Hasbro’s main collector’s line of Transformers Generations has been at the forefront for over ten years now. The toy line has focused on bringing updates to classic characters, to bringing modern comic book characters to toy form, to revitalizing the combining robot gimmick, returning the Headmasters to mass retail, and exploring the evolution brought on by power of the Primes. This year in celebration of the brand’s 35th anniversary Hasbro has returned to Cybertron with the War For Cybertron toy line that will span the next three years. It’s first year’s offerings are battle worn warriors, making use of Target Masters, Micromasters, and Deluxe class bots that become wearable, customizable armaments fighting for the survival of their home planet in Siege.
Today we’re looking at Ultra Magnus from the first wave of Leader class figures.
The Siege toys are meant to evoke classic Generation One designs in robot mode, while keeping a futuristic alien aesthetic to their alternate modes. The robots are also taking heavy cues from the 1980’s Studio OX artwork, headed by lead designer Tsuyoshi Nonaka, which was used in many children’s publications while the show aired in Japan. There are large amounts of small surface tech details and what fan’s have christened “greebles”, but these sculpted accents only help push the alien feeling and do not hurt the overall silhouette of the G1 look. For a long time Transformers fan like myself who poured over line art and splash pages from old Televi-Kun magazines where characters were presented in heavily stylized fashion unique to that time period, it’s amazing to see something like that realized in a modern Transformers toy line!
This release of Magnus is once again a smaller cab portion albino Optimus Prime, that armors up to his full potential. Something that has not been done since his G1 toy. It should also be pointed out that since this is the beginning of a new trilogy toy line that Hasbro has adopted a new scale across the board for Siege. This was first implemented in their movie universe Studio Series where even within certain size classes you will see a drastic difference in height and mass depending on the character represented. So while you may not have a Leader class toy in the 9”-11” size range in this line, what you do have is a mass of heavy, quality plastic that outweighs many past Generations releases.
The Siege line also debuts a new MSRP for the Generations line. Now each size class is equally priced with the Studio Series. The price hike allows for more paint applied to each toys and there is a lot of paint on Ultra Magnus. Much of it is great. Some of it, not so much. The decision to add a silver dry brushing effect on top of prominent surfaces of the toy to give a sense of war torn, battle hardened robots has been a divisive topic amongst fans. In person the battle damage is much less gaudy. It isn’t applied very well though, and in an era of Asian companies offering oversized KOs that can deliver fantastic weathered paint applications this mass market release tends to lean more towards overworked factory employee with a silver paint pen.
That’s just a critique on the weathering. Thankfully the rest of the toy is painted well with cleanly applied reds, silvers, and some striking baby blue eyes.
The price increase also means lots of great functional articulation. Gone are simple ball and socket joint connections. Throughout the Siege line you’ll see pinned joints, hinged joints, mushroom pegged swivels, and in the larger size classes ratcheted joints that can accommodate the larger frames of the robots. The overall construction is great. You can clearly see where the money is going and this truly feels like a collector level toy line.
Magnus’ smaller white Prime mode has ball neck, swivel and hinge shoulders, bicep swivel, elbow, wrist, waist, swivel and hinge hips, knees, and ankle rocking. In his armored Ultra Magnus mode he retains all of this articulation. It is only slightly obstructed by the added bulk after the armored pieces are attached.
If you are not counting the armor integration as an accessory, then Magnus comes with a total of three weapons. One large silver rifle sculpted to resemble the original G1 toy’s weapon and two large black blaster rifles that can store on the robot’s lower legs.
The smaller robot cab flip flops into a pretty rough Cybertronian truck. Once the armor pieces are assembled into the trailer for the cab the vehicle mode comes together a bit more. The design itself is meant to homage the Ultra Magnus from Transformers: Car Robots/Transformers: RID from 2000. It ends up being a slightly awkward vehicle with gaps and no real ability to carry troops like the original G1 toy’s car carrier alternate mode.
With a US MSRP of $49.99 the Siege Leader class toys come with a bit of a bite to collector’s wallets. Being a huge fan of Ultra Magnus definitely swayed me to pick this up early. This is a fun toy that brings back old design elements that long term fans of the Transformers brand will be happy to see. I’ve been waiting for a G1 style Magnus to display with the rest of my 1986 movie Autobots that Hasbro and Takara Tomy have been able to release over the last few years. This fills that void, and quite well. But, that’s me.
If you’re a more casual fan and want to see what the Transformers Generations line is offering in 2019 I would recommend picking up Voyager class Optimus Prime for $20 less, or one of the Deluxe class bots at $19.99.
3.5 out of 5 Wizard’s Stars
I’m very excited about where this line is going and what we’ve seen so far has been very intriguing. A mix between very accurate Generation One robot modes, the original 1984 season one cast being heavily represented, and the customizable, weaponizing gimmick with the return of Micromasters and Targetmasters has me hooked.
Transformers War For Cybertron Siege Leader Class Ultra Magnus Gallery: