Sunday, 31 July 2016

Titan Force Sentinel Prime

Titan Force Sentinel Prime

Titan Force Sentinel Prime is a rare example of clear repaint in the Western Transformers line. He's not 100% a straight colour swap and the swaps reveal something of how the parts trees are made up

Feet Grey Clear Orange
Other Grey Parts Grey Cherry Red
Red Red Lighter Red
Lower Legs Orange Lighter Red
Other Orange Parts Orange Clear Orange
Canopy Clear Yellow Clear Yellow


The yellow paint applications on the lower legs & shoulders in robot mode, and the wheels in train mode remain the same but the chest paint applications are now red. All the red paint applications look the same but there's extra red covering the entire front of the Titanmaster Head while the black paint over the hand guns is also now red but their true colour continues to be exposed on their 5mm handles. The dual cannons on his arms are now painted red too: these really should have been painted red, or even better black, on the original.

Tolerance wise all the parts still fit together ok and, if anything, the connectors for the wings seem to have slightly tighter 5mm sockets. The Titanmaster socket feels very loose on the toy I have


The shuttle mode is now much more red than it was with little of the clear orange visible and the same is true of the train.


The full glory is only revealed in robot mode.


As ever the long term viability of small clear parts is an issue and the clear limbed Titanmaster scares me so that won't be transformed often!


But I'm a sucker for clear repaints like this and had to have it as soon as I saw it!

Sentinel Prime was sold at San Diego Comic Con 2016 as part of the Titan Force Boxset which also contained a redecorated RID Windblade and a version of Brainstorm remoulded from Blurr. When this set was sold at the UK Film and Comic Con Brainstorm was renamed Charron due to a trademark problem.

Titans Return Brainstorm

Titan Force Brainstorm

The new deluxe version of Brainstorm is probably not onto a winner here. First he's been done recently, as Generations Thrilling 30 Voyager Brainstorm, which was a wildly successful and popular toy albeit at a completely different scale to the Titanmasters. Then he's a blatantly obvious remould of Wave 1's Blurr. Finally he's an exclusive, either as part of the San Diego Comic Con Titan Force boxset or, with an altered deco, as a single carded release through the American Drug Store Wallgreens.

Where Blurr's Titanmaster Hyperfire was all blue, Brainstorm's Titanmaster Teslor is cyan with an off white chest, which suggests the chest is on the same parts sprue as the robot's upper legs given the colour and quality of the plastic used. The face of the Titanmaster's head mode is all new: by the look of it it's painted all over and I'd guess it's grey plastic like all the new parts on the larger robot. Attached to the deluxe body the Titanmaster head looks slightly too big: this is my first deluxe Titans Return toy so I can't comment as to how this compares to the others.

Brainstorm comes in robot mode and here his similarity to Blurr is striking. The body & legs look identical to Blurr. Lower legs are a hard off white plastic, painted cyan on the shins, with the upper legs made from a softer off white plastic. Waist is the hard off white plastic again, this time painted cyan, while the majority of the body is a soft cyan plastic with the chest covered by a clear windscreen. The lower abdomen, later the vehicle seat, is dark grey plastic the same as the feet which are the only reused parts to be cast in this colour. The hands, forearms & elbow are inherited from Blurr, cast in cyan plastic (painted grey), hard off white plastic (painted grey) and soft off white plastic respectively. The upper arms, both set of wings, and the hand cover folded under the forearm are all made from a hard grey plastic, with the exterior of the shoulders painted off white. The hand guard hinges are the off white plastic.

Finally the weapons: the gun is the cyan plastic used for the body and, unlike Blurr, is unpainted, while Cyan shield is surprisingly moulded in the hard dark grey plastic and painted! Unfortunately the paint job on mine is a bit poor - could they not spring for a sprue of the cyan plastic to mould it in? So the gun barrels at the front of the shield, grey on this release, aren't an extra paint layer as was first thought (they're the same cyan as the rest on the single carded version) they're the native colour of the piece!

The shield comes mounted on his arm via a 5mm peg on the shield which plugs into a 5mm hole the outer side of either forearm or can be hand held. The guns on the shield, which becomes the front of the jet, are a major problem for me. On the original Brainstorm they were removable as his twin handguns, a feature carried over onto the T30 Voyager. Here they're moulded in place and that's very very annoying. Worse his replacement hand gun is identical to Blurr's in all but colour and seems to be one of the parts reused on the Chromedome & Breakaway/Getaway remoulds too. Dumping that gun and moulding removable guns would have added significantly to the toy. The shield can be attached to Brainstorm's back either way via a pair of slots in the shield that match tabs on the back. However it only looks sensible pointing down. As well as the 5mm handle there's a 5mm peg hole in the gun that lets you mount it on one of the pegs on the side of the shield. The shield can also be detached and, with the aid of a fold out landing gear in the soft off white plastic, be used as a separate vehicle

Articulation: like all Titanmaster toys the head is on a ball joint. The arms shrug up at the shoulders and also rotate. There's a bicep rotational joint, bending elbows and rotational wrists. Waist turns, hips are ball joints plus a thigh swivel & bending knee. Foot bends up as part of the transformation. The outer set of wings, on the outer side of the rear of each arm, are hinged, but the inner wings, hinged on previous versions to form the tail fins, are fixed in place.

At the time of writing I don't own Blurr - I'm waiting for the Legends versions - but I imagine the transformation is VERY similar. Remove the Titanmaster and hand gun. Mount the shield on his back pointing down. Straighten the arms and point them up. Close the covers over the hands. Fold the feet up, revealing wheels, then fold the front of each lower leg out to the sides. Fold the tail fin out of his right (on our left) leg. Tab the lower legs together and then back at the knees so the lower legs fold round the upper legs then close the leg fronts back up. Open the chest front, fold the seat back and sit the Titanmaster in the cockpit before closing the chest front/canopy. Fold the shield up off the back to become the nose in place of where the head was. Pull the arms out to the sides at the shoulder, then towards the back of the vehicle and finally bring them in with the tab on the strut which connects the arm to the shoulder slotting into the inside of the upper arm and the pegs on the side of the shield fitting into holes on the inner side of the lower arms. Peg the gun into the side of the vehicle or under the nose.

Given Blurr as a starting point, they've not made too bad a job of Brainstorm. The new nose, hand covers and wings significantly change the shape of the toy. However there's a price to pay with the wings: the new shoulders, which become side pieces in jet mode, have lost the Titanmaster footpegs. Blurr's spoiler is replaced by one single tail fin which looks very odd as we're used to him having two. I also found the canopy not stretching all the way back to cover the entire cockpit more than slightly annoying. The paint flaws on the nose, mentioned earlier, are particularly obvious here especially round where the landing gear folds out in the shield's stand alone vehicle nose. The off white of the landing gear now sticks out and makes you wonder why it couldn't have been moulded on the cyan sprue. But he maintains Blurr's wheels on his underside which makes rolling him along quite fun.

I can understand why Brainstorm is an exclusive and a remould: he's had his own general release Voyager version relatively recently. But he is a popular character through More Than Meets The Eye and as such probably deserved a little bit more love than this. The vehicle mode changes and choice of plastic for the nose particularly annoy me. This is a fun toy, but it could have been better.

Brainstorm was sold at San Diego Comic Con 2016 as part of the Titan Force Boxset which also contained a transparent version of Sentinel Prime and a redecorated RID Windblade. When this set was sold at the UK Film and Comic Con Brainstorm was renamed Charon due to a trademark problem.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Titans Return Brawn

Titanmaster Brawn

Brawn is "due". His 1984 Minibot friends have all been done as Legends toys, to varying degrees of success, and a Legends Brawn was seen on a computer listing in 2013 but hasn't materialised as yet - he's still consistently rumoured to this day. Instead he reaches the shelves first as a Titanmaster.

Brawn's Titanmaster is cast in a slightly metallic dark green and a pale yellow, both reminiscent but not identical to the green and orange used on the original. The green is used for his head, arms and upper legs while the yellow forms his chest & lower legs. It's hinting at the colours of the original Brawn here and indeed the Titanmaster's head resembles the original Microchange toy with visored eyes & a faceplate. The Titanmaster's head mode meanwhile is modelled after Brawn's animated version with a dark metallic grey round head and a silver face with eyes, nose and mouth. It's quite a clever way of homaging both design of the character.

