As much as it could be a Smurf Transformer, it’s actually a repaint of Masterpiece Ultra Magnus in his original Diaclone colors. Yes, no more teal and white, but the faithful Diaclone colorway that mirrors a similar scheme to pre-Optimus Prime, aka Battle Convoy. And since, as a Diaclone, he was essentially an upgraded armored version of Pre-Optimus, hence called Powered Convoy, they had to make up a Transformers name for him – Delta Magnus. Not overly horrendous. Delta is for D, and D is for Diaclone? I know that Delta Magnus been written into the lore of the comics, but I mostly just care about the pre-TF Diaclone homage here, as always.
The Diaclone Powered Convoy color scheme has a much more badass effect over Ultra Magnus’ super poppy 80’s colors, that are often called patriotic. But the plastic and coloring for Ultra Magnus can only be considered in my eyes to be nothing but retro 80’s nostalgia-inducing, and otherwise putrid. The cartoon version was much more traditional red, white, and blue, and not the bright aqua blue and red that the toy came in. This is one case where I have to thank the animators for taking liberty with their choice of coloring.
It’s only since Magnus’ character throughout all generations of comics and cartoons has stood the test of time that makes him one of my favorites, but as far as the G1 figure goes, it wasn’t near the top of my list. I always thought that the Hasbro color scheme made him just look like a doofus, and a cheap hunk of plastic, although I did very much like the albino / hemophiliac variant of Prime. But the play value of Ultra Magnus was on par with if not more than Prime’s, which speaks to their Diaclone roots. As a “powered” up version of Battle Convoy, Diaclone pre-Magnus is kind of like pre-Prime playing dress-up, which Takara makes super clear in the following gimmick of this figure that makes the original relationship between pre-Prime and pre-Magnus Ultra clear.
Till All are One, literally. A bit like a Matryoshka doll or a Beef Wellington, if you cut him open, there’s some juicy Prime beef inside (Ok, enough with the Prime puns, sorry)! It was also fun for me to ditch Ultra Magnus’ football helmet and display him with his little white Optimus head. This figure is a well-deserved modern update that upholds the legacy of the Diaclone Convoys, Battle and Powered.
The moral of the story is, for me at least, colors make a big difference. Enough that when you see things in different colors, it changes your perception of that thing. Although I much prefer this colorway than the random “futuristic” 80’s look, it also makes me appreciate the G1 Transformers color scheme much more, out of nostalgia and the fact that they took some bold directions with design back in the 80’s. Diaclone is much more classic and conservative, whereas Transformers is edgier and flashy. Both work equally well, and like with this “Prime” specimen, they can mutually co-exist in the same universe.