Transformers Cybertron: “Jungle Planet” Optimus Prime and Megatron by Hasbro

Yes, folks, this February Transformers Thursdays are all Unicron Trilogy all the time and to be honest, I have yet to venture outside the Cybertron line. Bear with me, there will be new Transformers coming in March, but for now, let’s travel back to 2006… yet again. It’s the 10th Anniversary of Beast Wars and Hasbro had a bizarre little homage for us in the form of two Cybertron Deluxes of Optimus Prime and Megatron in Jungle Planet versions that looked suspiciously like Optimus Primal and Megatron from the great Maximal and Predacon War.

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And that’s because these molds were actually part of the Beast Wars 10th Anniversary revival and released in their proper Beast Wars colors in commemorative style window boxes. Why, Hasbro felt the need to repaint them and release them as part of the Cybertron series in the same damn year was always a puzzle to me. But I bought them anyway, mainly because I never found the Beast Wars versions at the TRU’s near me.  Let’s start with Megatron and his alt mode…

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Megsy is a totally bitchin’ techno T-Rex and I absolutely love this mold! It’s loaded with sculpted panel lines and crazy contours that make it look just a little bit H.R. Giger inspired. There’s also surprisingly little robot kibble to be seen, even if you flip him over and check out his undercarriage.

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The deco consists of two green tones with some purple bits showing here and there and some black, brown, gold, and silver paint. Holy shit, Hasbro was not stingy on the paint hits back then! I’ll be honest, I would have preferred the more purple Beast Wars version over this Jungle Planet theme with all the green, but he’s still plenty cool.

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Articulation here also makes for a very fun toy in beast mode. There are ball joints in the “hips” and “shoulders” and hinges in the “knees” and “ankles.” You also get a hinged jaw with a sculpted tongue in there. It’s hard to believe they could get this beast mode so right and so many of the Grimlocks that would follow so wrong. It’s also worth noting that while most Cybertron figures had CyberKey gimmicks in both robot and alt modes, this pair only have them in their robot modes. And speaking of robot modes… Megsy’s is gorgeous!

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Ooooh, yeah! A big part of transforming Megsy here requires pulling off his tail. Maybe some would consider that a cheat, but if it’s any consolation, the tail becomes a weapon he can hold, and he is technically holding it while in beast mode. So, let’s let him slide on that. Besides, without the tail in his hand, his left arm looks really gimpy. Either way, this I’m totally down for this robot mode. The way the torso flips into place is cool as is the engineering on the left shoulder, which folds down and neatly into place. And that head sculpt… Yessssss!

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Of course, he has the same dino-head right hand that Beast Wars Megsy had and as mentioned, the tail becomes a bludgeon he can hold in his left hand and inserting the CyberKey converts it into a missile launcher. This figure is both a great little homage to Beast Wars Megatron and a pretty fine original piece on its own. Unfortunately, this feature is going to start skidding hopelessly out of control as we see how Optimus made out…

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Sweet Primus, what happened here? The fact that Optimus’ beast mode sucks so much quite frankly surprises me. I would have guessed the engineering from monkey to robot would have been easier to work with. I don’t hate this, but I don’t love it either… in fact, I don’t even think I like it. Prime’s beast mode seems to cling more to organics with sculpted fur, but there’s still some techno parts showing and the face looks particularly robotic. It’s an unsettling mix that kind of creeps me out.

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That face! Oh no. No no no no no no… no! And while the articulation is overall good with ball joints all around, Prime’s monkey mode feels like it’s intended to just stand there on his feet and knuckles. Let’s see if his robot mode can sell me on this figure…

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Better! Although, this is one of the most frustrating transformations I’ve dealt with on a Deluxe in a long while. Why is that? The Beast Wars toy wasn’t anywhere near this annoying. Halfway through I just had a pile of limbs, all interconnected on reciprocal hinges and a mess that looks like a gorilla had an accident in a teleporter. Fortunately, the end result is actually pretty good.

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This is a lovely little re-imagined Deluxe version of Optimus Primal and finally a fun figure to play with. The sculpted chest with the silver and red paint looks great and the same articulation that felt rather wasted on the gorilla mode makes for a great robot mode. The head sculpt is a home-run too. Oh yeah, Prime comes with his hover board for his gorilla mode to ride on and… OH F’CK, I HAVE TO CHANGE HIM BACK??? God dammit… be right back…

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There. You happy? There’s a god damn robot monkey riding a hoverboard… sideways… and it looks like crap. The board has pegs for Prime’s gorilla feet, but he just looks awkward trying to ride it. There’s also a CyberKey gimmick that deploys the side of the board, kind of like an outrigger and reveals the trigger for the hidden missile launcher in the nose.

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Obviously I’m mixed on this pair. My love for Megatron needs no qualifications. He’s great in both modes and lots of fun to play with. Hasbro did a splendid job on him. Optimus, on the other hand, has a pretty piss poor beast mode and a needlessly complex transformation, but he has a robot mode that carries the day. It was a neat little experiment to work Beast Wars homages into the Cybertron line for the 10th Anniversary and thanks to the Jungle Planet in the fiction, this one sort of makes sense in the context of the series. It’s likely when the Unicron Trilogy purges of my collection are complete, these figures may survive it.

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One comment on “Transformers Cybertron: “Jungle Planet” Optimus Prime and Megatron by Hasbro

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