Transformers Titans Return: Hazard and Blitzwing by Hasbro

Howdy, folks! It’s Transformers Thursday again and as promised I’m here to check out the second of the new Titans Returns Voyager Class Triple Changers! A couple weeks back, I looked at Octone and the feeling was overall one of Meh. I felt he had a really solid robot mode, but I was split on his two alt modes. Here’s hoping that Blitzwing can break the trend, because he’s one of my favorite Triple Changers and I really need a solid version of this guy represented on my shelves. Let’s have a look!

And here’s the packages shot. It’s worth noting that this is the second time we got a Voyager Class Blitzwing in the last four years. The Generations one came close to getting the job done, but ultimately stumbled so badly on the little things (like functional shoulder tabs) that it incurred all my rage. I’m hoping against hope that this one sets things right. I’m going to start with his robot mode.

Well, alright! This is a Blitzwing I can get behind and is overall a solid recreation/compromise of the G1 toy and Sunbow cartoon design. The torso sells it to me the most, which was one of the issues I had with the Generations figure and the exposed cockpit on the chest. This is just a slab of purple, boxy goodness. There’s plenty of sculpted detail, especially in the pelvis, while the upper chest features the faked-out partial nosecone with yellow segmented sections on the sides, flanked by red panels and triangles. The lower legs are pretty free of kibble, just the jet tail fins folded neatly on the sides, although feel free to fold them down to face the front and mimic the G1 toy’s look a little more closely. The arms are pretty complex as the tank treads are folded up into them. They’re not as streamlined as I might have preferred, but they’re not really anything I’m going to complain about either.

The back ain’t too shabby. He features the tank cupola on his back. You can leave the cannon barrel in place to simulate the G1 look, but I think it extends a little too far up, so I opt to remove it. The official transformation suggests his wings should be folded up, but I prefer to leave them out, which mimics the look of the original a little better to me. Little heel spurs help keep him standing up.

The Titan Master Hazard forms Blitzwing’s head and I really love the sculpt here. I would have been OK if they went for for a silver face to match the Sunbow look, but I’m also fine with the purple toy-inspired face. My only complaint on the head is that the yellow paint around the “helmet” is a little splotchy on mine. I can’t remember the last time I had a gripe with the paint on a Transformers figure. Oh, and have a look at that Decepticon sticker on his chest. It’s already starting to peel at the edges. That makes me sad.

Blitzwing comes with a standard gun for a Titan Master to sit in, but in this case it can be combined with the tank cannon to form a long rifle. It looks like a suitable weapon to use for his “Long Bomb” strategy!

And he also comes with his rather unique looking sword. I like the design, but it feels a little on the small side, but not bad. So, all in all, I think Blitzwing is a pretty fantastic robot, but then I could say the same thing about all the other Titans Return Triple Changers. The real proof is in the alt modes. Let’s have a look at Blitzwing’s jet mode…

The transformation from robot to jet mode isn’t too bad and I’m really digging the results. From the top he’s appropriately purple with most of his tan bits relegated to the undercarriage. As with the robot mode, you get some really nice sculpted detail, including panel lines, flaps, and all that jet jazz. And then you’ve got the foil stickers on the wings. So, in a perfect world, these look amazing. The foil is reminiscent of the old toy, the red arrows have been streamlined a bit, but they’re still there as are the Decepticon emblems, proudly displayed on each wing. Practically, however, these stickers are problematic. I had to smooth mine out straight out of the box to get the air bubbles and folds out of them. They look great now, but I don’t expect them to last the test of time, especially when they’re positioned so closely to hinged plates. This was an issue with Octone and Broadside, and here we go again. I realize it’s to help re-purpose the molds, but they worry me. OK, enough about the stickers…

Let’s talk kibble! If you expect a Transformers jet to not be packing some major kibble on its undercarriage, well you haven’t been in this convertorobot game for long, have you, son? In this case, I think Blitzwing’s jet makes good use of it. Obviously, you have a giant upside down tank cupola, but it not only provides the molded landing gear to rest the jet on, but also a nice big under slung cannon. The robot arms are also tabbed away fairly well under the wings. I mean, sure I can tell there are tank treads there, but it’s nowhere near as bad as Octone’s, “Look at me! I’m a plane with two halves of a truck cab under my armpits!” Nope, from top to bottom, I am totally fine with this jet mode.

The jet also has a couple of options for Titan Masters. Despite the compact size of the canopy, you can indeed fit a Titan Master in there, although the method of getting him in there is a little unorthodox. You can also attach one of Blitzwing’s guns to the back of the jet to make a gunning seat for another Titan Master. So far, so good. You haven’t disappointed me yet. Shall we go for three out of three? Let’s have a look at that tank mode!

Ok, so obviously the jet was what I like to call the priority mode and this is what I’d call the compromise mode. There’s plenty to pick at here. The front of the tank is showing some major jet ass, the back side armor plates are obviously folded jet wings. The treads don’t lock into the body well at all, leaving gaps in the middle where they’re unsupported. I’ve found that slotting the folded wing tips into the sides makes them a bit more stable, even if they do angle out a little more.

To make matters worse, almost every facet of this “tank” feels like its at odds with another. And therein lies my biggest issue. I’d actually be OK with the way this thing looks if it locked together into a decent toy, but sadly it does not. And I’ve got to call foul when the robot and jet modes on the box look like actual product images and the tank mode looks like a 3D computer model downplaying the tank’s flaws.

As for play value, the turret does at least turn and there’s a place for Hazard to sit at the top of the cupola, which even provides a clear shield for him so Autobots can’t snipe him while he’s riding his f’ugly tank. They can still laugh, though. It can’t shield him from that. And yet even with all that scorn heaped upon it, I’d still say this is a better compromise mode than either Broadside’s jet or Octone’s cargo plane. Is it better than Astrotrain’s train mode? Well, if we’re talking keeping in spirit with the G1 original, I’d say Yes. If we’re going strictly based on its merits as an alt mode, than definitely not.

And so, the pattern I’m seeing with these Titans Return Triple Changers continues to hold true. We’ve had some great robot modes, each with one very solid alt mode, and one not so solid alt mode. And yet, I still dig Blitzwing a lot, even with his hideous and phoned in tank mode. In fact, I’ll just go ahead and say that I think he’s the most successful of all the Titans Return G1-based Triple Changers and a worthy replacement for the Generations one. Next week, I’ll be steering Transformers Thursday back to Voltron to check out the Legendary Red and Green Lions!

