Toy Review - Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus
Updated: Mar 12, 2023
As I might have mentioned in my review for Masterpiece Ultra Magnus…I kinda love the character. Sure, Optimus Prime was like a father figure to me, but as I got older I found that the character profile and role that Magnus played in the Transformers mythos fit me better; the sturdy, reliable second in command that, while better qualified for leadership than his commander (Rodimus Prime), shied away from the mantle of leadership, as he recognized the burden associated with it. So, to have Masterpiece Ultra Magnus followed up with a leader-class Magnus in the main Transformers line? And neither of them are Optimus Prime repaints? It’s been a happy time for me.
With such a gushing intro, you’d think that I’d be just as into this figure as I was the Masterpiece version. Yeah…not so much. No, no, I’m not being all negative about him in any way, shape or form. I find the figure to be a solid interpretation of the character and a good and much needed update aside from the countless white Optimus repaints that usually bear the character’s name. What holds this figure back from being excellent are a couple of things that, really, are an indictment of this current age of mainline Transformers.
Let’s start with the good. The figure looks great in both modes with a transformation between the two that echoes very much that of the transformation of the Masterpiece figure. There’s lots of great articulation. The integration of Minimus Ambus in robot mode works really well, and the concept of creating a Magnus Hammer from all of the weapons is a great concept. His vehicle mode can only hold two deluxe-class cars, but works very well with legends-class or old school basics-class vehicles.
Unfortunately, even though that list of good stuff really is all-encompassing for the figure, it does read rather short, doesn’t it? Still, here come my issues with the toy, and, as I said before, not all of these are necessarily the fault of the toy itself. Let’s start with the Magnus Hammer. As I said, it’s a great concept, but I found the execution to be lacking. It would’ve been worth it, in my mind, to just outright mold an actual hammer for him. Speaking of Magnus’s weapons, the way he holds his rifles leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that he doesn’t hold them so much as they rest in his hands until a faint wind or gravity knocks them onto the ground. While I have issues with the concept of Minimus Ambus, that’s not the toy’s fault (what can I say, I always really dug the implied kinship with Prime due to the shared cab/inner white Optimus). What is the toy’s fault, however, is the absolute lack of anything to do with him when Magnus is in vehicle mode. Sure, with Magnus as a car carrier and Minimus as a tiny car, you would think that this should work out, right? Not so much, as Minimus is too small to really work with Magnus in that way. Lastly, my biggest complaint with Magnus is the same complaint I had with Jetfire…hollow plastic syndrome. Look, I get it…we’re living in a world where petroleum products, of which plastic is one, are frowned upon…but this is yet another instance where this hollow plastic really shatters the illusion when posing the figure. Not helping matters is that when transforming the legs, particularly when rotating the rear gates of the car carrier into Magnus’s boots, the hollow plastic proves to be a bit bendy…which always leaves me not knowing if I’m transforming him properly or whether or not that plastic is going to stress and break someday.
Sure, that last paragraph may make it sound like I didn’t like the figure and that’s not at all the case. In spite of its minor flaws, overall the figure works very well and if you can't spring the cash for a Masterpiece, this is definitely a good alternative. But, like with Jetfire, I can’t help but recall my one friend’s inquiry “Can you tell me which of the new Transformers don’t suck?” and I have to admit, I don’t think I could recommend this one to him. But if you’ve been with the line for a while and the current changes in plastics and construction don’t bother you, Ultra Magnus certainly belongs in your collection.