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Transformers Titanium
by yo go re

Hasbro has really embraced the "summer convention exclusive" idea with something resembling a manic glee. Every year their assortment of exclusives gets bigger, and it seems that every year they find a new way to do something dumb. Fortunately, this year the head-slappingly bad decisions were left to the Star Wars and GIJoe exclusives, so we didn't have a repeat of last year's Nemesis Prime debacle. This year they even doubled the number of Transformers exclusives, giving us an Alternator and one from the Titanium line.

Experimental mechanics may have successfully unified the gestalt frame of Menasor into a whole physical creature, but no level of shell programming or kernel restructuring Menasor has been able to modify his fractured mind. Constructed from the bodies of the five Decepticon warriors who once combined to form him, he is nearly indestructible. He is the ultimate in state-of-the-art destructive capabilities, driven by an almost mindless rage at the psychic agony that constantly torments him.

The dominant personality within him is that of the former leader of the Stunticons, Motormaster. Hated by his teammates, he nevertheless exercised an iron-fisted control over the team - a control that slipped only once the five found themselves unified in Menasor. Even now, hardwired into the command network of the new body, he withstands a constant mental assault from the suppressed personalities of his four underlings. As a result, Menasor, who should be the ultimate weapon, is little more than a destructive monster, incapable of following a plan, and desirous of nothing more than to smash everything around him.

As the bio up above suggests, Motormaster Menasor was originally one of the G1 gestalts - specifically, the one formed by the Stunticons, the only cars in the Decepticon army. The leader was Motormaster, a black, silver and purple tractor trailer, which was the same scheme adopted decades later for Scourge, the first anti-Prime. Hasbro tried to put Motormaster in the Classics line by repainting the Legends-class Optimus Prime, but they couldn't get the naming rights, so they called him Menasor instead.

Mensor is a repaint if anyone can get this, let me know of the Titanium Rodimus Prime, for some reason. Why not the Optimus Prime body, again? Well, possibly because Hasbro is hoping to export this to Japan to pick up a few extra yen - see, in the Japanese TF line, they have a trend of repaints called "Black Rodimus," which is exactly what it sounds like. It's kind of like the way we get Prime repainted white and called Ultra Magnus, you know? More life from the molds. The Titanium line is strictly a Hasbro endeavor - Takara's not involved - but they may be able to convince their overseas partners to foot some of the bill if it's a character that will sell over there.

Since he's based on Rodimus Prime, the Matrix-enhanced version of Hot Rod, Menasor's vehicle mode is some kind of futuristic Winnebago thing. You remember, the kind we were all driving back in 2005. It actually seems to be loosely based on the Citroen Penthouse CX, an oddball six-wheeled French camper-mobile. Black Rodimus Because apparently whatever you were before, the Matrix will try to turn you into a tractor trailer. It's crazy like that. The vehicle is approximately 5" long, 2" tall and 2¼" wide.

There was some confusion on the old cartoon as to whether Rodimus Prime's trailer was a separate piece or not. The toy had it convert into a battle platform, just like Optimus's did, and a few times the cartoon showed it te same way. Other times, however, the animation was detailed enough that you could see the trailer folding into the robot's legs. Ha ha ha, inconsistent! Since the Titanium line isn't big on multi-piece figures, this figure follows the latter model.

mindless? yes. rage? no. From the front, Menasor's robot form looks pretty good, and does a nice job of approximating the old toy. The body is a bit bulkier overall, but that's by necessity. Viwed from the side, he has a lot of open space and even a slight hunch, which could have been reworked somehow. It's also worth noting his ridiculously happy expression - not exactly the "mindless rage" promised on the box. Even Classics Rodimus is angrier than this guy.

Menasor's paint scheme is the familiar black, silver and purple, but it doesn't really work, here. Hasbro just swapped the paint colors from Rodimus Prime's design, meaning that Menasor has silver flames licking across his chest and legs. It doesn't really say "Menasor," you know? It doesn't even say "Motormaster." If they'd designed a new paint map, it really would have helped this not look like a 6" Black Rodimus.

The figure's gun, a fine approximation of the original not Firebolt Rodimus Prime's, can be held in either hand or stored under the trailer in vehicle mode. Menasor moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, waist, hips and knees, and all the joints are fairly sturdy. The figure has a nice amount of metal in his construction - no Soundwave-style cheapness, here. The car's canopy is translucent purple, and he has a Decepticon symbol on his chest.

It's not really clear what tactical advantage can be gained by dumping all the Stunticon personalities into one body, since their only group strength before was being huge and violent. How does being small and violent improve the odds? Maybe that's why the Decepticons always lose? Hasbro should have just dropped the Menasor idea and called this Black Rodimus, the evil clone who thinks he's the real thing.

Menasor makes for a nice exclusive: not a must-have character, but one that's different enough from the standard release to be worth buying. I'd originally planned to get Rodimus Prime to stand net to Menasor, but honestly, one of this guy is enough. Pick the color scheme you like better - orange or black - and start there.


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