Posts tagged with "titans return" - 4
Posted October 7, 2016 at 12:01 am

Weirdwolf is yellow and teal, and this is like 99.99% of why I like him so much.  That plus the offwhite and red trim to me is the Italian finger kiss of color schemes.  It's the same reason I love RID Destructicon Bludgeon.  It's why BotCon 2007's Weirdwolf redeco of Cybertron Snarl is one of my all-time favorite convention toys.  I love those colors.  They're great.  A++  Would buy again. 

I decided to get the TakaraTomy version of Weirdwolf for a handful of reasons.  One, he comes with a yellow and teal monkey, which is hard to say no to.  Rarigo (which is "gorilla" spelled backwards in Japanese) is a redeco of Apeface's Titan Master vehicle, which triplechanges from gorilla to jet to gun and back.  If I can get a Weirdwolf that also comes with a monkey, why wouldn't I get the one that comes with a monkey?

Secondly, judging from online photography, TakaraTomy's Weirdwolf had a teal I liked better than Hasbro's.  Mind, this is going off of promo renders and colors-not-always-true-to-in-person photography, but I did my best to judge the two teals, and I decided on the Japanese one instead of the domestic.  I am very particular about my teals!  The BotCon Weirdwolf's teal is a smudge too green, and it's not SO green that it ruins the yellow-and-teal deal for me, but it's on the edge.  TakaraTomy Weirdwolf looked just right.  

Plus their Monzo got his face painted, which is a plus.

Things I'm missing by not having the Hasbro one, are the nice translucent red highlights inside the wolf head.  Takara paints over a lot of that with light gray.    On the other hand, I really like the two-toned red of the eyes and face.  The face is a tad pinker than the eyes, and it's a nice, subtle effect.

The toy is pretty adept for your run-of-the-mill quadruped-to-biped transformation.  The arms transform into forelimbs and the legs transform into hindlimbs, as often the case with beastformers.  But it's a much better four-legged mammal than Alpha Trion's unikitty mode, with hind legs that look a lot more natural, and so I'm pleased.  The torso expands for beast mode and collapses to a shorter length for robot mode.  The wolf head rotates at the neck, and also there's a small amount of left-to-right movement as well.  The jaw opens, which is usually a feature on beastformers, but is still always welcome.  

Weirdwolf's tail becomes a sword, and there's a cannon weapon that plugs into his beast mode's hindquarters which can also be a seat for a Titan Master head dude.  And, of course, Weirdwolf can point his gorilla gun around if he wants.  

I hope the next Transformers line-wide gimmick is Monkey Weapons.

Posted October 4, 2016 at 12:45 am

I went on and on about Cerebros a while back, and here's his Japanese counterpart, Fortress.  Unlike Cerebros, who had a completely-made-up-head-for-animation-for-no-known-reason, Fortress was a much more toy-accurate design.  He has box-shaped shades instead of eyes, and that's essentially the only difference between his animation model and the toy.  Cerebros was decked out in blacks and whites and grays, while Fortress stuck to the gray-and-also-gray of the toy.  And so in a roundabout way, it'd be easy for me to have nostalgia for Fortress just because he looks just like the toy I had when I was 8.

Additionally, because I am old, I can have nostalgia for stuff I experienced when I was twenty, and so I can also have affection for Fortress because of his depiction in the Headmasters anime, particularly with the so-bad-it's-amazing Omni Productions English dub.  And because Cerebros and Fortress have different heads, color schemes, and personalities, it's really easy to mentally segregate them into two very distinct characters rather than different interpretations of the same guy.

But, honesly, the reason I got Fortress was because I wanted the Fortress Maximus body that he came with.  As previously noted, I spent a good chunk of third grade obsessively crafting cardboard Fortress Maximuses, and so I have some very deeply rooted Fortress Maximus Opinions.  For example, Fortress Maximus has red hip-nipples, dammit.  Does the new American Fort Max have red hip-nipples?  No!  They're silver!  Unacceptable.  And so I purchased the new Japanese Fort Max, which is much more slavishly adherent to the original toy.  Ultimately, I have the American Fort Max for the Cerebros and the Japanese Fort Max for the Fort Max.  Plus, bonus Fortress!

Like Cerebros, Fortress has electronic lights and sounds.  Unlike Cerebros, whose sounds are mostly sound effects interspersed with a few trademarked phrases like "CEREBROS" and "FORTRESS MAXIMUS" so that his toy still makes sense to non-English-speaking folks in various markets, Fortress's sounds are of his original Japanese voice actor saying full Japanese sentences, and also a clip of the Headmasters anime theme music.  I don't understand Japanese, and so these phrases are mostly lost on me, but I do recognize them as sentences, so at least Fortress sounds way more articulate than Cerebros, who is only good at saying his own name.  

