Monday, 9 October 2017

Hascon Arcee, Leinad & Ultra Magnus


Hascon Ultra Magnus

To recap:

We know from the Transmission Podcast rumours that Choas on Velocitron was originally the Speed set, which is reflected in it's Speed Tech Spec quadrant highlighted on the packaging and that set's Rodimus Prime having the "Ultimate Speed Boost" power revealed on the List of Titanmasters found on the Trypticon Cereal Box.

Similarly we know from the Transmission Podcast rumours that Siege on Cybertron was originally the Strength set, which is reflected in it's Strength Tech Spec quadrant highlighted on the packaging and that set's Thunderwing having the "Ultimate Strength Boost" power revealed on the List of Titanmasters found on the Trypticon Cereal Box.

There are four areas on the current Tech Specs: Strength, Speed, Intelligence and Fireblast. These were also shown in the SDCC 2016 Titan's Return Storybook which divided the first few waves of toys up between the four tech spec quadrants. The four quadrants are all illustrated as symbols on the Chaos on Velocitron and Siege on Cybertron boxsets with the Speed and Strength logos highlighted accordingly.

So.....

What happened to the Intelligence and Fireblast boxsets?

The the Transmission Podcast rumours places the Speed & Strength sets in development in March & April 2016. At around that time the Combiner Wars G2 Superion, G2 Menasor and Victorion sets were on sale. These sold poorly, ending up sitting with retailers for quite some time, and indeed some retailers still have them now even at large reductions some 18 months later. So I'd like to suggest this possible scenario: the numbers come back to Hasbro saying the boxsets aren't doing well and Hasbro pulls the plug. The last Combiner Wars boxset Liokaiser gets produced in smaller number and made an exclusive to Entertainment Earth in the US. The Speed & Strength boxes get given catchier titles, Chaos on Velocitron & Siege on Cybertron, which disguise their "one of four" origins and turn into exclusives for TRU and BBTS respectively.

We know a little about what would probably have gone into the Intelligence & Fireblast sets. Two Clones Fastclash & Pounce had been packed with Chaos on Velocitron (Speed) & Siege on Cybertron (Strength) respectively. I think it's likely that Wingspan's function of "data processor" meant he was destined for Intelligence and thus Cloudraker was for Fireblast. With the Intelligence and Fireblast sets not happening they end up in a 2-pack together for Walgreens. It's thought likely that a G2 Green version of Titan's Return Voyager Megatron would have ended up in Fireblast as a counterpart to Choas on Velocitron's Laser Prime remake of Generation 2 Optimus Prime, possibly alongside a US release of Legends Godbomber to go with Magnus Prime the mild recolour of Legends Super Ginrai found in the Siege on Cybertron set.

But we had no idea about which Titanmasters would be in which set until the Trypticon Cereal Box was released at SDCC 2017 on Thursday 20th July. A List of Titanmasters found on that box gave a number of then unknown Titanmasters, one of which was an Ultra Magnus listed as "Ultimate Intelligence Boost", just as Rodimus Prime and Thunderwing were listed as "Ultimate Speed Boost" and "Ultimate Strength Boost". Our Intelligence Titanmaster had been found.

Ultra Magnus toys generally take one of two forms: either a white Optimus Prime or a blue, red & white super robot. Very seldom do they do both so it's something of a surprise to find it attempted on a Titanmaster. The Titanmaster robot itself is all white, using exactly the same parts as Siege on Cybertron Thunderwing: the metal chest first found on Chaos on Velocitron Rodimus Prime plus the arms, legs & head from Fangry. The only paint is a blue mouthplate & crest plus red eyes. It's a good attempt at a white Optimus in Titanmastr robot form. OK you could have done better using Alpha Trion's Sovereign in white but....

