Legends Megatron (Reveal The Shield)
Worth $5 just for the alt mode novelty. But it's actually a fine toy as well. Overall rating: Very Good.
Height: 8cm; 9cm (gun mode overall length)
Unintentional hilarity is sometimes a powerful motivator. Given that I like to have some illusion of scale in my collection, I don't typically pay much attention to Legends class toys. During the second Universe series I picked up Brawn and Beachcomber since their previous status as Autobot Minicars made it sort of appropriate, and more recently I got Legends movie Ravage because he was perfect for Straxus/Darkmount's lap kitty. But a couple things got my attention for the G1-style Legends Megatron. For one, I was impressed that the designers gave thought to Masterpiece Starscream (or its recolors) being able to hold it, but since I don't have one of those in my collection, the possibility that Lugnut would be able to carry it around caused me some degree of entertainment. Later on finding out that Hasbro would have to release the diminutive gun with an orange safety tip on its barrel led largely to fan outrage, but those of us who can manage to not be all serious business about things were delighted at the comedic value added to the toy.
But to be able to buy this individually was a challenge to say the least. Mostly skipping regular retail, online retailers tended only to offer it in a set with other same-wave Legends. Reasonable certainly, but none of them have hilarious safety features forced upon them, or at least not fluorescent ones like this. But we can be thankful that among the other sedentary wares in the distribution chain, these Legends went to discount retail along with their bigger brothers.
Megatron's diminutive robot mode has a considerable accuracy to mostly the cartoon version, focused in the torso. A tiny classic-style rubsign provides the requisite Decepticon emblem on Megatron's chest, but sadly the alignment on my instance of the toy is a bit off. The abdomen details which are the biggest tie to Megatron's media appearance are understandably simplified, but they get the point across. The head shape gets the point across that it's Megatron, but the details are fairly minimal owing to the extreme tiny involved. The legs have always been represented as fairly generic shapes, and that is carried over well here! The legs are also the focus of articulation, with a whole two ball joints each. Good range is afforded, though, and Megatron can even make a good kneel or sit reasonably effectively. The arms are the weakest aspects, but they have to form a good chunk of the gun mode's structure, so it's understandable. A good detail here is that both arms are sculpted so that the gun body is made to look like armor, with more proportionate robot arms implied through the layout of the structural molding inside the arms. The gun barrel sits along the right arm to stand in for the fusion cannon normally made from the scope. But this is actually a reasonable disposition of alternate mode elements, and something I wouldn't mind seeing revisited in a larger scale toy.
Transformation is easy, but possibly a bit on the complex side for a Legends figure as the whole upper body shifts to its right to create the length of the chamber and barrel. The right arm has to fold under and tuck between the chest and folded up legs, which has to happen at a fairly specific point in my experience, but otherwise it's as easy as you'd expect of a Transformer at this size.
The resulting gun form definitely has a case of being meant to be seen from a specific side, as the other has more evident gaps and robot elements. The gun to me represents an example of they tried really hard to make this a gun, while their success is questionable. It's certainly unmistakable as to the intent, but the execution is a little short. The main problem is that the multiple individual parts don't really line up straight. Most notable in the grip, which skews to one side owing to the shape of the robot's legs. This also leads to the very obvious situation of the broken finger guard not aligning between its ends. In effect, the upper and lower halves of the gun are working independently on their own lines, and the two don't coincide with each other. But that's actually the extent of my complaints with the alternate mode.
On the better side, there is the compatibility with the Masterpiece Starscream mold, thanks to a channel cut in one side of the grip and a pair of tabs on the other. The channel fits the thumb of Starscream's right hand, while the tabs on the opposite side hold the gun to the fingers. Admittedly, this would look about as goofy as a human holding Masterpiece Megatron's gun mode in terms of effective scale, but it's a great inclusion that otherwise has no impact on the toy. Masterpiece Prime's differently sized and shaped hands aren't compatible. Meanwhile, one of the actual reasons I wanted this Megatron, which was to arm Lugnut, doesn't work so great. It can be done, but the grip is almost as big as the full length of Lugnut's fingers, so the best you can hope for is favorable balance and wedging Megatron's grip between fingers and thumbs. An actual grasp is basically impossible. Now, if you wanted to pop one of Megatron's legs off it'd work a good bit better, and Lugnut can even put a finger on the trigger in that case!
Outside that flight of fancy, the coolest part is that a realistic gun sight has been replicated. An "iron sight" is the most basic form of gun sight, using a rear notch and a blade on the barrel and when lined up correctly in the shooter's vision, the bullet should fly accurately where the blade is pointing. Classics Jetfire actually emulated a form of this already, in that case using an aperture style, while Megatron has the more basic notch and post. Much like the ability to fit a Masterpiece Seeker's hand, this is a great detail that is completely unnecessary to the toy for any reason other than accuracy to a real firearm. To the degree of exposure most people have with handguns, which is to say television, many people might not even realize these sighting elements exist on real guns. Really, if there's one thing you can count on from the Hasbro Transformers team, it's accuracy to real world detail for no reason but the sake of accuracy.
One other area I want to touch on is paint. Megatron has a LOT of paint. In fact, the necessity of the orange barrel tip seems to have forced a huge amount of paint to be used. All of both arms and the great majority of the chest are all cast in that same orange plastic just as the barrel is, but they're fully painted in silver. While I haven't had chipping problems so far on those surfaces, Megatron's head which is cast in a different, darker plastic has lost some paint just in the process of transformation. Another thing to look out for is that medium grey paint on the legs, which is widely reported to wear easily and quickly under what otherwise would be thought of as normal use. This same color is used on the barrel but doesn't seem as likely to wear down quickly. Maybe that safety orange plastic holds paint better than the other colors on the toy. Still, if you wanted a shortcut to the Lava Bath Megatron once proposed as a way to reissue the G1 Megatron mold in the US, you've got a good shortcut in most of the toy already being made from safety orange! The Commemorative Series in bright orange and blue still wouldn't pass legal, by the way.
Even just for novelty's sake this is worth the original $5 asking price, as long as you're not offended by Hasbro needing to cover themselves legally, unlikely as any such situation might be. There's also the fact that at least in American markets this is likely to be the last shot (pun not intended) for a gun mode Megatron, since Hasbro is apparently unable or unwilling to release the 2006 Voyager toy again. It's a good Legends toy, and has some neat design touches. But it's probably not worth going much over original retail for by itself. I still find it to be Very Good, and hopefully its second shot at life through Ross and the other stores will help its later secondary market price stay reasonable.
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