Transformers Review: Ultra Magnus (G1)


Intro:
            Since the late Noughties, Takara-Tomy has been quite active with their Encore line by re-releasing numerous G1 figures to cater the needs of the older generations of collectors, as well as the new ones who are interested to know the characters that their fathers (or mothers) used to know and love.
            Not wanting to lose out to Takara-Tomy, Hasbro finally jumped on the bandwagon and released several reissues of their own. Just like Takara-Tomy, Hasbro too uses packaging with original artworks, which was similar to their releases back in the 80s. There have been several characters released so far such as G1 Optimus Prime, G1 Rodimus Major (for the lack of Hot Rod’s trademark) and of course, the City Commander himself, Ultra Magnus.
            I got to be honest; I do not have a single Ultra Magnus whatsoever figure so far, except for the Titanium version of him (the actual G1 Ultra Magnus, not the Optimus Prime repaint). I missed out on him once, so I was going to miss out on him again whenever I see him again.
            After G1, most Ultra Magnus figures that we got were mostly Optimus Prime repaints. Only occasionally, we would have a unique mould for Ultra Magnus such as the RiD Ultra Magnus and Armada Ultra Magnus (the latter of which is a disgrace to the name by being an absolute drone in the actual series). It was only after the Animated series rose to prominence that we would have exclusive moulds for the character, and with that, the character was elevated to an even higher status – even higher that Optimus Prime himself.
            It was later retconned in later series that Magnus was a rank, rather than a name, kinda like how the name Darth (of Star Wars fame) was retconned to be a rank/ title of a Sith lord.
            Anyways, having going off track a bit there, Ultra Magnus as a character was portrayed as an unwilling leader. He was more comfortable playing the role of a follower or Second-in-Command, but was more than capable to lead if the need ever arises. He was strong and courageous, but unfortunate, the Matrix did not choose him (the events of 1986 Movie, bub), so he never could be a Prime, which I reckoned he was quite glad.
            In the Japanese G1 continuity, Ultra Magnus continued to lead the Autobot’s forces on Earth during the events of Transformers: Headmasters, until a fateful duel with Sixshot cost him his spark. Since then, his character remained in dormancy until the events of Car Robots/ Robots in Disguise.
            So, enough with the blabbing and lets head on to the meats and potatoes of this set.

Alternate Mode:
            Unless you’ve been living under a coconut shell somewhere on a lost island in the Pacific Oceans, Ultra Magnus transforms into a Car Carrier – a very futuristic one at that. Oh, and did I mention that he is armed with 2 missile launchers as well?

            Well, I guess not.
            Anyways, looking at the figure itself, you might notice that Ultra Magnus actually comes in 2 parts: the trailer and the cab. The trailer aside, the cab is actually a repaint of Optimus Prime figure, something of which was never depicted in the cartoon series whatsoever, until Dreamwave Comics actually depicted it as Ultra Magnus “inner” robot.

            The explanations are simple, back during the days of Diaclone, Ultra Magnus the figure was not meant to be a separate character from Convoy – he was planned to be a powered-up version of Battle Convoy (from the Battle Star series), kinda like how it was with Ginrai and his trailer. Hence, the name Powered Convoy.
            There’s not much to say about Ultra Magnus’s alternate mode, save that the trailer does open up, and if you have any of the G1 car robots, you could load them onto the carrier.
            The two spring-loaded missiles are quite strong, being able to shoot quite far, and since this is a Hasbro release, I am surprised that the US authorities never decided to take out the spring-loaded mechanism just like what they did with Perceptor. Anyways, I’m not complaining, because I am actually glad that they didn’t.
G1 Ultra Magnus and Titanium Ultra Magnus
            Anyways, the alternate mode is huge but incredibly light.

Small Robot Mode:
            Like I said before, the figure was originally meant to be an upgraded version of Battle Convoy, hence the identical cab-robot.
            The figure is entirely white, with a bit of blue on the head.
            I am also kind of glad that Hasbro decided to stick to the chrome finishing on this figure than changing them to their normal grey paintworks.
            Ultra Magnus also wields a blaster on this mode, which is obviously different from the Ionic blaster that Optimus/ Convoy normally used.
            Articulation-wise: the head rotates, the elbows bend; and the knees as well.
            Overall, he’s just like your typical Optimus Prime figure.

Ultra Magnus Mode:
            Now, this is the figure (or the look of the figure) that we have gotten used to in the series. In the show, Ultra Magnus was depicted as transforming directly from his alternate mode to his robot mode, without any hinting that he consisted of two parts.
Robot Accessories

The Trailer

            In that respect, I would give the hats off to the Titanium version of Ultra Magnus, which stayed true to the actual show depiction.
            Anyways, to transform the trailer to its powered-up mode is an insult to any fans. Transformation is just too easy, and is a complete brick!
            The legs itself are literally one piece, and it made the Powermaster Optimus Prime/ Super Ginrai looked like a Binaltech!
            After installing the chest and groin plates, as well as the missile launchers on the shoulders, you are ready to mount the “inner” robot onto the trailer.
Animated Blitzwing & G1 Ultra Magnus
            The end result, you have a figure with an approximate size of a Leader-class figure at your disposal.
            He is huge and bulky, and as if he is a bot on roller skates! Yep, you heard right. The trailer’s four wheels underneath means Ultra Magnus can literally roll to anywhere he wants to instead of walking.
            Magnus still utilizes the same blaster that his inner robot used, except that you need to turn it upside down before inserting them to his fist.
G1 Ultra Magnus & Titanium Ultra Magnus
            Articulation-wise: shoulders rotate; elbows bend; fists turn and that’s it boys – he is an absolute brick!
            Still, bear in mind that this is a figure from the 80s, where good articulations were not in demand; instead they focused heavily on the visual aspects of the figure.
            He looks good, no doubt about that, but me thinks that his arms are just a little bit too long.
            Anyways, it’s probably just me and you fellas would probably be okay with it.

Bonus Mode:
            Yep, you heard me right, although it is not officially mentioned in the instructions; Ultra Magnus do come with a bonus mode, which is pretty simple really.
            If you take off the chest plate, as well as the Ultra Magnus’s head and combine them, you will end up with a jet with a gun turret on top.
            Weak, but it’s there.

Overall:
            Well, there you have it, Ultra Magnus – the City Commander. He’s probably not going to be everybody’s cup of tea. His articulations are incredibly weak, but he is visually pleasing. His sheer size is just tasty.
            But if you are looking for accuracy to the old cartoon series, then you are probably better off with the Titanium version of the character, which in my opinion is a far superior option.
            But if you are a G1 traditionalist, then this G1 figure is for you.

            Final verdict: 7/10 

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