Transforming to head mode is then a bit of a surprise as given the white Optimus robot you're probably expecting the white Optimus head. That's not what you get, what's here instead is a small version of the blue Magnus super robot head with silver pipes & face and blue eyes. It looks really nice, a lot better than photos made me think it would! Like Thunderwing, if Ultra Magnus had been done as a full size toy he'd have probably have been a leader so the Titanmaster there would have just supplied the face which would have been beefed up to a leader sized head by a helmet. Personally I'd like to see a redone version of Combiner Wars Leader Ultra Magnus with more 1986 like weapons, 5mm peg hole hands and a Titanmaster covered by helmet head, ala Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime, but there I would want a white Prime face if it was being completely covered.

As it is what we have here gives us a perfectly Ultra Magnus head for a smaller toy. No complaints there!


Hascon Titans Return Arcee & Leinad

The Future Repaints section for the Blurr/Chromedome reviews had this section in it:
Concept drawings exists showing the original Chromedome repainted as Arcee and I've already seen a Titan Return Arcee digibashed from Chromedome which was also turned into a custom. I've also seen an Arcee from Blurr and another from Hot Rod!
The obsession for a Headmaster Arcee starts from her appearance in The Rebirth cartoon story where she binary bonds with Spike's son Daniel. As we've seen there was a cancelled proposal to do her as a Chromedome repaint that leads to it being suggested whenever Chromedome turns up. Titans Return Blurr was suggested as a good body base for a female robot, a concept proved when he was used to make Chaos on Velocitron Nautica which in turn for me eliminated the idea of the Blurr Arcee being done as I couldn't see Blurr appearing in two boxsets.

Then on Thursday 20th July 2017 at that year's SDCC a Trypticon Cereal Box was released showing a List of Titanmasters which included number of then unknown Titanmasters, including Leinad whose power was listed as Healer. It was quickly spotted that Leinad is Daniel, the name of Arcee's Cartoon Headmaster, in reverse leading to many concluding a Titans Return Arcee was on the cards. Sure enough a few days later trading card art for first Arcee then very quickly afterwards Titanmaster Ultra Magnus, also found on the Trypticon Cereal List, were leaked onto Weibo. A few days later a 2-pack of Arcee & Titanmaster Ultra Magnus were announced by Hasbro to be premièring at their first Hascon convention held in Rhode Island on September 8th - 10th 2017 and then to be released at retail at a later date.

The Official Images of Arcee are quite interesting - they're all of the form "C3542AS00_TRA_HTC_COLLECTOR_CLUB_1_" and then an image number. Hasbro announced a new fan club in October 2016 but since then nothing has been heard. Was Arcee originally destined for there? I had thought that Arcee might be, like we think Titanmaster Ultra Magnus is, a refugee from one of the cancelled Titans Return boxsets. Exhibit A for that argument is her trading card art which is presented in landscape format and looks cropped from a larger image rather than in portrait format, with the head landing on her shoulders, like the other Titans Return Deluxe and Voyagers. However in hand she feels like she has slightly too much retooling to be a repaint from a boxset. So I think she was more likely originally intended for the cancelled/postponed Collectors Club or Titans Return Deluxe Wave 6, which in the end only featured one new toy in Slugslinger.

The retooling is itself rather interesting. With two major exception the parts changed are the same parts changed to turn Blurr into Brainstorm: they both have new shoulders, hand flaps, spoiler/fin, vehicle nose and robot faces. The new parts change the look of the front of the vehicle considerably, into a kind of squared off version of her Generations Thrilling 30 toy. You can see the Blurr in there, and she looks more like Blurr than Brainstorm does, but the flaps covering her hand and vehicle nose easily do enough to differentiate them.

The two changed parts don't really affect this mode too much: one is that her Titanmaster Leinad has a new, rounded head painted silver. Together with the white of the figure it's suggesting Daniel's exo suit from The Movie & the Rebirth. Unfortunately it looks a bit odd, not like it's on-screen appearance and worse will cause some problems later! Th other changed part, hallelujah, is that the gun has gone! I didn't mind it on Blurr but disliked it's inclusion on Brainstorm where I thought his new vehicle nose should have had removable side guns like the original Headmaster. It's also one of the few parts that was carried over to Chromedome, who I think also should have had twin dual guns like his original toy, and thus to Titans Return Chromedome's repaint Breakaway. So I think I now own 4 of the guns on Titans Return toys and another three on the Legends version and am thoroughly sick of the sight of it! In it's place are two small pistols modelled after ones Arcee uses in the IDW comics. Some distinct thought has gone into these as their handles aren't the typical 5mm peg, they're a thin rectangular piece of plastic which is 5mm from, front to back. They'll fit 5mm peg holes just fine but they'll also fit the narrow hands of the previous Generations Arcee. As per previous versions of the Blurr mould you can attach the guns under the nose in vehicle mode and that can be separated to act as a mini vehicle for a Titanmaster.