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Transformers Titans Return: Ominus and Sky Shadow by Hasbro

Well, I said I’d be getting to one of the bigger bots sooner or later, and it looks like it’s finally happening. I stumbled across Sky Shadow last weekend and while I had planned on passing him over for the Overlord redo, I found that he was too cool looking to pass up. Also, he’s an homage to Black Shadow, a certified badass among badasses and I really needed that character in my collection. I’ll call you Sky Shadow for the purposes of this review, big guy, but behind closed doors, you’ll always be Black Shadow to me!

Here’s a quick packaged shot. While I haven’t been dipping into the bigger figures in this line all too often, this is actually my third Titans Return Leader Class, with Powermaster Prime and Blaster being the others. Let’s start out with his alt mode… whoops, I mean alt modes PLURAL. As in TWO INDEPENDENT AND SIMULTANEOUS alt modes. Does that make him a Duocon? Sure, why not! Although, I doubt even Hasbro would repaint a Leader Class as Flywheels unless it was some crazy Con or Club exclusive.

So first off, we’ve got this totally bitchin’ Decepticon tank. It’s a very conventional-looking Earth tank, but it also reminds me of the drone that came with Energon Megatron/Galvatron way back when. Now, as far as toy tanks go, it doesn’t do a hell of a lot. The turret doesn’t rotate, the gun cannot elevate, it’s treads are molded faux treads, but it can roll along on its concealed wheels. You do, however, get some tiny foot pegs on the back and on the turret so you can load him up with a bunch of Titan Masters. OK, maybe not the most exciting of toys.

But, with all that having been said, I still really love this little death machine. There’s a ton of sculpted detail on the body, including all sorts of panel lines and hatches. The black body with red trim is a fantastic color combination for a Decepticon and the silver paint on the gun barrel and the two Decepticon insignia stickers are all gorgeous. In fact, I’d say this is a case where the deco carries the day and totally sells this stubby little tank mode.

The translucent red hatch on the top of the turret can open and fit a Titan Master, which makes now as good a time as ever to introduce Ominus. He’s cast in black and gray plastic, and is just your typical tiny head robot, albeit with a great name. Alas, there’s no paint on him at all, which really peeves me off on these Leader Class toys. Hey, Hasbro, I spent some real monies on this thing, how about a dab of paint on this robot’s wee little face? Ah well. We have another alt mode to look at…

While Sky Shadow’s tank patrols the ground, his other half takes to the skies in what is a superb nod back to Black Shadow’s jet mode. This is the air and ground version of robot surf-and-turf. Eh, forget that, that doesn’t make any sense. That was the Jameson talking. But, this is one sleek and sexy aircraft, featuring the same style of angled wings that we’ve seen a few times in Titans Return, and a pair of chunky blasters under those wings that look like they mean business. The profile alone on this bird makes it one of the fiercest looking jets in the entire Decepticon fleet.

The deco here is mostly the same as the tank mode, and that’s a very good thing! It features all that lovely black plastic with red and silver trim, but here you also get some gold paint on the back rear section and a little dark gray plastic too. The striping and Decepticon emblems on the wings are actually pre-applied stickers and they look straight and sharp. They’re loads better than the ones on my Broadside figure. I only hope they don’t start peeling too badly over time.

Ominus can fit into the cockpit and he can also pilot the drone that’s stored under the nosecone. I actually prefer the look of the jet without the drone attached, but it’s still a cool little bonus. Here’s where I wish Sky Shadow came with more than one Titan Master. I mean, I realize he can only have one head at a time, but Ominus can’t operate both alt modes and a drone at once. Maybe he pilots one alt mode while Sky Shadow focuses on controlling the other. Maybe I still don’t fully understand the dynamics of the whole Headmaster/Titan Master relationship. Maybe I’m overthinking it and should just move on…

Sky Shadow’s jet mode can also pick up his tank mode and carry it with him. There’s a fairly strong tab that locks the two together. Naturally, this looks fairly ridiculous, but it comes in handy. Nothing is more embarrassing than flying a couple hundred miles, wanting to transform, and then realizing you left half of your body back where you were. Also, being able to fly over a battlefield and drop a tank right into the middle of the action sure is quite an attention getter. But wait… did I say Sky Shadow had two alt modes? Well, I lied, because he also has one of those tertiary base modes.

Ok, so as far as bullshit tacked-on base modes go, this one isn’t terrible. It’s got the typical robot leg pylons in the front and robot arm pylons in the back. There’s a central deck area with a big cannon and a jet nosecone that passes for a control tower. It can almost work as some sort of super-tank mode, since the tank treads are on the bottoms of the pylons. There are plenty of Titan Master foot pegs if you want to load it up with occupants. There’s a place for the cannon operator to sit, and also a control room on the right pylon to seat another Titan Master. But enough with the alt modes, let’s check out Sky Shadow’s robot mode.

The tank transforms into Sky Shadows legs and robo-groin…

While the jet transforms into the upper half, and the two connect in the middle.

And once fused together at the waist, he is a shining pillar of Decepticon magnificence. There is nothing that I don’t like about this guy. He sports a ton of sculpted detail, carried over from his alt modes, and I’m in love with the giant cannons that angle up and outward from his shoulders. This guy can shoot Autobots out of the sky while just standing around! He’s also so satisfyingly big and bulky in all the right places. The deco carries over a lot of the black and red from his alt modes, but adds some dark and light gray plastics, as well as a lot more of that beautiful silver paint on his chest and shoulders. He’s also sporting a bold Decepticon sticker on each of those shoulders. This dude is fabulous!

From the back, he looks nice and clean. The backs of his legs are mostly filled out by the two halves of the tank turret. His bent wings angle off his back, Seeker-style, and the nose cone of the jet rises up behind the back of his head to make him look even more imposing. The drone can peg into his back, like I have it in the above shot. I think it looks good back there, even if it does give him a bit of a stubby tail.

Just as we’ve seen with the other Leader Class Titans Return figures, Ominus transforms into Sky Shadow’s head, but actually fits inside a helmet. Overall, this has worked pretty well on these bigger toys and it works great here as well, allowing Ominus to work with the smaller Deluxe Class figures as well as the big boys. I’ll also go ahead and say that this is my favorite Titan Master head of the entire line. The fierce angles, the piercing yellow eyes, and the beautiful silver paint conspire to make it a work of art. Combine it with a very traditional G1 style “helmet” and those pointed blades rising off the sides, and you’ve got Titan Master perfection.

