Saturday, 22 October 2016

Titans Return Wolfwire & Legends Weirdwolf

Titans Return Wolfwire with Monxo

Weirdwolf was never my favourite Headmaster, or even Decepticon Headmaster - that honour goes to Skullcruncher. However since the original release Transformers Beasts have got a lot better and there's been a few decent wolves of which was repainted into Botcon 2007 Weirdwolf. So what's the new version like?

For a start the Titanmaster Monxo is a pretty good version of his original Headmaster Monzo, note the spelling change. The limbs and body are very nearly the right colours with just the upper legs changing from blue/green to off white. His head mode is intended to mimic the original, with it's grey unpainted visor which just looks wrong, but it's not done a good job with the grey panel looking like it's protruding over the face with then eyes, the same red as the face, underneath and odd red patched to the sides.

The main robot mode however is superb, a much better proportioned version of the original with all the right colours in all the right places. Really the only fault I can find is that you can't conceal the missile batteries in the shoulders like you could on the original. If you look closely you can see there is some significant variation in the shade of yellow between the chest, which is painted off white plastic, the body which is a paler yellow plastic and the shoulders which look to be a different moulded yellow plastic. The legs, bar their armour, and lower arms are all the traditional blue/green and that matches well throughout.

Articulation is ball jointed ankles, bending knees, thigh swivels, ball jointed hips, turning waist & head, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivels and bending elbows. He's got 5mm pegs hole hands, open top one side, for holding his sword and HUGE cannon both of which has 5mm pegs on the side so they can be mounted in the holes on his shoulders or hips.

The fold down chest panel to reveal the tech specs is missing from all the Titans Returns toys but in Wolfwire's case his entire chest front folds down at his waist in an undocumented feature;

Transformation: remove all weapons and the robot head. Fold the beast head up off the robot's back and onto the robot's neck. Open the forearms, fold the hands back into them and close again. Fold the paws down from behind the arms to take their place. Fold the back cover forward and bring the beast body rear out of the robot body, noting the slot the tabs have come out of and making sure they fit into the slots at the bottom of the body. Close the back panel. Fold the armour covering the lower robot legs up to cover the upper legs. Fold the heels spurs into the robot feet. Fold he arms & legs out to the front of the robot and stand the beast on it's feet. Put the sword's post into his backside form the tail. Slide the tabs on the top of the cannon into the slots on the tail base.

With the cannon mounted on it's back Wolfwire is very reminiscent of a Zoids Command Wolf or even more so it's Irvine's Command Wolf repaint. As such it's a much leaner looking wolf than the original Weirdwolf but with the colours in roughly the same places: blue/green rear legs & lower front legs, yellow body, upper fore legs & rear leg armour and an off white head, rear body & tail. The head is nice and angular, with clear red insets and teeth, similar to Legends Skullcruncher. The head feels like it's ball-jointed at the neck, but moving the head to one side this looks like it's achieved through a series of hinges and features an opening jaw. Forelegs have the arm articulation, with the addition of a ball jointed foot, while the back leg is ball jointed at the hip, bends at the upper knee, ball jointed at the lower knee and ball jointed at the ankle.

Monxo can be sat in a seat recessed in the cannon, like the Command Wolf's gunner, or inside the beast itself. To get into the wolf you need to remove the cannon and then raise the panel on the beast's back via a hinge behind the neck. There's windows in this panel for the Titanmaster to see out and they're moulded in the same pinky red clear plastic that the head panels and teeth are.

There's plenty of opportunity to reposition the cannon: it has a 5mm peg sticking out the top, which was previously used as it's handle in robot mode, plus another one sticking out each side. On Wolfwire there's 5mm sockets on each shoulder/hip plus another underneath the beast.

Good, good toy. Better than the original in almost every way bar the head design and the lack of slide out panels to cover the missile batteries. In fact it's probably the best techno wolf, as opposed to organic wolf like Beast Wars Wolfang, that Transformers have ever done. You want one.

Wolfwire was released in Hasbro markets during August/September 2016 and packed in a case with Highbrow, Chromedome & Mindwipe where all three were packed at 2 per case.

Legends Weirdwolf with Monzo

LG-30 Wolfwire was released in September 2016 Japan very quickly after it's western release. As per all the other original Headmasters the Titanmaster has been tweaked so his faceplate resembles the animation model used for the Japanese Headmasters series. In Weirdwolf's case it results in a squarer larger face, looking the closest of any of the Headmasters to the original head style, and having a much better defined visor & face. The plastic colours have been tweaked so that the off white/grey is now moulded in yellow, which gives the wolf an all yellow body and results in the beast head, centre of the chest panel and sword being painted. In fact the only grey plastic I see on the toy is the new face and existing legs & chest on the Titanmaster. Another painted piece are the pieces added on to the head resulting in silver teeth and inset panels in the head. Where Skullcrucncher's teeth were silver for Titans Return and clear for Legends, Weirdwolf is the reverse! From what I can see on the cockpit window the clear pieces are a more orangey red here. The yellows meanwhile are a lot more closely matched in colour and generally takes a slightly paler tone than the western version.

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As with the other original Headmaster remakes in Legends Weirdwolf is packed with a recoloured Titanmaster accessory: his is Rarigo, a repaint of Apeface which swaps black for yellow and purple for blue green. While the new colours are a good match for Weirdwolf, earning Rarigo the nickname Bananabot, they'll make a dreadful Apeface when combined with the Apeface Titanmaster which will follow in December as a pack in with Legends LG-38 Condor (Laserbeak).

Given a choice between the two the Legends version wins it for me with it's matching shades of yellow and better robot head. However I much prefer the clear plastic in the head on the Western version and, if it was just mounted on a ball joint, I'd be tempted to pop the beast heads off and swap them.

Future Repaints

The original Weirdwolf hasn't ever been repainted but there's lots of other wolves in Transformers. A technological version of the organic Weirdwolf would be nice as would a new Cybertron Snarl, who formed the basis for Botcon 2007 Weirdwolf. Wolfang was repainted/remoulded into Beast Wars K-9, Best Wars II Max-B and Beast Wars Telemocha Volfang all of which are good repaint options a would Toy's Dream Project Galaxy Force Fangwolf, Snarl's limited edition Black Repaint.

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