Transformers Titans Return: Aimless and Misfire by Hasbro

Folks, I have a sad. Hasbro showed off their new convertorobot line at SDCC and it’s called Power of the Primes and I hate it so much because it means that Titans Return is ending. Now, I still have plenty of Titans Return figures to pick up, and I’ll concede that I passed on some of the Voyagers (Like Optimus Prime and Megatron), but the Deluxe Class figures in this line can do no wrong in my book, and today I’m opening one that I am particularly excited about. The sadness is lifting, as I try to live in the moment.

Misfire! He’s one of the handful G1 Targetmasters that I actually owned in the past, and I was so happy to see the character get a slot in one of the Titans Return Deluxe assortments. Yup, this is another example of a Targetmaster changed into a Headmaster and I don’t care FIGHT ME!!! I have nothing to really say about the packaging, so let’s jump right in to his alt mode.

I’ve been a huge fan of the Cybertronian jets that have been turning up in this line, so it should come as no surprise that I really dig Misfire’s alt mode. The designers basically took the look of the original toy, sucked out all the boxiness, and streamlined it into a sleek fighter craft. The back isn’t as hunched as it is in the original design, but the jet still sports that distinctive forked nose with the little fin stabilizers, and the angled, bent wings. This is a phenomenal update, with my only real gripe being that it looks a little unfinished from the back. It doesn’t really bother me, but hmm… who does that remind me of?

Yes, Misfire and Triggerhappy share the same hind quarters in their alt modes, which means they have the same legs in their robot modes. Hey, if you’re going to borrow parts, might as well be from Triggerhappy, because he was one fine looking toy.

The coloring gets by with mostly a pinkish-mauve plastic that fits the character fairly well. I swear I’ve seen the original toy in red as well, but I’m pretty sure my old one was closer to this color. There’s a little pale gray showing here and there, but not much, and you get the blue tinted canopy over the cockpit. There are some beautiful tampos on this toy, which include red and silver wing stripes, some little silver panels to the front sides of the cockpit, and some more panels between the two rear fins. All of this is accompanied by some lovely sculpted panel lines. For a toy that makes due with a very stagnant deco, Misfire look amazing.

Misfire’s handguns mount under his wings to give him some much needed firepower.

Aimless is Misfire’s head robot partner and… Holy shit, is that paint on his little face that I see? It is! Primus knows, these Titan Masters look so much better with a few microscopic licks of paint. I can’t figure out why Hasbro decided to start painting faces again, but I’m not complaining. Oh, and obviously, Aimless can sit inside Misfire’s cockpit and serve as a pilot.

And here’s the robot mode! Misfire features a pretty simple transformation. The coolest thing is the way the front of the jet folds down to become his back. This figure hits so many great design points for me, it’s hard to know where to begin. I suppose my favorite thing is the way the wings protrude out from his back, Seeker style. Even from the back, this dude looks very polished, and I dig the way the dual points of the front of the jet, along with the fins, peek up from behind his back. Very cool! As already mentioned, those are Triggerhappy’s legs and they look good on him, with the fins protruding out below the knees. The deco remains largely unchanged, although it does add more of that pale gray to the mix, as well as some red paint on his chest. I think we have a new contender here for my favorite Decepticon Deluxe robot mode in this line.

Aimless forms a great looking noggin.  I dig the blue visor and the lavender paint they used for his face is pretty distinctive. My figure has a few smidges of blue transferred onto the face, but nothing too bad.

The articulation here is very standard for the Titans Return Deluxes. Sometimes I forget to even cover it, since it’s pretty much the same throughout most of the Deluxes in this line. The shoulders swivel and are hinged, elbows are hinged and there are swivels in the biceps. The hips are ball jointed, the knees are hinged, and there are hinges in both the foot and the heel spur. Misfire can swivel at the waist, and his head can rotate.

The wing guns that we saw earlier unpeg and can be used as Misfire’s hand guns. As usual, they’re mirror images of each other and can combine to form a double-barreled gun with a seat for a Titan Master. There’s really no good way to use the combined gun on Misfire’s alt mode, but there are plenty of other figures you can add it to.

As you can no doubt tell, I can’t stop gushing about this line’s Deluxe Class figures! Misfire is everything I’m looking for in a Transformer. He’s a solid update to a G1 character, his transformation features simple but effective engineering, and he looks absolutely bitchin’ in both his alt and robot modes. He’s also loads of fun to play with, shoulders not withstanding. I’m currently on the hunt for Twintwist and Windblade, and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on Slugslinger. In the meantime, I’m hoping to have one of the bigger bots to look at next week, but I can’t make any promises yet.

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Transformers Titans Return: Blowpipe and Triggerhappy by Hasbro

It’s the first Transformers Thursday of the new year and… oh, shit. That’s right, it’s Wednesday. This new schedule is going to take some time to get used to. Either way, it’s time to check out the last of the Wave 3 Deluxes from Titans Return and it is indeed the wonderfully named, Triggerhappy!

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I’m in uncharted waters here, because I have had next to no dealings with the G1 incarnation of this character. Never owned the toy. Never encountered the character in any of the fiction. I only know that he was a Decepticon Targetmaster that turned into a spaceship, and his Targetmaster was Blowpipe. This should be refreshing! Let’s start with his alt mode…

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If I were to express sexual desire in the form of a high-powered Decepticon attack craft, surely this would be it. Indeed, this sexy ship looks like it would be right at home in any number of top-down arcade shooters and that’s a big part of why I love it so very much. With an ultra-aggressive profile and bristling with laser cannons, Triggerhappy is so very aptly named, and I’ll bet his alt mode makes all the other ‘Cons rage with jealousy. The ship design is finished off with detachable guns under the forward-angled wings and a single folding landing gear under the cockpit. Simply magnificent!

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The coloring here is pretty good as well. You get a two-tone deco of pale gray and royal blue plastics, along with some lovely gold and silver paint apps on some of the vents and panels. The wings are striped and have Decepticon emblems in the traditional purple and silver, and there’s an additional emblem, in white, stamped right behind the cockpit.

