The bulk of the Decepticons included in the first series of Generation 1 in 1984 were carry-overs from Takara’s Microman: Microchange series, and the Decepticon warlord Megatron was no exception. He transforms into the unmistakable Walther P38 pistol used by character Napoleon Solo in The Man from U.N.C.L.E..

US Patent for G1 Megatron


Megatron, like many early Transformers toys, originated in the Takara Microman: Microchange line. He was originally released as MC13 Gun Robo P38 U.N.C.L.E., an upgraded variant on the MC12 Gun Robo P38. This toy included a number of extra accessories, such as a detachable shoulder stock, scope, silencer, and flash hider. This version also included small plastic bullets that could be inserted in the hole on top of the upper receiver, and fired by a spring mechanism using the trigger. A final accessory unfamiliar to U.S. buyers was a chrome sword that could be tabbed into his hands. Megatron was invented by Takashi Matsuda and the US Patent, titled Toy gun convertible into robotic-humanoid form (aka Transformers G1 Megatron) was filed on June 15, 1983 (U.S. Patent No. US4571201 A).


Megatron’s alternate mode is a fairly realistic Walther P38 pistol, albeit approximately 75% the size of the real gun. It features a great deal of molded detail, such as an accurate representation of the various safety and magazine eject levers, the lanyard loop on the grip, and even a realistic “WALTHER” banner and the P38 stamping on his receiver. Megatron features a moving trigger that generates a slight click at the end of its pull (where it would have tripped the firing mechanism), and has a strong spring for a realistic and smooth feel. The removable stock came in three rectangular pieces that could attach to the lower rear part of the handgrip. A large black bracket on the right side of the slide allows the scope, itself a detailed replica from the TV show, to be attached. The final gun accessory is a combined silencer/flash hider which can be slid over the normal gun barrel. Megatron is cast mostly in a swirling silver or black plastic, but the entire slide area is finished in vacuum-metalized “chrome”. All the “spy” accessories are cast in black with user-applied stickers to add some visual detail. Megatron’s transformation is somewhat unusual, using long swing arms to move parts of the gun far from their origin, and forming an asymmetrical robot. Contrary to his typical depiction, Megatron’s barrel protrudes straight forward alongside his trigger assembly and lower receiver, making his entire waist jut forward almost an inch in front of his chest and abdomen. His barrel can actually be situated pointing up his back by carefully fitting the tab underneath the die-cast metal swing arm used to mount his robot arm. Photos of early prototypes show an additional hinge that folds the protruding lower receiver up against his abdomen, but unfortunately this feature was omitted in the final production design. Megatron stands quite tall among his peers, rivaled only by Soundwave in 1984. Once in robot mode, his unusual angular face sits atop a chromed and stickered chest, and other robot details are enhanced by stickers visible on the inner parts of his arms and legs. Die-cast feet and thighs make him quite bottom-heavy and stable. The scope bracket ends up on his right arm, giving him the ability to mount the scope as his fearsome “fusion cannon” accessory. His closed fists have holes in the palms, allowing him to peg in his chrome gun or the (now absent) sword. Megatron’s gun-mode accessories have more functions: they can be disassembled and re-combined into a standalone cannon accessory, with two large handles that Megatron can hold on to. There is a second configuration of the cannon that uses the middle section of the stock as an angled seat-back behind the scope, which as two smaller handles. This mode was intended for a Microman figure to sit in and operate the cannon. Finally, the accessories can be configured into a large cannon fitted directly over Megatron’s shoulder, placing the scope in front of his face for aiming.

Collector Notes

Megatron may look sturdy at first glance, as many of his smaller hinges and connecting arms are made with die-cast. However, despite his in-fiction invulnerability, the toy is prone to a fatal weakness: breaking clean in half. The part of the gun that forms his chest is connected to the lower piece by a single, short screw in a thin stud protruding from the top of the trigger mechanism. Any kind of force on Megatron’s chest other than the proper, gentle rotation during transformation can result in the stud breaking off in his chest. Due to its location and need to rotate, as well as its tiny size, this breakage is nearly irreparable. Another common problem is nearly as catastrophic: the shoulder hinges can rip out of the chrome upper arm, taking a u-shaped chunk of plastic with them.


Like most Transformers of this era, Megatron has a number of casting variations. Many of these are quite minor, such as a contiguous strip of plastic running down the center of his bullet chamber, a holdover from Microchange, versus a simplified version of the same piece. A number of patterns for his chrome rifle exist as well, associated with various releases and re-releases of the toy. The primary international variant is the first Japanese release from 1985, which is actually based off of MC12 Gun Robo P38, which does not feature any of the add-on gun parts or the scope mount. Furthermore, this version is a flatter gray, and does not feature any chromed parts. This version also replaces the red interior parts with blue. The red U.N.C.L.E. version of Megatron wasn’t sold in Japan until 1986, but he still lacked the chrome slide parts.


Like all 1984 Decepticons, Megatron was available again in 1985 with a rubsign placed either on his hip/pistol grip or arm/pistol slide. Due to his continuing popularity, this version continued to be available in 1986, though only through a mail-in promotion. He was reissued in Japan in 2001 including the chrome sword and bullet accessories, as well as the U.N.C.L.E. parts, and using the red and chrome deco. He was reissued again in Japan in 2003 as part of The Transformers Collection, again resembling the Hasbro release of the toy, but now including a translucent purple flail accessory. He was reissued again through Takara’s Encore line in 2007, lacking his flail and with a brownish tinge to his silver plastic. He was most recently reissued by e-HOBBY in 2011 in Takara’s Chronicle line, packed with a redeco of Dark of the Moon Megatron. He has not been, and will not be, reissued in the U.S. due to toy safety laws forbidding toy guns to be as realistic as the original Megatron toy.

Redecos & Retools

Megatron’s mold was first used in Takara’s 1983 Microchange MC12 Gun Robo P38 in two versions: black and silver with blue interior parts, or brown and black with red interior parts. He was retooled to produce MC13 Gun Robo P38 U.N.C.L.E. the same year. It was redecoed by Takara in 2001 as Megatron Black Version, resembling the brown and black Microchange toy, but using the U.N.C.L.E. accessory set. This toy was reissued by e-HOBBY in 2009. A redeco of the 2003 Transformers Collection reissue, using MC12’s silver/black/blue deco and the U.N.C.L.E. accessories, as well as a yellow version of the flail, was called e-HOBBY Megaplex.