Sky Shadow’s extra bits, the drone from his jet and the cannon from his tank, can be pieced together to form a gun, but I really don’t like the way it looks. I dislike it so much, I didn’t even bother shooting a picture of him holding it. I’m much happier just stowing the drone on his back and giving him the tank cannon as a gun. It isn’t a terribly imposing gun for a robot this size, but it’ll do.

For what is essentially a sloppy seconds figure based on a mold that was designed to be Overlord, Sky Shadow is an absolutely stunning figure. I’ll confess on the ride home from the store, I was having second thoughts about buying him. After just selling off a bunch of old Transformers from the Unicron Trilogy, I’ve been trying to be more picky about the ones I buy, especially when it comes to the larger figures that take up more room. But once I had this fella out of the box and in hand it was pretty much love at first sight, and having him has only whetted my appetite for Overlord.

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.

Transformers Titans Return: Legends Class Seaspray by Hasbro

Ever since the Generations line, Hasbro has been putting out some damn fine homages to the old G1 Minibots via their Legends Class figures. Personally, I’d like to see a few of these released as Deluxes, but I’m still happy to take what we get. Enter Seaspray! The last time we saw an official figure of this guy was back in the Reveal the Shield line of 2010. That was a pretty cool figure, but apart from the hovercraft alt mode, it didn’t make an attempt to recapture the glory of the G1 design. Perhaps as a result, Seaspray has received a fair bit of attention from the Third Party convertorobot makers. I never picked up any of those, so I’m anxious to see how Hasbro’s new official crack at the character turned out. Also, I command that everyone read this review out loud in Seaspray’s ridiculous gargling voice.

Oh, now he’s Seaspray. Last time he was Sea Spray. I gather that might have something to do with the copyright. Another interesting point is that the character art on the card shows him in his alt mode. Either I’m not very observant or this is the first time they’ve done this. Either way, it’s some pretty bitchin’ art of the little Minibot tearing through the waves. I dig it. And as long as we’re on the subject of his alt mode, let’s go ahead and start there…

This little blue, white, and yellow hovercraft is a great homage to the original toy and derives its deco almost entirely from colored plastic. Indeed, apart from the black painted windows and some tampo detailing on the top, it gets by with almost no paint at all. There’s also not a whole lot of sculpted detail present, but you do get some little doors on the sides that give a good idea of the intended scale here. I wouldn’t say it’s a terribly attractive alt mode, but it definitely works for what it is.

The box on the top is removable and since it forms Seaspray’s weapon in robot mode, I’m guessing that’s the purpose it serves here as well. What kind of weapon it is, I’m not sure. It looks like it could be some kind of heat gun, or maybe it opens up to reveal a rocket pack.

What does open up is Seaspray’s back area to reveal a pilot seat for a Titan Master. I’m still impressed that Hasbro has been able to engineer these little guys with room for the little bots. I put Convex in there, just because he’s mostly black and easier to see against Seaspray’s white compartment.

In terms of scale, Seaspray follows the standard G1 toy logic that if you’re a Minibot, you’re alt mode is the same size as all the other Minibots, whether you’re a giant hovercraft, an A-10 Warthog, or a compact sports car. Needless to say, I’m fine with this and I think Seaspray looks great next to the myriad of other Minibots that have been released in the Legends Class assortment.

Transforming Seaspray is a wee bit more complex than I expected, but it’s not terribly difficult. The resulting robot mode is a very solid homage to the original toy. He has a very squared off and boxy torso, which I happen to dig a lot. He still wears his propeller stalks on his shoulders with the props pointing behind him. He’s also got a pretty impressive amount of articulation for such a little guy. But let’s deal with a couple of the elephants in the room…

DEM FEETS! Seaspray is sporting some enormous feet. I mean, they’re big! How big are they? They’re so big they had to turn them sideways for him to fit in the package. That’s not a joke. Look at the in-package picture, they really did have to turn them sideways. These giant clodhoppers should bother me, but surprisingly they don’t. I think they go well with his big slab of a chest. What does irk me a little are his arms, which could have been a little bigger, especially in relation to his feet and chest. They’re not as bad as Bumblebee’s disproportionate meathooks, but I would have liked a little more bulk there.

The head is an interesting choice, as it favors the original toy over the Sunbow animation model. Instead of individual eyes, he’s just got a visor band running across the top of his mouth plate. It looks fine, but given a choice, I’ll almost always take Sunbow over the original toy. Also, check out those gorgeous tampos on his chest. That’s some quality work, Hasbro, and I hope we see more of it.

The weapon that I mentioned in his alt mode tabs into the slots behind his hands. It’s a rather unconventional looking weapon, but I like it a lot. Although if you pose him the right way with it, it almost looks like he’s carrying a pizza. In any event, it’s a treat to get it since so many of the other Legends Class Minibots don’t come with guns any more.

And in case you forgot what his predecessor looked like, here he is with Voyager Class Sea Spray. Oh yeah, and Seaspray will fit inside his bigger namesake’s cargo area, but it’s a mighty tight fit!

I thought Seaspray was going to be really tough to find, but Primus has been smiling down on me when it comes to Legends Class figures lately. Not only did I find Brawn really easily, but Seaspray here practically fell right into my lap as well. I really liked the previous Voyager version as its own figure, but it really wasn’t Seaspray to me, and that’s where this figure succeeds brilliantly, despite a few design choices that might rub people the wrong way. Even still, I’d proudly display him besides Brawn as two of the best Minibot updates so far, and I’d probably throw Powerglide and Cosmos in there as well. If you’ve got ten bucks burning a hole in your pocket and you love your Minibots, I can’t recommend him enough, but then I say that about almost all the Legends Class figures.

Transformers Titans Return: Chasm and Quake by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday again, and I’m continuing to work my way through the most recent wave of Deluxe Class Titans Return figures, and if you’re keeping score at home, I’m really enjoying this line a lot. Hell, in the last two weeks, I’ve opened some fabulous modern updates to Perceptor and Topspin and here we are today with an update to the G1 Targetmaster, Quake. No, he’s not a Targetmaster any more, but c’mon… It’s Quake! Quake’s back! Quake was one of the few G1 Headmasters that I actually owned. I’m excited!

Aaaand… he’s a repaint of Hardhead! Huh, well look at that. Yup, the repaints have been creeping into Titans Return little by little and Quake is actually one of two repainted figures in this wave. At least the repaint mania hasn’t reached the depths of Combiner Wars yet, where Hasbro practically pounded each mold into dust trying to sell it again and again. Suffice it to say, my excitement is tempered a bit, but I’m going to go ahead and pour a little extra golden, fortifying Jameson into my glass, check him out and see if he works. As usual, let’s start with his alt mode…

Well, I certainly do have some mixed feelings about the alt mode. On the one hand, Hardhead is a pretty distinctive tank design and this mold nailed it perfectly. As a result, when you repaint it, it’s going to be very obvious who it was originally intended to be. It’s tough, if not impossible to look at this guy and not see a Hardhead repaint. It doesn’t help that this is one of the few Deluxe Titans Return molds without ways to customize the weapons load out. Being able to mount the gun differently would have helped. And, of course, the original G1 Quake was a pretty conventional looking Earth tank, so this isn’t even close. But I’m happy to go with this as what he might have looked like before he got to Earth and scanned one of the local tanks.

With that having been said, this is still a great little futuristic tank design with plenty of sculpted detail, and I think the Quake deco looks phenomenal on it. The brownish-red, blue and gray go great together and those Decepticon insignia with the lightning bolts behind them really helps to sell the homage. Maybe this design is standard for tanks on Cybertron. Maybe Quake and Hardhead got onto the same line when they were handing out alt modes. Who knows? They’re toys, and I don’t need to overthink them. Especially when I’m being made agreeable by delicious booze.

If this little repaintpalooza hasn’t fully angered you yet, you should know that Quake’s little Titan Master buddy, Chasm, is very nearly a direct repaint of Hardhead’s Furos, but obviously with a different face sculpt attached to his back. This is one of the better, more detailed head robot molds and it looks pretty good in the new colors. I can’t tell if the their little heads are the same or not. Chasm’s face looks more angular to me, but it could just be an illusion from the lack of paint and the different color plastic. Either way, he can still sit in the cockpit of the tank, and the back of the cannon will also open up to give him a gunner chair. You also get a bunch of tiny foot pegs to load up more Titan Masters if you want. On to the robot mode…

As expected, the robot mode holds no surprises either. No remolded bits. It’s just a repainted Hardhead. Still, it’s amazing how a little paint can change up a figure and I’ll be honest, this is working for me. Once again, the paint scheme looks great, and Hasbro even managed to get the lightning bolt emblems visible on the front of his shoulders. I don’t remember that being the case on the original figure. This was a great looking figure when it was first released, and it still is.

Unlike the alt mode, Quake’s robot mode lets you mix things up a bit to make him look a little different than Hardhead. I’ve opted to leave the cannon pointing straight up. Yeah, it’s not much of a difference, but every little bit helps, and you can still angle it forward for when he needs that extra firepower. You also have the option to just remove the cannon altogether. An extra peg port on the arm would have been cool to attach it there, but nope.

At least the head sculpt is new and it’s pretty fantastic. I really dig the detail in the “helmet” and the yellow face and red eyes are perfectly painted. I’d say this is a perfect update to the original figure’s noggin.

Quake comes with the exact same gun as Hardhead, only this time it’s cast in gray plastic. It’s a cool gun. I got nothing else to say.

Quake repainted from Hardhead is going to work for some and for others, not so much. Would I rather have had a brand new mold? Of course, but we all know how the game works and Hasbro needs to get enough scratch out of their molds to make more. If these were more costly Voyager Class figures, I might have had a different and more critical opinion, but in this class assortment, I’m fine with what Hasbro did here. Quake doesn’t feel like a quick-and-dirty cash grab to me. He’s no Breakaway. Maybe it’s just me being made amiable by the whiskeys, but Quake genuinely looks like some care and love went into him and when all is said and done I like him.

Transformers Titans Return: Freezeout and Topspin by Hasbro

It’s been a long while since I’ve had the opportunity to gas on about how much I love the G1 Jumpstarters toys. So many of my friends hated them, but I could never understand why. They had, what I always considered to be, Cybertronian alt modes, they’re robot modes actually looked like designs right out of the Sunbow cartoon, and they transformed instantly, making them loads of fun to play with. And oh boy, did I play with mine. They were in every battle. Particularly Topspin, just because I liked his alt mode a little more. What’s that? They were bricks? Yeah, so were a lot of G1 Transformers. That never stopped me from having fun with them.

Needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to this review ever since I saw Hasbro’s first promo shot signaling Topspin’s return to the toy aisle via the Titans Return line! It actually surprised me that it took this long to get us an updated Topspin, especially since the character was so high profile in the much beloved Wreckers comics. Indeed, the character even got the third-party treatment quite a few years back from Mech Ideas. Could Hasbro possibly churn out a better figure at about half the price? Let’s find out… but I’ll save the comparison for the end.

So, Topspin’s alt mode is a Cybertronian jet, which definitely pays homage to the original toy, but brings some new stuff to the table as well. Now, I always thought that the two pylons coming off the front were both cockpits, kind of like Slugslinger. Whether or not that was ever intended, this new version gives Topspin a proper single cockpit right in the middle of the jet, making those two pylons just twin nosecones of some sort. I’m strangely OK with that. Everything else is more or less right on target. The stubby wings are pushed up from the back a bit, and they have a nice little angle to them. I’m also pleased to say that this update hides the robot arms a lot better than G1 Topspin. The hunched back features a pair of intakes behind the cockpit, and Topspin wears his folding landing gear in full view, right between the nosecones. I really dig this alt mode a lot, and I can really picture him dogfighting with Triggerhappy over the metallic landscapes of Cybertron.

Oh, and will you just look at the thrusters on this guy! These are some proper Space 1999 Eagle kind of rocket boosters. Fantastic!

The coloring is very much on point. You get the very familiar blue and off-white plastics for the body. The cockpit canopy is cast in translucent blue plastic with some paint that matches the body very well. The intakes are gold framed in black and there’s some of absolutely gorgeous silver paint on the pylons and guns. The wings also have some silver with red striping to mimic the stickers on the original toy. There are a few different configurations for the guns. My favorite is the stock, under the wing, configuration. My only gripe here is that the hollow portions are exposed from the top. I wish those were filled in. Ah, well!

