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Voyager Ultra Magnus - Prime - Action Figure

Height: 17.5cm

Articulation: 17 points overall - double jointed neck; 4 points per arm: ball joint shoulder, upper arm swivel, hinged elbow, ball-joint wrist; swivel waist; 3 points per leg: ball joint hips, thigh swivel, hinged ankle.

Colors: Molded blue, silver, and clear blue. Painted red, silver, white and light blue.

Accessories: Transforming Battle Hammer/Rifle, Missile.

Release Data: Released October 2012 at an MSRP of $19.99.

Author: RAC

If there is any Autobot the Decepticons fear as much as Optimus Prime, it is Ultra Magnus. His battle hammer has crushed chassis from one side of the galaxy to the other. No battlefield on which his armored feet have stepped has ever been yielded to the Decepticons.

Transformers Animated has made a lot of contributions to Transformers lore that Prime has inherited and run with. Bulkhead, the characterization of Ratchet as a cranky old bot, the Decepticon battle cry of "Transform and Rise Up!" -but perhaps most impressive of all is that Ultra Magnus has finally come into his own visually. No longer a mere white recolor of Optimus Prime awaiting power-up armor that will never come, Ultra Magnus is now That Big Blue Guy With The Hammer. Far as I'm concerned, that's a serious step up. This Magnus, which has yet to be represented in the Prime animation, is available in both Cyberverse Commander and Voyager sizes, so somebody clearly likes the design.


Robot Mode

Ultra Magnus is in keeping with the Prime aesthetic, which is of course still the films' baroque stylings made a little less alien and unfriendly-looking. While Animated Magnus serves as the primary inspiration for the figure's appearance, there's also some hints of G1 in his torso in particular. His face is definitely more to the Animated side, but has been made rounder and noseless as is the Prime tradition. There's a lot of clear plastic here in the chest and arms, and while the wiki claims this is to accomodate his light-up gimmick weapon, there's no real way to plug in or otherwise align the LED to the 5mm sockets on his back, shoulders, or forearms. It'd be perfect for the Energon Boosters on the Cyberverse vehicles, but that's too far out of scale even for Transformers. What seems odd for all the clear plastic floating around is that his optics are painted, this despite the inclusion of light-piping in the head. I think it was the right design choice, since his eyes would otherwise get lost in all this blue, but I guess the light-piping is Hasbro hedging their bets for mold reuse somewhere down the road. One really nice design touch? The back of Magnus' head is a gray plate with its own antennae sticking up, which to me implies a smaller robot head behind an armored helmet. It just looks neat. Aesthetically the big downside to the figure is the big chunk of truck kibble hanging off his back, which squares off his otherwise standard-for-TF-Prime physique. It's almost Hufferesque.

Articulation is decent for its size, but not groundbreaking. The neck seems to be a double ball-joint, and can tilt in any direction enough to be useful. The high collar does prevent most swivel, however. The shoulders are problematic: they're very large ball-joints designed to fold a specific way for transformation, and because of that they don't really allow the arms to swing out to the sides very much. Compounding this is the ball-joint being far too weak for arms this size, especially once we add big fancy transforming weapons. The shoulders are downright floppy once the hammer comes into play. The transformation joints in the torso are actually pretty useful for posing, particularly for two-handed hammer poses. Between upper-arm swivels and ball-jointed wrists, he's more than capable of holding the hammer two-handed. His elbows could also be better, getting slightly less than a 90 degree flex, but they have the nice strong ratchets the shoulders should've had. The wrists do very well owing largely to their being transformation joints that have to fold up into the forearms. The hands are open, and while I appreciate this feature when the hands are as effective as the old fist-block hands, here it's a bit difficult to get the ridged grip for the hammer or gun into the hand and get it to stay.

Magnus has a waist joint that swivels freely. The hip joints are great, swinging all the way out to the front or sides, and a fair way back. He also has thigh swivels which work well in the technical sense, but his thighs are so stubby- a serious (ahem) shortcoming of the Prime design style -that the swivel doesn't do as much as it reasonably should. His thighs are between a third and a quarter of his leg, and that is absurd. His knees flex to 90 degrees, but again they're hostage to the impractical proportions of the leg. No ankles either, but the shape of the lower leg is pretty solid, so balancing is largely not too bad.


