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.

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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.

Transformers Titans Return: Flintlock and Sergeant Kup by Hasbro

Behold! For the long, dark night has ended and I have a new Converto-change-a-bot® to look at on Transformers Thursday! Yup, I’m pretty excited about it, especially since it’s part of the new wave of Deluxes, because I have been totally digging the Titans Return Deluxes! And it’s Kup! Oh, excuse me, Hasbro lawyers… Sergeant Kup! With how terrible Hasbro’s distribution is around here, I don’t even want to tell you what kind of backroom deals I had to do to get this guy in a reasonable and timely manner. …Best not to dwell on it. …Ebay. It was Ebay. But he was actually only a couple of bucks over retail, so I did good.

The card art features Kup’s properly perturbed and cranky looking head descending onto his geriatric-robo-body. Or is that Flintlock’s head? These Head/Titan Masters always confuse the hell out of me. Anyway, the last time we saw Kup was as part of the Generations line back in 2013. I thought it was a nice looking figure with some clever engineering, but it wasn’t really my G1 Kup so I recently sold him off in anticipation of this release. Shrewd move or hasty mistake? Let’s press on and find out. Kup comes packaged in his robot mode, but I’m starting with his alt mode.

Now this is an alt mode for Kup that I can get behind! My biggest issue with Generations Kup was that he was an Earth truck. Here we’ve got a pretty cool looking Cybertronian truck that’s certainly inspired by the original toy. The two-tone blue deco is very evocative of the original and I think it looks great in spite of the fact that there aren’t a ton of paint apps here. You do, however, get some nice sculpted details in the mold, which includes panel lining and a bunch of hatches on the sides.

The clear canopy that opens to reveal the driver’s compartment, and of course his Titan Master buddy Flintlock can fit in the driver’s seat.

Kup’s guns are designed to mount in the back of the bed, where they mainly just fill up that space. You can turn them around to have them fire behind him, or even combine them to form a gunning station for a Titan Master. There are also ports on the sides where they can be pegged in as well. All of these are pretty cool options. With the guns out of the bed, you can also make use of some of the tiny foot pegs and load up the back of the truck with Titan Masters.

And here’s a quick look at Flintlock. Still no paint apps on these little guys, but I like him. Articulation still consists of ball joints in the shoulders and neck. The legs are fused together, but have hinges in the hips and knees.

Kup’s transformation features some cool engineering. I really dig the way the side panels of the truck fold to become his lower legs, and the way the canopy forms his chest with the front of the truck behind it. The robot mode borrows more from the original toy than it does the Sunbow character art, especially in terms of the squared off shoulders and arms. There’s not a lot of that rounded and more organic aesthetic that was introduced with the movie designs. Well, maybe a little in the legs, but even that is a stretch. I thought that was going to be a big sticking point for me and this figure, but it really hasn’t been. I credit that to how clean and well proportioned this robot mode looks.

Another cool feature about the figure is how Kup can store both of his guns on his back. It doesn’t add too much bulk to him and it actually kind of looks like a jetpack, albeit a hollow one. Also, thanks to that clever leg transformation that I mentioned earlier, Kup doesn’t suffer from hollow leg syndrome when viewed from behind. That’s always a plus!

The deco here is more of the same that we saw in his alt mode, but you do get the addition of some of that dark gray, which breaks up all that blue and blue. He also has some yellow paint accents and an Autobot insignia at the top of his chest. I’ll confess the arms below the shoulders strike me as a bit unfinished. A few paint hits there would have helped, but all in all I think the coloring here is pretty good.

The head sculpt is pretty sweet too. The rounded style of his “helmet” and the cranky, scowling mouth is perfect for him. He looks like he’s about to scream, “Hey you damn petro-rabbits… get off of my lawn!” In the shot above, you can probably see a little mold flashing on the edge just in front of his face. I could have done without that. but I guess you have to get in pretty close to really notice it.

Kup comes with a pair of twin guns and I love these things. They’re pretty short and compact and he looks great dual wielding them. You can also stick them together to form a double-barreled weapon with a place for a Titan Master to sit. Personally, I prefer them as separate guns, but it’s always nice to have options.

If you can’t tell by now, I’m extremely pleased with the way Kup turned out. Stylistically, there were certainly some compromises here, but I’m cool with that. He’s a great looking figure and I think he fits in quite nicely with Titans Return Blurr, Hot Rod, and even Generations Arcee. I’m getting into the mindset that Hasbro can do no wrong with the Titans Return Deluxe figures, and that appears to still be the case with this latest assortment. I’m actively hunting down Perceptor and Top Spin, and I’m even pretty stoked for Quake. To be honest, I’m even looking forward to getting Krok.

