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2016 Titans Return

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Wolfwire (Weirdwolf)

The last entry in the line for Titans Returns Decepticon updates for the G1 Headmasters is Wolfwire.  In G1, Wolfwire was known as Weirdwolf.  There are all sorts of crazy reasons for name changes like this from rights ownership to names being slurs in other languages or even just because Hasbro decided that they don’t like the name Weirdwolf anymore.

Titans Return Weirdwolf Wolfwire

Weirdwolf, Wolfwire, whatever you want to call him, he’s definitely the best of the Decepticon ranks here.  He’s has nice pose ability in both modes, his weapons are both nice, his transformations is simple yet nicely elegant.

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The beast mode has a real Voltron vibe going for it, though he is a wolf and not a lion.  There is a small cockpit window for the Titan Master on the back and the canon that attaches to his back certainly feels Voltron-ish.  Maybe Zoids is a slightly better comparison.  I suppose in the end robotic animals will look like Robotic animals.

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The cockpit is also large enough that he can seat two Titan Masters inside instead of just one, though the front Titan Master doesn’t have a way to attach.    Also, like Mindwipe and Skullcruncher, Weirdwolf’s beast mouth is articulated as well.

Titans Return Weirdwolf Wolfwire

I mentioned his weapons a bit.  He includes a sword and a canon.  Like all of the Titans Return deluxe toys, the larger weapons are hollow and designed to work as seats/vehicle things for the Titan Masters.  Unlike most of the other weapons like this, his doesn’t look weird when used as a gun for the robot.  This is mostly likely because it doesn’t really form a part of the beast/vehicle so it’s free to simply look like a big gun.

Titans Return Weirdwolf Wolfwire

I don’t have any major complaints about Wolfwire as a toy.  He’s a probably the best of the line through Waves 1 and 2.  He even has a nice cockpit making him appropriate for use as a wolf mech for the smaller Titan Master figures.

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Highbrow

Like most of the original Headmasters, Highbrow hasn’t gotten a proper update in a while.  There was a pretty neat Highbrow back in the Hunt for the Decepticons sub-line of Revenge of the Fallen, though his alt mode for that line was a Lockheed P38-Bomber style plane, and he was mostly green instead of his original blue and white.  It’s a neat toy mostly for using a cool alt mode, but it’s not very Highbrow and it wasn’t a headmaster.

Like most of Titans Return, Highbrow is a much more faithful remake of his G1 iteration.  He has the same colors and turns into a dual prop Cybertronian helicopter.  It’s not a toy without some pretty bad flaws though, mostly due to the helicopter blades.  This is one of those areas where the lessened budget of newer toys actually become a bit of a hindrance.  The helicopter blades don’t have any way to lock into place in robot mode and don’t fold out of the way in any meaningful way.  They just sort of flip around, which wouldn’t be a problem except they tend to get locked up in his massive helicopter cockpit backpack.

He also suffers from a severe case of “wobbly head” syndrome, which seems to plague a few of these Titans Returns figures.  Part of the problem seems to be that the hook for his head sticks out from his neck a few millimeters.  On the plus side, it means he can sort of look up and down a bit, but it doesn’t make things lose and floppy.  Something that was most common in the Wave 1 figure Scourge, which brings up another interesting bit…

Back in my review of Chromedome, I made a comment about how Chromedome looks like he is a remold of the Combiner Wars Breakdown mold, but isn’t, he just shares a transformation.  Highbrow here has a similar sort of situation going, because technically, Highbrow IS a remold of Titans Return Scourge.  That said, they share almost zero actual parts and their transformations are “reversed.”  Where Scourge’s front form by joining his legs together, Highbrow forms the rear of the helicopter.  The tell tale bit that these are remolds lies in the pull out section on the hips/legs used during transformation.  That, and that they are part of the same lines, it’s actually pretty uncommon to have a remold cross over between lines the way Chromedome and Dead End would have done.

