Saturday, 22 October 2016

Legends Scourge & Titans Return Highbrow

Legends LG-26 Scourge

Now I hadn't intended to obtain both the Japanese and western version of every Titans Return so far but through a series of impulse buys and mistakes and mistakes I have. However I intended to get both Titans Return & Legends Scourge from the moment I first laid eyes on him. They're differently coloured enough that one can sold as Scourge while the other can be a sweep.

They've pulled an interesting trick with the head: the arms of the Titanmaster are now done in a very pale blue, as opposed to the same colour as the rest of the head, which makes the whole head look a lot thinner like you're use to with Scourge. The light blue is extensively used elsewhere on the upper legs, upper arms and hands making the robot look significantly different to the western version.

Since Scourge wasn't an original Headmaster in Japan he, like Blurr, isn't deemed worthy of an extra Titanmaster accessory.

Top toy, well worth getting even if you have the western version.

Titans Return Highbrow & Xort

The 1987 Highbrow was my favourite of the original Headmasters when I was younger yet of the Four Warriors From The Sky he's the only one not to have a real attempt of updating. His only name reuse is with Hunt For The Decepticons Highbrow, who looks nothing like him, while a pair of toys that do, Beast Machines Obsidian and, to a slightly lesser extent, Movie Incinerator, have never been re-released in the correct colours.

In the run up to release a number of parts were noticed to be similar to Scourge including the Titanmaster Xort, previously known as Gort, which has changed from all blue to blue, with off white chest & upper legs. Otherwise that's exactly the same figure with a new faceplate for robot mode that looks very close to Highbrow's US Animation model.

If you said "Give me an articulated version of Highbrow" then what you'd imagine would look pretty much like the deluxe robot you get here, so we're off to a good start. The colours are in the right place and, glory be, he's got twin guns! It's bigged me through the initial Titans Return releases that the Autobot Headmasters, who original had two matching guns, now have on or non matching weapons. Highbrow's don't match exactly, they're mirror images of each other and we'll see why later. His chest folds down slightly to simulate the missing tech spec readout. It's not essential, but a nice feature. About the only thing that slightly bugs me here is the wings don't fold back and are stuck out to the sides.

Articulation: a match to Scourge, so I'll copy & paste! ball jointed head, provided by the Titanmaster, shoulders that shrug up at the body & are ball jointed at the arm, bicep swivels, bending elbows, universal hips, thigh swivels and bending knee.

It's in robot mode that Highbrow shares the most parts with Scourge with the hands, shoulder joint, hips, thighs and heel spurs, previously Scourge's feet, being the same. However the most obvious connection between the two toys is only revealed during the Transformation!

Start by removing the Titanmaster and the weapons. Fold the hands back into the forearms and straighten the arms. Fold the heel spurs in. Pull down on the waist revealing an extending spine, another shared part identical to Scourge's. Rotate each thigh swivel 90° out to the side. Gold each leg up 180° at each hip while folding back 180° at each knee, locking the lower legs over the upper legs and round the spine so that in the same manner as Scourge's legs form the the front of his vehicle Highbrow's form the rear of his. Fold the helicopter's cockpit up off the robot's back and into the space vacated by his head. Swing the arms back along the Helicopter's body so that tabs on the body meet slots in the arms & the knee pads recess into the space the hands have folded into. The rectangular tabs on the guns' sides fit into the hex holes under the wings with the 5mm pointing towards each other. Moulding on the guns provides rear landing wheels while the front landing gear folds down under the cockpit. Fold the cockpit canopy forward and sit the Titanmaster inside.

In vehicle mode Titans Return Highbrow is almost like holding a slightly smaller version of the original Highbrow toy if it wasn't for one thing: the designers in their wisdom have decided that Highbrow needs only two rotors on each wing instead of the three he originally had. The blades spin freely and look like they were originally intended to fold away for storage in robot mode.

Should you wish to vary how the guns are mounted, or tool Highbrow up further, there's a 5mm port under the edge of each wing and a further pair on each side of the cockpit. The guns themselves can be removed completely to slide together to form a dual barrelled cannon for the Titanmaster to ride in. The 5mm handles now stick out the sides of the combined unit allowing it to be pegged into the sides of the cockpit, or any other toy you want to mount it. Sadly there's no 5mm peg underneath so it can't really be mounted as a traditional gun emplacement.

Bar the lack of a third rotor blade, this is a top update which I'm loving. I'm amazed at the way he & Scourge share parts & a transformation idea yet look totally different!

Highbrow is sold in Titans Return Deluxe Wave 2 where he's packed 2 per case with Chromedome, Wolfwire & Mindwipe.

Future Repaints

The dual rotor helicopter mentioned above provide a rich vein of repaints that are possibilities for Highbrow with both Movie Incinerator and his Black Takara Repaint suggesting themselves. Beast Machines Obsidian has several versions: in addition to his original green there's the desert camo Robots in Disguise version but the blue Transformers Universe is probably a bit too close to Highbrow's colours.

Scourge's vehicle mode is a little odd but since Botcon 2009 Scourge was a repaint of Cybertron Sideways how about Titans Return Scourge in black as him? An added bonus here is that Sideways' Armada version was also a Headmaster! Sideways was also repainted as Universe Ratbat so if Ratbat isn't done as a tape for Soundwave that's another possibility.

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