Topspin’s little Titan Master is Freezeout and as far as these little guy’s go, he’s about as typical and nondescript as you can get. He shares the same blue and white plastic as Topspin, features no paint hits at all, and has a big screw in his chest. And, of course, he can sit inside Topspin’s cockpit and pilot his bigger half. You also get some tiny foot pegs on the wings, in case you want to load Topspin up with more little bots. Unlike the original toy, Topspin obviously doesn’t just flip into his robot mode. Nevertheless, the transformation is still pretty simple and features a few clever little moves.

And the result ain’t too shabby! Topspin gains a less squat and overall better proportioned upgrade and fits in beautifully with his fellow Titans Return Deluxes. He even keeps the original’s same silhouette by wearing his wings on his shoulders. There are some really solid callbacks to the original toy here as well, particularly in the panel lining on his chest, the lower position of the Autobot emblem, and even the blue hinges down near his robo-groin. I especially love how they took the intake sticker designs from the original toy’s knees and turned them into the fully realized intakes that you see in his jet mode. Likewise, you get painted panels on his shoulders and striping on his wing shoulders to match the G1 stickers. If I could change one thing, I probably would have had the spot on his right chest painted in to look like the catch on the original toy. Then again, I could probably do that with a Sharpie myself.

From the back, things are pretty interesting. The twin nosecones and cockpit canopy fold in to form his back in a sort of criss-crossing diagonal configuration. These pieces don’t really lock into place, but they hold there really well. As a result, Topspin looks really nicely filled out from the back. It would have been nice if the hinges in the wings allowed them to fold all the way back. Yes, that would spoil a big part of the G1 design homage, but sometimes they can be a bit cumbersome jutting out like that.

Freezeout forms a very respectable head that follows through on the homage nicely. The “helmet” really evokes the old style and the gold stripe sticker on the original toy is recreated here both in sculpted detail and paint. The silver used for the face is beautiful and there’s a different shade of blue used for the visor. Topspin sports a pretty stern expression, confirming what I already know: You don’t mess with a Wrecker!

I also want to throw out there how much I love Transformers with thruster cones in their feet. two of Topspin’s four engines wind up in his heels.

And then you have these guns… I love these guns!  The over-and-under barrels look great, and I dig the sculpted coils on the lower barrels. The silver paint also looks superb on these. Seriously, this silver paint that we’ve been seeing for the last couple of years is the best thing that’s happened to Hasbro in a long time. I hope they never stop using it. As cool as these twin guns are, sometimes you really need to make a statement… and that’s when you combine them for…

QUAD DAMAGE!! Holy shit, look at this thing! It’s both ridiculous and breathtaking at the same time. It’s a weapon fit for a Wrecker. I shall call it The Streetsweeper! Wreck’n Rule!

So, before wrapping up me spooging all over what is a truly fantastic figure, it’s time to pull out the Mech Ideas version of Topspin (called Apex) for a quick comparison. To put things in perspective, Apex was released back in 2013 along with Not-Twin Twist by one of the smaller third-party convertobot makers. They were packaged separately, but I bought them as a set for $70 and reviewed them very favorably back then. As far as 3P Transformers go, $35 a figure is pretty cheap, even when you consider that these guys were closer to the modern Legends Class than Deluxes. Let’s check out the alt modes…

Yeah, this fellow’s alt mode hasn’t aged very well. I like to think that Apex is supposed to be a much larger craft with that little triangular window housing a sizable bridge. It’s definitely a different take on the original vehicle design, but it feels really bland to me now and way too squat. You could add a little more to it by plugging Apex’s guns into the top, but it doesn’t change it up that much. I think Topspin’s alt mode blows this one out of the water. The design is more interesting to me and it makes far better use of paint apps. Transformation on Apex is also more fidgety and complex. Let’s move on to bot modes…

Pretty much the same thing here too. Besides being considerably smaller, Apex looks a lot rougher in comparison to Hasbro’s official figure. Some may prefer the busier and more complex sculpting of the chest, but I think it looks more unfinished. I also think the Seeker-style shoulder intakes work against the character homage. The shoulder wings on Apex don’t really lock in at all and his joints were fairly loose out of the package and haven’t gotten any tighter. What does all this mean? Nothing really. Except maybe that Hasbro has been taking notes and getting more creative with their designs and engineering. At the very least, I find it interesting that they are able to produce a Deluxe figure that is (in my opinion) every way superior to a figure that sold for twice as much and had no safety regulations working against it. Apex still has some merits. I don’t want to pile on the hate, but in the end…

YOU LOSE, APEX!!!

And here’s the part where I remind myself that Titans Return Deluxe figures can do no wrong in my book. That statement continues to ring true, as Topspin is a real treat. He’s not only the first true modern update of one of my favorite oddball Transformers as a kid, but he’s an absolutely stellar update on every level. I cannot wait until I can pair him up with his fellow Jumpstarter, Twin Twist. Hopefully it won’t be long. Next Thursday, I’ll keep on moving through this wave with a look at one of the repaints!

Transformers Titans Return: Convex and Perceptor by Hasbro

I’ve been on a third-party convertobot streak for the last four Transformers Thursdays, but I thought I would turn my attention back to the official stuff for a while. I’m also dog tired from a pretty brutal week at work, so hopefully I can make it through this review before I run out of steam. Just pardon me if I’m a little more brief than usual. Anyway, today I’m digging into the most recent wave of Titans Return Deluxe Class  figures and I thought I’d start things off with Perceptor.

I always liked Perceptor. He had a pretty unique personality in the Sunbow cartoon and was basically an Autobot nerd back when it wasn’t all that cool to be a nerd. Plus, his G1 toy was fantastic and featured a particularly good robot mode. I’d say it’s long past time he’s had a new figure, since it’s been six years since we got the last Perceptor as part of the Reveal The Shield line. There was a lot I liked about that figure, and a lot of things that came up short. It was a good try, but it eschewed Perceptor’s microscope mode for an SUV and that never sat right to me.

Well, clearly some of the thinking has changed at Hasbro because this new version is indeed a microscope and a pretty cool little one at that. I kind of get Hasbro thinking that kids would rather play with a truck than a microscope, but the Microman toys were such an integral part of Transformers history that it seems a shame to ignore them. Besides, how terrible is it to have a kid playing with a microscope? Back in my day, there were all sorts of toys that were designed to get kids curious about “the science!” Anyway, as if you needed any more indication of who this microscope is supposed to be, the the red, teal, black and silver deco is unmistakably Perceptor. The only thing missing is the big Autobot emblem on the front of his tube, and I can probably remedy that with one of the repro sticker sheets that I have lying around. I just can’t tell you how happy this little microscope makes me.

