Select your language

Series: Fans Project
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Upgrade Set
Year: 2008 / 2010

Robot Mode: The City Commander trailer serves as a suit of battle armour for Classics Ultra Magnus (it works for Classics Prime and Shattered Glass Prime as well, of course). Unlike the original G1 Ultra Magnus, though, it's not a nearly immobile brick where the smaller Magnus figure just clicks on. No, the City Commander armour is no less than eight different pieces (nine if you count that huge honkin' blaster) that Ultra Magnus puts on just like you'd put on armour pieces in real life. It's boots, a hip plate, a chest plate complete with head, shoulder pieces and gauntlets.

It takes a moment to put everything on (especially the boots), but once you're finished you have a spectacular-looking Ultra Magnus toy standing before you. He's big and bulky, but retains pretty much the entire range of posability of the unarmoured Magnus figure. The new head can both turn and nod, while the new fists have wrist movement. The detailing is extremely well done and there are several nifty little surprises. One, you can store both of Magnus' guns on the back of the shoulder pieces, either pointing up or down (if you want them hidden away). Also, the shoulder pieces feature holes on the side where you can go old school and plug in G1 Magnus' shoulder-missiles. You can even open up Magnus' chestplate. Sadly there is no room to store a Maxtrix of Leadership behind it, but at least you can pretend.

Ultra Magnus is, of course, no longer dependent on the two weapons he originally came with. No, the City Commander armour comes with a new weapon for him. And it's a huge, huge cannon. We're talking a cannon that would make Universe Nemesis Prime green with cannon-envy. It's so big, in fact, that the joints on my Ultra Magnus aren't strong enough to hold it up. For the pictures I had to support it on his knees. Personally I don't really see the point of this gun. It's so huge as to be completely impractical and I really can't picture Magnus shouting something like "ULTIMATE SUPER MEGA ALLSPARK-MATRIX BLASTER - MAXIMUM BURN!". Still, if you like your big cannons, this one's not bad. I think Magnus looks better without it, though.

So to sum it up: Classics Magnus wearing the City Commander armour is without any doubt in my mind the absolute best version of Ultra Magnus ever made in any Transformers series. He's big, he looks fabulous, he's posable, what else do you want? Absolutely no complaints at all.

Alternate Mode: For a long time G1 Omega Supreme has held the title of supreme "puzzle-former", a robot that doesn't so much transform as fall to pieces and reassembles in a different shape. Well Omega, you've got competition now. Because in order to transform Ultra Magnus' City Commander armour into or out of its trailer mode, you really need patience and puzzle skills. Nine different pieces need to be taken, transformed, and then put together right in order to form the trailer. Not quite as many as it was with Omega, but it takes a lot of time, too.

Once assembled the resulting trailer is a surprisingly wholesome looking piece that offers little clue as to what might emerge from it. Classics Magnus in truck mode can simply hook it up and then drive down the highway. Cab and trailer fit together very well, both colour- and shape-wise. It looks somewhat different than G1 Magnus' truck mode did, as the trailer isn't open but rather a single, solid piece. Still, the back of the trailer still retains a lot of the same look it did in G1 days, so it's easy to see that the two trucks are somewhat related.

You can't really do much more than drive in this mode, of course. The back of the trailer can open up, more or less, but it's neither a straight ramp, nor is there any place inside for transporting much of anything. Still, a very well-thought-out alternate mode for Magnus' combat armour that stows away everything and leaves you with no loose parts to misplace. So all in all, a very nice truck mode. No complaints here, either.

Remarks: There have always been lots of complaints about Ultra Magnus. The character was best known for being the hand-picked successor of Optimus Prime who couldn't deal with stuff and lost the Matrix of Leadership to Galvatron. He somewhat redeemed himself in the third season of the G1 cartoon by being a valuable second-in-command to Rodimus Prime, but that was all he ever was: A second. And then there was the toy. A barely posable monster of a robot that you could only look at from the front, followed by a large number of white Optimus Prime repaints (except for the RID version).

Now finally, finally we have an Ultra Magnus toy worthy of the name. Okay, it's actually two toys if you want to get technical, but for me Classics Magnus and the City Commander armour are from this day forward inseparable. They look great together, they move great together, they are just... perfect. Can't really find another word for it. Perfect.

