Articulation: Ball joint neck; 5 points each arm: Insert joint shoulder, bicep swivel, double hinge elbow; 6 points each leg: Insert joint hip, thigh swivel, hinge knee, double hinge ankle.
Colors: Molded grey, dark grey, black, dark blue, gold, smoky clear; Painted metallic blue, silver, gold, black, blue
Accessories: Missile launcher, with missile
Release Data: Released in May 2014 in the United States at a retail price of US$24.99.
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.
Another movie, another classic character name reuse that has no connection
with its origins. Or at least, not in the typical sense. I have my own
speculation on the origins of this Galvatron which I'll keep to myself, but
might actually make the name applicable beyond trying to catch people with
another semi-recognizable name. I'll talk more on the process of naming movie
characters when I get to Hound.
He kind of reminds me of the robots in Pacific Rim, run through a Michael Bay filter. ...or, no. That would mean Galvatron would be surrounded by explosions in perpetual sunset, so maybe that's a bad example to use. Probably it's the big cone in to the chest that gives me the Gypsy Danger vibe. But it's also the major lack of vehicle involvement in the structure of the robot. The legs house the rear wheel chunks, but aside from that there's not any truly integral vehicle elements in this robot. There's a backpack of vehicle parts, but if you can pop out a pin, you could totally take off the backpack and the robot would still be structurally complete. That is not by itself damning for the toy, and this nature leads to an aspect I think is pretty cool from an engineering perspective which I'll get to in a bit. One of the trailers for the movie also suggests a possible answer for why this design would need to be as free as possible of alternate mode elements. I'm not counting this design direction against anything, merely pointing out that it does make Galvatron stand out in a certain way which you may or may not appreciate.
What I appreciate is that the robot has a lot of sculpted details: tubes, cabling, pipes, vents and more cover the torso. The neck is an array of pistons connecting the head to the body, and while the limbs are fairly toned down compared to the torso, there's still enough of the same style of details to tie it all together. I have the impression of a sculptor absolutely going to town on this toy because the robot mode has nothing holding it back. Vehicle elements needn't be observed and worked around, it's simply an opportunity to create the look of a pure robot form. The face is well detailed, remaining in the general movie style, but going along with the dialed back nature seen both in the toys so far and some of the actual movie imagery. It's a more human face, with just enough sculpt work to keep the idea of the overlapping tiny panels that constitute the whole of the face.
Unfortunately the realities of retail budgeting mean that there is nothing even approaching adequate paint coverage to highlight all of this amazing work that has gone to the physical design of the robot mode. It's a serious disservice to the toy, which only manages with some of the conduits picked out in dark blue, at least providing a little contrast on the body and differentiating some elements from the remaining mass of unpainted mechanical detail. I've seen custom paint jobs on this mold that painstakingly bring out all of the sculpt, and the toy has the potential to be absolutely amazing looking. The stock finish won't outright disappoint you, but if you're handy with a paintbrush, you'll probably like to spend some time filling in some of the uncolored portions and really bringing out what Galvatron has to offer.
I had hoped that with the robot being largely independent from the alternate mode that it might get some more range of movement than normal. It didn't entirely work out that way. It has reasonably nice ratcheting insert joints at the shoulders, but the range is limited by the shoulder armor, despite it being hinged. The joints themselves also can sag in their sockets in some situations, which may affect posing. The double elbow hinge can fold over completely, though I'm sure that's for transformation more than anything else. But there's no wrist joint of any kind or any action below the elbow. The hips are set at an angle, similar to Fall of Cybertron Grimlock, so as you move them around you'll have to pitch them in or out and use the thigh swivels to keep the legs straight relative to their original position. The knee goes to around a 60-degree bend, which is stopped by the truck wheels on the back of the lower legs. The knees are also kind of high up on the leg because of the wheels needing a lot of space. The ankles are pretty remarkable, having hinges to let them rock back and forth and tilt side to side within a solid range. It's a good bit more than most typical Transformers end up with, and I don't really want to complain about what is essentially "bonus" articulation. It is useful within the toy's existing jointing, but I can't help think that if the knees were more freely moving, Galvatron could be doing some utterly amazing things (for a normal retail Transformer) with all of this. And that's probably my biggest disappointment with the robot mode. It's doing some unusual things which I think are partly because of the way it transforms leaving the robot mainly free, but there are still things coming up that get in the way and bring down the potential to a really noticeable degree. It's close to me wanting to put a "Super-Poseable" description to it, but it just isn't quite there. There's not even any jointing in the torso, like a waist or equivalent mid-body movement. The neck does have a nice ball joint that gives good range at least. Galvatron's poseability is more good than bad, it's just that the bad stands out a bit more because of where it's hitting.
