Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Titans Return Megatron & Doomshot

Titans Return Megatron with Doomshot

I'm a little surprised that there hasn't been a Generations/Classics style Megatron triplechanger before now. His multi form version are limited to Robots In Disguise and Cybertron. He's been a tank for many years now and even before his Generation 2 version he was associated with a tank in Action Masters and that's been his most common form right up to his most recent version in Combiner Wars. The most common form for Decepticons is jets and Megatron's been one a few times. His first jet was in Machine Wars and, barring the multichangers mentioned above, he's also been one in Energon & Generations Thrilling 30. I thought Generations T30 Blitzwing, despite it's shoulder issues, had a good chance of being Megatron but the best opportunity to do that in Cloud was missed when Starscream was made from Blitzwing and Megatron was another reuse of the NEST Bludgeon toy that had previously made the Generations GDO Megatron.

Now it's painfully obvious that Megatron with Doomshot and his opposite number Optimus Prime with Diac are due to be new versions of Blitzwing & Octane. Blitzwing, as mentioned above, has some serious issues with his most recent version, Octane's never been done in the Voyager scale the rest of the Triplechangers have been and Astrotrain has already been remade in Titans Return as a repaint of Sentinel Prime, another use of a "pre paint" where the repaint comes out before the obvious intended version.

But it is nice to see Megatron and Optimus facing off against each other at the same size again. T30 Megatron didn't have an Optimus, just Orion Pax, while in Combiner Wars Megatron was done only as a Leader and not a Voyager combiner core like Optimus Prime was. The lack of a Voyager Tank Megatron core is a major bugbear I have with CW: Surely Optimus should have an opposite number to face up against? Megatron would have leapt at he chance of powering up, a Megatron that becomes Galvatron in combined mode plays towards established fiction and the tank mould could have been milked for repaints not least giving the club a better toy to base their Bludgeon on which really doesn't work as an Onslaught repaint. Finally there's the lone Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime, though I suppose you could have him face off against the CW Megatron ..... Anyway it's good to have the two leaders out at the same time and in a form where a battle between them seems a contest.

That rather lengthy introduction, apologies, leads us to the Titans Return Voyager and his Titanmaster Doomshot. Now I have opinions about Megatron and Headmasters. Even back in 1988 when I made up my own Transformers stories I had Megatron & Optimus binary bonded with with Nebulons. But there's no way Megatron was letting anyone else into his head even then so I had him be a Targetmaster while Prime was a Headmaster. I can accept the Japanese cartoon version of Headmasters where the Headmaster was essentially a small version of the larger figure which used the larger figure to power up. Well the small Titanmaster robot's head look like Megatron and the the grey arms, head & lower legs work for Megatron, but there's a bit too much red, chest & upper legs, and all the other detailing, especially the hint of a jet nose on the chest, says Blitzwing. The larger robot's Megatron face however is superb, oh to have that face mounted on Galvatron's Titanmaster Nucleon, a superb mini Megatron, in this set!

He comes in robot mode in his box with two pieces of weaponry which well come onto later. I'll cycle through the two alternate modes before returning to the robot. The Transformations were a little tricky to figure out the first time but once you know what's what and what you should do when it's reasonably easy. Unlike Titans Return Voyager Optimus Prime .....

Remove the Titanmaster and weapons. Fold the arms to the sides, with the peg holes in the hands facing forward. Open the doors on the rear of the legs. Fold the feet back into it, exposing the jet engines on the heels, then fold the knee & upper legs in, closing the doors, bringing the legs together and tabbing the inside of the top of the lower legs into the waist & hips.

A brief diversion: most of the real issues I have with this toy come from this step. I think that ideally the legs should be folded in together and for that the leg doors need to be open at the same time. The hinges for the doors are on the inner side of the leg and, due to moulded detail, both doors can't be opened at once. Stick the hinges on the outside of each leg and they could simplifying the process which would also let you open them fully later and fold the feet in, which you've inevitably forgotten to do! As an additional issue one of my doors refused to close properly the first few times I transformed it which looked a little wrong, especially as this locked together leg pieces stay the same in both vehicle modes.

Fold the jet tail fins down so they point down out the bottom of the leg. Fold the outer side of the upper arm on top of the inner side of the upper arm so the tank tread piece faces front. Rotate the arm in 90° at the bicep so the second tank tread piece on that, which extends under the elbow, lines up. Fold the outer side of the lower arm down 180°, covering the hands, so that the third & final tank tread piece lines up. Fold the arm/tank tread up at the shoulder, all the way it can go. There's a second hinge at the shoulder, effectively in the arm pit, and you need to fold the entire arm, tank tread and outer side of the shoulder down there. The tank tread folds along the side of the body & legs with the hand meeting a 5mm peg on the side of the tail fin's base and the tail fins recessing into the moulding on the front of the tread. Fold the outer portion of each wing in 180°, so it's against the middle portion, and then fold the middle portion down so it's at a 90° to the thin inner portion so the form the rear of the tank side. Fold the turret forward into position. The black gun fits over the short stubby tank gun barrel, with the gun barrel's sight tabbing into the black gun. They grey gun can then peg into the top of the rear of the black gun or directly into it's barrel, giving the tank a very long gun barrel. Lift up the orange cover to sit Doomshot in the turret or seat him in the chair of the grey gun.