The robot mode is shaped very similarly to Blurr, but the pink and white used helps differentiate them a lot. The new rounded shoulder pieces, with fake car front sides on them help a lot as does the great new face. I want to say the chest looks wrong but some great attention to detail duplicates the pattern on Arcee's animation chest onto a differently shaped surface. Yes the legs are the same, but they work. The only real problem here is the Titanmaster: the rounded shape of Leinad's small robot head doesn't make for a secure connection at the back of the Titanmaster socket so turning Arcee's head to the side can cause Leinad's head to shift in the socket and Arcee's head to pop off.

I think Hasbro have done a really good job with Arcee here. Great remoulded parts, with the exception of the Titanmaster head, and fab colours have produced a toy which has made a really good Arcee. I think her US price of $24.99 looks very reasonable for her, a bonus Titanmaster in Ultra Magnus and some fancy packaging. Robotkingdom's $29.90 doesn't look too bad but it's still the best part of £40 before it gets to me in the United Kingdom, assuming it doesn't get customed. Kapow & ID Toys were both asking £35 for it initially, which given the far east price plus shipping plus customs plus overheads doesn't look absurd for them to be asking. However once again is all but £40 taking postage into account which feels a bit expensive for deluxe plus bonus Titanmaster, but I can't see these finding a home at UK retail so if you want it, that's the price you need to pay.

Siege on Cybertron Thunderwing


Siege on Cybertron Thunderwing

Siege on Cybertron's Titanmaster Thunderwing uses the same die cast metal chest as Rodimus Prime with a new faceplate and limbs & head taken from the Fangry Titanmaster. The arms are lavender, legs black chest white and head blue, so the aim here with the figure is to make it look as much like Pretender Thunderwing's Inner Robot as possible. The head mode looks more like Generations Thunderwing than the original putting it on the top 50% of Thunderwing heads: the last Thunderwing head, used on TFSS 5.0 Thunder Mayhem, was a disaster!

The Siege on Cybertron set highlights a Strength Set Logo and just like the Speed Logo on Chaos on Velocitron led top Rodimus Prime's power being "Ultimate Speed Boost", the List of Titanmasters found on the Trypticon Cereal Box reveals Thunderwing's Power to be "Ultimate Strength Boost", which given Thunderwing is traditionally shown as a strong Transformer makes some sense.

There's no Thunderwing Titans Return to to pair him with, though I've seen several photos using him as a replacement head for The Last Knight Nitro which makes sense as he's a jet who doesn't have his own Titanmaster. With Rodimus Prime having been unveiled as a Power of the Primes leader and Thunderwing appearing on the Power of the Primes fan vote some have seen the boxset heads as a hint to the identity of Power of the Primes leaders. Personally I'm a little surrprised that Thuderwing wasn't done as a leader in Titans Return as a retool of Sky Shadow just as his original toy Blackshadow and his Generations successor were a retool of Thunderwing and his Generations version. Of course if they went down that route the Titanmaster there would end up supplying the face, which would then be surrounded by a helmet to boost it to leader size, rather than being the whole head like this one is.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Titans Return Slugslinger & Caliburst


Slugslinger & Caliburst

Misfire and his retool Slugslinger were revealed at the Australian Toyfair via an Australian fan event. And Slugslinger is a retool of Misfire as well as both being retools of Triggerhappy: there's a parts frame in common between the two toys that Triggerhappy doesn't have making up the bulk of his waist section, but not the front, the hinges connecting the shoulders to the body and the hinges connecting the front of the plane to the robot's back. If you look at the back of Slugslinger's shoulders you'll see the hole that Misfire's wings are attached to.

