20th CENTURY TOY MUSEUM SHOW EXCLUSIVE C-69 YELLOW "SHINING ULTRA MAGNUS"
Here we have the late-2000 release "Shining" yellow Ultra Magnus reissue repaint of the Takara C-69 Ultra Magnus reissue, also from 2000. It's very hard to believe that this piece is already 6 years old, but that is how long ago this exclusive recolour was made available at the 20th Century Toy Museum event held in the Japanese department store "Mitsukoshi". The figure was limited to 800 pieces worldwide apparently. This was of course one of the very first recolours of the reissue line which began in 2000. The Shining Magnus package contains a yellow Prime/Magnus cab and clear yellow Magnus trailer with clear yellow accessories. It has become rather scarce these days and can be surprisingly expensive to obtain. Looking at the box front image above, the packaging is identical to the standard C-69 reissue with only the toy and box back showing any variation. Here is the box back:
The differences between this box back and the standard Takara Magnus reissue box back are the exclusive stickers with the Autobot logo on them, one of which is in the bottom right hand corner of the box, the other in the centre covering up much of the 1986 artwork. Here is a close-up of the central sticker:
The above outlines the story of Shining Magnus which will be covered a little later on. Here is a close-up of the corner sticker:
The above sticker makes reference to this Shining Magnus toy being the 20th Century Toy Museum - Commemorative Limited Edition show exclusive.
The various box angles above have not been included just for the sake of it, there is something interesting to note on these pictures. The Magnus pictured in vehicle mode is the plastic-wheeled version but the robot mode Magnus is the earlier rubber-wheeled version. The first thumbnail should show the difference clearly. Now the original C-69 Ultra Magnus released in Japan back in 1986 did not have this feature, all box angles and stock pictures showed a rubber-wheeled Magnus.
Here are the contents of the package, and a first look at the Shining Magnus toy itself with and without the clear plastic lid:
I think this is probably the stage at which most people will form their lasting opinion of the toy. What I have tended to notice is that collectors either fall in love with it or are quite repelled by it. When I took the insert out of the packaging, I must say I totally fell in love with this toy straight away. I think it's absolutely stunning and a beautiful repaint. I've always been a sucker for clear repaints ever since I owned a crystal Hot Rodimus reissue. It is possible of course that some of you require a little more convincing, and the robot mode may well seal the deal as far as your decision goes, but for me, the decision was made at this stage. I obviously liked it enough to have bought it anyway, but truly seeing this item in the flesh eclipses any online images that I had come across.
Here is a close-up of the gold sticker on the plastic insert lid:
A closer look at the contents of the Shining Magnus release reveal the same collector's card, stickersheet and instruction sheet as the standard C-69 reissue as well as a small paper slip and of course the exclusive clear yellow accessories made only for this particular toy. The stickersheet I received with this set had a couple of stickers missing, the set was already opened of course which is why I managed to get the reissue at a 'discounted' price which was still rather high for a reissue. Here is a scan of an unused C-69 reissue Magnus stickersheet:
The instructions for this reissue document the extra modes that the trailer is capable of supporting, and they do of course originate from the Diaclone Powered Convoy toy which was the pre-TF Ultra Magnus toy from which all TF and reissue versions are derived and descended. Those modes will be covered slightly later in this article. Here are pictures of the collector's card and paper slip:
It may have easily been an unrealistic extra effort for a show exclusive limited to 800 in production run, but had the card art been recoloured for Shining Magnus it would have been such a welcomed nice touch and greatly appreciated. Clear and Black Hot Rodimus got that treatment a little later, but the standard Magnus card is still a lovely addition and would be noticeable by its absence. You may notice that the art for Magnus has him with a white chest piece that the standard toy never had, the standard Magnus came with a light blue chest piece. Although it should be noted that the prototypes for G1 Ultra Magnus did indeed have a white painted chest piece and those prototypes were photographed for the original US Ultra Magnus box, and that prototypic white chest piece remains in existence today.
