Posts tagged with "titans return" - 3
Posted February 10, 2017 at 2:45 am

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.

Yeah, he's got a cockpit now.

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.  

Posted December 7, 2016 at 4:30 am

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.  

Posted November 30, 2016 at 3:01 am

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.

Posted November 25, 2016 at 1:01 am

Out of the four Wave 3 Titans Return Deluxe Class guys, I saved the best for last.  Triggerhappy is, like, the Italian finger kiss of Titans Return Deluxes.  I love him so much, you guys.  Whereas Getaway was just a redeco with a new face, Hot Rod was solid but very conventional, and Twinferno was inventive but kind of awkward, Triggerhappy is the whole package.  He is everything.

Let's start with his jet mode.  Spaceship mode?  Sure.  But, like, it just looks cool.  It's got those giant double-barreled cannons and the swept-back tailfins and the sharp angular look... I dunno, it just looks fast and deadly.  It one-ups the original Triggerhappy just by having those tailfins.  They add a lot of important visual flare to both his jet mode and his robot mode legs.  

Same as per the others, Triggerhappy's cockpit can open up and his little head dude can sit inside.  

The transformation is complex, efficient, and elegant, all at the same time.  The original Triggerhappy, as mentioned, didn't have those tailfins on his legs before.  The legs previously hid underneath the jet, but now on Triggerhappy's new toy they form the rear half.  The double-barreled cannons double up on his arms.  And the fun part -- the nose of the jet folds down, which is attached to a rotational piece that also the legs and crotch are attached to.  You rotate that whole thing around, switching the placement of the nose and the legs.  This was not part of the original toy's functionality... the jet nose just hung down at his crotch.  But by splitting the cockpit in half and rotating the rest behind the toy, you get a much nicer looking torso.  Plus it moves the legs from behind the jet to just below the back half of the cockpit to complete the torso.  I dunno, it's great, I love it.  It's fun to do.

And it results in such a nice robot mode.  He's got those new tailfins on his legs, he's got that abbreviated cockpit window on his chest, and the shoulders are moved up into place on a series of struts that bulk up his look in just the right way.  If you want, you could fold his fists back into his forearms and untransform his double-barreled cannons into their place, giving him giant gun arms.  

Triggerhappy's head is based on the animation model, with the separated eyes and the mouthplate, rather than the original toy, with the goggles and the mouth.  I am very fine with this.  My mental image of Triggerhappy's face is the animation model.  

I'm also pleased with the amount of paint.  There's no large areas that are covered with paint; instead, there's lots of tiny little areas given silver and gold highlight.  Lots of little things that you would have been expected to be left plain are given little paint details, whether it's the very middle tip of his jet nose or the tiny bits of gold on his ankles.  Unlike the sparse-looking Getaway, Triggerhappy looks very complete.  

I'm gushing, I know, but there's not much to complain about here, and everything is executed so well.  I heart him.

Posted November 27, 2016 at 4:00 am

I like Fangry!  I got him at my seventh grade birthday party (at Aladdin's Castle, because this was the Eighties) and then due to obvious pure happenstance he had a few focus scenes in the old Marvel Transformers comic.  He was kinda a pissy, petulant dude who was prone to attacking anyone who tells him what to do, including his own Decepticon commanders.  Probably not a popular guy!

Years later, Beast Machines gave us a toy of Noble Savage, aka "Beast Changer," an organic beast-to-beast Transformer that went from wolf to dragon.  Because transforming only does so much at ten bucks, Beast Changer's wolf mode had dragon wings (though you could remove them).  This made him look uncannily like Fangry, and so often I would pine for that toy to be redecoed as Fangry.  Who cares if he didn't get a robot mode and had a dragon mode instead?  Like, when else would we get a new Fangry toy?  Jump at those opportunities when you're presented them!

In light of that memory, on purely a personal level, it's kind of freaky that we're getting a new Fangry toy that transforms only from winged wolf to dragon.  There's no robot mode because none of the little Titan Master "vehicles" do.  They're just spare heads that come with little things to ride.  But still, that syncronocity with my Beast Changer Fangry concept presents itself.  Huh.  

Because Fangry's Titan Master vehicle transforms from wolfdragon to... regular dragon, that already makes him one of the best Titan Master guys.  Obviously, I'm being very biased here, but the Titan Masters that are beasts are just way better than the vehicle-onlys.  They're the best ones.