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Blowpipe is a pretty typical little Titan Master. There’s no paint, but at least he’s composed of the same blue and gray plastics as Triggerhappy, giving him a little variety in color. The cockpit’s canopy hinges open in the middle giving the little guy a place to sit.

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Triggerhappy’s transformation is both very easy and pretty clever. Basically, the nose of the ship and the back of the ship rotate to switch positions, allowing the cockpit to split apart, which makes the final robot mode look like the transformation should be a lot more complicated than it is. Truth is, you can convert this guy back and forth very quickly, and that’s always a big plus for me when playing with my change-o-bots. But, can Triggerhappy’s robot mode possibly rival such an amazing alt mode?

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Yes it can… and it does! As mentioned above, the cockpit splits so he’s wearing part of it on his lower torso with the nosecone packed onto his back. The torso and legs are amazingly clean and well proportioned, and even the wings on his lower legs look more like a style choice than actual kibble. In fact, the only real kibble here are the back swept wings on the shoulders and the dual cannons that are folded up on each arm, but I’m OK with that, because those cannons have a purpose in that they can be folded down to give Triggerhappy some insane arm rifles.

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They can be made even crazier if you plug the rifles into them. It’s not my personal favorite way to display him, but options like this are always fun to have.

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Triggerhappy looks pretty solid from the back too. Yeah, he’s got those hollow lower legs. Some of the Titans Return figures have been good about closing them up, others don’t seem to care. The nosecone from the spaceship mode isn’t terribly bulky and it stays put nicely when posing and playing with the figure, and those extra long heel spurs help keep this fellow standing upright. Even those wings that hang off his shoulders are kind of stylish and they don’t get in the way of his arms too badly.

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The toy’s deco doesn’t really change much in robot mode. You still get a pleasing balance between the blue and gray plastics, with the same silver and gold paintwork showing. I think the gold thrusters on the shoulders look great and I really dig the way the white Decepticon emblem lands right in the middle of his chest. And I have to say, I absolutely love the head sculpt on this guy. There’s certainly an unusual Optimus Prime resemblance in there, which comes from the combination of the “helmet” and the face plate. The yellow paint on the eyes and red face plate both look great.

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Naturally, the guns that un-peg from under the spacecraft’s wings can be wielded as rifles. If I’m nitpicking, I wish these were cast in the blue plastic to offer a little more variety to the coloring. They can be pegged together to form a large double-barrel cannon that Blowpipe can operate, but there’s really nowhere to use it with Triggerhappy. Or at least not one that I’ve found.

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This third Wave of Titans Return Deluxes may have been skewed in the Autobots favor by three to one, but that’s OK, because there’s no doubt in my mind that Triggerhappy is the strongest figure in this assortment. Keep in mind, I absolutely adored both Hot Rod and Twinferno, so to give this guy the nod as my favorite… well, that’s saying a lot. It’s hard to think of many Transformers that feature such strong robot and vehicle modes and are this fun to play with. And that catches me up on the Titans Return Deluxe figures. When I revisit this line in a week or so, it’ll be to check out the big daddy of the series… Fortress Maximus!

Transformers Titans Return: Throttle and Breakaway by Hasbro

I’ve got time to get in just one more Transformers Thursday before 2016 wraps up and it just so happens I’m right in the middle of my look at Wave 3 of the Titans Return Deluxes. I’ve already checked out Hot Rod and Twinferno, now it’s time to look at the one that I was really looking forward to. The figure that I knew was going to be amazing before I got him in hand. That’s right, it’s… Breakaway? Really? This guy? Nah, of course not. I’m being roboto-sarcastic. This figure is the quick-and-dirty repaint that Hasbro snuck in to help cost out the wave.

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If you haven’t guessed by the packaged shot, Breakaway is a straight repaint of Chromedome. He’s also an homage to the G1 Powermaster, Getaway, and the Titan Master, Throttle, is an homage to Getaway’s little engine buddy, Rev. Hey, if Hasbro’s going to give us a repaint, at least they did it trying to deliver us another updated G1 toy. Let’s start with his alt mode.

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Yup, it’s a white Chromedome. The car design is definitely not a close match for G1 Getaway, unless you’re grading it on the most abstract of scales and count it having four wheels and, well… also being a car. With that having been said, Hasbro tried to match the deco is best they could. You get the red and blue stripes on the sides of the hood and again on the blue panels in front of the rear wheel wells. The red tinted windows and yellow stripe above the windshield is a nice touch too.

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On the downside, it loses points for not having a spoiler, especially when you consider one could have been added by a relatively simple remold. I also think that the front grill and headlights are desperately in need of some more paintwork. It’s honestly not a bad looking car, but if I didn’t already know it, I’d be hard pressed to identify this guy as an update to Getaway.

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Throttle is a simple enough little bot. As expected, there’s no paint on him, but I will give him credit for not being all one color. In this case, his body is white and his arms, legs, and head are blue. I think it’s odd that they didn’t try to color match Rev, but matching the colors between Titan Master and robot seems to be the order of the day here. As you probably guessed, Throttle does not turn into an engine, but he can sit in the driver compartment of the car and the fact that he’s got a lot of blue in him means that he doesn’t blend in with the same colored plastic interior like a lot of these little guys do.

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Breakaway comes with the exact same weapons as Chromedome, this time cast in blue plastic. The toy allows for several different ways to attach the weapons to the car, one of which provides a gunning station on the roof.

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Obviously, Breakaway transforms exactly the same as Chromedome and here’s where this toy starts to lose me a little. It feels a bit too much like a throwback to the engineering we saw on some of the Combiner Wars Stunticons. Sure, I loved those toys, but this is a new line with a new direction and after getting so many repaints and remolds of those figures, I’m not crazy about seeing it reproduced here again so soon. And yes, these are all issues I had with Chromedome too. Still, if you can get past the deja vous, the robot mode isn’t bad at all. He looks particularly good from the back because everything packs away very cleanly.