Transformers Titans Return: Legends Class Gnaw by Hasbro

In case you hadn’t noticed, my last two Transformers Thursdays have been leading up to today, as I’ve been saving my most anticipated figure in this assortment for last: Gnaw the Sharkticon! First introduced in Transformers: The Movie, this ravenous horde of cybernetic beasties served as a form of execution for all who were condemned to death by The Quintessons. That sounds pretty bad ass, until you realize that the Sharkticons are a bunch of dumpy, goofy-looking dummies. Nonetheless, they were certainly something new and different and for whatever reason I thought they were cool. Unfortunately, they also came out at that weird time for me where I was still watching The Transformers cartoon, I definitely saw the movie, but I wasn’t really getting that many of the toys anymore. I kind of still wanted them, but my Christmas and Birthday gift requests were leaning more toward video games than toys. Which means that this Legends Class release is actually the first time I ever owned a Sharkticon. Am I excited? You betcha!

I’ve got something to say about Hasbro’s choice of size here, but first, can we just talk for a moment about that card art, because… HOLY SHIT LOOK AT THAT CARD ART! The bat-shit crazy, cracked-out green eyes, the massive teeth, the sharp claws. That particular flavor of nightmare fuel is not what I think about when I think about these guys. Kudos to whoever drew that, because it makes me see the Sharkticons in a whole new light. Now, about the size. When I first saw pictures of the toy, I was excited. Then I heard it was a Legends Class and I was really disappointed. Now I have the figure in hand and I’m realizing that it was a perfectly acceptable decision to go the Legends route. I’ll still argue that he’s a tad too small, but not so much so that I can’t accept him being in scale with the Deluxe figures. I’d also argue that the smaller size makes him more ideal for army building, but then I’ve had a hell of a time just getting my hands on one. Normally, I start my change-o-bot reviews with the alt modes, but let’s go with the robot mode this time…

I’ll just come right out and say it… I absolutely love this robot mode, but do I have a few complaints? Sure. The arms hanging off the backs of the feet is a textbook example of unsightly kibble. I kind of get the idea that the designer just threw up his hands and said, “Screw it… I got nowhere to go with them!” One might argue that they serve a function as heel spurs, but Gnaw already has those. I’ll also add that I wish the row of teeth in front of his head didn’t come up quite so high because it obscures his face quite a bit. But, with those gripes aside, I think this guy looks fantastic. The design manages to capture the familiar look of the G1 movie aesthetic and even smooth out the proportions a bit so he doesn’t look quite so ungainly. There are some lovely sculpted panel lines and detailing, and while a good deal of the coloring here is in the plastic as opposed to paint apps, the coloring is spot on perfect, right down to the bizarre choices of pink and blue used in the original toy, only more sparingly here. If I can get a couple extra Gnaws, I may try to color his teeth with a silver marker, but otherwise, I love the deco.

OK, so from the back, things aren’t as great. The top half of the alt mode is peeping back at you and looks like he’s going to wave. You also get some hollow areas and unfinished screws. Obviously, the Legends Class is held back a bit by budget and size, so let’s just say that it’s best not to look at Gnaw from the back.

Moving on to better things, the head sculpt is a wonderful update to the original toy. It’s not nearly as goofy looking. I always loved the shape of the Sharkticons’ “helmet” and they did a great job painting the eyes.

Like the original toy, Gnaw has a little spiked flail that he can wield in either hand and serves as his tail in his alt mode. And with that skillfully interjected segue, let’s turn to his alt mode. The transformation here has some cool and unexpected things going on and the result speaks for itself.

Yup, the “shark” mode represents pretty damn well, offering only a few things for me to nitpick. I don’t really care for the way his robot hands are exposed behind his feet and I wish that seam running down his face closed up a little better. Or perhaps I should say, I wish it stayed closed up a little better. Otherwise, I really love what we got here. The deco here shows off some more purple, and I can’t say enough great things about the plastic they used for his eyes. So much about this figure just feels so much more “premium” than your average Legends Class release, and that’s coming from someone who tends to really enjoy this Class quite a bit. The plastic looks and feels great, the colors pop, and even with some notable drawbacks in the design, the end result succeeds brilliantly.

I honestly didn’t know what I was going to think about Gnaw once I got him opened up. I wanted him to be great, but part of me was still wishing they had designed him as a Deluxe Class figure. Now, I’m not going to lie, part of me still wishes they had gone that route, but mostly because I’m curious as to what they would have done given a little more complexity of design. Truth be told, I’m totally satisfied with what we got in this little package and I’m going to do my best to try to track down as many of these little buggers as I can without paying scalper prices. The Sharkticon is an update that was long overdue, and Titans Return seems to be the perfect venue to revisit a lot of those overdue updates.

