There has never been a toy that has messed with my psyche more than the original Generation One Transformers Decepticon Leader Megatron. The toy is a mixture of plastic and metal that transforms from a robot into a very realistic looking handgun. It is a specific handgun, a Walther P-38 as it says on the side of the gun.
I don’t want to write about the controversies surrounding the toy. Instead I want to talk about what this particular sculpture means to me.
It starts with the Transformers cartoon. When I was a kid I was obsessed with the Robots in Disguise that were More Than Meets The Eye. I had comic books. I had story books. I had Find Your Fate Books. I had Toys. I had rubber stamps. I had note books and binders with pictures of them on it. I had playing cards and trading cards and everything else. When I say I was into Transformers I mean I was really into Transformers. I still am to this day in fact.
I remember it was the cartoon versions that I was most drawn to. I watched that series faithfully. I used to flip through the channels late at night praying I would come across episodes of that cartoon. I would rent VHS tapes of episodes from the video store just to get my fix. I loved that series. One aspect that stood out to me was Megatron, the Leader of the Decepticons. He was the chief bad guy. The central figure that drove the plot of each and every single episode. He was the mastermind of the evil forces of the show. He was also a staple of my life.
We moved around a lot as kids. I was quite often finding myself in a new house, in a new school with new friends on a regular basis. There was little in my life that remained constant except Megatron was always on TV leading the Decepticon forces in some scheme or another. Truth be told I always rooted for the bad guys. I do in wrestling and horror movies too. I don’t know why.
Megatron is a cold, calculating military leader obsessed with obtaining ultimate power. He is not only obsessed with military and political power but also electricity. He goes out of his way to horde all energy sources for his army while denying all others access to those same sources. He is also pretty ruthless in the series.
That being said the fact he was such a regular staple of my life is why he remains a large influence in me to this day. It was 1994 when I got my first Megatron toy. It wasn’t the classic gun this article is about, rather it was Hero Megatron from the Generation Two toyline. That version turned into a tank. Now this was before I had easy access to the internet, long before I discovered alt.toys.transformers.classic.moderated where I could discuss all things Transformers related. I had no clue as to why they changed him from a kick ass gun to a lame ass tank. Looking at it as an adult a military leader that turns into a tank makes more sense than turning into a hand gun that has to be wielded by your least loyal follower. Talk about a serious flaw in cartoon logic!
Once I was an adult I went on to ebay and bought myself an original G1 Megatron. I was a little surprised by it. I don’t know if it was a combination of fuzzy childhood memories mixing sources together but I always pictured the toy looking much different than it really did. For some reason I thought it was a white and black plastic rifle not a silver and black metallic realistic looking toy gun modeled after an actual gun! I was equally disappointed and intrigued by this new development.
Putting the emotional conundrum of destroying my misremembered childhood memories, I quickly became enamored by this toy. I learned everything I could about the history of the toy. I researched variants and reissues available in countries outside of the U.S. I even started collecting other versions of the character simply because he continues to fascinate me to this day. Still, I keep coming back to the original.
There came a time in my life when I needed money more than I needed toys. I ended up selling my entire Transformers collection to a single reseller for a fair price. It took me an entire decade before I would start buying toys again. It didn’t take long before I dropped the absurd amount of money necessary to bring this toy home. I won’t say how much I spent on it as that is not important. I can say I could have easily bought an entire months worth of groceries for that amount of money and then some.
Today I sit here admiring the toy I never owned as a child. Even though mine is in well played with condition I still cherish it like a treasure. I don’t have a whole lot in my life at the moment. However one thing I do have is an original, authentic, functional Generation One Transformers More Than Meets The Eye Decepticon Leader Megatron Walther P-38 U.N.C.L.E. Special. The holy grail of toys as far as I am concerned. At the very least a valuable treasure to me.