Rob's Pile of Transformers: Manic Ramblings

Manic Ramblings and Delirious Rantings
re: RiD Megatron
7/20/01

Picked this bad boy up at S. 27th Street TRU in Milwaukee this evening -- thanks to the Dairyland listserv for the tip.

Giga-- errr, MEGAtron, rather, shore is purty. Damn. He's all sparkly and shiny and and enchantning... gaze upon him. Fall under the spell of his pretty pretty black and purple and gold. Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarkly!

I fiddled with him for a good long while in robot mode, almost forgetting he HAD other modes. He's grandiose and ornate, all ready to rant from on high about his glorious magnificent schemes and such. I could almost picture him as a Beast-era Jhiaxus. And his wings -- oooo, the wings are magnificent. They're a translucent light purple that shades into a darker purple at the base, with black 'ribs' between each section. Nicest beast wings we've gotten since TM2 Megatron.

I'm almost satisfied with his paint scheme, which is a rarity for me. He has broad swaths of black, with purple parts interspersed, and gold/gold chrome highlights. A couple of key parts are red as well, and there's a few silver details. The only thing I don't like is his chest -- it's a silver chrome that fades into a marine green chrome, which to me is just one too many colors. They could have just gone with the two green dots on his chest, and left the rest plain silver chrome, and he'd be perfect.

Transforming him? Hoo boy, that's a pain. I had to pull a double cheat on him -- not only did I look at the box pictures, I actually consulted the instructions at a couple of points (mainly to get the correct arrangment of arms and legs which weren't visible in the box pix.) I forget the last time I did that, but it's been a while. I attribute it to the non-definativeness of his various modes -- most of his pieces don't belong to any one particular mode, so there's no intuitive way of knowing what, for example, the jet mode looks like.

Sadly, his design predates the Strika philosophy of peg, peg, peg. In his jet mode (which looks shockingly like a Transmetal 2 version of Ravage's ship from "The Agenda"), his robot arms just sort of hang there behind him. They do look vaguely thrusterish, but there's nothing to really tell you they're supposed to go here instead of there; and there's nothing hold them in place except the strength of his ratcheting joints. Fortunately, the joints are quite strong and keep things pretty much where you put them. The jet mode has a little front landing gear, because, y'know, Transformer jets land on landing gear all the time. Especially Predacons and their like. For it to be useful, you must bend his robot arms downward so his car wheels are level with the front landing gear. It kinda lowers the credibility of his jet mode, but it's a good way to remember how the arms are supposed to be positioned. His nosecone has an unfortunate tendency to pop out of place in this and the car mode. It's also tough to get the robot legs/dragon heads in the right place atop his fusilage; there's nothing to hold them there, and they have to be positioned *just* right to both fit within the big notch in the wing piece. Being so prominently positioned, it looks odd if one of them slips out of place, messing up his symetry. Some pegs would have helped immensely.

I'm going through his 6 modes in decreasing order of credibility, as rated by myself on the spur of the moment, based soley on the package pictures.

Batmobile mode! He's a TM2 Batmobile! Looking at him, I realize he's much the same transformation philosophy as Optimal Optimus, for whom my dislike is well known -- in essence, you're laying him down and making him do a jumping jack. But Megs shows how much better OpOp could have been. Various non-limb parts come into play, such as the nosecone and the wing piece (the wings look terrific as funky streamlined fenders), that actually make him look like more than just a robot laying on his back. He's also sufficiently "jumbled" that his robot parts don't immediately jump out as such, very much unlike OpOp, where his robot arms are clearly robot arms, even when he's in car or jet mode. Also, Megatron's arms, at least, peg snugly against his legs/dragon necks. There's a certain Rampage-like complexity to getting the legs and necks twisted and aligned properly so they'll match up -- I like that in a TF.

Oooo, spiffy! His forearms slide down to hide or expose his robot hands for various modes... and they rotate 45 degrees as they do so. That's a transforming trick I haven't seen before.

Okay, dragon mode. This is like Doublecross and Fangry smooshed together into one beast mode. And it's a good deal gimpier than the package pix make it look. He has almost zero torso, and his legs are attached far too far out to the sides, much like Magmatron's Landsaur. Combined with the bent-legged pose he must strike in order to stand, one is reminded of Walky's Crapsaurus gag about BW2 Galvatron (jeez, this sure is a heavily name-dropping review, eh?) I'm not big on displaying my TFs, but I get the feeling that making him stay in a good-looking pose would be difficult. He just seems way too top-heavy and unbalanced to stand on those two over-jointed legs. Maybe you're supposed to use his tail as a third leg?

Hand mode. It's a bit silly -- not because of the concept itself; I have no problem with the concept of a giant metal hand flying through the air, and I think that if more or all of our childhood toys had had the ability to transmorgrify into giant metal flying hands then the world today would be a happier place, and angry, resentful, bitter, Depth Charge-hating people like Liquid Velcro! might find some small solice in this bitter existance. No, it's silly because it's so surprisingly easy to get him into this mode, or at least it is from the dragon mode.

