Energon Toy Reviews: Megatron

in 2004, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Energon, Superlink

Energon

General Information:
Release Year: March 2004
Retailer: General Release (Toys 'R' Us, Kay Bee, Wal-Mart etc.)
Price: $39.99 (Depending on Retailer)
Transformation Difficulty Level: 4
Accessories: Sword, Missile x 1, Tank
Batteries Required: Two AAA batteries (not included)

Images:

Sounds:

First, a bit of clarification. Megatron was marketed as a Wal-Mart exclusive during his initial release in March 2004. According to Hasbro he is going to be an exclusive until some time in summer, most likely May. Technically the toy will be available everywhere, just not at first. You can check out this picture of the online listing as it appeared on Wal-Mart's web site during the toy's initial release.

Energon has been a toy line full of homages to classic G1 characters. Sometimes the homages are subtle such as Battle Ravage having G1 Megatron's cannon as one of his Energon weapons. Other times, the homages are basically made to slap you upside the head and say "This is a HOMAGE dangit!!!" Rodimus is an example of that. Now, the Decepticons have their version of this type of homage: Megatron. The Decepticon leader has returned from his ten year coma in a new and powerful form that many G1 fans will find extremely familiar looking: what we have here folks is G1 Galvatron reborn!

Vehicle Mode:
The name Megatron is most commonly associated with his G1 gun form. However, because of toy laws in the United States, non-beast Megatrons have been more commonly seen as ground based forms since Generation 2, primarily tanks and yes, even a Porche (his G2 Go-Bots incarnation). Armada continued this trend, making Megatron a tank. It seems the designers decided it was time for a change. Megatron's new vehicle form is a hyper-futuristic (perhaps Cybertronian) warship. I could call it a jet, but that doesn't seem to do the form justice. The tank hasn't been forgotten however as the designers added on Megatron's old body in tank mode as an accessory!

The tank is once piece which serves many functions. It can act as a cannon, it acts as Megatron's sword holder (more on that in the robot mode review) and it is the sound effects box for the toy. What's really cool is that this piece was sculpted to represent Megatron's Armada vehicle form. The sculpt is actually really accurate to the Armada toy. The proportions are different than the toy it's based on, the turret is far too large for instance, but it's a detail that's easy to ignore when you see what it is this piece has to do.

The tank is full of features you can find on Armada Megatron. On the left, front side of the tank are the three panels that originally flipped out to accomodate Mini-Cons on Armada Megatron. On the turret is a sculpted Decepticon symbol and the top of the turret even has the circular piece which allowed a Mini-Con to Powerlink on Armada Megatron. This peg can accomodate a Mini-Con as well. I originally thought it couldn't, for some reason my Clench refused to connect, but when I tried it with Broadside, it did. Go figure.

While there are details that carried over from Armada Megatron, there are some new ones. On three main spots, Megatron features damage, presumably from his time spent in Unicron. On the top of the turret is a section ripped away with jagged tears revealing circuitry underneath. On the front of the turret, left side, there is another chunk of armor ripped away, revealing machinery underneath. My favorite of these three damage spots is the one of the left side above the treads. This is a jagged line running from what would have been Megatron's knee to his ankle. This cut shows circuitry underneath and really drives home how damaged Megatron was in Unicron.

The tank is cast mostly in metallic flake, black plastic. His scope is translucent green plastic, and the three damaged parts and the three Mini-Con panels (non-functional) are painted green. The section which acts as the hilt of his sword has a U shaped pink deco on it. The green and the pink contrast nicely against the black, and I'm glad they went with a metallic black instead of a flat one. These colors work surprisingly well together.

Megatron's vehicle mode is a really nice design accomplishment. The ship is bulky and by no means a thin thing like a jet, but because of the size and the way it's designed, it looks sleek anyhow. The bulk comes from a rather thick neck and large boosters under the wings (which become the robot legs). Also, since Megatron's central body is on the underside of the ship, it adds some bulk there as well. However, Megatron's wings are wide and angled, which helps take your eye away from the bulk and focus on the wings and the cockpit. Though I'm not one hundred percent sure, the designers may have had Ravage's ship from Beast Wars at least partially in mind when designing this ship. The cockpit has a very sleek and "bird like" quality to it, down to the nose coming to a point that looks like a mechanical beak. The wings sweep upward and make up a significant portion of the ship. I'm willing to accept this as a homage at best and a happy coincidence at the very least. Either way it's very cool.

A really awesome feature on the wings are their ability to change position. Pull out the cannons at the end of each wing and the outer half of each wing swings up and two smaller cannons flip out pointing forward. Essentially, this creates an "X-Wing" configuration which looks awesome. With his wings in this position, Megatron has twenty four weapon barrels in this form. Some of these weapon ports are subtle details. For instance, there are three small barrels on either side of the cockpit and the weapon ports closest to the center of the body on the back actually have four smaller weapon ports in them. Want to add even more firepower? You can attach the tank onto the four Mini-Con Powerlinx pegs on Megatron's back to add one huge cannon (which you could then add Terrorcon weapons to and so on). Want more than that? You can add Mini-Cons instead of the tank to all four Powerlinx points on the back and to the Powerlinx pegs on the ends of the wings (one on each side). This is obviously one Decepticon leader who isn't planning on going into
battle unarmed!

One of the interesting details if you have the tank attached is the sword that attaches to the tank. Here the sword looks almost like it's a vapor trail of some sort coming out of the tank "engine". It's a small detail, but one worth noting.

Wondering how to land this thing? Megatron has three pieces of landing gear. One is under the cockpit, and one under each booster. The one underneath the cockpit is long enough that it clears the central robot body and head on the underside of the ship just fine.