Brawn's accessory is a little dark green jeep. Unlike the traditional jeep design the wheels have been replaced with triangular tracks making it look distinctly odd! Brawn can "sit" in the jeep & drive it, if you count bending his lower legs back at the knee and plugging them into pegs in the rear of the vehicle's interior as sitting! Even in this position his head is poking over the solid yellow windscreen.

Brawn can also combine with the keep: his head mode, looking down, plugs into the rear of the interior to give you a vehicle looking a bit like the original Brawn Minibot vehicle design. The clip it plugs into can be slid down allowing you to move the head in place and then slide the clip back up round the grooves in the side of the head.

Brawn's accessory transforms: The four panels at the front & back of each side fold forward & back. Fold the windscreen down into the vehicle and turn it over where you can see it's pushed a little handle bar control panel up. Lie Brawn's Titanmaster down so he can grasp this while his feet pegs are pegged into the rear of the interior. No I don't have a clue what this mode is meant to be? Space bike of some description perhaps?

If you remove the Titanmaster and turn the space bike thing over you'll find you can slide the Titanmaster head clip down inside the interior which extends a 5mm peg out the bottom enabling it to be used as a gun. As weapons go it's quite a long thin gun and probably works the best of all the Titanmaster accessories as a hand held weapon. There's also lots of customisation options here: The rear of the weapon can be separated & folded forwards to beef up the sides or put the Brawn head inside the weapon or even seat the figure inside it.

Very good Titanmaster. Decent primary vehicle, with two different ways of interacting with the Titanmaster, although getting him sat in it is a little troublesome positioning the foot holes on the pegs. Odd secondary vehicle mode. SUPERB weapons mode.

Sorry Apeface, Brawn's the star of the new toys in Titanmasters Wave 2.

I should mention that the first version of the toy I owned was missing the piece the head clipped into in the interior which is connected to the weapons mode handle. So I couldn't form the bulkier jeep or use it as a weapon

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Titans Return Skytread


Like Clobber, Skytread is another character who is known better by a different name, in this case the Duocon Flywheels. Now for a long while I've had this theory that Flywheels and Battletrap are named the wrong way round as there's no moving wheels on Flywheels while there is on Battletrap, who's name would more suit a tank & fighter jet than a van & helicopter. Flywheels is also "due"! Battletrap got a new version at Botcon 2015, a repaint of Generations Springer and at the time many felt that Springer's case mate Blitzwing would make a good new Flywheels, but that never materialised.

Although Flywheels, like wave mates Clobber/Grimlock and Brawn, wasn't initially a Headmaster he was sold in 1988 alongside the Headmasters so if anyone was going to get made a Headmaster, the Duocons, Monsterbots & Clones are prime targets and, if rumours are to be believed, the later two groups also have representatives coming in Titanmasters.

Skytread is a direct colour swap with Terribull: blue becomes a pale brown and grey becomes a raspberry pink. Gone is the paint app on the tank turret, replaced by an all over raspberry pink coating on the jet nose, mimicking Flywheel's red jet. In many ways the tank/jet makes much more sense for Flywheels than Terribull and, like Clobber/Grimlock, I'm guessing this was the original intended use for the toy.

The same colour swaps apply to the Titanmaster, they're not mixing and matching yet like they did with the repaint Powercore Commanders & Minicons yet but I can see that happening later down the line. Like Clobber again Skytread has a new face which has all the major features of Flywheel's face yet somehow looks a little different from the original.

I can see this being the shelf warmer in wave 2: it's not a new mould and it's not a big character like Grimlock. But if you're a fan of the 88 era toys pick it up: the mould is still fun and, as I said, it makes much more sense as Flywheels than Terribull.

Titans Return Clobber


Except it's not REALLY a new character called Clobber, it's Grimlock, presumably name changed to avoid confusion with the RiD 2015 Warrior.

Clobber is mainly a straight colour swap with Crashbash: purple becomes a dark, almost brown, metallic grey and pale grey becomes mustard yellow. One the Titanmaster this results in a colour layout resembling the original Grimlock, with a yellow chest and dark grey elsewhere, but although I can see what they're going for this doesn't quite hit the mark. Dragon mode looks OK with the silver paint app moving from the neck to the head. This in turn gives the T-Rex a silver tail, like original Grimlock, but Grimlock didn't have yellow legs. The area of gold on Grimlock's body is much smaller than Clobber's yellow but despite this it's evident that this mode is modelled on the original Grimlock and raises the likelihood that Grimlock is the originally intended use, rather than Crashbash (Squeezeplay). Grimlock's Dinosaur mode is completed with an Autobot symbol on his nose.

Since the legs & wings are on ball joints, and the body's hinges are holes that pop on over studs it should be a simple matter to swap parts between the two and make an all grey Grimlock dinosaur. Popping the wings out their sockets and back in is rather scary though so be careful and the writer takes no blame for any damaged incurred modifying your toys!

The head mode is quite important here and it's a pretty good Grimlock head. I've already seen one superb custom using a version of the FOC Grimlock. I can't see Grimlock going down the "Human for a head" route used in the Marvel comics but the Japanese version where the head is a smaller less powerful robot downsized for energy reasons that joins with a larger body for battle.... yeah, I can see Grimlock going for that and indeed have money for a toy like that Hasbro....... and I want it redone in purple as a full size Decepticon Dinosaur Crashbash too!

Crashbash was the star of the first wave so bringing him back quickly and repurposed as a famous character makes sense. He'll sell well on the Grimlock link alone.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Titans Return Apeface


Having been rumoured for some time Apeface was revealed at Botcon 2016. He's the first of the 1987 Headmasters to be released in the Titanmaster size and, to be honest, you'd have thought Apeface's Robot-Jet-Ape combination would, along with his fellow Horrocon Snapdragon, have been more suitable for the triple changing Voyager size used by Sentinel Prime & Galvatron, even if it meant them loosing the triple changing head and the Titanmaster riding inside their beast modes like all the other beast Headmasters do.

As it is Apeface's Titanmaster has just one head mode, the robot's, and that's a pretty good reproduction of the original albeit with better proportions. The Titanmaster robot is purple, with black arms & head, which has similar detail to the large head and would make a passable Optimus. He retains the features of the other Titanmasters: the grooves in the back of the head to fit the neck clips & Crashbash/Clobber, the leg back holes for securing on a Leader, the heel spur for balance & securing when sitting down and the footpeg holes.

Apeface's accessory comes in ape mode and stands about 1cm taller than a Titanmaster. It's mainly moulded in black & purple plastic with a lot of white paint. He's posed so he looks like an a frame from the side, but the balance is good enough that you can raise one of the arms, but not both at the same time. The shoulder joint is the only articulation. Fists are posed with a side on hole which doesn't look to be any of the standard used peg hole sizes. A significant space is provided in the reverse of the plane mode's nose cone on his back and two foot pegs at the bottom of this space allow the Titanmaster to stand on his back.

It is recommended you leave the purple handle for the gun mode folded away. Folding it forward, produces a rather suggestive looking ape mode!

Transform: fold the ape arms back as far as they'll go so they lie parallel with the body. Fold the jet nose forward off the ape's back and lie on the ape's tummy.

The Jet mode isn't a bad representation of the original Apeface jet. All the major features are there: the wrong way round wings, the white nose with red tip and the angular canopy. There's enough space in the back for the Titanmaster to sit there loosely but his official mode of connection here involves lying him down, with his face looking up and tucking his head under the cockpit canopy with the heel spur tabbing into the rear of the jet.

As with the other Titanmaster accessories, Apeface has a weapons mode. From jet mode fold the beast arms down and forward 180° so they lie parallel with the jet nose. Fold the weapons handle down from the rear of the jet.

Big chunky triple barrelled weapon, with the arm barrels ending in diagonal slants. It looks OK, but the middle barrel is evidentially the jet nose, complete with red tip and is very distinctive.

Good solid toy, I like it, but it's not blowing me away as being as innovative & fun as Crashbash.

My sample was obtained from BBTS when they, briefly, had stock in early July 2016 along with the rest of Titanmasters Wave 2. Sadly, as you may have read elsewhere, my Brawn was incomplete so you'll need wait for a replacement before I review that!

Apeface's accessory is scheduled to be used as a pack in with Legend LG-30 Weirdwolf where black & purple are swapped for yellow & blue/green respectively. The Titanmaster is later packed with Legends LG-38 Condor (Laserbeak) but no western repaint is yet scheduled. Optimus Primal perhaps?

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Titans Return Rewind


A tank mode isn't what you automatically associate with Rewind who is usually depicted as being a tape. But in 2014 the Transformers Subscription Service did Rewind & Eject as repaints, with new heads, of United Rumble & Frenzy. It's the second Legends tank mould after Megatron, which was reused as Warpath, and, As FOC previously showed us, a a toy mould for one tape robot will do fine for all four so we can expect to be seeing a bit more of of it.

So tank test time:

Does the gun barrel elevate? YES! Hurrah, pleased about this.

Does the turret turn? NO! A little disappointing as this has been done in the size, and smaller, but I can live with this here where at deluxe and larger I'd be cross.

The tank rolls along courtesy of three small wheels in the underside. Titanmaster comparability is provided by two pairs of foot pegs on the turret's roof so a pair of Titanmasters can stand side by side. They're probably the best footpegs on any Titans Return Legend so far too, no complaints about them. A small unintended extra is provided in tank mode: there's a 5mm peg hole in the side which can be used for mounting extra weapons. The hole's official use becomes becomes apparent during transformation:

Start by removing any Titanmasters. Pull the weapon forwards away from the turret: it's rear is a two pronged fork with a dimple on each fork's inner edge which fits into a pair of slots on the turret. The turret splits in two down the middle, with one slot on each half so the gun is actually holding the turret together, and folds out to the sides. Fold the tops of the tank forward, with one of the Titanmaster pegs recessing into a hole in the tank tread. Place the gun in the recess of the side of the tank.

Now the hole is at the bottom of the recess for the gun, lying beneath the handle. Now I see it in tape mode the handle doesn't quite stretch into the hole which makes me wonder why it's there! But bonus points for storing the weapon in this mode! As per the other Titans Returns "Tapes" he's more an iPod, complete with 3.5mm audio jack socket on the bottom, than a tape but since this mode fits in Blaster or Soundwave tape it is. Up is defined by the direction of the Autobot symbols on the front of the toy which amusingly has a tape detail pattern on it.

I must relay a conversation I had with my son Jonathan, who is starting to like Transformers thanks to the RiD cartoon, about this toy and the weapons storage:

Philip: Jonathan, don't forget to remove the gun before you transform it to robot mode.
Half an hour later....
Philip: Jonathan, why is Rewind's weapon bent?

The first step in the transformation involves folding the bottom of each side up to lie alongside the toy in the same configuration they are for the turret. You will damage the gun if you leave it in place and we'll see an awful lot of bent tank barrels in years to come! Pull each turret half out to the sides so they're alongside the top of the toy which now forms a T shape. Rotate each turret half down & back 90°. Reverse the toy so you're looking at the tank's underside and can see a 5mm socket facing forward from the end of each bar of the T shape. Pull the black tan treads to the sides, exposing the robot's lower legs, fold down at the knees and then rotate each lower leg in 90°. Fold the bottom of the leg up to form a foot. Split the top half of the toy in two and fold the bars of the T shape to the sides to become the arms. Open the chest, fold the head out and close the chest. Place the gun in the 5mm peg hole hand.

The robot mode is going for a very More Than Meets The Eye appearance for Rewind: While the chest is the traditional design the shoulders have a red outline round the panels and the head has a camera moulded into the side which, if I'm honest, could do with a small dab of red paint on it. The head sculpt in general is superb which unfortunately is spoilt somewhat by the quality control on mine: the joint on the head is very loose to the point you could hold the toy by the head and spin it round. Sadly the neck platform is also a little loose too so it tends to rock backwards & forwards a bit. The arms feel very blocky and chunky but he can hold his weapon in his hand which makes him better than the original straight off! You can also peg the weapon into the extra hole, which is now on the side of the right arm. Articulation is good, shoulders shrug up to the sides and are ball jointed, bicep swivels & bending elbows plus ball jointed hips & knees plus the aforementioned dodgy neck joint.

Despite the dodgy neck joint easily the best Eject they've done so far which is good as this is a "get used to it, you'll see it again a few more time" mould as they do Rumble, already scheduled in Wave 2, then Eject & Frenzy.

Titans Return Stripes


The name Stripes does has previous form, being used as a Ravage repaint, but the suspicion is that this toy is mean to be Steeljaw, as per the Fall of Cybertron Steeljaw, which was also the Fall of Cybertron Ravage remould. However the presence of Steeljaw as a major character in Robots in Disguise probably put paid to that!

Stripes comes packaged in plane mode. The plane mode falls into the "If you squint hard enough" category of Transformers alternate modes, usually seen on multichangers. It's got a plane node, wings and tail fins so it must be a plane, right? Even if the "tail fins" are evidentially a pair of his beast mode legs folded up!. Two Titanmaster footpegs top the jet and, if I'm honest, don't hole the Titanmaster in place terribly well unless you get him on just right!

To transform him into his tape mode fold the "tail fins" forward so the feet tuck under wing hinges. Since this is a somewhat tricky manoeuvre, it might be easier to fold the wings & plane side upwards, fold the legs in and fold the side & wings back down. Whichever way you choose you finish by bringing the wings together over the tape body and fold the jet nose under and into the tape.

I say tape but like his predecessor Buzzsaw he's more of an iPod type item, complete with a 3.5mm audio jack socket on the top. It'll get called a tape because they're all descended from the original tapes and fit into the Titans Return Blaster & Soundwave so tape mode it is.

To transform into beast mode start by folding the head out from the jack socket end of the toy, the other end to where the plane nose was folded in. Swing the wings right the way back and fold the tail up. Fold each wing section, and tape side, in so the wings are closer together and parallel. Fold the rear legs down and then fold the front legs down. Bend the shoulder section at the base of the neck up and pose.

Tape beast modes occasionally leave a bit to be desired. The FOC Steeljaw/Ravage mentioned above was a disaster but the original Ravage, used for the first Stripes is amazing. New Stripes falls somewhere between the two. I think the main problem is I can still see a rectangular block in the centre of the toy, an image created by the striped sides of the tape folding up beside the black central spine to form a tape sized width. There's lots of hints that they were going for a lion here, and more specifically Steeljaw, with the hints of a mane on the the head & neck and the swept back wings being reminiscent of a detail found on the original Steeljaw's weapons. Against that he's mostly coloured bright orange with stripes on his side which say Tiger. As well as the central core & neck base, all four lower legs & feet are coloureds black and these bend at the knee & ankle. The shoulders, connecting the forelegs to the body, are ball jointed yet the rear legs are connected by a joint that just turns and, worse, one that's limited and won't move back beyond straight down restricting the poses you can get out the toy. The tail & wings all pivot and, like the now concealed plane nose, are made of a yellowy gold plastic which would have been perfect for Steeljaw and seem somewhat out of place here almost making me think there was a late change in plastic colour which didn't get altered for this piece. The head pivots up & down, as part of the transformation, at the base of the neck but half way down the neck there's a point with round detail on each side that, like God Ginrai's elbows, looks like it should bend and doesn't!

You can still stand a Titanmaster on the beast mode back but it even harder to attach him with the sides restricting access so I'd recommend folding the rear legs forward, folding the sides & wings down, standing the Titanmaster and unfolding the sides & legs again.

The more I play with this I think it's Steeljaw. I don't think it's a good Steeljaw but it's a better Steeljaw than the FOC version so points there. For Stripes it probably needs the alternate Tiger head found on the Ravage repaint but as it is it's a better Stripes than a Steeljaw. The plane mode is a bit Meh and the beast mode could have been both better and a lot worse.