Fangry's winged wolf mode involves shoving the Fangry head into the tummy, filling out what's otherwise an empty gap.  Put together, it's a pretty good tiny version of the original Fangry.  Put Fangry on all fours and swap heads, and you have the dragon mode.  Here, the Fangry head transforms into a little dude who rides the dragon.  You sit him on top and you're done.  There's also a third weapon mode that's meant to be wielded by the larger head-compatible Deluxe, Voyager, and Leader Class toys.  The weapon peg is 5mm, which means the original Fangry can hold himself.

Titan Master Fangry's tiny and simple, but he's fun.  

Posted November 23, 2016 at 12:30 am

Combiner Wars was wonderful to me, but one thing it did fall short with is beasty dudes.  Of the guys from that line who actually combined, the Deluxe and Voyager Classes, only Sky Lynx (and his redeco, Deathsaurus), were beasty dudes!  There were buttloads of vehicles, sure, and, heck, even Sky Lynx himself is a vehicle and then a beast, but the entire line of Deluxe Class guys were just carcarcarcartruckcartruckjetjetjettanktank and so on.  

And so I'm grateful that with Titans Return, I have been granted more Deluxe Class beasty dudes.  Say hello to Twinferno, who used to be "Doublecross," but thanks to the inability to get that old trademark, he has been gifted a new name that is about 30 times cooler.  The original Doublecross toy was the first Transformer ever to have organic detailing (his dragon mode had furry arms), and if you rolled him along the ground, there was a spiked gear in his chest that caused him to spurt out sparks from, uh, his sternum.  Unlike the other two sparky beasty guys he originally shipped with, his beast mode heads' necks were too long for the sparks to launch through the mouths proper, and so out the collarbone or whatever they went instead.  

Hilariously, Titans Return Twinferno has the spiked gear sculpted into his chest, but it doesn't do anything.  It's just there to remind you of the thing the older toy could do but this one can't.  That's some Masters of the Universe Classics-level bullshit, there.

Twinferno's a great robot.  He looks pleasingly proportioned with his new big stompy feet.  I do love the stompy feet.  I especially love how they transform out of the beast mode's hind legs.  The hind legs just wad up, swing under the robot legs, and become feet.  This allows the tail halves to have that room on the side of the robot legs to themselves.  It's an amazing improvement and I love it.

(Note: I generally try to keep my photos of old toys next to new toys in a left-to-right chronology, but my vintage Doublecross has one of his wings broken off and so I put him on the right hand side in the below photographs instead of the left so you could see his single remaining wing better in beast mode.)

I love less the beasty mode.  Because the little head robot dude has to ride inside the beast mode, the beast mode has to fit him into the torso somehow, and now we end up with this.... super long torso.  It looks very awkward to me.  This beast is like 80% torso, with these legs all the way at the bottom and these tiny arms all the way at the top, and the torso is so long and ungainly that it makes even the dragon necks and heads look unimpressive in comparison.  I am a disappoint.

As a result, I think this guy's going to spend a lot of time in robot mode.  I mean, my guys spend a lot of time in robot mode anyway, but as an upright-standing beasty guy, he could have had a chance at remaining that way in display.  But no!  He looks kinda dippy in that mode, so he'll just have to be Big Stompy Foot Robot Guy perpetually instead.

Twinferno's head guy, Daburu, is sculpted to look like White Leo from Battle Beasts.  In Japan, Battle Beasts were part of Transformers continuity, and they even had an episode about them in the Headmasters anime.  Doublecross was in that episode, so I'm told, and so that's why his head is a little white and black lion dude wearing an eyepatch.

I'm not sure I'm the specific audience for that reference, but I'm sure someone will enjoy it, and it certainly bothers me none.

I really do love that new "Twinferno" name, though.

Posted November 21, 2016 at 9:30 pm

I own Titans Return Hot Rod because I wanted Getaway.  As mentioned yesterday, Getaway was shortpacked, and so he was only available from BigBadToyStore in a set of everybody from the case.  I am not super into the market of Deluxe Hot Rods Who Don't Look Terribly MTMTEy, and if I were, I'd probably prefer one in magenta with solid gray boots, which is what TakaraTomy is likely to do with him.  And so my plan was to skip Hasbro's Hot Rod and wait to see what TakaraTomy did.  I've got Cloud Rodimus, which is phenomenal, and so any additional Hot Rod would have to be amazingly fantastic to not be surplus-to-requirements.

