Toys from the current Transformers team seem to fall into two categories: Slightly reworked designs of old toys with new Transformations, and.... the old toy, but now with knees. Titans Return Sixshot is definitely the latter. He's essentially the original 1987 Sixshot toy with articulation added. And GUESS WHAT. I'm happy with him.
Maybe it's because I never had the original toy? I don't remember being particularly interested in him, anymoreso than with other toys in the Transformers pack-in catalogs from my youth. Possibly because he was never in any real fiction. He shows up for three seconds in the cartoon, and spends half a second in each mode, and in the Marvel comic he only appears wadded up into the corner of one panel in a group shot. Bizarrely, he had an IDW one-shot issue based on him, but even that story never landed with me.
However, over in the Headmasters anime, he appears a bunch, and in the bad English dub he referred to himself as a "ninja consultant" while the voice actor did all his lines into a paper cup. That's the most endearing the character has ever been to me.
But this toy of him, I really like it. He turns into "six" "things," and while each mode is mostly distinct, they're all obviously made out of the same semblage of parts. They kind of have to be. This toy isn't magic. When you have a toy turn into a robot, a winged wolf, a "submarine," a jet, a car, and a tank, a lot of that toy's parts are going to be pulling double- or triple-duty. Obviously, the robot limbs also become the wolf limbs. Obviously, the jet's wings are going to feature in a lot of the other modes. Obviously, a lot of the non-wheeled modes are gonna have wheels somewhere on them.
The enjoyment, though, is how relatively simple it is to get him from one mode to another. The trade-off for "six modes all using the same limited amount of parts" is that there's no chore in transformation, and there's so many possible transformations to do. You're always just a few steps away from another mode, keeping the toy in play. YOU ARE NEVER SATISFIED. Wait, that sounds bad. Well, it's not!
It should come as no surprise that the robot mode is the strongest. He looks like a robot! He's got a chest and limbs and a head! Definitely a robot. Because Sixshot is Leader Class, he's big enough that his requisite little head-robot-dude only transforms into his face. His helmet fits around that, and also stows inside the chest while in the other five modes. This means you technically don't have to remove the head-robot-dude for transformation if you don't want to.
But if you do, your winged wolf mode is going to be missing the back of his head. In this mode, the robot face sits directly behind the wolf's skull, filling in that plastic void. This also gives the winged wolf mode the same Naruto ninja headband the robot mode does (under his helmet). This is fantastic. The winged wolf mode itself is okay. It's good by default just for being a beast mode, as beast modes rock. But it's fairly perfunctory. The arms become forelimbs and the legs become hindlimbs. The gun pegs on as the tail.
To make a jet you fashion everything into a wedge. Everything except the wings. To make a car, you compress everything into a box. To make a tank, you bend the car in half and fold down the rest of his treads.
This is hilarious.
I dunno, he's fun to fiddle with. I like him. However, he's coming out later in more interesting colors (redecoed with a new head as his own son, Quickswitch) as part of a box set that includes Nautica. So if you only want the mold once, and also want Nautica, I'd hold out. I want both versions, because I am eccentric.
It's amazing the difference between the last Transformers team and the current one. The last team wanted to do a new Perceptor, but original Perceptor was, um, a microscope, so they made him a halftrack truck. Like, you could feel echoes of the plea to marketing for that guy. "LOOK HE HAS WHEELS AND TREADS, HE'S NOT A SCIENCE THING, PLEASE LET US MAKE PERCEPTOR, BOYS DEMO AGED 5-12 WILL BUY THIS."
Meanwhile, the current Transformers team just straight-up remakes the original Perceptor, now with 10% more articulation because the original wasn't too bad about that to begin with. He's a microscope, yo. Again. And by "microscope," we of course mean "Perceptor's robot mode folded up to look like the original Perceptor's microscope mode, which also looked like Perceptor's robot mode folded up and not too much like a microscope." Do kids want this? I'd like to think so, because science is important, but who knows. Here's your regurgitated 1985 Perceptor. Hasbrobadger don't give a shit. Hasbrobadger don't care.
Also he has a third "tank" mode, just like the original, which is rendered on the cardback but not present in the instructions. This is not a great tank mode. It's a terrible tank mode. I mean, they tried, but it just looks awkward and doofy. I can see why they left it out of the instructions. (there are extra tabs and slots for it, plus some extra pieces, so it's not, like, an "oops this toy can still do the original third tank mode" thing, it was definitely intended on purpose)
But, look. Credit where it's due. His microscope still works. It's a functional microscope. The amount of magnification isn't great, but you can even rotate the little nob on the scope and it'll do a small amount of focusing. That's a surprise in 2017. Transformers these days aren't often budgeted individualized gimmicks that aren't part of the line-wide Mega Gimmick. This isn't Armada.
Perceptor's head pops off and transforms into a little dude. His name's Convex.
Also, what I am here for is that this Perceptor is designed specifically after IDW's Perceptor -- at least, the one that featured in All Hail Megatron and beyond, including Last Stand of the Wreckers and More Than Meets The Eye. It probably helped that his IDW comics design is close enough to the original toy that you can do the IDW comics Perceptor and most folks will think, Hey, it's the original style. But the sculpted shapes of the arms and knees and such give him away, if not the fact that he comes with a friggin' sniper rifle. Sadly, he's got two normal eyes, and not a normal eye and a big ol' targeting grid monocle. Also, I guess, the scope is on the wrong shoulder for IDW. The original 1984 toy could switch the scope's placement, but this toy keeps it over his left shoulder, like it was in the cartoon.
