As you or your children play with presents, it’s time to look back at one from years past, but also time for backstory!
Transformers in the 90s was a difficult time. As G1 reached its end bizarre new gimmicks were implemented to try and keep it going, Headmasters, Powermasters and the abysmal Action Masters. Later to revitalize the franchise they brought out G2… and any google of G2 adverts can show you why that didn’t work. (though it did update Megatron to turn into a tank rather than a gun, so we don’t have the jokes of him not being able to fire himself)
Something needed to change, enter the Beast Wars. While transformers that turn into animals were nothing new (they had been around since the start thanks to Soundwaves tapes, and let’s not forget the Dinobots) Beast wars had the robots turn into organic looking animals rather than robotic ones. The first released was Optimus Primal and Megatron, who turned into a bat and crocodile respectively. The tie in comic that came with the two pack stated they were the same figures from G1 now upgraded into these new Maximal and Predacon forms (the name given the two factions).
However when the TV series was made by Mainframe entertainment (the series was called Beasties in its home country in Canada for… reasons) Instead Megatron and Optimus were brand new characters and the somewhat crappy beasts were replaced with Megatron turning into a T Rex and Optimus as a Gorilla (unfortunately leading to the truck not monkey, they turned around as the series got really good) Now while I recommend watching the series I’m not here to talk about the show (p.s CGI is very dated but the story is damn good) but instead I’m here to talk about the toy they brought out of that purple T Rex.
Beast Wars Megatron was an ultra sized Beast Wars toy. The sizes were usually deluxe mega and ultra back then, they don’t use those sizes anymore so for anyone wanting to know, he’s a little bigger than a voyager sized toy.
In his T Rex form he was rather stiff with few articulations but it was in the right places. The mouth could open and thanks to a gimmick you could fill his neck with water and by opening up his mouth he would squirt it out. You could twirl his head round but this was probably mainly used for robot mode. Main articulation in dinosaur mode comes from his legs as his small arms are solid plastic.
Transforming him into robot mode requires opening him up at his spine revealing the tail and head are in fact his arms and exposing his torso (his legs become his legs). In robot mode he stands quite high while not looking thin, his tail forms a scissor like weapon and his hips have launchable weapons, and after 20 years these are still working for me, a real testimony that back then they made weapons to last.
It should be remembered that the toy doesn’t line up exactly with the tv series version of the character, be it because they couldn’t or were running off an earlier design. There is a masterpiece version that is damn expensive. The character has been rereleased with updated molds many times, but its been a few years since then so it might be a while so finding a toy of him might be hard as you become subject to internet prices.
I still treasure my old transformers when ever I find them and look forward to what comes in the future.
So I wish you all a merry Christmas.