Monday, October 8, 2012

Generation One: Ultra Magnus!

10.08.2012 – In the year 1986 when Hasbro was pushing to promote the animated movie they also came out with a new wave of Transformers toys. Ultra Magnus was introduced as the leader of the Autobots taking resident in the Autobot City on Earth.

Of course the setting was in the year 2005 and countless long-time fans of the franchise have seen Optimus Prime die in this movie and cried to share that story. Ultra Magnus’ character in the TV series was far more interesting when it was told in the comic books and definitely more than meets the eye!

The toy itself has a history of its own being originally a redeco of “Powered Convoy” from the Diaclone series that Takara had first released prior to Transformers in 1984. Transforming into a car carrier the tractor head is similar to the G1 Optimus Prime figure. But the best part Ultra Magnus is that his trailer becomes a part of him in robot mode. Unlike Optimus Prime who leaves his trailer to fend for itself only to convert to a battle station with a mobile vehicle in Roller.

The car carrier is Ultra Magnus’ main body in robot mode and can carry two Autobot vehicles or one large plane in Silverbolt as seen in the toy catalogs and the original box packaging. The carrier trailer is very basic in appearance. This is a reissue of Ultra Magnus released as a Toys R’ Us Exclusive in 2003 which was one of the figures to have an oversized missiles to follow child safety laws in North America.

The front cab or truck is a redeco of the same G1 Optimus Prime in white which never was a noticeable character or figure used in the cartoon. The “White” Prime never got that much attention until the Transformers comic book published by Dreamwave Publishing changed that perspective in 2004 where redecos of white primes would be known as Ultra Magnus sans his body armor.

It was one of those marketing ideas that gave birth to Ultra Magnus not having his armor/car carrier trailer which has become a trend whenever a new line of Transformers series or toys would be released. But that trend would eventually become a rare thing nowadays after Transformers Animated and now with Transformers Prime happened. But in some form of licensing there would be still be Ultra Magnus without his body armor and the last time was with the Revoltech non-transforming action figure with Kaiyodo and most recently TakaraTomy’s United version of Ultra Magnus which was originally released by Hasbro in 2006 as a store exclusive packaged with Skywarp for the Transformers Classic toyline.

In robot mode Ultra Magnus towers over EVEN with Metroplex when combined with his car carrier trailer which is more like an exo-skeleton than body armor but in reality when you look from behind it’s like he’s just riding. The articulation is basic having single-direction ratchet joints on both arms and elbow and the legs are just static that the only way Ultra Magnus can walk is by through “rolling” from the tires of the carrier trailer which is pretty much simple and neat.

There’s something unique with vintage or reissues of the original toy and with Ultra Magnus the authenticity of the character makes up to his name itself. Though not as impressive as his other figures that came after this toy WAS Ultra Magnus and even its not cartoon or comics accurate everyone would synonymously identify this Autobot without the need to know which series he came from.

In history Ultra Magnus is a well-loved character in the Transformers universe not only in toy form but in the comic books. Any Transformers fan would agree if you just not only base him from the TV series but also in other forms of media which represented this character.

Overall you can never truly appreciate Ultra Magnus without owning a vintage or reissue piece of nostalgia it’s what this toy started it all. But then again there are many versions of Ultra Magnus throughout the years it all matters which is your favorite.

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