The minute I saw the spoiled cover of Megatron with an Autobot logo on his chest, I thought what a lot of people probably thought: OMG, I must get a Megatron figure and slap an Autobot logo on its chest!
Hasbro happily obliged us by including an Autobot sticker with its Combiner Wars Leader-Class Megatron release. The only problems were that the figure looked a). extremely evil, and b). like shit. So I passed, sure that someday the right Megatron to perform the Rite of Autobrand on would come along.
And of course it was Mastermind Creations that stepped up to the plate. Their Tyrantron has ambitions of being the quintessential Roberts/Milne Megatron, mimicking not just his appearance as captain of the Lost Light, but also his idealistic miner days -- the package goes so far as to give the figure a second name, "Tyrantronus", for this mode. It's an appealing package, but does it deliver? Let's get ranking.
That's the word that escaped my mouth the moment I freed Tyrantron from his packaging. Because right out of the gate, this thing was goddamn stunning.
The sculpt is spot-on to a degree that can't be understated, perfectly evoking the intended character. The figure has no diecast, but it has a pleasing and undeniable heft. And above all, there's the paint.
Nothing sells a figure as premium quite like good paint, and Tyrantron delivers in spades. There's a ridiculous amount of paint on this thing, and it is not the mediocre matte stuff MMC has used on many reformatted releases. It is shining, relentless silver, and it gives this figure a finish MMC hasn't managed since Carnifex.
So yeah. Blown away right out of the gate.
There are a couple caveats.
The first is that Tyrantron's articulation is really not up to snuff. I'll be honest: I usually don't care that much about articulation, but Tyrantron's is lackluster enough to affect even my enjoyment of the figure. The most galling part is the elbows, which have a very limited range of motion in robot mode -- even though the transformation requires them to fold over completely. The legs can be trying to pose as well, thanks to all the bits around Tyrantron's hips. Ankle movement is limited too. I find myself wishing his head could tilt down farther, the better to look at the Tailgates and Swerves of the world. Ab crunch? Fuggheddaboutit.
Make no mistake, none of this will prevent you from getting Tyrantron to look good. The sculpt is such that pretty much any way you pose this guy, he's going to look great. He'll exude menace, or heroism, or both. But it's a real shame that this incredible-looking mode can't do a bit more.
The second issue is that if you want to display Tyrantron with all of the parts necessary to transform him into vehicle mode, you're going to have a Tyrantron with a giant stupid plane nose on his forearm. We're supposed to pretend that this thing is a "fusion cannon" or something, I guess, but let's not pretend it's fooling anyone. This is effectively a gigantic piece of removable kibble.
Tyrantron does come packaged with something that looks more like a classic fusion cannon...
...unfortunately it's got yellow stripes on it, marking it out as part of the Tyrantronus miner deco.
Which seems like as good a segue as any to talk about...
Tyantronus (Miner) Mode
It's extremely easy and straightforward to get here; just swap out a couple easily removable parts and you're done, no tools required. The only part that's arduous is swapping the gun on Megatron's back for the drill bit, more accurately, removing the drill to swap back to the gun -- and it's so arduous that after taking these photos, I'm unlikely to bother with the drill bit ever again.
It's funny, when I first saw this look spoiled I thought, "Wow, that's an awesome variant. I don't know if I can justify buying it and the normal version though." So I just about broke out dancing when I learned that you get both decos in the same box. It's no secret that MMC loves its repaints, and it surely could have sold Miner Megatron as a stand-alone retool of this figure, so I doubly appreciate them going the consumer-friendly route here and packing Tyrantron with extra value. Maybe they figure that anyone who would have bought the retool will just buy two copies of this figure so they can display one in each mode.
Anyway, Tyrantron looks great in this configuration too. I especially love the bit of extra sculpted detail he picks up on the front of his shoulders.
No matter which mode you have him in, you won't need to remove anything but the Kibble Cannon/Drill to transform him. Which brings us to...
