Legacy Communicator In-hand Review

We love a bit of die-cast here at TMW. The playthings of yesteryear were absolutely loaded with the stuff, lending them a hefty weight and an impress-your-friends factor that is sorely lacking in toys today. So we’re inclined to give the Legacy Communicator a solid 10/10 based on the fact that it’s more than 90% metal. We’re clearly biased, we know. But the metallic heft of the Communicator elevates it from embarrassing kiddies plaything to a Manly Action Device that you’d be proud to wear out and about – or even to your work/school/court hearing depending on your level of badassery*. This looks so real you’d expect a call from Zordon any minute.

*TWM accepts no responsibility for any social ostracizing that may occur.

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“Rangers, did you know you can claim for PPI? It’s simple and there’s no risk.”

SOUNDS LIKE FUN

You’d be hard pressed to miss your summons to action because this thing’s loud. Loud as fuck to be more specific. We guess that’s so you can hear it in a busy street or packed juice bar or whatever – so don’t hold it up to your ear unless you want your eardrums to crumble like a Japanese parking garage at Megazord time.

LOOK WHO’S TALKING

The lights and sounds are activated by a single button and are dished out in a set order for maximum role-play fun. You press the button and get the classic communicator noise. You know the one. Beep-beep-boo-boo-bee-beep. Press it again and you hear Zordon. He’s got a few different soundbites of sage wisdom. Stuff like:

  • “Teleport to the Command Center, immediately.”
  • “Morph [sic] to the Command Center. It’s urgent. We have a desperate situation, Power Rangers.”
  • “Congratulations, Power Rangers, on a job well done.”
  • “Power Rangers, I need you at the Command Center, immediately.”

The third time you get the teleporting sound effect or – very occasionally – a dud noise that means you’ve got a long walk to the Command Center ahead of you…

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We took this to the watch shop to get the strap fitted and the man laughed at us.

CROWNING AROUND

Sometimes you get Alpha 5 doing his classic “Ai ai ai!” bit, except they flubbed it so it sounds like “Ai ai aaaaaaaaah!”, which is disappointing. Also you can hold the button down for a few seconds and get the Power Rangers theme song. We weren’t tired of that two years ago, and we’re not tired of it now either.

They’ve made some changes to the screen-used design but they’re small and barely noticeable. We remember the crown of the watch extending as a sort of antenna but try as we might the Legacy one won’t do that. On the plus side it wins points for having changeable strap things in the box, so you can customise it to your liking. The left and right sides aren’t interchangeable, so make sure you don’t lose one or you’ll have a tough time replacing it. You get five colours and – surprise surprise – the green one is absent from the standard release. Groan…

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It’ll end in tears if you try this, sunshine.

STRAPPING LAD

We’ve got to mention that Ban Dai know their audience and the Communicator is obviously designed to fit a fully-grown person, which is good for most of you reading. But the younger ones – or those with a smaller build – will definitely have to take the bastard thing to a watch shop to have a few links taken out of the strap. While slightly annoying, it’s infinitely better than finding out that your brand-new gizmo won’t fit. So full marks there.

KNOW THE SCORE

Another place it gets top marks is quality, as it’s a sturdy bit of role-play kit that’s as fun as you’re willing to make it. It’s a shame we had to play into the stereotype of stingy Brits and mark it down on value though. Our Scrooge McDuck money vault is 65 quid lighter because of this (that’s well over 90 dollars for our American friends), and we can’t help but find ourselves yearning for a time when fun didn’t have such a steep entry price.

COMMUNIRATING

 

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I Clean My Gun and Dream of Galvatron

Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the animated Transformers movie, and the masterminds at Takara have promised to celebrate the event the only way they know how: by making more awesome toys. So far revealed for 2016 are new figures of movie posterboy Hot Rod – which makes sense – and menacing Decepticon Shockwave, which makes far less sense when you consider he has exactly two lines in the movie and is quietly squashed out of existence in the final act.

Both are part of the reinvigorated Masterpiece line, which aims to correct the mistakes of the past and produce new figures of existing characters improved with today’s toy technology. So why the hell have we not got a Galvatron yet?

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“Who’s a guy got to disintegrate to get a new toy around here?”

In the movie, Galvatron was created by Unicron from the remains of Decepticon boss Megatron. His job was to cover Unicron’s considerable ass by hunting down any pesky Autobots who would seek to destroy him. Unbelievably, Unicron was voiced by Orson Welles – whether or not the animators modeled the foul-tempered planet-eater on Welles himself is not certain at this time. Galvatron sets out to capture the Autobot Matrix for his master, but not before getting his own house in order by challenging Starscream for leadership of the Decepticons. And by “challenging” we mean straight-up terminating his ass in one of the movie’s most brutal scenes.

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Our faces looked just like this when Starscream carked it.

The character of Galvatron came about, in real-life terms, because of a number of factors. Changing gun laws in the United States meant that the continued production of Megatron – who turned into a perfect replica of a P-38 Walther handgun – just wasn’t viable. The toys had been on the shelves for two years by this point, so it was decided to shake up the ranks of the Autobots and Decepticons with two new leader characters. The new, improved version of Megatron would now turn into a futuristic-looking laser gun, and if need be further transform into a static laser cannon.

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The battles of the future will be fought with… these things.

Galvatron’s original animation model was designed by artist Floro Dery with little consideration for how it would work as an actual toy – leaving the people at Hasbro to do their best to make a transforming action figure from his sketches in short time. The resulting finished toy has a good amount of weight to it, and even fits nicely in an adult’s hand in laser gun mode. It’s also one of the first – if not the first – Transformer to have electronic lights and sounds. Alas, this figure of Galvatron is probably best described as the phrase “you tried” manifested in physical form.  If you squint a bit it kind of looks like him. Or at the very least it looks like a random Transformer in a home-made Galvatron Halloween costume.

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“If you do just 50 crunches a day, you can have abs like these!”

It would take Hasbro 22 years to muster up the willpower to crank out another toy, and you can guess how that went. This time Galvatron was a tank – a mandate by Hasbro deems that all new TF lines must contain at least five tanks because “kids love that war shit” – but the figure has vestiges of some kind of third mode, a symptom of being drastically scaled-back in both size and complexity at some point in production. The result is a figure that not even a God of Chaos could love.

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Tanks, but no tanks.

And that’s how Galvatron’s story ends. These days, the name has variously been applied to new characters in the live-action movies and comics, and by all accounts Hasbro is more than happy to leave Megatron’s alter ego well enough alone for another 20 years. In the words of gravelly-voiced old timer Kup, it’s not the end we’d wish for, lad. Someone at Takara needs to put this right!