Transformers Titans Return: Legends Class Bumblebee by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday and today I’m opening up another figure in the first wave of Titans Return Legends Class releases. Bumblebee was going to be an pass for me, but I found it easier and cheaper to buy the entire assortment in order to get my hands on Kickback and Gnaw. Let’s find out how that turned out for me…

It seems like we just had a Legends Bumblebee, but it looks like that last one was back in 2014. That Generations release was a damn fine little toy and even after two years, it’s going to be a tough act to follow. Granted, that one was going for more of a Fall of Cybertron look, whereas this one is definitely G1 inspired. The packaging shows off the figure in its robot mode and features some of the best character art for Bumblebee that I’ve seen on a toy package. I’ve also gotta say how much I love that they included his original G1 motto on the back of the package. Reading it literally made me smile.

The auto mode holds no surprises and I don’t have a whole lot to say about it. Hasbro went for a generic, yellow compact, which is about as close as you can get to a VW Bug without having to pay out for the license. There’s quite a bit of ugly seaming on the hood, especially for a Legends Class toy, but all in all I’m content with this alt mode. It displays particularly well with some of the Generations Legends cars like Windcharger and Swerve.

The yellow plastic is bright and fresh and matches the yellow paint pretty closely. The deco is rounded out with some black windows and striping. In addition to the Autobot emblem on the roof, Bumblebee even features some silver and red paint operations. As much as I’d love to see a Legends Class VW Bumblebee, this is a fair substitute.

The transformation here is not as overly complex as some of the Legends and the resulting robot mode reflects that. It’s a very traditional looking G1 Bumblebee, almost to a fault. You get the roof chest and the hood split into feet. All that is somewhat refreshing and the head sculpt is a total winner.

He even looks pretty clean from the back, albeit with some unsightly hollow feet. I wish they could have sculpted that disc he had on his back in the Sunbow cartoon, but I guess they needed somewhere to put all that COO and copyright crap.

Unfortunately, I’m having a problem getting past those arms. The bulky and over-sized biceps with those stubby little forearms make for a really bad combination. Do they ruin the figure for me? Yeah, I’m going to have to say they kind of do. Surely they had some engineering to spare that they could have used to fix those things. Instead, what we got feels a little lazy. I know that we’ve seen worse on bigger Transformers in the past, but I feel as if this little guy could have been a total winner if they had just found a way to fix those biceps.

In the end, I would have been totally fine with passing on this figure, but I don’t really mind owning him. I don’t have time or patience for toy hunting like I used to, but the few times I’ve ducked into a toy aisle, none of these Legends were on the pegs. Nope, not even this one, which seems like he should be warming those pegs. That’s Bumblebee’s job isn’t it? Anyway, I just kind of look at it like spending a little extra to get Gnaw and Kickback, and getting Bumblebee tossed in for free. Hey, whatever helps me sleep at night, right? And I probably shouldn’t be too hard on this little guy. I’ve certainly paid more for worse Transformers in my collection. It’s also a little easier to be more forgiving of a Legends Class, both in terms of complexity and price. On the other hand, the previous Legends Bumblebee, while certainly going for a very different style, is also a much better proportioned and engineered figure, so I probably shouldn’t be apologizing for this one.

Transformers Titans Return: Legends Class Kickback by Hasbro

Hooray, it’s the return of Transformers Thursday! And anyone who says, “Oh, but it’s only a Legends Class figure,” watch out because I’m gonna slap your face! I love the Legends Class figures! They’re great fun and I can stuff them in my pocket and take them to work and have robot battles on my desk. I love them even more lately because I have some ginormous robots for them to interact with! And today’s little change-o-bot is even more special, because Kickback finally completes the trio of Legends Class Insecticons, which Hasbro started way back in 2014 with the release of Skrapnel. Bombshell followed in 2015, and here we are in 2017 with Kickback.

Yup, these little fellas span three different lines: Generations, Combiner Wars, and now Titans Return. If I were a mint-on-card collector, this shit would irritate me to no end. Of course, there’s something else about this figure that does that, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Let’s bust him open and start with his insect mode!

Is he a locust, a grasshopper, or a cricket? Don’t look at me, I ain’t no bug scientist! I do, however, hold an honorary degree in toy robot bug appreciationology, and as such I give this alt mode my stamp of supreme approval. In fact, if these wings were painted silver, this Kickback would be a perfect update to the original G1 toy’s bug mode. The black and purple plastic looks fantastic (although he does sport a lot more purple than his G1 namesake) and the additional silver and yellow accents consist of more paint operations than some of the bigger bots get.

And.. OMG, THAT TRANSLUCENT YELLOW CHEST PANEL, I LOVE IT SO MUCH! Also… OMG, THAT TRANSLUCENT YELLOW CHEST PANEL, I HATE IT SO MUCH!!! Yeah, the chest panel really elevates the whole figure tremendously. Unfortunately, it also poops all over the painted chest panels on the other two Legends Insecticons, and it’s that lack of consistency that really… dare I say it? It bugs me! Sure, the gold and yellow chests never matched between Bomshell and Skrapnel anyway, but they were at least somewhat close. Kickback busts the whole deal wide open. The reasoning here might have been to accommodate a Titan Master, but by furthering the inconsistency between the three decos, it it’s also very irritating.

