Posts tagged with "titans return" - 1
Posted June 12, 2018 at 1:56 am

I was never big into Street Fighter II.  Mostly I liked playing Blanka because he could bite the other guy's head.  But I don't have the dexterity for pulling off any kind of special move, so the game was mostly lost on me.  But it was an everpresent part of kidvid growing up, so it's there in my brain just through pop culture osmosis.  Not many strong feelings.

Not many strong feelings, but not none.  Like, for instance, if TakaraTomy were to go friggin' bonkers and redeco a set of four Transformers as Ken, Ryu, Chun Li, and M Bison?  Yeah, that intersects my interests.

(note: m bison's name over in japan -- and thus on this toy's packaging -- is vega, but i am going to be calling him m bison anyway)

Seriously, what the fudge.  These two sets are nuts, and they came outta no where.  Megatron, Optimus, Hot Rod, and Arcee are all decoed like the human characters from Street Fighter II, down to having flesh tones where the characters have flesh tones.  It's equally ugly and visually captivating.  Ken has bare feet?  Yes, let's paint Hot Rod's toes pink.  Let's paint his Headmaster's toes pink, too.   And the toys are posed in their packaging doing their special moves.  M Bison is launching sideways, Chun Li is doing her upside-down spin kick, etc.  

Unfortunately, they're packaged in a way that made me buy them both.  I really only want Megatron/M Bison and Arcee/Chun Li, and not Optimus/Ryu or Hot Rod/Ken, but they matched each of the two I wanted with one I didn't, so whatcha gonna do. 

Look, I'm gonna be completely honest with you.  I bought these sets because of Raul Julia.  I wanted a Raul Julia M Bison Transformer.  That dude knew how to have fun playing an incredibly goofy fascist dictator, with, like, octopus hat racks and everything.  He chewed scenery like it was friggin' beef jerky.

And so now I have a Transformer of him.  He's a redeco of Titans Return Megatron, who's a triple changer.  (Which itself is essentially Blitzwing with a new chest and head.)  M Bison transforms from tank to jet to robot and back.   His head transforms into a little robot guy who's ALSO painted to look like M Bison.  It's a pretty solid toy, and it has a good presence as M Bison.  

Arcee as Chun Li probably has the most interesting deco of the set.  Ken's a solid red guy and Ryu is that scheme but in white, and M Bison is red again but with silver... but Chun Li gives the Generations "Thrilling 30" Arcee toy a nice blue/brown/yellow/peach ensemble that's more engaging than the others.  Plus nobody doesn't like Chun Li.  She's friggin' Agent Melinda May, yo.  

Unfortunately, she doesn't have the same Headmaster gimmick as the other three.  I guess TakaraTomy didn't want to use Titans Return Windblade or Titans Return Arcee for her.  

They're probably not gonna do more of these.  But if they did, I'd take a Blanka, please.
Posted December 9, 2017 at 8:45 pm

Fine, I have another Doublecross.  (Or another Twinferno, if you want to go with his new and frankly superior name For American Trademark Purposes)  I didn't really have a desire for a new Doublecross, since Hasbro's is fine, and Takara's colors are sort of different but not in an amazingly spectacular way.  

But I needed his gun!  TakaraTomy decided belatedly to start giving their Targetmaster characters their Targetmaster guns, meaning Hot Rod and Kup got Firebolt and Recoil.  But Blurr was already out, and so instead of selling him again with a new Haywire, they gave that Haywire to Doublecross.  

And so I have a second Doublecross.

There are some parts of the paintjob that I appreciate more than the Hasbro one.  The inside bottoms of the dragon mouths are painted red, as well as the lower set of teeth being painted white.  And I guess it's okay that they painted the toothed disk on his dragon chest so it stands out more, but that kind of just reminds you that he's sculpted to look like he has a gimmick the original toy does while not maintaining it.  Everything else feels like a lateral move.  Definitely not something I would have gotten without having a much higher love for Doublecross, which I don't, really.

But I dig me some Haywire.  

Another deco improvement is the Titan Master that Doublecross's head turns into.  The toy is sculpted to look like White Leo, the leader of the Battle Beasts, and the Japanese deco puts some extra care into making White Leo look more like White Leo. This is nice.  I'm not at all into Battlebeasts, but I recognize this is nicer.

(meanwhile, the comic that comes with this toy decides that Haywire is actually the armored form of White Leo's little sister.  that's right, haywire in japan is a sexy catgirl)

Anyway, Haywire really needs to go to Blurr, because, like, Doublecross doesn't have hands.


