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2016 Titans Return

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Kup

Ah Kup, a character that seems to be hard to just do right in Toy form while not being kind of boring.  His original G1 toy is best described as “Weird Space Pick Up”.  He got an alright update a few years ago in the Generations line where he turned into an old timey Earth Pick Up.  Kup, despite being fairly popular has a few issues that come up when trying to make updates.  First, his alt mode is lame and kind of boring, which isn’t particularly marketable.  Second, his character is old and grouchy and thus isn’t the best character to appeal to kids.  In the comics he’s been molded more into the classic veteran commando type but he also has trademark items like his Cygar, that help push this motif, which doesn’t really work in a toy line marketed to kids either.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

The whole Titans Return line is really pushing in on the later G1 toys, and being really slavish to their original designs as much as possible.  It’s not surprising Kup got an updated figure for this line.  Aside from the chest area and actually having shoulders, he is a pretty good update to the original G1 design as well.  The vehicle manages to fold up on itself in some pretty interesting ways to form a very nice looking and clean robot.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

In fact the neat Transformation is one of the best parts of this toy.  The front cockpit does some fun little things to form a cavity for the Headmaster to drive, but on top of that the side panels do some pretty impressive origami to form the lower legs.  The end result is that the Robot doesn’t have a ton of gaps and holes in it that has become the trend in today’s cost saving design choices.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

Kup maintains his dopey Space Pick Up design this round, though he takes some queues from Transformers Prime’s Kup with the truck bed.  His guns can fill in the gap to create a nice little block of technology engine looking junk that he can carry around.  They still look like guns, but it does help to keep his alt mode from looking funky.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

Like all of the Titans Return line, Kup’s titan master can sit in the cockpit to drive the vehicle mode.  Unfortunately the pegs that hold the titan master in place are kin of weak and getting the little figure attached while navigating the window piece and not splitting the truck panels apart is tricky.  What I’m saying is, it’s a lot harder to get him into the driver’s seat than say, any of the space jets that have simple canopy cockpits.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

The Transformation that I enjoy is probably the main downside of this figure.  Getting everything to line up isn’t that hard, but it can be tricky and it could be tricky to manage for some folks (kids, apparently Kup just doesn’t work well for kids all around, see above).  Getting the front of the truck to all line up and attach to the side panels is definitely tricky and given the small pegs holding things in place can be hard to keep in place.  He’s a neat fun toy, but the Transformation from robot to vehicle is overly complex compared to other figures in the Titans Return line.

Transformers – Review – Titans Return – Broadside

Broadside is a character that people have been anticipating an update of for a while now, mostly because he was part of the popular Wreckers team int he comics.  He’s one of the few members who hasn’t gotten a new toy in ages, though it’s somewhat understandable why he hasn’t.  Broadside has two alt modes, one is a jet, one is an aircraft carrier.  Working aircraft Carriers in with any level of scale is effectively impossible being possibly the largest vehicles on the planet.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

There is a vague attempt to make scale work with Broadside.  He includes a set of small aircraft sculpted to resemble the recently released Combiner Wars Aerialbots toys, that can be stuck on the carrier deck using little pegs.  This does have the odd effect int hat it means his Headmaster in “reality” would be larger than Superion, but it’s still a neat effort.  I plan to paint up my Aerialbots at some point since they are all white plastic.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

Talking about small Aerialbots seems like a funny place to start out discussing a figure, they are just accessories after all.  The thing is, I prefer to discuss the good points before the bad points, and the mini Aerialbots are the only real good point with poor Broadside.  It’s fairly rare that I just flat out don’t like a toy, I try to find some redeeming qualities when possible, but I really just don’t like Broadside, he’s just a big ball of weird design choices and flaws.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

So, continuing with the carrier mode.  The flat deck essentially consists of a bunch of flippy panels that all sort of but don’t quite mesh together well, which kind of huts the aesthetics of the carrier.  It’s also covered in a lot of ill fitting stickers.  The stickers aren’t the problem on their own, it’s how poorly they fit and how the sticker detail doesn’t even attempt to match the sculpted detailing on the surfaces they attach to.  Then there are the little landing gears on the carrier, which are mostly just used to allow it to sit on a flat surface, except the way they fold up is goofy and they are prone to folding up by mistake when trying to display the carrier.  Lastly the goofy wings on the front end of the carrier.  These wings sort of exist for the Jet mode, except they look goofy over there, as well in Robot mode.  They just are all around poorly executed and get int he way in all three modes than they do help the look.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

Moving on to the Jet mode.  I will just say, an attempt was made, and leave it there.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

On the robot, hid design is almost there, he’s nice and beefy and chunky, except his also just sort of gets int he way of himself.  Those previously mentioned Wings just sort of hang off of his shins and get in the way.  The carrier panels hanging off of his shoulders get in the way of the arms and shoulders.  He’s also back heavy so posing him can be a little difficult as well.

Transformers Titans Return Broadside

I think my biggest issue with Broadside is mostly just how close he is in almost every area he misses.  It just makes him frustrating to interact with in every way because everything about him mostly almost works but not quite.   To add insult to injury, he seems to have been shipped alone to a lot of stores, which means he will likely clog up shelves for a while blocking other Voyagers from getting a more widespread release.

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Perceptor

Due to it’s hodge podge origins in various Japanese toy lines, primarily Diaclone and Microman, the Transformers picked up a few less practical alt modes in it’s early days.  The most well known is Soundwave’s cassette player.  Perceptor is one of those characters with a less conventional (ie not a car or a plane) modes with his Microscope mode.  The previous Generations remake of Perceptor changed things a bit giving him a Snow truck alternate mode instead of his traditional Microscope.  Titans Return has been all about keeping with the designs of the original toys as much as possible, with updated modern engineering, so Perceptor is once again, a Microscope.