Moving on, the paper slip says to be careful with the small baggie packaging and to make sure it is discarded when the toy is opened, and to be careful with the use of the toy. That's the general gist of it anyway.
Before getting onto the figure itself, here is a picture of the accessories that come with the Shining yellow Magnus:
Only the small fists for the smaller Magnus cab figure have not been moulded in clear yellow plastic. As good as they look in clear yellow to me, the accessories seem almost edible as their appearance resembles jelly sweets very closely!
Finally, here is the freed Shining Magnus figure in vehicle mode without any accessories attached at this stage:
What a stunner, truly the mother of all eye-catchers. You cannot help but take notice of a toy so striking. I think the contrast between the solid cab section and crystal clear yellow trailer section is a huge success. I couldn't get enough of it when I was photographing it, I really had to trim down the number of pictures I included for the article as Shining Magnus looked so good from all angles and elevations. What you might notice is that my particular Shining Magnus does not have the factory ramp stickers on the back of the trailer, and I actually think that improves the look greatly. I have never really thought that stickers looked too good on clear or chrome toys, but the few factory stickers that Shining Magnus does come with are sufficient and appropriate, even the large Autobot symbol on the trailer. The ramp stickers in my opinion are way too much. The overall yellow/crystal/chrome/black appearance of Shining Magnus in this mode is far from jarring for me personally and it never fails to take my breath away. I am of course fully aware that not all collectors agree...
The yellow 'Prime' cab is definitely one of the major highlights of the release, and for some the only highlight! From the above pictures I actually think that the clear yellow plastic shows up the moulding detail in sections of the trailer much better than the solid colours of standard Magnus do. I don't think that Shining Magnus looks at all plain without any of the accessories attached in this mode, in fact I think he is highly displayable in vehicle mode even when it's just the cab and trailer. The pictures above should also demonstrate the successful contrast between the yellow and chrome sections of the toy. Here now are some pictures of just the cab in vehicle mode:
Being a Japanese reissue, there are no signs of shortened smokestacks here. In this mode it does literally look like an Optimus Prime cab in yellow and it makes me feel the same way I did when I first saw the Diaclone yellow Sideswipe, a mould so globally familiar in red...but now in yellow. And just like with the Sideswipe mould, it works superbly. This being a descendant of the Diaclone Powered and Battle Convoys, the cab section opens up to reveal a compartment for either Diaclone pilots, smaller fists or possibly something else...
Having analysed the simple vehicle mode of the Shining Magnus, it's time to move on. One of the features of this mould has always been the number of accessories it comes with and how they attach to the toy itself. There are a number of variations in just about every mode, and the Diaclone Powered Convoy advertised many more modes than the Transformers versions ever did. Here is the Shining Magnus with the launchers, missiles, chest attachment and even robot head added to it, giving a very Diaclone feel to the piece...
Things start to get a little serious when you start adding the parts to Magnus and in the above pictures the carrier really starts to take on the look of an armoured transport vehicle. There's definitely a hint of menace in Shining Magnus's appearance and thankfully it does not look like an indistinguishable mass of yellow parts, I think the individual accessories stand out nicely. The missiles have a lovely spring to them and everything clips on very snugly and in a satisfying manner. This mode just looks so awesome that one set of pictures was never going to be enough...
At this point you'll either be falling deeper in love with Shining Magnus or it has confirmed your belief that this is a hideous repaint and a terrible idea. I would advise absolutely everyone to reserve judgement until they have seen this toy out of package in the flesh, because that's when I appreciated it fully. I absolutely love the yellow missiles and the trailer detailing that seems to be so much more visible because of the clear plastic.
Ultra Magnus is a vehicle transporter by nature, and something has definitely been missing from the pictures so far, so without any further ado...
You can see that when the full armoured mode with the chest and head attached is being used, there is only room for one G1/Diaclone-sized car on the bottom deck, but remove those accessories and Magnus can carry two on each deck. I have chosen those particular cars for the pictures as they are unusual colours for the moulds we are used to from the Transformers, and that is definitely something that can be said for Shining Magnus as well. The first picture with Tigertrack and the Black Tracks works nicely due to the heavy black/yellow content of both Magnus and the cars.