But, again, if I wanted a Getaway, I had to get a Hot Rod as part of the package deal, so here we are.

And, actually, I'm pleasantly surprised with him.  The 2006 Classics Rodimus which this Hot Rod essentially replaces is... well, yeah, it's ten years old.  And even then, for its time, it was a little awkward.  Its cardoor skirt was interesting, but constantly got in the way of itself.  It had no rotational bicep articulation, and so its arms couldn't point outwards to shoot at anything.  It was pretty scrawny for a Deluxe of its time, as well, being hardly larger than his wavemate Bumblebee, who was small but came with a little jetski on a trailer to compensate for his lack of mass.  And so 2006 Classics Rodimus existed for a long time, filled an important character role, and had some neat ideas, but was often a chore to do anything with.

I was sort of ambivalent about New Titans Return Hot Rod ever since seeing images of him.  He seemed to be kind of a boring direct update, the same toy again-ish, even more than Transformers collectors tend to be used to.  He's got real similar arms, with the oversized shoulders, and his hot rod engine still ends up on his sternum, which is something he and Classics Rodimus share but few other Rodimi/Hot Rods do.

In hand, though, I've been enjoying him way more than I thought I would be.  Titans Return Hot Rod is a sizeable Deluxe Class toy (the tallest in the line so far by a smidge), and his engineering removes all of the little annoyances of the older toy.  His arms are set out from his torso, giving them room to move, he's got that bicep articulation, and his thighs are unencumbered by any sort of door skirt kibble.  Also, hey, he's got waist rotation, which is a bonus.

Oh, and his head pops off and transforms into a little dude who can ride inside him in car mode.

The car mode is more appealing to me, I think, as well.  The 2006 toy's car mode is a wedge -- which is fine, because Hot Rod's car has always been this doorstop with wheels, but the new 2016 toy adds some more interesting curvature in there to keep things interesting.  

Hot Rod's hips were, however, a little loose, causing him to do the legsplits constantly, but dabbing some floor polish into his balljoints and sockets fixed that easy-as-you-please.  

It's also nice, I GUESS, that Hasbro was able to finally get that "Hot Rod" trademark back after so many damn years.  But with a Hot Rod showing up reportedly in Transformers 5, I guess this was the time to put all your trademark ducks in a row or whatever.  "Rodimus" isn't a great name, but "Hot Rod" isn't super swell either.  It's... just what he is.  It's like naming Ravage "Cat."  (Sidestepping for the moment, of course, that Ravage's name in Japan IS "Jaguar.")

Being a Deluxe Class-sized guy fits better scale wise into my MTMTE/Lost Light display, but the Cloud Rodimus I have, while way too tall, looks more like MTMTE Rodimus, with his pointy head and yellow fists and yellow forehead.  This means Deluxe Titans Return Hot Rod is a little surplus to my requirements, but the toy is fun enough I don't regret owning him.  I like him enough I might still buy the TakaraTomy one if it's decoed in a way that pleases me.  I only own this guy as the "cost of doing business" of needing to get Getaway, anyway.

That motherfucker.


Posted November 19, 2016 at 10:01 pm

Time for more Titans Return guys!  In this third wave of Deluxes, there's Breakaway (Getaway), Hot Rod, Twinferno (Doublecross), and Triggerhappy.  Getaway is easily the boringest of the four for a few reasons, the most important of which is that he's just Chromedome with a new face.  There's been a lot of parts sharing so far in Titans Return, like a thigh or a gun here or there, but Getaway is the first Deluxe to just be somebody else's toy with a new face.  

(I'd say "new head," but that's not really accurate, as only the face itself is new, and the tiny robot guy who makes up the rest of the head is unaltered in sculpt.)  

Getaway also reminds us that budgeting for paint is done across a wave, not just on an individual toy-by-toy basis.  You CAN add more paint to one toy, but you gotta steal it from the budget of another toy in the case assortment.  

And, um, Getaway is clearly the loser, here.

Seriously, this guy is super white.  I mean, sure, the original Getaway toy was a white car, but this toy is... hella white and unpainted, even beyond what the original Getaway looked like.  Like, he should have at least blue arms, for starters.  (Adding blue paint to his arms is the first thing I did after finishing these photographs.)  And he could stand some red on the fronts of his shins.  Some, like, eyes, maybe?  The original toy didn't paint his eyes separately from the yellow of his lower face, but that's something that I think one can get away with better if other things on him are painted well.  And, well, they ain't.  So.  

