Before I get started, lemme say that I usually don't post reviews here, but I post a lot of these sorts of things on the Macross World forums, so if you like this review be sure to stop by, say hi, and maybe read some of my other stuff. Although one of these days I should really get a website (I think my writing is pretty good, but my photos are terrible cell phone pics edited with MS Paint and not really worth a dedicated site). Anyway, this is my review of THF-04 The Hyper Magnum, an improved KO of MP-22 Ultra Magnus by Toy House Factory. If I'm going to be totally upfront, I never bought MP-22. I'd seen some reviews, sure, but my takeaway was that the butt flap was a lazy design and his articulation was too poor to justify his price tag. I grabbed KFC's Citizen Stack on a Black Friday sale instead but I was never totally satisfied. When I saw that THF was doing an improved KO of MP-22 for $75-$80, though, that seemed like a more palatable upgrade considering that I still spent less of The Hyper Magnum and Citizen Stack combined than I would have on MP-22. Right off the bat, The Hyper Magnum addresses a lot of the complaints that I had with Stack. The aesthetics are less stylized and more faithful to the cartoon. He doesn't have Stack's awful head and terrible face sculpt. He's about a head shorter than Stack, so while he's still taller than MP-10 he doesn't feel like he's towering over him. His waist is proportionally not as narrow, and a lot of the chunk on his lower legs is on the outside of the leg instead of all around it so he's not stuck in a perpetual A-stance. He's got better joint tolerances, and materials feel better. Overall, he feels heavier and more solid. The Hyper Magnum comes with more accessories than the official MP-22, which was already a lot more than Citizen Stack's shoulder missile launchers and single rifle. For starters, we have his standard rifle. It's bigger than the one that comes with MP-22. It looks like they took the official gun with the X2Toys upgrade parts then made of a mold of it to cast Hyper Magnum's gun as a single, solid piece (excluding the hinged handle and part of the butt, which move for vehicle mode storage). There's a second, larger gun with lots of molded and painted details; I'm uncertain whether it too is a knock off of something or what the inspiration might be there. We've got "Stan" and "Dandy," THF's names for Spike and Daniel. Compared with the old Spike that came with my Hasbro MP-10, yeah, that looks about right. We've got the notched Matrix-holding hands. And we've got three replacement faces- a yelling face to contrast with the pre-installed stoic face, and an alternate yelling and stoic faces with protruding rectangular eyes. If I'm not mistaken the second pair didn't come with MP-22 and are based on extra faces that came with MP-31 Delta Magnus. The Hyper Magnum's articulation is still subpar for an MP figure and a bit worse than Citizen Stack's. However, THF seems to have used X2Toys' modified shoulders, and while I would have definitely preferred more articulation I ultimately think he's ok for a big, chunky character like Ultra Magnus. His head is a hinged swivel, so he can look up a fair bit and down until his chin touches his chest. His shoulders can rotate. The arms themselves are connecting to a red transforming joint (white on the original MP-22). If that joint is plugged in flush he doesn't really have much in the way of lateral movement. If you pull it out, though, a ratchet at the end lets him move his shoulder about 45 degrees laterally, plus the transformation hinges gives him some forward/backward butterfly motion- I just wish those hinges were a little tighter. He's got bicep swivels just above his elbows, and those elbows are ratcheted and bend a little under 90 degrees. His wrists are on ball joints, so in addition to rotation he's got some in/out and up/down motion. His thumbs are fixed and his fingers are molded into a curl, with the index finger being a separate piece from the other three fingers, and they're pinned at the base knuckle. While I'm generally cool with hands like that on smaller figures I wish that THF would have at least put a second pinned hinge in the index finger, if not given him fully articulated hands. No waist articulation. His hip skirts do move out to the sides a little, and his hips can move about 60 degrees forward and backward and at least 45 degrees to the side. From what I've seen, the hips are another area of improvement as the forward/backward ratchets seem stronger than what I've seen of the official, and the lateral motion is ratcheted instead of friction. The white part of his thighs rotate around the black hip joints inside, so thigh rotation is limited. However, he can turn his thighs from slightly inward to about 45 degrees outward, and that range seems pretty natural to me, so I'm not really complaining. His knees are also ratcheted, and they bend a little over 45 degrees. His big, diecast feet don't tilt up or down, but they do slide out to give him a little under 45 degrees of ankle pivot. Both guns use the standard MP method of using tabs on the handles that mate with slots on the palms. He holds both guns securely, but they're a little heavy for