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The new deco does its best to differentiate Breakaway from Chromedome. You get paint apps that serve to accentuate this and diminish that. I will say that I was surprised by how good the white plastic looks and feels. I was expecting it to be the cheap stuff Hasbro sometimes uses, but it’s quite good, as is the quality of all the paint applications. The deco, however, doesn’t do that great a job of matching Getaway. The arms aren’t blue, and you don’t have the red on the lower legs. Obviously, the chest is not made up of the roof of the car either, but the deco does feature some red and yellow paint to make it look like a heavily morphed version of the windshield.

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The head is a decent enough sculpt, but thanks to the “gray” helmet, the colors don’t match Getaway like they should. Also, while I’m used to seeing mouth plates, Breakaway is really just lacking a face altogether. He’s just got eyes and a big blank under them. It’s kind of creepy.

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We already saw that the weapons are the same as Chromedomes. That’s a good thing, because I really like this gun mold.

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Cards on the table: If it weren’t for the fact that I bought the whole wave in one go, I wouldn’t have bothered picking up Breakaway at all. Now that I have him, I have to admit that I like him a whole lot more than I thought I would. He will not be going into the dreaded Tote of Unwanted Repaints and instead, I have him displayed with the rest of my Titans Return figures and looking pretty sharp. Yes, the homage to Getaway is quite a stretch, but then Getaway was a figure that I didn’t even remember existed until I consulted some photos of him for this review. Besides, now Rewind can have that Menage-a-Trois he always dreamed about… and film it too!

Transformers Titans Return: Daburu and Twinferno by Hasbro

Welcome, my friends to what might be the last Transformers Thursday of 2016! Then again, it might not. Stick around at the end for some administrative notes on what I’ll have going on for the rest of the year. In the meantime, I’m particularly excited about today’s convertorobot, Twinferno because he’s a modern update to the Monsterbot, Doublecross. I never had Doublecross as a kid, but when I got back into collecting G1 Transformers sometime around 1999, I picked up a nice example of him off of Ebay and he turned out to be one of my favorite figures. The fact that Hasbro worked him into this newest wave of Titans Return line both surprises and pleases me to no end.

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There he is in his package. And yes, he’s another example of a Non-Headmaster G1 character that has been made into a Titan Master. This seems to bother a lot of people, but not me. And can I just say that Twinferno is both one of the cheesiest and most glorious re-names I’ve seen in Transformers in a while. As for his little buddy… Well, as I understand it, Daburu, is an homage to the Takara Beastformer figure White Leo (that’s Battle Beasts to us ‘Muricans). But that’s enough chit-chat about names… Let’s rip this bad boy open and start with his beast mode!

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Oh, hell and yes! True to form, Twinferno’s alt mode is a two-headed dragon and it’s almost everything that I look for in my cyber-beast-formers. In fact, my one design gripe with this guy is one that I shared with the original G1 toy is the decision to make the arms and lower legs look organic while the rest of the alt mode is more cyber-creature. To me it always made the toy look like a hodge-podge of ideas. But hey, that’s just my personal hang-up and in the end it wasn’t a bad decision to be faithful to the G1 toy. If anything it gave this guy a strange charm. The largely black and gray deco looks good, especially with the white heads and little bits of red here and there. Another favorite detail of mine is that they made his stubby wings partially transparent. Oh yeah, it’s also worth mentioning that Hasbro sculpted the tiny thumb wheel as a nod to the original toy’s sparking gimmick. So cool!

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The heads are excellent and I really dig how the horns are now more obviously part of the head, whereas the old toy molded them into the neck to the point where they were not even all that noticeable. There’s some good articulation in there too, as they can swivel at the body, they’re hinged a little above that, and the jaws on both heads are articulated. All around, I find this guy’s beast mode a lot more fun that Titan Returns Mindwipe, which looked good, but just stood there.

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Daburu’s white, black, and gray plastic helps make up for the absence of paint apps. He’s a heck of a lot more colorful than a lot of the other little Titan Masters. On the other hand, with no paint on his head, it’s hard to make out the sculpted eye patch they gave him to pay respect to White Leo. In fact, his face really just looks like a lump of plastic. Nevertheless, how cool is it that Hasbro is spending time making these obscure references? I really enjoy this sort of thing.

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Daburu has a few options on where to ride Twinferno. First, there’s a cockpit compartment in the chest. This is similar to what we saw in Mindwipe and I like it a lot. He’s fully enclosed in there and it looks like he’s controlling the beast mode like a mech.

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Secondly, the two guns can be combined and placed on Twinferno’s back, offering a gunning station. Both options work really well, but I think this one is my favorite. Now be honest, let’s say your Daburu and you’re going to ride this dragon. Would you lock yourself up in his chest or would you ride into battle on his back with the wind blowing through your… er, eyepatch, guns belching out hot death on the enemy below. This is the only way to go! The guns look fantastic on the back of the dragon, especially when he’s flying. Nothing says bad ass like a robotic two-headed dragon with guns strapped to his back and a little robot lion-man riding him. Add a guitar and some hellfire and the above picture is practically made to be the cover of a Meat Loaf album. Daburu pegs in there pretty good too, so you don’t have to worry about him falling off when you’re swooshing the dragon around the room. Trust me… I’ve tested it!

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You also have the option of mounting the guns on Twinferno’s wings. It’s the same amount of firepower, just spread out a little more. I like this, but overall I still prefer the double guns on the back. I suppose it’s a good way to go for when Daburu is riding inside him.

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As much as I dig Twinferno’s dragon mode, it’s the robot mode that really shines for me, because it’s such an amazing update to the G1 toy. I mean, this guy looks perfect. The details on the body are so sharp and the colors are gorgeous, with the red and white complimenting the gray and black plastic just beautifully. Toss in some silver and yellow applications and this guy feels like he’s got more paint on him than most of his brothers from the earlier waves.

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There are some surprisingly clever bits of engineering to the transformation. The way the dragon arms fold into compartments in the sides of the torso is very cool, as is the way the upper legs of the dragon become the robot modes feet with the lower dragon legs folded into them and functioning as heel spurs.

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You can also keep his twin guns mounted on his back for storage in his robot mode. I think he looks pretty good with the barrels rising behind his shoulders. Onslaught, eat your heart out!

