Saturday, 2 July 2016

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.

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