Transforming Kickback feels slightly more involved than it need be, but the results are overall good. In fact, my only real complaint here is the way the wings sit behind the shoulders, rather than be integrated into them. On the flip-side, it does give you the option of sweeping them down instead of up. Us G1 old-timers will likely stick with the up position, but I can see just as many younger fans happy to point them down and out of the way. Other than that, I really am very pleased with this figure. It may not be as clean as the original toy’s robot mode, but I think it skirts that fine line between old and new quite well and the passel of ball joints make him lots of fun to play with.

Rating Kickback on his own, I give him very high marks, and I’m a bit surprised by that, because I’ve heard a lot of people dumping on him. On the other hand, put him with the other Insecticons and the mismatched gold, yellow, and translucent yellow on the decos bothers me more than I wish it did. Because of the designs of Bombshell and Skrapnel, there’s no way to reverse engineer them with the matching translucent yellow parts they deserve. So, if Hasbro or Takara ever does decide to release these three in a more uniform deco, the best I can hope for is a repaint of Kickback’s chest to yellow, and that would be a shame. It would be basically reducing the better figure of the three to match the lesser two.

And so, finally getting Kickback into my collection has been rather bitter-sweet. Yes, it gives me a sense of closure and I think he’s a very good figure, but as soon as this little trio is complete, I find myself longing for another attempt. I feel like these three should have been designed and issued a lot closer together. And considering how much I adore the Insecticons, I find myself tempted to come out of retirement from buying third-party figures, and hunt down one of those sets of unofficial bug-bots.

Transformers Titans Return: Fortress Maximus by Hasbro, Part 2

So, if you were here yesterday you witnessed a middle aged man practically brought to tears of joy by the magical thing that is a giant toy robot. I checked out Fort Max’s robot mode as well as his Titan Master and his Titan Master’s Titan Master. Today it’s time to check out the alt modes, and I’m going to start things off with his Battle Station Mode. Once again, I’m going to apologize for the quality of these pictures, but I had to get really creative with the lighting and backdrop in order to snap pictures of this beast.

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So here’s the Battle Station. I love this mode and I don’t care that it’s basically just Fort Max lying on his back with his arms over his head. It’s cool, dammit! This thing is probably intended as a land vehicle, but I’d like to think of it as an ocean faring vessel, but it could really even work as a space ship if you want. It’s all up to your imagination. The legs form two forward pontoons with two massive dual-cannon gun emplacements, while the arms form landing strips for aircraft. Yeah, the upper legs and pelvis are just connective tissue.

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Cerebros forms a Command Tower in the middle of this behemoth, with Emissary free to stand on top and shout, “I’M KING OF THE WORLD!” Now, I realize this is Titans Return and Fort Max is designed to be manned by the tiny Titan Masters. Indeed, there are foot pegs all over this thing and these little bots certainly give Fort Max’s alt modes an incredible sense of scale. But I’m going a different route here because how often do I get to say, LET’S BUST OUT THE MINI-CONS!!! 

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Yeah, if you thought I could resist the opportunity to load up Fort Max with Mini-Cons the moment I transformed him, then you just don’t know me at all. Let’s take a quick tour!

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The front pontoons are probably not the best place for Mini-Cons to gather, as I imagine the blasts from those cannons are pretty fierce. But I’ve got a couple doing maintenance checks on the left pylon. I know what you’re saying. Stormcloud is a speedboat, what does he know about fixing cannons? Well, he’s taking some engineering extension courses from Powerlinx Blackout. Just go with me on that one. Meanwhile the other pontoon is being used as a makeshift helipad… Haha, see what I did there? Makeshift is using it as a helipad! OMGWTFLOL!!! Anyway, it’s worth mentioning here that the right foot on my figure does not lock into position like it should. I had to use a little blue-tack to hold it in place. That’s disappointing, but I guess not catastrophic. I wonder if this is a common issue or I just got lucky. Moving on to the middle…

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There’s not much to do in this middle section. It’s just a place for the Mini-Cons to hold their adorable little Mini-Con meetings. I’ve got Blackout chilling and watching the skies with his AA-gun arms while Payload drones on about whatever Mini-Con’s drone on about. Probably how much it sucks to carry Sky Blast on his back all the time.

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Over here, Waterlog is being lowered into the water by one of the cranes. Dammit, I can’t remember his name. Meanwhile, Sky Blast is standing by on his launch pad.

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The runways are loaded with Mini-Con jets waiting to fly their sorties in case Starscream and company happen to show up.

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And finally, I’ve got Waterlog’s twin… um, Other Waterlog, standing by to launch out of the bay in the back.

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There’s a lot of fun to be had here with the Battle Station mode, and yes there’s an entirely other mode to play with. Insert G1 transforming sound here.

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Now the City Mode is just as awesome and it looks great, but in fairness it offers more or less the same play areas as the Battle Station mode, just in a slightly different configuration, so there’s not a whole lot to be said about this mode that hasn’t already been said.

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The central Command Tower is still there, although now the back of it is facing forward. It looks good, and I dig the way the little Autobot emblem can be seen near the top. This time, I’m using the top of the tower as a launchpad for Sky Blast. There’s some room here and there for other Mini-Cons to congregate, but there’s not a lot of areas here that are specifically designated to interact with figures. You can open up the translucent compartment to have access to a little room in there and maybe use it as a prison.

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At the front ground level of the city we have a couple of garages, which work really well for the Mini-Con cars. This is probably the biggest difference between the two modes. The Battle Station didn’t have a lot of places for the cars to live, whereas here they do. I wish the main ramp wasn’t so steep, though.

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The box hanging off Fort Max’s leg serves as a gunner station with Cerebros’ gun attached to it. You can also detach this and use it as a tank, but it’s a bitch to get off.

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The two front runways from the Battle Station are here, just separated from each other. They still serve as runways for my Mini-Con jets to launch from. You also get the two large gun emplacements on the sides with room for more launching areas or helipads or whatever you want. Like I said, we’ve seen most of this in the last mode, so there isn’t a lot new to talk about here. It’s still a great looking city, certainly a lot better looking than Metroplex’s city mode and, if I happened to choose this mode to talk about first, it would have been the Battle Station getting the shorter end of the stick when discussing the various features. As always, there are some different configurations you can play around with, but most of them are just going to be slight variations on what we’ve already seen. I should also note that while I get the most fun out of using Mini-Cons with the alt modes, Fort Max is still big enough to interact with the Deluxes and the tiny Titan Masters really give him an even grander sense of scale.

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In case you didn’t notice, I’m impressed with Fortress Maximus and I’ve been having too much fun playing around with him. And finally getting him is all the sweeter for me since I never owned the original G1 toy. The closest I came was owning the Car Robots Brave Maximus, which I wound up selling off when the prices for him were going through the roof and I needed money to feed my video game addiction. I’ve felt bad about that decision for a long time, but now that I finally have a modern update of the old mold, I’m at peace with it. This guy looks amazing standing next to Metroplex and I can’t even imagine how cool they’re both going to look when displayed with the Titan Class Trypticon. Now I’ve got some major re-arranging to do as I try to make a new shelf for my Titans!

Transformers Titans Return: Fortress Maximus by Hasbro, Part 1

Well, I’ve been saving this big bot for a while now and with Toy Fair getting my toy collecting juices flowing (I’m talking about you, Trypticon… Lotion and tissues were involved!), I thought this week would be a good time to open him up. In order to give Fort Max his due, I’m going to take a couple days to look at him and that means no DC Friday tomorrow. Sorry, but it takes me a long time, and some serious DIY bullshit, to rig up my sad little photo stage so that it’s big enough to shoot something like this. So, while I’m on the subject, let me apologize in advance for the lighting in this review. My set up is designed mostly for figures in the 4-inch to the 12-inch range, so I had to just do the best I could and I can’t say I’m terribly pleased with the results. Anyway, today I’m going to check out the packaging and his robot mode and tomorrow I’ll have a look at his two alt modes. And with that out of the way, I think I would be remiss if I didn’t state what most of us have been thinking ever since this toy was first shown… OMFG, FORTRESS MAXIMUS GOT A MODERN UPDATE AND HE’S ABSOLUTELY FREAKING HUGE!!!!

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Hell yeah, he is! This isn’t so much a love letter from Hasbro as it is a giant, heavy package of sex in plastic transforming robot form. The last time I saw a Transformer this big he was in a Generations box and his name was Metroplex. Well, the deco may be different, but the box is right about the same size as we saw with Metro. Alas, the artwork here is landscape, whereas Metro’s was landscape on one side and portrait on the other. Why does that make any difference? Because I have Metro displayed standing on top of his box and I use the box itself to store other Transformers. Yeah, I can still do that here, but the artwork just won’t be orientated right. It’s fine, I’m about to start mixing up my Transformers display anyhow and see if I can find a shelf for these two Titans. Besides, here we have another Transformers figure clocking in at over 2-feet tall and I’m complaining about the box, so I’ll just shut the hell up now so we can open it and see what’s inside…

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Fort Max is built using some parts shared with Metroplex, so there are going to be some general similarities here. The first of which is how he comes in the box with one arm detached. Unlike Metroplex, Fort Max’s arm actually detaches again, so if you want to store him in the box, that’s do-able this time. Mercifully, Hasbro used the regular string to secure him (with the exception of two invisible elastic bands), so getting him off the cardboard tray is as easy as snip, snip, snip.

