"Age of Extinction" Voyager Class Galvatron Toy Review


General Information:
Release Date: May 12, 2014 (Online); June 2014 (Stores)
Price Point: $24.99 (Varies by retailer)
Retailer: General Release (Toys R Us, K-Mart, Target etc.)
Accessories: Missile launcher, Missile

*Images and text below from The Official Transformers Web Site:
When Optimus Prime dealt a crushing blow to Megatron in the Battle of Chicago, the triumph was short-lived. The victorious Autobots were rewarded with exile and new enemies determined to bring about their total destruction. If there was ever any doubt, the Autobots now know for certain: as long as there is a Decepticon with a spark in his circuits, their centuries-old war will continue. Gear up for massive Transformers action with this awesome 2-in-1 Galvatron figure! This Autobot warrior is a heavily armed dynamo in robot mode, firing blasts at the Decepticons with his cannon. But he'll mow them down when he's in rumbling semi truck mode! Convert him back and forth as the battle rages on! Can any enemy stand against him? There's only one way to find out! Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Spoiler alert! In the third "Transformers" live action film, the Decepticon leader Megatron met his end. In a move that feels like tradition, "Age of Extinction" will introduce a new character: Galvatron! There's a lot of speculation about the nature of this character, and as you can tell from his write up above, the background of the character is being kept under wraps (and for the sake of those who are sensitive about spoilers for upcoming movies I'll leave speculation to discussions on forums). For the toy line, Galvatron was available to order via Hasbrotoyshop on "Cybertron Monday", and then he began to appear in stores steadily in early June 2014.

Robot Mode:
Galvatron was glimpsed briefly in this teaser trailer for "Age of Extinction". It's enough to get a look at the character and how this toy translates his CGI model into plastic. At the same time, there are some minor design influences from the character's G1 namesake. In terms of duplicating the look of the CGI model, it does a pretty good job (based on the brief glimpse in trailers). He is very humanoid in shape, with lots of curved parts and even smaller details like tubes and curved armor giving him a very fluid appearance. Every part of the robot looks like it flows into the next. He also has some very "Bayformer" features including layers of armor on top of exposed mechanical bits underneath and even clawed feet, hinting at animal-like features, a staple of many Transformers in the live action universe. My favorite parts of the sculpt include the neck, which features a very intricate set of piston like details and the torso, which has several tubes with indented patterns on them and a big, oval opening in the center that is reminscent of a similar detail on Iron Man.

A bit of G1 influence comes into play in the head design. The head has a face which has details that sweep back and then stick up in the back. These are reminscent of similar details on G1 Galvatron, whose head design looked like he was wearing a crown. This looks (to me at least) like a highly stylized version of that design. Overall, from a sculpting point of view I think this figure is top notch. It looks like its on-screen counterpart and has a lot of detail.

For those curious about size, Galvatron stands at almost 7 inches (approximately 17.7 centimeters) tall and 3.5 inches (approximately 8.8 centimeters) wide shoulder to shoulder with his arms squished against his body. This doesn't count the width of his "back pack". He's a good sized figure and lines up in scale with most recent Voyager Class figures.

Galvatron is cast in silver, gold, black and gunmetal grey plastic. The silver is the most prominent color, with the gunmetal making up most of his back piece (that forms a chunk of the vehicle mode). The gold is used for smaller parts such as the shoulder, elbow and hip joints. The black parts are the wheels and some parts around the ankle area. Given that the character in the movie also looks mostly silver, this color scheme is not exactly a shock. Just look at Megatron or Starscream from the previous movies and you'll see the live action movie Decepticons are not exactly the most colorful and distinctive bunch. Galvatron seems to continue that trend.

Now, he isn't devoid of color detail. Metallic blue, gold and black are used to provide painted detail. The dark blue is used all over the figure, most notably on the tubes that form part of the torso and on his knee armor. Gold is used inside the oval on his chest and on the edge of his knee armor. Black is used on a tiny Decepticon symbol on his chest. The thing is, a lot of sculpted detail is left unpainted, so without any sort of wash or brush work to bring out the details, a lot can easily be lost in a mass of silver. Adding almost any splash of color to the figure, even with weapons in his hands instantly makes him look better and draws the eyes. On his own he looks somewhat unfinished. He doesn't look bad mind you, it just feels like this is only about 70% of the paint job and there's more to go. Customs have popped up online showing how some dark brush work brings out the sculpted details or how purple would've looked great on this figure (and pay homage to G1 Galvatron). This is unfortunate because the toy is being faithful to the CGI model, it's just that the CGI model is rather bland looking color-wise.

