Vaults of Iacon


Takara Masterpiece MP-36 Megatron

April 27th, 2017 | posted by Eddie


 

No messing about with any pre review exposition, straight into it. Initial thoughts; whoa, that looks nice but man that’s a lot of pins and folds and a pants waist line Simon Cowell would be proud of.

At the time of announcement I was bereft of an MP Megatron, sure I have MP-05 but I think we can all agree that he does not really count. It was a good figure for it’s time, I believe that and still do but time has not been kind to it and we have moved on. So after the announcement I felt the need to choose a 3rd Party MP style Megatron, mainly because when MP-36 arrived I wanted a frame of reference to compare to or give me a balance so I chose Maketoys MTRM-08 Despotron.

Anyway, MP-36 is why we are here and so he was released and I eagerly awaited the arrival of this much anticipated and as it would turn out, a much divisive figure.

So, placing Despotron to one side, clearing my desk and putting pen to paper … all hail Megatron, peace through tyranny.

Packaging & Accessories

Megatron comes in the larger box, comparable with that of say Soundwave, Ultra Magnus et al. It’s the usual set standard design and execution, matt black with gloss highlights and imagery. The figure is housed in a two part clam shell, the upper part containing Megatron himself along with his iconic fusion cannon and the lower part being the repository of his myriad of accessories. These comprise of;

  • Energy Mace (with loose chain & articulated chain)
  • Blaster Pistol
  • Laser Sword (with beam effect)
  • Key to vector Sigma (die-cast)
  • Head Gear (mind control whatcha ma call it)
  • Chest Section (damaged)
  • 3No faces: Damaged, Smile and Crying ? …. Shouting or Yelling ???
  • Silencer
  • Stock

…. and as always the baggie containing the instruction dissertation, sorry, instruction booklet and collector card.

We have seen some of these accessories before, namely with the older official release (MP-05) and the 3rd Party options, specifically X-Transbots Apollyon. It’s in the latter that it would appear Takara have taken some pointers, and why shouldn’t they.

Some are new such as the mind control helmet, Key to Vector Sigma and the 86 Movie battle damaged parts. All are good inclusions worthy of their place and not feeling rushed or thrown in as some vague and obscure reference to an episode past.

The dissertation (sorry) instructions are, as ever well compiled with clear illustrations taking you through the nightmare …… taking you trough the complex …… taking you through the stages of transformation. Cover artwork is nice but reminds me of something you may have found on the cover of some obscure 80’s tie in merchandise, good but not official looking. The same artwork adorns the collector card with the reverse having a shared image from the box. Looking at the bio stats or tech specs, I’m surprised to see a 4 and an 8 on there, could do with a translation to see what area Megatron is so inefficient in.

Gun Mode

Taking it’s inspiration from the Walther P38 9mm semi automatic pistol used by the Wehrmacht during World War II …. listen, don’t mention the war. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right.

Takara have managed to strike a good balance here with the gun mode, it’s inspiration is clear but also has enough of the square edges that define it of the cartoon series. A quick Google search and you will find many screen captures highlighting just what I mean.

As we all know the original Megatron toy was a direct lift (minus the pellets etc..) from the Diaclone U.N.C.L.E. set, attractively presented in a mock briefcase. With the now sensible gun laws and restrictions it’s hard for a replica gun to be made as a toy these days and thusly Megatron is shipped in his robot mode and in some cases with a rather attractive orange “tab” inserted in his barrel. Fortunately mine here to hand was bereft of this premium accessory.

The pistol has a nice weight and balance to it, feeling sturdy and compact without a hint of fragility anywhere. The gun mode also does a bang up job of hiding a lot of the robot parts, no small feat considering. The size isn’t too bad either, previous attempts at Megatron have had a laughably large alt mode in some cases, others just plain curious …. Nerf-a-tron ? Adding the silencer and stock to the gun mode and we see the more familiar looking alt mode we are all used to, some die-cast in the stock adds to the weight.

No working parts in this mode other than the spring loaded trigger, safety catch moves and the hammer can be pulled down but does not return on pulling the trigger. The scope has a sound feature but no working lens, I’ll go into this more in the robot mode narrative.

There have been reports and comments regarding the silencer and it’s fitment to the gun barrel, I’ll field an opinion on this in my closing.

Overall it’s a gun, what more can I say, looks like a gun but thankfully it’s not a real gun however has the awesome bonus of being able to transform which brings me nicely to the hard part ….

Transformation

Go f*ck yourself and the horse you rode in on ….. a few glasses of Fireball, some expletives and over an hour of stress and we are in robot mode.

This is the point where I have to say that this is probably the best transformation sequence I’ve come across in any Transformer I have to date. Barking mad I hear some cry … off his rocker ! Yes it’s complex, yes it’s an exercise in stress management but it’s also a genius of engineering. Megatron is probably the hardest character to realise in a toy form, if you go for his original and best incarnation that is, Takara have certainly earned their Shanix on this one.