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Also included in the box is a folded instruction sheet, a profile card, and a glorious foil sheet of stickers! STICKERS!!! I love putting on stickers. At least for the first five or ten minutes and then I’m ready to be done with it. It doesn’t help that putting stickers on Fort Max is like trying to dress a large fussy child for church. If this is going to be anything like it was with Metroplex, I’ll start with him standing on the table and soon have him across my lap, over my shoulder, and just all over the place. Well, wish me luck. I’m off to sticker him up, and after a lot of teeth grinding and a few expletives, I’ll be back to try to get this review rolling…

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Aaaand back! The stickers didn’t seem as bad as with Metroplex and I think they go a long way to spice up the look of the toy. There are a few strips I left off, which I may decide to put on later. But before looking at the big bot, let’s check out his Titan Masters. Yes, Fort Max has not one, but two Titan Masters. Yo mama so fat even her Titan Master has a Titan Master! Seriously, this is like one of those Russian nesting dolls. I’m going to start small and work my way up!

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First, you have Emissary, feel free to call him Spike if you want, and I don’t have a whole lot to say about this tiny bot. He’s basically similar to your average Titan Masters, featuring the same level of articulation with ball joints in the shoulders and neck and hinges in the hips and knees of his fused legs. He’s molded in the same dark gray, light gray, and blue plastics as the big guy himself and he does have some paint on his face, which really goes a long way to make these little bots look better. Like the Titan Masters we got in the first wave of Deluxe’s this one just feels a bit more premium than what we’ve been getting since.

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And in case you were wondering, he is indeed compatible with the other figures in the line. Here he is with Hot Rod standing in for Firedrive. Of course, Emissary is intended to transform into the head for…

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Cerebros, who transforms into Fort Max’s head. This guy is roughly Deluxe-sized and he’s a damn cool looking robot. He’s got great proportions and a nice boxy G1 look that I just love to death. His chest is a silver grill that conceals some lights and a speaker. Connecting Emissary’s head mode to him causes his chest to light up, fires off some start up noises and he says his name in a cool synthesized voice. Pressing the head down again will activate some firing sounds. The deco uses most of the colored plastics used on Fort Max himself and yet Cerebros manages to look rather distinctive.

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I particularly dig how he has a shroud on his back to cover up the Fort Max face. Having a giant face on your back may be alright if your a tiny Titan Master, but I don’t think it would have been very excusable for this guy. The articulation here is pretty much spot on for a Deluxe-sized figure too. He’s a very solid figure and loads of fun to play with all on his own.

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The head sculpt is fantastic. He’s got a rounded black “helmet,” a prominent mouth plate, and a blue visor. And yup, you can pop any Titan Master you want on there if you want to change out his noggin.

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Cerebros has a gun, which is stored in Fort Max’s clear chest compartment when you take him out of the box. It also has room to seat a Titan Master, but I’ll get to that tomorrow when we look at the alt modes! Transforming Cerebros into Fort Max’s head isn’t much more sophisticated than transforming the little Titan Masters. You fold his arms in front of him, fold the legs up to the sides, and flip up the face shield. Doing this activates the familiar G1 transforming sound and with him in his head mode and plugging the noggin into Fort Max’s body makes the ancient Titan speak his name. And with that, we can finally have a look at Fort Max himself!

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Ooooh YEAH! If this doesn’t get you hard, there’s something wrong with you. Or maybe that’s the other way around. Either way, I’ll confess that by reusing parts, I was afraid this guy was going to come off as a Metroplex masquerading as Fort Max, but it doesn’t at all. Yes, if I look carefully I can see some of the same features in the forearms and lower legs, and the hands are the same, but if I didn’t already know about parts sharing, I’m not sure I would have identified it until I stood the two together and really scrutinized them. Nope, when I look at this beauty all I see is a fantastic modern update to the Fort Max toy I wanted so badly as a kid. I think the thing that strikes me as most immediately impressive is how great one of these Titans looks with some color. No offense, Metro, I still love you, but the blue, red, and gray plastic, coupled with some lovely silver paint apps all looks so damn good here, and it really picks out all that wonderful sculpted detail in the mold. And there are a ton of details! This guy just wears it well.

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The back shows off more of those amazing details. It also shows the two ramps that drop behind his arms. These are easily the only awkward thing about the robot design, as I guess you could call them base mode kibble. They don’t really get in the way much when I’m posing him, but they can look a little awkward when his arms are up. That having been said, the original G1 mold had them too, so who am I to complain?

