|Beast Megatron Review Capsule
|Beast Megatron is the first time they've made a new transforming mold based on one of the initial Beast Wars character designs. While his transformation is pretty much the same, the various spring-loaded gimmicks are gone in favor of a tighter sculpt that's more accurate to the show, if not totally accurate. Grab it if you like your Beasties.
When Beast Wars ended up taking off, a lot of fans were left in the dirt as the line progressed because they may have missed the major character toys from early on, some of which were less than accurate to the show. Takara has remedied this with the new Beast Megatron from Robot Masters, which combines elements of the earlier toys, such as the silver helmet on his head, with elements of the show model, such as the overall appearance of the animation beast mode.
It's interesting to note that Takara calls him Beast Megatron and not just Megatron, because Starscream is merely called "Starscream." Could another Megatron be in the works? We can but hope. Right now, this toy is a Japanese exclusive and Hasbro has confirmed there are no plans to bring any newly molded Robot Masters toys to the USA.
But getting back to Megatron, the character in Robot Masters has apparently hopped back in time to the present day (i.e., just before TransFormers: The Movie) to try and stop the Cybertrons (Autobots to you and me) once and for all. He tries to take command, beats the snot out of Starscream, and then whatever happens next in the story happens. The reason for the giant Decepticon logo instead of any sign of the Predacon insignia is currently unknown to us, but we assume it has to do with branding-- Predacon-labeled toys have been absent from Japan for a few years now.
While it may look like Takara just shrank their existing Megatron mold down a bit, they didn't-- Beast Megatron is a brand new mold that just looks a heck of a lot like its ancestor.
Many of the faces of the original Beast Wars toys were developed from the school of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys, which means giant scowls and grimaces with teeth showing through were a welcome addition to the line. As robots probably don't have much in the way of teeth, and it does add to the cartoonish nature of a figure, this time around they settled for a simple, character-affirming frown. Also, the "mutant head" or "battle helmet" has been completely removed, a wise choice given that it just looked like it got in the way anyway.
The figure itself is about as articulated as his larger counterpart, and for the most part, is constructed the same way. There's a couple of extra joints on the t-rex head arm to allow for some really superb battle poses, and for the first time he has a "standard" robot arm. On the original issue of the larger toy, there was a non-removable extending claw weapon, and while there still is a claw weapon, you now have the opportunity to swap it out in favor of other items. Or, if you prefer, you can just have his hand out to shake at people. For some reason, Takara gave this guy toes that can be posed downward which, as far as we can tell, do it no good whatsoever.
The sculpt of the robot is about as good if not slightly better than the larger version, with slightly crisper lines and a few more robotic bits. Aside from the heads, though, there's not a lot else to write home about. He's scaly and mean looking, but the design doesn't lend itself to too much in the way of drastic changes. His coloring is much improved, if a little pink, but it does hold the toy together much better than before.
In beast mode, Beast Megatron becomes a T-Rex, just like on the first season of Beast Wars. This model is much closer to how he appears on the series, but unfortunately our sample tends to lean forward a bit.
The transformation sequence is pretty much the same as the original-- crack the shell open, fold this, twist that, flip out some claws, and you're done. In dinosaur mode, he's posable at the arms, legs, and to some extent, the neck. You can turn his head a little, and open his mouth. The tongue isn't movable, or removable like the previous version, and this one doesn't squirt water anymore.
The patterns of the scales and such are all new, and they do look a lot cleaner than the previous edition. The head doesn't look quite so clunky, and if you pose it right, it looks less like a transforming toy and more like a dinosaur toy, which is really how it should look. After all, it's not much of a robot in disguise if it is filled with visible seams.
There really isn't all that much to him, as he's a little dinosaur that's a new, vastly improved version of an older toy. It's like Takara sat down and said "how can we make him better?" and checked off almost every option. Getting him from T-Rex mode to robot mode can be a little tricky, but aside from that, it's a very neat toy of a fairly interesting character.
Accessories & Gimmicks
Aside from his removable tail-based claw weapon, he also includes a blue spring-loaded missile launcher with painted gold highlights. The box shows a purple launcher, but the samples we've seen have all been blue thus far.
The tail claw is a holdout from the previous toy, and without it, the tail would just be this extra, superfluous thing you'd have to store and would most likely lose. The decision to make it into a weapon again was a good one, but it isn't spring-loaded like before. As such, it could be a little floppy, which is pretty unfortunate as it can't grab on to things. The weapon itself has a slot in it as well as flaps that wrap around his arm, holding it in place. All in all, it's designed quite well.
For an added-value type piece, the rocket launcher is pretty nifty. It's the same mold used for the weapons added to all three Robot Masters Convoy figures and it actually shoots a nice distance. While the character was never seen holding such a weapon before, it's fun to shoot at other figures to knock them over, and because it isn't a weak American spring, it can actually do it.
While some collectors will undoubtedly wonder why other accessories weren't included, like the infamous Golden Disks, the figure delivers what it needs to at a fair price.
Packaging & Tech Specs
This toy came packaged in regular Robot Masters packaging, which is fairly intricate. Inside a box, there's a three-piece plastic tray to hold the figure in place, which is surprisingly extensive for a small toy. A single twist tie holds it together... along with lots of tape.
Not only does it look fairly nice, it's sturdy, dynamic, and has a lot of information on it. For example, the character stats are right on the front of the packaging-- a first. Unfortunately, they also added the clip-n-save card on the back, instead of having a trading card inside the box that's pre-cut and all of that. Still, the packaging has so many layers that you'll feel like what you're opening is a very expensive toy-- and while it may have been, that's mostly the fault of the importers.
Other Notes & Images
While there aren't many other things you can highlight about the actual toy, here's a few extra photos. Of course, we said he was pretty posable, and as such, we figure it was worth showing what he could do with some nifty shots. So, enjoy.
The first two images have him duking it out with his eternal nemesis of the week, G1 Convoy. Image #3 has the robot mode lineup of all four new mold Robot Masters of the first two batches. Finally, #4 contains the first six Destron figures from the line.
If this were an easily available figure in the USA, I'd say go grab it-- you need this. As it stands, this is probably going to cost you $15-$25 before shipping or around $18-$23 at a convention, which may make you wonder what kind of toy it is. It's a $10 toy, basically, but if you're in to wacky, neat stuff or you really like Beast Wars it's hard to say you should pass it up-- it's a fun little guy to play with.
As one of only two completely new molds used in the first batch of ten Robot Masters toys, he's easy to like, and small enough that he won't take up a lot of room. If you can get it for the right price, and are a fan of the character, you won't be sorry if you snag this one.
Reviewed and photographed by Adam Pawlus
Sample received on July 20, 2004 from a Japanese toy dealer for about $20
Reviewed on August 10, 2004.
Revised on September 13, 2004.