The Diaclone Powered Convoy DX set came with the chrome Powered Convoy (Diaclone pre-Ultra Magnus), a black Countach LP500S (pre-Sideswipe) and a red Ligier (pre-Mirage) and the next picture plays a little on the theme for those moulds.
And speaking of Diaclone heritage, the original Powered Convoy was shown on its packaging not only to be a carrier of cars, but also of aircraft. Seeing as how the Diaclone F15 (pre-Starscream) was not from an opposing faction to the Powered Convoy, those moulds could be pictured together. But for the Transformers release of Ultra Magnus, the paperwork usually showed him carrying the Autobot Silverbolt as opposed to any F15s which were of course all Decepticons. I personally love the way the F15 looks on Magnus, so I've used the E-Hobby Sunstorm for the following picture and another favourite of mine for the picture after that, continuing the theme of unsually-coloured-yet-familiar moulds together:
That covers the vehicle modes, although I could easily have taken another twenty pictures from various angles. As mentioned before, the cab is one of the most attractive features of the set for a large number of collectors, so here is the small Magnus robot mode:
Once again, a very striking and familiar sight made even more noticeable by the shift from red to yellow. You might also begin to see why I keep referring to the cab in terms of 'Prime' and speaking of a shift from red instead of calling it a 'Magnus' cab and relating it to the standard white cab of that toy. Looking at the cab, it is just literally Optimus Prime but in yellow. Magnus had the same colour head as he did body and legs, but this Shining Magnus cab has exactly the same coloured head as a Prime, same coloured lower legs and same coloured fists. Maybe if the whole cab was yellow the same way that standard Magnus is all white, it would not be as attractive to so many collectors as it currently is. Personally I am very pleased with how this has turned out, and the handgun brings a large amount of Magnus character back to the cab figure...
To be fair though, it does still look like a yellow Optimus Prime holding a yellow Magnus handgun as opposed to actually looking like the smaller Magnus figure. Despite that, I think it works in the figure's favour because it adds more variety and contrast to the package. The cab would probably have been less impressive had it just been all-yellow. I also don't think he particularly suffers from a lack of applied stickers in this mode, there's plenty to stimulate visually as it is without needing to apply the stickers, as there was in vehicle mode.
Before we move onto the larger combined Ultra Magnus robot mode, the instructions and box for this reissue depict the toy in what might seem like unfamiliar modes, but these modes were always advertised in the Japanese TF paperwork and indeed the earlier Diaclone literature. The first of these modes is the preparation/repair bay mode where the trailer is transformed and is working on the smaller figure:
Now as far as alternate modes go, I think this one is pretty convincing and actually wholly displayable. I also love the way that you can see the silhouette of the big Autobot sticker through the clear plastic from some angles. The original Diaclone paperwork and packaging had a number of Powered Convoys lined up with what appeared to be a factory-like background with one of them sporting the above type of mode, and that looked really good as you can see here from the Diaclone Powered Convoy DX box back (top left):
More specifically, if you look at the orange section where the three modes are labelled "1,2,3", mode '1' is the above preparation/repair bay mode and mode '2' is the Diaclone-only advertised mode with an F15 on the top trailer deck which is where I got the inspiration from for the Shining Magnus/Sunstorm picture a little earlier. I'll come back to mode '3' shortly, but here is another mode advertised on the original JTF Magnus box and also on the reissue box back:
This base mode I feel is the least convincing of those advertised for this figure. It's possible that those who are more accustomed to seeing Ultra Magnus in his main two modes would view this as just the cab next to a lying-down transformed trailer and not a proper mode. It is an official mode however and has been since the days of Diaclone.
