The 86 Transformers movie sure was a lot for a kid to unpack. Sure, I had to watch my hero Optimus Prime die, but at least he eventually came back. Megatron getting reformatted into Galvatron? Well, that shit stuck. And while Galvatron was indeed the new sexy, I really missed seeing Ol’ Megsy in the post-movie cartoon episodes. Nonetheless, as a big fan of his design, I am always down for a new Galvatron toy, especially since most of them have been pretty wanting up to this point. Fast forward to Present Day… 2021, the year where Hasbro pulls a mulligan and offers re-dos on a lot of the heavy hitters of the Titans Return and Power of the Primes lines. It’s hard to believe that was five years ago already!
Once again, I’m confused by Hasbro’s decision to spread the 86 Movie Transformers out over two different lines. Some are Kingdom figures, others are Studio Series figures. Why? Who knows? I toss the packaging, so I can call them whatever I want. The only downside is that Galvatron doesn’t come with one of those cool cardboard backdrop stands included with the Studio Series releases. Obviously, the big question here is: Is it worth replacing my Titans Return Galvatron with this new one? Well, I’ll get to a lot of comparison stuff in this review and it’s not as simple as… oh hell… Yes. The answer is Yes. Let’s start with his alt mode.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Galvatron’s alt mode. It’s a big space cannon, and while it certainly has more play appeal with other Transformers than Megatron’s 1:1 scale gun mode, it just seemed oddly abstract compared to all the other toys of the time. That having been said, this is a pretty good take on the animated version. The giant space gun sits on two stubby legs with tank treads for feet so it can roll around and gain new firing positions, something I don’t recall ever being shown on the cartoon. In fact, he would usually transform and fire off a few rounds, begging the question, why bother transforming when the cannon is right on your arm there, buddy? Oh yeah, Galvatron was crazy. Fair enough.
Unlike the Titans Return version, this mode locks together beautifully and remains a solid and stable toy. It balances pretty well too, and you can angle the gun upward to fire into the air. It’s worth noting that the two side guns that flank the main cannon are removed during transformation and as we’ll see, they can be attached to Galvatron’s robot mode, but it isn’t necessary. I do, however, really dig the way they look on the alt mode. All in all, this space cannon gets the job done. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it, and I can’t deny that it’s an improvement. And with that, let’s have a few comparison shots.
It’s worth remembering that Titans Return Galvatron was a Triple-Changer, so it’s kind of expected to have the weaker alt modes. Mostly, it just has the nose and cockpit of a jet fighter under its belly. I do find the Kingdom version to be all in all better proportioned and beefier, but in the end they’re still both ugly space cannons. Admittedly, the cylindrical body is more accurate on the newer release. The real tipping factor is how solid Kingdom toy is in this mode. I could never get Titans Return Galvatron to lock together properly in this mode, which made it a pretty frustrating toy. So yup, this is a solid update. Let’s move on to the robot mode!
Not bad at all! Some of the early leaked photos of Galvy made him look questionable, but in hand I have to say he looks really good. I do think he’s a little stockier than he’s portrayed in the film and cartoon, but I’m not hating it. It makes him look burly and powerful. I dig his big angled chest and his familiar pylons that jut upward from his shoulders. His lower legs could have used a bit more styling, but they’re still fine. The coloring feels spot on with a combination of vivid purple, black, and gray plastics. He’s got the four red square panels embedded in his belly, and I even like the hip plates, which are fully articulated so as not to mess with his leg articulation. Hasbro brought back some weathering, but it isn’t as overt and unsightly as it could be in the Siege figures. I actually quite like it here.
From behind, Galvatron isn’t exactly pretty, but at least there are no big, gaping hollow compartments. Everything fills in quite well. I think the most unsightly thing about him here is the treads that wind up behind his upper arms. Sure, kibble’s gotta kibble! They had to go somewhere, but it’s very contrary to the clean animated look. One thing I do like is that the treads will peg into the holes on the backs of the shoulders, locking them into place. This does negate the bicep swivel, but if you want to use that you can just unpeg the tread. Still, it does help to keep these under control when posing the figure.
The cannon side pieces that I mentioned before are designed to attach to his back, and while they look OK from behind, I don’t like having them visible from the front, so I’m choosing to leave these off his robot mode. You can combine them and make a gun for Galvatron, but it’s not very in character for him, and it’s not like he needs to carry a gun when he has a giant cannon mounted on his arm.
Speaking of arm cannons, this one looks great! There are actually two sockets on his arm to attach it to, so if you want it on his upper arm or his lower arm, you can go either way. I prefer to have it mounted higher. And unlike the Titans Return version, the bicep swivel here allows him to position it to the side when prone and on top of the arm when firing, provided you remember to unpeg that tank tread!
And it’s hard to not make a big deal of the fact that Kingdom Galvatron’s head is an actual head, and not just a tiny head with a weird flip up frame-helmet on it. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the way Titans Return played off the Headmaster gimmick with the Deluxe figures, but the way they integrated it into the larger figures was weird, and nowhere was that more apparent than with Galvatron. Here we get nothing but a beautiful classic looking noggin. The silver paint looks great, the narrow eyes are immaculately painted with a bright shade of red, and he’s got an appropriately displeased look on his face. So much better than what we got last time!
Galvatron comes with one more accessory, and that’s this Matrix on a chain that he can wear around his neck. I have no intention of ever displaying this on the figure, but I was happy to see that the Matrix comes off of the chain and it is a beautiful little piece. I think it’s the same one that comes with Studio Series Hot Rod, but I’ll have to confirm that when I get around to reviewing that figure. Either way, the sculpt and paint on this little Matrix are both excellent.
And here’s a quick comparison shot of the two Galvatrons. It’s easy to see why this figure drove me to drink when I reviewed it five years ago. As I recollect, there were some things I liked about it, but it’s hard to see what with these two standing together. Granted, that figure was possibly crippled by a Triple-Changing gimmick and a poor implementation of the Head Master, but there’s still plenty else wrong with it. I imagine that a lot of these are going to be hitting Ebay right about now. Mine will just get pitched into a tote and forgotten about.
In the end, I’m very pleased with how this figure came out. He’s not perfect, and he may not even be quite the slam dunk that some of the other newly released 86 Movie figures are, but he’s close enough for me. I was happy to see them dump the Triple-Changing aspect and just deliver a great figure with one solid alt mode. Sure, it’s very possible we’ll be looking at an even better Galvatron in 2026, but for now, I’m quite content to stand this beauty on my shelf beside Cyclonus and Scourge. They look amazing together!