The best thing about him is also kind of a curse, as well.  His face is a great interpretation of how he looks in the comic book series More Than Meets The Eye.  It makes him look like MTMTE Getaway because, well, that's MTMTE Getaway's head.   The thing is, Getaway is hated in MTMTE.  He's kind of being a jerk right now.  And so, hooray, own a sort of okayish toy of this incredible jerk.  

Did I mention he's also shortpacked?  I had to buy a set of the entire wave to get him from BigBadToyStore; that's the only way he was available.  

I mean, with his arms painted blue, he's nice enough.  But, like, you still have to paint his arms blue.  

Posted October 13, 2016 at 10:01 pm

Yay, 3D printing!  It's getting to be not-crappy!  Now that Shapeways (the online 3D printing folks) has introduced a new material, black high-def acrylate, and my pal Trent Troop had a Dinobot head to purchase, I was like, yes, I will try this thing.

Shapeways' high-def acrylate, which currently only comes in black, is pretty close to looking like normal-ass molded plastic.  You don't see any layers in the plastic, like you're looking at a toy made out of lasagna, and the sculpted detail is very fine.  The only downside, at least for this project, was the piece comes in black, and I needed to make it gold and blue.  This meant.... base coat layer!  I was painting like some kind of adult, with preparedness and forethought and everything.  Whaaaaaat.  Luckily I had some medium gray acrylic paint sitting around from when I was painting up my BotCon Ratchets.

After that, it was only a matter of getting the gold and metallic blue paint on there.  After using plain-ol' Gold Leaf, I decided the gold needed to be a little more orangey-er, and so I mixed some orange into my gold and painted it again.  At this point, I think I've started to lose a little of the sculpted detail, but, eh, I don't feel like scraping it all off and starting over.  It looks nice, though!  I like it.

Trent/TheRobotMonster's got over 100 heads to choose from in his Shapeways store.  There's some Optimuses, some Pretender Monsters, Skeletor, the goddang Sogmaster, Krang, Rung and Tarn... there's a bunch there.  And all you gotta do is screwdriver away the head on the Titan Master toy itself, replace the head with the new one, and screwdriver the screw back in.  Easy cheezy.  You can make any Titans Return headmaster guy into Dinobot.  Or the Sogmaster.  

Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:30 am

american wheelie left, japanese wheelie (with goshooter) rightI gambled and it worked out.  Remember my blogpost about Titans Return Wheelie?  About how he's a great little robot and the transformation is interesting but he's kind of absolutely ruined by his car mode not holding together?  At all?  

Well, I got a second one (the one on the right in the photographs), the Japanese TakaraTomy one, and that one holds together fine.

Some American ones reportedly hold together in vehicle mode all right.  Maybe some Japanese ones don't.  But this one is good.  It's probably just plastic tolerances.  The design is maybe just not engineered in a way that it will hold together under all manufacturing conditions, I dunno.  But this one is fine.  

Ironically, I like the robot mode colors better on the new one, but the old one's car colors look better to me.  The one with the car mode I can't get to stay together is the one with the better colors.  Great.  But the robot mode on the new one is still alot better, as I said, so it's not all bad.  I like the gunmetal legs and the replacing of silver plastic with orange.  Plus it's nice that all of Wheelie's head is painted appopriately, not just his face.  

The one thing I don't like about the new one's robot mode is the much clearer translucent plastic canopy.  The smokey translucent plastic of the old one looked better on the robot chest, I feel.  Thankfully, you can just easily swap that, easy as one pleases.  Snaps off, snaps on.  The only downside is that it gives him THREE Autobot symbols in vehicle mode instead of the still-ridiculous two.  Ah well.  

I've got a photo of what that looks like on the left, with the slingshot accessory I stole from a previous Wheelie.

Wheelie comes with Go Shooter, who is the little boy who transforms into the head of who we call Siren over here.  It's nice that this Wheelie stays together when you try to fit Go Shooter inside.  I got so mad trying to get the old one transformed into car mode for the second photo above that I just gave up in a fit of rage.  Well, stole your canopy, sorry, and into the bin with you!

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