Posted December 7, 2017 at 4:35 am

I'm thankful that TakaraTomy announced their plans for Misfire and Slugslinger before Hasbro's versions were available.  I didn't have such luck with Triggerhappy, who I ended up needing to rebuy.  TakaraTomy's versions come with their Targetmaster partners, see, and in Misfire's case, his is the most important Decepticon Targetmaster of all, to me, because of a terribly-presented scene in the original cartoon that had endeared itself to me.

Aimless, introducing himself: "I live only to destroy our mutual enemies!"

Misfire: "I think the name Aimless suits you better!"

Which, as presented, sounds like Aimless is saying his name is "Lives Only To Destroy Our Mutual Enemies," or at least Misfire believes so.

Regardless, Aimless is the best Targetmaster, and obviously if there's a proper new toy of that guy, I want it.  And so I passed on the American version and waited patiently for the Japanese version.

Misfire has Triggerhappy's legs, but everything from the crotch up is essentially new.  Sure, he keeps the same fists, biceps, and shoulder joints, but the rest of the arms and torso -- and essentially 90% of the toy's transformation -- is original.  Mind, Triggerhappy's best feature, the swoosh-swap-spin torso magic in the transformation to jet mode, is gone, so Misfire isn't going to be exactly as cool.  However, Misfire has a few small tricks of his own that make him stand out.  It takes a fairly straightforward transformation trope, flipping the nose of the vehicle back and pulling up the arms, and adds enough little levers and hinges to make it interesting.  Essentially, the arms and wings rotate and push up to the top of the torso while maintaining their vertical orientation.  It's neat and is entirely cosmetic.  

The original Misfire toy was content to fold the nosecone straight back, hanging down over his butt.  The cartoon/comic model, however, had the double-pronged nose of the jet poke up over the backs of his shoulders.  This gives Misfire an interesting and unique silhouette.  This new toy happily recreates this, double-hinging the nosecone piece so it can stay pointing up rather than pointing down.  

This new toy also gives Misfire his cartoon model's head, which has goggles and no antenna, rather than the original toy's singular eyes and pointy ears.  This matches the Marvel comics, the American cartoon, and the Headmasters anime, but it doesn't match the more toy-accurate design Misfire was given in the IDW comics, where he's a popular character in the MTMTE/Lost Light series.  Thanks to the head-swapping gimmick of the toyline, though, you can get a pretty good approximation of his IDW/toy head by substituting in Titan Master Ptero (Swoop).  

The toy is a crazy magenta pink that I adore.  The bright blue of Aimeless and the jet's cockpit window contrasts it perfectly.  He's a pretty fuckin' toy.

I haven't seen the American one in person, so I can't tell you how pretty his pink is.


Posted October 16, 2017 at 12:01 am

Joining TakaraTomy's Targetmaster Hot Rod and his retooled chest is TakaraTomy's Targetmaster Kup and his retooled arms and face.  Hasbro's Kup seems to be based off IDW's Kup circa the All Hail Megatron days, with his blocky, squared-off arms, and TakaraTomy was all noooooooope we're cartooning this guy up.  And so Targetmaster Kup's got new spherical shoulders and rounded forearms with his gauntlets or whatever those are supposed to be.  The biceps remain the same.

Which is fine, since those are what you see from the outside when you transform him into pickup truck mode.  They're not as obviously humanoid robot arms filling in the back of the passenger compartment with those rectangular biceps there.

The other new addition to Kup himself is the new face.  Hasbro's Kup face wasn't the best Kup face (it kind of looked like he's smelled a fart), but TakaraTomy's isn't super great, either.  I mean, the proportions are better, helmet-to-face ratio wise.  But that expression, man.  He looks coked out or something.  Or like the alien from Mac & Me.  (named "Mac," but if i just say "he looks like Mac" and no other context nobody probably knows what I'm talking about)  

Now, the paint job is indeed an improvement.  Hasbro's Kup, despite being a very appealing shade of teal (in person, if not photography) was really super plain.  I ended up painting his forearms and hands gray so he looked better (and matched his Marvel comics coloration).   There were so many sculpted details on him that were obviously meant to be painted, like the stuff on his translucent truck mode canopy.  Targetmaster Kup painted those details on, thankfully, as well as his belt and the yellow "L"-shaped stripes on his forearms.  Lots of little things like that.  He's not an appealing a brilliant teal, though he is almost entirely various other shades of teal.  