Slugslinger feels a lot like Misfire in robot mode: same legs as peg Triggerhappy, same articulation as Misfire, and jet nose, or in this case noses on his back! The blue and the off white/grey he's coloured in, while a close match for the original, look a little off colour.

The gun, or guns, are disappointing me. Both Triggerhappy & Misfire had attach side by side guns, though Triggerhappy needed some help to hold his horizontally. Slugslinger has two guns: a blue dual cannon with a seat and a grey single barrelled gun. The latter fits between the barrels of the former to form a longer combined weapon but it isn't really doing it for me. The space for the Titanmaster only really accommodate his feet so he ends up sitting on rather than in the weapon.

Transformation: with the exception of the wings being on a hinger fixed to the body rather than one linked the shoulder this transforms identically to Misfire. Relatively simple, though tabbing the arms into the wings and the body seems a bit of a pain here, but simple is a relief after the nightmare that was Energon Slugslinger

The jet mode is a near perfect replica of the original Slugslinger jet. However because of the size of the toy his Titanmaster Caliburst has to sit in the body of the jet between the twin jet noses and not in one of the jet nose cockpits themselves. To accomplish that would have needed a Voyager sized toy. Your mileage may vary depending on how essential you thought this feature would be. Like his mould mates he also lacks anywhere to mount the combined weapon on the top of the toy, which to me is a major failing, but still has 5mm sockets on his shoulders and under his wings.

I can't say Slugslinger is setting my world on fire. He hasn't got the mad transformation of Triggerhappy or the insane colours of Misfire. Part of this is probably due to him being an end of line toy I feel I've paid too much for. When he was revealed at the Australia toy fair it was expected he'd have new deluxe wavemates and indeed toys in other sizes released at the same time. I can name you a good half a dozen possible repaints and remoulds that could have been done from existing toys to help further or complete various head & Targetmaster groups. Hasbro tried to compensate for the toy being the only new one in his case by packing him 3 per case but since he was packed with 2 x Rodimus, 2 x Kup and 1 x Hardhead, none of which were terribly in demand, it presented online retailers with a problem. Kapow passed on the case, IDToys sold Slugslinger at an inflated price and BBTS only sold him in sets with other toys. The possibility of solid cases at a later date has been mooted but I hope Hasbro have learnt that the initial case strategy they used for Slugslinger is a bad idea.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

TFSS 5.0 Counterpunch


Transformers Subscription Service 5.0 Counterpunch

Counterpunch is yet another late FunPub exclusive released homaging a previous one: Punch/Counterpunch was redone as a Collectors Club exclusive in 2010 using the Universe Lamborghini toy: the Sunstreaker transformation of the toy served as the Autobot Punch while the Sideswipe transformation turned it into Counterpunch. Since the Combiner Wars Lamborghini also served as Sunstreaker, and should have been Sideswipe, you could see why they might use it for another Punch/Counterpunch. However they've instead gone for it's slightly modified Wheeljack version which in turn opens up a second homage: A blue Wheeljack is Slicer who was made as a Botcon 2010 using Energon Downshift (Wheeljack!).

Effectively you know what to expect here, as you'll have probably bought the Countach a few times by now, the existing Combiner Wars to in blue, and it looks really rather nice.

The HandFootGun is coloured orange here, a reference to Punch's Twin Mortar Launcher I think, making it another FunPub HFG with a unique colour.

Transforming to robot mode reveals a brand new head which looks a lot like a more detailed version of the original Counterpunch head. Given that some of the 2016 FunPub head sculpts were so bad, especially Ravage/Tigatron on the CW Countach, I'm surprised that this head is this good and wonder if it was meant for a repaint that never happened....

Didn't expect to like this but he's better than I thought he would be!


