There have been many main-line TRANSFORMERS toys to possess the name “Galvatron” since the 1986 original I featured yesterday. The first, in the late 1990’s, was a BEAST WARS Japan-only release that turned into a dragon and a drill tank. I would be bringing him up here, but I seem to have mislaid mine. Or maybe I sold it off on a whim one day. I forget which. (I hope it’s the former. That was a cool toy, and he turned into a drill tank.) Then at the start of the decade the U.S. TRANSFORMERS line made a bad habit of renaming every second-release Megatron figure, in different colors, Galvatron. “Oh look, Megatron had changed colors and powered up! He’s Galvatron now!” Look, they just changed his colors around and made him “stronger.” That’s no reason to change his name. They did that in ROBOTS IN DISGUISE, when that series’s Megatron turned from purple to white, then in ARMADA, where that series’s Megatron went from gray and green to white and purple, and then …
Well, then they did something I didn’t mind so much. The TRANSFORMERS: ENERGON Megatron toy was already sculpted as an original-series Galvatron homage, and then they gave it THESE colors:
The sculpted detail is there right down to the sculpted-in light-and-sound button right below his belt. Sure, he’s kind of blocky and chunky in an entirely different way than the original 1986 toy, but I’ve never really minded because this toy is a joy to play with. He’s got good range of motion with all his clicky, ratcheting joints, and despite being made of plastic he’s got great heft to him. And aside from his black crown, the colors are spot-on 1986 animation perfect. (Galvatron in the ENERGON cartoon — and, for that matter, in the Japanese toy line — was a different, lighter shade of purple and had a slightly different color scheme that was less ’86-accurate.) Also worth noting, the disparity between the shoulder paint color and the plastic color isn’t as strong in normal lighting and in person.
It’s a shame the horns on this Galvatron’s head don’t look particularly good swept back a bit to match the original animation model; the vertical horns with the serrations are one of the two nods this design makes to the ARMADA Megatron design, which had two huge scissor blades stuck to his head.
The other homage is his primary weapon accessory, a large battered tank that clips onto his arm like Megatron’s fusion cannon, or the original Galvatron’s arm-laser. The tank is actually sculpted as an homage to the ARMADA Megatron’s tank mode. It can even roll on its own. However, when you take the back end of it and attach it to the inside of Galvatron’s fighter-mode nosecone and push a button on the nosecone, it becomes the extremely awkward hilt for Galvatron’s sword. If you put batteries into the tank, it even makes a clashing sound when you strike something with the blade. Neat gimmick, but as you can see it is very difficult to pose the tank-as-weapon convincingly. However, it is crazy and a lot of fun; it’s just a little frustrating that not much was made of this in any of the official fiction associated with ENERGON.
Just as I did with the original 1986 toys, I pitted this Galvatron up against his generation’s Rodimus, though the characters have little to do with one another. Despite the toy being an awkward mess, largely due to the limitations placed on it by that year’s Deluxe-size Autobot gimmick — every toy had to not only transform between robot and vehicle, but also into a top half AND a bottom half of a potential combined robot mode — I do have a soft spot for it, and not just because of 1986 warm fuzzies. I find the robot design strikingly heroic, and I love the crimson-gray-gold color scheme. I also like that he turns into a sort of crazy racing variant on a long-nose semi trailer. This was, after all, Rodimus Convoy — the Japanese equivalent of Rodimus PRIME — in Japan.
And despite the size difference and the lack of armored trailer vehicle, somehow this fight doesn’t come off as quite as pathetic as the 1986 showdown. ENERGON Rodimus appears to have some meat on his metal bones.
One tidbit aside, I really enjoy the transformation of this toy. Lots of smart engineering and clever design choices. It’s simple, but effective.
Galvatron’s vehicle mode is a nasty flying gunship, an avian x-winged terror with a tank riding on its back that, due to its nigh to ridiculous scale, is just the right size for a grown man to fly around his living room making jet engine and laser noises. That one problem I have with it? Galvatron’s head is clearly visible from the bottom. But hiding heads was kind of a problem line-wide this particular year; a worse offender is ENERGON Ironhide, who basically tipped his helmet down over his eyes in an effort to pretend that his head was disguised from view. (It really wasn’t.) Otherwise, while the robot chest is clearly visible from below, the automorph gimmickry that stows the arms away and pulls in the feet while turning the kneecaps into jet engines makes for a satisfying transformation that creates a very worthy, powerful-looking aerial engine of destruction. In the original ENERGON Megatron color scheme it was actually quite reminiscent of the jet mode of the late-era classic series Mega Pretender Thunderwing; that’s less pronounced in Galvatron colors, though.
While I understand the urge to make Megatron a tank, turning him from handheld firepower into treaded firepower, I think I like this jet mode for Megatron, and especially Galvatron, more. It reemphasizes the original cars-versus-jets dichotomy that the original TRANSFORMERS pushed for so many years, and it has a much more menacing shape to it. The vehicle mode itself looks evil and commanding in a way that a tank just … can’t.
Especially the tank they made him into in Classics/Universe. Poor little guy.