Saturday, 16 July 2016

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!

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