Today I’m getting back to business as usual for Transformers Thursday with a genuinely random figure. I just walked into the Toy Closet, opened a drawer, and the first figure I put my hand on was Menasor from the Cybertron line. I seem to recall he was one of those instances where the name appeared in some retailers’ inventory system before the toy was actually announced or shown. I’m not sure if the character had been on the show at that point or not, since I never got far watching it. As a result, I was hoping for a combiner or some kind of proper homage to the Stunticons. Of course, what we got was something very different. As usual, there’s no packaging to talk about, so let’s jump straight to Menasor’s alt mode.
One of my favorite things about the Energon and Cybertron lines were some of the imaginative and purely fictional vehicle designs and Menasor certainly fits that category. What is he supposed to be? I have no idea. I think the original package called him an Assault Dozer, which certainly fits the design. He looks like a cross between a construction vehicle and a battle tank. If this thing is rolling towards you, you can probably assume that shit is about to go down. He’s very alien looking, rolls along on four sets of tank treads and sports two forward pylons with an energon drill on one and a claw on the other. For an Ultra Class figure, this guy is a very simple toy. Roll him forward and his drill spins, and that’s about all he has to offer. He does have electronics, but the batteries in mine are long since dead and I can’t remember what they did. You need only look at him to figure out that he’s basically a robot lying down with his arms held out over his head and his legs folded up. This will no doubt irk many collectors, but it doesn’t bother me.
But simple or no, Menasor’s alt mode is a beast of a war machine. As with most of this era of Transformers, he’s just loaded with sculpted detail. You get panel lines, textured vents, hatches, and little mechanical doo-dads all over the place. The paintwork also compliments the sculpt quite nicely. I’m particularly fond of the painted scratched metal on the areas near his drill and claw. It seems like a minor thing, but I love that Hasbro bothered to add such a detail and it remains some of the best paint work I’ve seen on a Hasbro Transformer. Autobots can charge this guy in waves and Menasor would probably just shrug them off and keep lumbering forward.
If you buy your Transformers for their clever engineering and puzzle-like configurations, Menasor will disappoint. As his alt mode suggests, transforming him is a simple as stretching out his legs, connecting his pelvis together, positioning his arms, and folding down the plates that hide his head. Remember Cybertron Metroplex? We looked at him a month or so ago and the engineering here is fairly close. In fact, you can even see some similarities in the way the two toys’ alt modes are set up. Quite frankly, there are Cyberverse figures with transformations that are far more complex than this guy. Does that mean he’s got a bad robot mode? Nope, but he’s definitely not your average looking Transformer.
Yes, I love this guy’s robot mode, but there’s something about it that just doesn’t feel like a Transformers figure. I lot of it has to do with his face, which sports a very, very Japanese aesthetic. Yeah, I know all these guys are designed in Japan, but I just look at his mug and I think it belongs more on a Megazord or something. Or maybe not. Truth be told, I wouldn’t know a Megazord if it stepped on me. Moving on…
Menasor’s body is an amazing sculpt packed with all the little details that were present on his Assault Dozer mode. What’s even better is he’s loaded with paint apps. There’s more paint applications on this guy than we usually get in a whole wave of current Deluxes. The little vents are painted gold, there’s blue piping on his arms, and red points scattered around to really make him pop. Toss in the crisp Decepticon insignia on his chest and the flashy translucent blue energon parts and it’s hard to argue that this guy is both distinctive and beautiful.
What he isn’t is well-proportioned, but that’s Ok. Menasor’s arms are made up of the front pylons of his Assault Dozer mode, which means he’s got a really long reach and no hands. Instead he’s got a giant claw and a drill. He’s not made for mingling at Decepticon social functions, he’s made for f’cking up Autobots. He’s also got a pair of guns on his chest that can pivot forward into firing position. If you’re an Autobot attacking this guy chances are you’re either going to get pulverized by his energon drill or snapped in half by his calw. Either way, you can probably kiss your Spark goodbye.
Menasor came with a Mini-Con called Heavy Load. I tend to keep the Mini-Cons that were originally bundled with a figure stuck on that figure so I don’t lose them, but Heavy Load wasn’t attached to Menasor. I emptied the whole drawer where Menasor was living, but I couldn’t find him. I went through all the bagged Mini-Con teams that were sold separately and he wasn’t in any of those. I was pretty bummed that I lost him because he’s actually an original sculpt and not just a repaint packed in. Then I suddenly remembered… he’s living in Menasor’s chest!
Yeah, just another reason that Menasor is an odd figure. His chest opens and Heavy Load can chill out in there while in his robot mode!
Heavy Load is a tiny Bulldozer-slash-Dump Truck. He’s a pretty simple little guy and he shares the same basic plastic coloring as Menasor. His transformation is pretty clever for such a little figure, but his robot mode looks good. He’s got pretty long arms like his daddy and his articulation is as good as you can expect from a Mini-Con pipsqueak. Menasor has a Mini-Con port on his claw arm and if you attach Heavy Load to it and slide him forward, the spike inside the claw extends outward. It’s not the most exciting Mini-Con gimmick around, but that’s why he spends most of the time living in Menasor’s torso.
Menasor is quirky and weird and in no way is he a good example of clever Transformers engineering. And yet every time I take him out of his drawer I fall in love with him all over again. He has an imaginative design and there’s a whole lot of love invested in his sculpting and paint that make him stand out as something special, even when I stand him next to the current figures on my shelf. But best of all he’s just a fun and great looking toy. He’s not going to be every TransFans cup of tea, but he’s a cool and, dare I say, menacing Decepticon to have tearing his way through a squad of Autobot Deluxes. Or better yet, pit him against a bunch of Legion Class Cyberverse figures. In fact, I may go do that right now…