But holy hell in a picnic basket, it's about the coolest thing ever. It's a goddamn HAND!!! A big purple hand with wings! I can't fathom what possible use it could have, but damn, it sure is cool. It especially looks cool crushing Silverbolt to death as punishment for the way he's taken to falling off the monitor all the time lately. That'll learn 'em. Traitorous fuzor!

The hand has fully posable fingers,and you can flap the wings, and that's about it. What more do you want from a hand? Don't answer that. Seriously, since it's a hand made of robot parts, it's a bit difficult to discern it as an actual hand -- but once you do, it's quite amusing.

Okay, Silverbolt is back on the monitor, with a strick warning that "you better stay put or it'll be the GIGAHAND for you!" On to the bat mode. Duh-nuh nuh-nuh nuh-nuh nuh-nuh, duh-nuh nuh-nuh nuh-nuh nuh-nuh, bat mode! Bat mode! Bat mooooode......

Nnnnnnnnnng. Once again I'm forced to cheat and use the instructions -- it's obvious his robot legs/dragon necks go behind him in bat mode, but *how* exactly is a mystery. Incidentally, the instructions refer to these last two modes as the "claw" and "gargoyle" modes. That's CRAZY TALK, I say.

And dammit, those dragon arms keep popping off every time I move them. Urrg.

Okay, looks like I got everything right except for twisting the dragon heads to one side, and snapping the wing assembly all the way flat against his back. That wing unit is key -- it has to be in the right place for each mode, and there's several right places for it to be.

The bat mode (I keep accidentally(?) typing "bad mode") is hurt by a couple of things. For one, his "bat face" is literally just his robot face, with a muzzle placed over his mouth. (Oddly enough, he came packaged with the muzzle in place, even though he's in robot mode.) Second, it'd be damn easy to provide a couple of holes in his robot legs that his robot arms could peg into in this mode; instead, the robot arms just hang by his side, trying desperately to look like part of his bat torso. Third, he needs some wing-claws, like Mindwipe has (well, he has 'em on the show, at least.) It's too bad the dragon claws can't be used for this. Overall, the effect of this mode is not so much of a bat as of his robot mode after it's been squashed like an accordian. And... taking him back to robot mode, I realize that that's pretty much what it is.

Aw. He can't hold his launchers like proper guns! Y'know, I chose to interpret the proliferation of melee weapons in the toy line as further evidence that Transformer armor is very tough, even relative to their ranged weaponry. Why else would two perfectly good launchers be used as swords instead?

His robot ankles could stand to be tighter; he keeps slowly leaning forwards as I type. Love those wings, though. The wings spread wide, and he leaps down from the night sky to confront petty thugs. "Wh-who are you?!" they stammer, panicking. Megs picks them up with one hand and holds them up to his face: "I'm Batbot."

I guess the robot, jet, and car modes are most satisfying. I mean, if I really want a two-headed monster, I'll dig Doublecross up -- he's a lot more solid and has nicer styling, for a dragon at least. And I doubt I'll ever want a funked-up mechanical bat. Still, this is the toy to go to for all your transforming hand needs.

In other notes.... I like that he comes with only two accessories -- a pair of twin missile launchers with big red death-enema missiles -- that fit in different places on each of his modes. It's almost like an homage to Sixshot, the original G1 6-changer, who had the same trick and a similar array of modes...... Hrm, standing on his beast teeth like that can NOT be good for his enamel.....

I've been quite impressed by the carded RiD packages I've seen (Spy Changers and especially the Car Brothers). Megatron's box isn't quite as impressive (it's harder to cut a notch out of a box than a card), but still is nice enough. Particularly noteworthy is a relatively prominent URL for Transformers.com on the back, something that's been easy to miss in the past. Inexplicably, the text of the bio card is *outside* the dotted lines of the card itself -- kinda tells you how much emphasis Hasbro is putting on personality here, eh?

And finally: the GIGACHICKEN!!!!! Yes, the GIGACHICKEN!!!!! Thanks to this page for providing some good images of THE GIGACHICKEN!!!!: http://www.crosswinds.net/~frx/mytfpage/devil_gigatron.html He's a damn freakin' CHICKEN. That rules. Holy mother of god. I may never change his form again.

Overall: Is he worth $22? Oh HELL yes. He could use a few more pegs, but he's hours of fun, and even if you don't like any of the individual alt.modes particularly much (and how can you not like at least a few of them?), the overall package is still worth it. Screw that fire truck guy and the big-thighed car carrier -- get Megatron nee Gigatron.

And a disquieting thought: with Megs, the Spychangers, the Car Brothers, the two big trucks, and the 4 TM2 repaints already popping up in stores, what's left for the rest of the next... oh, 12 months or so? Not much: JRX, the Build guys, and the Combaticon repaints. Gonna be a lonnnnng wait for toy collecting folks... and I'm becoming glad that I've decided to space my RiD purchases out over a good long while.

Actually, that raises a thought: maybe RiD isn't even meant to last a full year? If over half the line is already hitting the shelves before the show's even started, it really seems like Hasbro's going to run out of toys well before next summer, even if they do issue the Car Brother and Gigatron repaints. Maybe Hasbro only needed half a year's extra time to work on the 2002 line? Hrm.... stay tuned!

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