But, like Hot Rod, my biggest focal point was his Targetmaster partner, Recoil.  I had Targetmaster Kup as a kid, and dammit, I want my weapon-alt-mode Recoil, goddammit.   I've had Targetmaster Kup's Marvel comics character model etched into my brain since I was a child, and so having that huge-ass long-double-barreled nonsense weapon in his fist just kind of makes everything feel happily complete.  

In the included mini-comic, Recoil is a very young girl, Sue, the daughter of Marissa Fairborne and Dirk Manus.  Sure, why not.  That's already more information than I can recall about Nebulan Recoil off the top of my head.  And she's not old enough to be awkwardly sexualized, so we can avoid that whole... issue...

i mean she is still, like, an 8-year-old who transforms into an assault weapon, but

*puts finger to ear*

okay i'm being told that in weapon form she shoots beams that make enemies nice, rather than physically harming them

well all right then

Posted October 14, 2017 at 1:01 am

I always hang with Kup, got The Touch, go fish to unwind

okay enough of that

Very recently, the Tumblr ran a bit explaining why Hot Rod's red sometimes and other times magenta.  No point rehashing it so soon afterwards here, so grab yourself a link and a read and come right back here!  

I like magenta Hot Rod!  It's so much more interesting for the Heroic Protagonist Main Dude to not be boring ol' red but, like, y'know, practically pink.  Depending on your video transfer.  It's just... not normal.  I dig it.  And so I like when Hot Rods are animation colors rather than original toy colors.  Legends (Titans Return-ish) Hot Rod(imus) is one of those things.  He's not quiiiite as pink as I like my Hot Rods, but I demand a pretty pink Hot Rod, probably a level beyond anything we're ever likely to see.  

He's also painted fairly meticulously, too, compared to the relatively bare domestic version.  He's got his litte yellow forearm bits painted, he's got his dark gray legs, there's darker magenta trim everywhere... there's a paint budget here.  

But I'm not, like, sold on the remolding done.  TakaraTomy has a higher threshold of "IS THIS MATCHING THE ANIMATION ENOUGH" than Hasbro that they seem to try to adhere to, and so Hasbro's Hot Rod chest/hood is gone, with the bare midriff, and in its place is a new chest that's more animation-accurate, but really just kind of looks like a huge bib.  That midriff was the right choice, visually.  Without it, the torso just looks overly long.  Yeah, sure, it has a rotate-y piece that hides the exposed engine and replaces it with Hot Rod's standard collarbone thinger, so the number of moving pieces is conserved, but it just doesn't look nearly as good of a torso.  And the flame's pointed pretty low on there, too, which doesn't help.  A tummy flame isn't a great look.

The translucent flame hole on his chest is a neat idea, and I'm also not sure that it works terribly well.  But points for trying to do at least something different than usual.

(i've included an older photo of hasbro's hot rod, as i kinda totally repainted mine so a direct comparison image isn't strictly possible)

But the real reason I was after this release was I wanted Hot Rod's new Targetmaster parter, Firebolt.  In America, Firebolt transforms into Hot Rod's head, which is a departure from Firebolt's usual weapon mode.  In Japan, Headmasters aren't two guys, but a smaller robot piloting.... well, himself.  Themselves, I guess, since Windblade's on the way.  But with Hot Rod's head guy also being Hot Rod, that frees up Takara to give him a "real" Firebolt.  A transforming guy-to-gun robot.  And Targetmaster Hot Rod's always been my jam.  So I was gonna be after that.

...mind, i didn't really foresee the mini-comic that comes packaged with him recasting Japan's Firebolt as Hot Rod's Kiss Players parter Shaoshao Li, but whatcha gonna do

if you don't know who that is, good

Posted October 7, 2017 at 4:30 am

So let's set a scene.  

It's 11:15am.  I've just gotten up, and I'm sitting on the potty.  (wait wait don't leave, let me finish)  I know there's the Transformers panel running at New York Comic-Con right then, and so I pull out my phone and start watching a live feed.

Oh, hello, John Warden!

Oh, huh, John Warden is pulling out two toys.  I guess each is one of the toy's two modes?

...oh, cool, it's Grotusque!  I guess we're getting a Grotusque!   That's a surprise!

......oh, i see, it is now suddenly on sale at right now

and those kind of things tend to sell out in five minutes

Can a man will himself to stop shitting so he can run to his computer and order exclusive product on a time budget of about ninety seconds?   The answer is, apparently, yes!