I await to see if Takara produce a Steeljaw in the original Steeljaw colours from this!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Titans Return Nightbeat


Nightbeat was unveiled at NYCC 2015 and of all the Titanmasters he probably caused the most fuss. Unlike Squeezeplay/Crashbash, Horri-bull/Terri-bull and Siren/Loudmouth-44302, who have been all but ignored since their initial appearance, Nightbeat is a popular character who has appeared regularly in the comics and had several versions, the most recent of which was only 2 years ago. So having Nightbeat released as just a head caused some ruckus. To be honest I'd be surprised if we don't see Nightbeat and his fellow Wave 1 Titanmaster and Siren returning as Chromedome repaints down the line.

Then there's the matter of which Nightbeat face he has. Over the years some confusion has arisen between Nightbeat and Siren over who has which face! Generally most depictions of Nightbeat include a visor over the eyes following it's use in the original comic including IDW's More Than Meets The Eye and the most recent toys. This toy however has gone the opposite route and used the same design as the original toy showing Nightbeat as having full yellow face with no visor. However while the original Nightbeat Headmaster figure, Muzzle, was yellow with black legs the Titanmaster follows the colour pattern of the original toy by being all pale blue with a yellow body and upper legs. The official images, released after NYCC 2015, show this wasn't always the plan as the render there has all yellow legs!

Nightbeat's accessory is a little light blue and yellow jet plane. Nightbeat lies on top of the plane, face down, to pilot it with his feet being pegged into the rear of the jet. There's no slot for his heel spur/foot tab so he can't be turned the other way up.

To transform Nightbeat's accessory turn it the other way up, fold the wings in, fold the jet nose down and into the body revealing the drill nose and fold forward the yellow piece resting behind the jet nose.

The drill mode is a little bit of a let down. For a start the jet nose is clearly visible in the body of the drill tank. The drill itself doesn't turn. There's nowhere really for Nightbeat to sit but you can just about perch him on the back with his feet tucked under the yellow piece halfway down the tank. The intention here is that you put the head mode into the rear of the vehicle, face down with the legs on top and the peg holes pointing forward as gun barrels. Unfortunately his Titanmaster head, and any Titanmaster head, seem very unwilling to slot into the yellow piece of plastic where it's meant to. Those that have had success getting the head in have later reported problems getting the head back out again to the point the head stays put and the rest of the Titanmaster comes away!

This drill tank mode forms the basis of the handweapon mode, simply fold down the handle from the back of the toy.

Yeah. Easily the worst of the Wave 1 Titanmasters but he'll sell cos it's Nightbeat.

In Japan the Nightbeat Titanmaster is mildly repainted and packaged with LG-28 Rewind. I'll imagine we'll see it again repainted as Minerva. Meanwhile the jet/drill accessory will be packaged with LG-32 Chromedome later on in 2016.

Titans Returns Terribull

Titans Returns Terribull

Terribull is another Transformer who is visible on Titan Wars Banner "accidentally" revealed at Botcon 2015. He was officially unveiled at NYCC 2015.

Terribull is the new name for the 1988 Headmaster Horri-bull. The colours have moved around from Horri-Bull's Headmaster Kreb, with the head and arms now being blue while the lower legs are grey leaving just the blue upper legs and grey chest in the same place. His head mode, mainly dark blue with a goldy brown faceplated face, is a pretty good match for the original.

Terribull's accessory, the item that was seen on the Titan Wars banner, is a small tank with a pair of double barrels on the front, reminding me of the GI Joe Armadillo. Each pair of barrels can elevate, but that's your limit of movement. Terribull can sit behind the gun barrels with his foot holes plugging into foot pegs while the tab on the rear of the leg recesses into the floor. Sadly there are no wheels on the tank.

The accessory's alternate mode is formed by removing Terribull, turning the vehicle over, folding a jet nose from the front and folding the sides down to become wings.

This jet mode is a bit stumpy, but is quite fun with the guns hanging from underneath. Sadly you can't seat Terribull in it: he's designed to be led on his back in it, head under the rear of the nosecone, legs tabbed into the slope at the rear.

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From here the weapons mode is formed by folding down a handle from the rear of the vehicle. This looks a little odd with the jet nose on top and gun barrels underneath but it works.

Not the worst of the Wave 1 Titanmasters but not special like Crashbash his.

Terribull is repainted, with a new face on the Titanmaster, as Sky Tread, a new version of Flywheels, in Titanmasters wave 2. His accessory swaps sides and gets a green recolour to become an extra Weapon for Hardhead as part of Legends LG-21. We'll wait slightly longer for his Titanmaster when he appears under his Japanese name Bullhorn and is paired with Jaguar (Ravage) in LG-37, due out towards the end of 2016.

Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime

Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime

When I first reviewed Ultra Magnus I suggested the following retooling:
Power Master Optimus Prime who has never had a proper update. Generations Magnus' cab ends up in the right place but the whole trailer would need retooling. I'm not sure how this toy would go down wit a non transforming cab though.
I can't remember now if the rumours of a retool were doing the rounds then or they emerged shortly after. He was found in the Wal*Mart computer system in early October 2015 and hinted at at NYCC2015 shortly after before being leaked on Weibo and then officially revealed by Hasbro shortly after.


Powermaster Optimus Prime comes packaged in robot mode. "Powermaster" is something of a misnomer because he isn't a Powermaster! There's no removable engine here. Instead he's a Titanmaster, effectively a Headmaster. This is perhaps a bit confusing but most Transformer fans would associate the "cab merges with trailer to form a super robot with twin guns on each shoulder" with the word Powermaster. Some people have said "why make him a Headmaster?" Well the original Powermaster Optimus Prime was intended to be a Headmaster too and that feature is reflected in the final toy with the giant removable head, so the Titanmaster feature doesn't particularly bother me.

Like Blaster Optimus features a helmet that folds over the Titanmaster head to boost it's size. Optimus' helmet is almost all enclosing with only the eyes from the Titanmaster visible through a slot between visor and crest. Apart from the eyes being set slightly too far back it makes a good Optimus head. Folding the helmet back, it's hinged at the top of the rear, reveals a very different face on the Titanmaster. The central crest and antennae ears are still there but the face plate is gone revealing a nose and mouth. The face is cast in blue plastic with the central section painted silver. I think this is meant to represent the cartoon pre-Prime form of Optimus, Orion Pax, but I know some think it resembles Kup! The Titanmaster is still secure with the helmet raised as the strut down the back of the head tabs into holes on the rear of the leg. Fold this back at the hinge to release the Titanmaster and unfold it.

The head and chest detailing on the Titanmaster figure are clearly meant to mimic Hi-Q, Optimus' Powermaster, but the colours are wrong: instead of white chest & head, red arms and upper legs and black lower legs we get grey legs & head and a red chest & arms. The name they've chosen, Apex, has different Optimus connections: it was used on the figure that combined with reissue Powermaster Optimus Prime, previously known as Godbomber in Japan.

Elements of the transformation to vehicle mode will be familiar. Start by removing the Titanmaster, as above, both guns and both shoulder cannons. Fold the arms down to the sides. Fold the chest plate forward revealing the cab hidden underneath. Fold the cab back and then rotate 180° so the grill faces up and the head is towards you. Lay the toy down on it's back. Pull the cab forward: the first time I did this I had a friend with me and it took us AGES to shift the cab despite us both knowing it from Ultra Magnus. EXCESSIVE force was eventually required. Open the front of the cab, folding the halves out to the side. Fold the head down into it, forming a seat for Apex to sit in. Fold up the panel inside one cab half and close the cab halves forming the finished closed cab.

A small pause here: although Apex will sit in the seat very securely, aided by a slot for the tab on the back of his legs to fit in, getting him in is a pain in the backside due to the cab halves only folding out 90° to the sides and restricting access. A full 180° spread would have helped!

The cab itself is something of a surprise. Even though the windows were a little small and the front grill a little big it was a reasonable assumption that the Combiner Wars Magnus cab would be reused here but it isn't! Instead we get a new cab front with an even bigger and tinsy tiny small windows! If a retool was necessary for the changed mechanics of the Titanmaster head why not go for a more Prime like chest rather than a less Prime like one?

