Well no, not an exhaustive review. :-) I sure could use one.
Okay, cool. I got one for Christmas, and studied it just for you. (By the way, are you aware of how much GeoCities sucks? I'm almost never able to access any site on their server, including yours, without my browser freezing up. It's very frustrating.)
(Webmaster's Note: Fortunately GeoCities is long gone. :-))
Okay, I got to the site on the third try. I'm not the expert on G1 Magnus toys that you are, so there may be a few things that I've listed as G1-to-reissue changes that are actually G1-to-G1 changes. Some of the stuff I discovered is *really* cool, like the redesigned trailer arms, which can now pop off at the elbow! That's a major change, right up there with the missiles and the smoke stacks, 'sfar as I'm concerned. :)
Missile Launchers: The most obvious change to the toy was that the length of the missiles was increased from 1½" to 2¾", which is consistent with the minimum length for all firing missiles in Transformers since 1995 or so. The tips of the missiles have more knob-shaped tips now, while retaining the fins. Also, twin grooves were cut into the end of the missiles, resulting in a T-shaped design that can only be loaded in a single direction. (If you prefer the aesthetics of the fins on the missiles being positioned diagonally with respect to the countours of his arms and body, you're out of luck.) This also means that you can't use original G1 missiles inside the new launchers (and they're not interchangeable with reissue Prime, either). The missiles will now launch a consistent distance of about six feet. (As a frame of reference, my G1 Ultra Magnus will launch missiles a distance of zero feet. In fact, the toy doesn't come with missile launchers at all; it comes with missile *holders,* according to the instructions. Magnus and Metroplex were the only 1986 toys who were leftovers from previous toy lines and who were originally equipped with launching guns; unlike earlier toys, the springs were simply omitted entirely.) The holes in the back of each launcher are also slightly wider, corresponding with the slightly longer and wider pegs on the tops of Magnus' shoulders.
Cab Module: The mold for the small robot is identical in every respect to the reissue Optimus Prime, which shouldn't be too surprising. (I'm sure one of the reasons Takara reissued Ultra Magnus in Japan was to help amortize the cost of retooling the Optimus mold.) This includes the new rub symbol indentation, the redesigned connection points at the shoulders, the taller front bumper, the raised weapon mount in the fists (which was present in the Japanese reissue), and of course the short smoke stacks. (This can also be considered to be the first U.S. release of "G2" Ultra Magnus, with the slot in the back of the small robot originally designed for the sound and light pack.) Also, the reason for the wider axles used for the front wheels on Prime now becomes clear: Their purpose is to enable the Magnus cab module to fit more securely when combining with the trailer module, when the pegs slide into grooves in the trailer mount. (My G1 Magnus had slightly wider pegs than my G1 Prime, but both the reissues have the same peg length.) Also, this should be pretty obvious, but reissue Prime is fully compatible with the Magnus trailer, and the Magnus cab can pull the reissue Prime trailer.
Editor's Note: For the cab mold itself, though updated, they went back a step in the grid and borrowed from a type 4 rubber wheeled cab, versus taking the last-issue kb plastic version. Odd, since normally they reenginner a toy from the last mold (like the reissue Hot Rod being from the plastic-toe mold, even though he was made metal toe again.)
Helmet: My G1 Magnus helmet has a depression in the inside top of the helmet, corresponding to the spot where the mohawk extends past the top of the helmet. The reissue helmet has no such indentation; you could cut the mohawk off completely and still have solid helmet underneath. The faint D-shaped indentations on either antenna mount on my G1 toy are not present on the reissue, having been replaced with marks where the helmet was once attached to the parts tree. A new injector pin mark is in evidence on the back of the helmet, replacing the pair of circles on the back of the head that used to be identical to one another. Also, the "laugh lines" present on the original mold have been removed for the reissue, probably because they look like scratches at first glance. The end result is that reissue Magnus looks a little bit younger than his predecessor. Finally, the reissue has a pair of ridges on both sides of the forehead (on the inside), apparently designed to hug the chest plate more securely.
Editor's Note: I'm not even gonna start on the 7 different heads of Magnus. :-)
Fun Fact #1: You can give G1 Ultra Magnus articulation at the head by twisting the head until the peg holdig his chin in place snaps off. The head is still held on with a screw, so it will remain attached. (I don't think this will work with the reissue; it looks like the head is glued in place.)
Chest Shield: On my G1 toy, the holes for the front center wheel are D-shaped and extend nearly to the top of the vehicle; the reissue chest shield has the same D-shaped indentations, but the actual holes for the wheel pegs are tiny, and the same size as the holes for the two back wheels. I can't give an accurate assessment of the side clips since I reinforced the clips with super glue when I was younger, probably because the plastic was worn down. (Side note: The helmets seem interchangeable as far as their ability to connect to the chest plate.) I seem to recall reading that there are versions of the Magnus chest plate without the three cannons on either side of the driver's seat, but the reissue shield does have them.
Editor's Note: The chestshield for the reissue is nearly identical to the vintage type 3 version. One of the few moldings to stay intact, all things considered...
Pelvis Shield: Larger holes to accommodate the wider pegs on the body when used as a robot-mode shield. (My G1 shield will not fit on the reissue trailer in robot mode, and the reissue shield fits too loosely for use on the G1 trailer in robot mode.) The same probably applies to the trailer mode, but I can't tell with absolute certaintly since I'd also reinforced the pegs on my G1 unit with super glue.
Editor's Note: Like the large chest plate, the white trailer plate/waist plate is taken off of a later-release mold.