And a day later, here Grotusque (and his extra Titan Master partner, Scorponok) is.  These guys ship from Pennsylvania, and I'm just one state over, so the trek is pretty short.  It is ... insanely odd to go from "I just now know this toy exists" to "I have this toy in my hand" in a matter of hours.  Usually first you get the store listing, then you get the blurry and/or cropped stolen imagery, then you get the official announcement, and then you get six more months to wait for the damned thing to actually come out.  Grotusque went from Knowledge to Having in a day.  It's kind of rad?  I mean, definitely not rad if you were, say, at work that afternoon, and not a cartoonist who spends all day at home.  But for me it's definitely rad.

(He will reportedly be available later at Toys"R"Us as well, so there's another chance at him.)

Grotusque is half Doublecross/Twinferno and half new parts.  The bottom half, or the legs/tail is what's kept, while everything from the waist up is new.  (Okay, the wings and stomach are still retained.)  And, honestly, Grotusque is working for me a lot more than Twinferno.  Twinferno had this problem where his torso was awkwardly elongated, and he just looked kinda weird in beast mode.  But Grotusque throws all that stuff out and starts fresh.  The beast mode arms become robot arms, the beast head now opens and unfolds and integrates into the torso, and the result is a toy that looks proportional to itself in both modes.  So, like, score.  

Like Arcee before him, Grotusque has a "premium deco."  That means they actually paint him.  They don't, like, go overboard or anything, but they put enough paint on him that he looks like himself.  There's lots of parts that are painted over entirely just to get them to be the right color.  The wings, for example, are translucent plastic under there.  His head, Fengul, is sculpted and meticulously painted (for a Titan Master) to look like the Battle Beast Platinum Tiger.  This attention to detail also nudges him over Twinferno.

Also like Arcee, Grotusque comes with an extra little die-cast Titan Master head guy.  This time it's Scorponok.  Hi, Scorponok!

hey takaratomy maybe make this toy into fangry please and thank you

Posted September 14, 2017 at 3:15 am

A "Headmaster Arcee" has been a hypothetical holy grail of a Transformer for so long, that its very name is a meme.  It's the punchline to a platoon of fandom in-jokes.  And now it's sort of real????

I only say "sort of" only because of semantics.  Though the exact trademark terminology involved is "Titan Master," this is a Headmaster Arcee.  It's a toy of Arcee where her head pops off and becomes a little guy.  A guy named Leinad, which is "Daniel" backwards, because Daniel Witwicky-the-10-year-old-child transformed into Arcee's head in the final episodes of the original Transformers cartoon.  This is a Headmaster Arcee.

Titans Return Arcee is another retool of Titans Return Blurr.  Unlike Nautica, which only added parts to Blurr, Arcee actually replaces some parts.  She's got new shoulders (with fake kibble Arcee shoulder stuff sculpted onto the back of them so she keeps her silhouette), she's got a new car hood/shield, she's got new handguns, and she's got a new swooshy-thing on the roof of her car mode.  And, of course, the new face, both for herself and for Leinad.

Everything's gloriously pink and white.

She's one of the two Transformers-related offerings available at HasCon last weekend.  (they say she'll also be at retail at some enigmatic later time through unspecified means, but we'll see)  Just one single BotCon-style exclusive (and one Optimus Prime phone charger that most people ignored) are kind of a step back from the figurative avalanche of exclusive products that BotCons had up until their demise, but, well, I dunno, a Headmaster Arcee is such a big, crazy deal that I feel that the exchange rate of one Headmaster Arcee kind of equals a dozen or so toys.  Also, I only had to spend $25 instead of like $800, so that's cool.  

The source mold for Arcee, Titans Returns Blurr, is still a great one.  Easily one of the best in this line, so it doesn't hurt so much that we're getting it reused repeatedly.  And she comes with a bonus Ultra Magnus Titan Master head, so everything's pretty good all around.  

Hi, Don.  Squeaky wheel, eh?

Posted August 19, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Of course Anode is my new favorite Transformers character.  She's a snarky lady asshole who's married to another lady Transformer.  I'm pretty sure I write like thirteen varients of this character already.  Her very existence makes me suspect at some point I get thrown back in time and become James Roberts.

Once Titans Return Windblade was announced, I was like, oh, hey, lady jet could maybe be painted into another lady jet (and both use propeller propulsion in some way), and I started making plans.  I asked Trent Troop to make an Anode head for his Shapeways store, and I bought one of those (in frosted extreme detail).  I prepared paints.  And, finally, I got a second Windblade so I could beige her up.  