The scope itself is hinged so that it can look straight down on the tray or angle outward to examine something in front of him. What’s even cooler is that the knob on the microscope actually causes the tube to extend and retract. The tray is also specially designed to hold a Titan Master figure. I really dig that Hasbro tied Perceptor’s microscope mode into something specific to this line, like examining the little head robots. I love this mode so much, I’m not even going to acknowledge that there’s an “unofficial” tank mode, but there is as evidenced by the sculpted tank treads.

While he may be small, you don’t actually need a microscope to get a good look at Convex, Perceptor’s little Titan Master buddy. He’s cool enough, but he suffers from Hasbro’s continued reluctance to hit these little guys with some paint. As such, Convex is just red and black plastic. But while he isn’t anything special, I have to say I wholeheartedly approve of his name, Convex, which is such a great name for a head robot paired with Perceptor.

Perceptor’s transformation is super easy, but who’s complaining when the results looks this good! He features a very clean and well-proportioned robot mode, which hits all the right points of the G1 character. He wears his silver faux dials on his forearms, his translucent tray becomes a chest shield, and his microscope lens becomes an enormous shoulder cannon. In terms of pure homage, this figure is a winner.

He’s also pretty clean from the back and no hollow leg syndrome. Well, not completely hollow… just recessed. There are some lovely paint apps on the sides of his lower legs to replicate the stickers on the original toy. He also features a peg in the middle of his back, where he can store his rifle. I should also note that the right shoulder on my figure isn’t at all droopy, I was just a dope and neglected to straighten it out all that well for these photos. Any other day, I would have re-shot those, but I just don’t have it in me today. If nothing else, my carelessness demonstrates that you can pull the arms out a bit to get an even better range of motion. Yeah… that’s why I did it!

The Titans Return line has produced some great head sculpts, and Convex is no different. I really dig the depth to his “helmet” and the way it extends out on the sides of his face. The silver paint is beautiful, both on the face and all over the rest of the figure, and the yellow eyes are sharp and bright. The cannon does sit pretty close to Perceptor’s head, but it’s mounted on a hinged arm, so you can angle it upward to get it out of the way, or if you want you can actually stow it away on his back.

Perceptor comes with a sniper rifle, complete with a little molded biped stand. I seem to recall this being a thing with him in the IDW comics. I like the gun well enough, but I would have preferred something more akin to his G1 weapon. It has some pegs on the side so it can plug into any of the Titans Return vehicle modes and it also has the ubiquitous seating area for a Titan Master to operate it.

I’m beginning to believe that the Titans Return line can do no wrong by me, at least not in the Deluxes. These figures have all been great and Perceptor keeps that trend chugging along happily. He’s also all the more special for actually having a proper Microman alt mode. And with Hasbro now willing to give us boom boxes and microscopes, is it too much to hope that a trio of bots merging into a camera could be too far behind? Probably, but at least now I can have a solid foundation on which to build some hope. In any event, Perceptor sets this wave off to a very strong start and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me next week when I open up Topspin!

Transformers Titans Return: Twin Cast and Blaster by Hasbro

After a long drought through most of May, once again I’ve been putting the Transformers back in Transformers Thursday. Today I’m checking out a figure that I originally was not going to pick up, but after a while of going back and fourth on him, I decided to give him a try. He’s Blaster, and while I still kinda dig the Generations version as a Cybertronian mode, it was ultimately the old school “ghetto blaster” mode that finally won me over on this new Titans Return version.

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Blaster’s G1 toy. On the one hand, it looked great in both modes, had decent articulation for G1 standards, and his robot mode looked fairly close to his Sunbow animated counterpart. You could load his cassettes into him and he was a really fun toy. On other hand, he was so damn big! You couldn’t have proper fights between him and Soundwave, because Blaster was like a giant by comparison. Well, once again, Hasbro went a little overboard with Blaster’s height, as this is a Leader Class toy, but I’ll address that later. For now, let’s check out Blaster’s alt mode.

Glory be to the 80’s! Well, almost. Blaster’s alt mode is indeed a fairly authentic looking portable sound system. It reminds me a little bit of the Emerson that I had sitting on a bookshelf in my bedroom when I was a teenager. I used to use that sucker to record all my favorite hits off the radio. Duran Duran, Bowie, Tears for Fears… oh, the memories! And all in all, this is a pretty good looking alt mode. Yeah, you can see through parts of it and none of the controls are terribly convincing, but hey, you have to leave some room for improvement for when Takara gets around to Masterpiece Blaster. Granted, the back is pretty f’ugly, but then the back sides of real tape decks weren’t usually all that great looking anyway.

Blaster includes a carry handle and there’s a button that causes his cassette door to spring open… only it isn’t really for cassettes. Instead, it holds what are supposed to be some kind of data slugs. Does anyone else find it ironic that Hasbro couldn’t bring themselves to make Blaster an actual cassette player, and yet they’re selling a Role Play Walkman for Guardians of the Galaxy in the very next aisle at Target? Anywho… Blaster comes with a piece that fits in there, but it’s not even made up to look like a data slug. It’s really just a piece for his base mode, so let’s lay that aside for now and grab Rewind.

Rewind fits in there perfectly. I guess this set up could be akin to one of those charging dock/speaker systems for your digital music player/phone. The fact that Hasbro made the dumb decision to make Rewind a data slug and yet still put a cassette sticker on him makes me feel like I’m putting a micro cassette player into a larger cassette player. But, whatever. Rewind can go inside him, and eject out, and I guess it’s still better than those horrible chunky discs that they designed for Generations Blaster. Let’s move on to his second alt mode… the ambitiously titled “city mode!”

