Saturday, 2 July 2016

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.

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