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Series: APC Toys
Allegiance: Decepticon
Year: 2020

Prelude: In the year 2011, one of the coolest Megatron designs ever created first appeared in toy form when Transformers Prime First Edition Megatron came out as part of the TF Prime Entertainment Pack (together with First Edition Optimus Prime and those three pesky kids). The only downside of this brilliant figure was its size, as it was only a Deluxe. Now Third Party company APC has taken this awesome design and scaled it up to the size of a large Voyager / small Ultra-Class toy, calling it Dark Master. Is this figure a worthy incarnation of Prime Megatron? Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: Let us start with the most important thing first: Dark Master is basically just an upscaled version of First Edition Megatron from Transformers Prime. There are some minor differences which I will get to in a moment, but overall it’s the exact same figure, just scaled up. So if you didn’t like First Edition Megatron, you can stop reading right now.

Still here? Great, so let’s look at this robot. As I already mentioned twice, Dark Master is nearly twice as tall as First Edition Megatron. He is also made from a different kind of plastic, which feels a bit fragile, but is pretty solid and hasn’t given me any problems so far. It also carries a nice, almost chrome-like sheen. Nicely done. While First Edition Megatron had ball-joints on his shoulders and legs, Dark Master has more solid joints to carry the limbs’ larger weight (though they still look like ball-joints at first glance). Articulation is mostly the same (meaning: pretty great), though Dark Master adds some ankle tilt action. Dark Master’s detailing is improved in comparison, too, but that is pretty much a given due to his larger size.

The one major difference on this figure when compared to its inspiration (apart from the accessories, see below) is the back plate, which can turn around here so that the big hole in it (where the head goes through in jet mode) is now on his middle back instead of directly behind his head. A slight visual improvement. Sadly it’s a bit mitigated by this figure’s one flaw, its hollow torso, which you can look into from the side. It’s a flaw carried over from First Edition Megatron, but on the smaller figure it is a lot less noticeable.

Still, this is one of the greatest Megatron robot mode designs of all time and APC did a bang-up job of scaling up to a more appropriate size. Dark Master takes all of First Edition Megatron’s strengths and carries them over, slightly improving the look with more chrome-sheen and detailing. Again, nothing has really changed much from the figure that inspired it, but there wasn’t really much that needed change (except maybe some sort of panels to close the torso from the sides).

So bottom line: an excellent robot mode. Very nice.

Alternate Mode: Naturally Dark Master transforms into the same alien space jet that First Edition Megatron does. The transformation is exactly the same, no differences (except for turning that plate where the head goes through 180 degrees). So of course you end up with the exact same space jet, just bigger. It still looks very nice, sufficiently alien, and aerodynamic enough that one might consider it flight-worthy. Just like the First Edition version you should avoid looking at its underside, though, as it is very much open and you can easily see the robot hip and legs.

Megatron’s trusty arm cannon can be mounted on top to give the jet firepower. Sadly there is no landing gear, nor any way to store Dark Master’s additional accessories (see below). Still, it’s a great looking jet mode, the transformation is complex without being awkward, and as long as you refrain from looking at the underside, it’s all good. So thumbs up for the jet mode.

Accessories: The one thing that truly sets Dark Master apart from First Edition Megatron is his size, of course, but he also comes with a number of additional accessories that the official figures lacks. If you remember the TV series, Megatron was capable of extending a blade from his right arm for close quarter combat. Well, here he comes with two of those blades, which fit onto either arm. Not sure he ever used two blades in the TV series, but it works nicely and the blades look like a natural extension of his body.

Dark Master also comes with the Dark Saber, the evil counterpart to Optimus Prime’s Star Saber that Megatron forged using the Hammer of Solus Prime (thereby proving that whatever makes a Prime a Prime is situated in their lower right arm, which can easily be hacked off by someone else to make the super-magical tools of the Primes work for them, but I digress). The Dark Saber looks very nice, can fit into either hand (note: it’s easiest to put the sword in his hand by pulling off the pommel and then reattaching it once you’ve slid the hilt into his palm), and there is an additional part included to enable Dark Master to put it onto his back. Nicely done, even though the part that attaches the Saber to Dark Master’s back easily pops out again if you’re not careful.

So bottom line: the blade is mightier than the blaster, or so it often seems in cartoons and animes. Nice additions to a very nice figure.

Remarks: While I am not and will never be a huge Transformers Prime fan (I’d explain why, but that would utterly derail this review), I am very much a fan of its First Edition figures and especially of its Megatron design. Prime Megatron is one of the most evil looking figures ever and while the Prime Robots in Disguise Voyager figure was a good alternative for everyone wanting their figures in proper scale, it was far from perfect.

Now we have APC Dark Master and while he isn’t perfect, either, he actually comes pretty close. The robot mode is shiny, huge, and has all sorts of sharp, pointy things, too. The vehicle mode still lacks a proper underside, but I am really not sure how that is supposed to work without some Unique Toys level of black magic involved in the transformation. So Dark Master is a pretty nice robot and – let’s not forget – he is a far cry from the usual third party price point. Taking inflation into account, he barely costs more than Voyager Megatron did back in the Prime series. So in terms of bangs for your buck, he’s fabulous.

Bottom line: recommended to every fan of Prime Megatron. Not quite perfect, but pretty damn close.

Rating: A
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