That post title, my friends, is a direct quote from my wife. Running low on inspiration and overwhelmed with choices, I asked her to choose the two Transformers that would get posted this week. Her first choice was Robots in Disguise Megatron. Knowing nothing about him, she choose him because of his… and I’m quoting here, “pretty gemstone chest!”
That “gemstone” is, of course, actually his spark crystal, embedded with the Predacon symbol. Following the CG-animated Beast Wars/Machines series was a return to traditional or “cel” animation. Also, instead of the Beast Wars era’s animal-based Maximal good-guys and Predacon bad-guys; it was now vehicle-based good-guys versus beast-based (and then later in the series, some vehicle-based) bad-guys.
I remember to this day the afternoon in 2000 that I was perusing the Transformers sites on my lunch break and I came across the first images of someone they were calling Super Fire Convoy. This absolutely brilliant toy was basically a fire truck version of Powermaster Optimus Prime (one of my all-time favourite Transformers); his cab turning into a robot and then combining with the trailer portion to form a super robot. Long story short: I had to own him. He would make the third Convoy (the recurring Japanese name for Optimus Prime) I would own. Japan had come out with not just one but two sequels to Beast Wars, each having a brand-new mold for their leaders (Leo Convoy and Big Convoy), both of which had never made it to a proper American release. I found each of them in turn and added them to my collection but it certainly wasn’t cheap. Fire Convoy would be no exception. Luckily there was a local collectibles store that got him in stock so he didn’t hurt the wallet too much. Each of the Convoys also had their “Megatrons”. Leo Convoy had Galvatron, Big Convoy had Magmatron, and now Fire Convoy had Gigatron. So very Japanese in design, Gigatron was almost the gaudy purple and gold Transformers equivalent of a Kaiju (the bad-guys that Godzilla or Kamen Rider are constantly having city-destroying battles against.) Long story short: I wanted him.
However, having just laid down the cash for Fire Convoy, I had to wistfully leave the store without Gigatron. Fast forward one year and this actually turned out to be a good choice. Unlike the two previous Japan-only Beast Wars series, Hasbro made an unprecedented move. They took Transformers: Car Robots, translated it, and brought it over lock, stock, and barrel as Transformers: Robots in Disguise (since shortened by fandom to simply “R.i.D.“) The names were changed — oh how Hasbro loves its branding — Fire Convoy became Optimus Prime and Gigatron became Megatron. As the series progresses, Megatron becomes a very hands-on and suprisingly effective leader. Part of how he accomplishes this is by having six alt-modes. Six! The first, and truly one of the most awesome alt-modes for any Transformer ever: a hand. This alt-mode is so hysterically wonderful, it’s how he introduces himself in the cartoon!
Next up, we have gargoyle mode.
Doing Hun-gurrr proud, a two-headed dragon,
The next one is called “Jet” mode,
And finally, “Transport” mode.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. See, in the cartoon, Gigatron/Megatron gets a power-boost and upgrades to Devil Gigatron/Galvatron. The Megatron to Galvatron upgrade scenario — first seen in the original 1986 animated movie — would then become a staple of Transformers series for a while thereafter. Unlike the original Galvatron, however, this Galvatron looks exactly the same only with a new, white paintjob. What his upgrade does bring though is a new allegiance (he now considers himself a Decepticon, though his toy still has a Predacon spark crystal) and four more modes. Ten modes total! In the Car Robots toys, the Devil Gigatron mold actually adds slots to facilitate one of these new modes. When Hasbro released R.i.D. they chose not to release the Gigatron mold at all. Instead, our Megatron is actually the Devil Gigatron mold with the extra slots and our Galvatron is… well, the exact same toy only in white.
This officially makes Devil Gigatron/Megatron/Galvatron the mold with the most alt-modes. However, the extra four modes really start to show the limitations of any single mold. First up, “Griffin” mode.
Then “Flying Dragon” mode.
And finally, the polar opposite of the awesome-ness that is his hand mode, “Elephant” mode.
Phew. That’s a lot of modes. Finally, I leave you with an actual picture of Synergy, from Jem and the Holograms. You can make your own decision regarding any similarities between the two.
I don’t know, I can kinda see the resemblance.