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Daburu makes for a pretty good head. It’s definitely a decent update to Doublecross, but because it’s mostly molded in that white plastic the details aren’t all that sharp and other than the blue visor it is a bit bland.

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Twinferno technically has dragon heads for hands, so I’m not sure he really needs weapons when his hands can both punch and bite foes at the same time. Nonetheless, the guns are designed to peg into the sockets that make up the hinge for the dragons jaws. Herein lies my only real issue with this robot mode. When he’s holding his guns like this, the elbow joints have to be positioned on the sides of the arm, so he can only aim his guns with his arms straight out. It’s not the end of the world, especially since it’s one of the few things things I can find to bitch about. I just love this guy too much.

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So yeah… Monsterbots! Who the hell ever could have guessed we’d see updated versions of these guys from Hasbro? Not me, that’s for sure. Doublecross was just one of those quirky late G1 figures that did it for me and I’m absolutely delighted to have Twinferno as his modern version. Is it possible that Grotesque and Repugnus could be on the horizon? Oh, Primus… I hope so! I never found either to be as good a figure as Doublecross, but I’d still love a complete set of the Monsterbots trio.

And now for some administrative stuff! I’m all caught up on my new arrivals DC pile and I’ll be working some crazy hours tomorrow, so there will be no new Feature Friday. I will, however, be back on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a special two-parter. I’ve also decided that I’m not going to be doing my traditional Favorites/Disappointments Lists this year. I know, I’ve done those like five years in a row, but I honestly don’t have enough stuff this year to bitch about, and that’s a good thing. I may just do a one-off retrospective on some of my favorite things this year. I may do a more laid back Ups & Downs of 2016 Feature. Then again, I may just stick to regular content as usual next week, as I’ve got a lot of stuff stacking up to be looked at. 

That’s it for now… If you’re doing last minute shopping, be safe and I’ll see y’all on Christmas Eve! 

Transformers Titans Return: Firedrive and Hot Rod by Hasbro

It’s time to start digging into a brand new wave of Titans Return Deluxes and I couldn’t be more excited! I fished around in my new box of convertobot goodness, pulled out a random figure to start with and I wound up with Hot Rod. I’m cool with that, since my Classics Hot Rod has been showing his age and itching for a replacement for a little while now. Will this be the figure to do that? Let’s find out!

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Here’s the packaging and there isn’t much new to say about it. Hot Rod is another one of those cases where Hasbro has to toss the word Autobot in front of the name, probably because of copyright issues. As for Firedrive, Hasbro no doubt derived that name from Firebolt, the name of G1 Hot Rod’s Targetmaster, since he was never a Headmaster. The Headmasterfication (it’s a word that I just made up) of non-Headmaster G1 characters seems to be pissing off a number of Transformers fans, but it doesn’t bother me at all. Let’s start off with the vehicle mode, but first, I’ve got to cut a dozen of these damn plastic retaining straps.

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Oh man, I’m in love! In keeping with his G1 namesake, Hot Rod’s alt mode is a futuristic red sports car with a big yellow spoiler on the back. He’s wide with a low profile, banks of exhaust pipes on both sides, an exposed engine block on the hood and a blue canopy. I absolutely adore the styling and the colors on this car. It’s both dead sexy and instantly recognizable as Hot Rod. The red plastic is nice and bright and the yellow and orange paint operations on the hood really drive the homage home, if you’ll pardon the expression. This is one sleek ride.

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Firedrive is a great sculpt, but as has been the case, Hasbro stopped painting these tiny fellas and it really hurts what could have been a beautiful little figure because he’s just all gray and kind of bland. Naturally, Hot Rod’s canopy opens up so that Firedrive can sit in the driver’s compartment. I just wish Firedrive and the cockpit weren’t the same color plastic, because when I seat him in there, he just sort of blends in with the rest of the gray plastic. Unfortunately, that’s been an issue with a lot of these figures.

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You have a couple options for Hot Rod’s rifles. My preferred use is to plug them into the sockets just behind the front wheels.

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But, you can also connect the two together and form a gunning station that plugs into the engine. It looks ridiculous, but I kind of dig it!

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The transformation is very intuitive and reminds me a bit of some of the engineering used for Cybertron Hot Shot and Excellion only with a lot more sophistication. Whatever the case, the result is an absolutely gorgeous robot mode that hits all the points I was looking for in a modern Hot Rod figure. The sculpt is solid enough, but it’s the colors that really sell this figure. All that beautiful red plastic is now met with some equally brilliant orange. You get some gray plastic accents and a little yellow and silver paintwork to spice things up. In terms of coloring alone, Hot Rod is easily one of the most dynamic looking figures in the TR Deluxe line. Sure, the spoiler could have sat a little higher on his back, but when everything else is so good, I’m not going to nitpick the little things.

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From the back, Hot Rod is a lot boxier, but he’s also very clean. His rear wheels and exhaust pipes fold up in the back to fill out his lower legs and you can see the front parts of those exhaust pipes form his arm guns. I think he could have used a bit more in the way of heel spurs, as he can sometimes topple backwards when put in certain poses, but again, this is me nitpicking what is a really great figure.

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The head sculpt is right on point as well. His face is painted a very pale gray or off-white, with blue eyes, and his “helmet” is comprised of the same bright red plastic. Here you can get a better look at the silver engine block in his chest as well as those sexy flames and he has a crisp Autobot emblem stamped just below the engine.

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Hot Rod’s guns can be held in either or both hands and he looks damn good wielding them. I like how the tabs that lock them into the engine block look like side-mounted ammo magazines.

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Titans Return has been impressing the hell out of me since the beginning and if Hot Rod here is any indication, Wave 3 should be continuing that trend quite nicely. I love just about everything about this figure I’ll most definitely be retiring my Classics Hot Rod in favor of this shiny new bot. Between this line and Combiner Wars, I haven’t been this excited about Transformers in a while, which probably explains why my Third-Party purchases have all but dried up. And I’m lot happier spending $15 on a great figure like this, than having to go $60-100 for someone else’s unofficial take. My only hope is that Hasbro keeps it up and doesn’t kill this line in favor of the latest Michael Bay atrocity.

