In 1984, the original Megatron toy was released as part of the initial lineup of Transformers toys. Megs turns into a Walther P-38 pistol, complete with removeable scope, silencer, and ankle stock that were used in the 1960s spy show, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. The toy was actually initially designed as part of Japanese toy company Takara’s Microchange toy line, released as “MC-13 Gun Robo Walther P-38 U.N.C.L.E.” before being licensed by Hasbro for its inclusion in Transformers.
Hasbro didn’t make a habit out of re-releasing new versions of pre-existing characters during the Transformers’ initial 1984-1991 release schedule, with only Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Starscream, Jazz, and Grimlock ever getting multiple figures. So, if you didn’t pick up Megatron in 1984 or 1985, you were pretty much out of luck.
In 1993, Hasbro resurrected the entire brand as Transformers: Generation 2. This included a lot of reissues of the classic toys, but with some alternate color choices — Optimus Prime’s traditionally silver trailer was now black, Starscream had some purple and camouflage deco, the dinobots came in a variety of non-silver colors, etc.
But between 1985 and 1993, unfortunately, there had been several incidents of children and teenagers wielding realistic-looking toy and water guns being shot by police who had confused the toys for actual firearms. As a result, toy safety standards prevented Megatron’s VERY realistic-looking original toy from being re-released as part of the Generation 2 assortment.
So, to get around this, Hasbro designed a brand new Megatron toy.
Generation 2 Megatron transformed into an M-1 Abrams tank, and sported a garish bright and purple camo color scheme, complete with neon orange/salmon decals. He also included a lot of electronic features, including a working missile launching shoulder cannon complete with “click-clack” and “boom!” sound effects, grinding treads sounds when you push in the wheels on his undercarriage, and the line “Megatron Attack!” when you press down his head.
I totally had this Megatron toy.
A slight color variation of this Megatron also appeared in the Marvel Comics series Transformers Generation 2, originally debuting in Marvel’s G.I. Joe #140.
Anyways, because of the emotional connection I made during childhood to this monstrosity of a design, I had to make my own version using the non-transforming R.E.D. Series Megatron toy. The purple I chose is maybe a little too dark, but I did hand-mix the neon orange/salmon color, as well as the lighter grey/silver paint, truly making this a one-of-a-kind custom.
Of course, right after I started painting this figure, Hasbro released a recolor of their transforming Earthrise Megatron, as a HasbroPulse.com-exclusive, in basically this same color scheme. Though, theirs omits the purple face and hunter-green waist piece. They also use a lot less of the salmon color.
I actually like that my version’s paint job matches the original toy more closely, but I’m glad that this abomination of design choices hasn’t been forgotten to time.