There are twenty three points of articulation on Galvatron. This includes five in each arm and six in each leg. The legs don't have traditional knee articulation, but instead they bend a bit above the knee. He does have some nice articulation points including the ability for his feet to pivot at angles and move up and down (partly thanks to his transformation). I'm not counting the ability of his shoulder armor to move up, allowing his arms to be posed. Count those and he has twenty five points.

Galvatron is equipped with a large missile launcher. This has more tubes running all over it with a huge barrel at the end (another G1 influence). The launcher is cast in silver and the missile is dark blue. The launcher has two 5mm pegs on it. One is on the side and another towards the back. This allows you to have Galvatron hold it in his hands like a blaster or attach it to his hand (using the rear peg) so it looks like his arm has "transformed" into the cannon. If you watch quickly in the trailers, his arm is shown doing just that (this can be seen in various trailers where Optimus Prime gets blasted in the chest, look down at the floor). If you want to give him alternate weapons, you can stow the cannon away by attaching it to the 5mm port on his back. In terms of stability, I had no problem standing this figure with his weapon and all the joints are nice and tight.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the missile launcher if attached and set it aside for now.
  2. Straighten out the arms.
  3. Make sure the shoulder armor is down.
  4. Swing the forearms up against the upper arms.
  5. Swing the back section down.
  6. Swing the back panel out.
  7. You should now be able to see the grille of the truck mode, pull it up.
  8. Push the top of the truck cab down, helping to hold the cabin section together.
  9. Swing the robot head back.
  10. Swing each of the arms up.
  11. Swing the cab section down, and swing down each of the front wheels wells.
  12. Swing each of the heel pieces on the feet in.
  13. Rotate the lower legs so the wheels face outward.
  14. Swing each of the robot feet up against the front of the lower legs.
  15. Push the heel sections of the robot feet together, they should interlock.
  16. Swing the panels over the rear wheels forward and lock them into place against the front section.
  17. The weapon can be attached to the port on top of the wind vane.

Vehicle Mode:
Like many of the vehicle-based characters in the live action films, Galvatron transforms into a real life vehicle (not one made up for the film). In this case his vehicle mode is the Daimler Freightliner Argosy 2014. This sleek truck has a very futuristic feel to it and makes it ideal to serve as the vehicle mode of a Transformer. Often, licensors have a lot of say in how their vehicles are represented in movies, so a lot of care was taken to ensure this vehicle mode looked as much like the real thing as possible. To that end, it replicates many of the details seen on the prop vehicle used in the film:

  • The top of the vehicle has a sleek looking wind vane that curves up to the top.
  • Above the windshield is a distinct set of three, vertical lights.
  • The grille has a distinctive trapezoid shape with each grille vent set at an angle.
  • The side view mirrors are rectangular and long. Each is mounted vertically on the sides.
  • The headlights have a distinct ridge pattern inside them and wrap around to the sides.
  • The side of the vehicle has a small, round detail that looks like it's just a bump on the figure, but in reality it's another light on the side.
  • The tanks on the side of the vehicle have a rectangular shape. While the details on the sides are not full tanks (it's just a panel with sculpted detail to look like the tanks) the shape is the same as the real life vehicle.
  • The front wheels have rims that stick out, while the rear wheels have rims that curve inward.

From a sculpting perspective, the designers did a bang up job of replicating the Freightliner Argosy. I think it looks fantastic and I really appreciate that the attention to sculpted detail in the robot mode carries over to the vehicle mode.

This mode has the same colors as the robot mode, but this time the gunmetal grey takes center stage since it makes up most of the front half of the vehicle. Black, silver and blue paint are used to provide detailing. Much of this detailing matches the real life vehicle. The black is used on the windows and grille. Meanwhile the blue is used for the three lights above the windshield. Silver is used for distinctive line details that start on the front of the vehicle and sweep to the sides. While the robot mode may have seemed a bit lacking in paint detail, the vehicle mode looks fantastic in contrast.

While you can attach the missile launcher to the top of the vehicle, others have tried to squish the missile under the cabin section and then mash the launcher up against the back of the truck. I'm not crazy about how this looks so I just prefer to leave it unattached or on top.

Final Thoughts:
Realistically, I shouldn't really like this figure as much as I do. It needs more paint apps in robot mode, it's kind of an uninspiring color overall and the character's a bit of a cipher for now so I have no strong emotional attachment to him. Yet the detailing on this figure is fantastic, the transformation is intuitive yet fun and the vehicle mode looks amazing. Your mileage may vary but this is one fan who is very happy with this purchase.

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