Hey, everyone! It's Highbrow! You may remember him as the stuffy one. True to his name, he's smart in a kind of condescending way, with just enough Thurston Howell III in him to give you that quick first impression but not so much that he's basically Tracks.
In the American cartoon, anyway. Highbrow didn't leave much impression on me in any of the comics. Naw, in the (original) comics, who I remember is the guy that eventually became his head, Gort. Gort left his mark by being one of two humans the Autobots (well, just Highbrow) made first contact with on Nebulos. When Highbrow showed up, Gort was making out with a girl and fell off a cliff and hit his head real hard. Later, he'd get up out of the Nebulan Hospital For Brainpounded Dudes to volunteer to be surgically cyborged to become Highbrow's head. He hit his head real hard.
Anyway. Highbrow is partially Scourge, who I talked about the other day. Highbrow's not, like, as much Scourge as Brainstorm is Blurr, but he does share some integral, mostly internal parts. Just like Scourge, you yank Highbrow's robo legs down by the spine-strut and you fold his legs in on themselves. The two toys share that spine strut, the thighs, the inner shoulder joints, and the fists, and Scourge's feet are reused for Highbrow's heels.
The top of the toy transforms slightly differently -- both Highbrow and Scourge's arms sort of straighten along the sides of the torso and peg in, but unlike Scourge, Highbrow's aren't covered up by giant hull shell pieces. Instead, they hang there in plain sight, since the helicopter wings are molded on there. The cockpit of the helicopter is behind the torso of the robot and folds back up for vehicle mode.
Highbrow comes with a pair of chainguns that can combine into a seat for Gort to ride, or you can stick Gort inside the helicopter cockpit.
I decided to get the American version of Highbrow instead of splurging on the Japanese version. The decoes are negligibly different, and the American head is based on the Rebirth/Marvel design rather than the toy/anime. I love me some Rebirth heads.
And, between you me, I'm excited to finally have a toy of Gort.
- Guy I already had a good Generations toy of.
- Hasbro deco was so bland that I basically shrugged off the idea of buying the toy entirely.
- Then TakaraTomy was all "hey look, colors" and I was then all "oh hey there"
- Extra head transformation step where you pull up the forehead thingy.
I guess #4 seems out of theme for that emotional journey of consumerism, but it's true, both Blurr and Scourge, out of the entire rest of the line so far, have that one forehead-yanky thing in common.
But seriously, Hasbro, what the what. Why is your Scourge robot entirely blue. Sure, his altmode kibble is a very light teal, but other than that stuff which in robot mode is shoved all in the back, you've got a solid blue robot from head to toe. Like, not even his thighs or fists or feet are a different color. And with that slightly waxy blue his plastic is molded in, he looks like someone carved him out of a bath bomb.
Anyway, TakaraTomy broke his deco up with some gray and he looks presentable. The blue of their toy is surprisingly attractive. It's this milky blue that I just want to touch or maybe eat. Other than adding some parts to his robot mode that are not blue, my favorite part about this deco on the toy is that the arms of the little head dude aren't the same blue as the rest of Scourge's face. This creates negative space behind Scourge's head, bringing out the actual shape of Scourge's head, which is not a block but a skinny trapezoid. It makes him look a tangible percentage more like Scourge.
Unlike the previous Generations version of Scourge, this new toy is not a real-ish Earth vehicle, but something much closer to Scourge's original 1986 altmode, which was... a flying space bar of soap? I dunno. Some kind of space boat. The transformation to robot mode isn't very involved, as half the job is just unfolding his hull into his robot mode wings. Surprise, there's a robot torso and arms under there! The legs manage some real transformation, requiring you to pull them both down from the torso on a slider, flip them open, reconfigure them, and then push the legs back up on the slider into place.
Of course, Scourge's head transforms into a little dude, and that dude can fit into the windowed canopy of the vehicle mode or into Scourge's double-barreled weapon.
An undocumented feature of this toy, one that is carried over from the previous Scourge toy, is that you can stick Scourge's head up on the back of his altmode so that he's a flying soap ship with a head on top. Believe it or not, this ridiculous configuration is part of the early model sheets, and it's goofy and so I heart it. Mind, the previous toy achieved this through a transformation step, while on this guy you just plug the head into the 5mm port that remains when you remove the vehicle's weapon.
I keep thinking, hey, I should get some of the Hasbro Scourges to be my TakaraTomy Scourge's Sweeps, but whenever I see the domestic toy at Target, I remember how much I dislike its deco. Like, why am I buying MORE of the one I thought was unattractive enough to skip entirely in the first place, just to troopbuild? Man. When I'm unwilling to get more toys, you know something's going wrong.
Overall, Scourge is a pretty conventional Deluxe-sized toy. Not as fun to play with or to transform as Blurr, but not terrible. I think my favorite attribute of his is his milky blue. It's just a great blue. I'll try not to lick it.
Hey, more Titans who are Returning! The Transformer Who Was Voiced By That MicroMachines Guy doesn't really strike me as any sort of "titan," really, but here he is anyway, being a Titan and being Returning.
As I mentioned back in my Titans Return Brainstorm blogpost, Blurr is that toy's original tooling. Subtract Brainstorm's wings and substitute in a different hood for the vehicle mode, and you've got Blurr. It works a little better as Blurr, partially because it was obviously designed as him first, and secondly because... well, it's an open-top canopy, and Blurr isn't a spaceship.
When we first saw this toy, I wasn't sure I was gonna get it. I have a Blurr toy from back in the 2010 Generations toy, which was a retool of Drift, but the colors were a nice set of contrasting blues. But Hasbro decided to make their Blurr a solid teal color? Don't get me wrong, I love teal, but I'd also like another color in there. Like, a color #2 would be great.
Anyway, TakaraTomy later showed off theirs, and it had multiple colors, and then I was sold. It also helps that Brainstorm is a pretty fun toy with an interesting transformation, and, y'know, Blurr is mostly that same toy. Good colors on a good toy is good!
I think my favorite thing about Blurr is his little antenna on top of his head. (You know, the head that becomes a tiny robot that can ride inside him.) You can yank that up so the antenna rests higher on the noggin. It's an extra transformation step for such a tiny dude/head, and I appreciate it.
We got three Scattershots! One stand-alone Voyager, and one in each of the Hasbro and TakaraTomy box sets. The stand-alone is kinda forgettable. It's got two nigh-identical reds and for some reason the combiner head is still in Superion's colors. Its sole saving grace is its blue face. Faces that aren't just white or silver are interesting!
Hasbro's box set Scattershot is better. It has more contrast in its colors, a Computron face that's not just in Superion colors, and some delicious pinkish magenta.
TakaraTomy's box set Scattershot is best, though. It's sadly lacking in that pinkish magenta, but it has the highest color contrast and a buttload of additional retooling. There's a new Computron head that's not just an unaltered Superion's, and there's new chest sculpts for both Scattershot and the combined Computron form. Oh, and two new weapons.
Afterburner! ...Hasbro one wins. You may have noticed an ongoing "Takara's has better sculpt/mold but Hasbro has better colors" thing going on with most of these guys, and for once we've got a Technobot that's got an identical sculpt across sets. And so cartoon accuracy be damned, Hasbro's orange and charcoal and green Afterburner is a billion times better than TakaraTomy's monochrome red-and-white Afterburner. I guess TakaraTomy's has new guns, but you can throw them on the Hasbro version no problem, while also forgetting most of the time that he has new guns anyway. They're not important. The orange is.
So, yeah. Let's assemble my Computron as I please, mixing and matching. Hasbro Afterburner and Scrounge (attached with a LEGO piece) and TakaraTomy everyone else, but with the new fists and feet the Hasbro set got. Huzzah!
Nosecone is the only Technobot I owned as a kid. In fact, I owned him twice! Sometimes that happens when a guy is a low pricepoint and your parents and your grandparents are shopping for you at the same time. Two Nosecones!
So I've decided that owning both the Combiner Wars and Unite Warriors Nosecones is merely a brilliant homage to my childhood.
Of the two, I do have a clear favorite. I mean, let's be clear: Brawl is easily my least favorite Combiner Wars Deluxe. His shoulders are really awkward, he's kind of slight for a big bruiser such as Brawl, his forearms are dinky, and oh jeez that waist. Meanwhile, Rook (before UW Strafe happened) was my favorite Combiner Wars Deluxe. And so, y'know, I'm prooooooobably going to prefer the Nosecone built from my (second-)favorite Deluxe versus the one built from my least favorite Deluxe.
Adding to the TakaraTomy version's favor is the amount of retooling. He's got a new Nosecone head, and about half of his drill-tank mode is new. He has treads where he had wheels before, and the whole front roof of Rook's vehicle is replaced with.... well, an arm for the drill with a tiny pair of windows sculpted into it. It's not the greatest bit of retooling, but you can kind of bury it with all the extra weapons they gave him.
(Yeah, he gets three new guns.)
The sizeable drill can turn, but it's pretty stiff at the base, and it seems to lock in place every 180-degree turn. The tip is spring-loaded, though.
The one thing the Combiner Wars toy gets right over the Unite Warriors toy is the color scheme. Chocolate brown with orange and yellow feels more Nosecone to me than the washed out brown and yellow. TakaraTomy were trying to go for the animation colors, which were based on an earlier, redder prototype of Nosecone's toy. But their toy isn't very red, it's light brown, so I think maybe they were trying to find a compromise point between the animation and the toy.
If you put the CW colors on the UW toy, you'd have the perfectest thing.