Articulation: 17 total points - swivel neck; 4 points in left arm: Universal joint shoulder, bicep swivel, hinge elbow; 3 points in right arm: Universal shoulder, bicep swivel; Swivel waist; 4 points each leg: Ball joint hip, thigh swivel, hinge knee, hinge ankle; Plus rotating turret and hinged cannon for use in tank mode.
Colors: Molded purple, cyan, dark grey, clear red; Painted purple, cyan, orange, black, silver, lavender, white.
Accessories: Machine gun
Release Data: Released in Japan in January of 2012 at a retail price of ¥2800
Generation 2 was "my" Transformers. Though the magic of the Cybernet Space Cube, I was first introduced to Transformers with the original G2 broadcast of More Than Meets The Eye. Things like orange Constructicons and camouflage decoed space shuttles didn't bug me, it became a strong part of my sense of what Transformers was. And today things that call back to those trends especially resonate with me. It's no wonder I made a special point at Botcon to hunt down Tank Megatron from Transformers United.
"Ultimate Battle" Megatron in 2006 already referenced back to the electronic G2 Megatron pretty well, but it just wasn't all the way there. Takara closed that gap with this recolor, basing it on the much more poseable "Hero" Megatron toy from closer to the end of G2's lifespan. It's not as special in my memory as the green Megatron I actually had, but since the intent of this is absolutely unmistakable, I'm not going to split hairs.
This has been a favorite of mine for a long time in tank design. While the narrow body sort of makes it look like a tank built on a car's body plan, it's intentionally left to look unrealistic with things like overlapping plate armor, exposed techy bits and other complex molded detailing that leads to kind of coming off as a hybrid of Earth and Cybertronian vehicle styles. This gives it freedom and really lets the tank design work without any compromises to either mode to achieve vehicle realism.. It's a design philosophy I can absolutely appreciate, and especially when you get to G2-based colors like this it's kind of a life saver for credibility. A great thing about the toy's design is the turret is articulated, which isn't always easily done when taking transformation needs in to consideration. The turret has a few "soft ratchet" points, thanks to the guide pegs on the drive base which are supposed to help align the turret unit between modes. With the swivel being a bit on the loose side, this is a big help to not have it swinging freely all over the place even when you're not trying to rotate it. The Main gun can also elevate as much as 45 degrees from horizontal, if part of the turret armor is lifted for added clearance.
Now, the colors. The colors are just beautiful. The base purple of most of the plastic is a really pleasant shade, with just this certain vibrance that catches your eye without assailing you with its purpleness. It's exactly the kind of purple I expect to not photograph right at all because purple hates digital color reproduction, and that of cameras in particular. The rear half of the drive base is actually cast in the dark grey plastic and so had to be mostly painted over in purple, and sadly that reproduction was not all that great either. In contrast to the plastic color, this is a darker, more grape looking purple. ...actually, it's a lot like what a camera is likely to represent the purple plastic as... On the turret armor it's less obvious since there's a cyan band breaking the purple up, but backed right up to each other on the base it's sadly impossible to miss.
The distinctive black camo spots are only present on the base of the tank, which is probably for the best; the upper sections have a fair bit going on color-wise as it is, so trying to throw this on probably would have made them visually really busy. Something I found pretty cool, the air bellows on Hero Megatron was a bright orange plastic. This toy doesn't have a bellows, but the rear portion of the turret got orange paint apps to simulate its presence in the color scheme. Likewise, the cyan on the front of this tank evokes part of the turret coloring of the G2 toy. Even part of the main gun's hinge is painted in cyan to tie it together! The choices in the deco design and layout here are really thoughtful, and with consideration to how parts are spread over the parts trees, I really don't feel like this could have been made any more accurate of a tribute to that toy.
Simple and straightforward like most of the products than ran in 2006. The
turret reversal to form the shoulders, arms and head is pretty clever and helps
to minimize the distance from head to front of chest, so it's not so ridiculous
as the G2 tank toys that inspired it. The only thing that will be difficult
about this is remembering the right way to line the arms back up to form the
turret going back to vehicle mode.