If you want a Perceptor that's like the original toy but now he can bend his knees at the hips, this is your toy. Also if you want a toy that'll fit better into your Lost Light display shelf. Or if you just like Headmasters. Or if you're desperate to throw money at something shiny to distract yourself from the rise of fascism, I dunno.
Hey, remember the Jumpstarters? If you're old enough, probably, because they were those two pull-back-and-go autotransforming dudes who weren't on the show, which means you probably got like sixteen of them at Christmas after they were the only things left on the shelves. For years of BotCons, you could probably come home with a basket of them at $5 a piece, despite being vintage guys.
I don't mean to trash talk 'em too much -- I mean, their concept was actually pretty cool. You pull them back on their wheels in vehicle mode, they lunge forward, a trigger trips, and they flip up into the air and (hopefully) transform and land on their feet. And by "transform" I mean they unfold at the hips and then they're done. Again, these were simple guys, and they were simple guys who weren't advertised in the cartoon OR in the American comics, so they weren't exactly sought after. Dudes didn't even get animation in their television commercial!
But, hey, Titans Return has given us a new Topspin (the jet guy of the two Jumpstarters), and he transforms like a real big boy Transformer now! And jeez does he. Dang friggin' dude takes what was once a simple "put your own face between your legs" transformation and makes it a whole deal. He doesn't even fold over anymore. Instead, his lower legs open up and swallow the thighs, then his arms collapse in on themselves to get rid of his biceps and his fists, then those arms hide up against the hull of his vehicle mode. But before that can happen, Topspin does this Triggerhappy-esque thing where you disengage his hips from his body, then rotate the entire front of the chest around, and then reattach the hips to the other side of the torso. Reveal the, um, "forks" at the front of the jet mode and then put his cockpit together, and you've got him in vehicle mode.
You transform his head into a dude and you put that dude inside it.
There's a lot going on here.
Like other Titans Return toys, he has two weapons which combine into a larger weapon which his head guy can sit inside. Combined, it kind of looks like a Combiner Wars fist/gun to me, since it has four finger-ish guns at the front.
Also, this guy feels huge. He's not that much larger than the largest of Titans Return Deluxe Class guys, but he just feels massive. He's wide and bulky and he looks like he could stomp you. (It helps that his wavemate Perceptor is relatively scrawny.) Topspin's searing Allspark Blue is vibrant and I like him.
I found him at Walgreens.
It was the mid-Nineties, and I was trolling around a Tru-Value Hardware store in La Porte, Indiana. On the endcap of the perfunctory action figure aisle was a Mindwipe for like $12, the original pricetag still on it. At that point, Mindwipe was... several years off the shelves by then. He's from 1987. Someone must have found one hiding in the back and put it out.
And that's why I have a Mindwipe!
It's also why I was a little particular about which Titans Return Mindwipe I got, the domestic or the Japanese version. The Japanese version takes care to paint the front of his bat wings brown like the original toy's, while the American version keeps it unpainted purple. Japanese version it is! (It also helps that the Japanese Mindwipe comes with the fifth iteration of Crashbash's little dino/dragon partner, named Servant, and if I already have the first four of them, I might as well have the fifth, right?)
The original Mindwipe is a box with a tiny bat head and tiny bat wings. He's about as deep as he is wide, because all his robot parts fold up into a cube to form the body of the bat, and all of the non-body bat stuff is extra hanging off him. It's a very G1 look.
Titans Return Mindwipe tries to fix that by giving him an entirely new transformation. The bat's wings now fold up into the robot mode's lower legs. They literally each hinge five times into a box, and the foot kind of swings up into place under the box. The bat's feet unfold into the robot mode's arms. The bat head folds back behind the torso rather than hiding itself inside the driver compartment.
Because the wings now form the legs, and Mindwipe apparently needs the bat wings the original toy had on his robot mode back, there's some fake kibble wings there for you, so that Mindwipe's robot mode silhouette is preserved. In bat mode, they're still there, but they fold back mostly/hopefully out of sight. Really, it just kind of looks like the batmode has an extra pair of smaller bat wings shooting out of his shoulderblades.
The bat mouth opens and closes. It's weird, though, because the whole head is so rubbery. The robot mode's bladed shield pegs into the back of the bat mode to become the worst bat tail ever. It's like pegging a Hostess Suzy Q into his butt.
Mindwipe wins points for being inventive in its transformation, rather than just duplicating the original's engineering like some other modern Transformers reinventions, but I do wish his thighs were more substantial. They look tinier than they even are because of his tall knees, but even so his thighs are so dainty short. The paint matching on his biceps isn't so good versus the plastic on either end, either. The rest of him is fine, though I wish his bat mode were a little less greebled-out.
With BotCon over forever, you might be tempted to think, "man, are we not gonna get weird oddball obscure shit anymore???" but then you see Hasbro's making goddamned fucking Lione and selling him at retail.
Who is Lione? Well, you see, back in the olden Headmaster days in the mid-Eighties, Japan sold little spare Headmaster heads all by themselves. They are amazingly rare. Super amazingly rare, and hard to find nowadays. Also most folks don't even know they ever existed. Anyway, one of them was a lion.
And now he's a Titan Master, and his name is Sawback.
The original Lione transformed from a head to a lion, but this new Sawback guy transforms from a head to a kitty-faced humanoid who transforms into the back of a lion-thing's head, and that lion transforms into a very unconvincing spaceship which the guy rides, and also a shield.
That's all I got to say. What the hell.