I have to say, this ended up looking more like Anode than I'd expected.  The translation went pretty well.  I mean, she doesn't turn into a space-biplane, and she doesn't transform the same (legs unwrapping into upper wings), but in robot mode she clearly has the right vibes and all the colors can go in the right places.  

And so I am pleased.

And, obviously, I'm gonna make her wife Lug.  I've got a second TR Rewind on order, and I'm gonna see if Trent can't make a Shapeways Lug head. 

Posted August 15, 2017 at 11:01 pm

I also have Sky Shadow!

I got him quite a bit ago.  There was a long dryspell of new Transformers (like a week or two) and I saw this guy in a store and I bought him, even though I'd planned to skip him.

He's pretty, at least!  It's hard to go wrong with black, silver, and red.  And he's Overlord from the pants down.  The top half transforms into a completely different jet.

I dunno.  I have regrets.  It's not that this toy is bad, but there were reasons I was skipping him.  I'm happy with the Sky Shadow I already had, and that Sky Shadow takes up way less room on a shelf (he's a Deluxe) and IDW comics based their design of him on that earlier toy.  I just don't need a giant-ass Sky Shadow.  It was a bad impulse purchase.

But here he is, anyway, for you to look at.

Like I said, he's not bad.  He's just surplus to my requirements.  And I have an Overlord now, who's mostly this guy anyway, but as a character I wanted.


Posted August 12, 2017 at 3:54 am
It's Windblade o'clock!  That's kind of like 4:20, but slightly more often.  And that's fine with me.  I'm always up for additional Windblades.  Keep piling 'em on, Hasbro.  I've got a house with shelves to fill.
Last year, there was an SDCC exclusive Windblade, technically part of the Titans Return line, but since she was a redeco of Robots in Disguise Windblade, she was the only toy out of the three in her box set that wasn't actually a Titan Master-compatible person.  She wasn't a headmaster!  And while I was grateful for Additional Windblade, I also kind of wish she got a proper Titans Return toy with a head-person head.  
Suddenly, out of no where, unbeknownst to Secret Inside Sources That Know The Entirety Of The Next Toyline Before It Even Hits Shelves, there was a Titans Return Windblade toy.  One day Hasbro's like, BAM!, surprise, Windblade in yer eyes!  So many rumor lists, and she wasn't on any of them.  This was an enjoyable experience, like how at SDCC Hasbro got to actually tell us what Power of the Primes was about and what the toys were and everything, without us knowing everything ahead of time.
which lasted about five days before the entire rest of the toyline was leaked, but whatever, it was a nice moment
Titans Return Windblade shares some parts with Scourge/Highbrow (thighs, feet, biceps, some internal transformery joint stuff), but the rest of her is new.  The amount of new is nice, especially considering Windblade's in the penultimate wave of Titans Return deluxes.  Usually by this point they're just spittin' up redecoes.  Some people mumble about her wide upper arms or her blocky thighs, but I... just... can't... bring... myself... to... care.  The toy looks good.
The original Windblade toy got a lot of flak for being difficult to stand.  The second main Windblade toy, the Robots in Disguise version, is better at standing.  This toy, though, stands the eff up.  This is mostly due to the no-nonsense way her legs are built.  They're just big and relatively chunky (for a Windblade toy) and there's feet and that's it.  These legs don't try to be fancy.  You could probably throw the toy across the room and it'd still stand.  
Titans Return Windblade also has a more satisfying transformation to jet mode.  It's not as fiddly, and everything fits solidly in place.  This toy is just a formidable chunk of Windblade.  Not as many bells or whistles (there's no scabbard and no removeable head fan), but what's here gets the job done.  You can, if you wish, borrow the scabbard/sword from a previous Windblade toy.  There are slots in the toy's thighs that accomodate tabs from the older scabbards.  Hooray for standards in toy construction, requiring those slots at most joints.  

Windblade's head transforms into a little lady robot named Scorchfire.  She can sit in Windblade's cockpit or ride in the combined sword... thing her swords make when they mash together.  It's like a flying forklift that's all fork and no lift.
If you want a solid-ass Windblade toy, this might be your best option.  If you want a Windblade that looks a little more accurate to her proportions in fiction but you don't care if she takes some effort to stand upright, then maybe look into Takara's reissue of the original that's coming next year.  If you want a Windblade that shuts up and goes away but not really because you're lonely, you might be Starscream.
man, we better get a windblade in power of the primes so we can have one that's a combiner limb, i need windblades in all the various transformers gimmicks and combiner wars left me out to dry 
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