Back to the transformation: we've got the cab done, it's time for the rear of the trailer. Fold the waist down 90°. Making sure each arm is straight along the sides of the body fold each up & away from the body at the shoulder swinging them in to fill the gap, and massaging the tabs together. Fold each leg out to the sides so that you can unfold the inner & rear surfaces of the leg out. Fold the front of the legs forward. Bring the legs back towards each other and tab together. Pull the sides of the leg away slightly, releasing the tab just bellow the knee that holds them in place then swing the sides forward 90° so the tab locks into a new slot behind the wheels. Fold the legs forward 90° so that the chest plate locks into the rear legs and rests against the sides. Fold the top of the panels on the back of the arms back 90°. Lock the front on the legs panels into the robot's arm pits and tab the forward roof panels, on the back of the arms, into the sides. Fold the upright arm panels back a further 90° to become the rear roof panels and tab into place in the sides. Tab the legs fronts together and fold forward to become the trailer rear door: the rear of the trailer will part slightly to allow these through and securely tab into place. Fold the feet back under the rear of the trailer. Peg the dual cannons into the sides of the front of the trailer. Peg holes on the sides of the rear or on the roof can take the two black handguns.

The first time I transformed the trailer it was a floppy mess. I had done it wrong, probably involving not properly securing the chest plate which seems to be a crucial piece. For something that's a panel formed tabbing nightmare, it is a surprisingly stable structure when done right!

Prime's Trailer mode looks pretty good. The major distinguishing feature between the original 1984 & first Powermaster trailers is the dual cannons on the side and they're present here. The amount of red at the front of the trailer has been reduced a lot with just some round the shoulders being seen. The inner shoulder joints, expose here, could easily have been grey too to match in. Curiously they look like a reused part from Magnus but they're they only bits in that colour to be reused! Unfortunately immediately behind them is a 1.5cm x 1.5 cm gap at the top of the sides which looks a little sloppy. There's a larger gap too at the front of the trailer, but that's mainly obscured by the cab. Like Magnus the cab is non removable, and that has implications down the line, but can still pivot from side to sides. The rear doors fold down to become a loading ramp leading to space inside which is ample room for a couple of Generations Legends but, like Magnus, slightly too narrow for a deluxe. There's a number of accessible, and upright, Titanmaster pegs: one each side of the rear, three down the spine of the trailer roof, two on the front of the trailer roof and two on the cab roof plus another five sticking out each side of the toy which are less useful here. The cannons pivot up and down, via a peg in it's base, but it's possible to mount them the other way up or even sticking out to the sides, which lets a Titanmaster sit in them. More on that in the base mode.

Many Prime trailers are filled up with gimmicks and super mode parts with no room for storage: this isn't so it's hitting a positive note for me mimicking the original 1984 Prime and indeed beating the 1988 Powermaster. The Titanmaster pegs are pushing an "Actionmasters riding Actionmaster Prime's trailer into battle" button here and that's also a good vibe.

Possibly the best Prime trailer in truck mode since the original.

Like the original Powermaster Prime this toy has a base mode. Unfortunately, since the cab can't be removed, he doesn't have a smaller robot Optimus to go with it. Start by pushing the cab back further under the trailer. Remove all weapons. Fold the rear trailer roof sections back over the front, split the front of the trailer roof, fold out to the sides and raise the arms to form towers. Pull the trailer side panels away from the front of the vehicle. Raise the chest piece. Untab the rear side panels of the trailer front the robot legs, swing down and retab. Swing each leg out to the sides 90° at the thigh. Bend each knee about 45° and then swing each hip out to the side by about the same amount. Swing the robot foot out to form the side of the base. Fold down the stand under the cab to raise the front of the vehicle. Fold down the front third of the side to form a ramp under the arms. Peg the cannons onto the holes above the wheels and the guns into the side of the towers.

Um........ When I first saw pictures of Prime's base mode I was convinced it was mistransformed and that the ramps, which end in useful base mode connectors, should be pointing out to the sides. They're not, this is it, and it looks terrible. The ramps are restricted by the arms so you can't roll a car down it or usefully attach them to Blaster to allow transfer between the bases. The middle section of the base just feels like an empty hole surrounded by the chest armour, sides of the chest and rear of the cab. A big big mess so much so that fan made Ultra Magnus base mode looks far far better!

There's plenty of pegs to stand Titansmasters on, one on each wheel arch, two on each front base side panel, one on each middle side panel and one on the rear, which has become the ramp. These were the side facing ones on the truck. Additionally there' two more on the cab roof. Nice bit of detailing on the towers: moulded into them are Armada Optimus Prime's Smokestacks.

The best thing about this mode are the dual cannons. Now I like the ones one Powermaster Optimus Prime, and like the silver versions on Japanese Ginrai/the Powermaster reissue even more. But they've always been slightly too bulky, especially compared to those seen on the superb 1988 box back picture. Then the Powermaster had to straddle them to sit down looking very very awkward. The new cannons are a much slimmer version while maintaining the same general shape. Pegs on the top, bottom and both sides allow them to be mounted any way round, though I wouldn't have objected to an extra peg on the back of the weapon and neither would Combiner Wars Rook! Each gun has a seat in it to allow apex or another Titanmaster to sit in it.

Back to the combined robot now: remove all the weapons and any Titanmasters. Straighten the legs at the knees and wrap the trailer side panels round them, tabbing in place. Fold the feet forward and twist each leg out 90° at the thigh. Push the legs in towards each other. Fold the stand into the cab. Open the front of the cab, fold the roof panel in, fold the helmet out and close the cab. Rotate the cab 180° around it's axis so the wheels point up and the windows down. Fold the cab back into the front of the trailer, then fold that back so the cab rests on the waist and fold chest piece into place. Straighten the legs and stand. Peg the dual cannons into the shoulders. Place the Titanmaster into it's socket with the tab on the back of the legs fitting the slot at the base of the hinge. Fold the back of the helmet up so the tabs on the rear fit into the slots on the Titanmaster. Fold the head down into place.

The guns are probably a peculiar place to start but there again the guns are a bit peculiar. They're the same ones that were sold with Ultra Magnus. Now to me, the Powermaster Prime guns are a bit distinctive anyway so they're onto a looser here. Then recall the difficulties Magnus had holding his? Well the gun handles means Prime needs similar opening hands which in turn means he, like Magnus, can't hold 5mm peg weapons, a big minus point for me. Hasbro are obviously aware of the problems with the Magnus hands so they've decided to give Prime some help holding them by tooling a shallow slot in the structure under the hand for the base of the gun handle to fit in and yes this does help. A little bit. The grip isn't as secure as it would be with a 5mm peg handle but there's also a minus point: Prime can't hold the weapons if you combine them into hammer mode. And separately, held as guns, they are two different weapons whereas Powermaster Optimus always had two identical guns! The solution to this is of course to steal one, preferably the longer one, from Combiner Wars Magnus!

Onto the robot itself. It's ticking most of the major Powermaster Prime boxes straight out the box. Prime head, red chest and arms, blue legs fronts and dual cannons on each shoulder. Since the only thing original Powermaster Prime could do was turn hi arms at the shoulders you know this one is going to win any articulation battle and so it proves. Head turns a full 360° degrees. Shoulders turn as before and raise to the sides. There's a bicep swivel and bending elbow on each arm: elbows in particular always bothered me on Powermaster Optimus as it looks like he should have them especially on the Ginrai version of the mould. We already mentioned the hinged hands when we talked about the guns, and it looks like the fingers are another reused part. But the hinged fingers do allow Optimus to grasp a Titanmaster in his fist which is quite nice. No waist this time, unlike Magnus, but his hip, thigh, knee & ankle articulation is the same due to the same pieces being used. There's four upright Titanmaster pegs in this mode: one each side of the head for Titanmasters to confer with their commander and one on top of the wheel arch at the base of each foot.

