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Transformers DOTM
by yo go re

The annoying thing about updates of recent(ish) toys is the thought that we should have just gotten something this good in the first place.

Megatron schemes with his Decepticon followers from his secluded African base.

In Trans3mers: Dark of the Moon, Megatron was left licking his wounds from the defeat he suffered at the end of the previous film. He received a Voyager Class figure in that toyline, and it was okay, but now the Studio Series line has delivered a Leader.

Ashamed of his current condition, Megatron drapes himself in a tarp - on the last toy, that was a flexible PVC mold, while here it's actual canvas (or some kind of stiff softgoods, at least). It's got a stitched hood and specifically cut holes to make it look tattered. Remove it, and beneath you'll find a wide, bulky chest with lots of sculpted kibble, seemingly held together by the (removable rubber) chains he's got wrapped around it. His forearms are asymmetrical, with the left arm missing some armor panels and featuring a smaller, almost atrophied hand.

While the head is the typical Bayformers Megatron shape, it too shows signs of battle damage. There's a big chunk of head missing above the right eye, though if you look at the film, it should extend lower and go down deeper - we're not asking them to sculpt the swarm of Scalpel-bots that were crawling around inside there attempting to repair him, but this is much more "whole" than he ever appeared. Which is weird, since it's not like they couldn't have checked some eight-year-old screenshots to make sure they were getting it right.

Megatron stands more than 8" tall, and moves at the head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, thighs, and knees. Plus, since Baycepticons all stand like animals, there's an extra, backwards knee joint below that one. He's molded from a warm gray plastic, with a few much darker sections for the deepest parts of his anatomy, and a bronzey-rust on some surfaces. He's armed with a shotgun, which can either be held in his right hand or stored on his back. The gun is dark grey with a few silver highlights, and measures about 4½" long.

Megatron's conversion is a total reversal from the previous toy: there, the torso became the front of the vehicle and the legs became the back, but now it's the other way around. (For those keeping track at home, the movie definitely did it the old way, which you could probably guess based on the amount of fake hood and engine kibble molded onto the chest here.) The shins alone end up creating about 50% of the total vehicle length!

A few of the instructions are less than clear about what it is you're supposed to be doing - like, after you put the rear halves of the truck together, you need to slide the lower arms in and under the upper arms in a way that's difficult to verbalize (and not much easier to execute). It's definitely one of those "makes more sense after you've done it a few times" things.

After getting his butt kicked in two consecutive movies, Megatron finally deigned to get himself an Earth mode. It's not exactly inconspicuous, unless a Mad Max movie happens to be filming in the vicinity; he turns into a Mack M915 LHRT, the truck the army uses to lug semi-trailers around. That by itself would probably be fine, it's the giant metal spikes grafted to the grill and windshield that make it stand out. If you saw that on the road, you'd notice it!

Unlike the last toy, this one doesn't have a pivot point between the cab and the oil tanker it's hauling, which was one of the coolest features of that one. On the plus side, the tanker is appropriately lengthy this time - the old one looked more like a pup or shorty than a full-sized trailer. Here, the full toy is 13¾" long, and the trailer is 7⅝" of that. All 10 wheels turn, but getting them all on the ground at once is a challenge - especially with the robot chest hanging down underneath.

The spikes on the front of the truck are a lot better this time around, though we still don't get the netting on the hood. See what we said above about the head and the fact that Hasbro's had the better part of a decade to get these details right. Someone took the time to sculpt the little triangular hazmat warning signs on the sides of the tanks, but not the embellishments on the hood. They did include the cute little Decepticon bulldog hood ornament, though! Yay!

The colors are mostly the same in this mode, with a lot more rust on the sides of the cab, and the tarp gets tossed over the back, with the chains to hold it down. Getting those onto the hooks that hold them in place can be tough or easy, depending on which order you do them in; so if you've having a hard time, try starting over from a different direction. Generally, start with the "double" chain first - it doesn't stretch as easily - and save the long pair for last.

Megatron comes with a fun bonus: Igor, the weird little deformed Decepticon that hung out at the Serengeti Hideout. The design idea was that this was basically Long Haul's head, detatched and acting independently. How does that work? No idea! Despite being so very tiny, Igor has balljointed shoulders and legs that hinge as one. It's a very detailed sculpt, and there are holes in his feet that attach to pegs on Megatron's shoulders or his truck mode.

The robot's shotgun can be stored under the truck, thanks to the hollow cab, and you can tuck Igor up in there while you're at it.

Transformers prices have really shot up recently, but that's mainly in the Deluxe and Voyager scales - Leader Class Megatron will cost you $50, which doesn't seem terribly expensive when you see the toy in person, and especially once you start playing with it.

-- 03/12/19

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