Saturday, 10 September 2016

Titans Return Alpha Trion

Titans Return Alpha Trion

Alpha Trion isn't a character I have a particular liking for. My transformers fiction is the UK Marvel Comics, in which he didn't feature. I was aware of him from his cartoon appearances having seen War Dawn and The Key to Vector Sigma on video. But that was it: he was a character made up for the cartoon, he didn't have a toy and, till now, he hasn't had a retail toy release, just a number of convention exclusives who make a contribution to what we have here.

Alpha Trion's Titanmaster is Sovereign: He's moulded to look like Optimus Prime with a Prime like head and dual windowed chest design. The chest is purple, the upper legs grey and the rest of the parts a cerise pink, all colours used on Alpha Trion.

To transform Alpha Trion into his vehicle mode start by removing Sovereign, which can be a trial as the clip for him is VERY tight, the weapons and then lowering the horns at the side of the head. These retract into the body like Sentinel Prime's do. Prime's lock in place easily, Alpha Trion's do not. I ended up using Long Nosed Pliers to help them slide down and lock into place with a VERY satisfying click. Fold the feet so they point down and then wiggle them forward at the ankle so they fit into the bottom of the outer side of the legs. Rotate each leg out 90° and tab together. Turn the toy over so the back of the legs forms the top & the feet the front. Fold the plates that were on the side of the knees back so the tabs on them fit into indentations on the waist. Bend the arms 90° at the elbow, and fold out to the side at the bicep joint. Fold the grey inner shoulder sections away from the body and up 90°. Fold the shoulders down 180° so they're under the shoulder sections. The clear orange cockpit folds back to allow the figure to sit in it. A peg on the side of the sword allows it to attach to one of the shoulders while the Gun should be mounted on a 5mm peg hole in front of the cockpit but can be pegged on the other shoulder.

There is some confusion as to quite what Alpha Trion's vehicle is. Some say it's a space ship, and the long nose is very reminiscent of his Botcon 2008 toy, a new headed repaint of Galaxy Force/Cyberton Vector Prime. Personally, and not just because I've seen who his remould is, think it's a boat, and in particular an Air Craft Carrier. The long flat deck, especially with the gun remove, looks perfect for smaller Cybertronian Aircraft. You can increase the deck size by not folding the shoulders down during transformation, and folding the beast feet forward to act as extra support. There's four Titanmaster pegs on the deck, and a random check with Apeface suggests they do what they're meant to, a seat in the triple barrelled gun the toy comes with, plus the seat in the cockpit, covered by a superb clear orange canopy in the shape of a stylised Lion head making enough room for a crew of six Titanmasters.

Odd looking mode at first glance. But it's fun to play with.

From the documented vehicle mode start by folding the cockpit back 90° by the hinge at the rear, exposing the connecting strut underneath. At the hinge halfway along the cockpit fold the cockpit forward 180° then by the rear hinge fold the cockpit and strut back 180° so it's sitting in the robot's neck socket looking backwards. Untab the shoulders and, via the hinge between the inner grey shoulder and body, fold both shoulders in and tab together to form the beast head on the robot's back. Fold the landing gear in and the beast legs out to the sides. Pull the waist down & back till the pegs on the back of the cockpit fit into the loin cloth. Fold the pink rear deck plates back, separate the deck into the robot legs, and fold each leg 90° out to the side. Fold the foot back onto the rear of the robot legs. Bend the robot legs at the knee as far as they'll go back, which is about 60°. Fold front & rear beast legs into place. Slide the side of the hilt of the sword into a slot in the codpiece, oh dear that's going to cause problems in robot mode. Peg the gun into the hole on the underside of the beast.

Alpha Trion's beast mode is a lion, a beast mode he's had a long association with. There was a proposed OTFCC toy, repainted from Beast Machines Snarl, which unfortunately didn't get made (see the Transformers at the Moon gallery) but for Botcon 2014 Alpha Trizer, a repaint of Transformers Prime Thundertron, was made. The articulation here is a little limited, with the feet bending, turning to the sides on the front legs which also bend and turn to the sides at the knee while the back legs bend back at the knee & the hip. The lower jaw formed form the hands is quite clever but the overall colour scheme of cerise & purple, plus the small horn on the head..... are a little odd. The cockpit isn't well secured, hence the need to force horns to retract properly because they're mediately underneath and can force the cockpit up. One of my beast paws on the front leg is also a little loose and has fallen off once or twice.

Just like the vehicle there's some alternate moding here: split the lion head and fold the halves to the side folding the lion shaped cockpit forward to form the head.

To return to robot mode start by removing the weapons then splitting the lion head and folding the head halves out to the sides so that the grey inner shoulders are between the lion heads & the body. Fold the front feet back, and then the front legs. Fold the robot waist down into place. Fold the rear beast legs onto the front of the robot's legs and the robot feet under the legs. Unfold the arms. Fold the cockpit onto the robot's back. Place the head into the socket, a somewhat tricky task due to the tight clip and restrictive space to the sides. Press the orange button on the robot's chest to raise the horns. Place the weapons in his hands

In robot mode the design cues from earlier toys continue with the round chest being reminiscent of the Botcon 2008/Vector Prime toy which is complemented by Alpha Trion's main weapon being a sword again. His shoulders are each half a lion's head, making him look like a strange coat of arms, with two lions looking sideways framing a warrior in the middle. I'm trying to think of a similar looking Transformer and the closest I can come up with is Transmetal Rhinox, but his head halves face back. The head is surrounded by a pair of Fortress Maximus style horns and the effect works quite nicely here. Unfortunately neither of his hands have a particularly tight grip on his gun which wobbles side to side a bit here and can easily drop out. When not being held both weapons store behind the shoulders via 5mm peg holes on the rear.

You are advised not to attach the sword to the codpiece in this mode.

Articulation: head turns 360° with the horns lowered but like Sentinel Prime will only move a few degrees to the side with the horns raised. In fact the neck collar the horns sink into is very similar to Sentinel Prime's. The shoulders turn and the arms raise to the sides inside the lion head shoulders. Each arm has a bicep swivel, bending elbow and rotating wrist. The legs move forward & back at the waist VERY stiffly but easily move to the side even though it looks like that joint should be ratcheted. There's a thigh swivel, bending knee and double bending ankle on each leg.

As with the other modes there's an alternate transformation here. Remove the head, lower the horns, turn the arms round at the bicep and raise the cockpit onto the neck to give an odd looking robot controlled by a seated Titanmaster.

This toy has faults: the vehicle is odd, the lion is all but immobile, the horns were difficult to retract, a foot fell off and the gun won't hold properly. BUT all throughout it's entertained me massively so despite the problem I've liked it a lot. Having a vehicle & beast mode is encouraging, especially for those of us hoping to get Voyager scaled Apeface & Snapdragon.

Titans Return Broadside

A prototype has been leaked for a Titans Return version of Broadside which appears to show extensive reuse and retooling of Alpha Trion parts. The feet, hips, upper arms, elbows & deck plates on the side of the legs look the same while the rest of the legs look similar enough to Alpha Trion's to make you think a near identical boat landing deck will be produced. The presence of wings on the arms and a new chest hints at a new plane mode replacing the lion.

Titans Return Tidal Wave

A Titans Return version of Armada Tidal Wave was strongly rumoured as a Broadside repaint and looking at some of Broadside's design choices you can see that this is a strong possibility.

Future Repaints

I'd be VERY surprised if Alpha Trion wasn't repainted as Lio Convoy. The Primesque Titanmaster and the Lions heads on the shoulders both suggest a repaint of this nature.

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