Transformation

I'm told the bulk of the transformation is shared with the Cyberverse figure, which kinda shows. It's pretty standard Transformers stuff where the legs become the back of the truck and the arms and torso become the front. The one part I do like, which the Cyberverse version doesn't do, is that the sidepanels of the truck wrap around Magnus' calves to put a wheel on each side. It strikes me as a very elegant way of dealing with that. There is one irritating point where the tiny radiator grille attached to the top of the truck has to be tabbed into place before the shoulders close, but the shoulders have to close before the top of the truck can be put into place. They haven't done a lot of those no-win scenario transformation sequences in the TFs I've gotten recently. I didn't miss them either.




Vehicle Mode

While his Robot Mode is Animated-inspired, the Vehicle Mode strikes me as a bit more G1 with some Robots in Disguise thrown in. It's a very square truck which is intended to be an artillery truck with a large, rear-facing cannon; the gun accessory attaches to a couple of hardpoints that swing up out of Magnus' shins. What's very odd about that is how the hardpoints are designed to accept the pegs off the gun at an angle since otherwise Magnus' legs are too close together for this to work. I'm also not a big fan of alternate modes that are incomplete without weapons- it's one of the few flaws with Dark of the Moon's Voyager Megatron. It's a little too easy to pop the cannon back off the back end too. The truck has some red on the roof and sides to break up the blue- though sadly the smokestacks on the sides aren't painted, but on the Cyberverse figure they are. That's actually pretty sad.

There are hardpoints for the weapons on the roof and doors of the cab and on the sides of the truck, as well as the ones that the cannon is designed to sit on. It's a decent looking vehicle and it rolls well enough. And one nice little nod is that the hood ornament is seemingly designed to evoke the Elite Guard symbol from Transformers Animated.


Accessories

Gun/Hammer

A fairly large, bulky gun with pegs which could also serve as Mini-Con ports on the sides. There's a big blue block on the top of the gun which could be a targeting sensor or a blast shield of some sort, but is actually the head of the hammer. Pulling the bottom of the cannon triggers the LED light inside and converts the gun into a large hammer; there's a tab at the bottom of the weapon that keeps the weapon in hammer mode which is apparently unique among all the Prime Voyager weapons. It holds securely now, but I worry about it in the longterm because of the tension on the pieces. Also, the sliding piece swims around on its track a bit, making it easier than it should be to pop back out of Hammer Time. It does look decent in both modes, and the green LED catches the texture sculpted on the inside of the hammer's head very nicely. The cannon can be turned upside down and mounted to the Truck Mode, and... kinda sits in place properly, as I mentioned above. And again, the textured pegs like to catch in Magnus' hands and become difficult to manuver, and his arm can't hold up the hammer one-handed. (Or the cannon, and the cannon is only one handed.) As Big Dumb Accessories go it's reasonably well implemented, but it's still a Big Dumb Accessory, and would've worked better with a manual transformation and no LED.


Missile It's a 2" long missile, which would be the measurement a launching missile would be for safety reasons, but it's a nonfiring accessory with a 5mm peg and socket on it. Because of the length it looks better on his forearm than on his shoulder as the G1-inspired warhead would suggest. Since it is non-firing, I'd have loved to see two of these that were shorter and more like the G1 launchers, but that's a minor nitpick.


Closing Remarks

Ultra Magnus is on the high end of Could Have Been Better on the Figurereviews.com Non-Numeric Rating Scale. He's close to Good: he looks good, his weapon functions adequately in both modes, and his transformation is decent. But he's just not quite there because of the various flaws: he needs paint, he can't hold his signature weapon one-handed, his shoulder articulation isn't great. Assuming these flaws carry over to the Cyberverse Commander? I'd go with that one. I don't know about you but I'd rather be slightly disappointed for $9-10 than $20-25.



ReviewerRAC  
DateNovember 27th 2012  
Score 4 stars (4 out of 10)  
Reads7544
LinkPrime Voyager Ultra Magnus Gallery  


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