At the end of the day, Fortress is good to have in order so that my Fort Max has a head in robot mode, while Cerebros is off being Cerebros with his pals.  

anyway fort max doesn't fit in my lighting studio, so i hope you like me talking exclusively about his detachable head

Posted September 29, 2016 at 4:30 am

Rounding out the last of the original five Autobot Headmasters recreated in Titans Return is Chromedome.  A few years ago, Fun Publications made us a Chromedome out of Transformers Prime Wheeljack, with a More Than Meets The Eye-styled head.  Well, the MTMTE-styled head is back for this new toy, same as with Brainstorm.  The stars of the (ending yesterday but relaunching as Lost Light #1) MTMTE comic book series get to have MTMTE-inspired heads, while the other Autobot Headmasters get a mix of toy- and cartoon-inspired heads.  

Chromedome's body is also designed after MTMTE, but not on the modern-day body he has for most of the series, with the giant wheels on his shoulders and the skinny, streamlined appearance.  This is sadness to me.  I love that design.  Instead, his sculpt is based on the design he has in pre-war flashbacks, which was inspired more strongly by his original toy.   Which is okay, but, sure.  Whatevs.  

Beyond taking its cues second-hand from the original 1986 Chromedome toy, Chromedome is a very familiar figure.  He's not a retool of the Combiner Wars Dead End/Streetwise/Prowl/Dustup toy, but he has similar engineering, down to the chunk of bicep that's molded in nonpaintable nylon plastic.  Chromedome transforms essentially the same as Dead End, with the shins opening up so they can swallow the thighs, the chest flipping up under the hood (which stores on the robot's back), and the arms compressing into the sides of the car mode.  The lone real difference is the addition of a drivers compartment inside the car, which results in the roof folding up on the back of Chromedome's legs instead of flipping down behind the back like on Dead End.

Again, he's not a retool.  He's entirely new parts, just with a borrowed transformation style.  

Like the other Titans Return Deluxes, he has a smaller weapon and a larger detachable weapon/thing that his head can sit in when his head is a little dude.  Also like many of the other Titans Return Deluxes, his smaller weapon is a Starscream-style null ray.  Lotsa guys have this damn null ray -- Blurr, Brainstorm, Chromedome... I've got a pile of null rays now.  I wonder if this is a hint at a future Starscream/Seeker toy, or if someone just likes null rays.  

I got the American version of Chromedome because, duh, MTMTE head.  The Japanese version, which is not released yet, has a different, Headmasters anime-styled noggin, which itself is different from the American cartoon-style head.  I'm tempted by the Headmasters-headed one, if only because of the goofy English dub, but that would always have to be a secondary purchase.  Like Rewind, my heart will always belong to the MTMTE-style Chromedome first and foremost.  

Posted September 27, 2016 at 3:01 am

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.

I like Gort.  He wears no pants and makes out with girls so hard he falls off cliffs.  That's just so relatable.

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. 

Posted September 24, 2016 at 3:45 am

Today's Scourge is a lot like yesterday's Blurr in several ways:

  1. Guy I already had a good Generations toy of.
  2. Hasbro deco was so bland that I basically shrugged off the idea of buying the toy entirely.
  3. Then TakaraTomy was all "hey look, colors" and I was then all "oh hey there"
  4. 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.

Posted September 22, 2016 at 1:30 am

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.  

Posted September 2, 2016 at 3:45 am

Jeez, third Toyless Guy Created For Fiction Who Now Gets A Toy in a row!  Alpha Trion has kinda gotten toys before, whether they be PVC figurines or BotCon exclusives or what have you, but this is his first mass market North American transforming toy.  That I have to use so many qualifiers should lampshade how many different little Alpha Trion items we've gotten.  

Bizarrely enough, in lieu of replicating Alpha Trion's usual look that was introduced way back in the original cartoon, with the Floro Dery-esque geometry and the cape, TItans Return Alpha Trion instead homages two BotCon Alpha Trion toys -- one we didn't get and one we actually did.  The one we didn't get was a redeco of Beast Machines Snarl -- a lion --  back in 2001, chosen because he was a robot mode with a beard.  (Similar to how we got Arcee out of Blackarachnia because that was a Transformer toy that was a lady.)  The one we did get was a Cybertron Vector Prime retool -- a spaceship -- with a new head in 2007.  And so this Alpha Trion transforms into both a lion and a spaceship.  It's like somebody from Hasbro wanted to find out what Alpha Trion turned into (he didn't in the original cartoon, as he was older than the invention of transformation) and saw on TFWiki that his two "real" toys turned into a lion and a spaceship respectively and that was that.  

