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Series: Robots in Disguise
Allegiance: Decepticon
Categories: Ultra
Year: 2001

Galvatron has increased his destructive power and has acquired four terrible new modes. Now he is an even more dangerous enemy who is capable of destructive attacks on land, in the air, and beneath the sea. His original six modes have also increased in power, making him one of the most dangerous foes of the Autobots.

Prelude: Galvatron is a repaint of RID Megatron, whom I have previously reviewed. It’s been nearly seven years, though, so I think I can take another crack at this mold.

Robot Mode: Megatron / Galvatron was the only bad guy in the entire Robots in Disguise toyline that was not a repaint / remold of a toy from a previous toyline and a lot of effort and attention to detail went into him. This shows in robot mode, as Galvatron is easily among the most detailed and intricate Transformers toys I’ve ever seen. His look is very much Anime-based, of course, a far cry from previous Megatron toys (though with some influence from the Beast Wars TM2 Megatron toy). He has a very intricately designed torso, huge wings on his back, and lots and lots of details all over his body. Whether you like his look or not is, of course, subjective, but you can easily tell that a lot of effort went into this robot mode.

The only problem Galvatron has is his feet, which double as the two heads for the dragon mode and aren’t the most stable in the world. So putting him into dynamic poses is a bit difficult, though not impossible. As for weapons, Galvatron carries two swords / batons / missile launchers (take your pick) that he can either wield separately or combine into a long battle staff. Additionally he can deploy the claws on his forearms forward for close quarter combat.

Overall the robot mode looks very cool and despite incorporating so many alternate modes, he has almost no kibble. Slight stability issues aside, there is nothing wrong here at all, so unless you’re totally turned off by his looks, Galvatron’s robot mode gets both thumbs up.

Alternade Modes: As a Deca-Changer Galvatron has a total of nine alternate modes to complement his robot mode. This makes him the most versatile Transformers toy ever, easily outstripping the previous title-holders Sixshot and Quickswitch by a large margin. Now the toy was originally designed with just six modes, so the last four molds, while official and featured in the instructions, have no dedicated parts just for them and were obviously “created” when the designers fiddled with the original toy. Still, an impressive number of transformations. Let’s look at them all:

First, the bat. Going from robot to bat mode is fairly easy, as you basically just fold back the robot mode legs, extend the arms, and put a little snout over Galvatron’s face. The result is... bad. Let’s just leave it at that. It kinda looks like a... well, winged animal, but the bat snout on Galvatron’s face is too small and looks more like a cheap Halloween mask than anything else. Nothing else to write here, so let’s just move on quickly.

Second, the two-headed Dragon. This is probably my favourite of Galvatron’s many alternate modes. You basically reverse the robot mode and have a giant two-headed monster with cool heads (looking more like wolves than dragons, actually), small front legs, clawed rear legs and a long tail. Highly articulated and very nicely designed, Galvatron’s two-headed dragon mode is definitely among his best modes.

Third, the jet mode. The tail from the dragon mode becomes the cockpit, the wings are spread out, the legs are tucked in and the missile launchers are plugged in besides the cockpit. The result is a jet mode that, while certainly not looking like any jet I’ve ever seen in real life, is recognizable for what it is and is at least somewhat aerodynamic. Certainly not the best jet mode of any Megatron ever, but still a far more believable flying vehicle than Movie Megatron, for example. Not the best of Galvatron’s modes, but good enough.

Fourth, the giant claw. This was actually the first mode we saw RID Megatron in and Galvatron later used it again to link up with his space fortress. I’m not sure whether it’s the strangest alternate mode ever, but it’s got to be in the top ten, at least. Galvatron’s arms and legs from the robot mode become the fingers, while the tail / cockpit becomes the thumb. The result does indeed look like a giant hand / claw from most angles and even features a lever on the back which triggers a gripping motion. Not the best or worst of Galvatron’s modes, but possibly the strangest.

Fifth and final of the original modes of this toy, the car / ground transport. Basically it’s the robot lying on his back with the jet cockpit extended and the wings flipped in so the wheels incorporated into their design come into play. The whole thing is (barely) recognizable as something that might be able to drive and does remind me a little bit of Cybertron Megatron’s car mode, but overall it’s a very superfluous mode in my opinion and can easily be skipped.

Now we come to the four “new” modes Galvatron has acquired upon his rebirth. Number six by overall count is the one-headed dragon, which is basically the bad mode turned around and with the tail / cockpit thing transformed into a head. Despite being just a slight variation, really, it’s ten times better than the bat mode and actually looks like some kind of dangerous winged animal. Not as good as the two-headed dragon mode, but still pretty good.

Seventh and (to me) coolest of the new modes is the griffin, a four-legged animal with wings and a long neck. Basically it’s just the robot on all fours with the jet cockpit as neck & head, but it looks very good and I think it was the mode Galvatron used the most in the series finale.

Eight mode is the elephant or mammoth, who is the only challenger to the giant claw mode for the title of strangest alternate mode of Galvatron. Going from the griffin mode you flip up the wings to serve as the mammoth’s ears and you plug in the tail / cockpit to serve as head and trunk. The missile launchers serve as tusks. It actually does look kinda like an elephant, but it’s still another “what were they smoking?” mode.

Ninth and final alternate mode is, to me, the absolute worst of the lot, even worse than the bat mode. With Megatron I was fairly certain that this was actually some kind of fan mode, but then it appeared in the series. It’s a kind of hydrofoil boat, basically the car mode with the wings flipped downward to serve as hydrofoils. I really don’t know what to write here except that, now that the photo session is done, my Galvatron will probably never assume this mode ever again.

Remarks: Robots in Disguise was the series that started the trend of repainting Megatron into Galvatron and calling it a power-up. This was repeated in the three subsequent series Armada, Energon, and Cybertron. In the TV series itself there was little explanation as to why Megatron suddenly turned white and had four new modes (he was “reborn”, apparently, and white is the color most closely associated with death in Japan). Anyway, the Megatron toy already had all ten modes as well, of course, despite only six being featured on its packaging. In the Japanese Car Robots line the Devil Gigatron toy (Galvatron) was slightly retooled from the original Gigatron (Megatron), adding tabs so that the elephant / mammoth mode has a properly tabbed-in trunk. Hasbro used this slightly modified mold for both Megatron and Galvatron, though, so the only differences for the American releases are the colors.

I originally got Galvatron as a gift from my wife, she bought him for me at the second German CONS convention in 2009. It’s taken me until now to review him, though, as cycling him through all ten of his modes for pictures is quite the hassle. Overall I really do like this figure, though I could do without most of his alternate modes, to be honest. The two-headed dragon, the jet, and maybe the griffin would have fully sufficed for me. Don’t get me wrong, that they managed to put ten modes into a single toy is one hell of an engineering feat and the designers deserve a lot of credit for that, but when you look at half of them and the first thought you come up with is “what the f**k does he need that mode for?”, you just have to question how much sense it makes. Still, the bottom line is that Megatron / Galvatron is definitely worth getting just for being the engineering marvel that he is. You don’t really need both versions, of course, but unless you’re totally put off by his look, you should give at least one of them a go.

Rating: B


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