Toy Review: Transformers The Fallen and Transmetal II Megatron

Hasbro recently sent over samples of several current and upcoming Transformers, and we’re looking at the two Leader Class figures! While both depict major bad guys, the similarities mostly end there, with vastly different aesthetics. Transmetal II Megatron comes from the Beast Wars universe, and becomes a semi-realistic dragon with oddly hole-ridden wings. The Fallen, from the second Michael Bay film, features that busy movie aesthetic, and changes into…well, a sort-of spaceship that looks like a large Fallen-deco’ed pretzel.

The Fallen never transformed in the movie, a problem sadly common to the big bads of Bayhem. However, the original movie figure got a very similar pretzel mode. The same size as the current Leader Class version, it was then considered a Voyager Class. Leader Class figures now seem defined more by complexity than size, and this version is a much more complex transformation. Abetted by the fact that, because the final form looks like nothing else that exists, it’s impossible to tell how it should look without consulting instructions.

One other crucial change — the original Fallen figure had spring-loaded feet that automatically folded up into alt-mode if the figure didn’t stand on them. And the new one includes the staff and mask that the second movie Fallen figure had. Technically, in the movie, it’s implied that Optimus Prime rips off his face, and you’re seeing the robot equivalent of a flayed skull. Blink and you miss it, but it looks like this…

Now, a couple of things to keep in mind. Revenge of the Fallen is probably the least-liked Transformers movie, and one of the criticisms is that some of the robots look and behave like racial stereotypes. Tony Todd voiced the Fallen, and his voice rules, as usual. But looking at the toy with its “face” off, well, it’s a touch uncomfortable.

Hasbro’s not at fault for trying to get film-accurate, but this might be a case where leaving the mask attached would make a better look. Especially since the transformation is designed for the mask-on version.

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Like all Studio Series figures, the Fallen comes with a movie-styled backdrop diorama. It’s fun for display, though his staff is taller. Speaking of, that staff has to be split in half to fit in his hand, as his thumbs are rigid, inflexible, and looped. So items to hold can only go through the loop, not pushed in between forefinger and thumb as most G.I. Joe weapons go.

Articulation-wise, the Fallen is quite poseable, but it must be done carefully. The giant pistons under his arms attach with ball joints, and then slot into his back on the other side — though both will very easily pop out. Any kids playing with these will knock them off immediately. The back features a very clever series of joints working in unison to give the pistons motion, but must be handled judiciously.

The transformation works if those pistons stay intact, or not. Because it’s harder to figure out instructions on such a busy and unearthly design, it’s important first to keep the box as a guideline, and second, to keep an eye on where all the little tabs and slots are in the body. Work out how they get next to each other, and eventually things figuratively and literally click into place. As with the previous Fallen, it’s not entirely unlike a really fancy update of the GoBots’ Vamp design (or “Casmodon” if you live in the UK).

Transmetal II Megatron, from Beast Wars, has a dragon’s neck and head for an arm, so it’s not like his “disguise” fools anybody. Becoming a dragon is just a cool, posturing thing. Part of the Legacy line, he’s a re-make of an older figure, and comes in the awkward new angular box that’s harder to open, stack, or wrap for Christmas than a regular oblong. Might be worth rethinking.

The original figure had spring-loaded projectiles and a third mode where the dragon would lie on its stomach and roll on wheels. This one is more designed for fans of the character than of the play features. And what with metallic paint and vac-metal not being in vogue any more, there’s nothing especially metallic about this “transmetal.”

Though the robot form typically wears the wings like a cloak, they can spread out without him going full dragon. The dragon transformation is essentially a re-orienting of his arms and torso, with collapsing of the legs. The dragon foreclaws becoming ribs on the humanoid form is a clever touch.

In theory, the transformation should be simple. But it isn’t. Thankfully, the instruction sheet is large, with big pictures. But here’s the key — the robot head moves on a hidden slide joint on its baseplate. Once you figure that out, it’s much easier to place the tail properly.

According to more obsessive fans, the hooks at the top of his wings are backward, but that’s a simple fix with a small screwdriver for those so inclined. The old figure had a mini-cockpit inside his chest “jewel” — this one does not, but maintains the translucence there.

Expect to pay $55-$60 for either figure; as such, Megatron is more toy for the buck and feels the better value. For those who do like the Michael Bay movies, however, this is probably the fanciest Fallen figure they’re ever getting. Our partners at Entertainment Earth have The Fallen in stock and Transmetal II Megatron for preorder at 55.99 each. (Superhero Hype may earn fees on purchases made through Entertainment earth links.)

Take a look through the full gallery of images below. Then tell us what you think in comments.

Recommended Reading: Transformers: IDW Collection Phase Two Volume 9

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