Sunday 11 January 2015

Transformers MP-22 Masterpiece Ultra Magnus Review

masterpiece ultra magnus mp-22 review
takara transformers mp-22 ultra magnus


Quoting Daniel Bryan probably sums up how I felt when this figure was officially announced last year. Takara had been doing a cracking job with the various Masterpiece Autobot cars, Soundwave and Optimus Prime - but I didn't really ever expect them to do an Ultra Magnus.

Or rather I did, but I was expecting it to be a white Optimus Prime.

So now we are in 2015, 10 years after the fictional date Ultra Magnus showed up in Transformers Movie, and we have a legit Masterpiece Ultra Magnus, with trailer and all.

This after we got a figure of Spike in his Exo-Suit with Bumblebee. Someone at Takara must love that 86 movie.

So is it good? Worth the wait? Hit the button below to see the full Masterpiece Ultra Magnus review

Spike and Daniel

masterpiece spike and daniel

Before we crack on with the main Ultra Magnus figure, I feel I should mention the two tiny mini figures he comes with - Spike and Daniel Witwicky.

They are just the like the Spike figure who came with MP 10 in terms of size and articulation, but this time instead of the 80's construction uniform, these guys have those funky jump suits were all expecting to wear in space year 2005.

There is limited articulation with shoulder, hip and knee joints and their faces, oh their poor faces, look like they have had an accident and melted away.
Whatever the reason for this is, it looks terrible. It would not have been that hard to put some detail on the faces, and I wonder if it is some reference to the Diaclone drivers?

I am not sure if this is just a problem with mine, but Spike has one leg shorter than the other which makes it really tough to stand him up.
It can be done, but you will be humming the Mission Impossible theme at the same time.

Another odd thing is that despite Takaras strict adherence to the cartoon scale chart, these are slightly smaller than the head that is in the Exo-Suit that comes with Masterpiece Bumblebee.

Finally, the whole point of these is that they fit inside Ultra Magnus cab, which is why I decided to get them out of the way early in case you were wondering what those melty faces were in his cab windows.

Alt Mode

masterpiece ultra magnus truck

Masterpiece Ultra Magnus transforms into his traditional car carrier form, which is so G1 it hurts.

At first glance you could be forgiven for thinking it was a picture of the original toy, such is the loving attention to detail.

A lot of the detailing present is lifted from the toy, and some of them have actually been turned into functional elements.
The curved red barrel section on the side of the trailer was purely there for decorative purposes on the original toy, but here it is utilised as a large hinge which allows the side panels to fold out or away.

The white flaps on the rear of his original toy, that held up his arms in truck mode, have even been sculpted in.

His rocket launchers can also be positioned on the front of the trailer to evoke his original toy, or on the sides to maintain cartoon accuracy. It is accomplished by using a hinge, so the rocket launchers do not have to be removed to be repositioned, or during transformation.

masterpiece ultra magnus mp-22 cab

Being part of the current Masterpiece line, there is an adherence to cartoon accuracy, which is most ably demonstrated in the use of dark blue instead of the lighter baby blue of the toy.

It also extends to the bumper on the front of the truck being red as it was in the cartoon, instead of the silver of the toy.

This caused much teeth gnashing in the online world, but I don't get the fuss as the red looks really nice. It adds more of the Magnus colour palette to the front view of the cab, and works very well.

The cab is based on the MP 10 Optimus Prime design, and looks exactly like it. just looking at it you would think it would turn into the white Optimus Prime toy, but alas it does not.

It does detach from the trailer, by pulling a switch on the underside which hilariously is next to Magnus (not)Smiling face, Every time I see his face on the underside of the cab, I hear Burke from Trap Doors voice going "allo".

takara mp-22 ultra magnus cab

The level of detail is fantastic windscreen wipers and wing mirrors that fold out to complete the look.

Spike and Daniel fit into seats in the front of the cab, and are held tightly in place so don't rattle around and you can even leave them in place during the transformation - if you want them poking out of Magnus back side.

ultra magnus transformers masterpiece car carrier

All of the Masterpiece cars have had plastic tyres, but just like MP 10 - Takara opted to return to using rubber tyres on Ultra Magnus.

This is pretty cool, and works as a nice nostalgic throwback whilst adding a premium feel to the toy. But rubber tyres have a knack of cracking over time, and I cannot imagine how much of a pain something like this will be to replace years down the line.
I personally prefer plastic wheels for this reason, having had G1 figures tyres split for no reason other than the time gods decided that it should be so.