Going back to the mode labelled as '3' on the back of the PCDX box, here are those same pictures but from the PCDX paperwork:
That third mode is not pictured anywhere in the reissue paperwork and appears to be a Diaclone exclusive as far as it being officially depicted is concerned. You can see the chest piece attached to the big robot head with the Diaclone pilot sitting in the chest piece. The Diaclone chest piece had small wheels also, so it was a completely separate stand-alone vehicle, and that is not how it comes across in the Transformers literature. Maybe that's why mode '3' was not advertised. Anyway, here is Shining Magnus in that mode:
It would look better if the Diaclone driver was present, and some of the detail is lost in the picture as everything is the same colour, but I still find it a much more convincing mode than the other base configuration shown in the paperwork. I also realise now that I should have flipped the ramps up.
That all leaves one mode remaining, and that is the mode that I display Shining Magnus in most of all, the combined larger robot mode. Behold:
However good a photograph makes this toy look (or not depending on your persuasion), I urge you to take the time to look at one in the flesh if you ever get the chance. It was a joy to behold and the effect of the clear plastic combined with the solid cab is great. I absolutely love how the details and silhouette of the cab can be seen behind the main torso of the larger robot.
Transforming the figure was a true pleasure as well. The plastic quality, the way the joints ratchet, click and slide together, absolute perfection. The feel of the figure is as impressive as its appearance.
A vast improvement on the standard Ultra Magnus in my opinion. It wasn't until I saw this recolour and the original Powered Convoy in the flesh that I realised what a superb mould this really is and how little justice it is done by the standard white/red/blue Ultra Magnus TF. The poseability is of course understandably limited when you consider the era the mould is from, only the arms, elbows and shoulders show any meaningful articulation, but in Shining Magnus's case I think the size of him and his spectacular appearance more than make up for that. Here are some close-ups of the robot head and the chest area:
One thing I have not yet addressed is why he is yellow, what story Takara have given this repaint and how he fits into the Transformers universe. The above picture shows the chest cavity of the cab being quite visible in the combined robot mode, and that is heavily linked to the origin of this recolour...
The story is that as Optimus Prime was dying, the Autobot Matrix of Leadership was passed to Ultra Magnus who became the new leader of the Autobots and Cybertron briefly. The crystal yellow paint job that Shining Magnus has represents the effect of the glow from the Matrix. To quote Curt who translated the central box back sticker on the packaging shown at the start of the article:
In line with this, the pictures above show the smaller Shining Magnus figure with the matrix from the Masterpiece Convoy (that fits very well I might add) and the pictures below show the combined robot housing the Matrix in the cab's chest cavity, making the matrix visible in combined mode...even if it was Hot Rod whose handling of the matrix caused Magnus to have this shining colour scheme.
As you can see, with the matrix positioned in the cavity, the cab doesn't close up perfectly and as a result the large robot head is tilted slightly backwards. I didn't mess with it too much though and I'm sure it's possible to get everything to fit snugly. The matrix doesn't look at all out of place and it's a very real display possibility for the Shining Magnus combined mode.
As a toy, Ultra Magnus has always been packed with accessories, and if you pay attention to the Diaclone Powered Convoy, the mould also has a lot of capabilities and features not advertised when the toy became a US/UK Transformer. This particular repaint really shows off the beauty of the mould and is as spectacular and far-removed from the standard model as an exclusive translucent special version toy should be. It's a jaw-dropper in every mode and has immediately become one of my favourites of the reissue line. The drawback is that it can be a very hard figure to acquire due to its relatively small production run and high price tag. It's not to everybody's liking, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I have found that those who do show an interest in it end up falling in love with it. So while Shining Magnus may repulse a few, it brings immense satisfaction and joy to many others, myself very much included. I thoroughly recommend this piece to any Prime or Magnus enthusiast.
I'll finish off with a couple of pictures that give this Shining Magnus toy a certain look that matches closely what the toy is really like, absolutely immense:
Many kind thanks to Curt Fignar for help with translations, Himawari for the PCDX images and to Ben Munn for the PCDX paperwork scans.
All the best