Another straggler from Beast Machines, Megatron Megabolt galloped onto shelves in my local Kaybee kind of like the opposite of the headless horseman. Like with AAOP, I wondered if MMegs would be worth the wait, but a larger question loomed in my mind: is it possible to make a TF with a an alt mode as thoroughly bizarre as a scuttling head into a cool toy worthy of the name Transformer?
Well, he certainly looks the part of evil Decepticon dictator. His scowling mug in “emissary” mode certainly gives me the willies. In fact, I would say it almost looks like a robotic skull. By virtue of its transformation, the face and his, erm, eyebrows that extend all the way to the back of his head seem almost a mask that conceals utilitarian Borg-like technology beneath. Color scheme is well done, where light blue really brings out his face but fades to a deep purple where his machinery is hidden. His red parts make him stand out without standing out themselves and making your eyes sore. This nifty use of color doesn’t translate as well into robot mode, but remains effective nevertheless. The best part of his robot mode is how much it resembles Megatron before he scanned the T-rex DNA. On Beast Wars ep. 1, right after they crash and you can only see the TFs in shadows, Megatron has a scan of himself spinning around in that spherical computer terminal he always used. Megabolt looks a lot like that, with only shoulder pads and a huge backpack added. The sculpt uses plenty of detail, but its not the kind of chaotic scramble you’d see in a Transmetal 2 toy: all his lines are very clean-looking, fitting for a technophilic idealist. I especially like how they designed his feet.
Megabolt is a nice little puzzle to transform, but what impresses me even more is how well it holds together in both modes. Unlike some other transformers with mind-bending transformations, Megabolt gets away with a minimum of extra junk hanging off him. Moreover, all obvious robot parts become invisible in head mode. Well, you can see his hands, but they look more like energon conduits than hands in their context. Likewise, the head mode parts do not detract from his robot mode either. His face splits in half and hangs off his shoulders, but without the lower jaw and green eyes they look like nothing more than shoulder pads. Those green eyes hide away very nicely too. Instead of painting the head mode eyes on, they left empty sockets in the face, and instead put a green band along his ribs in robot mode. I don’t know why, but this little detail rather impresses me.
In yet another tip o’ the hat to fans of the show, Megabolt’s missile launcher attaches to his head via his old TM2 body’s mask. That and the fact that this guy is a battle for the spark toy, so his spark crystal activates his gimmick, makes his missile launcher a worthwhile addition to the toy. I could do without the crawly legs though. They’re not bad, but they don’t work quite as intended. They’re activated either by rolling the head mode along the ground or by pressing the spark crystal, but doing so by either method carries side-effects. Unless you have a really soft touch it’s impossible to make him crawl around without firing the missile, and his mask drags along the ground if you try to roll him. I prefer the spark method, and it works great after the missile is fired, but it’s not the best crawly gimmick I’ve seen.
Head mode poseability would be exactly what you would expect: his jaw moves, as do his legs. It kinda bugs me that all six legs will never touch the ground at the same time because of the gimmick, but this is a minor sniffle. Robot mode poseability is a bit above average for the BMach line, since he doesn’t have a ton of mechanical bits limiting his limbs’ range of motion. His backpack does weigh him down, though, so it’s hard to pose him in funky off-balance poses, and he tends to tip backwards. This is effectively compensated for by ball-jointed ankles and fairly long heel spurs. A- as opposed to an average of B for the rest of the BMach line.
His missile launcher is in an odd place. You would think that with a missile launcher on top of his head, the recoil coupled with his heavy backpack would land him on his keister every time he fired it. Armada Hot Shot looks to have the same top-heaviness problem. RiD Megatron could turn into a hand, Megabolt into a head, so what’s next, a foot? Joking aside, since his cranial mode is so well done, it actually scores wackiness points in favor of the toy. Oddly enough, I liked RiD Megsy’s hand mode for similar reasons. Still, you would think that Megsy’s odd habit of transforming into random body parts would mean a huge Megatron gestalt mode somewhere in the future. Say, that’s not a bad idea . . . is anyone at Hasbro listening to this? :}
His gimmicks are so-so, his poseability’s not bad, but his design and transformation really kick some trash. Overall it scores an 810. In fact, like AAOP, this toy raises my opinions of the Beast Machines toyline. I recommend you give Megabolt a try.
|Date||July 23rd 2002 |
|Score|| (8 out of 10) |
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