Hasbro has had many toys with this name over the years, but very few were much more than a white Optimus Prime. There are exceptions - and even a recent Masterpiece toy - but Ultra Magnus really is exceptional. To call it perfect would be disingenuous, but to call it a failure is similarly hyperbolic. It's good - it could be better, but given that our last proper "classics" Ultra Magnus was a white Optimus Prime cab repaint in 2007, this is a heck of an improvement.
If you've been reading the More Than Meets the Eye comics this isn't a spoiler - but if you haven't, tough, you should've been. In this series there are lots of fun reveals, like how Ultra Magnus is a sort of eternal, legendary, indestructible lawman. Many have held the mantle, and currently it's a little guy named Minimus Ambus who has the power to basically power a larger body from within. This is directly illustrated with the toy's opening chest revealing a tiny control room complete with screens and joysticks for our bearded white and green hero. The little Minimus Ambus is barely a couple of inches tall, while the full Ultra Magnus stands 9-inches high at the top of the helmet. Interestingly, Ambus isn't necessary for a complete robot mode, nor can he fit inside the cab while transformed as a vehicle.
Our hero has about 15 - or more, depending on how you want to count the ankles - points of articulation. He's covered in vents and various greebles, making him a worthwhile purchase. The look is modeled after the aforementioned comic for the most part, which means you get giant shoulder stacks and a helmet that looks sort of like he's wearing glasses. The articulation is largely quite tight, and in some spots it may cause some parts to not fit together perfectly - my right shin panels don't fit together perfectly, and the left thigh will pop loose if you rotate it. It's easily fixed in the case of the thigh, I'm unsure if the shin is going to be easily fixed. Even with the problem on my sample, it's still a pretty stunning figure in the sense that you get articulated fingers and guns that can combine into a giant hammer. Those hands don't hold the weapons as well as a 5mm fist might, but it's pretty solid - just don't wiggle it around too much.
Transformation is fairly involved to get to the truck mode. Based on the size of the ladder and door on the side of the cab, this is a huge truck - possibly several stories tall. With rolling wheels and no painted hubcaps, it's a decent transport for your Legends (or Scout) vehicles like Swerve or Tailgate. The ramp folds down to allow you to roll in the cars, but it's clearly not meant to be a great vehicle mode - this toy is all about the robot. The non-detachable cab is nicely done, but it's clearly a trailer made out of robot parts. It's a great change from the traditional white-cab-in-armor we usually get, mostly because that if you discounted Ambus it's just a normal transforming toy. If you lose him, it's still a valid toy robot or truck.
Minimus Ambus is basically the size of the "Micromaster" sidekicks from a couple of years back, a tiny toy with great paint and no wheels. The hovercar turns into a robot, which fits in Magnus' chest perfectly. The little car doesn't really fit on the car carrier mode, but it does have painted windows and just enough green to be interesting. The fake facial hair amused co-workers to no end, and it's a fun twist to the tradition of the armored white Optimus Prime. For five bucks, you'd probably happily buy one of these - but with no wheels or accessories, he's not a lot of fun without the bigger toy. The paint on mine is perfect, and the figure's transformation is simple and intuitive. There's not a lot of detail here, but it's worth mentioning that the head sculpt and deco is exceptional for the size. I expected more slop, and did not get it.
As someone who didn't buy the original Ultra Magnus reissues - long rockets, no thanks - or the Masterpiece reissue, this is a perfect fit. It's about right in terms of pricing, and while it has a few quibbles of QC I suppose you can always wait for the Japanese one. If you read the comics, you need this toy. If you don't, you will, and then you'll be sorry you didn't get it when it was cheap. Just buy it now - you'll get to the comics eventually, and when you do you'll be very glad you don't have to overpay for this one because nobody bought extras to sit on and that means it'll be really expensive.
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