Large Fists: The wrist peg hole has change from a simple hole to a much larger hole with a ring of plastic inside it, presumably making the connection point slightly more flexible. Also, the former, rather obvious injector pin indentations on the tops of the fists (which I'd always assumed were meant to represent bolts holding his joints together) are now almost unnnoticeable. There's also a tiny hole in the bottom of each reissue fist not present on my original G1 fists.
Editor's Note: Reissue fists are type 8 on the chart; quite similar to a type 5, actually...but essentially, a completely new molding.
Gun: Surprisingly little difference between the two. The horizontal lines inside the trapezoidal boxes near the large weapon grip are missing on the reissue, but other than that I can't find any differences. (There does seem to be a difference in size regarding the weapon grip in the large fists, since my G1 gun fits very loosely in the G1 fists but tightly in the reissue fists. I remember the G1 gun being a better fit at one point, but I've got two guns laying around and must have swapped them at one point.)
Editor's Note: There are 4 magnus-gun-types; differences in fit are because of the mold-changes to the handle.
Trailer (Arms): As previously mentioned, the connector pegs on the tops of the shoulders, wrists, and pelvis were all changed. (The ones on the shoulders have a wide ring of plastic at the base now, in addition to the wider pegs.) The clips on the forearms which connect to the wing-tabs were reinforced as well (unnecessarily so, if you ask me; they just don't seem that fragile). Also, curiously, there are now three screws holding the forearms together instead of four; the top screw closest to the elbow joint is competely gone, and the mold has been changed to eliminate the large, round bump on the top of his forearm to accommodate the screw. Very interesting. (Checking Rik Ruff's site, I find that this change is in evidence on the Takara reissue as well.) Disassembling the forearms reveals that the internal mechanisms are the same, so I guess somebody just up and decided four screws was overkill. (And slugfest too, quite possibly.) Something I also noticed was that the white plastic pins inside the forearms and shoulders are slightly longer now. (See the peg and hole where the forearms connect to one another? Now, see the tiny hole next to them? That's for the little plastic pin. The pin rests inside that hole and is connected to a spool; a spring pushes the spool against the ridges along the arms, and that's what makes the clicky noise when you extend or retract the forearms.)
The gap in the back of each elbow has been filled in, so the spring assembly is no longer visible. The mechanism is the same, so I guess somebody just made the change for aesthetic reasons. One very interesting discovery I made was that the arms are now detachable at the elbows! Go ahead, try it. Pop 'em right off. Now you, too, can (sort of) re-enact the scene on the Planet of Junk in which Magnus is torn limb from limb! (Or blown apart. Whatever.) Suffice to say, the G1 toy didn't do this. Me, I think it's kinda cool.
Fun fact #2: You can connect any two Ultra Magnus toys together in robot mode, side-by-side. Just plug their arms together.
Trailer (Legs and Body): The red tabs which hold the legs in place for robot mode have been reinforced slightly at the base. The blue tabs which hold the arms in place have also been reinforced with a plastic bar on the outsides. (I seem to remember the tabs being longer, too, but that may be an optical illusion caused by the new reinforcing bars. I can't say for sure, since all four tabs snapped off my G1 toy long ago.) The white ramps on the back of the trailer have reinforced connector tabs, which are now rounder in the same way that RiD Ruination's chest shield was rounded off in places. The blue pegs on the underside of the feet (which serve as stoppers during the transformation to truck mode) were widened slightly. The white base which more or less holds the lower leg stucture together has two new slots where the legs are attached, probably to allow for a little extra give. The copyright stamp on the base remains largely unchanged, surprisingly (still marked 1984, which I assume corresponds to the date the toy was released for the Diaclone line; the only difference is that the reissue was made in China, rather than Japan). The inside of the robot toes has changed slightly... the left foot (the one without the white wheel in the toes) has a wheel mount, which is weird since there's no room for a wheel there.
Here's something I never noticed...those weird half-circles on the back of the trailer, which might possibly represent tail lights...my G1 toy has one large one and one small one. I'm guessing they're not all like that, and I just got got parts from two different production runs. The reissue has two identical tail lights, both small.
Colors: The red plastic is slightly darker, but still (appropriately) more purpley than the Optimus Prime reissue. The blue plastic is more pure now, not quite as green. (I considered the possibility that my G1 Magnus suffers from sun damage, but his white parts are pure white, and he's uniformly greenish even on the inside parts that have never seen sunlight.)
You are correct; there are two runs, color-wise, of G1 magnus; one being more turquoise, and the other more blue :-) Think of it as the difference between plastic and rubber-wheel versions, if it helps.
Stickers: I'm not sure, since most of the stickers on my original Magnus are in pretty sorry shape. It's interesting to note that the stickers are made of metal foil now, rather than the original paper stickers. One change I did notice was that the factory-applied stickers on the backs of the legs (which I assume are turn signals) are much wider on the reissue than my original toy. The red "lights" are twice as wide.
The instructions for the reissue use the same illustrations and most of the same text as the original G1 toy (which means the toy is drawn with long smokestacks and short missiles). One change they made which I think was nice is that they horizontally flipped the inset showing how to bend Magnus' arm at the elbow, which was originally backwards with respect to the illustration as presented (i.e., we're looking at his left arm and they're showing you how to bend the right elbow, which might incite kids to try to bend his left arm backwards to match the picture). Two text blurbs that didn't survive the transition were a note at the beginning that says, "An extra cab connector has been added in case one gets lost" (how thoughtful!) and another at the end that says, "Remember, when transforming back to car carrier, flip wing-tabs on wheel base so that rear connectors lock down." (The reason the tabs flip in the first place is to allow the top ramp to fold down so that you can pretend cars are driving up the ramp.)
I hope this is of some use to you. :)
Always; you have a keen eye for the details.