Curse you time gods.

There is a lovely little touch on the trailer, in that the middle blue block on the top, has a panel that flips out to fill it in so that it looks good.

Thank you design gods.

masterpiece ultra magnus rear truck

Again, just like Optimus, Ultra Magnus is compatible with the many Masterpiece cars. He can store 4 at a time in his trailer, and his ramp folds down allowing them to drive in.

The arms don't quite fit flush when folded down so a car would not be able to drive up them, but it is a toy so....yeah.

Masterpiece Ultra Magnus truck mode is massive, and comes with some serious heft. It is an incredible recreation of the Generation design, and has become my favourite Masterpiece alt mode.

Robot Mode

At this point in time we have come to expect complex transformations from high end figures, that often require you to watch a Youtube video to understand it as even the people writing the instructions struggle to explain it.

Ultra Magnus has a remarkably fun transformation that is simple but with a few "ooo and ahhh" moments.

The way the arms transform is delightful, with the forearms splitting to reveal the hands, and then the arms rotating through the shoulder.

The truck cab does not turn into an Optimus prime wearing armour, instead if collapses onto Magnus back, with everything tabbing into place. The back of the cab actually flips forward to form the chest.

That legs flip forward and separate and then you are done.

takara transformers mp-22 ultra magnus

Ta daaaaa.

It is breathtaking to see the fully transformed Ultra Magnus, Stood before you is this enormous, towering figure, completely capturing the animation model in pieces of plastic and metal.

For my own tastes, I could not have asked for anything more from this. A cartoon styled Ultra Magnus has always been a big want of mine, and nothing will ever achieve that better than Takara have with this Masterpiece.

Just to drive home how cartoon accurate they were trying to get, the wheels on his sweet rotate round to reveal a smaller less detailed set of fake wheels to look just as they did in the cartoon.

This is commitment to a cause.

takara transformers mp-22 ultra magnus back

For such a huge robot, there is a surprising lack of kibble. Almost everything folds away and locks in place with the only glaring thing being the infamous butt flap.

In the pictures it looked quite bad, and caused a lot of grumbling and in hand it is still annoying. The designers have tried to make it look like Magnus backside by sculpting all of the details onto the back of it, but as it covers up his entire thighs - it does not really work.

My preferred approach is to fold the flap straight up which looks a lot better, and you can only see it sticking out if you look at the figure side on. For a Masterpiece release, there should really have been a better solution than this giant butt flap.

takara transformers mp-22 ultra magnus faces

The head sculpt is bang on perfect, and has 3 different options. You can have the standard stoic face, or switch it for a screaming Magnus face if you want to have him looking like he is about to be brutally blown to bits as in the 1986 Movie.

To switch the faces, you remove pull the front of the helmet off and just simply swap out the face plates. The spare can be stored in the back of Ultra Magnus, by flipping down the red flap on his bag and pegging it onto one of the two pegs. I am not sure what the second peg is for, I can only assume another face was planned as an extra at one time.
Unless Takara are conceding right away that 3rd parties will no doubt be knocking out their own faces in due course?

The 3rd face is hidden under the helmet and is there to resemble the original toys white Optimus head. It ends up looking more terrifying than anything else, as the bottom of his face does not exist.

It all feels a bit Voldermort in Harry Potter. "He who can't deal with it right now"

takara transformers mp-22 ultra magnus

Takara's quality control department has earned their pennies with Magnus as everything is tremendously solid and there are no flaws at all.
You could make a case that the sprue marks on his forearms should not be there, but that is a small quibble in the face of a near flawless figure.

All of the joints are smooth and tight, with some ultra strong ratchets. Paint is neatly and cleanly applied, and there are no cracks or breakages anywhere on the figure.

An aura of supreme quality surrounds this figure, with strong plastic used that feels nice to the touch and also quite a bit of die cast metal thrown in to make sure the figure can hold such bulk.

takara transformers mp-22 ultra magnus gun

Part of that comes from the figures enormous size that does make him a bit unwieldy to manipulate, and for me I am struggling to fit him anywhere on my shelves as he just too big for them.

He is much taller than MP 10 Optimus Prime, and more comparable in height to MP 01 - the first Masterpiece Optimus Prime. In some ways Magnus feels like a backwards step, not in quality or style, but it feels more close to MP 01 than any of the new Masterpieces.