Future Repaints

I'd settle for a new head, chest and gun to make a Combiner Wars version of Sideswipe. If you're doing Sunstreaker, you HAVE to do Sideswipe. That would then give us Red Alert as an EASY repaint and also things like G2 Sideswipe, Deep Cover and Clamp Down. Part of me thinks that Tigertrack wouldn't be worth doing but the thought of having TWO almost identical yellow Lambo that turn into different robots is quite tempting! See also red Diaclone Countach LP500S Super Tuning and Police Car Diaclone Countach LP500S Super Tuning.

However I think we can do better than that. Most of the time a remould on a toy is to change it's appearance. A remould to how this toy transforms would make the world of difference. I'd have the bonnet hinged at it's base, connected to the neck plate which is then connected to a hinge at the top, slightly covered by the windscreen. Result: a bonnet that will still fold back, for combined mode, but one that will also fold forward onto the chest to make an even better Sideswipe.

Given the presence of a limb robot Jazz in Power of the Primes, assumed to be part of a new Autobot combiner, I suspect the chances of Sideswipe getting a similar toy are rising!

Monday, 11 September 2017

TFSS 5.0 Fracytl & Shattered Glass Starscream


Transformer Subscription Service 5.0 Fractyl

Botcon 2016 Terrorsaur in green, with gold camo, as Beast Wars Terrorsaur's Botcon 1997 repaint Fractyl. Boom, job done and Subs Service v5 starts, as Botcon 2016 included, with a homage to a previous Botcon product. Lacking a spare Beast Wars Voyager core, Fractyl & Terrorsaur join the other beast Combiner Wars Limbs, Tigatron & Unit-3, as limbs on my Unite Warriors Grand Scourge combiner.

Transformer Subscription Service 5.0 Starscream

I'm not a Botcon attendee and, before they started doing combiners, didn't have much truck with the Transformers Figure Subscription Service so my direct experience of the Heroic Decepticons/Evil Autobots Shattered Glass concept has been minimal. I thought it was a good idea for a one off for BotCon 2008 but Fun Publications was unable to leave it alone and kept producing more and more Shattered Glass toys, frequently including toys that many fans felt should have had the standard Autobot & Decepticon symbols on, notably Action Master Thundercracker. Since there's a lot of homaging to past Botcon & Club exclusives in the final year of the convention and Subs Service, I'm not 100% surprised to see a Shattered Glass toy in TFSS 5.0. But this one I have multiple problems with.

All along I've thought that the F-16 Air Raid version of the mould would make a better Decepticon Strike Plane than Skydive, but it was Skydive used to create the clear Unite Warriors Ghost Starscream. Given that exists it's only logically that it should get repainted as at least the real Starscream, and probably his 1984 repaints Thundercracker & Skywarp. But no, for whatever reason FunPub decide to resurrect their 2008 Shattered Glass Starscream colours which in turn play on the relationship between Starscream and Jetfire in the cartoon by giving Starscream Jetfire's colours. So I'm feeling deprived of my Skydive in solid Starscream colours, who I'm probably not going to see now thanks to the existence of Power of the Primes Starscream, a Voyager Combiner Core. I still have hopes of Thundercracker and Skywarp CW Skydives to complete that combiner, but that's a different matter!

But it's now that the choice of mould for Unite Warriors Starscream comes back to haunt us! See if the Starscream there had been Air Raid, then the TFSS Starscream would also have been Air Raid. And then slapping the Shattered Glass colours on that would have given us, faction symbols aside, a more than passable CW Jetfire complete with swing wings!

I've got some problems with the deco on the jet too: large areas on unpainted white plastic push the knock off button to me, not helped by the grey cockpit being almost indistinguishable at first glance. The red dual cannon .... doesn't really work and I'm not sure about the clear red hand either: it's unique so won't really go with anything else but I could see it as a sort of powered up fist in combined mode.

The robot mode works better than the jet mode, with more red, plastic & paint, and black, just paint, but there's still a lot of white.

With either a different deco or a different mould this could have been a great toy. A bit of a miss from the TFSS means they go out on a bit of a damp squib.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Shapeways Parts

A box from Shapeways arrived today!

