Transformers Classics Series: Battle for Autobot City; Ultra Magnus vs. Skywarp (Target Exclusive) - Review

(What a convoluted title)
Purchased at: Target
Price: $17.99 (Reg. $19.99)

I saw this at Target the other day, and luckily it was on sale for $17.99. Since this 2-pack consists of 2 repaints with almost no physical differences between the original figures, this review will focus mainly on the changes. Ultra Magnus is a repaint of the Classics Optimus Prime figure, and Skywarp is a repaint of Classics Starscream.

Ultra Magnus
Vehicle Mode
This is a nice repaint. Instead of the figure being almost entirely white like the original G1 figure, this new incarnation features some blue along with some silver highlights to help the figure not appear so bland. In vehicle mode, some blue with sliver striping is seen on the sides of the vehicle's cab, and the rear of the vehicle is entirely blue. Where the rims of Optimus Prime's wheels were painted silver, Ultra Magnus' wheels are gold. This color works well because it keeps Ultra-Magnus from just being tri-toned. The thing I like on Magnus' vehicle mode is that the front bumper and grill assembly are painted silver. These parts are just molded in gray plastic on Prime, and the painted parts look much better.

Robot Mode Again, no physical differences. In 'bot mode, Ultra Magnus' legs are entirely blue below the knees and the forearms show some of the blue and silver striping from vehicle mode. This keeps the robot mode from looking too bland. Unlike Optimus Prime, however, Ultra Magnus has a painted Autobot symbol on each shoulder, and is the only mold change from the Prime figure that I can see. I like this addition. My one gripe is that Magnus' face plate is actually painted silver, most photos from Hasbro and even the photos on the back of the box have his mouth plate as blue, which is traditional for Ultra Magnus. I guess this was changed in production, I wish it had remained. In order to differentiate Magnus’ face from Prime's, the mouth plate is painted slightly different. On Prime, the entire plate is painted silver. On both figures there are two small indentations roughly where his lower jaws would be. On Magnus, these are unpainted and remain white. It seems that the light-piping feature of Magnus' eyes work a little better than the one found on Prime, and I believe this is because Magnus’ head is molded in white rather than blue plastic. The white plastic reflects light rather than absorbs it, and the effect makes Magnus eyes seem like they really are lit by an internal source. Unlike Prime's main weapon, Ultra Magnus' is molded completely in black plastic. This coupled with his almost completely white paint scheme sort of reminds me of a Stormtrooper, and gives Ultra Magnus that "Warrior" image.

Classics Skywarp - Ultra Magnus 1

Vehicle Mode
As far as I can tell, Skywarp features no mold changes from Starscream. Skywarp's current form features a little more purple and silver than his G1 figure. The black plastic is glossy and shiny, and makes his vehicle mode really stand out. The canopy is molded in an almost orange color (as opposed to Starscream's more yellow canopy). This was probably necessary so that the color would stand out, I don't think the yellow used on Starscream would hold up against the black. My only real gripe here is the actual color purple used. It's more of a pinkish-purple than the purple used on the G1 figure. I think that this figure with the original purple would have looked awesome. Some of the parts are molded in purple plastic, and some of the parts are molded in black with the purple painted over. Here the paint layer isn't quite thick enough. The black plastic sort of shows through and makes the purple two different tones when seen up close. Other than that, though, the vehicle looks great, especially when parked next to Starscream.

Robot Mode
This mode features maybe a tiny bit more purple than the original G1 figure, but stays very true to that toy. The chest is mostly silver, with a nice paint job. I think robot mode looks great on this toy. The head is molded in black, so the face is painted silver. This gives Skywarp's head a better appearance that Starscream's, which is molded in metallic gray plastic with the "helmet" painted black. On Starscream's head, the inner part of the helmet near his cheeks are left unpainted (which is probably because of the manufacturing process), and Skywarp's face stands out a little better. My only gripe, and this is also carried forward from my Starscream review, is the lack of Decepticon symbols on Skywarp's wings. If there ever was a figure that just SCREAMS for a big purple Decepticon symbol, this is it. It may seem minor to some, but I feel this holds the figure back from being truly outstanding.

Classics Skywarp - Ultra Magnus 2

Final Verdict
Minor complaints about the figures aside, I recommend this two-pack. There's just too much going for it. First, both figures are well done and deserve to be in your collection as an homage to or reinterpretations of these classic G1 characters. Second, the price makes this pack a real bargain, even if you aren't lucky enough to find it on sale like I did. The original Classics Prime is $19.99 by itself and Starscream is $9.99, so you're getting almost $30 in Transformers for the price of one. If you already have the first two figures, you still need these. If you haven't yet gotten them, or are unable to find them (maybe not a problem for Prime, but definitely for Starscream), then this 2-pack is a nice substitute.

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