Galvatron's transformation mainly involves concealing the upper body of the
robot in a shell of truck cab panels. Generally I wouldn't be especially in
favor of this, but it's been done in a kind of novel way. That novelty mostly
shows in the process of going from truck to robot, but you can see the elements
in this direction too. The side walls of the cab are all attached to each other
with hinges, so they remain as a single unit at all times. The roof is in a
hinge, so folding it down lets the wall panels pull out and expand in to the
"box" of the truck mode. It's made with intent that a tab on the windshield
will catch in a track inside the roof and make sure the panels move smoothly
and straight back and not catch to one side or the other. This isn't always
effective, but only particularly matters when transforming to robot mode. See,
in transforming from vehicle to robot, springs in one pair of hinges act to
automatically collapse the walls, and that's what makes it novel. You take the
robot parts out, unpeg the roof, and the structure should flatten against the
back by itself. A reasonably elegant solution, and one that does not complicate
transforming in the other direction. Plus by having the majority of the panels
stay fixed to each other, it eliminates a major problem with shell-based
alternate modes, because there's never a need to manually align and fit
The vehicle mode looks really nice. I like the combination of this cool or maybe even slightly greenish grey base color with the silver and black. There's just enough of a color value to keep it from feeling monochrome but still being a kind of understated that speaks to me in a good way. There are a few obviously unpainted elements, exhaust pipes for instance, but the color-minimalism ends up making that not stand out really badly. The light grey (with bits of gold and blue visible) in the back spoils the coloring a little, but generally it'd be realistic for those parts of a semi-cab to not be painted like the main part of the body anyway.
Thanks to being a shellformer, the structure is pretty tight. There's only a
very few panel seams to permit transformation, and the most glaring, like the
roof separation take place in spots where you'd expect that anyway, in this
example where a windvane would be attached to the existing body structure of a
truck. It's all pretty natural looking and doesn't leave a mess. I can
appreciate the engineering of the shell even more given how nice of a vehicle
mode it produces. The body is structurally solid too. When everything is pegged
and tabbed in place, all of it holds together really well. There's no feeling
that you're going to push something out of place with casual handling, or even
being a little bit rough with it. It all locks down and holds together until
you're ready to pull it apart to transform.
...that's the front end though, and the back is a little different. The back is the robot legs, and that's not especially disguised. That's the weakness of the vehicle mode, much as it was a weakness for the robot. The style of the elements in back clashes with the clean, flat, square look of the cab itself. It also has none of the structural integrity. The robot's feet make the trailer hitch, and tabs in the heels are supposed to hold the legs together to keep everything in one piece. Supposed to. The tabs can fit together. A little. They can kind of stabilize against each other, but there's nothing like "locking" going on, and it's super easy to get them to let go and have the back end start pulling apart before you even notice anything happened. It's a bit sad when the one part of the toy that doesn't involve hiding in a shell of vehicle panels makes me wish that it did just because it works so poorly at doing something that should be incredibly simple.
Galvatron comes with a missile launching cannon. It shares a physical design sense with the torso, being covered with conduits, pipes, cables and such. And this one is completely unpainted.. The overall style makes it look like it's meant to have grown out of Galvatron's forearm, and the hand peg is hidden under a panel so that when held it mostly hides the fist to help create the illusion that it's an integral system. It has an additional peg on the side, which the toy can hold it by if you prefer it to look like a straight up gun. Unfortunately there's not a 5mm port on either forearm to let it wear it as an attached arm cannon that way.
The cannon is meant to store on the vehicle by pegging to the roof using that side peg. I think it looks really dumb that way. Out of place, and clashing with the looks of the vehicle. Sadly there's no other option for storage, so you're stuck with a bad look or leaving it off to the side. I vote for the latter option.
Galvatron is a pile of conflict. There's fantastic sculpting that is not able to be fully brought out in paint that it needs because of realistic budget limitations, but that can be fixed on the consumer end if absolutely necessary. The freedom of the robot from the vehicle mode gives it a good opportunity to enjoy more flexibility, and it does in some ways. But then is still compromised by the extremely few places where vehicle still needs to interact. The shell-based transformation works in a neat way and makes a nice vehicle mode, except for the half that doesn't hide in a shell.
There's a good deal that I like about this, and some of it is stuff I didn't expect to like which kinda gives it more weight since it essentially "won me over". But there's some things that I don't like, and those things really bother me. While for myself I think this could meet the level of Good, at the $25 price point, it probably needs to have done just a little better in one of the critical areas to justify the cost. I'm going with Could Have Been Better on the Figurereviews.com Non-Numeric Rating Scale, but it was a close one. That last $5 kind of broke it, and if we were dealing with $20 Voyagers still, I'd probably be recommending it right now. If you can find this on a good sale for no more than $20, it's probably worth snapping up.
|Date||June 6th 2014|
|Score||(5 out of 10)|
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