minumus

Another Masterpiece has hit the shores, which means another Fwoosh review. Ibentmyman-thing (that’s me) and DisThunder are going to take a look at this big guy and let you know how he “Stacks” up.

Ibentmyman-thing:

Each new Masterpiece has brought with it a fairly consistent reaction, generally summed up as “woohoo.” Ultra Magnus however has led us all on a roller coaster of indecision and flip-flopping, waffling opinions from his initial announcement. The reason for that can be summed up in two words: white Prime.

Ultra Magnus has been several things: soldier, brother, dead, Matrix holder, dead, Duly appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest accord, dead, stoic Autobot, dead, Minumus Ambusand Elliot Ness. For those devoted to the original G1 toy, Ultra Magnus was a white version of Optimus Prime that joined with his aft section to become Ultra Magnus. But there was another faction devoted to the comic or cartoon that never cared for the “white Prime” aspect. They wanted a unified bot that transformed from tractor trailer into robot as one whole, consistent form, white Prime be damned. And the other side…well, you get my point.

Personally, I see the appeal of both. I never had Ultra Magnus, so I had no real attachment to the white Prime aspect of him; to me there was just Ultra Magnus, as depicted in the cartoon and comic. But I can see the other side, and many interpretation to follow have utilized the white Prime aspect, fleshing out a fraternal connection based on similar appearances. The white Prime version of Ultra Magnus sans trailer and “battle armor” aspect was the second of the larger scaled Masterpiece version, utilizing the same mold as MP-1 Optimus Prime. So there’s a definite history there.

Choosing how to portray what will be undoubtedly the only shot at a Masterpiece Ultra Magnus was a decision that will alienate certain factions, but for better or worse what we got was Ultra Magnus as a cohesive, self-contained version without white Prime, fully transformable from automobile transport to the familiar Ultra Magnus of page and screen.

Achieving that very specific transformation was a daunting one, and the execution was mostly succesful. I will say from a visual aspect I had reservations when preliminary pictures showed up, and they continued on as more pictures were posted. There were some odd things going on with the shoulders, and the legs had a peculiar hollowness that seemed like they han’t been fully transformed. Plus, yes, there was a chunkiness. Having him in hand though, about 90 percent of those reservations have fallen away. I think he is the weakest of the Masterpieces so far in terms of certain aspects, but I will admit I’m willing to make some allowances due to the nature of transformation that had to be achieved. While the chunkiness is still there, I don’t mind it as much in person.

Being so large and bulky, his articulation is a bit hampered in some places. Some of that is unavoidable, and I’m giving him a pass on that because of aforementioned size. One slightly annoying aspect is some of his parts tend to be a little loose when you move him, like on his arms or his legs. They’re all necessary transformation parts, but they don’t quite lock into place adequately enough in robot form, so there is a tendency to come apart when you’re moving him.

He is absolutely huge though. Ultra Magnus has always been one of the more towering of the regular sized autobots—meaning non-Dinobot, non-combiner and non-Omega Supreme/Metroplex/citybot types. But just as MP-10 Optimus dwarfs the rest of the Autobots to a debatable scale, Ultra Magnus makes Optimus look puny. Being a scale stickler with Transformers is one of the stickiest wickets that you can find, and how you feel about such a vast differential in sizes is really going to be up to you.

Ultra Magnus comes with two different face-plates that are easily swappable. One is his regular stoic expression, and one is surprise, as in “Decepticons are attacking we’re all going to die!” surprise. They’re easily swappable by removing the entire front of his face.

He comes with a giant laser weapon, and Spike and Daniel from Transformers: the Movie onward. Until IDW and James Roberts came along and made Ultra Magnus incredibly interesting, the movie was perhaps the time when Ultra Magnus was at his most popular. Hell, he managed to hold on to the Matrix for…several minutes. Couldn’t open it though. Oh well. Speaking of the Matrix, his chest opens up and he has a compartment for it, although he didn’t come with one of his own—you’ll have to borrow the one that came with MP-10 Optimus Prime. It slots right in, and he comes with a second pair of “attempting to open the Matrix to light our darkest hour and failing” hands. Which in a way is hilarious, like immortalizing his failure in plastic form.

Ultra Magnus looks great in vehicle mode. He is a true transport, able to carry a number of Autobot cars and realistically unload them. Due to his size, he looks in proper scale with the cars. There is a small bonus included if you read the instruction, something I wasn’t expecting but found to be a nice little nod to the “white Prime” lovers: his cab detaches from the trailer, so you kind of get a little taste of a white Prime, albeit not exactly in the most desired way. Still, I thought it was a neat enough touch to be able to have just a white cab section that can roll along the highway with the a trailerless Prime.

Desite a few qualms, I’m overall very pleased with this Ultra magnus. While I do wish there had been a way for him to be all things to all collectors, I know it probably wasn’t quite possible this time around. This one is a definite mark in the win column though, just through engineering, size and play value.

DisThunder:

Just once, couldn’t your attitude reflect the gravity of the situation?


Ultra Magnus. Soldier. Occasional Leader. Autobot Big Brother. A warrior with an iron resolve that’s only hampered by his sometimes feet of clay. In just about every incarnation, he is a world-class fighter and strategist, ardent upholder of the rules, and the one guy in the universe who doesn’t believe his own hype. His lines usually rank right under Optimus’s own, voiced by such baritones as the late great Robert Stack and more recently Micheal “Jester” Ironside.


If ever a bot deserved to be the biggest Masterpiece figure yet, it was this guy.

I have to admit, I’ve had mere hours to get to know this figure, but he’s already made one helluva impression on me. His epic stature are obvious straight out of the box, and his bold unapologetic colors make it abundantly clear which side he’s on and what he stands for.


Robot mode has excellent proportions and succeeds damn near flawlessly in what it set out to do: create a cartoon accurate “armor” that could looks like it could contain a MP10 Optimus Prime. And while his size can be a little off-putting, he is every bit as big as he needs to be. Even his hands reflect almost a “gloved” size of Optimus’s.


Poseablility does suffer with some of that size, though. Magnus won’t be taking a knee, or scratching his elbows anytime soon. However, the basic points are all included, essentially the same count as MP 10, and they are very sturdy and functional. It’s mostly the range of joints like the knees, elbows and shoulders that might have you feeling a little limited. There are joints needed for the transformation, like in the shoulders, that do give you a little more leeway for a few here and there, but heroic stances are going to be his standard.

The transformation scared the crap out of me when I first had a look at it, but after two tries I find it very clever, and more in keeping with MP Grimlock’s style than say MP Starscream’s. And while the bot mode isn’t without some hitches, the vehicle mode is in style, scale and function absolutely excellent. I don’t wish to sell it short by not going into more detail, but it just simply works like it should, and sometimes that says plenty.

Discuss!

Takara Tomy: Transformers Masterpiece Ultra Magnus Another Masterpiece has hit the shores, which means another Fwoosh review. Ibentmyman-thing (that’s me) and DisThunder are going to take a look at this big guy and let you know how he “Stacks” up.