If you love Transformers with absorbing, puzzling transformations, with clever steps and delightful moments... well, I've got bad news for you, Tyrantron isn't going to be the kind of figure you love. This is an extraodinarily simple conversion. There's not a lot more to it than folding up the robot and slapping the kibble cannon on the front.
This isn't necessarily a terrible thing. I appreciate that I can convert Tyrantron in under a minute, and I'll definitely take this over some of the too-intricate, anxiety-inducing transformations third party transformers are infamous for (and MMC themselves were known for in their early days -- remember Cyclops?). But I do like there to be some inspired element in a transformation, some fun moment that takes me by surprise and delights me. Tyrantron ain't doing any of that. This feels like a low-effort transformation design.
I don't think we've ever seen Megatron transform in the pages of More Than Meets the Eye or Lost Light, so MMC have taken some creative license here. I think we might want to revoke that creative license.
Tyrantron converts into some kind of jet, specifically the kind that inexplicably has tank treads for landing gear. The proportions are distinctly weird, with a giant nose and fuselage giving way to comparatively tiny wings.
There's no real effort to disguise a lot of the robot mode here -- there's the chest plate, there's the head, spun around, there's the hip skirts, there's the elbows. There's no attempt made either to bulk out the portion of the jet that forms from Megatron's lower torso, which makes the jet look pretty structurally nonsensical.
I'll be honest: I don't hate this mode as much in hand as I did in the online photos. It doesn't look abjectly horrible. But it ain't a plus.
This thing on the other hand.
I mean... look at that fucking thing.
The drill mode looks, to put it bluntly, incredibly fucking stupid. It's a drill with a... jet cockpit? And wing things in the back? If the proportions were forgivably awkward in the jet mode, they're unforgiveable here.
The worst part is, this was mostly avoidable. The entire front end is a detachable separate piece. It didn't have to be as long as the jet nose, and it certainly didn't need a fucking plane cockpit on it! Was MMC somehow under the impression that the cockpit would look good on the arm drill/cannon in robot mode? Does MMC think Megatron needs tiny men to pilot his arm gun, and those tiny men need a place to sit? WHY IS THIS LIKE THIS?!
Build, Quality, and Intangibles
Tyrantron's plastic feels rock solid, and as I alluded to earlier, the finish is incredible. Few third party offerings exude quality in the way that this figure does. I will note that there was some paint scratches on mine straight out of the box, but it's not terribly noticeable, and not significant enough to dampen my considerable enjoyment of his appearance.
I struggled with this one for a little bit. Clearly, this is the best available toy of this concept -- I'm not even aware of another MTMTE Megatron on the market. But is it the best imaginable? I can definitely imagine someone like Maketoys or SXS coming out with a figure of this concept with a better transformation or alt mode.
But what I actually can't imagine is anyone nailing the character better than this toy does. I simply can't picture a figure coming out that makes this guy look bad. He's just an absolutely perfect likeness for the Lost Light's most controversial co-captain. And that means he's the best imaginable.
The truth is that objectively, Tyrantron is not a very good transforming robot toy. But it is also true that he's a fantastic toy. I love looking at him, I love that he includes the miner mode -- and looks so good in it. Taking the photos of him for this review was a genuine blast. The simple fact is that I'm insanely happy to have this thing on my shelf.
So where does that leave us? What happens when you have the best imaginable version of a character, but he's not that good a transformer? He clearly can't be an A by my criteria (buy even if you don't care about the character/concept very much), but I'm as happy to own him as I am any A in the collection.
So let's go with...
Pros: Incredible bot mode, great paint and finish, fun miner configuration
Cons: Poor articulation, dull transformation, bad to laughable vehicle modes
Notes And Afterthoughts
Tyrantron also comes with a purple mace and sword, because I guess there's a rule somewhere that all expensive Megatron toys have to include accessories referencing the first episode of the cartoon show and/or the '86 movie. Honestly, MMC: You didn't have to.