Fortress Maximus ramps:

https://www.shapeways.com/product/CHAP98PEX/titans-return-fort-max-runway-ramp-connector?optionId=61470622
https://www.shapeways.com/product/R3MZZGYN5/titans-return-fort-max-runway-mini-hinge?optionId=62346091
https://www.shapeways.com/product/2UR7BTQJ2/titans-return-fort-max-clip-on-extension-ramp?optionId=62346145

The Max ramps are just what I expected it to be in base mode, very happy.

Holds on fine in arm mode, stays out the way, perfect.

I bought just one of these to make sure it worked properly, and am very happy with it so will order another for the other arm ASAP.

Also on a Max theme, I bought a hand/5mm adaptor.

https://www.shapeways.com/product/JKNDTYN66/fortress-maximus-handle-adapter?optionId=60505360

Does the job, but the clutch between socket and 5mm is very loose.

Will need to look at how to make the grip tighter.

Not so Max related but still on a ramp theme them I also bought a TR to Micromaster connection ramp.

https://www.shapeways.com/product/YQ8RVXFSN/titans-return-micromaster-adapter-ramp?optionId=60798336

The business. Having a few more of these!

Attaches fine to other TR ramps but the clutch between it and the other shapeways ramp, which also attaches fine to TR ramps, isn't great.

Next up the TR gun handles and fillers.

https://www.shapeways.com/product/9YLS7NTNJ/handle-filler-for-tr-highbrow?optionId=61748774
https://www.shapeways.com/product/K3ZLZGRWF/handle-and-filler-for-tr-triggerhappy?optionId=61735393

The principle is the same for Highbrow but I've just photographed Triggerhappy's here:

(and just noticed the filler, the bit to go in the cockpit is missing!)

Looks fine, but once again no grip between the peg and the hand. This is an easier job to fix than the Max adaptor as there's a peg here I can build up by wrapping taped round or similar.

Finally the detective adaptor.

https://www.shapeways.com/product/ANSDLZ9L2/detective-adapter?optionId=60423329

I'd worried about his as it was only available in black or white but actually it goes well with the existing black bits

Some screwdriver surgery is necessary to deach the old head and attach this but if I can do it anyone can!

Here's what he looks like with the Legends Nightbeat head attached

Perfect match. Job done, Nightbeat has a body, and the Legends version is a perfect match colourwise. TR isn't so close but still passable

(TR on left, Legends on right)

Overall very pleased with that lot. The Max hand/5mm adaptor and gun handles need some work but everything else does the job it's meant to.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Titans Return Overlord with Dreadnaut


Titans Return Overlord with Dreadnaut

Having teased Overlord during the Botcon 2016 presentation and then trolled us by by revealing Sky Shadow first at NYCC 2016 we had then had to wait four months for his official reveal at Toyfair 2017!

Now I'm of the age where I can remember the gold boxed Overlord sitting on Woolworths shelves here in the UK and it's been a mater of some regret that I never bought one at the time and some frustration since that he has not yet been reissued. So I've been looking forward to this new version very much.

He comes in robot mode out the box but we'll look at the vehicles first: remove the gun and separate the toys by pulling down on the waist. At this point it should become immediately apparent that, apart from a new waist panel at the front, the legs and the Megatank that they turn into are identical to the tank sold with Sky Shadow. So see that review for more on the tank and how to transform it.

So returning to the upper body: fold open the top of the head and remove the Titanmaster Dreadnaut.

Sky Shadow's Titanmaster was modelled after Mega, one of original Overlord's powermasters. Titans Return Overlord has Dreadnaut as his Titanmaster and he's modelled after original Overlord's other Powermaster Giga - see this picture for a comparison. The Titanmasters have identical chests, which look like they're on the same sprue as the upper arms, elbows, Titanmaster clip and Leader robot hips judging by the colour changes, and identical black upper legs, which are probably on the same sprue as the base mode ramp connectors. However the arms, lower legs and head are new and the head has been painted cyan to match Giga's original head and chest. I'm willing to put money on both Titanmasters being with the Japanese version of Overlord.

