of the feet include pylons that I imagine could be used to brace the vehicle in place as it drills.

The same color scheme plays out in this form. Metallic silver fills in the cross hatch details on the chest. The head, chest and legs all have small red details and the feet have teal on the sides. A tampographed Decepticon symbol can be found right on the center of his chest.

Menasor has twenty points of articulation, including four on each arm. You can still use his Mini-Con Powerlinx points on his arms, but the ones on his legs are now on the inner legs so you need to adjust the position of his legs a bit to put Mini-Cons on there. The Cyber Key gimmick still works, and to spin the drill on his left arm you can turn the gear near his elbow joint.

Final Thoughts:
Menasor is a very atypical Transformer. In many ways (in both robot and vehicle modes) he stretches the design aesthetic of a Transformer. I personally think he is an really fun figure that looks fantastic. However, I can understand why some people would not like him. Some fan reviews have complained of problems with his ratchet joints, something I have not encountered. I can imagine that this may have been a defect in a particular run of this figure, so it is something to keep an eye on. I definitely recommend him keeping in mind that he is not your average Transformers figure.