Some of the detailing needs commenting on: The lower arms are moulded in grey plastic and are part of the same piece as the forward roof sections. The inner side of the arm is open allowing you to see the grey inside the arm and that really spoils things. If the arm has been red, with the grey ramp attached to the bottom, that would have worked better..... but if the arm & panel were separate I'd want the hole at the bottom covered by the panel! I'm not 100% sure about having the panels hang off the back of the arms anyway! The red inner shoulder panels are set into grey plastic here and stand out: I wouldn't have bothered and made them grey as well to blend in better in bother modes. The tops of the shoulders are also grey, which helps conceal them in vehicle mode but doesn't makes them a bit obvious here. There's truncated hollow cones atop each of them, mimicking the tops of the original Powermaster Optimus shoulders. Again grey, so they stand out. Unfortunately the diameter of the hole in top is greater that a 5mm peg so they can't serve a useful purpose. I think I'd have got rid of them and replaced them each with a Titanmaster foot peg.

Unfortunately the chest armour looks like a sprawling grey and silver mess that's splattered all over the front of the radiator grill. I get it's trying to mimic the Powermaster but it doesn't quite work. You can remove it, to change the look of the front of the body to just the chest cab, but that affects the stability of the toy which is no longer held together at the front. Magnus's chest front is considerably less keen to come off so no chance of swapping them on mine at least.

So robot mode: Good, definitely Prime, could have been better.

This is an odd, odd toy to play with. It feels fun in two modes. The truck mode, which I hated the first time I touched it, has since been proved to be very good, but even then the cab just looks odd. The robot mode is a good super robot, but aesthetically doesn't quite feel Powermaster Prime enough. The base mode IS a complete disaster, nothing can save that.

The reused Magnus guns hurt the toy but they're the only bits that do. For the record, here's the complete parts reuse I've spotted:

Ultra Magnus
Optimus Prime
Inner Shoulder
Guns & Wheels
Feet & Inner Lower Legs
Dark Blue
Ankle Hinges, Thighs & Hips

Takara however appear to be taking a a slightly different approach.....

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Titans Return Loudmouth

Titans Returns Loudmouth

Loudmouth is another Transformer who is visible on Titan Wars Banner "accidentally" revealed at Botcon 2015. He was revealed in official image released at NYCC 2015 despite not physically being present at the event.

I'm told the Titanmaster itself is modelled after Quig the headmaster for Siren but they bear very little resemblance in robot or head mode. Quig was blue, with black legs while Loudmouth is grey with a red chest and lower legs. I suppose the robot mode faces, with red visored eyes and blue head sides looks a little similar but the main connection appears to be between Siren's loud personality and Loudmouth's name! Although Loudmouth is just a head here I fully expect to see him and Nightbeat and returning as Chromedome repaints down the line.

Loudmouth's accessory looked a bit lacklustre in the preview pictures. It's a vehicle of some sort but is it a car? Speedboat? Cybertronian Air Car? I'm not sure. There's no wheels to help us out. In fact the middle of the vehicle is a hole from top to bottom with some clever interior moulding to enable the Titanmaster to sit in it securely aided by a pair of foot pegs towards the front of the vehicle.

. To transform Loudmouth's accessory turn it upside down, flip the sidesdown and raise the rear of the vehicle to form the front of the new vehicle which appears to be a tank of some description. That's all the Hasbro pictures gave us in advance but in hand it's possible to sit the Titanmaster in it in one of two ways, either towards the back of the vehicle or toward the front with his hands tucked into the red weapon which has slots to the rear which just fit them.

The instructions show Loudmouth attached in head mode: I'd move the red weapon down first and then rock the head in so the tabs to the side of the slot in the middle of the weapon lock round the slots in the side of his head and then fold the red weapon back, recessing the head in the middle of the gap in the tank and providing it with an extra pair of gun barrels courtesy of the foot peg holes.

It's from here that Hasbro recommends folding down the handle in the back of the tank mode to turn it into a hand gun. I was really dubious as to how well this would work as a weapon but since I got it Blaster has spent nearly the entire time holding it.

Yes he inevitably pales up against the superb Crashbash. But for me he's a lot of fun and better than I thought he would be,

As yet his accessory hasn't been packed with a Japanese toy but his Titanmaster head appears with Legends Wheelie as Siren's Japanese repaint Go Shooter.

Titans Return Sentinel Prime

Sentinel Prime with Infinitus

I was not expecting to like this toy for a whole host of reasons. It's not a character I know anything about, though apparently it's modelled on the IDW Character as opposed to more well known Animated and Movie versions. The colours, which also come from IDW, look dreadful and remind me of the gaudy Fire Guts God Ginrai. Then the toy mould is OBVIOUSLY meant to be a different character who it is. One of the toy modes looked like it was a right stinker from the preview images. And finally there's a slightly tweaked version coming as an exclusive that looked better to me!

Sentinel Prime comes in robot mode with his Titanmaster Infinitus attached. In head mode it looks a very nice variant on the Optimus Prime head, albeit coloured orange with a red faceplate! The Prime theme is carried over to the Titanmaster's robot mode who also has the same colour combinations on his head. He has a grey body, a colour shared with other parts on the larger toy, and orange limbs.

You don't strictly need to remove Infinitus to form Sentinel Prime's space shuttle mode but it's a good idea to as he can then take advantage of the play features on the toy. Remove his two guns then fold the feet back so they point down with the rear of the feet contained in the leg. Turn each leg out to the sides 90° at the thigh and tab them together. Fold the hands in and straighten the arms to the sides. Fold the large wings forward and tab onto the back of the arms. Fold the panels back from what was the sides of the legs and now is the top/bottom of the shuttle and tab into place. Fold down the landing gear under the shuttle. Attach the weapons to the toy and, if you removed him place Infinitus either in the cockpit or gun seat.

There aren't many bright orange and red spaceships around but there is one of a vaguely similar design in Transformers The Movie so a shuttle in these colours isn't too huge a shock. It deviates from the standard shuttle design by having a much wider nose than the orbiters flown by NASA. Mounted between twin tail fins is a yellow perspex cockpit canopy that folds forward to allow you sit Infinitus or another Titanmaster in it. The larger of his two guns also has a seat moulded into it and, because there's no cover, a slot is cut into it to take the heel spur tab on the back of the Titanmaster's leg to hold it more securely. There's a 5mm tab hole on each side of the nose just in front of the wings, diagonally mounted where the wing base meets the body on each side, under each wing and one to each side of the rear of he cockpit. Configure to your own taste.

An alternate version of the shuttle can be formed by folding the rear of the feet forwards at an early stage of transformation to give a very different looking nose.

To form Sentinel Prime's third mode start by folding the landing gear in then untabbing the wings from the arms and folding them upwards. Fold each robot arm out to the side at the shoulder. Split the nose in two all the way back and through the robot's waist folding each half out to the sides and tab the robot's arms into the front of the robot's legs. Swing the cockpit up on top of the toy and tab the wings into the robot's front and back. attach the weapons, and you'll probably have to use the ones behind the cockpit here because the grey ones on the side are too loose to hold the weapons unsupported. Open each end of the leg and swing the shuttle nose halves in revealing the train noses. Fold the panels on the side of the train down.

So what you have here is a train. A train with a raised portion most of the way along and an even higher raised portion in the middle. It just doesn't look right! Here in the UK most trains are of a standard height with an almost square front on profile to take into account bridges, tunnels and overhead wiring. I know there were military trains with guns mounted on them but they don't look right to my eye and this is worse than most of them. In many ways it reminds me of the combined vehicle/train mode for Energon Omega Supreme. The dual gun emplacements along the train look like they should turn, and turn in tandem, but they don't sadly. The cockpit is still accessible in this mode and the whole train roles along courtesy of some rollers on the underside.

For an alternate train mode leave the space shuttle nose halves sticking out as bullet train noses.

To transform back to robot start by folding up the wheel panels. Unpeg the wings and fold the side panels forward onto the legs. Open the tops of the legs and fold the shuttle nose halves out to form the feet. Pull the legs away from the arms and fold down, bringing the waist together. Fold each leg in 90° at the thigh. Swing out the hands and fold the arms down to the sides. Swing the cockpit and wings onto the robot's back and tab in. Remove the Titanmaster, fold him up and insert him into his socket. Place the weapons into the hands.