Transformers Titans Return: Nucleon & Galvatron by Hasbro

It’s been a long while since that ultimately disappointing Deluxe Class Galvatron figure from Universe 2.0, but here we are finally getting a new treatment of the character. He’s a proper Voyager Class figure now and he’s part of the superb Titans Return line, so how could things possibly go wrong? Well, buckle up kids, because I’m about to tell you. But before I begin, a word from our sponsor: Jameson. When you’ve had a hard day at work and you come home to relax and enjoy that new Transformers purchase that turns out to be a giant plastic turd, Jameson is there. From that first sumptuous sip that coats your soul in warmth and comfort, to the last drop as you greedily coif down the glass to help you cope with crushing disappointment that only a middle aged collector of toy robots could possibly understand. Jameson. It’s there to be your friend, even when Hasbro isn’t. Now… on with the show…

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Galvatron is my first Voyager Class figure in the Titans Return line and so this is my first look at the boxed packaging. It’s largely the same as the Combiner Wars deco only now with the character art showing off the headmaster gimmick and, as we’ll see, in this case it’s very misleading. The figure is packaged in his robot mode, but I’m going to start with his alt mode… oh, in this case, that should be alt modes… plural. Yup, he’s a Triple Changer.

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So the primary alt mode is this giant cannon and I like this thing a lot because it’s the first solid homage we got to the original G1 toy’s alt mode in… perhaps ever? That lovely orange gun barrel sits on a pair of tank treads ready to blast holes in any Autobots that come into range. God, I loved the firing sound effect they used for Galvy’s cannon in the cartoon! I’d say this would have been a great opportunity for a sound chip, but I don’t think they could have done that sound justice. The coloring on this toy is mostly comprised of some gorgeous purple and some of that hideous off-white-gray plastic. Blah. Still, that purple and translucent orange are almost enough to win me over… almost.

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There isn’t a whole lot to say about this mode, other than mine doesn’t seem to fit together all that well. I’ve checked and double checked that everything is packed in properly, but the hatch on the top simply will not sit flush like it should, and the two halves of the back don’t lock together very securely. I’m tempted to blame this on designing the figure to be a Triple Changer, but I’m really not sure that’s the case. And that brings me to the jet mode.

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This garbled mess would look like an afterthought it it weren’t for the fact that the entire nose and cockpit section is on the figure expressly for this second alt mode. I’m tempted to cry foul, but the truth is I don’t think any of the engineering involved in creating this second mode is the root cause for any of this figure’s problems. I suppose it was also necessary to give Galvatron’s little head robot buddy a place to sit.

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Nucleon sucks. Oh, at heart he’s the same as the other little head robots, but in this case he’s cast in that same terrible gray plastic that I just can’t stand. It looks so cheap and unfinished. At least they painted his little eyes red, but that’s it. To add insult to injury it’s the same plastic they used for the cockpit, so when I sit him in there he just sort of blends in. This is bad comedy. But I haven’t even started to get to the really bad stuff yet. Let’s transform him.

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OK, so when he’s just standing there, I can find a lot to like about this figure. The overall sculpt is fantastic. I love the chest and those legs, it’s all extremely evocative of the original G1 design that I loved so much. And that makes me happy. He’s also an impressively bulky figure for a Voyager Class and his fusion cannon looks absolutely stunning on his arm… until you realize there’s no way to turn it to the side. But more on that in a moment. You see, it’s that first glance that makes me want to love this figure so badly. But everything after that brief instant is like chewing tinfoil.

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From the back things aren’t quite so pretty. He’s got that whole front of the jet hanging off his back. Hey, remember how Galvatron had the front of a jet hanging off his back because he could turn into a jet? NO, I F’CKING WELL DO NOT!!! I would have been perfectly happy if they left that second mode out and cleaned up his back, but to be honest, that jet kibble doesn’t detract from the figure the way so many other things do. It’s actually the least of his problems… unlike those tank treads hanging off the backs of his arms. But I’ll come back to that. First, let’s talk about his head.

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Yes, that package art sure was misleading. It shows the whole head, “helmet” and all, coming down and attaching to the body. But the purple portion of his noggin is not actually part of his noggin. It’s a sort of face-frame that springs up out of his chest and hovers a in front of his head. What the hell is a face-frame, you ask? Why, it’s what I call this, because the idea is so insanely stupid that I had to invent an equally insanely stupid term to describe it. WHAT IN THE NAME OF HOLY PRIMUS WERE THEY THINKING WHEN THEY DID THIS??? Not only does it look like garbage, but he can barely turn his head because of it. It seems pointless to even point out how much I hate that his head is made of that rotten gray plastic. DAMN YOU FOR THIS, HASBRO… DAMN YOU TO HELL!!!

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But I’m not done yet. No, don’t pass out on me, yet. We haven’t reached the most frustrating part of this abomination. The articulation. Forget how many points he has. Forget that his elbows are double hinged. From the waist up nearly every move of his arms bumps up against something else. Those hinged things on his shoulders, those treads on the back of his arms… and the cannon! Oh, that cannon that sticks on the front of his arm like a giant dead porpoise going through the final stages of rigor mortis. He can stand prone with it or with a lot of fiddling you can get it into a firing position. Everything else I try to do with this figure is so heartbreaking.

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I’m at the point now where talking about this toy is making me sad and angry, and he is absolutely no fun to photograph, so I’m going to call it a day. Congratulations, Galvatron. Not only were you the first true disappointment for me in the Titans Return line, but you actually broke me. I don’t wanna celebrate Transformers Thursday any more today. You’ve ruined it. RUINED IT!!! Even if I just stand this guy on the shelf and don’t try to pose him, I still have that stupid head looking back at me. I truly and honestly want to know what inspired that feature. How did they think that was value added? Was it just necessary to make him a Headmaster? If that was the case, they shouldn’t have done it. There’s a decent figure here buried somewhere under a bunch of bad decisions. And so here we are, another failed attempt at Galvatron and who knows how long it will be until they try again.