So close the top of Overlord's helmet and reverse it. Remove the Megajet's nose from Overlord's arm, fold the peg in and clip the Megajet's nose into Overlord's backpack with the nose pointing down and the white side facing backwards. Fold the Megajet up and forward so it covers the head.

Once again there's no need to have removed the Titanmaster from the head for Transformation. This, coupled with the head being painted when it could be cast from the same blue plastic as the chest, makes me think we may end up with a deTitanmastered head on TakaraTomy Overlord. We'll deal with what will happen to the two Titanmasters I think will be included on that toy later .....

Fold the hands into the forearms. Straighten the arms and retract the elbows into the forearms. Fix the shoulders in relation to the body thanks to tab in the armpit and a slot on the arm. Fold the wings out the side of the arms, fold up the tail fins, fold down the landing gear.

Overlord's Megajet is a stylised SR-71 Blackbird, with black main body that's got more blockiness and straight lines that the Blackbird's sleek rounded lines. As per the original Overlord the engines and underside are cast in white slightly spoiling the appearance of the Blackbird as is traditional for Transformers versions of the plane: Snapdragon is the wrong colour, the Micromasters Fireshot & Vanquish need two robots to form the vehicle and Revenge of the Fallen Jetfire is a horror to transform that I'm still having nightmares about to this day! The cockpit canopy, cast in clear orange plastic, opens for Dreadnaut to sit in it, though the hatch is rather stiff! The floor of the cockpit is also clear orange and folds down. Really this is for his base mode but it gives the impression of a nice entrance ramp/escape chute. One the side of each engine and the middle of the rear are 5mm holes for you to mount his weapon on. Titanmaster Apeface's jet mode looks rather nice piggybacked on he jet, attached via it weapon mode handle mounted in the middle rear hole and indeed his weapons mode works rather well there too. Either side and slightly forward of the rear hole are a Titanmaster Foot Pegs with another on each side following about 4cm further forward. On the underside of the rear of the jet is a Titans Return base mode ramp connector should you wish to attach the jet by itself to something.

If this mode came in black and turned into a robot by itself I'd be perfectly happy with it and it's pretty good as it is paired with the existing tank. I think the jet is the better of the two halves though, not because it's newer but because the tank fees a little too short and doesn't have a raising barrel or rotating turret.

Like Skyshadow it is possible to link he tank and the jet but the connection is a little more tenuous here. Open the robot's chest doors on the underside of the jet. Place them round the front of the tank turret and press the tabs on them into the slots on the slide of the turret that you didn't know were there till you started looking for them to do this!

The hold .... could be better. You're liable to get them separating unexpectedly but hey, it's a working dropship combination!

The two vehicles also come together to form the base mode. The tank transforms exactly as it did with Skyshadow but the jet is a little different....

Start by pulling the nose of the jet off. Rotate the jet nose so the bottom faces up and reattach it. Pull up the plates that form the sides of the jet's top rear - I missed their equivalents on Sky Shadow when reviewing it - and pull them back so they are flat against the rear of the toy again but pointing out the back of the jet. Bend the back of the jet up 90° and stands on this with the white underside of the jet nose facing forward. Slot the tank into the rear of the jet, peg the gun into the hole on what was the jet's rear, and fold down the clear yellow hatch that was under the nose as a platform for Dreadnaut to stand on.

I think the base mode has done a good job of capturing the essence of the original Overlord base mode, and the tower formed from the jet is really similar to the original. The problem here is the tank portions: the split tank halves feel far too close to the main body. Here they're connected to it by the upper legs whereas the original had them further away and linker with ramps. Maybe if the upper legs could telescope out a bit to give them some distance or even fold out into three sections to form a thinner ramp? But as it stands the width of the base mode feels far too compact. There's a base mode connector at the end of each leg piece and another at the back of the jet tower. Each leg, and the base of the jet mode, has two Titanmaster pegs one it plus a further one on the tower canopy. But somehow the base mode doesn't feel busy enough. There's no space for the Titanmaster to stand behind the gun, like you could on Skyshadow, and it lacks the attachments, fold out weapons and even ramp to the front the original had.