The toys are definitely different enough to warrant owning both of them if you are interested in both.  The transformation results in a pretty near little helicopter.  The cockpit is functional to allow for the Titan Master to fit inside.  The two guns can attach to the underside of the wings to give the chopper some artillery, though they attach via the non round pegs, which is slightly against what you commonly see but it allows for the use of the molded landing wheels.  There’s a third flip out landing gear that isn’t super obvious on the under side of the cockpit.

The helicopter mode looks good and holds together very solidly.   It’s definitely a good addition to the vehicles for Titan Masters.  If your interest in this line lies more with the Titan Masters and their vehicles and bases, Highbrow is definitely a good addition, even if his Robot mode is a little clunky.

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Mindwipe

Continuing on with the updated Decepticon Headmasters, today’s review cover’s Titans Return Mindwipe.  Wave 1 gave us Skullcruncher, the first beast based headmaster, Wave 2 gives us Mindwipe and Weirdwolf.  All of the updated Headmasters figures are very close in design and look to their original G1 counterparts with the exception of Mindwipe.  While Mindwipe captures the essence of the Bat to Robot, he has a very different transformation and much more proportioned look overall.

Transformers Titans Return Mindwipe

That design change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just something that may bother people looking for a really pure “update”.  Titans Return Mindwipe is also much closer to the original design than the previous best update from Hunt for the Decepticons.  HFTD Mindwipe is a nice figure, but he’s a brownish stealth bomber robot.  He’s as close to the original design as HFTD Highbrow was.

Transformers Titans Return Mindwipe

Like Skullcruncher, Mindwipe does some really interesting things with his Transformation and design.  Fortunately, Mindwipe isn’t nearly as flawed as Skullcruncher is.  His shins are a little huge, which hinders his leg articulations a but that’s his only major flaw.  I suppose I could also mention that the claw weapon is supposed to peg into the Bat’s but to form a sort of tail but it falls out instantly because the hold is too large as well.  It really doesn’t feel like much of a flaw though because frankly, the tail is underwhelming and looks lame anyway.  The bat is better off without it attached.

Transformers Titans Return Mindwipe

So what actually is interesting?  Firstly, his robot has extra vestigial wings, entirely to give him wings in his robot mode.  This is because of the way the actual wings transform.  They sort of roll up on themselves to form the legs.  It’s certainly a different technique for dealing with wings in the Transformers line, and pretty clever to boot.

Transformers Titans Return Mindwipe

Also fun is his Titan Master cockpit in bat mode, it’s a coffin shaped door, you know, because coffins and vampires and bats.  It’s a neat little touch for what could have just been a simple open and toss him in deal.

Transformers Titans Return Mindwipe

The transformation is a bit tricky due to the way the legs/wings work, there are a lot of swivels and joints that have to be turned just right to make everything line up and tab in properly, which could be a little tricky for some.  The bat head mouth opens and closes, which is a nice touch as well, but it doesn’t have any way to look “up” for flying poses.

Titan Returns Mindwipe is a pretty fun and neat addition to the line.  He’s definitely a step up from Skullcruncher’s floppy mess.

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Chromedome

Wave 2 of the Titans Returns line wraps up the redesigned versions of the original 7 Headmasters from G1.  Today’s review is for Titans Return Chromedome with Stylor.  There haven’t been a whole lot of easy to get options for an updated Chromedome since the original Generation One release.  There was a repaint of Transformers Prime Wheeljack for the Collectors Club, and at least one 3rd Party figure in Fansproject CODE.  He’s a fairly popular character in the IDW comics but he is admittedly kind of a bland design with all of his squareishness and brown shades.  It’s understandable that he’s not the first choice for a toy.

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If you’re familiar with the previous Transformers line, Combiner Wars, you might look at this figure and see it as a remold of the overused Breakdown/Prowl mold.  While Chromedome certainly has a lot of design queues from that figure and a very similar Transformation, he is a very different figure and doesn’t seem to actually share any parts with that older mold.  It’s an understandable mistake, but it’s not an accurate one.

Titans Return Chromedome

The differences are kind of similar to the old complain that Transformers Cybertron Starscream was the same toy as G2 Smokejumper, which share a transformation but are totally different figures.  I feel like Hasbro does such a good job of making every transformation unique despite how many Transformers there are, it tends to just stick out on the rare occasion that they reuse a Transformation.