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In fact, if I were to complain about anything it would be that Max is rather light on the ordinance, at least as far as the Hasbro release is concerned. Metroplex came sporting a massive shoulder cannon and a pair of hand guns, which could mount on his shoulders. Max has knee guns. And that’s pretty much it. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some knee guns, and I get that they were going for an exclusive enticement with the sword, but I would have really liked his rifle, and I kind of miss the flip out hip cannons that the original toy had. At least, you can take Cerebros’ gun and mount it to various ports on Max, including his left shoulder, which looks pretty good. OK, that’s enough griping… that’s really all I’ve got for the griping.

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Cerebros forms a truly fantastic head sculpt. Max looks quite the noble bad ass and if you press the button on his chest his eyes will light up and he’ll make all sorts of battle noises, powering up noises, and he’ll even utter “Autobots” and “Decepticons” from time to time. Fort Max is not much of a conversationalist, and I always thought it odd, at least in the Sunbow cartoon, that the bigger the robots got, the dumber they sounded. In addition to the great head, you can really see some of the amazing sculpted detail in this closeup. From panel lines to gears, to sculpted turrets, they really decked him out. I dig the translucent plastic they used for his chest compartment too. This toy just looks so amazing!

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There’s no doubt that Max is happiest when he’s standing at attention. He’s quite stable that way and, like Metroplex, I know I can stand him on the shelf like that and not worry about him toppling over. Of course, there’s also plenty of articulation to play with too. Max features some heavy ratcheting joints, similar to what we saw with Metro, and the arms can hold whatever pose I put them in and the legs do a pretty good job of holding Max’s substantial bulk if you don’t get too crazy.

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With that having been said, I’m pretty pleased with some of the wide stances and action poses I’m able to get out of him. It does take some work, finding that sweet spot where he will balance. And if you give him too wide a stance, his legs are inclined to slide outwards and do the splits. I wouldn’t be comfortable posing him like this for a long period of time, but it does make him surprisingly fun for such a large and bulky figure, let alone one that transforms into two alt modes.

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If any part of Fortress Maximus isn’t totally blowing my brain out the side of my skull, it’s just because Metroplex came first and stole some of his thunder. But that shouldn’t take anything away from him. In fact, and I’m going to get a little sappy here, playing around with this figure really made me feel like a kid again. There’s something about a toy like this that is just so grand and so magical that it personifies that perfect Christmas morning or that especially amazing birthday. It literally fills me with joy to know that there are companies out there like Hasbro that are willing to take risks and say, “Who cares if kids these days just want Apple Watches and tablets and XboxStationWiiUs? We’re going to make a goddamn giant robot and we’re going to convince retailers who are already crazy stingy about their retail space to put it on their shelves. Not only that, but we’re also going to do it again at the end of the year with a giant robot dinosaur.” It makes me want to stand up and applaud. Now, I have absolutely zero insider information when it comes to my hobby. I’m just a guy that runs a silly toy blog. I don’t go to Toy Fairs and talk to Hasbro reps, and I don’t own any of their stock. But I’m willing to bet that they know that this thing is aimed at us collectors and they do it anyway. It’s something that Mattel had to set up a subsidiary mail order company called Matty Collector to do. It’s really something special and a little part of me has to believe that somewhere out there a kid actually asked for this for Christmas, got it, and had the time of his life opening it.

And with that, I’m going to break today so I can come back tomorrow and look at his alt modes.

Transformers Titans Return: Darkmoon and Astrotrain by Hasbro

It feels like a while since I last did a proper Transformers Thursday, especially with my schedule change in January, but regular Thursday content is back in full swing, and while I can’t promise every Thursday will be about little plastic convertorobots, I’ll do my best to deliver where I can. Today, I’m checking out Titans Return Astrotrain, a figure that I’ve been looking forward to, because quite frankly the old Classics version just doesn’t cut it for me anymore and I recently unloaded it on Ebay to make way for this guy.

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And he’s a Voyager. I love that! Astrotrain was the Decepticons’ go to mode of interplanetary mass transportation whenever the series forgot that they could all just fly through space on their own. And while you still couldn’t fit any of the other figures in here, it just makes sense to me that he should be bigger than a Deluxe. Naturally, Astrotrain is still a Triple Changer, and I’m going to kick things off with his shuttle mode first!

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So, I really dig this mode. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for something more traditional, but I can get behind this design. This alt mode looks like a cross between a traditional NASA shuttle and a Cybertronian craft. It’s big and beefy and looks like it was made for battle rather than exploration. Part of that comes from the turret-like gun emplacements on the pylons under each wing. These really remind me of the ones on Armada’s Tidal Wave or even the ones on Energon Omega Supreme. In fact, this figure has a couple of call-backs that really bring that Omega Supreme toy to mind. The shuttle is absolutely loaded with sculpted detail, mostly in the form of panel lines. You also get sculpted windows, some flaps on the back, and what look like some kind of tiny doors on the dorsal surface. I’d like to think that these are missile bay doors. I can just picture an Itano Circus pouring out of the top and swarming toward poor Cosmos as he hauls ass to escape it.

