Uptight moralists like to pretend that if it weren't for guns, society would be a kinder, gentler place. Of course, that's just as stupid as Fredric Wertham targeting comicbooks or Jack Thompson making an ass out of himself over videogames (you're a liar, Jack - a lying liar who lies). And if you think pop culture glorifies guns today, take a look back at the '50s, when Westerns ruled the airwaves, or in the '60s when The Man from U.N.C.L.E. made a gun so popular that the prop received fan mail. You think today's kids listen to too many songs about guns, or play too may first person shooters? In the '80s, we watched a cartoon where one of the main characters was a gun! Beat that!
Love, compassion, and mercy are words that have no meaning for Megatron. He has risen to the leadership of the Deceptions by a combination of brute strength, military cunning, ruthlessness, and terror. On Cybertron he was commanding general in charge of all military operations against the Autobots, who referred to him as "The Slag-Maker." It was a title of fear. A title of respect. A title Megatron relished. His banishment to Earth has only made him more bitter and evil-minded, if that is possible. He aches to return to Cybertron and complete his mission of eradicating the Autobots. But while on Earth he is dedicated to eliminating those Autobots marooned here with him - and his plans go far beyond that. He realizes the Earth is one huge stockpile of metal and Energon resources and means to possess it all, with the aid of his fellow Deceptions. But his plans go even further, plans so grandiose even his fellow Deceptions are unaware: Megatron intends to enslave the entire human race. He allows no exceptions to his motto: "Everything is fodder."
These days, Transfans judge a Transformer
by how closely it resembles its television counterpart. Of course, now it's pretty easy, since the toys are designed before the show, but back in G1, that definitely wasn't the case. Some of the characters were lucky enough to have a fairly close connection between the two sources, but there were others you could barely recognize. For instance: Megatron may have looked really impressive on the cartoon, but his toy was crap.
Immediately upon the release of Masterpiece Optimus Prime, fans began talking about what other classic figures they'd like to see updated like that. Soundwave, Bumblebee... lots of names got tossed around. Megatron was an obvious choice, since his gun form had been included with Prime, but nobody realy thought we'd ever see it - shows what we know.
Unlike MP-03 Starscream,
Masterpiece Megatron takes full advantage of the Masterpiece format when it comes to size: he's an even 12" tall to the top of his head, plus an extra 2" from the gun barrel sticking up over his shoulder. While the original toy could barely move, this one has a balljointed head, semi-balljointed shoulders, double-hinged elbows, swivel forearms, swivel wrists, balljointed thumbs, individual finger hinges, hinges and swivels at the hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, balljointed ankles, and a bit of a mid-foot joint. He doesn't have a waist, but with all that other movement, it isn't really something you'll miss. Some of the joints are monstrously stiff, but that means they won't slip out of place when you pose him.
Since he's a warlord, Megatron has more weapons
than any other Masterpiece figure so far. Of course he has his arm-mounted fusion cannon, the one weapon that is indelibly linked with the character. Capable of firing a blast up to 12 miles and able to be linked to a black hole as a power source, the cannon is more than 9" long and has a battery-operated
red light in the barrel. Even if this was the only weapon they'd given us, it would have been enough, but Takara threw in a few others, as well.
In the second episode of the original cartoon, Megatron and Optimus Prime squared off on top of a dam using a pair of weapons that were then never seen again: Prime had an orange energy axe, while Megatron had a purple energy mace. Masterpiece Megatron indeed comes with a translucent purple mace that plugs onto his wrist and features a real 9½" long plastic chain. So why, if this weapon was only used once, does it continue to show up on so many toys? Because that scene made it into the Japanese opening credits, so it's pretty memorable over there.
The figure also has two weapons that come from the movie: a lightsaber and a gun.
Because if there's one thing Megatron needs, it's a gun. The one on his forearm isn't enough. Both weapons have tabs that fit into slots on the heel of Megatron's hand, for a steady grip. And just in case that all wasn't enough, he also includes a translucent yellow Kremzeek. Taken from the episode of the same name, Kremzeek is some sort of electrical entity that Megatron brought to life with a soldering iron... or something. Basically, it's a Pikachu that makes lightsaber noises.
The early prototype shots of Megatron made the figure look ridiculously skinny - and he is. His legs are quite thin, as a requirement of the transformation. But just like Mirage, photos don't tell the whole story. There are elements of the figure that conspire to "bulk up" his legs - what would otherwise be kibble has been put to good use, fooling the eye into seeing a leg that's three times as thick as it really is.
We asked, after the release of Masterpiece Prime, if people would accept a non-transforming Megatron just to get one in the same scale and style. Most folks would have, but thankfully we don't have to: this is a Megatron that's fully capable of transforming into a handgun.
In order to accurately portray both the robot and vehicle forms, Megatron's transformation is stunningly complex. This is one you'll want to keep the instructions around for for a while. Things are generally the same as they were on the G1 toy - the legs are the grip, the arms and chest are the slide, and so forth - but it's all a lot more involved. While Prime really walked the line between toy and cartoon designs, Megatron by necessity favors the toy.
As a Walther P38, Megatron looks quite good, with tons of details that accurately match the real gun.
True, the textured lines on the grip should be raised, not sunken, but that's a minor thing; when they've gone to the trouble of sculpting faux screws that would hold the plate on, who's going to mind a thing like that? The gun has a serial number - 4640e - a clip ring, a magazine release, a slide catch lever.. everything! And you may not be able to pull the hammer back, but you can pull the trigger and put the safety on. The scope is removable, though its bracket blocks the gun's iron sight.
There's just one thing about Megatron's gun mode that isn't quite realisitc: the size. The toy is 11" long and 7" tall (without the scope),
while the real gun is only about ¾ that size. Even with my huge, ape-like hands, holding this gun is a bit awkward: though to be fair, it accurately re-creates the feeling of being a little kid holding a gun. Maybe that's what they were going for - or maybe they just cheated up to give the robot more height. Either way, the toy being 1.3 times larger than the real gun isn't something people are going to notice, which is just our way of saying if you point this at a cop, he will shoot you in the face.
To keep cops from shooting you in the face (and to abide by US safety laws), anyone ordering MP-05 in the US will get a Masterpiece Megatron with an orange tip on the barrel.
Your best bet seems to be BigBadToyStore.com, who provide their own glued-in safety plug and a warning label on the front of the box. They're both minor things, and don't really change the figure much. Our lawyers over at Duwiech, Itam & Haugh reminded us that we can't tell you the modifications are easily removable: we can't tell you whether the label is held on with stickers or if the orange plug pops out of the barrel with almost no effort, because we certainly haven't tried those things, and we definitely haven't found them both to be true, leaving us with the plain Megatron seen in this review. Hey, it still beats what Australian fans have to go through.
The Japanese release
(and don't hold your breath for there to be a US release, like there was for Prime and Starscream) also comes with a 10-page booklet that highlights some of Megatron's best moments, shows pictures of many of his toys (all the way up through Cybertron) and explains what all his weapons are. Hey, that's not a lightsaber after all! It's a
beam sword laser dagger! Thanks, back cover of the booklet; it's all so clear to me now! The majority of the pages comprise the instruction diagrams, of course.
Masterpiece Megatron is not a cheap toy. He'll run you upwards of $100, and that's if you find him from a reputable dealer: scalpers are charging up to two and a half times that much. Still, if you want the Decepticon leader, this is the toy to get. Forget the tanks, forget the planes, forget the stupid dinosaurs... if you want a Megatron, the gun is the only one that counts.