Titans Return Chromedome

He’s a nice solid toy as well, there have been some budget cuts on the Transformers design process in the last few years (mentioned by the design team) which resulted in a lot of hollowness and weirdness for a few years but it’s starting to really be apparent with this line that the designers have managed to get a good hold on working within these confines.  It kind of feels like it’s helped the line as well, we’re starting to get a lot of good designs that still have simpler transformations with less random flippy bits.

Titans Return Chromedome

The headmaster Stylor is identical to all of the other Headmasters.  The fit on the head peg is solid, which tends to be the biggest issue on some of these figures (say hello Scourge).  The fit of the smaller robot in Chromedome’s cockpit is nice and solid as well, the cars are particularly great for the little guys to drive around in.

Titans Return Chromedome

The colors are definitely Chromedome’s colors, but it does make him pretty bland.  He’s not a flashy sports car, he’s not a sleek looking car, he’s just a very, brown car.   There is a bit of an issue with his hood being a little tricky to get lines up but otherwise it’s an alright design and rolls along easily.

Titans Return Chromedome

Titans Return Chromedome isn’t an amazing entry to the Transformers line but he’s not a bad one at all either.  He’s pretty middle of the road with no major flaws but nothing that makes him stand out.

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Hardhead

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.

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Skullcruncher (Skullsmasher)

For the titans Returns line, Hasbro has opted to revisit the Headmasters gimmick of G1.  There are some other nods to the Target Masters and Power Masters, but the actual gimmick is heads that come off and turn into smaller robots that interact with the larger vehicles.  In the original run of Headmasters, there were 7 original toys, Skullcruncher, Mindwipe, Weirdwolf, Chromedome, Hardhead, Highbrow and Brainstorm.  Thankfully, for the updated designs, they dove right in nd gave us all 7, across the first two haves (one figure being a store exclusive).  There are also some other characters who were not originally Headmasters thrown in for filler.

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Today I’m going to start off on these original 7 with Skullcruncher.  All three of the original Decepticon Headmasters were animals, Skullcruncher being a robotic Crocodile.   I wanted to start with Skullcruncher because while he has some neat tricks and a fun design, he’s got a lot of flaws that really make him one of the weaker toys in the line.

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I’m going to start with the good points.  The crocodile mode is really nicely sized.  Granted a chunk of the length is the tail bit which parts forms into a gun, but fully stretched out he is easily 10″ long.  There isn’t a ton of leg articulation, though that’s kind of to be expected for a crocodile, his tail and head and flex side to side a bit giving him some expressiveness in beast mode.  The mouth of the croc opens up as well.

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The Transformation is pretty basic but the neck and shoulders form up in a neat way to form the front croc legs, which earns Skullcruncher a few points for being interesting.  Basically the shoulders flip up and land at an angle while the croc head folds over and pegs it all into place.

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Unfortunately, he kind of falls apart a bit in robot mode.  The basic robot is all right and he has one of the more interesting looking faces on his Titan Master, but his hips are extremely loose.  Like, he’s going to just do the splits and fall over loose.  I have heard of numerous reports of this issue across the board on this figure so I can’t say my toy is a 1 off problem.  The hips have also gotten much looser over time, I can barely keep him standing now where originally it was loose but doable.

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Each of these figures has a cockpit for the Titan Master in their vehicle/beast mode as well.  Skullcruncher loses out again, for some reason his cockpit uses a flimsy rubbery flap for it’s cover, something none of the other figures (so far) do.  The others all have hard plastic.  The soft plastic is tricky to get open and is easily, accidentally pushed down into the cavity.  I’m not entirely sure why they went with this weird other plastic for the cockpit cover, the location and set up doesn’t have any need for it.

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On one last side note, he has a pretty neat Crocodile man mode than can be made halfway through transformation.

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All in all, Titans Return Skullcruncher is a nice looking update to an old figure, but it’s a severely flawed toy in a lot of ways that feel like they would have been easily fixable with a bit more design work by Hasbro.