the ball joints in his wrist. Individual results may vary, but my copy seems to hold his standard rifle ok once he's posed, but jostling him could cause it to droop. The bigger gun is more prone to droopage. If you're not planning on using the Matrix-holding hands, which can be installed by popping the regular hands off the ball joints and popping the Matrix hands on, you could probably put a little floor polish on the balls and tighten them up. As far as other accessories go, the red missiles can be removed from their launchers, but unlike Citizen Stack or Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus The Hyper Magnum's (and MP-22's) are attached. Swapping the faces can be done by pulling the front half of his head off, pulling the face out, putting a different one in, and then replacing the head. THF carried over the white Optimus head G1-toy homage. Takara gets the kudos; it's a cool touch. When not on his head, you can open a flap on his back and store two of the three extra faces inside. As with the official, you can open up The Hyper Magnum's chest to reveal a painted compartment for the MP-10's Matrix. Unlike the official, he actually comes with a Matrix. It's just plastic and feels a little cheap, but hey, at least it's something (although I'm replacing mine with the silver diecast one I got for preordering Fans Hobby's Power Baser). The improvements don't stop with some joints and a few extra accessories. THF fixed one of the biggest complaints people (including myself) had with MP-22... the butt flap. They added a hinge in the middle, so you can either fold it in half and tuck the whole thing up under his backpack, or you can do what I like to do and fold it so that part of the flap sits on the bottom of the backpack but part of the flap folds over onto his back, which hides a little gap. Personally, I think this is something Takara really should have done in the first place. As someone who had the old G1 toy growing up my initial reaction to the alt mode is that there's not enough red on the trailer, where the bottom of the trailer was red all the way to the hinge over the hitch, and too much on the cab, where the bumper would be chrome/silver and the back of the tractor should be white. However, the extra blue on the trailer and the extra red on the tractor are both cartoon accurate. I guess if you're like me and prefer at least a silver bumper then cheaper KOs at least make better custom fodder than slapping paint on a $180 toy. Other stuff worth noting is that the tires are rubber and roll ok. The red swing bars on the missile launchers kind of stand out, and it's easy to see why they were white on the Takara. I'm not a fan of the hollow spaces in the arms across the top of the trailer, but that seems to be a holdover from the original. And, I'm not sure how well it's coming across in my pictures, but there's a little dried glue on the grill. It's more or less noticeable depending on the light, and almost definitely an issue with my individual copy and nothing widespread. Unlike the robot mode, functionality in truck mode appears to be the same as the original. As I mentioned, the missiles are removable but do not fire. Depending on how you like it you can leave them along the sides of the trailer as Magnus did in the cartoon, or they can swing around to sit on the front like the G1 toy. The ramp on the rear of the trailer can open and you can park Deluxe or MP cars there. And you can store his regular gun by pegging it between his arms on the top of the trailer. If there's a way to store the larger gun, though, I didn't find it (short of just laying it where the cars go). The cartoon-style chest on The Hyper Magnum/MP-22 is fine in robot mode, but in truck mode I do miss the G1 toy's removable one. I always pretending it was like a little jet (and only found out later than it actually was supposed to be part of a little vehicle on the original Diaclone toy that became Ultra Magnus). Another feature that was carried over from the original MP-22 is that there's a switch unter the tractor between the wheels that allows the cab to be disengaged from the trailer. There not a lot of purpose to it; the trailer doesn't transform into a white Optimus like the G1 toy, and the trailer doesn't do anything on its own. The hitch is too low to pull MP-10's trailer, and MP-10's legs are too thick to pull Magnus'. So all you're really doing is getting a better look at how very red the back of the truck is, but even that's still fun. Whether the trailer is connected or not, you can pull open the roof to reveal little seats inside the mostly-hollow interior. Stan and Dandy, or MP-10's Spike, can sit in there. Likewise, Stan and Dandy can be used with the many seats in MP-10 and his trailer. Even with his improvements The Hyper Magnum still suffers from some of the articulation issues that put me off of MP-22. Still, those limitations are a lot more forgiveable at $75 than they are at $180. And as much as I like the improved shoulder articulation, stronger hip ratchets, and bigger gun THF really dealt with my other biggest complaint by fixing the butt flap. In hand, I really like The Hyper Magnum more than I expected I would. This guy gets a strong recommend from me.