Thursday, May 21, 2015

Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus

Presenting the Transformers Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus!

This is the IDW/G1 continuity Ultra Magnus and not the Ultra Magnus who was robbed of the leadership of the Autobots by Hotrod (Rodimus Prime).

Which means that the Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus is the Duly Appointed Enforcer of the Tyrest Accord, and upholder of the Code of Interplanetary Conflict - or so he keeps saying.

He also hides a terrible secret: The real Ultra Magnus was a law-enforcer. He's dead. After he died Chief Justice Tyrest believed that the legendary law-enforcer had to continue on given what he symbolized. So he created and released an Ultra Magnus armor that was run by "loadbearers" - a small amount of tiny Autobots who had sparks strong enough to animate the armor.

Each time the Ultra Magnus pilot would receive fatal injuries, the armor would return to Tyrest and a new loadbearer would animate the armor. Because of this Ultra Magnus gained the reputation of being "unkillable" as he seemed to have the ability to bounce back from critical injuries.

Little did anybody know that four loadbearers had already died in the service of Tyrest. The current pilot of the Ultra Magnus armor is Minimus Ambus - a tiny Autobot who always dreamed of holding the line against the Decepticons in the Great War.

While serving with the crew of the Lost Light, Minimus Ambus accidentally tripped the Ultra Magnus recall button when Ultra Magnus was severely damaged. Upon returning to Tyrest, the now mentally unstable Chief Justice was shocked to see that Ultra Magnus had become a bureaucratic "stuck-up" joke and deactivated the armor. When the crew of the Lost Light came searching for Ultra Magnus, they were arrested by Tyrest for harboring the amnesiac criminal Skids.

Minimus Ambus shared their cell where the Autobots began to recognize Ultra Magnus' "tics" in his mannerisms and speech and he came clean to the Autobots as to who he was. He confronted Tyrest who was revealed to be working with the Decepticons and was so crazy that he was going to kill all the Transformers via a Universal Kill-Switch. Minimus Ambus was apparently killed during the confrontation when his head was crushed by one of Tyrest's Legislators. But it turns out that Ambus' body was just another layer of armor, and he shot Tyrest in the back.

Ratchet would help Ambus back into the Ultra Magnus armor, stating that he knew all along that Ultra Magnus was nothing more than armor, and that he considered Minimus Ambus to be the true Ultra Magnus.

So he's a Combiner of sorts.

Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus' blister card reads "The Legend of Ultra Magnus is exceeded only by the legend of Optimus Prime (OUCH!!!! Forver in Prime's shadow). When Ultra Magnus was lost, the forces of justice would not let a warrior of his caliber fall. Minimus Ambus using the power of his rare loadbearer spark, enables Ultra Magnus to fight on."

What's to like about the Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus?

FIRST: DAMN! He looks good! The Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus' design is worthy of how he looks in the IDW comic books and is a mold that fits nicely in his other versions including when he appeared as the Autobot City Commander in The Transformers Movie.

Combiner Wars Ultra Manus is big, has really broad shoulders, a barrel chest, large stable feet, and a pair of big guns. He's an intimidating figure to meet on a battlefield and an inspiring figure to follow. Optimus Prime may point the way, but we see Ultra Magnus leading the charge.

SECOND: We really like the idea that Ultra Magnus is nothing more than armor. In a comic book that already features Autobot iconic leaders: Optimus Prime and Rodimus Prime, Ultra Magnus was starting to look like he always does - the second-in-command living in the shadow of Prime. So the revelation that he's this little guy helps us root for his being an under-dog.

And he looks great in the cockpit of his armor. Minimus Ambus' hands hold joysticks and his feet are on pedals. Ultra Magnus' head comes down on top of his like a helmet.

The bad news is that when Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus transforms to truck mode, he has to abandon the armor - which is not what he does in the comic books:

THIRD: We really do like Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus' facial sculpt. It bears the severity of his character. We're not sure if the light baby-blue tint of his eyes - which makes him a qualified holder of the Autobot Matrix of Leadership is because of the blue paint of his chassis. Yes, Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus can turn his head.

FOURTH:  Articulation is acceptable. Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus' feet articulation is excellent and makes him very very stable. And he can kneel:

FIFTH: Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus' truck mode is pretty solid - a multi-car carrier - albeit his cab looks a bit dated (But then he's old). The cab does not detach from the trailer and no, the cab does not transform into a robot unlike his G1 counterpart. Ultra Magnus is literally a result of his cab and his trailer.

You can lower the rear of Combiner wars Ultra Magnus's trailer, in order to load vehicles. The second level also lowers to allow loading - although both ramps look really rough.

Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus seems most compatible with the Combiner Wars Legends class vehicles. He can fit four of them - two on top, two in the middle:

As you can see, Minimus Ambus is a bit too small to load onto Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus. Speaking of which he's a fairly decent figure. We're not too proud of the detailing and frankly he could use more paint. But he does have pretty decent articulation:

Minimus Ambus transforms into a tiny hover-car - which doesn't look anything like what he transforms into in the comic book:

SIXTH: We love how Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus mixes with the rest of the Wreckers/Lost Flight Autobots. 

But let's point out a problem with size. In truck mode, Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus seems to be only compatible with the Robotmasters Optimus Prime. 

Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus' wheels suggest that he's more compatible with the Combiner Wars Optimus Prime or the Henkei Convoy, but their cab windows are simply too large.

If we base the two on cab size, Ultra Magnus would tower over Optimus Prime:

But size is...flexible.... when it comes to Transformers - actually we're just showing off our Robotmasters Optimus Prime's head and weapon upgrades from DMY Studios.

Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus looks better with an MP10:

Makes you kinda wish Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus was made of die-cast metal. 

What's NOT to like about the Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus?

There are two things really wrong with the Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus.

FIRST: That Hammer! Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus can only hold it at one part, and his forearm armor helps lock it into place as there are recesses in both forearms that act as slots for the hammer.

BUT! Ultra Magnus can barely wield it. It's too big to be a one-handed hammer. He cannot dual wield it because he lacks wrist articulation. Yes, his hands do not turn, so he cannot bring the lower part of the hammer into his other hand.

So he looks like this:

Weird. You can split the hammer apart so Ultra Magnus comes at you with a rifle and a "Thorlike" hammer. But it still looks weird.

SECOND: Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus has a grip problem - half the time we kept resetting his weapons in his hands because they kept falling out. This may be a problem specific to us, we're not sure, but it feels like his weapons were not moulded for him. We pray that a third party group is already building Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus new forearms that come with wrist articulation.

But damn! Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus looks good!

This particular Transformers Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus was purchased as a part of a group buy from the Cybertron Philippines Facebook Page ( for PhP 2,600 (Roughly US$ 57.77). It is available for pre-order on Amazon for US$ 59.99 plus shipping. However it says that it won't be available until August 31, 2015.


Transformers Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus also comes with a card that's a bit weird because Minimus Ambus is portrayed outside of the Ultra Magnus armor. If he's outside, who's driving the armor?

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