Towards the end of Beast Machines, interest in the line was shored up by the seemingly arbitrary inclusion of a Dinobots subline, tapping into kids ongoing fascination with these beasts. The subline brought to western markets some of the Japanese Beast Wars moulds. A bit of a mixed bag, the small assortment featured organic and mechanical versions of the creatures. Magmatron was originally the chief Predacon bad guy in Beast Wars Neo – something born out in his Beast Machines toy which still bears Predacon spark crystals, despite his on pack bio describing him as a Maximal, along with the other Dinobots.
Unique amongst Beast era Transformers, Magmatron features three separate beasts in his alternate modes. To whit, he is a Gigantosaurus (the blue one), a Elasmosaurus (the green one) and a Quetzalcoatlus (the red one). Or Landsaur, Seasaur (it goes up and down...) and Skysaur, if you struggle with the big words. The three different alt modes give him dominion over different territories and therefore an obvious one-man army capable of facing his foes in any territory. Although IDWs Beast Wars mini-series did feature a slightly amusing sequence of Magmatron transforming to his various beast forms on land, which would leave the Elasmosaurus floundering somewhat, which rather undoes the drama of the moment.
Each of the beast forms feature a very high level of detailing, from the muscle tone of the Quetzalcoatlus, to the textured hides of the Gigantosaurus and Elasmosaurus. They are very impressive looking things. They are unfortunately riddled with join lines though, due to the complexity of the transformation which does spoil the look, but is unavoidable. They all have a nifty action feature and some great articulation. The Elasmosaurus features moving flippers in addition to that super poseable neck and opening jaw. The Quezalcoatlus has wings that move when you pull back on the tail, along with a moveable neck, legs and jaw. The Gigantosaurus is decently poseable and features moving arms and legs. Opening his jaw will allow access to his missile launcher and you can shoot missiles from his mouth. The Gigantosaurus is the most compromised of the three beast modes, with barely concealed robot parts on the back of his legs and that unfortunately coloured robot chest piece which stands out like a sore thumb. The beast modes can also combine to form the ‘Magmasaur’, a horrible chimera which looks like someone messing about in an abbatoir crossed with a pantomime horse. I couldn’t get a decent picture of this mess of animal parts, so skipped it altogether for this review.
Outwardly, the formation of the robot mode looks quite simple and if, like me, you chanced on a loose figure and had to work out how it all fits together, this works as a good guide as to how the parts should be assembled. With so many pieces to flip and clamp into position, Magmatron is a pleasing challenge. As with the earlier Beast Wars combiners, Magmatron impresses with the ingenuity of the transformation and design of this element of the toy.
Magmatron in his combined robot mode is a fearsome and imposing looking character. The figure is nicely in proportion with a great sculpt and a surprising balance between each of the contributing parts. The headsculpt is excellent, with an angry and fanged face (somewhat obscured by the bird feet in my picture, sorry). The wings that adorn his head are perhaps a bit too big and silly looking, but I think it’s a good look and there is the head of the Elasmosaurus to have swinging around his body too to add to the preposterousness of the thing. The arms are nice and powerful looking and he is ably supported by some very muscular legs. He’s surprisingly tight and solid in his combined form too, which is great. It’s not without its flaws though. Magmatron struggles to make the best use of his incredible articulation. The head cannot turn without detatching the bird feet from the chest, which leaves these waving about around his face. The arms also suffer the same problem of a lot of Beast-era toys – the fixed hands mean moving his arms at the elbow have his hands at right angles to his body so holding his arms in any other position than straight out at the shoulder looks a bit silly – especially when holding his sword weapon (which I have had to give him as some sort of gun, as I am missing the missile for this mechanism). These compromises are necessary to make the transformation work, but it does render Magmatron statuesque which is a great shame.
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