You’ve got to hand it to Japan. When it comes to giant robots, spandex-clad superheroes, and animated porn featuring suspiciously “fresh” young ladies, they’re absolutely at the top of their game. It’s the aforementioned giant robots we’re interested in today, but stick with us for the latter. If ever the TMW readership takes a dip we’ve always got the safety net of My Sexy Robot Little Sister reviews to fall back on.
LISTEN TO UNCLE!
The 80’s version of Megatron originated in Japan as a 1:1 scale toy robot who turned into a gun. Specifically, a Walther P38. Even more specifically, it turned into the customised boomstick used by Napoleon Solo in the Man from U.N.C.L.E television series. Weird huh?
This toy was one of many, many existing Japanese figures shanghaied into the Transformers toyline and animated series by Hasbro in 1984. We’ve covered this in detail before, but the discrepancy between the toy version of Megatron and the animated one – which also appeared in the comics, merchandise, and even in Universal Studios as a kid-size replica the little shits could climb over/vandalise – has been a bone of contention for Transformers fans since the sunny Saturday morning in 1984 the TV series hit the airwaves.
Just look at it. Christ, look at it. It pales in comparison to the tin tyrant who stomped all over our TV screens in the 80’s. So now – well over thirty years later – it’s up to Takara to leap in, banish the old toy to the land of winds and ghosts, and right past wrongs with the release of the new Masterpiece Megatron. Is it worthy of the name? Let’s find out.
Put simply – for we ain’t so good with big words here at TMW, hyuck hyuck – the only way you’re getting a better Megatron than this is to shove off to Cybertron with a special shrinky-dinky machine and steal the real one for yourself. There. We said it. It is best Megatron. End of review.
He scales and displays perfectly with his nemesis Optimus Prime, but veers more towards the animated cartoon aesthetic than Prime. In some ways Megs shoots for almost slavish cartoon accuracy, sporting a frankly massive head – with plenty of goofy expressions – and other odd details like the slightly wrong Decepticon sign all the baddies had in the show.
He also features electronic sounds activated by a button on his patented fusion cannon. You can switch between three sounds: the transforming sound (you know the one); a very weedy laser sound affect (ignore this one); and a smattering of Japanese phrases, none of which we understand apart from “Destron gundan, TRANSU-FOOOOOOOOORM!” which we never get tired of hearing.
Articulation is what you’d expect from a toy this price. As well as the standard joints, he has ratcheting shoulders and knees, so can really hold a pose. Curiously he can bend over double at the waist in a way that’ll have Marilyn Manson sobbing into his sacrificial altar with envy. We like.
Unfortunately, actually transforming this thing is such a pain in the ass. So much so we usually think twice before getting him off the shelf and do something easier instead, like bringing peace to the Middle East . This is mostly due to the boggling amount of tiny movable parts, but is sometimes made harder by the odd oversight on the part of the designer. For a start, the whole figure is coated in a thin layer of matte paint, which scrapes off leaving ugly marks if you’re not careful. Actually it happens even if you are careful. Good job we don’t keep our toys mint or we’d be absolutely fuming. Also, on our sample the hips were basically fused by the thickness of the paint and the tight joints, and just wouldn’t come apart for transformation. We had to take a screwdriver to it in the end.
The gun barrel is a likely point of breakage too. The plastic is just too soft and is liable to bend or snap completely at the hinge if you don’t know what you’re doing. We shaved it down with a stanley knife. Jesus, is this a toy or a fucking model kit?
It took us a good forty minutes to get into gun mode, and even then the whole thing was sort of straining to pop apart like one of those clown cars where the wheels fall off. By this point we were too enraged to care. Seriously, this thing would have had Mahatma Ghandi going beast mode and throwing hands like M. Bison if it came out in his lifetime. Er, if Ghandi played with toy robots, which is unlikely.
So. After all that straining, grunting and sweating (ooer) it sort of looks like a gun. Card-carrying NRA members (not sure there’s much crossover between gun nuts and Transformers fans, but we’ve been wrong before) beware: it definitely doesn’t look like a real Walther. Quite apart from the millions of seams and cracks running over the thing, it’s way too blocky and oversized. In any case, we’re glad they traded a bit of real-world accuracy away in favour of the impressive robot mode. No electronic sounds in this mode unfortunately, so pulling the trigger gets you nothing. For shame.
That being said, it really is incredibly satisfying to turn it back into robot mode. The level of engineering skill on show here is something else. We’re very impressed. If a man in Japan asked us to design a functioning robot toy with nothing but an 80’s cartoon and a handgun to go on, we’d quite frankly shit ourselves. It’s worth a fiddle just to see how everything works.
There’s lots of value to be had here. The stock and silencer are configurable into loads of different modes, and there’s a bundle of quirky accessories to have fun with. Our faves are the battle-damaged face/chest bits, and the doofy looking “control helmet”. All of Megatron’s iconic weapons and gizmos are included. There’s so much to mess about with. If you like to have a guilty play with your high-end collectable toys it’s a must. But maybe leave it in the box if you don’t fancy getting the figure – and yourself – into a right state.