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Titans Return

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Topspin and Twintwist

Where Combiner Wars did it’s duty by giving us remakes of all of the original Combiner Transformers, it also used that opportunity to repaint all of those molds into different versions of the original G1 Autobots.  Titans Return has been moving into a lot more interesting territory.  There’s a lot more updates of Targetmasters, Movie bots and in this case, Jumpstarters.  Topspin and Twintwist were a pair of very similar G1 bots that had one specific gimmick.  Pull them back, and a motor would speed the vehicle along and eventually it would pop up and land on it’s robot feet.  The entire transformation was literally “fold in half at the waist”.

Topspin got sort of an update with the movie line, he appeared in Dark of the Moon as one of the Wreckers, as a blue Lowes NASCAR.  His toy even got a gray colored repaint that kind of worked as his buddy Twintwist.  This iteration had pretty much nothing in common with his namesake aside from a vaguely Blue and White color theme.  The original jumpstarters are more of a turquoise than a blue.

Titans Return has given us a proper update to this pair.  Topspin came first but Twintwist is a straight remold of the Topspin mold.   The new mold isn’t an exact replica of the original space ship/tank thingy, but it’s close enough, and the originals were kind of misshapen anyway to help accommodate the auto transform gimmick.  The transformation is also an actual transformation now, and naturally a lot more complicated.    It’s still reminiscent of the original.  The bulky back end becomes the legs with the sides becoming the arms and the end result looks pretty close to the original robot with better proportions as well.

Like a lot of Transformers lines, the later figures tend to be get better all around, and Topspin is no exception.  He’s definitely one of if not the best mold in the line.  The closest rival is Triggerhappy.  A lot is helped by the way his transformation does a good job of hiding a lot of the hollow bits that have been prevalent lately.  He also does a lot of interesting twists and flips that help him feel like he actually has a complex transformation.  Something else lacking in a lot of figures lately.  Particularly of note is his arms, which do this neat open up and collapse in on the shoulder and hand, often it’s a trick done on one end or the other, not both.

Both vehicles do a great job of lending itself to the Titan Master gimmick.  The space ship design is perfect for a cockpit for the small robot to sit in and pilot.  The little drill tank of Twintwist is a great vehicle for these little guys as well.  Neither was originally a Headmaster but the gimmick fits well.

Topspin and Twintwist are definitely a top notch toys for the Titans Return line.  Twintwist is slightly weaker than his mold originator Topspin.  The guns don’t work as well in the tank mold and the tank dreads kind of just hang off and look ugly in robot mode vs Topspin’s wings.  There’s been a lot of hits in this line but this mold one of the best.  It’s a solid update of a unique and interesting G1 design with a modern appeal layered on top.

Weekly Wednesday Haul – Cheers Luv, Sixshot Has Arrived Edition

The thing I hate most about Pre Orders is the wait.  I ordered Nendoroid Tracer back when she was first announced in February.  And now, here she is, 6+ months later.  Nendoroid is put out by Goodsmile who also makes the Figma line.  I’ve never had a Nendoroid before.  Tracer here I believe has more articulation than a standard Nendo, but the line is basically super deformed versions of various anime and video game characters.  Tracer is pretty neat, I was a little on the fence with the concept but I’m really looking forward to Mei now.

I also managed to luck into FINALLY finding Jessica Jones from the Netflix Marvel Legends Wave.  She’s pretty much as nice as I had hoped.  Too bad we’ll probably never get Killgrave.  I imagine the next Netflix Wave will give us Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and probably Kingpin, plus some other random comic dudes.

Speaking of luck, I also found several Transformers I had assumed I’d completely missed out on with Titans Returns Sixshot and Octane.  There was also a Blitzwing but my wallet can only take so much at once and frankly, while Titans Return Blitzwing looks nice, I am alright with my Combiner Wars Blitzwing.  The old Classics Octane though, that thing is a huge pile of garbage in almost every way, he seriously needs and update.

Then there’s Sixshot.  Sixshot is a character that I’ve really wanted a good figure of for a long time.  One, I like the idea and design, even if all of his modes are mediocre “modes”.  More importantly, he kills Ultra Magnus in the Japanese show, and since Ultra Magnus is one of my favorite Autobots, it seems appropriate to have a kick ass toy of his killer.  Or something.  I also just really like his overall design.  The transformation is about as expected for all of the modes, Slightly different positions for his arms and legs for the most part.

I’ve seen a lot of complaints with this guy as well but he’s decent.  I have not had any real issues aside from his submarine mode keeps wanting to flip itself over for some reason.

 

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.