Altered States Magazine - June 2002


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    Armada Wave 1
    Megatron

    By Daniel Lipkowitz, Assistant Editor

    ASM Quick Facts

    Faction: Decepticon
    Transformation: Tank
    Mini-Con: Leader-1 (mobile artillery truck)
    Powerlinx: 2 gimmicked, 12 solid
    Size: Ultra
    Difficulty: 4 (Expert)
    Packaging: Box
    Contents: Megatron, Leader-1, 3 missiles, instructions, mini-comic/catalog

    Mini-Con

    Decepticon leader Megatron comes with the Mini-Con Leader-1, a double-cannoned military vehicle who just happens to have the same name as the leader of the original good-guy GoBots. To transform Leader-1 to robot mode, straighten out the legs and fold up the cannons. In robot mode, Leader-1 is colored similarly to his namesake (silver with a yellow visor), but his sculpting does not suggest any obvious homage to the original. The instructions show three different "Weapon" modes for Leader-1, each used by Megatron in a different way. His right hand ends in a semicircular stump, necessary for one of his weapon modes, but rather odd looking on the robot.

    Vehicle Mode

    In vehicle mode, Megatron is a large green tank with elements of purple, bright salmon-orange, dark metallic blue-grey, silver, yellow and black. One of the two samples shown at Toy Fair had red detailing, matching the box art, but Hasbro apparently decided to go with the brighter fluorescent shade instead. The body of the tank is H-shaped, with a pair of large claws in front. The turret rotates with loud clicks, and the main cannon barrel can be raised and lowered. The tank rolls on wheels beneath the treads, and a transparent Decepticon symbol appears to the right of the cannon on top of the turret.

    Vehicle Mode Features

    • The claws at the front of the tank can be manually pinched together to capture Mini-Cons.

    • A strip of orange plastic on the front right-hand side of the tank can be flipped forward to become a launching ramp with a sliding (but non-gimmicked) Powerlinx peg.

    • Hitting a small switch on the front left-hand side of the tank causes three panels to flip out, each with its own Powerlinx peg.

    • A section of the rear right-hand side of the tank can be flipped down to reveal a platform with a folding access ramp. A slider moves a grabbing claw to capture any Mini-Con unlucky enough to drive onto the platform.

    • A section of the rear left-hand side of the tank can be pulled out and split open into a giant claw or cage, with molded detailing on the inside resembling a rotary grinder.

    • Pulling the spring-loaded cannon barrel back toward the turret fires its pressure-launched missile, accompanied by a "blast" sound effect and a flash of red light beneath the clear Decepticon symbol.

    • Rotating the turret about 45 degrees (or two clicks) makes the symbol light up red as a (rather un-menacing) voice says "Decepticons, Attack!", followed by battle sounds.

    • Attaching a Mini-Con to the purple Powerlinx plug on the right side of the turret and pulling it back swings up the tankís double missile launcher with a firing noise and a flash of light under the symbol. The slider has an L-hook to lock the launcher in ready position. At least, thatís how itís supposed to work -- on our sample, once the launcher was used once, the trigger in the hollow center of the Powerlinx peg remained depressed, allowing the launcher to be activated without use of a Minicon. The peg can be forced to lock again with a bit of work, but the feature definitely doesnít work quite right in this particular Megatron. The missiles, detailed to match the cannon-launched one, are fired by means of triggers on top of the spring-loaded launcher.

    • A Mini-Con can be attached to the Powerlinx peg on the "pilot hatch' at the back of the turret. The instructions indicate that Leader-1 in "Weapon C" mode -- essentially vehicle mode with the cannons pointing straight back -- should be used here, and that the gimmick somehow involves turning the turret with the Mini-Con attached. This does not seem to accomplish anything different from moving the turret without a Mini-Con. Turning just the hatch a few degrees to the left or right, however, produces a machine-gun firing sound and makes the Decepticon symbol lights up. Doing this when the double missile launcher is in firing position substitutes the launcherís sound, presumably because the button that triggers it is still pushed down by the launcher.

    F

    Transformation to Robot Mode

    Straighten the back of the "H" to become legs, folding down the feet and flipping out the heel supports. Turn the tank turret 90 degrees to the right. Rotate the lower body 180 degrees around and swing the tank barrel down. Open the side-panels of the shoulders, swing out the arms and close the panels again. Slide the chest-lever down to reveal the robot face. Itís not quite the Expert-level transformation that the box suggests.

    Robot Mode

    The Decepticon leader of Armada bears few resemblances to past Megatrons. Carrying over the colors of the tank mode, he adds a pale metallic purple face, set in an antlered helmet that looks like a cross between the heads of Beast Wars Dinobot and the G1 Insecticon Shrapnel. Megatron has two large Decepticon symbols on his shoulders and an incredibly tiny one sculpted on the lever for his face-concealing plate. Tank treads jut up from his shoulders. The cannon from his tank mode points forward from the right side of his torso, reminiscent of the original Megatronís arm-mounted fusion cannon. His right hand is a standard fist-with-hole, while his left hand is more clawlike. He looks quite formidable and appropriately villainous.

    Articulation

    Although Megatronís design seems like it could easily incorporate a standard hip joint, it does not. His legs swing out to the sides and his knees can swing in toward the center, but neither joint articulates to the front or back. He has universal shoulder joints, rotation points at the neck and waist, hinges at the elbows, forearm swivels and a swivel at the right wrist. Although the fingers of his left hand are hinged, they are held shut by a spring mechanism.

    Robot Mode Features

    • As in tank mode, pushing in the canon barrel fires its missile.

    • Sliding a Powerlinx peg on Megatronís left forearm makes a black knife-like weapon slide out of his arm and into his hand. The instructions indicate that a Mini-Con should be used for this, but there is no trigger mechanism present.

    • Leader-1 in "Weapon A" mode can be clipped into the tread housing above Megatronís right shoulder.

    • According to the instructions, Megatronís three missiles can similarly be clipped into the housing above his left shoulder, but there only appear to be slots for two of them to attach.

    • In "Weapon B" mode, Leader-1 becomes a handgun for Megatron, with the stump of the Mini-Conís right hand forming the handle. He sits off-center, but itís a serviceable weapon form.

    • Attack Mode: Raising Megatronís upper body permits his midsection to rotate 180 degrees, bringing the tank turret around to the front. Attaching Leader-1 and unlocking the double missile launcher gives Megatron a five-barrelled assault weapon. The turret can be rotated by turning a small crank on the robotís side. Although the instructions do not mention this, the crank should be locked back in place when transforming Megatron back to robot or vehicle mode. This may take a few tries, as in some locked positions, the main cannon will no longer point straight forward.

    Impressions

    Although he looks great in both modes, Megatron is a bit of a letdown overall. While the toy has lots of interesting and creative features, its lack of articulation and surprisingly low number of Powerlinx-activated gimmicks are disappointing. The textless instructions are a real problem here, as the depictions of features are often vague and confusing. It would have been helpful to get a bit more explanation of some of the features, such as the shoulder-missiles and the various sound effects. Still, as with the rest of Armada, thereís a whole lot of play value here, and plenty to spark a kidís imagination.

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      Copyright © 2002 Altered States Magazine
    A SkyJammer Enterprises Publication