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Masterpiece Ultra Magnus

Transformers
by yo go re

Between MP-21 Bumblebee and MP-23 Exhaust, Takara released MP-22: Ultra Magnus.


(click to embiggen)

There'd already been one Ultra Magnus in the Masterpiece line - the second ever released, in fact. It was a white repaint of Optimus, but a decade later they did something much, much more complex.

This is Magnus in his full City Commander armor, red and blue and blocky as the day is wide. This is one of the MPs that are designed to mimic the old cartoon designs, so the surface of the body is fairly light on detail; of course, that may simply be an impression left by virtue of the fact we're reviewing this figure right in the middle of the "Siege"/"Earthrise" era, when everything is covered with needless greeblies - including Ultra Magnus himself. Looking at this toy, you'll see a lot os shapes that pay homage to the original toy without outright duplicating it, and the various vents and seams are intricate enough to walk that line between "pointless" and "busy."

The head has the usual big blue helmet with round pipes or whatever sticking up off the ears. They're painted white here, rather than being the same silver as the face. Faces. You get your choice: either a stoic one, or one with the mouth open to yell. If you got the repaint Masterpiece Delta Magnus, it came with two additional faces using the same expressions, but with the eyes sticking out from the face instead of recessed. Why? There's space to store two extra faces inside the robot's back, and when you go to swap them, the interior of the head is molded and painted to look like a white version of Optimus Prime's head, referencing his origins. That's awesome!

Now, technically this review isn't MP-22 Ultra Magnus; I ordered him on Singles Day, so he's actually THF-04 Hyper Magnum - a knockoff with a few improvements. For instance, the main rifle. at a glance, it's the same that came with the real figure, but it appears to have been molded using the add-on pieces from X2 Toys' upgrade kit, making it longer and bulkier. It's still all one piece, though, so it's not like you're getting two knockoffs for the price of one. Additionally, he comes with a second, even larger rifle with plenty of molded and painted details; that one doesn't seem to have any clear antecedant, so who knows what that's about? Like many Ultrae Magnii before him, he has rocket launchers on his shoulders, though in this case, they're permanently attached, not separate pieces. In the traditional fashion, the guns plug into his palms, with the fingers hinging around the handle just for show.

The articulation isn't as good as other MP figures, but that makes sense for someone as big as heavy as Ultra Magnus. The toy is more than 12" tall (counting the shoulder-towers). The head has a good range of motion, and so do the shoulders if you pull them away from the body a little bit - it's not how he's meant to be assembled, but it does let you ratchet them out to the side better. There are biceps and elbows, and balljoints for the wrists, and though he doesn't have a waist, he does get stiffly ratched hips and knees, which will keep him standing steady. The thighs rotate, and the ankles tip to the side so his feet can remain flat even in wide poses. Toy House Factory also improved the kibble, adding an extra hinge to the big flap that covered Magnus's butt, and making it far less obtrusive in the process.

Like MP-22, THF-04's chest can open, revealing a spot where the Matrix of Leadership can fit; unlike MP-22, THF-04 actually comes with one, so you won't have to borrow it from Optimus! There's an alternate set of hands with a big notch running through the fingers, allowing Magnus to grip the Matrix and desperately try to pull it open. There's a ton more detailing inside the chest than on the surface of the body, which makes sense: the interior of machines are genrally more complex than the exteriors.

Masterpiece toys are not known for their super simplistic conversions. To change Ultra Magnus, 1) slide the neck back and rotate the head; 2) split the forearms down over the hands; 3) flip and the tops of the shoulders to the sides; 4) rotate the missile launchers down; 5) unhinge the shoulders, and swing down the sides of the cab; 6) straighten the back shield and wrap it into place as the cab; 7) raise the entire chest and the cab over the head; 8) unfold the arms and swing them all the way down; 9) turn the smokestacks; 10) open shinguards; 11) spin the sides of the feet to reveal the wheels; 12) rotate the shins up, and the panels from underneath the legs; 13) bring the legs together; 14) bring the arms together, tucking the main gun in between them; 15) fold the side panels into place and fold out the wheels; 16) point the missiles forward; 17) drop the little panels on the sides to cover the remaining gap.

Naturally, Ultra Magnus turns into a car carrier - one actually sized to transport other Masterpiece cars, just like they can fit into Optimus Prime's traielr! You can fit two on top, and two on the bottom. The cab has a lot more red on it than you'd expect: the front bumper and most of the rear; that's because this is meant to homage the cartoon, where both those things were true. No, it doesn't look right if all you're familiar with is the old toy, but that's life. A little switch beneath the cab allows you to detatch it from the trailer, but there's no real reason to it: he and Optimus can't trade trailers, because their truck height and attachment points are different.

The set includes two human figures, Spike and Daniel Witwicky. (Or "Stan" and "Dandy," as the knockoff version calls them.) They're both articulated like the Spike that came with MP-10, with swivels at the hips and shoulders and hinges at the knees, and they're molded wearing their futuristic jumpsuits from the year 2005. They can both ride in the truck's cab (or in any of the seats on MP-10) thanks to the articulation.

I didn't get the official Masterpiece Ultra Magnus, because I wanted to see if Hasbro would release one in the US. They didn't. But getting this "Utlar Mgsuna" knockoff - for less money, but with improved design and more accessories - really worked out for the best.

-- 02/25/20


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