As far as third mode bases go, this one isn’t terrible, although calling it a city is unfortunate. At best it’s a battle station. You do get some positions on top for Titan Masters to operate, a gun platform in the middle, and a couple of platforms with ramps to be used as landing pads or perhaps maintenance bays for vehicles. There are also a few ports to mount other weapons. Truth be told, I’m actually surprised at how much I dig this mode. I don’t think it compromises the robot or stereo mode at all and it’s kind of a fun little playset for the little Titan Masters. And as long as we’re on the subject of the little guys…

Blaster’s Titan Master, Twin Cast, is possibly one of my favorite of these little guys. The red and black plastic just looks great on him and he actually has some paint on his tiny little face, which is nice even if they did get a little sloppy with the blue. The fact that he’s just a tiny version of Blaster is adorable. Obviously, Twin Cast transforms into Blaster’s head, so let’s move on to the robot mode.

I was in love with this robot mode the moment I had it out of the box. I mean, damn is he great looking! The proportions are excellent and he’s just a big bundle of G1-boxy goodness. I’m not a huge fan of the gray plastic they used, but that’s about the only thing I can complain about here. And I don’t mind it so much when it’s tossed in with that beautiful red plastic body and that bright yellow chest. Hasbro also sprang for some wonderful paint apps on the shoulders and lower legs to mimic the stickers on the original toy. Even those lower legs, which I thought were going to be too big and chunky, actually look and feel fine on him.

Like his stereo mode, Blaster’s robot mode ain’t too pretty from the back, but it isn’t all that bad either. The way the speakers wrap around his legs is really clever and looks cool. And thank Primus that handle folds down behind his back, because when I first saw pictures of this guy in the box, I thought that had to stay above his head.

Twin Cast forms what at first looks like a rather un-Blaster-like head. It actually strikes me as more of a Perceptor portrait than Blaster. It’s also way too small. Thankfully, he has one of those flip up helmet gimmicks and…

Voila! You get a Blaster noggin that makes for a very nice nod back to the original toy. I really hated the flip-up helmet gimmick on Galvatron, I was OK with it on Powermaster Prime, but here it works beautifully. It fits well, it looks great, and the engineering allows it to keep full rotation in the neck. Not bad at all!

In addition to the data slug/base part, Blaster comes with a rifle that’s a pretty good homage to the G1 toy’s weapon. It’s been scaled back a little and made more compact, but the key similarities in the design are certainly there.

So, I can honestly say that I’m so happy to have picked up Blaster, but size is still kind of a sticking point for me with this figure. He towers over so many of the Titans Return figures, which is certainly in keeping with the wonky scale of the 80’s toy-line, but it feels out of place here. And yet, ironically, he’s still actually a little bit shorter than the original G1 Blaster. It’s something that I can get over because he’s such a great toy, but that leads me to another problem with him. Now that I have him, I’m going to have to pick up Titans Return Soundwave, which I hadn’t planned on doing. Unfortunately, the appeal of finally having a Soundwave and Blaster that can go head to head with each other is just too irresistible. It also means that I’m probably going to pick up more of the data slugs, even though I know their crap. Damn you, Blaster, you were just a trap to get me to spend more money!

Transformers Titans Return: Blunderbuss and Broadside by Hasbro

What’s this? For the third consecutive week I actually have a new convertorobot for Transformers Thursday? Yup, and I’ve been stockpiling, so it looks like I should be covered well into June. Today I’m checking out the Voyager Class Triplechanger, Broadside. I have not heard many kind things about this figure, so I’m a little apprehensive about this bot, especially since I’ve got no nostalgia for this character going in.

As a kid, I barely knew that Broadside existed. I don’t recall ever seeing him in the Sunbow cartoon, and with his original G1 toy released in 1986, that would have put him on the shelves a little bit after 14yo me was starting to drift away from Transformers. In this case, that was probably a good thing, because looking back, the G1 toy looks rather cringe-worthy, even by G1 Triplechanger standards. Let’s see if a new and updated Broadside can win me over. I’m going to break tradition today and start out with his robot mode.

Oh, boy, I really dig this robot mode a lot. Broadside is a bruiser, with powerful squared off slabs as shoulders, a stout chest with a cockpit canopy in the center. The sheer boxiness of this bot is a thing of beauty and the amount of detail in the sculpt is impressive. There’s just so much going on here, from the retracted landing gear in his chest to the folded conning tower on left shoulder and what I’d like to assume is a rocket six-pack on his right shoulder. No matter where I look, there’s something interesting to see on this guy. I also love that he has those wedges for shins. Those probably come in handy if he loses his weapon and has a tough scrape with a Decepticon.

Even from the back, there’s nothing to complain about. He wears the nose and canopy of his jet mode as a backpack and he has wings behind his arms, which can be angled out or folded in, depending on your display preferences. Although, it is worth noting that the wings have to be angled all the way out to take advantage of his shoulder rotation. Broadside is a bit back heavy, but the double hinged ankles let you float the foot forward or backward, to counterbalance whatever stance you want to go with. As for the coloring, the two-tone gray is all business, but the red with hints of yellow and translucent blue looks damn snappy on him.

Blunderbuss makes for a head that really fits the body. This noggin looks like it’s designed to take a pounding. There’s also a button below Broadside’s chest that can deploy a pair of pylons to further protect the head. I don’t know what Hasbro’s fascination with this gimmick is, but they’ve been including it with most of the Titans Return Voyagers. The difference is that this is the first time I actually like it.

And in robot mode, Blunderbuss’ mix of gray and red plastic makes him look good even though there aren’t any paint apps on the little guy. The usual Titan Master articulation applies: ball jointed shoulders and neck, and hinges in the hips and knees of the fused legs.

Broadside comes with a translucent blue gun, which he can hold in either hand and it does have a seat that fits a Titan Master. All of this is great stuff, and as a robot, I have nothing but love for Broadside. So let’s see how the first of his alt modes fares…

Broadside’s first alt mode is an aircraft carrier, which is admittedly not that easy to pull off, since it’s essentially just a slab with a flight deck. Nonetheless, I think he pulls it off pretty well. I do, however, have a few gripes. I’m not thrilled about the use of stickers for the runway, but I used a stylus to smooth it out and sharpen the edges and in the end I think it looks OK. Nonetheless, since it’s set over hinges, there’s bound to be wear and tear after multiple transformations. Finally, the prow section of the ship does not peg together, which can be annoying. If everything is tabbed together just right, it usually stays in place, but it has a habit of separating with handling.

There are three folding feet on the bottom for it to stand on and you can attach the gun to the side to give it some extra firepower. There are also tons of pegs on the flat top to stand Titan Masters, but they also serve a second purpose. Hasbro included a set of tiny Aerialbots to peg into the deck. They’re very simple pieces, all white, and they come on a sprue, and I absolutely love that these little jets. They really give this carrier a ridiculous sense of scale that takes the concept of mass shifting to the extreme.