Transformers: Titans Return Xort & Highbrow by Hasbro

Ugh, I’ve got too many good things ending this week. Yesterday was my last Mythic Legions feature for a while and today I’m wrapping up the second wave of Titans Return Deluxe figures. My last figure for this round is Highbrow and his little head buddy Gort… er, I mean Xort. Damn you, Hasbro, protect your trademarks!

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Here’s the gratuitous packaged shot and I have nothing new to add. I don’t particularly love these card designs, but the bubble does show off the figure quite nicely, and to be honest, these figures tend to speak for themselves. They could be hanging on the pegs in used Ziploc bags with sandwich crumbs in them and I’d still be happy to buy them. Highbrow is packaged in his robot form, but as you probably already guessed, I’m starting with the alt mode. But first, I have to deal with all these goddamn plastic tethers.

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True to his G1 namesake, Highbrow is a dual rotor attack chopper. I’ve never been a big fan of this design, mainly because the original toy didn’t look like it could get off the ground, and the aerodynamic feasibility of this one also leaves me in doubt. Now, that having been said, it’s a toy, so I’m willing to suspend a little belief and enjoy it for what it is, and truth be told there’s a lot to dig about this chopper.

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The three blades on the original toy have been reduced to just two and the whole aircraft has been made a lot more sleeker. The biggest improvements are in the cockpit and nose section, which have been streamlined for a sexier look. The tinted red canopy has a painted and sculpted framework that looks absolutely fantastic and the nose features a single chin gun. I’m a little bummed out that the wings no longer end in downward angles, like the G1 toy did. I think that would have made it look a little more aggressive, but then it also would have impacted the robot mode, so I’m OK with the change.

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The colors on this chopper are both beautiful and evocative of the original toy. You get a lot of snappy blue plastic and a good deal of pale gray. Additional paint apps include some red stripes, some charcoal colored intakes on the sides below the cockpit, and more charcoal paint on the rear stabilizer fan rotor. There’s also a lovely Autobot emblem stamped on the back. This toy is proof positive that you don’t need a lot of those ‘spensive paint operations to make the coloring look good.

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Xort is your typical little head robot. I think I’ve introduced them all that way, but truth be told there isn’t a lot new to say about these guys. They all have that same basic articulation, with the legs fused together and points at the knees, hips, shoulders and neck. While Hasbro has nixed the paint apps for all the other Nebulons (are we still calling them that?) in this wave, Xort here held on to his, so you get a little teeny bit of silver paint on his visor. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it makes all the difference to me.

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Highbrow’s canopy is hinged at the front and opens to reveal a cockpit for Xort to sit in. It’s not terribly roomy, but he does fit in there with enough clearance to close the canopy without any issues. There’s also a hinged landing gear under the cockpit, but it’s not really necessary if you have the wing guns attached.

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Wing guns, you say? Yes, you also get a pair of guns that mount under the wings.

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These can also be mounted on each side of the cockpit, which looks kind of cool. God help me, I want to buy another so I can load him up for quad damage. Use all the gun ports!!!

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The guns can also be combined to form an outrigger gun for one of the little fellas to operate, and wow does this look like a bad idea. Not only does Xort look really uncomfortable, it looks downright dangerous. But I do appreciate Hasbro’s desire to offer a lot of play value to these toys and if I were a kid, I’d probably be fine with this, no matter how goofy it looks. Let’s transform Highbrow and check out his bot mode!

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Oh my, I think I’m in love! Transforming Highbrow is very simple and intuitive. You just fold his legs out from his tail section and his arms fold out from his side pontoons and wings. The cockpit section folds back to form a backpack, the chest panel pulls out a bit, and you slap on the noggin. It may be a simple conversion, but the results are absolutely fantastic. You get some nice sculpted panel lines and detail and the deco stays more or less the same here as in chopper mode, with just a few extra paint apps showing on the upper arms.

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Granted, he’s not quite so attractive in the back, but there’s nothing too bad here. The cockpit backpack stays in place and isn’t at all cumbersome. It does make him back heavy, but the heel spurs do their job to keep him upright. The rotor blades on the back of his arms are left loose to spin, but they don’t pose much of an annoyance when playing with him. The only shame here is that the transformation doesn’t require a twist in the middle, because that leaves him with no waist swivel in robot mode. On the other hand, it does give me at least one thing negative to say about this figure, because I got nothing else to gripe about.

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Xort makes for an excellent head with a clean and classic Autobot portrait. I really like the gray they used for the face and the visor looks great against the charcoal colored “helmet.” This shot shows off those lovely paint apps in the upper arms, and there’s a sharp Autobot emblem printed on the chest plate which housed the tech specs in the original G1 toy. Funny enough, I get something of a G1 Topspin vibe off of this guy, and that’s not a bad thing. Despite the gimmick, I really loved the aesthetics of the G1 Jumpstarters in robot mode. I felt that they were pretty close to the overall look of the Sunbow animated aesthetic.

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Of course, Highbrow’s chopper guns can be used as twin rifles when he’s in robot mode, and boy does he look like he’s ready to kick some can.

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Highbrow is a triumph in simple and elegant Deluxe Transformer design and proves that when Hasbro is on its game, we don’t always need to look to high priced third party products to deliver the characters we want. He looks amazing in both modes, and he’s a fun toy to play around with. I’d argue he’s about as perfect an update to the G1 toy as you can get, while still keeping things simple and fun and at the Deluxe price point. Hell, I could apply that last statement to nearly all the Deluxe figures in Titans Return so far. I’d say even the weakest figure in this line (for me that would be Skullsmasher) is still a totally solid release and I can’t wait the next wave to start shipping. This is probably my favorite two waves of Deluxe Transformers to come out since I can remember.

Transformers Titans Return: Monxo & Wolfwire by Hasbro

The Titans Return Deluxe Class love-fest continues today with Wolfwire and Monxo. Seriously, Hasbro? Those are the names your going with? I’m hard pressed to say which is worse. I thought now that we’re finally back to Hasbro making these characters instead of third parties, we could cool it with the wacked out names, but nope. Somewhere along the way Hasbro misplaced some trademarks and instead of Weirdwolf and Monzo, we get Wolfwire and Monxo. Does it really matter? Nah, because as we’re about to see, these are some great toys and in the end I can call them whatever I want.

