Undoubtedly the largest release in the current Masterpiece lineup thus far (not counting the original Optimus and Megatron releases…in which case I’m still pretty sure they were smaller), Takara finally fulfilled many a dream by releasing our favorite field commander Ultra Magnus…as more than just a white Optimus repaint!
MP-22 was touted as the “Perfect Edition” Ultra Magnus, which depicts him as he originally was – the massive red/white/blue car carrier we were spontaneously introduced to in Transformers: The Movie. I suppose there’s no shame in labeling all the previous white Optimus recolors as the “Imperfect Editions” now.
Magnus feels massive and ridiculously long in vehicle form, but he’s actually nearly the exact same length as Prime with his trailer tacked on. I consider Prime’s trailer more of an accessory to the ‘bot though – every bit on Magnus there is part of his whole form.
Despite their very similar appearances, Magnus’ cabin is mostly hollow, with the rear towing bed basically a thin sheet of red plastic, as opposed to Prime’s thick legs.
Unlike Prime, Magnus’ front windows can’t actually open – his Matrix compartment isn’t located there after all. The entire front end of the truck actually de-clips and swings forward to allow access to the hollow innards and seats for the human figures included.
Just think how awkward a roll-over would be with his face stickin’ out at you like that. Even worse, what happens when he runs over roadkill or goes through a dip? Does Magnus just constantly eat shit? This is why Prime sports a face-plate.
The red missiles located on the trailer can be swung forward or aimed in just about any direction.
The trailer is pretty solid with everything tabbed into place, but rather conspicuous as a car carrier bed. I get that there was only so much they could do with an outdated 80’s toy design, but damn if I saw one of these behemoths rolling down the road I’d be screaming giant killer robot out my window.
Extra props to the totally inconspicuous blaster rifle stored between the top racks.
It honestly feels like a children’s play-set when everyone’s together like this. Kind of saddening when you really think about it though, since Wheeljack, Sideswipe, and Prowl were technically dead by the time Magnus was introduced in The Movie.
Not as steep as Prime’s ramp, so it’s actually a bit more feasible for vehicles to drive on and off. The bottom rack is actually really only long enough to fit Bee and another normal-sized Autobot car. Sideswipe and Prowl wouldn’t fit down there together.
But wait, there’s more! Even the top rack lowers to allow ramp access! Granted, it doesn’t actually become flush so it would basically be impossible for this to work in real life, but the thought’s there and it sure as hell looks cool.
Magnus’ transformation isn’t particularly complicated once you get the hang of it, but it was honestly kind of jarring transforming an Optimus look-alike for the first time and working the cab along with the trailer. While the cab can be detached, everything does transform and work together as one.
I absolutely adore the bright blue/red/white color scheme. I’m glad Takara didn’t mute the colors as they did with their initial MP-10 release – Magnus is as full of life as he should be – complete and not pulled-apart/blown up.
In full robot mode glory though, Magnus is one chunky monkey. As the biggest Masterpiece to date, he certainly has a good amount of heft to him, despite not actually sporting that much metal (what there is is mostly located in his feet).
As a result of this chunkiness though, he doesn’t actually sport that much articulation. I’ll hail this figure as being ridiculously awesome at paying homage to a much-loved G1 character who’s not the leader the Autobots needed but the one it deserved, but in terms of classic action figure play value it’s kind of lacking.
I really only noticed when taking this photo-shoot, but Magnus does best simply standing and towering over Autobots and Decepticons alike. There’s not much you can do in the range of dynamic posing when his arms, legs, torso, and general body shape are just massive plastic blocks.
The shoulder movement range is also very unorthodox and pretty jarring. While Magnus can rotate his arms up and down no problem, bringing them outwards relies on a single plastic hinge joint which kind of swings out and looks awkward sandwiched and exposed between his butter-block torso and hulking biceps/shoulders.
Given how relatively thin these shoulder joints are (they’re necessitated for transformation) it’s kind of terrifying posing the arms stretched out, since it feels like the white plastic will snap under the weight of the arms.
It’s to0 bad that despite having like the largest hands ever, Magnus’ manipulator articulation is standard and in-line with the rest of the Masterpiece line-up. The three lower fingers are still molded together and move as one, with the index finger on a single joint at the base knuckle and a stationary thumb molded with the rest of the hand.
We need more expressive articulation with the hands, I personally think – Takara you guys nailed it with Soundwave, just do it again!
Extra points for Takara’s effort to even include fake wheels that switch and flip from the real wheels which end up inside Magnus’ feet. The creative bending of the block feet for actual ankle movement is also a big plus, meaning Magnus can actually maintain wide stances without looking funky.
Thankfully it doesn’t look too dinky in Magnus’ massive hands. The rifle itself is pretty simple in that it doesn’t have any hidden bells or whistles – it’s just a solid gun with a moving handle to allow for storage.
Before we move on, I’d just like to point out now that Magnus’ upside-down-looking front belt piece really bugs me. I get that’s probably what it’s supposed to look like, but the slopes going upwards just looks so wrong from a design standpoint. Just a small nitpick I figured I’d throw out there.
This was a really cool feature that I’m so glad Takara took the time to replicate. Magnus’ unique Matrix compartment opens with the front blue “T” going up, then the two red doors (which also sport very awesome clear red plastic) opening up like windows.
Matrix of Leadership not included because he’s not the true leader of the Autobots. It’s kind of hilarious how Magnus basically loses all forward vision with his compartment open – that blue “T” piece is just a tad bit inconvenient.
Three extra little accessories are included from Takara to recreate one very specific scene from The Movie. Like, these pieces literally have no other application than to relive those favorite childhood memories of Magnus getting blown to bits. Zero points for versatility, Takara, though props to you for recognizing a landmark moment in animated film when you see it.
The front of Magnus’ blue helmet comes off (in a very similar fashion to how the bangs of anime girl figurines come off) to allow for the removal of his standard mutual expression.
This reveal is accompanied by a slightly freaky half-Prime under-face though – it’s neat that this little bit is molded and hidden in there, but I’m not sure if it’s deliberate lampshading by Takara on all the white Optimus redecos that have come before.
Magnus’ back also has a rear compartment which allows for the storage of both faces at once (why you would ever want a faceless Magnus is beyond me) and is also spacious enough to store the extra fists, though this was probably unintentional.
The tiny Matrix of Leadership (which I mentioned before with Prime as being too small to be held properly) is now inserted slot-wise into Magnus’ spare hands. This gives the illusion that he’s holding it from the front, though if you view the hands from the side you can clearly see the Matrix simply slotted in.
All told, Magnus is one of the largest and most expensive offerings from the Masterpiece line-up, though with good reason. I think it’s the definitive representation of the classic G1 character, as most Masterpieces have been up to this point. The only thing I can think to dock it for is its lack of playability in biped form, though this isn’t even really unreasonable since the only way you’ll get anything better is with a non-transforming figure.
And at last, here’s the whole family released thus far. Unfortunately, I’ll have to cut the line off here, due to finances and needing to move on to bigger things. I’m bummed because Masterpiece Tracks and Ironhide were just announced (with Ratchet likely following close behind soon) but I’m glad to have collected up to this point.