Of all the Headmasters, Hardhead is one that’s really been hurting for an update for a good while. There was a repaint of the old SWAT truck Onslaught that looks nothing like Hardhead. Not much else other than the original toy. Part of the travesty of his lack of an update is that Hardhead was a major player during the early runs of IDW’s Transformers comics, back during the time they were on Earth. He was one of the core handful of Autobots on earth, though he wasn’t a headmaster in that storyline. That was back before Hasbro constantly made direct nods, or any reference really, to the IDW books. These days the two run together pretty heavily both in general plot and design queues.
We almost got an updated Hardhead a few years ago as a remold of Generations Warpath. Occasionally leaks or mistakes are made, around the time of Generations Warpath, there were instructions being leaked, with alternative heads, one was Warpath as Hardhead. It would have been a pretty good use of the mold too, they have similar vehicle modes and transformations, the turret chest doesn’t quite match but it would have been forgivable.
All that’s moot now though, we have a real update to a pretty popular character. It’s one of the better Titans Returns figures for sure as well. The design is right out of the comic and essentially is an update to the original with modern engineering. Plus he’s a headmaster again.
Part of what makes this figure one of the best is the overall solid playability of both modes. A lot of this comes from the large cannon. It moves up and down, springs up to rotate, in robot mode, it can convert to be a shoulder canon, it’s removable, it opens up and converts into a seat for a Titan Master. It’s even removable to be held or attached in other ways. This seems a bit mundane on paper but it really makes both modes a lot more interesting since it can be adjusted for a lot of variety in poses.
It helps that the robot mode is also really solid despite the simple transformation. He’s well articulated without any major hindering factors. He doesn’t seem to be plagued by any of the looseness issues on joints or the head attachment that other figures in this line seem to have.
It feels a bit like cheating talking about a toy that has no major issues, but sometimes it happens, and Titans Return Hardhead is one of those times. He’s just a good solid figure all around.