For the large part, this figure demonstrates what was good about how the original Classics toys were designed. There's a simplicity that works in its favor. There's plenty of joints on the toy, and while none of them are even trying to do anything special, they work completely adequately and get the job done while feeling totally solid. It took a while to really get back to a feeling like that after the movie toys really altered the style of Transformer design, but this is really a reminder of a time when things just worked well. Unlike, say, a Classics Seeker, I don't mind seeing this mold get dug out again after years because it's not something that feels aged at all. It's designed well enough to hold up against more modern toys and not seem out of place.
Notable for this use of the mold, the feet are actually assembled correctly! This was only previously seen on the Universe Special Edition Megatron. All examples prior and even subsequent ones aside from Tank Megatron have them put together wrong. There's still a design flaw where both feet do not unfold equally - one will always open flatter than the other. I've observed this as far back as the original Ultimate Battle release. It only minorly affects how the figure stands, but still unfortunate this never got worked out even over several production runs. ...of course if they're still largely putting the feet on backwards maybe it shouldn't be surprising.
While I said the fantasy design of the vehicle did not adversely affect either mode, it doesn't mean there isn't something that does. The Ultimate Battle set was marked by spring and gear driven action features, I suppose to push the "battle" aspect of the set. Megatron has lost most use of the right arm in favor of a spinning "blade" attack action. The remaining turret elements unfold and a red button on the arm makes it spin like a propeller. In return, Megatron sacrifices the presence of an elbow and a fist on the right arm. I'm not one to dismiss action features blindly, but I never appreciate circumstances when they actively inhibit basic functions of the toy. Like having a hand, for example. It's a complaint I had with the original use of the mold, and though I of course knew going in this that it would be there, I'm no less bothered by it. The consolation I suppose is that it can all be folded up and the cannon rests along the length of the arm in a normal Megatronish fashion if you don't want to use the gimmick. At least then all that really stands out is the absence of the hand.
The robot mode is less color accurate than the tank was. There's far, far more cyan visible, where largely it ought to be purple. The presence on the lower legs is due to that being on the same sprue as the plate that makes the base of the turret. Although there's no good reason for that to be in cyan given it's not visible in vehicle mode and is only linked to one other part ...which has been painted purple anyway. Beats me. The proportions of purple and blue kind of make me think of later-G1 stuff rather than G2, although that is not itself a bad thing. It's definitely less spot-evocative of G2 Megatron though, and that makes me sad.
Megatron comes with a simple gun vaguely similar to a small gun the G2 versions had, but styled a little differently, most notably with an unfolding stock for no real reason except to have an unfolding stock. It serves the toy no use. Besides giving Megatron more artillery, it's also generic enough to be easily attached to any other needy figure with a 5mm compatible hand. In fact, I seem to have misplaced the one from my green Megatron for that very reason - I think I lent it out to another toy and can't remember where it ended up. Oops.
It also fits in a 5mm port on the turret to act like a secondary cannon for the tank, another idea borrowed from G2.
I like this toy a lot, whirly-arm not withstanding. It offered a kind of alternative to other Classics or Generations Megatrons if I felt the need for one, with a style so much its own that it would never seem out of place no matter how the design style might change through successive lines. The vague anatomical styling to some of the robot parts even would help it fit with War For/Fall Of Cybertron toys, as does again the intentionally unreal vehicle form. Fall of Cybertron Archforce? Sure!
With a growing amount of love for G2 lately, this not only stands out as a fantastic example, but something that will further help enrich any display of these in my opinion long overdue homage toys. The robot deco isn't quite so perfect as the tank layout, but there's no denying this was done with a lot of care and attention to detail, and it accomplishes its goal so well that I have no regret paying import markup for another use of this mold. Tank Megatron is Very Good on the Figurereviews.com Non-Numeric Rating, would have easily scored an Excellent if the robot deco had been a little more faithful.
I can tell you for sure once Amazon's G2 FOC Bruticus comes out, this will be the Megatron leading the smashy, smashy charge through a pile of Autobots. Man, it's about time nostalgia-driven redecos and stuff caught up with stuff I'm actually nostalgic for, I'm telling you...
|Date||August 30th 2012|
|Score||(7 out of 10)|
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