Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Battle Begins...

Ok, I've got a few more additions to the Animated collection now, namely Optimus Prime and Megatron from the Battle Begins 2-pack, Blackarachnia, and Lugnut, the Decepticon muscle.

I'll say first that I'm a little more impressed with the 2-pack figures that I thought I'd be. Now, I was going to buy this set regardless, if only to keep up the Prime/Megatron collections, but it turns out the figures in it are actually pretty darn cool. Both are deluxe scale toys, meaning that this is now my second Animated deluxe Prime, after the Cybertronian version I got over a week ago. The two Primes are similar; many speculated online that the 2-pack version might be a simple remold of the Cybertronian version. The opposite is true; while remarkably alike in appearance and transformation, the two Primes don't seem to share a single part. There are differences in color as well - Cybertronian Prime uses much brighter blue and red than his Terran counterpart. Earth-mode Prime also has his faceplate molded in place, and has black battle damage paint apps strewn here and there.

Lastly, Earth-mode Prime's axe weapon is very different; it doesn't feature any moving parts, is very large, and can't convert into a double-bladed mode or a trailer hitch disguise. However, it is much closer to the axe's show appearance; the only other Animated Prime toy with a more accurate axe will be the Supreme-class Optimus, whose axe will have a retracting energy blade, rocket flame and sounds (and maybe lights).

Suffice to say, there are enough differences between the two deluxe Primes to make them both worthwhile purchases. Some won't like Earth-mode Prime's battle damage, but he does have a strong G1 Prime vibe going for him, what with his smoke stacks and silver cab stripe.

Deluxe Megatron is also quite a treat. Unlike Prime, his toy counterpart is much larger, in the Voyager size class, and there are other marked differences beyond size. Probably the most obvious difference is in color: Deluxe Megatron is cast in a much darker grey than Voyager Megatron, which seems to be more consistent with both his show appearance and the larger Leader class Megatron toy. Like Prime, he's sporting some battle damage, but Megatron's is in a strange metallic off-white color (almost rose pink) instead of Prime's black. They look a bit like flash burns from flares or something.

The transformation is also different. Not too different, as everything (arms and legs) ends up in pretty much the same configuration as the Voyager toy, but the differences are there. The end result is a slightly more compact and solid vehicle mode. A few unique touches include having the cannon being removed and replace as part of the transformation and a torso joint that inadvertantly gives him better posture in robot mode.

The bot mode itself is pretty great; it's very posable and kibble-free. One nice aspect of the transformation being different is that the diamond-shaped knee pads actually end up where the knees actually are, instead of floating in front of the thighs like the Voyager version's do. There are also fewer clear red parts, which will make some collectors happy. The thighs, feet, shoulders, hands, and lower torso are all now solid and opaque.

I also appreciate how the cannon is a bit better proportioned to the bot mode, at least in comparison to the Voyager mold's cannon. The "sword" mode of the cannon also looks a bit nicer in comparison. Instead of the fore-blade automorphing out, the rear part of the cannon simply lifts up, and you manually swing out the blade into place. And the fore-blade does actually extend past the nose of the cannon, so Megatron can get some stabbing action in, as opposed to the chopping capability of the Voyager's cannon. Lastly, the cannon can also be stored on deluxe Megatron's back, in the same place it goes for vehicle mode, and it looks pretty cool back there. Sort of gives him a place to out it if he just want to wail on you with his fists.

Overall, the deluxe Cybertronian Megatron doesn't have the height or mass to properly go up against his Optimus counterpart, but he's a more well-rounded figure with better balance and playability. While I'm glad I have my Voyager Megatron, I think the deluxe version is a better toy. I'd very easily pick this mold up a second time, if Hasbro repaints it and ships it singly (which they likely will).

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