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Titans Return

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.

Weekly Wednesday Haul – Iron Men and Steel Sharks Edition

Sometimes I pass on something for so long that it disappears.  Most often this happens because I’m hoping for a good sale or even a clearance mark down.  The Target Iron Man/War Machine was one such set.  My local Target had several forever, then they must have gotten marked down because suddenly they were gone.  Fortunately I got a hook up for one on clearance elsewhere, so I still managed to get it for cheap.

I know I’ve mentioned that I have a weakness for Iron Man armors, so yeah, I really was looking forward to this pack.  I really dig that buff War Machine with all of his extra accessories and in person, that Orange and Blue Iron Man is pretty slick looking.  Coincidentally, that Orange and Blue Iron Man suit is a repaint of the last War Machine figure we got in the Hulkbuster wave.  Minus the Don Cheadle head.

I also found one Sharkticon from the Titans Return line.  I don’t usually army build with Transformers, but this guy is pretty awesome and cheap enough that I’ll probably end up with several in the long haul.  It’s really a shame that Wave 4 of these basics is putting in more of the mediocre Bumblebee instead of more Sharkticons.

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.

Weekly Wednesday Haul – Tiny Robot Animals Edition

I’m of mixed minds on the individually packed Titan Masters.  They seem pretty neat, but they also seem really limited.  I also don’t feel the compelling need to swap heads around too much on my Transformers, despite that this is their entire gimmick.

I have been picking up a few here and there, this week with Titan Masters Sawback, aka Lione.  Lione was a “Headmaster Teen” int he Japanese Headmasters cartoon.  In that version he was a head that turned into a small lion.  This version is a standard head/robot man combo, but he includes a larger lion vehicle.  The Lion turns into a sort of jet vehicle thing, but more fun, he turns into a giant Lion Head.  The head even works as a Headmaster with a little work.

I also picked up Transformers RiD Springload, the small legends version.  I’m sticking to amassing a small army of robot Decepticon beast bots from Robots in Disguise, and Springload fits that bill well.