Titans Return Alpha Trion is a very clunky-looking toy, and it doesn't look particularly elegant.  This seems to have turned a lot of folks off him at the outset, but in-hand, he's... well, he's still clunky-looking and inelegant, but he's fun to transform.  He's just a doofy bearded robot that transforms into a blocky unikitty and a wedge that dubiously claims to be a spaceship.  Like the other Titans Return toys, he has a little dude that transforms into his head, and there's a translucent compartment for him to ride in either mode, or he can sit in Alpha Trion's gun.  

He's weird-lookin' but I like him.  

Posted August 3, 2016 at 5:45 am

For the second year in a row we got a fancy-colored Windblade as a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive!  Last year, we got a red and goldish Windblade in a "Combiner Hunters" giftset, and this year we get a new Windblade in a "Titan Force" giftset!  ... and I do mean "new."  There's a new Windblade toy that's based on the Robots in Disguise cartoon design, and this is the actual-factual first way to get it.  The domestic retail one's yet to hit stores, and the Japanese version of the same thing is either arriving shortly before or after it.  So this San Diego Windblade is a new toy!

Sort of, I guess?

I mean, it's still Windblade, and a Windblade design that's not too far removed from the first Windblade toy.  This new RID Windblade transforms..... very similarly to the first one.  Nosecone flips on the back, legs fold out from the thrusters, arms just kinda unpeg from the underside of the jet.  Like, it's all the same stuff, but everything is kinda simplified.  It's a toy that's the same size and the same general design, but with fewer details.  There's fewer parts, and it's streamlined a little.  

New Windblade even comes with a sword and sheath that are nigh-identical to the original.  One might be forgiven for assuming they're exactly the same tooling, but they're not.  The 5mm peg is moved to a new location and the whole sheath thing is skinnier now.  Like, it's as if they took the same 3d model and squished it a bit and moved a peg.  

The fan still removes from the back of her head, and the turbines on her wings still rotate.  As such, she retains most of the original toy's functionality, it's just, again, everything's a lot simpler.  And she stands better, too, with new feet that aren't so fiddly.

She's decoed in Fortress Maximus colors -- gray, blue, and red -- since she's a Cityspeaker and Fortress Maximus is a city with which to speak.  (And the other SDCC exclusive.)  

Posted July 31, 2016 at 10:40 pm

People have been feeling kinda sore over the last new (non-live-action) Galvatron toy we got, way back in 2008, because that toy was garbage.  It was!  It's one of the few toys I skipped from that line because it just looked terrible all-around.  It was way too short and it looked awkward and it just wasn't very good.  I did end up getting a later redeco of that toy as part of a box set that came with a comic book I wanted.  My feelings did not change.

Since then, folks have been clamouring for a Non Sucky Galvatron, one that was a little more substantial.  And eight years later, lo, there was another Galvatron, a size class higher, who transformed into his classic cannon mode instead of a realistic Earth tank, and also there was a third jet mode, sure, why not.  WILL THIS BE THE GALVATRON WE WERE WAITING FOR???

I waited for the TakaraTomy version of the toy, which had some additional paint apps I wanted, though the plastic colors itself are a little too lilac for me.  The American one's a very dark and vibrant, classic purple.  But, eh, I have plenty of toys in that purple, and at least the lilac's kind of a change of pace.  

In-hand, the toy hits just about everything you'd want in a Galvatron toy.  It's sizeable, it transforms fine from robot to cannon to jet mode (jet mode's more interesting than cannon, I feel), and it has a good presence.  What's wrong?  Well, first of all, the arm cannon kind of gets in the way of itself.  It's so large and bulbous that Galvatron's right arm can't do much at all.  Getting it into positions is either a chore or impossible.  The cannon is easily removable -- it's required for transformation -- but a Galvatron without a cannon is probably on nobody's want list.

But the big deal is his goddamn head.  The Leader Class toys, Blaster and Powermaster Optimus Prime, have big-ol' helmets that deploy from the back and fold over the Little Head Dude, almost completely covering it.  And these helmets are included on the neck rotation hinge, and everything's fine.  Galvatron's little head dude (who is Megatron) plugs into the neck fine enough, but like the Leader Class toys, the part of the head that makes him look like Galvatron is stored elsewhere.  You open the chest, and the front of Galvatron's three-pointed crown helmet spring-load flips out and sort of almost does its job completing the look.  The face itself is buried a few millimeters deep behind the flip-out helmet part, and it looks kind of awful from any angle but head-on.

The real kicker is that the head can no longer move.   Oh, you can get a few degrees of movement left or right, just a fraction of a millimeter or so, but this is an inperceptible difference.  Though the inside of the torso looks like it might accommodate some rotation, it's the connection of the helmet to this rotational stuff that gets in its own way.  Effectively, Galvatron cannot turn his head.  