MMC's Terminus Hexatron is a massive figure, for example, but Magnus even dwarves him.

masterpiece ultra magnus transformers sixshot

Due to his size and design aesthetic articulation is quite limited. You can use the transformation joint at Magnus shoulders to extend the arms range of movement, but they are always going to be limited by the shoulder towers.

Magnus hands are huge, but Takara have not given them the amount of articulation they really need. The hands open, but only the index finger is separate and there is no extra joint in the knuckle to allow it to point forward (which Optimus Prime and Soundwave both had).
It is permanently curling as if round a gun trigger. Fortunately the hands can pop off so it shouldn't be tough for a 3rd party to come up with easy, fully articulated hands - Magnus is the sort of figure that really needs them.

He does come with an alternate set of hands, but they are permanently in one position as they are designed purely to allow him to hold the Matrix (not that he comes with one).

takara transformers mp-22 ultra magnus fists

The legs don't fare much better than the arms, as they are restricted in a number of ways. The thighs can only go so far forward due to the shape and the waist, and because of the sheer size and bulk of the lower legs, it is difficult to get dynamic poses from Ultra Magnus.

His feet are die cast which does a wonderful job of keeping him stable, and they even have pivots in them to expand his stance a bit.
But if you are looking for dynamic poses, you would be better served getting KFC's Citizen Stack.

takara transformers mp-22 ultra magnus guns

It would not be Ultra Magnus without him coming with a giant cannon, and the one he comes with is a bit strange.

Yes, it is his G1 rifle, but it is stubby and a strange Bluey Gray, to emulate how it appeared in the cartoon. It is not a bad look, but the oddly deformed style does not work so well in 3 dimensions.

He does also have his shoulder rockets which can pop out of the launchers if you want to pretend he is firing them at enemies - or throwing massive red darts.

takara transformers mp-22 ultra magnus matrix chest

The last feature to mention is the Matrix chamber hidden within Masterpiece Ultra Magnus chest. It works just like it did in the movie, you pull the blue bit up, and open the doors. The reveal is spectacular due to the amount of detail, and also the brushed metal look (even though it is actually plastic).

You can place the smaller Matrix from MP Rodimus Prime and MP 10 Optimus in there, and it snaps in really tightly - you will need something thin help you get it back out.

Earlier on I said this felt like a step back to for the Masterpiece series. That was not meant as a negative term, but Magnus feels like he has more in common with MP 01 Optimus Prime than the more modern Masterpieces. Whilst the look of the figure is straight out of the cartoon, the feel of the figure has that special, big, premium feel that MP 01 had. This figure is so enormous (I don't think I covered this enough in this review) that it is almost overwhelming.

It also feels less like a toy, but most of that is due to its size and the way it inhibits what you can do with the articulation - so it is more of a display piece.

I am thrilled Takara have made this figure, and if Hasbro release it in the UK with the lighter blue colour scheme it will give me an excuse to buy it again to have one in truck mode (though personally I prefer the darker blue of the cartoon).

It is not perfect, and if you want a more toyetic approach you should go for Citizen Stack, but I am hard pushed to think of much Takara could have done better.

We are in the midst of a fantastic period for Transformers fans, this is arguably a new pinnacle.

Please like our page on Facebook where you can get updates and the like here

You can also follow this blog on Twitter @ToyboxSoapbox . Or press the +1 button on this page to follow it on Google Plus.

You can find my own rambles, mostly about football here


  1. Good work, keep up the good work.

    Actually used your reviews on the Feralcons to help me Transform them correctly so they have been a vlessing to me!



    1. Cheers man! Hahaha, glad I could help, they can be fiddly little sods - I am never sure if I have Tigris waist the right way round. How do you find Rex combined?

  2. Not that far yet. Just opened Razorclaw. He is pretty immense but I think I have too many bits!

    Talon is last as he is a non-land based and I don't have room for his wings until I clear some room!



    Off to look at your review!!!!!

    1. Hahaha, ace! Yeah, Rex is still on my desk, not because I keep fiddling with him - but because I have no space for him to fit anywhere else with those massive wings! Razorclaw is brilliant, and feels like an amazing toy in hand. Too many bits? MMC were chucking all sorts of bonus bits in with the various bots, could be anything!