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!

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.