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The coloring here is pretty simple, but so much better than the white Classics version. The top of the shuttle is a beautiful shade of traditional Decepticon purple, while the main body of the craft is gray and black. There’s precious little here in the way of paint apps, as this toy mostly lets the colored plastic do the talking, but it’s still a nice looking toy and I can’t argue with these colors. You do get a pair of crisp Decepticon emblems stamped on the wings. It’s probably worth qualifying here that while I love the coloring on this figure, the Takara version is so much better. I decided a while back that I wasn’t going to pay more for Takara paint jobs, only new molds, but here was one release where I cam close to making an exception.

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Astrotrain’s little Titan Master is called Darkmoon, which is a pretty bitchin’ name. He shares the same purple and gray plastic coloring as his big bot buddy. There’s no paint apps on him and he has the same articulation as the rest of the Titan Masters. That includes a ball jointed head, ball jointed shoulders, and hinges in the hips and knees, with the legs fused together. Astrotrain’s cockpit is at the top of the tail section and includes a purple tinted canopy, which again reminds me of the canopy on that Energon Omega Surpreme toy.

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Astrotrain comes with two guns, which can mount in various places on the shuttle, one of which is designed to fit a Titan Master in a seated position like an outrigger. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I kind of dig this gimmick, as it reminds me a bit of something I might have made with some of the old Micronauts toys. You can even plug the other gun into it to make a really obnoxious looking gunning station. On the downside, I would have really loved a pair of the other gun to plug into those sockets under the tail fins. Having two different guns goes against my love of symmetry in my Transformers armaments. OK, enough said about the shuttle, let’s check out the train mode.

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Yeah, I’m not really loving this. While the shuttle mode took its share of liberties and worked, this futuristic bullet train just isn’t doing it for me. Frankly, it looks less like a train and more like it’s a few tweaks away from either being a battleship or a submarine. Once again, I’m going to go back to Energon Omega Supreme, because this really reminds me of the combined mode of his bizarre crane-train-and-battleship monstrosity. From the canopy at the top of the tower to the battleship-style turrets, I’d be hard pressed to believe that Energon Omega wasn’t the inspiration behind this mode. The only train elements I get off of this are the “cow catchers” on the front and back and the rather unconvincing rail wheels molded into the flip down panels. The deco remains very close to what we saw in the shuttle mode, and once again there’s plenty of sculpted detail like panel lines and tiny hatches and ladders, which give a good idea of how ginormous this thing is supposed to be. In the end, I think I’m going to forget this mode exists. So let’s deep six this choo-choo and check out the robot mode!

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Now this is where it’s at! From the front, I’ve got precious little to complain about here. Yeah, I really wish they had given him the split tail fin chest shield. That tab there is just aching for it and it seems like it would have been easy to include it as just a piece that gets set aside when the figure is in his alt modes. Other then that, this guy is just fabulous. There’s something about him, and I can’t put my finger on it, that just makes him look a little above and beyond the usual Hasbro Voyagers. Maybe it’s the quality of plastic, maybe it’s the cut panel lines. Whatever it is, I’m at a loss for words. The front of the figure’s color palate dumps a lot of the purple, relegating it to the sides of the legs and fists, in favor of a largely gray and black deco.

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From the back, we can see where most of that purple went. It’s also here that I have my biggest complaint about the figure and that’s his lower legs. They look with the train fronts sticking out, like they want to be heel spurs, but aren’t. Swivel cuts here would have done a world of good, not only aesthetically, but also to help balance the figure a little better. But I suppose these are minor complaints.

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Astrotrain can make use of the turrets from his alt modes as extra armament when he’s in robot mode. I approve of this!

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Darkmoon makes for a mighty fine head. Yeah, the face sculpt is a little soft, but I still like what they did here. You have the option of deploying two pylons on the sides of his head by pressing a lever below his chest. I don’t like these, I’m not even sure why they’re there, so I’m glad they’re optional.

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Of course, Astrotrain can wield the two weapons we saw with vehicle mode as rifles. I’m sticking with just the one that isn’t designed to sit the Titan Master.

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While it may sound like I have more than a few issues with Astrotrain, the good here certainly outweighs the bad. I love the robot mode, I like the shuttle mode, and the train mode… well, two out of three ain’t bad. There’s just a lot to love about this figure and he’s definitely a step up from the Classics version, which has been a sub-standard stand in for Astrotrain for quite a while. I’m certain glad I didn’t cave in and grab one of those pricey Third Party Astrotrain efforts. While they are definite improvements on this guy, I’m perfectly happy sticking with this toy for the money.

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!