Double-dipping on a Masterpiece character? Who ever heard of such a thing!
The original MP Megatron, from 2007, was the fifth release in the line, and reportedly designed in just 12 days. (The original transforming one, that is: the first Optimus Prime included an accessory of him in his gun mode.) But the Masterpiece line underwent a soft reboot a few years later, so now that old figure was too big. Enter MP-36!
This new Megatron is smaller, but also far, far more cartoon-accurate. Honestly, putting the cartoon's proportions on a functional toy seems like something that should be impossible; like, each of
the robot's legs was drawn larger than the gun's hand grip, when the two of them are meant to combine to form it; how do you make that work? The body is chunky, way meatier and more impressive than MP-5. Knowing the old one was done from scratch in less than two weeks, its weird proportions are more forgivable, but this is what fans want a Megatron Transformer to look like. There are nice little details on his stomach, and the gun barrel can either stick up behind his back (like the cartoon) or point around his side (like the toy), allowing you to pick how you want your MP figure to look.
Speaking of choices, the figure includes four faces - five if you want to get technical. His "regular" face is neutral, but still looks a little angry (as is his wont). When you remove it, the exposed interior references the scene in Transformers: the Movie when he was being reformatted into Galvatron and we briefly got an internal view of his workings. You can replace the face with one that's smiling sinisterly, one that seems to be yelling in anger or fear (or apparently "crying," per the instruction booklet), or one that's battle damaged.
That final one, with the sculpted cracks and dents, also comes right out of the movie, from the part where he and Optimus were kicking the crap out of each other. There's also a replacement chestplate, that's similarly dinged up. Funny how swapping just those two parts can make this feel like an entirely different robot. Unsurprisingly, he also includes the pistol and lightsaber he used in that fight.
Articulation is much more plentiful and useful here than it was on the first MP Megatron. He moves at the head, neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, thumbs, fingers, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. It doesn't sound particularly overwhelming, but remember that several of those mean more than one joint. The shoulders, for instance, hinge and swivel and are mounted on a hinge in the chest that allows them to tip forward, as well. The left elbow on my figure is loose but, well, that's what you get for buying things on Singles' Day.
In addition to the previously mentioned accessories, we also get the helmet he used to control a clone of Optimus Prime in Season 2's "A Prime Problem," the energy mace Japan loves to give him (with a swappable traditional felxible chain or stiff poseable one), and the Key to Vector Sigma, a thing that can bring non-sentient robots to life.
The old Masterpiece Megatron was one of the most notoriously difficult to convert Transformers ever made. I once changed him from a gun to a robot and back without using the instructions, and I felt like a dang genius. This one puts that one to shame. Clearly a lot more time went into the design of this one, because it is insanely complex.
There are "only" 15 steps in the instruction booklet, but each of those steps can have to eight parts of its own, and they're not always the clearest about what you're supposed to be doing. On the plus side, it's very symmetrical, so if you can figure out one arm or leg, you can definitely figure out the other. Still, it's going to be a long time before I'm "off book" with this one; lots of little flaps and panels that need to be moved in specific orders to get them where they go. I did get it down to about 20 minutes by the time of this review, though.
Forget tanks, forget planes... this is the classic gun altmode. Of course it is: you can't spell "Megatron" without "gat"! Once you finally get everything in place and pressed together (with a lot of plastic stressing and potential paint rubbing), you've got yourself a fine little Walther P-38, with a spring-loaded trigger and a movable safety on the side. You can even cock the hammer! Since the robot is smaller than the last release, the gun is too: a real Walther is 8½" long, and this toy version is a little over 9" - so, pretty close. Try not to get shot by any trigger-happy cops.
The previous Masterpiece Megatron was missing some key accessories: while he obviously came with the gun's scope,
to form his fusion cannon, he was missing the silencer and stock 1980s Megatron came with. Well, that's just one more thing this release corrects! He's got all three pieces, which not only bulk the gun up (and make it look like the cartoon), but can also form a few different modes per the instructions. If you put the silencer on top of the stock as a standalone gun emplacement, it's a "Particle Beam Cannon," and if you combine the silencer and scope into a weapon that goes over his shoulder, it's the "telescopic Laser Cannon." Those are some obscure modes! Plus, the stock can be used as a flight stand for the robot, since all the Decepticons could apparently fly no matter what their altmode was.
MP-5 Megatron was fine, for 2007 (and for being designed so fast), but MP-36 Megatron is better in literally every way. I am so glad I finally got him!