The GeeksverseREVIEW | Transformers: Generations Metroplex (Hasbro)

REVIEW | Transformers: Generations Metroplex (Hasbro)
Published on Thursday, October 10, 2013 by
This writer was recently fortunate enough to finally purchase a Transformers: Generations Metroplex! Hit the jump for my review of this massive mechanized metropolis!
Promotional photo of Metroplex (© Hasbro, Inc.)

Promotional photo of Generations Metroplex in robot mode (image © Hasbro, Inc.)

While attending BotCon 2013 this past June in San Diego, I let an opportunity to possess greatness pass me by. For those who were not aware, Big Bad Toy Store [Full disclosure: The Comixverse is sponsored in part by Big Bad Toy Store] had procured a shipment of Transformers: Generations Metroplex a full two months before its scheduled August 2013 release date, and was selling them at the convention for $150 a pop. That’s right; towering over the convention floor in majestic Olympian glory were pallets filled with one of the most highly-anticipated Transformers to ever be released. Raging nerd-wood doesn’t even begin to describe the sensation I experienced from this awe-inspiring encounter.

Unfortunately, at that particular time I was more broke than Luke Skywalker after a trip to Tosche Station to buy some power converters. Because of this, I was forced to flinch in the presence of magnificence and went home from the convention empty-handed. I could have, should have, manned up in true American fashion and slapped that sucker onto my credit card, charging it to the game with no more worry than a senator writing pork barrel legislation to subsidize jelly bean research in the Himalayas. Instead, my better judgment (read: my credit card balance) convinced me to pass.

However, I swore to myself and all that is plastic and awesome that Metroplex would one day be mine, and that my bitter abstinence would not be in vain. Two weekends ago I was finally able to bring truth to the words I had spoken on that fateful day back in June. On the way home from work, a brief detour to my local Toys R Us garnered me my very own Metroplex—to have and to hold until death do us part. What follows are my overall impressions of this figure, and whether I feel he was worth the grip of toys I had to slang at the local swap meet to be able to afford this monster.

Metroplex as pictured mere seconds after I departed the checkout lane at Toys R Us. Victory is mine!

Generations Metroplex as pictured mere seconds after I departed the checkout lane at Toys R Us. Victory is mine!

Packaging

The package design for this figure is excellent; it is a windowless box which features a large horizontal comic-style drawing of Metroplex’s upper body on one side, and on the other a vertically-aligned, scale photo of the actual toy. The background is a dark red color with grid lines evocative of the old-school Generation 1 (G1) box design, which was a very nice touch. Also included on the package were the requisite “Tech Specs” and character bio to round out the presentation. I felt this was very well executed, and befitting a toy of this size and price point.

The outer packaging is adorned with amazing comic-style artwork, and is extremely well designed.

The outer packaging is adorned with amazing comic-style artwork, and is extremely well designed.

However, the interior of the box is much less exciting, consisting of Metroplex being loosely secured to a colorless cardboard backing with paper ties, and his left arm detached and very loosely secured alongside him. Scamper (the accompanying legends-class figure) is also rather haphazardly tied to the side of the insert, and the missile to Metroplex’s blaster was just rolling around inside the box, begging to get lost. I personally feel that for a collector-targeted toy retailing for $130 it should have been much more securely packaged and protected for transit. Some molded plastic bubbling would have been ideal to keep everything in place. Given that Hasbro regularly employs this technique for smaller classes of Transformers figures, the rationale for skipping it for this release is beyond me.

With this 1:1 scale photo adorning the opposite side of the box, what you see is quite literally what you get.

With this 1:1 scale photo adorning the opposite side of the box, what you see is quite literally what you get.

Robot Mode

As I do with all of my Transformers toys, I plan to keep Metroplex displayed in his robot form. Especially in this case, this is where he was designed to shine from a pure size perspective. At 24.2″ tall, he is officially the largest Transformers toy ever released, standing 2″ taller than the previous title holder, Fortress Maximus. Metroplex also includes a sheet of about 100 decals (yes decals!) which add quite a bit of detail and made me feel like I was 7 years old again while applying them. He has a well-proportioned humanoid build, and an intimidating visage fit to make any Decepticon soil his decepti-drawers.

He came to kick butt and chew energon goodies, and Hot Rod just gave the last goodie to the Sharkticons...

He came to kick butt and chew energon goodies, and Hot Rod just gave the last goodie to the Sharkticons…

In this form he boasts multiple play features- including flip-out turrets on his shoulder and right forearm, and light and sound features built into his chest and head. The turrets are a nice touch, and should be able to seat most Legends-sized figures. His large red blaster can be held in either hand, or mounted on his right shoulder, and has a spring-loaded missile projectile. The blaster itself is solid and substantial, with a high level of detail and a hinged handle. It is too bad the mass-release version of Metroplex did not come with two blasters like the SDCC or ACG-Con exclusives, but honestly I do not know where a second blaster would be stored when not in robot mode.

Metroplex with Scamper manning his forearm turret.

Generations Metroplex with Scamper manning his forearm turret.

