Ahhh, I can’t tell you how great it feels to have brand new content for Transformers Thursdays again! Today I’m continuing my look at the initial wave of Deluxe Class Titans Return figures with one of my all time favorite Headmasters from the G1 days, Hardhead. Hardhead was one of the handful of Headmasters that I managed to collect about 15 years back, before unloading them all for whatever my next big obsession was. I later replaced him with Toyworld’s unfortunately named homage, Hardbone. Now, I’ve come full circle back to Hasbro again.
I’ve been getting my Deluxes online and the cards have all been beat to hell. It’s no biggie, because I’m over this packaging design. You know what else I’m over? These damn plasting straps they use to secure these guys onto the bubbles. What was wrong with the white string? The white string was easy to deal with. These little things go everywhere and I hate them. I’d rather get the figure rattling around a little in the package than have to deal with these. Anyway, rant over. Hardhead comes packaged in his robot mode, but as usual, I’m starting off with his alt mode.
There’s no beating around the bush here, this is straight up G1 Hardhead. Oh, there are a few minor changes, like the cockpit being a bit further back, and that gray plate, which I assume is some kind of access hatch, being closer to the front, but he’s still a futuristic green quad tank with black treads and a big gray cannon. The coloring here is achieved mostly through the plastic, with not a lot of paint apps showing in the vehicle mode. Nonetheless, the deco is great and instantly invokes the original toy.
The only gripe that comes to mind is that I consider Hardhead too small to be a Deluxe Class figure. He’s a tank with a lot of firepower and I feel he should be bigger than someone like Blurr, who despite being a sportscar, is actually longer than Hardhead. The issue is by no means a deal-breaker, as there’s something appealing to me about having most of the characters scaled in one size class, but it’s certainly going to irk a number of collectors out there.
For some reason, Hardhead’s little head buddy has been renamed from Duros to Furos, otherwise he’s exactly what you might expect: A tiny green and gray robot. As we saw last time, his legs are fused together, but are hinged at the hips and knees, and he has articulation in both his shoulders and his neck. And yes, if you turn him around, there’s a giant face on his back. The only paint work on the front is his little face, which is surprisingly well done for such a tiny bot.
Furos can sit comfortably inside Hardhead’s cockpit and the canopy closes perfectly.
There’s some other points of interactivity between the little bots and Hardhead’s alt mode. The back part of the cannon opens up to reveal a chair, and if you peg Hardhead’s rifle into the top of the gun, you have an extra gunner station. There are also pegs on the front treads to place some more of the little buggers. I’ve called in the individually packed Headmasters, Clobber and Loudmouth to help illustrate. Like I said last time, I love these extra little play features that Hasbro is including in the designs here. Size notwithstanding, everything else about this alt mode gets high marks from me. Now, let’s check out that robot mode…
Hot damn, I’m loving these figures! There’s nothing terribly complex or amazing about the transformation here. Hardhead’s front treads become his arms, the back treads become the legs, and the body of the tank folds in two places at the middle to form the front and back of the torso. Flip the pelvis plate down and you’re good to go. The cannon can be removed, but it doesn’t have to be for the transformation. It lands behind his right shoulder pointing straight up, but you can angle it forward to make it more useful and I really like having that option.
Like Blurr, there’s a ton of great sculpted detail on this figure and he’s perfectly proportioned. Unlike Blurr, there’s actually a lot going on with the coloring here. The robot mode shows a lot more black and gray, and a little of the green, but you also get some very nice yellow and paint around his pelvic area and some tiny Autobot insignia on his shoulders and again just above his waist. I love that they have the gray chest plate, which in the G1 toy folded down to reveal his stats when the Headmaster was plugged in. And speaking of which, Furos forms an absolutely perfect head with a great sculpt and terrific paint.
Once again, all the heads are interchangeable. If you were with me last week, you know this isn’t a play mechanic I plan on using, because I have a lot of familiarity vested in these characters and swapping out the heads kind of ruins that. Nonetheless, here’s a shot of Hardhead’s body wearing Clobber as a head. Damn, I left one of the arms askew. Oh well, he’s a pretty shitty head anyway, what with all that unpainted off-white plastic. Be warned, Clobber, you will not fare well when I get to reviewing the individual head packs.
As we already saw, Hardhead comes with a big green rifle, but sadly only one. If I ever find him on the pegs and on sale, it’ll be real tempting to pick up a second so that I can give him his proper G1 twin gun armament. And again, other than size that’s really the only complaint I have about this guy. In robot mode, he still feels under-scaled for the character. He’s no taller than Blurr, but he does at least have a slightly bigger upper body build, which makes him look a tad bulkier.
I loved Blurr, and that goes double for Hardhead here. He’s a relatively simple figure, but I’m at the point in my Transformers collecting, where I can appreciate the more simplistic engineering. I don’t want them too simple, but I’m not a fan of the overly complex figures anymore. Hardhead is quick to transform and loads of fun to play with. The joints are a little looser than my Blurr’s, but not so bad that he can’t hold his own weight. But besides all that, he’s a near perfect homage to the original figure, and that is what I’m digging the most about Titans Return so far. And that wraps up the two Autobots of the first Deluxe Class wave. Next time, we’ll start in on the Decepticons.