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Shadow Command Megatron

Transformers ROTF
by yo go re

We already talked about the misinformation campaign undertaken by the makers of Transformers 2, and in particular how we were all led to believe that Megatron wouldn't be in the sequel, so no point rehashing that now. How about this tidbit, then: Hasbro specifically asked Paramount that the Transformers not be majorly redesigned for the second film, so that parents wouldn't feel they were being forced to rebuy toys they'd already bought. Why'd Megs get a new body, then? Because he's an evil bastard, duh!

Landing thunderously among his assembled warriors, Megatron strikes the ground hard enough to shatter stone, calling his army to order. He has come here to renew his purpose, and to reclaim his right to lead the Decepticon army. For too long the Decepticons have been scattered, either fighting as individuals or cowering in hiding. It is time that they all remembered that the word of Megatron is absolute, and no desire exceeds his will.

Unlike some recent Transformers, TF2 Megatron takes full advantage of his size class. Other than the Masterpiece version, this is the largest Megatron ever sold. His head is a daunting 10¼" high, but bits of his armor reach as high as 11½". He is an absolute monster, which is as it should be: big is scary.

The body shape is mostly the same as the first movie's Megatron, just... inflated, for lack of a better word. His chest and legs have the same bulky proportions as before, but his head is much smaller by comparison. He's a growing boy, our Megatron! Apparently the designers based him on a skeleton, to suggest living death - thus the sharp armor plates on his torso vaguely resemble a ribcage, and there are pseudo-hipbones at the tops of his legs, Heck, if you turn him around, you'll see what passes for a spine.

For some reason, the first leaked pictures of the TF2 Megatron hid his face - I'm not sure why, because it's not that different from befor. Like all the other on-screen baddies, Megs' face is a distorted version of the Decepticon logo: the pointy chin, the crest on the forehead, the panels over the cheeks... once you see it, you can't un-see it. And yet, it doesn't look like a conscious effort to make it look like the Decepticon logo, it just looks normal.

The early plan for ROTF was that he would have required a lot of rebuilding after Sam kicked his ass in the first movie, which is why the toy's arms are such drastically different sizes. His right arm, presumably scavenged from "Ze Little One," is a thin, wiry little thing, entirely unsuited to his frame. Rather than a traditional hand, it has long, bladed fingers that seem to sprout from the end of the arm. The left arm is a huge cannon, and it makes blaster sounds as you move it. And sometimes when you don't. A large piece of armor from the shoulder can be lowered down to cover the forearm/muzzle, and a blade flips out of the shield to create his lobster claw blade of death thing. Fun feature - shame it all means he has no elbow on that side. Beyond the gun arm, there's another electronic feature in the figure. Press down the button on his chest, and gears spin, lights flash, and Megatron declares "there is no command but mine!"

Converting Megatron is fairly challenging, but not frustrating. Well, except for the fact that the blaster sound will not. Stop. Going. Off. as you change him. Plug the legs in their new position, the gun fires. Move the turret over, the gun fires. Tilt the robot's head back, the gun fires. Put the damn tank down and walk away from it hoping it'll finally shut up, the gun fires. Stupid touchy electronics!

When the AllSpice brought Megs back to life, it reformatted him as a tank. Or maybe he did it himself, the movie's not very clear on that point. The important thing is that he got a new altmode (without becoming a triple-changer, thank you very much!) And yes, apparently the tank could fly, but he didn't change into a different form to do that - thus the giant thrusters on the back end.

The tank is just as massive as the robot. It's 9½" from front to back, 7" across and 5¼" tall. This is actually the repainted "Shadow Command" Megatron, so the tank is mostly black with red and silver highlights. You can still fire the missile, of course, and there are small wheels under the treads. If you look at the computer model, or even the smaller Voyager Class version of Megatron, you'll find that the tank is actually quite flat. Conversely, this version looks like one of the tanks from Metal Slug. Still, the only really disappointing part of the design is the fact that Megatron's face sticks out the front of the tank - guess the Robot Heroes version wasn't lying!

I didn't buy either of the "normal" Megatron releases from this film, because I was holding out for another Premium Series-style repaint. Nothing ever materialized, so I went for the exotic repaint: the normal Leader Class Megatron is visually uninteresting, mostly done in the same color with little variantion to accentuate the details; the Voyager Class version, on the other hand, is nearly green! Shadow Command Megatron is easily the best-looking of the three. The decision was made to not call the resurrected Megatron "Galvatron" (as most Transfans were expecting) in order to keep from confusing general audiences, but if they thought that was the only thing about Transformers 2 that was going to confuse audiences, they were way off-base! In my own personal movieverse, the little silver plane is Megatron, and when he was killed, he turned into the big black tank, Galvatron. Remember, you're never bound by what it says on the box.

-- 06/01/10

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