Robot Mode

Once in robot mode and Megatron cuts a very lean silhouette, very reminiscent of his G1 appearances, an aesthetic Takara has now settled into with their continuing Masterpiece output.

This figure has lots of articulation, in fact it’s probably the best articulated Masterpiece figure released to date, again maintaining the exceptional engineering feat. This abundance of articulation brings with it the potential for some truly great and inspired poses, many you won’t find here as my imagination is somewhat lacking beyond the traditional “hero” poses and the more jovial inclined ones.

To just give you a brief idea I’ll run through some of these articulation points;

  • Head on ball joint
  • Arms pivot forward on a shoulder joint
  • Ratchet joint on shoulders with outward movement
  • Upper arm swivel with single joint elbow
  • Jointed fingers & thumb, Index independent with remaining three fused
  • Waist swivel and pivots forward for AB crunch
  • Ratchet joint to top of legs with outward movement & swivel
  • Single joints to knees
  • Feet forward & side to side pivot

So as you can see that’s quite impressive when you come to think, and if you are concerned, the single knee and elbow joints do provide just as much range as a double jointed variant, marvellous.

Paint application is very nice, it’s one of those that takes on a differing appearance in different lights, in some lights it looks a flat pastille grey and in others there is a metallic sheen bordering on pearlescent. Now it’s not all good but again, I’ll touch on this in my closing.

We can now have a play around with those accessories, I’ve taken a selection of photos below to highlight their use and features, I did forget to do the “gun head” mode ? But you can see images of this elsewhere I’m sure.

N.B. Best mention the sound feature on the fusion cannon, cannot really highlight that in a picture ! There is a neat little gimmick of 3 different sound effects; Transformation effect, Blast effect and some angry Japanese bloke ranting over something. As I discovered, the sound chip used is the same one used for the G1 Galvatron reissue from a few years back, great way to save a little expense but maybe just a little naughty Takara …. maybe !

Now I’ve had a play around and gotten to know this figure a little lets address that elephant in the room shall we; that rear view issue.

Megatrons back has been a bone of contention amongst the collecting community. Heated debates, opinions voiced, rants a plenty but in the end it does not change anything, it is what it is. Look, you cannot pull a figure off like this without some pay off down the line, this fact has always been true for Transformers toys. I personally have zero issue with it, I’m so enamoured by the overall engineering and work that has gone into this figure that it barely registers on my radar. In a past life I worked in engineering and construction so I have a familiarity with how these processes work, you will always gain in one area but loose out in another, it’s a fact.

If this representation is not to your tastes then as you’ll know there are 3 (currently) other options out there to choose from, one of these may suit your requirements better. And to be fair if this is the case then now is an opportune time to buy as the prices of the 3rd Party offerings are dropping like a stone which tends to happen when Takara release an official version of a prior 3rd Party only release. However I feel that there is room on your shelf for both, like I mentioned earlier, I have Despotron and fully intend to keep him.

Final Thoughts

I had no hesitations whatsoever in obtaining this figure, as soon as it was announced it was a must have.

I received mine a little after others had so I was able to enjoy watching (and reading) a selection of early reviews for MP-36 Megatron. They were, as I mentioned earlier, polarising to say the least. One of the main issues I touched upon the other I’ll debate now. I do like the paint application, I really do, it looks great … but … it’s not if you know what I mean. If I may offer an opinion based on some former experience; to me it feels like they have not enough hardener in the paint mix. I have transformed Megatron once and he’s scuffed to buggery, yeah I was careful and took my time but it still happened. Now this should bother me more than what it does, especially when you take into account his high price point and the fact that this is the pinnacle of Transformers toys. But it doesn’t, I accept it as just one of its quirks and you know what, I’m all the happier for it.

If I may, I’ll bullet point some Pro’s & Con’s as I see them;

Pro’s

  • Animation likeness
  • Tight joints
  • Solid construction, well balanced with nice amount of die-cast
  • Amazing articulation
  • Plethora of accessories
  • Paint application
  • Inspired transformation
  • Master of engineering

Con’s

  • Animation likeness
  • Complex transformation
  • Soft plastic in places
  • Some overly tight joints in places
  • Paint application
  • No Kremzeek

Masterpiece Megatron feels like a welcome return of sort to the Masterpiece ethos, one I have missed in some recent releases. I’m still not a big fan of the over reliance on the G1 animation look but I’m thawing as I have the option for 3rd Party should I wish a more G1 toy inspired aesthetic. Options are good, if you have the funds and shelf space then I cannot recommend this figure enough, however if you’re on a budget and the re-sale prices are too high then there are always the very good 3rd Party offerings. But I would be amiss if I were not to advise always buying official when and where you can.

That's all Folks !

It’s over Prime

Thanks to Kapow Toys Ltd, figures reviewed are available online via their website.

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