MP-22 Masterpiece Ultra Magnus

Things used to be so simpler when I was young, telephones were big devices wired to the wall, movies came on huge cassettes, television pretty much did one thing and TV shows could only be watched at the time of broadcast, unless they were released on the same giant cassettes that movies came on.

These days telephones are portable and can do things I could never have imagined, movies can be consumed in so many ways that I am losing count, the television isn't just for watching broadcast TV shows but can stream audio and video as well as be a display for video games and personal computers and you can now pretty much watch whatever you want whenever you want.

Another thing that used to be simple when I was young was Ultra Magnus.
G1 Ultra Magnus by Pete Slater
I never really did think too much about the figure, a white Optimus Prime that slotted into the back of a suit of armour. It was one of those things I just dealt with. I had seen the character in the Transformers animated movie and in the UK G1 comics and just understood Ultra Magnus to be the armoured suit and never really thought anything about the white Prime cab.

That is, until Dreamwave came along and made things complicated by making Ultra Magnus be the white Prime cab and the suit of armour be just that - a suit of armour. IDW continued that theme by calling the suit 'Magnus Armour' and having a having a little dude called Minimus Ambus wear it.

This is all a little confusing for me and, to be honest, a little different from what I want Ultra Magnus to be - an actual character, not an idea or a symbol or any of the other nonsense that we have had since G1.

Luckily, TakaraTomy seems to agree with me and wants to keep things simple. When they revealed the Masterpiece Ultra Magnus figure, they disappointed a bunch of people by showing it to not be a white Prime cab in armour. Don't get me wrong, I would have liked a white Masterpiece Prime as I like the colour on that type of figure and it would have nicely mirrored the original G1 toy. But I also like the fact that TakaraTomy have decided that Ultra Magnus is not a white Prime in a suit but is in fact a single entity, a whole character.
G1 and Masterpiece Ultra Magnus by Pete Slater
So, just how good is the new MP-22 Masterpiece Ultra Magnus and how faithfully does it model the character?
Masterpiece Ultra Magnus by Pete Slater
Well as we can see, it certainly looks the part. It manages to evoke the original G1 figure whilst simultaneously looking like it just stepped out of the Transformers animated movie. There is also plenty of detail on the mold but it could do with a little extra paint to bring some of that detail to life.

The head is characteristically chunky and suitably stern, the feet are die cast and very, very sturdy. The chest can be opened to store a matrix, though as we all know Magnus wouldn't know what to do with Matrix if he had one, which is good as this figure doesn't come with one.
Masterpiece Ultra Magnus by Pete Slater
For such a hulking figure, Magnus does pose rather well. The shoulders are limited somewhat by the rest of the torso but you can get a decent range of motion from the joint. Legs are also a little hard to get into certain poses due to the chunky thighs getting in the way of parts of the hips and crotch. There is no waist swivel - at all. So all in all a partial success for articulation.

Next to the G1 version you can see the obviously similarities and the fact that what you get is a very nicely updated G1 toy for all intents and purposes. Thankfully they made the weird green/blue colour of the original look more blue in the Masterpiece version.
G1 and Masterpiece Ultra Magnus by Pete Slater
Apologies for the bad G1 Magnus helmet - as a kid I wanted it to look more like it did on the box and so I painted the face and the horns. I have since removed the paintwork and may paint it again, properly, if I get the time.

I also only just noticed the rocket launchers on G1 Magnus are not in the same place on both shoulders. This is due to the transformation and how the shoulders join together. How very odd that I haven't seen that until now.

Let's spin these figures around and compare them against each other.
G1 and Masterpiece Ultra Magnus by Pete Slater
From the side, these two look very similar. The traditional two wheels on G1 Magnus feet are present and correct on the Masterpiece due to a cool little wheel rotation gimmick. The shape of the feet is pretty much the same, with the Masterpiece even having a molded detail to replicate the white flapping thing on the side of G1 Magnus. Shame it isn't painted white though.
G1 and Masterpiece Ultra Magnus by Pete Slater
From the rear we can see how the G1 Magnus made use of the white Prime cab - it simple hung in the back with a helmet on. The Masterpiece has done away with the transforming white cab but still have bit of the cab hanging around the back, most noticeably the roof of the cab becomes a butt flap. I tend to fold it up which is not perfect but an adequate compromise. Notice the nice molded detail on the back of the Masterpiece legs which really should have been painted as it would have looked awesome.
G1 and Masterpiece Ultra Magnus by Pete Slater
Another side view, clearing showing the butt flap and bits of cab hanging off of the back of Masterpiece Ultra Magnus.

The alt mode for the Masterpiece is spot on in my opinion. It looks just like the original G1 figure as well as looking as good as the cartoon model. The transformation is astounding and makes great use of some interesting tricks to create mass from nothing almost. The arms are a brilliant solution to the problem of where to hide the hands and how to go from a long car carrier to a short arm.
G1 Ultra Magnus by Pete Slater
Masterpiece Ultra Magnus by Pete Slater
Wow - they look really similar side on. They removed some of the hollowness of the G1 figure in the arm area and pretty much kept everything else. Once again it would have been nice to have the mold piece on the foot area be painted white to match the original toy but it's not a big deal.
G1 Ultra Magnus by Pete Slater
Masterpiece Ultra Magnus by Pete Slater
My favourite pose in alt mode is achievable on both figures. Success.

Overall, this Masterpiece is a fantastic update to a childhood favourite for me. I don't mind the lack of transforming cab, I don't mind the red bumper and I don't mind the limited articulation because the figure is a true Masterpiece.

That being said, if you have this figure, be careful of the hinged waist piece. After several transformations, I have noticed sever stress marks on the blue plastic and upon closer inspection, when you do flip the panel that plastic is so thin that it bends is a very unpleasant way. I feel certain that this will start to became an issue for people in the next few months as they transform the figure more and more.
Masterpiece Ultra Magnus by Pete Slater
On that sad note, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the article.