Sunday, 26 September 2010

Alternity A-02 Megatron (Silver)

If the Nissan GT-R was an unlikely vehicle mode for Optimus Prime, then the same must be even more true of the Nissan Fairlady Z and Megatron, particularly considering that this, the updated Fairlady, is the rightful form of an Alternity Prowl or Bluestreak... and the two colourschemes initially available - Silver and Monterey Blue - further echo Bluestreak in particular. His G1 form was originally due to be blue, like the Diaclone model from which it was derived, but the only models released under the TransFormers banner were silver, occasionally with a black bonnet.

Adding to the wierdness of Megatron taking the form of an Autobot car is the fact that the updated Fairlady is significantly smaller than the GT-R, so Takara Tomy had to use some quite impressive engineering to make its robot mode of comparible height to the Autobot leader.

Vehicle Mode:
At first glance, this is actually eerily similar to the GT-R. One might almost be forgiven for assuming its transformation would be identical. Certain design elements - the back-sweeping headlights, the tapering rear end, even the shaping of the bonnet - are very close to the GT-R. It does, however, end up with far fewer visible seams, at least partly because they're placed more sensibly on this model than on A-01.

Like Convoy, all the lights are molded in transparent plastic, including the red bar on the rear - actually part of a large transparent plastic assembly that accounts for most of the top of the car, from the front windscreen to the rear. And, again, there's no simulated steering on this 1:32 scale model, but the interior is passably detailed.
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Robot Mode:
Strangely, it turns out that Alternity Megatron's robot mode is not dissimilar to Convoy's - it's really only the legs that are significantly different, since there's less of the car at the back, the legs have to fold out quite a bit to get to the right length. This does end up giving him a rather bell-bottomed-trousers appearance, particularly with such small feet sticking out at the bottom, but the overall effect is quite good.

Where Convoy has wrist-mounted cannons, Megatron has blades... and, in fact, was supposed to come with a pair of swords. Sadly these were missing from mine, and I didn't fancy sending it back for a replacement on something so minor. They're not even particularly impressive swords, letting alone the fact that swords might work well on Gundams, but they've never quite suited TransFormers.

Still, it seems the intention with Megatron was to create a robot with a kind of Samurai appearance - hence the large shoulder guards, the armour plate over his groin, and the fixation with bladed weapons.

The head sculpt is probably the most controversial aspect of this model - many fans have complained about it. While it's not my favourite Megatron head, it retains design cues from the original (more from the TV series appearance than that of the toy), but its portrayal is in keeping with the more angular, robotic look of the Alternity line.
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Transformation is almost identical to Convoy at the front - only subtle differences with the way the arms are deployed. The legs are very different, however, and the conflicting overlapping parts present more of a hinderence in this model than the barely-pegged-together portions of Convoy's lower legs.

It is, however, far more easily poseable than Convoy, not least because of the properly ball-jointed feet, which offer a full range of motion and, consequently, far better stability. The doors on the shoulders don't present quite so much of a barrier to arm movement, either.

While I'm not overly impressed with the plain paint job on this model, the alternatives - Monterey Blue and, later, Diamond Black - impressed me even less. The black iteration could have been better were it not for the bright orange plastic it used in place of this model's black in certain parts... unless the intention was to suggest some kind of internal flames, like The Fallen.

I'm also still in two minds about the missing accessories... I really don't believe they'd complete this model if I had them, but it is something of a shame that I can't pose him with his intended weapons.

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