And so, between that and the very awkward way in which his cannon negatively impacts his arm articulation, there is not much you can do with his robot mode that does not make him look dippy.  It's such an incredibly frustrating problem, that quite a few folks have modded their toys, removing the Galvatron head piece entirely from the flip-up part and gluing it permanently onto the little head dude.  Without the flip-up part contraption, the head can move fine.  But this takes a lot of skilled kitbashing work, and you end up with a little Megatron headmaster dude that no longer fits into the cockpit of his own toy because of the added Galvatron helmet part.  

So if you're cool with a Galvatron toy that only looks good from directly head-on, then this is your guy.  I mean, his other two modes are pretty good, the jet in particular, but goddamn.  

Posted July 30, 2016 at 4:01 am

Finally, I got my hands on a Titans Return Deluxe Class toy.  Weirdly enough, it's a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive (no, I didn't go personally this year), and it's a drastically retooled version of a wave 1 toy that's been out in stores but I haven't gone looking for.  So I kind of feel like I skipped ahead instead of starting from the beginning.

Titans Return Brainstorm is the second Brainstorm toy in just about as many years, with Thrilling 30 Brainstorm coming out shortly before Combiner Wars got its start.  That Brainstorm was a Voyager Class (translation: bigger) and it was directly based on Brainstorm's More Than Meets The Eye comic book series design.  This new, much smaller Brainstorm is.... sort of based on MTMTE.  It's a heavy retool of Titans Return Blurr, and so it primarily looks like Blurr with wings glued on.  That's an oversimplification of the changes done, but it gets across the idea that this toy was not created with Brainstorm first in mind, not like the previous toy.  

However, most importantly, he does have MTMTE Brainstorm's face.  There are a number of other styles of Brainstorm face Hasbro could have gone with, such as his cartoon/Marvel design, or the weird faceplateless version from Japan's Headmasters (which is a face we can assume Japan will get on their version eventually), or another interpretation of the original toy's face.  But naw, we get a second MTMTE face, which is fine by me.  I likely wouldn't have much use for this new toy otherwise.

So why bother with him at all, if the previous Brainstorm toy was closer to his MTMTE look?  Well, a few reasons.  First is me reminding you that I am obsessive.  Second is his size.  The previous, Voyager Class Brainstorm was kinda a honkin' huge toy, and Brainstorm's not quiiiiiite that tall a guy.  And so this toy feels better scaled to everyone else.  Third, the SDCC version of this toy has a specifically-MTMTE-y deco, with the more cyanish teal and the teal on the legs instead of bare gray.  And probably most importantly is he comes in a three-toy box set with a new Fort Max-themed Windblade that I definitely wasn't gonna not have.  (The third toy is a translucent orange Sentinel Prime, which, again, yeah.  You know me.)

But all that said, this Brainstorm toy is a better toy than the larger, earlier one.  The previous Brainstorm was pretty damned simple.  You fold his legs under himself and he's done. ...Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Simple toys can be more fun to play with than complex toys, but this new Brainstorm his a better sweet spot between simple and complicated.  The new Brainstorm transforms a little upside-down compared to the old one, where instead of the feet folding underneath the front, you flip Brainstorm around so his feet fold up into the rear of the spaceship mode.  The arms unravel from the sides and you flip them front-to-back as well.  The giant nose of the spaceship, which just folded behind the back of the previous Brainstorm toy.... still folds behind his back, but you can also remove it and use it as an arm-mounted weapon or as a vehicle for his little head dude.

(his little head dude is called Teslor, by the way -- back in 1987, his head's name was Arcana, but i guess that trademark isn't available anymore, so it's TESLOR, which is............... definitely a real historical guy's name with -or on the end of it, ain't it)

Versus either of the "official" ways to store his giant spaceship nose, I have decided to do it my own way.  I hang it upside-down on his back so that Brainstorm keeps the over-the-shoulder cannons that he has both in MTMTE and his previous toy.  (As seen in this post's first image.)  They're an important part of his silhouette to me, so first thing out of the package I tried to find a way to recreate them.  They definitely don't plug in securely, requiring gravity to do most of the work, but if you angle the support structure just behind his head just so, you can kind of hook his nosefins across the large tabs back there and have it stay in place well enough.

If you don't want to have to buy a SDCC-exclusive Brainstorm, well, sort of good news!  There's a single-carded version of him coming as an exclusive to Walgreens very shortly.  The Walgreens Brainstorm tries to be more like the original toy, with a mintier green, warmer grays, a  yellow cockpit window, and minus the teal on his boots.  Also his helmet might be a darker gray, we dunno for sure yet.  

If you have a Walgreens nearby, I recommend trying to pick him up.  I thiiiiiiiiiink he starts showing up in August?  

Backing up, Brainstorm is a retool of Blurr, right?  Well, that means he has the same partially-open canopy that Blurr does.  Which means Brainstorm is a spaceship without a fully-enclosed canopy.   Better hope whoever's driving can breathe in space!  

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