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Transformers Legacy
by yo go re

Look, when we said we'd review Menasor in 2024, it was supposed to be a jokey joke, a way to shame Hasbro for how slow they were being and get them to release the toys faster; it wasn't supposed to be an accurate prophecy of things to come!

A clanking, crushing terror that destroys all his path. He would be the ultimate Decepticon weapon if he wasn't so confused by the opposing thoughts of the 5 Stunticons who comprise him.

Before there was "Scramble City," there was Diaclone: Jizai Gattai ("Free Combination"), a planned 1985 subline that would have predictably included lots of swappable limbs. But when Transformers' popularity exploded, Takara stopped working on that idea entirely to focus on the new interest from America. Then, when more new Transformers were needed for 1986, Takara dug those old plans out and tweaked them for the TF brand. Which is fair, since a lot of the members of the combiner teams had been similarly retro-fitted to Jizai Gattai from even older plans themselves!

When we started reviewing the Stunticons, with Dragstrip, I got the whole review written up and posted, and it never even occurred to me (until someone wrote in to ask) that in reviewing the toy, I hadn't at all mentioned the combiner limb mode. Well, that's because he doesn't really have one. There are no steps in his instruction booklet to turn him into an arm, because of the way Menasor is designed.

Unlike the 2016 Combiner Wars toys, where the big robots were built entirely from all their smaller components, Legacy Menasor is different. In fact, Legacy Menasor is stupid. Mototrmaster's trailer turns into a large frame thats capable of standing on its own, and the four cars just attach to that to "be" the limbs. It's an idiotic concept, lazy design work, and completely defeats the purpose of having Combiners in the first place.

To make Dragstrip and Dead End into arms, attach them to the arms of the frame: a tab on the frame fits into a slot on the underside of the car, allowing it to split in half so the elbows can still bend. To make Wild Rider and Breakdown into legs, fold the front of the car up and plug the cars onto the frame. Onto the back of the frame, because we needed this to be extra-stupid! (That's also why those two are the same basic toy, because they need to function the same way.) This is all because Legacy is dedicated to nothing above duplicating the look of the '80s cartoon, and in that, Menasor was depicted as a large robot that happened to have Stunticons hanging off its sides. So we have to get a worse toy because rushed animation studios misinterpreted what they were supposed to be drawing 40 years ago? Thanks a whole f*^#ing lot, Hasbro. You could have given us something good, something smart, but instead we get this.

The only mitigating factor to this embarrassing cock-up is that the proportions to the combined robot do look better than the Combiner Wars version: it's taller and thinner, more in line with how Menasor is supposed to look than the broad-chested crab he was last time. Plus, almost every one of his joints uses incredibly stiff ratchets, so whatever pose you put him in, he's going to hold very well. So it's not like the toy is junk, but geeze, the way they chose to do the limbs is shameful.

The robot frame has rocker ankles, hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, swivel waist, swivel wrists, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a swivel neck. That may not sound impressive, but on a nearly-13" gestalt made by reassembling various trailer parts? Yeah, it's nice, you can do a lot with it. So there is good in this toy, it's just buried under a bad starting concept.

Menasor includes his sword, and since not all of Motormaster's trailer becomes the larger robot's body, there's also a free-standing gun tower. Deadline coming up? Not a good enough designer to figure out how to actually use all the parts you have? Try a free-standing gun tower. A free-standing gun tower: an easy thing to include with your robot toy. Stand some junk on-end and tell your boss you're done for the day. You certainly will not regret a free-standing gun tower.

Because Hasbro keeps artificially inflating their prices without actually giving that extra money to the workers who make their products, getting Menasor would have cost you $200: $25 for each of the four limbs, then a flagrantly insulting NINETY GODDAMN DOLLARS for Motormaster. There is no world in which a Transformers combiner that's just a hollow frame with unchanged toys plugged onto the outside of it is worth $200, whether you're getting them individually or in a gift set. I paid less than that, total, and I'm still upset at how much it cost. You can't charge a premium price for a mediocre product. Hell, "mediocre" literally means "halfway up a mountain," suggesting a completely middling result; Menasor doesn't even reach that level. Not at $200. For a lower price, this would be more acceptable. Some amazing engineering work went into turning Motormaster into a big robot chest, but then the rest of the work was all handed in at 4:55 on a Friday. You deserve better.

Dragstrip | Wild Rider | Dead End | Breakdown | Motormaster

-- 02/06/24

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