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

You could argue that he’s actually a sort of medical bay for the Titan Masters however, since the stage of the microscope is designed for a Titan Master to lay in to be examined by the scope.  The scope itself is functional as a microscope, though it’s extremely low power and kind of hard to look through due to it’s small size.  If you put say, a finger in front of it, you will get an enlarged image of your fingerprint however, which is a nice touch.

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

The overall design is very reminiscent to the original Perceptor toy from the 80s, though he’s quite a bit smaller, the original figure was somewhere between modern Deluxe and Voyager sizes.   His transformation is where a lot of the flaws come through.  It’s simple enough, but the sliding mechanism for the microscope feels extremely stiff and prone to breaking.  I have not broken one, it just very much feels like a part that could easily BE broken if care isn’t given.  There are alsoa  lot of unused extra bits on his body for the undocumented Tank Mode

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

The original Perceptor had an attack mode which amounted to folding him into a square and using the scope as a tank canon.   There are definitely vestigial bits for something similar to be done on the Titans Return toy, but the instructions do not show anything about how to properly transform him into a tank.  There are extra flip out treads, extra flipping parts on his chest, extra tabs on his legs and shoulders.  It’s even a great way to better incorporate the little Titan Master drivers into the mode.  It’s just not documented, which is kind of tragic.

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

Aside from the missing Tank Mode, I really enjoy this figure.  I’ve always been partial to Perceptor because of his goofy Microscope mode, though I can see how this may be seen as boring by some people.  The microscope actually having some very basic functionality just makes this guy even more interesting and good in my book.

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Scourge

Scourge, along with Blurr, is part of the first wave of Titans Returns figures that were not originally Headmasters.  Scourge is a bit of a funny character in terms of picking up “new versions”, because his character’s ability allows him to make clones of himself.  Or maybe it’s just that he commands clones of himself, whatever the case, there is a justifiable reason to have many Scourge toys.

Unlike Blurr, who is kind of the star of the wave, Scourge is possibly the worst figure of the first wave.  The problems are less with the basic design however.  This Scourge, like Blurr is a nice update to the original design, as basic as it is.  Scourge is the classic example of a Shell Former.  He is essentially a robot wrapped in the shell of the parts of his space boat mode.  Both modes are accurate representation of the G1 Scourge, but his transformation is pretty simplistic.

The real problems are with the basic design of the figure itself.  Specifically there are a lot of reports of looseness in the head connection of the Headmaster giving him a bobble head.  He also has a pop up head crest similar to Blurr, though it is also prone to being lose and doesn’t stay up very well.

One minor little nitpick on my part, his pretty sleek Space Boat mode is broken up a bit by odd panels on the bottom of the front.  These panels only serve to fill in the gap on his legs, and just sort of hang off the vehicle.  It really feels like this could have easily been engineered better to remove the panel kibble hanging off an otherwise clean vehicle.

That aside, he’s also just sort of boring.  The vehicle is just a wedge with a bit of kibble on top, it’s accurate, but it’s not particularly exciting.

Titans Return Scourge isn’t an awful toy, he’s just not particularly exciting, and is prone to some issue that can be irritating.  With exciting animal options in the Decepticons, or the really well done Blurr, I wouldn’t make Scourge my first choice of the line.

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Blurr

Like Combiner Wars previously, Titans Return isn’t a total homage to only Headmasters.  There aren’t a ton of Headmasters to pull from so some character who weren’t originally Headmasters get roped into the mix as well.  I’m not super keen on picking up a lot of the non Headmaster Titan Masters, the way I passed on all of the non combining Combiner Wars characters.  Blurr however is a character seriously in need of an updated toy, and this Blurr is a really good representation of the original Blurr, especially compared to the previous Generations Blurr.  The old Blurr is a good toy, it’s not a particularly great G1 Blurr.

The best part of this updated Blurr is how lithe his design is.  Blurr is known for being fast.  He has a sleek fast car, he talks extremely quickly, he should have a fast robot.  The Generations Blurr was based on the Drift Mold, and it had a ton of chunky car kibble that kind of restricted a lot of his movement.  I mean no, the toy doesn’t move on it’s own, but it helps if the design conveys the idea behind the character.

Also, unlike the Generations Blurr, Titans Return Blurr’s vehicle mode looks much more like the original G1 Blurr’s Cybertronian car.  The core difference is that the little Titan Master can ride in the car’s seat and drive it.  Transformation is pretty simple but it works well and does the job very well.

The Titan Master is pretty much the same as all of the others in this line, aside from the little pop up head crest.  In head mode, there is a little bit that pops up to form Blurr’s head crest.  It’s a small but nice detail.

One last side note, this figure was remolded into Titans Return Brainstorm, and is exclusive to Walgreens stores.  From what I can tell pretty much everything that applies to Blurr, applies to Brainstorm, though there is a bit of remolding.  I don’t intend to pick up TR Brainstorm since I am happy with the Generations Brainstorm, but I wanted to point out that this mostly applies to the other toy as well.

The overall verdict though for Blurr is that it’s an all around really nice Transformer.  He’s definitely one of the better figures in the Titans Return line up.  Despite not originally being a Headmaster, the added gimmick of the little robot pilot adds some nice fun to the design.

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.

Titans Return Weirdwolf Wolfwire

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.

Titans Return Weirdwolf Wolfwire

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.