Hasbro Transformers Generations War for Cybertron Kingdom Leader Ultra Magnus Action Figure Hasbro, 2021
Day #2,320: July 15, 2021
Ultra Magnus WFC-K20
Transformers Generations War for Cybertron Kingdom Leader
Item No.: Asst. F0366 No. F0700 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Blaster, rocket launchers, armor Action Feature:Transforms from robot to truck Retail:$49.99 Availability: April 2021 Other: He is the new thing?
War for Cybertron has been an interesting ride - we get some truly excellent new molds, and sometimes they stick around too long. This Ultra Magnus is the third release of this mold as Ultra Magnus - we got two toys during the Siege era (dirty, and extra dirty) plus an extensive co-tool as Galaxy Force Optimus Prime. Not content to leave the trilogy without Ultra Magnus in an Earth mode, we now have another retool, meaning you could have spent about $160 on Ultra Magnus toys since 2019. This one is effectively a decent face lift - in another era, a third-party manufacturer could have probably delivered an upgrade kit (at a substantially higher price) that would achieve a similar result. You do get a new toy, a clean toy, a toy that's more like the cartoon model. But it's still just another evolutionary step - it's good for now, but you can just smell that there's another, better, more accurate revision (either to the toy, or the animation model) in the works.
If you see it cheap, it's fun! It's just not going to be the last Ultra Magus you'll ever buy, and you've already bought several.
The vast majority of the toys from the past few years seem almost good enough to be the mic drop on the character. A $30 Inferno is gorgeous, as is a $30 Hot Rod, a $20 Jazz, and numerous others that seem perfectly good and a great place to say "no more for me, this is fine." The Robots in Disguise (2001)-meets-G1 Siege Ultra Magnus [FOTD #2,062] is, for all intents and purposes, pretty much the same toy with a cosmetic procedure done on it. Many pieces, like the chest, shoulders, and head have been revised to look more like the original cartoon model. The paint job has been cleaned up, brightened, and tweaked a bit in spots so you won't notice the legs are pretty much the same parts, and maybe you'll miss the fact that the two bonus pistols were left out of the Kingdom remold. You're paying a bit more and getting a bit less.
The full robot mode is a hair shorter than the Siege edition, but has nice additions like light-up eye ports and retooled shoulder rocket launchers. Articulation is identical, down to the angled feet which tilt but won't do you any favors. The joints seem tighter and overall better.
Pop off the armor, and inside you get a little white Optimus Prime-style robot with a retooled chest. There's not much new here to play with. It looks more like the G1 Optimus than the Siege version, and of course is cleaner. It's just a 1980s facelift of a toy that was meant to be a futuristic facelift of a 1980s toy - we're sort of going in circles now. The designers did an admirable job cleaning it up to look more like the animation model, even dropping some of the C.O.M.B.A.T. posts, but there's nothing about it that's a functional improvement over what you may have bought on clearance before.
There are a few twists on the Siege toy's transformation, mostly to get the cab out in front a little more. Other than that, it's pretty much the same thing - right down to the fact you can't turn the cab, it's like a fist. The trailer is effectively the same thing as before, except with an Earth cab mode. All the panels and pieces more or less fit in the same, and while it's a neat puzzle, I do prefer the instructions as an assistant.
Thank to the dropped blasters, there's less to do with this toy than the Siege truck - at least you had some jointed guns to pivot around. While I can appreciate the retooled wheels, the cab can't turn and the truck wasn't designed to carry deluxe cars. This makes it a very OK release - for those who just want a scale vehicle that doesn't look perfect, this is marvelous shelf candy. But with no firing rockets and no real vehicle interaction, it's a very nice brick on wheels. If there was a bit more going on here - extra accessories or something - I would be praising Hasbro cleverly budgeting existing tooling into something fans would want, because as a group we're always going to ask for updates of 1984-1986. Newness is hard to get to stick.
It's fine if you don't have other Ultra Magnus toys - but if you're on a budget, I'd say stick with one of the two Siege ones, or wait to see what Hasbro churns out in the next 3-5 years. The previous Combiner Wars Magnus - based on the More Than Meets the Eye design - was also a joy. This particular Magnus is an in-between toy that doesn't quite deliver something new, or a satisfying replacement for those wanting a perfect cartoon toy. It's fine - it's not awful, but without a carrier mode that works on the truck or improved articulation or some fun play feature, you probably don't need it.
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