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Transformers: Prime
by yo go re

How do you take Unicron, the ultimate evil in Transformers lore, and make him scarier than ever before? Transformers: Prime found a way.

Long ago, Unicron, the legendary god of destruction, was sealed away by the powers of the first 13 Transformers; should he awaken once more his nigh-infinite power would bring chaos and destruction. Civilizations have destroyed themselves trying to harness the power of Unicron, who was confined in a planet in the far reaches of the universe. This mistake is about to be repeated with the power of Dark Energon, also known as "The Blood of Unicron."

click to embiggen

It's important to remember that Unicron is a multiversal singularity - there's only one of him. The Unicron in the movie is the same guy as the Unicron in Armada is the same guy in GI Joe vs. the Transformers is the same guy as the Unicron in Prime is the same guy as the Unicron in the live-action movies (if they ever decide to bring him in). He moves through reality one universe at a time, until he either destroys it or is defeated, at which point he moves on to a new one. There are at least 75,890,007 known "universal streams" (as they're called), and Unicron has so far devoured nearly a quarter of them.

Unicron's face is thinner and narrower on Prime than it has been in other incarnations, but then, it's been a long time since he fed. He has all the classic elements here - the orange helmet, the beard and mustache, the giant horns coming up out of his head - they're just in a different proportion. The detail on the cheeks is built up higher than the nose is, so at first glance he almost looks skeletal.

His torso is sized to match his head, but then the arms and legs are huge! Huge and rocky, like he's made of stone, rather than metal. Large, curved hooks frame the triangles that take place of pectoral muscles on his chest. There are flat panels that stand in for abs, and they're flanked by golden-orange sections. He's got awide, angular "belt" that's made of three different sections, and his legs look like they disappear into armored boots before his talons come poking out the bottom. He has large, curved shoulder pads that seem to flow directly out of his torso, and his bat wings are jagged and sharp.

Of course, he also has the enormous horns rising above his shoulders, which first showed up on Armada Unicron - the designers do realize that those were just a cheat, right? The pincers around the planet mode's "mouth" are meant to be the same thing as the horns on his head. The toy couldn't pull that off, so it cheated. Doesn't mean it needs to be copied every time. We don't expect the upcoming Rhinox to have an entire sheet of kibble hanging off his back, for instance.

Unicron's right hand is a giant club, shaped like a pine cone made of rocks; his left hand is a small hook, for those times when he gets itchy. Or stabby. Whichever. Since this is a Japanese release, he has a lot of stickers instead of paint apps - his are limited to dark grey ones on his belt and his toes, and some red ones to represent his internal workings. The toe ones are kind of annoying to deal with, though, thanks to the layered design.

He also comes with a Mini-Con partner, though his takes the whole "Arms Micron" thing to its logical extreme: his Arms Micron partner literally turns into his arm. The arm pulls off at the elbow, and turns into a little mole-tank reminiscent of Godzilla's buddy the MOGUERA robot.

To convert Unicron to... his altmode, begin by pulling both his arms off. Lower his shoulder pads, lift his chest, and tuck the arms inside. Open up the club-arm and plug it into his front. Rotate the shoulder-horns up, pull his helmet up and tip it over his face. Pull his leg armor to the sides so you can tuck his feet away, then replace the armor. Turn the legs around, then bend the knees sideways to finish him off. Seriously, that's the final result.

Technically, Unicron's altmode is a space cruiser. At least, that's what they call it: just because it doesn't look at all like any kind of vehicle is no reason to call them all dirty, dirty liars, is it? Well, maybe. Spoilers ahoy!

Like the bio says, when Unicron was defeated by the original 13 Transformers, he was banished to the ass-end of the universe. As the ages went by, runaway accretion made dust, rocks and successively larger fragments of space-dirt clump up around his inert form. Within 20 million years a full planet had formed around him, and just about a billion years after that, life appeared on its surface. Fast forward another 3.6 billion years, and we call that backward hillbilly planet "Earth." Unicron is asleep in the core of our planet, and he's about to wake up.

click to embiggen

To that end, Unicron's altmode is clearly not a "space cruiser," no matter how they try to convince us. Stand it on its butt, and it's quite obvious he changes from a robot to a mountain. It's got his face on it and everything! It's like when he manifested within the rocks to talk to Megatron. His wings even end up looking like the lightning that was flashing in the scene! At 7⅝" wide and 6" tall, he makes a much better mountain than he does a space ship.

There's a third mode, "Gaia Armor," in which Unicron opens up and wraps around either Megatron or Optimus Prime for extra protection. It looks awful, and I don't have either of those figures anyway, so I don't have to worry about it. Here's a picture from the TF Wiki.

Unicron is a decent toy, but this isn't a case like Breakdown, where you really need the character to finish off your collection, but if you can get him for a good price, he's pretty cool.

-- 10/15/13

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