The sculpt is highly-detailed, with many textures and robotic features molded into the panels. He is unmistakably a homage to Generation 1 Metroplex, simply scaled-up with more detail and articulation. The literal nature in which this update has been translated from the original will be a recurring theme in my review, as this figure recreates the G1 transformation sequence step for step. I for one am very happy Hasbro decided to use the Generation 1 aesthetic as opposed to that from Fall of Cybertron, but this is purely a matter of personal preference.

Generations Metroplex towering far above his G1 namesake.

Generations Metroplex towering far above his Generation 1 (G1) namesake.

For this writer, the only disappointing aspect of Metroplex’s robot form was the load bearing capacity of the ratchet joints  for his limbs. The knee and hip joints are especially problematic in this regard, as none of these friction points were designed to adequately support the weight of this figure. While Metroplex is able to stand straight up and hold his gun aloft reasonably well, attempting to pose him an any sort of dynamic or action pose results in the joints buckling and the figure collapsing. With enough practice positioning the figure you will get a feel for the weight limits of the various joints and can create some decent poses, but they tend to be rather unstable for long-term display purposes.

One of the better, more stable poses I was able to achieve. Until you have this bad boy in your hands you have no clue how much effort this took.

One of the better, more stable poses I was able to achieve. Until you have this bad boy in your hands you have no clue how much effort this took.

City Mode/Battle Mode

For anyone who has seen and/or owned a G1 Metroplex, you have then also seen and/or experienced Generations Metroplex’s City and Battle Modes. As I mentioned previously with the robot mode, it is really just a scaled-up version of his predecessor, with a few added play features thrown in. I will say that even 27 years later, both modes’ designs remain very fun and very cool.

Generation 1 Metroplex in all three modes, note the striking similarity to the updated Generations version.

G1 Metroplex in all three modes, note the striking similarity to the updated Generations version.

New features in the City mode include the ability for Metroplex’s robot head to flip down and become a turret with infra-red viewing port that a Legends class figure can occupy, and the previously mentioned forearm-mounted turrent is  present as well. Other than that, the play features from the original toy remain intact: the right chest panel slides out to become a ramp for small vehicles to ride down, and the left half of his shoulder/torso once again becomes a fold-out helipad. As with many other aspects of the figure, everything is just done bigger and with more detail.

Promo shot of Metroplex in City Mode- while very similar to the original this isn't necessarily a bad thing (© Hasbro, Inc.).

Promo shot of Generations Metroplex in City Mode—while very similar to the original this isn’t necessarily a bad thing (image © Hasbro, Inc.).

Regarding the Battle Mode, once again it is almost identical to the Generation 1 toy’s design. It is a rolling battle station/aircraft carrier type vehicle, which in this updated version features a retractable utility claw on the “deck” of the carrier to ostensibly carry out repairs and other ancillary needs for Metroplex’s passengers.

Promotional image of the Battle Mode- once again a faithful and dynamic recreation of the original (Copyright Hasbro, Inc.).

Promotional image of Generation Metroplex’s Battle Mode—once again a faithful and dynamic recreation of the original (image © Hasbro, Inc.).

Scamper (Legends-class figure included with Metroplex)

Scamper is an awesome bonus included with this already amazing Transformer. Like his big homie, Scamper is a faithful and improved update of his namesake. Unlike his predecessor, you do not have to “parts-form” him to switch between modes; he is a legitimate transformer. In car mode, he is a sleek amalgamation of the Back to the Future DeLorean and Kitt from Knight Rider.

scamper

Left: Scamper is a huge improvement over his G1 namesake, and a helluva guy to boot; right: Scamper’s car mode is 1.21 gigawatts of excellence.

Comparison to Brave/Fortress Maximus

Given that Metroplex is now billed as the largest Transformers toy ever made, the comparisons to Fortress Maximus are inevitable. It is easily observed that the plastic used on Metroplex continues the trend of diminished density and durability; the feel of the material when compared to my Brave Maximus (re-color of Fortress Maximus released in Japan in 2000) is noticeably lighter and much more flexible. As fun as it might sound at the moment, I don’t want to beat a dead horse, so you can read my previous article here for more commentary on the current sad state of plastics manufacturing. The softer and lighter plastic could also be a necessary element to allow Metroplex to pass the infamous “drop test” that apparently prevented any domestic re-issue of Fort Max to ever see the light of day after 1987. Either way, this qualm does little to dull the epic luster of Generations Metroplex on the whole.

Brothers from another mother- who hypothetically would have had to have robot girl parts.

Brothers from another mother—who hypothetically would have had to have robot girl parts.

Summary/Final Thoughts

I have to say that I am extremely happy that I was lucky enough to purchase this figure. Hasbro hit the design out of the park by taking the tried-and-true engineering of the Generation 1 toy and making it an up-scaled and modernized epic Cybertronian beast for contemporary collectors. From a pure size perspective, Transformers: Generations Metroplex is by far the most impressive Transformer released since Fortress Maximus back in 1987. On his own merits, between the superior sculpt quality, added play features, and inclusion of a totally revamped Scamper, Metroplex is a must buy for any Transformer fan with the means to purchase him.

Conclusion: Metroplex is a must-have for those who can swing the hefty price tag.

Conclusion: Metroplex is a must-have for those who can swing the hefty price tag.

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