Megatron's color scheme is meant to offer some consistancy between the various Terrorcon/Decepticon schemes such as those on Battle Ravage and Divebomb. The
jet mode is a healthy mix of metallic off-white, black and dark blue. The weapons are all cast in translucent green, but a unique shade, different than any other Decepticons released so far for Energon. This color is used liberally, even for the cockpit window. Silver, black and orange are used for smaller details. Orange is used for many of the vent details, looking like quite a bit of heat is going through the ship. Black is used for detailing such as a really nice spray op on the primary vents on the "neck" leading to the cockpit. Silver is used on some of the intricate details at the top of the vehicle. Another nice touch: a huge Decepticon symbol sculpted onto each wing, painted a nice shade of purple. It's like Megatron is proudly declaring his leadership of the Decepticons!

Transformation to Robot Mode:

  1. Detach the tank if you have it attached.
  2. Fold in the landing gear if you have it deployed.
  3. Flip the cockpit back.
  4. Swing the wings up so they detach from the boosters.
  5. SWing the boosters out to the sides, flipping up the rear boosters as you do so.
  6. Slide the rear booster ends down and the robot feet will move out and flip open.
  7. Straighten out the robot legs.
  8. The robot arms are visible now, pull them out to the sides.
  9. Swing the robot head back.
  10. Pull the ends of the wings out to put them into "X" configuration, this is optional.
  11. The tank may be attached to the arms by flipping out the clips on the bottom and snapping them onto either lower arm.

Robot Mode:
Megatron's robot mode is where we get into serious update/homage territory. Here goes:

  • Megatron's head design is based on the Generation One Galvatron's cartoon head design, which was different than the G1 Galvatron toy's head design. Basically it was designed to make him look like he was wearing a crown, note the ridges on the side "horns", carry overs from Megatron's Armada form.
  • The cannons on Megatron's shoulders are sculpted to resemble G1 Galvatron's cannon, which was more curved than G1 Megatron's, and had a curved line running through it like these do.
  • The chest piece is a barrel-like shape with four squares representing what would be abs on a human. These design features are very much influenced by the G1 Galvatron's cartoon appearance.
  • In the middle, between the upper body and waist, is a small design that resembles a belt buckle, this is a visual reference to a similar "belt buckle" feature on the G1 Galvatron toy.
  • On the waist, you'll find what seems to be a superfluous detail, a trapezoid type shape with a circle in the middle. This, in fact, is a visual homage to a similar detail on the G1 Galvatron toy which was actually a button used to activate his electronics.
  • Another detail can be found on the waist, specifically the hips. This one is a bit subtle. There you'll find a small rectangle with an indentation with ridged lines inside. This appears to be a visual reference to similar "saddle bags" that G1 Galvatron had on his hips.
  • G1 Galvatron's legs had circles at the knees which led to an arrow like pattern on his legs. Megatron has a very similar pattern, and the triangles near the ankles are actually the landing gear in vehicle mode!

As you can see, the designers didn't just want to make one or two parts reminiscent of G1 Galvatron, they wanted to go all out and essentially update the G1 toy in a new form.

Outside of homage territory, Megatron has a lot of fantastic detail all his own. One of my favorite parts are the sides of his body/shoulder piece. These blue pieces have a lot of tech detail with some circles that look like the inner workings of Megatron's new form. His lower arms have some nice tech detail on the sides that double as the area his tank can clip on to. On the left shoulder, Megatron has a Decepticon "Spark Crystal". What I love is the tech detail around it. Jetfire also has this around his "Spark Crystal", and I'd be happy if most Energon toys did this.

For those who feel that any real update of Megatron needs a cannon on his arm, the tank essentially acts as that. The tank cannon is out of proportion on purpose, allowing the cannon to extend out more than it would if it was in scale. Reverse the tank to have Megatron wield the sword instead. Of course, the perfect Decepticon detail is a nice, big Decepticon symbol sculpted onto the center of his chest.

Megatron's color scheme is primarily blue and metallic off-white. He also has black on the shoulders and neon orange for his eyes and some of the round details on his main body. There is metallic gold as well, which helps bring out the detailing on his knees and feet. There is some use of metallic light blue as well, on his shoulders and face. Of course, most people probably feel that this mold i>screams to be given a purple/gray/orange translucent plastic G1 Galvatron redeco, and I agree. This is sort of a more "Megatron-esque" color scheme and if the pattern for Megatron follows what we've had for two years in a row, perhaps he will "power up", become Galvatron and get Galvatron colors - time will tell.

The tank component is what provides the sound effects in this mode. Fire the missile and you get a sound effect that sounds like the tank is firing - a lot. On the other end, move the sword to the side and it makes a noise that sounds like the sword is "powering up", but you can use your imagination on that one. What's neat is that the tank has a red LED in it that flashes, so the sword looks like it's lighting up for battle.

Megatron has seventeen points of articulation in robot mode. Because of his transform, he did not waist articulation, but I was very pleased to see that he had head and knee articulation, which I feared would be lost from early photos of the toy. My original review was wrong on one point: Megatron's lower arms are on a joint that can turn. It takes a bit of doing at first, but
once you do it, they move a lot easier.

Megatron's fist holes are "standard" size, so they fit Energon weapons and Armada weapons such as the Star Saber.

For those curious, Tidal Wave really doesn't fit on this toy well at all, and even then, only the arm pieces could possibly be of any use. In Japan, Takara sized down the toy making it more possible to combine the two, but ultimately the toys were not meant to connect as well as Armada Megatron and Tidal Wave were meant to.

Final Thoughts:
Megatron is an awesome toy. He has a great sculpt, excellent design, homage-galore and he's fun to play with. Highly recommended. Go buy this toy now!