Robot mode transformation: Remove the gun & Titanmaster and close the orange platform. Open the ends of the front tank halves to form the feet, fold in the base mode connectors, then fold each tank half 90° out to the side to become the lower leg. Fold the straightened leg in at the hip and then rotate it 180° out to the sides so they're the correct way round: the front of the base mode is now the robot's back. Fold the tower back down flat. Fold the rear jet panels, covering the robot's thighs, up onto the robot's back. Extend the arms, fold out the hands, fold the fins & wings back and pull the shoulders out to the sides untabbing them. Separate the nose of the jet, turn it 180° and reattach, folding the nose down onto the robot's back. Pull the jet nose off again, folding the landing gear in and the peg out and attach to one of the holes in the robot's shoulder. Rotate the helmet so it faces front, open the top and insert the Titanmaster. Place the gun in his hand.

Overlord's body follows the same pattern as the original with the jet's engines becoming it's arms, the underside of the jet body becoming the chest, with the jet nose becoming a shield while, as also per Sky Shadow, the tank forms the legs with it's barrel becoming the hand gun. So while the lower part of the toy is identical to the earlier leader the top half is very different and has been closely modelled on the original Overlord chest design. The six barrelled gun array is there on our right of the chest as is the grey box that on the original folded down with the Powermaster gimmick to become a missile array. With the Powermaster gimmick gone the box is now little more than moulded detail but if you lean him back at his waist another missile array is revealed hidden in Overlord's abdomen.

The Powermaster gimmick has sort of been emulated on Overlord, albeit in a way that doesn't do anything. His chest doors open revealing two cavities that a Titanmaster can be slotted into. Be careful though, I've found the fit to be rather tight and TFWiki agrees. The inclusion of this feature has made me thought that the Takara version might get a significant retool with a permanently attached head and both Mega & Giga Titanmasters retooled with Powermaster style engine. However it could just be a look ahead to the Power of the Primes Primemaster gimmick.

Articulation: identical to Sky Shadow, including the odd double shoulder joint I hadn't discovered when I reviewed that toy. I cant's see why the shoulder joint would raise to the side out of the body when this feature is duplicated by the shoulder sitting in the arm. 5mm hands of course but Sky Shadow's 5mm ports on the arm have moved up onto Overlord's shoulder for the purposes of mounting the jet/shield. 5mm port on the rear of his waist for weapon storage.

There's some fun to be had with this toy. Thanks to the "two vehicles become one" feature and the shared tank/legs with Sky Shadow the two toys can swap trousers in robot mode for some colourful combinations. The jet nose, in addition to being worn on his shoulder, can be used as a hand held shield, can be stored on his back or used as chest armour thanks to a slot on his chest and a tab on the jet.

Fans have been wanting a decent Overlord update for some time and this toy delivers. Jet, tank and robot deliver and the base mode is the only place it really falls down in comparison with the original but is itself OK by Titans Return standards. My expectation is hat we might see something interesting from TakaraTomy with this early in 2018.


Future Repaints

Having done Sky-Shadow surely Thunderwing is an inevitability? I can't see him being a Leader by himself: we think there's one wave of leaders left after Overlord and to do him there would mean repaints of the same toy released in three consecutive waves. I could have seen him more as part of a boxset, the only flies in that plan being that there was already a Titanmaster Thunderwing in the Siege On Cybertron boxset and that Hasbro seemingly went off the boxsets after the first two. However with [url=http://news.tfw2005.com/2017/01/23/power-primes-fan-vote-open-now-331405]Thunderwing featuring in the Power of the Primes vote[/url] I could see this toy being retooled with a new jet for legs to fall in with the leader's power up gimmick.

The Leader size might be a little large for him but the plane & tank combine to form robot transformation is surely an ideal fit for the Duocon Flywheels/Skytread?

I can't get over the leg configuration on Sky Shadow's base mode. With the tank turret part folded away it would make the perfect base for a Leader Perceptor with the upper body forming a different cannon tank by itself and then combining in Microscope & Robot mode!