The City Commander armour is not an official Hasbro product, but was put together by and was sold in limited quantity. I was lucky enough to get one and I'm not giving it away again, that much is for sure. Another fun side note: The instructions for how to assemble and disassemble the trailer came in the shape of a comic book which saw an alternate universe version of the Transformers in ancient Egypt. The bad guy was called Pharaotron, the Transformers god Primus was renamed Ra-Mus, and Magnus/City Commander was called Orion and came in the classic Diaclone colour scheme. It's so strange it's fun.

Anyway, for only the second time ever in my days as reviewer, I give this wonderful Transformers toy a perfect score. Every TF fan should own one.

Rating: A+

Update 2011-11-27: I've recently acquired the City Commander Upgrade Set containing Ultra Magnus' signature rifle and shoulder missile launchers. And some people kept asking how Classics Optimus Prime looks in the City Commander armor (almost no visible change), so I've added pictures of both the set and Optimus in Magnus' clothing. Enjoy!

Revisited 2020-11-26

Prelude: It was the year 2008 and the age of the third party Transformers began with Fansproject City Commander. Well, he wasn’t really the first, but the first to actually make a major impact and put third party products on the map for many Transformers fans. That it happened at a time when the first live-action movie had just expanded the fan base by truly gargantuan amounts helped, too, of course. I reviewed this add-on kit (as we would call it today) 12 years ago and gave it an A+. But has it aged well? My buddy James dared me to find out, so here we go!

Inner Robot: City Commander is a trailer / suit of armor for Classics Ultra Magnus, a figure from 2007 (and a white repaint of an Optimus Prime figure, as all Ultra Magni were in those days). Not going to do another review for this figure, just thought to mention that the Classics Optimus mold has aged very well and still holds up to this day in my opinion.

Armor Mode: When I wrote the original review of this set, the only „real“ Ultra Magnus we had (meaning one that was actually armored up and not just a white Optimus clone) was the G1 version, thus I was amazed that the armor did not impede the inner figure’s articulation in the least. While we have seen plenty of armored-up Ultra Magnus figures since, the point still stands. For all that he wears really bulky, chunky armor, City Commander is still very well-articulated and can move with the best of them.

The various armor pieces still look very nice and while they seem a bit rougher and not quite as smooth as many modern-day add-on kits, that doesn’t really bother me at all. The general look is clearly G1 Ultra Magnus, with a somewhat different styling. Back in the early days of CHUG, most of the G1-inspired figures were just that: inspired, not an attempt to replicate the cartoon look as close as humanly possible. Which I preferred, to be honest, but it’s a matter of subjective taste, of course. So City Commander is clearly Ultra Magnus, but with a slightly different flair.

The one thing that did bother me a little about City Commander was the fact that roughly half of the trailer (if not more) became a really huge gun. Not only because no incarnation of Ultra Magnus ever wielded such a weapon, but also because it was really too unwieldy for the figure to hold properly. So a very, very slight point deduction for that. Magnus’ traditional weapons, the white rifle and the shoulder-mounted missile launchers, didn’t originally come with the City Commander set, but were a separate add-on kit.

So all in all, I still love this armor mode. It might not exactly adhere to the current trend of looking as G1-cartoony as possible, but that’s fully okay with me.

Trailer Mode: All the various armor parts and the big gun click together into a trailer for Ultra Magnus’ truck mode. It’s not the standard car carrier, of course, but rather a closed trailer that sits snugly against the tractor. As I mentioned above, inspired by, but different. Snapping all the trailer pieces together isn’t exactly simple, but neither is it rocket science. Some of the edges seem a bit sharp here and there, but otherwise no complaints. The rear of the trailer can open up, but it’s not really a ramp, nor can anything fit inside, so the trailer is pretty much just for looking at it. And it looks great.

Side note: of course the trailer/armor works with every other incarnation of the Classics Prime mold as well and seeing as the armor covers most of the robot, you barely see a difference there. The blue trailer also easily works with a red tractor, probably an orange one, too. There are, of course, several repaints of this set as well, to work with the inevitable Nemesis Prime variant, for example.

Remarks: Back when I first got the City Commander set, I considered it possibly the best Transformers-related thing ever, I was so amazed. Of course 12 years have passed since then and we have seen a lot of great third party add-ons and figures since, plus a lot of improvement in the official Transformers figures, too. So how does City Commander measure up? Still great, in my opinion. If I were to review him today for the first time, I would still give him an A-rating, I believe. I would forego the plus at the end, simply because the huge gun is always left over when he’s in robot mode, but otherwise: still great. Don’t regret buying him then, wouldn’t regret buying him today. Still fully recommended.

Rating: A
Toy DB Link

Picture Gallery:

No comments