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Cue the gratuitous packaged shot! Wolfwire comes packaged in his robot mode with Monxo attached as his noggin, but I’m going straight for the alt mode first!

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“Just one thing. You can only have the heads of the animals!” Cyclonus’ words from Rebirth give us a clue as to why we’re seeing so many animal based Decepticons in this line. Because, yes, Wolfwire’s alt mode is a cybernetic wolf and it is an absolutely beautiful homage to the original G1 toy. You’d have to look to Fansproject’s Quadruple-U (and pay a whole lot more) for a better treatment of this alt mode. And that’s not intended as a left-handed compliment, because Hasbro did a beautiful job with this guy. He is absolutely striking and so much fun.

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The sculpt here is exactly what I was looking for. He’s got that delightful mix of curves and hard angles, the key ingredients that make up any great cybernetic animal. I just adore the sculpted rocket packs on the tops of his front legs. The deco is very faithful to the original, with some beautiful yellow and blue plastics, some pale gray, and a little silver and red paint to make things pop.

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Hasbro really nailed it with the wolf head, from the serrated edges on the ears to the recessed textured red panels on the sides. It even has a hinged jaw that reveals translucent red teeth. Brilliant! Did I mention the tiny Decepticon emblems on his upper legs? Beautiful!

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Monxo is your standard little head-robo. He’s blue and gray and as we’ve seen so far in this wave, Hasbro has nixed the paint apps from these tiny guys, which continues to bum me out. You still get points of articulation in the knees, hips, shoulders, and head, all of which are related to the transformation.

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Despite being a wolf, Wolfwire still has a cockpit area for Monxo to sit and it’s quite roomy. The whole top of his back panel hinges upward and there’s some red tinted plastic to make up the canopy and a little sculpted seat.

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You can also tab Wolfwire’s chunky gun onto his back to make a gunning station for Monxo or another little head guy.

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Transforming Wolfwire into his robot mode features a couple cool moves to shrink the torso, drop the upper hind legs down to his lower robot legs, and, as expected, the tail pulls out to become his sword. The end result is a robot mode that is every bit as good as his wolf mode, and that’s certainly saying something! He’s a little bit stocky in the torso, but the proportions are still very good. You get some useful heel spurs that fold out of his animal feet to steady him, and those glorious rocket packs wind up on his shoulders. Like the other Titans Return Deluxes, he has a faked out chest panel, which covered the tech specs on the original G1 figures. The deco retains the same beautiful color palate as his wolf mode.

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He definitely sports some wolf kibble on his back. The upside down wolf head forms his backpack and his cockpit hangs off like a tail bone. Here you can also see his back wolf feet hanging off his forearms. Still, it’s nothing too bad.

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Monxo makes for a decent head, although I think the face sculpt could have been a little sharper. The red paint is beautiful, but it’s hard to make out the details in the face.

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We’ve already seen Wolfwire’s big gun. I do feel it’s a tad over-sized for his robot mode, but no quite so much that it looks ludicrous in his hands.

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And finally, you get the tail sword, a nice sculpt with some red paint apps. He can also wear it on his hip.

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I don’t like to throw around the word perfect a lot, because few figures really are, but Wolfwire comes pretty damn close. I literally love everything about this figure except his new name. The coloring, the sculpt, the transformation, and the overall fun factor makes this a splendid update to one of my favorite G1 Headmasters and another addition to my collection of great Deluxe Class figures from this Titans Return line. I never want this line to end! Next week, I’ll wrap up this wave with a look at Highbrow.

Transformers Titans Return: Vorath & Mindwipe by Hasbro

“The powers are darkness are a more powerful weapon than all the toys your science can muster!” …Mindwipe! As a kid, I only got to know him from “The Rebirth,” but man did I love him. He talked like a Transylvanian Count, could mind control his adversaries, and he turned into a freaking robot bat. Sadly, I never owned the original G1 toy, but now after all these years, I’m finally getting a brand new version of him from Hasbro. Needless to say, I’m excited!

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Let’s not waste a lot of time on the package, eh? He comes carded in his robot mode, but I’m going straight for the bat mode.

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Meh… he’s OK. He is indeed a robo-bat, but I’m sorry to say not a terribly exciting one. There just isn’t a ton of play-ability to this mode, nor are there a lot of display options. He’s designed to pretty much stand there on his little bat feet with his wings spread. The wings are hinged in several places, thanks to the transformation, so you can fold them in towards his body, but that’s about it. The head is designed to look straight ahead, so getting him into a flying pose where he’s looking ahead of himself instead of down isn’t going to happen. There also aren’t any really exciting places to plug in his weapons in this mode, which is a first for this line.

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There are, however, some rather impressive sculpted details on this figure. The wings have a lot going on with textures and patterns. The deco is quite attractive too, with a lot of those prime Decepticon colors, black and purple, and a little reddish-brown mixed in as well.

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And that face! Awww, he’s so cute! The bat head sculpt is great, even though it’s cast in a soft plastic, and I adore the hinged lower jaw with the tiny silver teeth. I just really wish there was some articulation in the neck.

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Vorath is your typical little head-changer robot. He’s got articulation in the knees and hips (even though his legs are fused together), as well as in the shoulders and neck. Looks like Hasbro isn’t painting these guys at all in this wave, and that’s a real bummer. I can barely tell which side of his head is supposed to be facing front.

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Mindwipe’s cockpit is in the center of his chest with a translucent purple door that hinges down. I have to say, I really dig the way Vorath sits in him like he’s controlling a giant bat mech. And GOD-DAMMIT! His head is turned backwards in that picture. I didn’t even notice it until now. Thanks again, Hasbro for not painting faces on these anymore.

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Fortunately, Mindwipe’s robot mode makes up for the somewhat lackluster bat mode. At least, it does as far as I’m concerned. The transformation features a few cool things, like the way the wings roll up to form his legs. The lower legs are a bit bulky for the rest of the bot, but I still really dig the overall look of this guy. Once again, the color palate is fantastic. Lots of purple and black, a little of that brownish-red, and his knees have some beautiful silver grills on them. As far as color schemes go, this is pure Decepticon goodness.

