Friday, 18 February 2011

Beast Machines Megatron Megabolt

This toy was released as part of the Robots in Disguise line, but it's perfectly obvious to anyone that it doesn't fit that line. The closest it comes to RiD, supposedly, is that it fits into the HeadMaster space on Fortress/Brave Maximus but, with no actual connector piece, it seems unlikely that this was intentional.

The design is actually based upon Megatron's battleship from the final few episodes of Beast Machines, and the overall aesthetic - not to mention the rather garish colourscheme - suits that range far more closely. Scale is a bit of an issue... Considering the battleship was huge - almost a city in itself - and this thing is the equivalent of a Deluxe toy. Had it been made to fit its original scale, its robot mode would be colossal... but Megatron's battleship never actually transformed in Beast Machines, nor was there any real indication that it could. Nevertheless, robot mode's head design most closely resembles Megatron's Beast Machines appearance, particularly when the mask - attached to the missile launcher - is engaged.

Emissary Mode:
It took me a while to decide what to call this mode. 'Vehicle Mode' is appropriate, but it could equally be a 'Beast Mode', considering it's a giant head on insect legs. Alternatively, I could have called it 'Head Mode'... but that just looked odd. In the end, I checked the packaging and settled on using the name Hasbro gave it.

So, yes, it's a vehicle mode... modelled on a battleship, but clearly downsized and no longer able to float (although the engines are still evident to the rear). This thing scuttles around on six fixed-pose legs which, thanks to some clever mechanics and some rubberised wheels on the underside, will actually move slightly as it's pushed around. The same mechanism also opens the jaw and, eventually, fires the missile concealed in the mouth.

It's interesting that even the packaging refers to this thing as being able to "combine... with the secret Autobot defense fortress", considering that there's no obvious means for it to do anything more than just sit on top, where the proper head should be...

As a fan of Beast Machines, I must admit that I really do like this mode... Though I kind of wish they'd toned down the colourscheme a little. I can understand why they gave it legs, but they don't add a great deal to the toy, and I can imagine the wheels on the underside getting seriously gunked up after a lot of play.
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Robot Mode:
Good grief, this one's weird! Megatron's Beast Machines battleship may never have transformed but, this being a TransFormers toy, I guess it kind of had to. What you get is a garish and spindly robot with a tiny head and very large shoulders.

Oh, and a massive backpack with legs.

The colourscheme seems a touch more subdued here, but only because the bright red backpack-with-legs is less visible. It's still the same collection of purple, blue, cyan and red. And I really cannot understand why Hasbro put this thing into the Robots In Disguise range when it very clearly has a Beast Machines Vehicon logo inside its... er... Beast Wars/Beast Machines Spark Crystal. I know Megatron and Galvatron have similar things on their chests, but they are clearly Predacon logos... then again, I've never quite understood that, either. Most of the RiD Decepticons appear to be refugees from Beast Wars, G1 and G2... not to mention being completely outnumbered by the Autobots...

The head sculpt is pure Beast Wars, though the missile launcher's built-in, snap-on helmet is based on the control suit worn by Megatron throughout Beast Machines. It's a neat addition, but doesn't quite fit properly - it's a touch too small due, at a guess, to ground clearance issues in Emissary Mode.
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This is one very awkward figure to transform... lots of bits need to be moved through each other (or, more logically, in the correct order) because, basically, the entire robot has to fold up behind the two shoulderpads, which form the shell of Emissary Mode, around the robot's chest. It's cleverly done, but can be quite frustrating and, with certain key parts made out of rubbery plastic, there have been many times when I've thought I'm about to break him.

Considering the sheer number of ball joints, this should be a very poseable figure, but the weight of the backpack and the looseness of the joints - not the mention that he actually has two knee joints which sometimes seem to compete - and the lack of movement in the feet conspire to make him difficult to stand, let alone pose dramatically.

Even so, I've developed a soft spot for this very flawed and confused figure. If only he had a better idea of which continuity he was meant to be from, a better job might have been done with this model.

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