It’s no secret that the Transformers movies have been controversial. While the first movie had its charm and it pleasantly surprised a lot of fans, the following two were subject to much more scrutiny and contention. One of the chief points of debate throughout all the movies so far, however, has been character choice and interpretation. Characters like Optimus Prime are immediately recognizable and have maintained certain character traits throughout the different mediums, many characters have not fared as well, and, in some cases, the characters end up being who they’re based on in name only. And from the look of things so far, it would appear that trend may be continuing into Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth installment and “reboot” of the Michael Bay-helmed franchise.
As we take a look at the new voyager class Galvatron, it’s tempting to write off the figure immediately with a quick “Pfft. That’s not Galvatron.” It’s certainly true this figure looks nothing like the Galvatron we’ve known since his debut in the 1986 animated movie, but if we’re so quick to dismiss, we may end up missing out on a pretty cool figure.
When promo pics first circulated, I took one glance and thought “Nope.” But as the street date for the toys hit and all these great deals started circulating online, curiosity, coupled with my poor impulse control, got the better of me and I placed my order. And you know what? Even though this may not be “Galvatron” as I’m most familiar with him, this figure won me over pretty quickly because it’s simply a cool Transformers toy.
He doesn’t look like much at all in the package. The scarce paint apps feel woefully inadequate, and when the package was delivered to my wife’s office, her only message to me when it arrived was, “I don’t know how I feel about him.” And I imagine that’s the reaction many people will have. It’s not unwarranted, but it’s unfortunate such an interesting figure should be saddled with a name that is going to be difficult for any “movie” character to live up to.
This figure is beautiful. The sculpt is hyper-detailed and it’s a knockout. What I had to do in order to truly appreciate it was to divorce the figure from the name. If this figure were given a name that didn’t come with so many expectations, then I think people would be more open to it. So if you can try to not think of this as “Galvatron,” you may be able to appreciate it more easily.
Now, all that detailing in his sculpt has nothing to do with his transformation. He’s essentially a shell-former and he literally wears alt mode on his back. That giant backpack of his becomes the truck cab that he basically “wears” when he transforms into his alt mode. In person, it’s not nearly as obnoxious as I thought it would be, and it’s actually pretty easy to ignore. That’s not high praise, I know, but I don’t think it looks bad at all.
His head sculpt is where the figure really shines, but so much of the detail work is lost in the grey plastic he’s molded in because there is precious little paint detailing on the figure. The first chance I get, I’m going to take the ol’ paintbrush to mine because the sculpt deserves to be shown off.
He looks downright demonic, which is why I think I love the sculpt so. It reminds me a little bit of the old Danzig logo or maybe a little bit of Skullgrin. I love the horns and the cheekbones — they make him look genuinely “evil.”
The above pic is the result of some custom detailing I did the instant I was finished with the initial (blue backdrop) photo shoot. I based it on the Takara figure’s superior paint job and am very pleased with the result. All I did was take a gray Gundam Marker to his face and “eyebrows” and then some orange paint to his eyes. It took about 15 minutes and couldn’t have been more simple, so this is an option for you if the price of the Hasbro figure fits in your budget better than the import version.
His only accessory is a large cannon (with a spring-loaded missile) that he can carry on either arm and that can be attached to the roof of his truck cab. To me, it looks like something out of an HR Giger painting because it looks both organic and mechanical. Galvatron gives me that feeling in general, but it’s really coalesced by his weapon. Based on what we’ve seen in the trailers, it’s a fair assumption to make that his cannon sort of “grows” out of his arm organically. The way his hand kind of sinks into it in order to hold it does suggest that too. It looks like its an extention of him rather than something he holds.
- Ball head
- Swivel and hinged shoulders
- Bicep swivel
- Double-jointed elbows
- 45-degree hips
- Thigh swivel
- Hinged knees
- Rocker ankles
That isn’t bad. His knees can’t achieve a full 90-degree bend, but, other than that, his ‘bot-mode articulation meets my needs.
In the above pic, he’s posed next to a more traditional-looking Galvatrom (it’s an old custom of mine, the idea for which I swiped from Jin Saotome, but I didn’t execute it as well). I like this new figure so much that’s it’s difficult for me to even think of it as “Galvatron.” I guess I need to come up with a new name? Something that involves “Lucifer” feels appropriate. The purple guy can stay Galvatron.
He’s a pretty standard-sized voyager, as evidenced in the above pics with Generations Springer and Evasion Mode Optimus. He also has some good heft to him. He doesn’t feel light and hollow at all, which is awesome.
His alt mode is a truck that immediately brings to mind the G1 Stunticon Motormaster because of both the design and the colors. Once again, it’s basically a shell; his backpack expands and covers his torso like a hood, and that’s pretty much all there is to it.
It’s a handsome alt mode as long as you look at it from the right angle.
Like the Evasion Mode Optimus, it’s a bit of a mess in the back, but from the front or the side it’s beautiful. But when you look at him from above or from underneath, the illusion becomes compromised. The rear-end of the truck doesn’t transform completely; his feet join together and that’s it, which leaves a large and visible gap. I though his weapon could plug in to cover that gap, but there’s nowhere for the cannon to peg into place, so you basically have to live with an alt mode that loks fantastic from some angles and pretty terrible from others.
His arms and head fold away, but otherwise his body is very visible from the underside of the alt mode. Still, I find his transformation fun, and he’s one of the few that I’ll pick up and transform just for the heck of it. It’s simple, I can do it in just a few seconds, and it looks awesome.
There’s a lot about this figure to not like, but somehow he’s been among my favorite Transformers purchases of the past couple months. I think I may like him more than even Generations Rattrap, a figure I was dying in anticipation for. It’s certainly not a figure for everybody, and there will be those who will remain firmly planted in the “Nope!” end of the equation, but if you give this figure a chance, I think you’ll be as pleasantly surprised with him as I was. Just try to not think of him as “Galvatron,” but wouldn’t it be great if the movie made it possible for him to live up to the name? Fingers crossed.