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Sure, he has a bat head hanging off his back, but otherwise, he’s surprisingly free of bat-kibble. Even the stubby wings on his shoulders are faked out and just there for show. They also have a lot of cool details sculpted into them. The soft plastic wing tips don’t peg in too strongly to form the backs of his legs, but it doesn’t really seem to effect the stability of the figure.

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And what Vorath lacks in paint apps on his robot mode, he makes up for by making a fantastic head for Mindwipe.

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Mindwipe comes with two weapons. We’ve usually seen them by now, but since I don’t really like any of the places to plug them into his alt mode, I haven’t busted them out until now. The first one is a sort of claw-blade-shield-thing that plugs into his forearms. This is the piece that can also double as a gunner station for Vorath if you sit him in it and plug his other weapon in. There’s not much use for it on this figure, but you can plug it into one of the other guys if you’re into all that kinky robot part sharing, ya freaks!

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The other weapon is a simple gun.  This thing is pretty cool. It’s compact and looks great in his hands.

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Do I sound disappointed in Mindwipe? I dunno. Maybe I am a little bit. I wouldn’t rank him up there among the best in this line so far, but he’s certainly not among the worst either. I think I probably expected too much out of the bat mode, which is perfectly serviceable, but not nearly as fun as some of the other alt modes I’ve seen in this line. Still, I think the robot mode washes away all sins. Mindwipe looks great in his robot mode and he’s a decent homage to his G1 namesake. If I want something a little more substantial and sophisticated, I can always turn to my Sigma-L from Fansproject. In the meantime, this guy will look just fine on my expanding Titans Return shelf.

Transformers Titans Return: Stylor & Chomedome by Hasbro

Here I go, busting into the second wave of Titans Return Deluxes and I decided to go with Chromedome first. This is an interesting wave for me as I happen to own the Fansproject unofficial versions of each of the figures in this assortment and I’m excited to see how Hasbro’s versions turned out. Still, I’m going to try avoid comparisons, because it’s only fair to evaluate these new bots on their own and not how they stand up to far more expensive third party figures.

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I’m still not a huge fan of this card art and layout, but I sure was glad to see it on the pegs when I stopped in the local Wally World for some groceries. These Deluxes have been really tough to find in my area and forget about any of the larger boxed figures. I had to go online to get the first Deluxe wave, so stumbling across all of wave two in one shot at an actual brick-and-mortar store that is not known for having anything good ever was quite the pleasant surprise. Chromedome is packaged in his robot mode, but as always, we’re going to start with his alt mode.

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In auto mode, Chromedome does a beautiful job recreating, and slightly tweaking, the look of the original G1 toy. I was never sure what they were going for with this design, but I’ve always experienced a weird retro-future-muscle vibe from it. Nonetheless, I liked the creativity in alt modes that spewed out of the waning years of G1 and this design still reflects that. This new version is a little better proportioned and lacks those awkward arm-pylons on the sides as well as making the hood near the windshield a little less bulky and awkward. The mold consists of some panel lines, but nothing too crazy. Overall, I think fans of the character will be pleased.

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The toy retains that same distinctive brown, tan, and red deco that no one in their right mind would ever think to put on a car, and yet obviously somebody did. Most of the deco here is achieved through colored plastic, although the paint on the roof and side panels is a very nice high gloss shade of red and the headlamps are painted blue. You also get some silver and red tampos on the hood, which replicate the original toy’s stickers, and a bold Autobot emblem. The cockpit is hinged so that it can either open by swinging straight up or you can sort of lift it and hinge it backwards to give it a more stylish way of opening.

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And speaking of stylish, meet Stylor, Chromedome’s little Headmaster buddy. His robot mode is pretty standard stuff with articulation in the shoulders, hips, knees, and neck. His deco matches that of his larger robot chum. Unfortunately, Hasbro didn’t spring for any paint apps on this one, which was one of the most impressive things to me about the first wave of figures. I liked the tiny painted faces. Also, the red plastic looks kind of cheap. Aesthetics aside, Stylor does sit comfortably in the driver compartment of the vehicle.

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There are two weapons which can plug into the sides of the car mode in a few combinations. One is a standard gun, while the other becomes a sort of sidecar gun for one of the tiny bots to ride in. You can also plug the regular gun into it and there are tabs on the roof where it can plug in as well.

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Transforming Chromedome feels really familiar and that’s because the figure borrows heavily from the Combiner Wars Stunticon engineering, particularly Dead End. The half-elbow hinges in the arms, the way the legs unpack, and the chest plate that folds down to cover a non-existent combiner link. In that sense, this figure feels like a throwback to a line that just ended, but does that make for a bad robot mode? Not exactly.

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I actually like this robot mode quite a bit, but then I was overall rather fond of the CW Stunticons. Chomedome is a very solid update to the original figure. The hood packs away neatly on his back and the the canopy parts fold up on the backs of his legs. Chromey suffers from some hollow forearms, but the legs aren’t have panels to fill them out better than most of the wave one figures. I’m also happy to say the robot mode features some very nice red and silver paintwork, which feels like a big step up from the lack of coloring on some of the figures from the last assortment.

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Stylor makes for a great looking portrait. Yeah, the red back kind of makes it feel like the face and “helmet” is tacked onto the head, but it works well enough for me. I like the coloring, particularly the blue visor and orange face plate, but my figure has a bit of mold flashing that needs to be cleaned up.

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Of course, the guns can be wielded in robot mode and even combined if you want something bigger and kind of goofy looking.

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Chromedome is a solid figure and I’m happy to have him, but after seeing the Stunticon style engineering so many times throughout the Combiner Wars run, it feels a little cheap and sleazy to get a retread of it again in Titans Return. Yes, I do respect and admire Hasbro’s ability to design molds that can be re-purposed, and while it definitely works here as Chromedome, it doesn’t feel terribly clever. Considering how popular this character has become from the near-perfect comic run of More Than Meets The Eye, I think this is a figure where the mileage may vary greatly and some collectors aren’t going to be nearly as forgiving as me.