Now I'm perfectly happy with the size of the standard Titanmaster head on Sentinel Prime but Hasbro thinks the Voyagers and up all need something to boost the Titanmaster that's also used on a deluxe. In Sentinel Prime's case this comes courtesy of a button on his tummy which when pressed causes a block to shoot up from the body on either side of the head. I don't think they do anything for the toy and if you wanted me to use them then you should have sculpted missiles into them!

The robot itself has a very Optimus Prime like appearance, thanks to the grey rear landing gear forming square windows on the chest. The grey also forms the feet, upper legs, hips and upper arms and looks VERY out of place against the orange and red: on the SDCC Titan Force version the grey is red and it looks much better. Articulation is good: head turns, but is limited with the blocks raised, shoulders turn & let the arms raise to the sides, there's bicep swivels and bending elbows. Hips move forward, back and to the sides, there's a thigh swivel, bending knee and pivoting ankle. Like all other modes it's possible to swap the feet for their other version, in this case the train fronts, but here it rocks him off balance a little meaning you'll need to lean him forward at the hips. Guns can be held in each hand or combined together to form a larger weapon.

Given the reservations expressed at the top of the review I am very surprised quite how much I like this toy. Like most of the other Titans Return toys it's good fun. I may well meet a better painted version in time but right now I'm enjoying this one a lot.

Future Repaints

Titan Force Sentinel Prime and Astrotrain are known to be coming but there's lots of options apart from that.

First there's your standard run of Prime repaints: Red & Blue as Optimus Prime, white as Ultra Magnus and black as Nemesis Prime. Definitely Nemesis Prime, not Scourge, because firstly there's already a Titans Return Scourge and secondly this would make a good Voyager Scourge with only a few tweaks. We mentioned Energon Omega Supreme earlier but Energon Jetfire might be another good candidate.

Titans Return Crashbash


The new Titanmaster size class has encountered a mixed reception from Transformers fans. There's a mixture of reasons:

1) Why call the robots that turn into heads Titanmasters instead of Headmasters?

This is something of a head scratcher. I suppose you could argue that these robots are smaller, at 3.5 cm, than the original Headmasters. Using the Titans name with them, and indeed for the entire toyline is confusing as it's previously been used for both a large toy and a bubble bath bottle range of non transforming Transformers figures!

Then there's the use of the Titanmaster name on a size class which contains both a Titanmaster figure and an accessory....

2) Why release my favourite character as a head without a body?

I can sort of see the point here as there is a fan favourite character in the first four Titanmasters and the other three have all not had versions since 1988! But because they're being done as Titanmasters now doesn't rule them out from being done as deluxes down the line and I can well see Nightbeat and Siren returning as Chromedome repaints down the line.

3) Why haven't they used the right names?

3 out of the 4 Titanmasters aren't boasting their original names. But the new names are confusing, especially in light of the one repeated name! Does it refer to just the head robot? Or a robot formed from the head robot? Or the head robot and the accessory together? Or just the accessory?

The Titanmasters are pushing several very good buttons for me. I liked the idea of additional head when it was done in Japan in 1987 with Kirk, Rodney, Loafer, Lione, Toraizer & Shuffler. The heads are small parts and easily lost so having replacements available, even if they're not exact replacements, is a good thing.

The Crashbash Titanmaster is meant to be Lokos, the headmaster for Squeezeplay. He's an all purple robot, bar his grey chest. His articulation is all but identical to the original 1987 Headmasters, so better than the smaller 1988 Headmasters which the original Lokos was. His lower legs are joined together and his legs bend forward and back at knees and ankles. The shoulders are improved over the original, because they're now ball jointed, as is the neck which is a considerable improvement over the somewhat loose design deployed on Generations Voyager Brainstorm in 2014. The face of the large robot is visible from the rear of the smaller robot, there's no panel to cover it like with the 1988 Headmasters.

Two features are worth drawing attention to here:

The first is the heel spur on the middle of the back of the feet. As well a providing stability this acts as a tab to hold the Titanmaster in place when it's seated.

The second is that underneath the feet are two tiny peg holes. These match pegs scattered over the Titans Return toys enabling the Titanmasters to stand securely while the larger toy is played with. Peg holes in feet have been a feature of action figure lines for a number of years but have only previously been used on Micromasters and Action Masters.

Both significantly add to the security of the figure in play situations and Hasbro's designers are to be commended here.

The accessory that comes with Crashbash is packaged in beast mode. It's got a long neck, wings and legs so I'm going to call it a dragon. The grey legs & wings are both ball jointed where they meet the purple body, the neck moves up & down and there's two hinged jointed either side of the grey plate that starts the tail. Said plate has a pair of foot pegs, and a cut out space for the heel spur, which enables the Titanmaster to ride on the dragon.

The accessory & Titanmaster can combine together: stand the Titanmaster up straight and facing forwards. Fold the Titanmaster's arms out and slide the back of the Titanmasters's head into the hole at the rear of the body: there's a pair of tabs on the hole that fit grooves on the side of the Titanmaster's head and a quick examination finds the same grooves on the other Titanmasters. Close the wings round the Titanmaster so that the arms poke through the holes. Fold the tail up, so that the slots in the purple piece fit over the sides of the wings and tab the heel spur into the tail. Fold the neck down and swing the legs forward. Stand on where the feet are now.

Dragon and Titanmaster have merged to form a Tyrannosaurus Rex in it's traditional Godzilla/Grimlock like pose, as opposed to the more horizontal pose favoured by palaeontologists today. The legs are the same as the dragon's legs while the arms, with somewhat limited articulation, are formed from the Titanmaster's arms and the jaw, which can open, is formed from the Titanmaster's legs which even have a teeth pattern moulded into them. A little imagination turns the Titanmaster foot peg holes, on the lower jaw, into gun barrels.

Really clever and inventive. And we're not done yet either!

If you fold the legs back so they follow the line of the body then they'll lock in place courtesy of two small tabs on each side of the body ans corresponding tabs on the inner legs. The tail then folds back and a handle on the dinosaur's back folds down enabling you to use Crashbash as a hand gun!

The Beast/Equipment Companion idea was already pushing the Action Master button with me, now it turns into a weapon I'm feeling it even more.

Future uses of Crashbash show that there's a variant to the gun mode. The Legends version of Skullsmasher is packed with the Crashbash dragon accessory and uses it as a gun without the Titanmaster robot being present. This in turn inspires me to open the wings up, peg the Titanmaster in, and seat him against the raised Dragon tail/Dinosaur head and have Crashbash serve as a gun emplacement for a larger toy's base mode.

A work of genius. So much crammed into such a small toy. So much play value. Amazing stuff!

It's a good job too as he has a repaint coming in Titanmasters Wave 2 as Clobber-47523, with a new face to form the head of Grimlock, while he is the only Titanmaster class toy to be issued completely in Japan in the first three waves of Legends toys with his dragon accessory appearing with Skull while the Cancer Titanmaster is packed in with Shockwave.

Titans Return Blaster

Blaster with Twincast

Blaster is one of the Titans Return toys we've known about for the longest: he was present in line drawing form on the Titan Wars Banner "accidentally" revealed at Botcon 2015, and then as a toy image leaked later that summer. He appears in silhouette in the NYCC 2016 Sneak Peak before being officially revealed at the event.

For a popular character there haven't been that many versions of Blaster and many of those that have have been retools of a previous Soundwave toy, which is perhaps understandable given the shared functionality. This time Blaster goes first and Soundwave is the repaint.

Blaster's major innovation is that he is now a Titanmaster, effectively a new Headmaster. I don't have a problem with this, existing characters received upgrades to Targetmaster, Powermasters and Pretenders in the original Transformers, and I've spent the last 18 months wanting 1984/5 car and jet combiners, so to me this is just another upgraded feature. To accommodate the standard Headmaster head there's a larger helmet that folds over the head. The head transforms into Twincast, effectively a mini blaster figure in colour and detailing. Now this does slightly wind me up, because Twincast is the name for the blue Japanese repaint of Blaster and the Titanmaster IS NOT BLUE!

