Click the image above to see the alt mode, or view more photos here
First/Last Comic Appearance (US) - Issue 1, September 1984 / Issue 78, May 1991
First/Last Comic Appearance (UK) - Issue 13, March 9th 1985 / Issue 286, September 8th 1990
First/Last Cartoon Appearance - Episode 1 (Season 1 #1), September 17th 1984 / The Transformers: The Movie, August 8th 1986
First Toy Appearance - 1984
Click here to see Figure Details and review
Manufacturer - Takara
Toyline - United
- I made the shell of the gun removable so he doesn't sport the winged look in bot mode
- Decepticon symbol added to the chest to cover the ugly sculpted one
Every good story requires a hero and a villain. Optimus Prime obviously fits the description of the former, being an upstanding type of guy, looking after his fellow Autobots and ruling by consensus rather than a fist of iron. How dreadfully boring, which is why Megatron is just such an important character. I mean what better alt mode to choose than a gun. Nothing says 'baddie' more than changing into gun, an instrument with one use and one use alone: killing. And kill things Megatron did. Not until the movie maybe, when he inexplicably and finally found the 'kill' setting on his arm-mounted WMD, and executed Ironhide in the most ruthless act I had seen in any media as an 8-year-old. Parents felt that the writers and animators had crossed the line - I just thought Megatron was finally badass, freed from the shackles of daytime TV cartoons. Then came Galvatron who was supposed to be the ultimate version of Megatron, but no way was he as good a character. Megatron was the autocratic overlord, swatting would-be usurpers like Starscream away with his open palm, kicking sycophants with his shiny metal boots. Galvatron had to answer to Unicron, Megatron had no such qualms, ruling without interference for millennia. After Optimus Prime, Megatron is probably the most iconic character ever to spring from Transformers in any incarnation. Ever. It is, then, with perhaps with some trepidation that the toy designers at Hasbro sat down and updated him. Did they do a good job? Kinda.
Appearance (Robot Mode) 8/10
I absolutely love this mould, but it is fundamentally and inexorably ruined by the huge wing-like kibble that sits there on his back, looking extremely stupid. So stupid, that I took a dremel to an expensive figure, and removed them. So bear in mind that my score is based on how mine looks, not how he looks out of the box. Also, the non-Japanese release of this figure has a frankly awful colour scheme. Of the 2 available Japanese releases, I have United version, as the palette used is a bit less offensive than the Henkei one. A lot of people don't like the way that the cannon sits underneath his arm, but I think it's great. His headsculpt is also pretty nice, but he looks sad rather than malevolent. Poor guy. The grey used is actually quite a shiny silver, which for me goes against Megatron's fundamentally utilitarian design. However the expanses of black and red dampen down the glitz somewhat, leaving behind a robot which would have surely been Stalin's wet dream.
Appearance (Alternate Mode) 8/10
OK, I know that this is a Nerf gun, but with the right paintjob, it looks like a vaguely Bladerunner-esque handgun. I really like it, actually. The trigger is spring-loaded and clicks rather nicely. You can also see down the sight, which is another nice touch in a well-thought out toy. Ironically, what makes the alt mode so nice is what cripples the robot mode; the two sides of the gun provide so much nice detail, but they also form the damn stupid 'wings' in the robot mode.
Ostensibly a shell-former, a fair amount of trickery is required to squish Megatron into the requisite shape so that his damn wings can be stuck on. However, the transformation is imaginative and really good fun as well. It is one of those figures where you can only guess how the whole thing fits together when you first get hold of it. Easily one of my favourites and the instructions were well-thumbed the first few times. One leg is used as the handle with the other forming part of the barrel; the chest piece rotates completely away from the groin and pretty much the whole figure collapses. There are also very satisfying features too; I love the way that the leg pieces are slid up into place with a satisfying 'click'.
Not quite as good as he ought to be, he has head swivel but no waist swivel. He has lateral and side-to-side movement in his shoulders, with an elbow joint and bicep swivel. He has satisfying ratchet joints in his hips, and thigh swivel with jointed knees. His heels ald long feet aid with balance, and he certainly looks great from all angles. I think having a massive cannon strapped to your arm helps with that. Of course, the 'wing' kibble may well cause balance issues, but I don't have to worry about that.
Megatron feels extremely well made, and all the plastic is nice quality, as I can testify. My dremel struggled to cut through the superior plastic, such was its obstinate resistance. You get the feeling that a dumb kid could hammer away at this toy all day, without snapping anything off.
Overall - 42/50
If I had the Hasbro release of this figure, and also had not removed the nasty kibble from the robot mode, then I would be scoring this toy in at around 37, which is the difference between a nice figure and a great figure, in my opinion. Make of that what you will. I haven't seen any other mould out there at this scale which does as good a job of Megatron, and I include the pending 3rd-party releases in that. My advice to you would be to pick up either the United or Henkei version of Megatron and then cut off that horrible kibble. You will still be spending less than half the cost of a Hegemon.