I also dig that this mode works as a flying carrier too. Oh, it’s nothing special. I just fold out the wings on the sides and plug the gun into the bottom. It’s a subtle, but nifty little fan mode that makes the toy just all that much more fun. So, how about that third mode?

Yeah, it’s a bizarre hump-backed jet. Much has already been said about Broadside’s unfortunate attempt at a jet mode. To pile on it even more seems unnecessary. I’m used to seeing half-assed third modes in Triplechangers, but this one seems especially egregious. The funny thing is, I could almost accept this as a space fighter mode, but even with all that is wrong with it, what really pisses me off about this alt mode is that Hasbro was too lazy to make the tail fins point in the right direction. I’m not even kidding. If these pieces weren’t backwards, I could almost get behind this sad aircraft. There’s just something about the back half of this jet that just screams the design team just gave up.

Now, the red fins just pop out and can be reversed. The gray fins can probably be taken out by knocking out the pin and reversed as well. I don’t think it would make a huge difference for the other two modes, so it is a possible option for improvement, but I don’t think it’s worth the effort. At least not for me. I also find it really odd that the carrier mode has landing gear, but the jet mode doesn’t. You can, however, flip out the fists to help support the back of the jet.

Of course, the cockpit opens and Blunderbuss can fit inside, which is cool. You can also plug Broadside’s rifle into the top to fill it out a bit more and add a gunning station to the top. Does it help? Not really. But I have to wonder if a kid with an imagination wouldn’t love this ugly jet anyway. I’m thinking they probably would.

With a great robot mode and one solid alt mode, Broadside still gets my stamp of approval. He’s a fun toy and it’s a hell of a lot better than the Broadside that was out when I was a kid. Granted, I didn’t have very high expectations going in, and I already knew that the jet mode was going to be hot garbage. It feels like that mode is just a few tweaks away from being acceptable, and that’s what’s probably going to bug people the most about it. That having been said, I’m certainly not sorry I picked him up.

Transformers Titans Return: Legends Class Brawn by Hasbro

Well, be still my energon pumping heart, today makes two Transformers Thursdays in a row that I actually have some new bots to look at. In fact, I should be covered for a little while now so the drought is officially over! Today I’m checking out Legends Class Brawn, another figure that I had to grab off of Ebay because these never show up around here. And then when I feared the deal might not be sound, my buddy came through with one for me as well. Either way I was covered, and in the end I wound up with two. Now, the downside of having to go second-hand on these is that both were shipped to me loose, so I have no in-package shot for you, but we all know what it looks like by now, so let’s jump right in to Brawn’s alt mode…

True to his original G1 form, Brawn takes the form of a green off-road vehicle, and this is a pretty solid one at that. There isn’t a whole lot of sculpted detail here, but you do get a spare tire on the rear of the roof. More importantly, the coloring on this little 4×4 is especially nice for a Legends Class. The pretty metallic green is joined by some black painted windows, and yellow bits peeking out from the sides and the front, all of which keeps his deco very faithful to the original toy. You also get some lovely silver on the front bumper and a tiny Autobot insignia on the hood. And so in the end, this vehicle may be a little modernized, but there’s no denying who this is supposed to be.

I was never a big fan of Brawn as a character, he always struck me as a jerk and even a bit of a bully in the original cartoon, but I loved his G1 figure for all its quirkiness and everything about this alt mode does that figure proud!

Despite being a Legends Class, Brawn can actually open up and take on a Titan Master driver! Here’s where things can get weird, because Hasbro already released a Titan Master pack with head robot named Brawn that transformed into Brawn’s head. So, yes, you can actually have Brawn driving himself around. That’s some weird and crazy Inception shit right there. What really cooks my noodle is that both of these figures had to be in production at the same time, as they’re both clearly designed for Titans Return, so why did Hasbro even bother making the Titan Master Brawn if they knew they were also making a proper Legends Class version of him. It really makes no sense.

Anywho… Transforming Brawn is as simple as it gets and it’s basically the same thing as a lot of the old school Minibots. I find that to be really refreshing and I wish Hasbro would embrace this kind of simplicity for the smaller figures more often. All you do is pull the arms out of the sides and fold the legs out of the back. OK, so Brawn cheats a little bit because you have to take off the the piece of the vehicle with the spare tire, but it’s hard to argue with the results, because Brawn looks absolutely fantastic.

I mean, just look at this little guy! I adore the fact that the structure of his blocky yellow torso is practically pulled directly from the original toy! He’s got some great proportions and all around a very clean and tidy robot mode. The only real kibble on him are his wheels and they look great on his shoulders and lower legs. Hasbro also saw fit to take away those unwieldy chromed metal meat hooks that the original toy called arms and instead give him proper sculpted fists with silver paint. Even from the back this little dude looks pretty good.

The head sculpt is also excellent. He features his trademark domed “helmet” with a face that sports a superb likeness to the animated Sunbow design. His face is painted with more of that lovely silver paint and his blue eyes are crisp. Brawn can also turn his head, which is something that can’t always be taken for granted with these Legends figures. Hasbro stamped another Autobot emblem on his chest and even broke out the blue paint expressly for that one little panel below it. Classy!

You have a few options as to what to do with the tire piece. You can have him hold it like a gun, as it does have those three sculpted emitters on it. He also has peg holes in the sides of his forearms so he can wear it like a shield. Personally, I don’t think it works all that convincingly as a gun or shield. Then again, that could be because I’m a middle aged guy that lacks the imagination and wonder of the child this toy was aimed at. Thankfully, you do have a third option…

Yup, just peg it right on his back. It really doesn’t add a lot more bulk to his backpack and in all honesty it looks like it was meant to go there anyway.

As far as I’m concerned, Brawn is a perfect modern update to the old toy and definitely ranks in among my favorite Transformers this year. Yes, I’d actually like to see more of the Minibot characters get the Deluxe Class makeover, but when the figure is this good, I’ll take what I can get. And it’s great figures like this one that makes me wonder why Hasbro can’t just take a crack at updating all the Minibots together in a timely manner. They’ve had some real hits with this one and Powerglide and even Generations Cosmos is a figure that still holds up very well. Sure, the last Bumblebee wasn’t so great, but I guess they can’t all be gems.