To start the transformation into radio/tape deck mode, open the panel on his back and fold the helmet back into it. Due to the way the helmet compresses, it's impossible to store it with the head in place, but there's other options there. Fold the fists in and then fold the arms out to the sides. Pull the back of the lower legs away and fold the back & outer side forward. Rotate each leg in at the thigh. Unlock the knee and fold it down the leg so that the red piece of plastic that connects it to the leg is hidden behind the leg. Fold the foot & heels spurs into the foot and then fold the foot into the legs, like you did the knee. Fold the two leg panels projecting out the front of the toy up to cover the front of the sides, making sure the peg projecting out the side of knee joint is over the folded up ramp, not under it, and goes into the correct hole and the tabs and slots at the top line up. Fold the handle up. Peg the gun along the rear of the toy. Twincast then slots into the underside of the black block.

A surprisingly complex transformation to form what's effectively a block!

You don't see too many tape decks like Blaster around these days! The major question for Transformers fans is "does he hold tapes?" and the answer is "YES!". A new style iPod like tape was introduced with Buzzsaw in the 5th wave of Combiner Wars Legends and 2 new Autobot tapes, Stripes and Rewind, were released at the same time as Blaster. Blaster's tape door is spring loaded and opens courtesy of a button on his shoulder, and it's surprisingly fun to sit there and repeatedly open and close the tape door! The tape slides into a slot mounted diagonally in Blaster's body going from top front to bottom rear. In a change to how actual tape players work, where the face which is longest side x shortest side goes in, the Titans "tapes" go in so the shortest side x middle side face goes in first. For those of us who've used actual tapes this feels ever so slightly wrong but I suppose you could argue he's serving as an iPad dock or similar. The new tapes are bigger than the old ones - 7.3 x 4.3 x 1.5 as opposed to 5 x 3 x 0.8 so you can place an old tape in Blaster's chest, albeit not the right way round and it will rattle AND you'll need to tip Blaster upside down to get it out! The black block, containing Twincast, is the same size as one of the Titans tapes so it can be stored in the tape deck. If I have any criticism of this mode it feels slightly too wide compared to the original blaster, mainly caused by the large round speaker panels. Original Blaster's were much smaller but I've seen many stereos with a very similar design.

Blaster has a new third mode in Titans Return. Start by folding forwards the speaker panels, that previously formed the outer side and rear of the legs, to form a pair of flat decks in front of the toy. From the outer sides of these fold out a ramp. Swing the feet back so the body of the feet is level with the back wall of what is now the base and fold the detail panels out the top. Open the tape door. Fold up the rear clear plastic panel, and then the one that's under that before folding the first panel down in it's place. Rotate what were the arms back 90 degrees. Swing the arms in at the shoulder then bend the forearms so they face up. Bend the arms back 60°. Fold the guns forward from the forearms. Fold the handle up. Place the black tape block, with the moulded silver barrels facing forward and the silver paint is visible at the top, onto the handle with tabs on the underside of the black tape block recessing into the handle.

Blaster's base mode seems heavily influenced by the original Powermaster Prime base mode but works far far better than that. It's essentially a central multilevel command centre with two walls, base pads and ramps extending out the sides. Now you may notice there's two parts I've not told you where to place: the Titanmaster and the gun. We'll start with the gun. There's FIVE 5mm peg holes on the base mode: one at each outer corner of the fronts of the base platform, one on each side of the tape block and one on the side of the open tape door. Take your pick. Any not used for the gun can be used by a Titanmaster accessory in weapons mode or any other 5mm pegs weapon. Then there's Titanmaster Twincast: he's got three seats, one on the centre of the tape block and one each on each arm to act as a gunner. Then there's the foot pegs. Each Titanmaster has a pair of peg holes in his feet. There's three pegs one the front half of each deck, a pair, as in use both for the same figure, on the side of the foot hinge forming part of the wall, another pair behind the seat on each of the arms, one on either side of the black tape block, one to the side of where the head would be and one inside the tape door, which is inaccessible if you've used the tape door peg hole for the gun pointing forwards. So I make that peg holes for 14 Titanmasters and seats for another 3! This sort of thing is just what I'm after from base modes. I had Star Wars and GI Joe toys when I was younger and they all had plenty of pegs and plenty of seats too!

There's another feature on the base mode which will be familiar to long term Transformers fans: the ramps to the sides, hinged at the base, have connectors on the end. The connector is a new design with, from left to right, a nine millimetre rectangular tooth with a peg hole on the inner edge, a 9 mm gap, a 9 mm tooth with a small dimple on the outer edge and a 9mm gap to the edge making the entire ramp 3.6 mm wide and giving it a connector which can mesh with another end on. Fabulous design. Two more connectors for these ramps can be found on the rear of the toy. All it needs now is some other bases to connect with!

Should you wish to homage another previous Transformers base then re-attach the Titanmaster head and fold the helmet back out to give a base mode with a head just like Star Convoy!

It' now time to return the toy to robot mode. Remove the black tape block, any Titan Masters and any weapons. Fold the handle back. Fold the Titanmaster up, place it into it's socket then fold the helmet out & up over the head: there's a pair of tabs on the hinge for the helmet that fit into the slots on the back of the Titanmaster's legs while the tab that serves as a heel spur on the back of the Titanmaster's legs fits a slot in the base of the hinge. Fold up the clear panel forming the floor of the tape deck door, fold down window at the front and then fold down the floor before closing the tape deck door. Pull both of the legs out to the side folding out the red connecting bar behind the knee joint and slot the knee in to one of the upright struts on the back wall. Fold the foot 90° in at the outer of it's too hinges and fold in the detailed panel. Fold the ramps in. Fold the double panelled front deck up 90° making sure the peg on the knee joint recesses into the slot on the lower of the folded up base panels. The top of folded up base panels folds back to seal the leg compartment with tabs sliding into the base's rear wall. Fold the legs down under the toys then swing out 90° at the thigh. Fold the feet out and stand. Fold the guns on the underside of the forearms back into the seats, fold the arms down and flip the hands out. Place the gun in his hand and the black tape block, or another tape. in his chest. Job done.


Blaster comes out of the box in robot mode with his gun and a black rectangular tape like object. He looks very very similar in size and colour layout to the original 1985 Blaster. The tape storage feature still works in this mode for those wanting to recreate the scene in Transformers The Movie where he launches his tapes from robot mode. The articulation is considerably enhanced over the original: his head turns as do his shoulders which also fold to the sides. His arms also have bicep swivels and bending elbows. The legs move forwards & backwards and swing to the sides at the hips, there's a thigh swivel on each leg, the knees bend and there's side to side as well as front to back ankle pivoting which can make standing him up a little fun at times! His blaster can be held in his hand by it's 5mm peg handle and, as noted above, there's also a peg hole on his back for storage. A 5mm peg on his shoulder and another on his rear seem to have little purpose here but official images suggest they may play a role on Blaster's recolour. One Titanmaster foot peg is still accessible in this mode, and that's the one by his head so you can have a additional Titanmaster stand there. One more on each shoulder might have been nice. The only other real criticism I have of the robot is the helmet: it's made of clear plastic, presumably to give him a see through visor gimmick. The eyes aren't visible through the visor so that's a waste of time. But because it's clear the rest of it's been painted at the red used is a slightly different shade to the rest of the toy.

Blaster is a good toy. The two gimmicks - tape and Titanmaster - combine to form a much more fun toy than many Transformers I've played with recently, almost harking back to the play features of Armada while maintaining the more articulated remake of original Transformers toys that collectors want. It's the best of the two wave 1 Titanmaster Leaders and probably the best Titanmaster Wave 1 toy, though there's some surprising competition at lower sizes.

Legends Broadcast

The main changes to translate Titans Blaster to Legends Broadcast involve making the legs a darker grey and changing the Titanmaster from red to blue. This also affects the tape deck eject button, making it more distinctive, and the internal leg hinges for the knee, foot and ramps.

I must resist.....

Future Repaints

In Japan both Blaster and Soundwave got repaints in the Headmasters line: Blaster in blue as Twincast and Soundwave in black as Soundblaster. A toyline homaging Headmasters is an ideal time to do these repaints.

Both toys also got e-Hobby repaints on their reissue as Shattered Glass Blaster and Shattered Glass Soundwave. I fully expect future conventions to take this option up.

I have friends that would kill for a comics purple Soundwave.