A little long and a bit complicated. I liked the origami arms, arms are usually solid units on Transformer toys. The resulting tank is surprisingly sold when everything is transformed right and massaged into place.

We can go no further, It's time for Phil Transformer Tank Test!

1)Does the turret turn?
YES, full 360° rotation.
2) Does the gun barrel raise?
NO! It looks like the stubby gun barrel should raise but doesn't. Even if it did it would run into problems raising with the add on weapons attached and might not be able to hold up under the weight so I can see why they made that decision here.
So a 50% score here today.
While we're at it with the gun barrel it's a little disappointing that the grey gun doesn't peg directly into the tank barrel. Reconfiguring the back of the grey gun so it had a 5mm peg hole through the round projection on the back, rather than a 5mm peg which I haven't used yet while playing with the toy, would have sorted that one out.

If you want to stick with the short gun barrel then both guns can be pegged into holes on the sides of the tank, the reverse of the hands' peg holes. Unfortunately the lack of peg holes on the side of the grey gun with a seat mean that Doomshot can't sit in it, unless he wants to be sideways, so he either has to stand on the footpegs on the rear of the vehicle or sit in the turret. The turret doesn't afford Doomshot with much protection: Most Titans Return toys have a fully covered compartment for the Titanmaster, here there's just a clear orange screen in front of him instead of some armour.

Second Transformation: straighten the tank barrel and remove the extra weapons & Titanmaster. Fold the wings out to the side straight. Unpeg the front half of the tank treads and bend back at the arm's elbow so that the hole on the side meets the peg sticking out the rear of the tank sides. Turn the tank onto it's turret & roof. Raise the tail fins up so they, and the side tail wings, point up. Fold the robot chest back. Pull the entire shoulder assemble, including a thin inner panel down the side of the body, away from the body and swing down & back 180° then tab into the side of the legs under the tail fins making sure the tinsy tab on the tail fin meets the corresponding hole. Fold down the side tail wings. Fold the turret back out the way at an angle and swing the jet nose forward 180°. Turn the turret so it faces out under the jet and position on the underside of the jet. Fold the robot chest closed in the gap between nose & rear. Fold the canopy & top of the nose up to unfold the tip of the nose. Seat Doomshot in the cockpit and close it. Peg the weapons in: the robot hands on the side of each engine will give you the classics Decepticon "weapons under wings" look but you can also use the turret or a newly revealed peg hole under the nose.

The resulting jet, which I'm told looks like a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 which in turn was Blitzwing's vehicle mode, is grey with red accents provided by plastic, paint and stickers. The stickers are annoying and after one day are already showing signs of wear on the wings though the Decepticon symbol on the nose looks to be attached better than some I've seen pictures of. There's just something about having a Decepticon jet toy that looks like a real life jet that you can finally have a pilot seated in, something I've wanted since I saw the original Decepticon jets, which I now know were missing their original Diaclone pilots. In addition to the cockpit there's footpegs so you can stand a pair of Titanmasters on the top of the jet.

The instructions and official images suggest the tank turret should be pointing forward to mount weapons on but I'm finding this raises the nose slightly and creates a slightly unstable plane mode which is supported by two moving and one moulded wheel on the top of the turret. The turret facing backwards levels the jet and makes it more stable.

Back to robot mode. Remove the Titanmaster and weapons. Fold the nose tip into the cockpit and close it. Fold the remainder of the nose back 180°, lifting the turret to accommodate it. Raise the turret up to cover the jet cockpit. Untab the wing assembly and swing down 180° tabbing back into the shoulder joint. Fold the chest up into place making sure the small tab sticking out the front of each shoulder is inside the chest cavity. Open the doors on the rear of the jet and fold the upper leg out, tabbing the knee into place. Fold the feet out and close the doors on the back of what is now the legs. Fold the small tail wings up against the tail fins and swing back to act as heel spurs. Fold the tank treads out down the side of the robot. Move the shoulder joint back up and into position. Fold the lower third of the tank treads up 180° so they are alongside the middle third to form the lower arm which is then rotated out to the side 90° at the bicep. Fold the upper third out to the side to form the shoulder. Fold the Titanmaster up and attach as Megatron's head. Fit the grey gun under the rear of the the black gun and peg onto his right forearm.

We've seen a grey Tank Megatron recently in his Combiner Wars version and this looks very similar to that albeit shrunk down. The proportions have been tweaked a bit, this one feels wider in relation to his height which is a good thing as the CW Leader was a little tall & lanky. The usual accents are there, black and red. Actually there's quite a lot of red, painted on his knees & his chest and moulded in his elbows & the tank mode wheels which are visible in the bis of tread hanging off his arms. Like all Titans Return Voyagers he has a special feature to supplement the size of the head: lift his chest and hit the trigger there to raise moulded missile banks either side of the head.

Articulation: Knees bend, thigh swivel, universal joint hips, which are a little loose to the sides, no waist but a ball; jointed head thanks to the Titanmaster, shoulders that turn, fold up to the sides and, thanks to that bottom joint on the shoulder, can be bent so the arm folds straight across the chest. Bicep swivels and a bending elbow complete the arm. No wrist swivel either.

The 5mm hole on the side of the arm is important: It's main use is to take the black gun, which is shaped like the middle & front of the original Megatron Fusion Cannon. They've done a good job with that but it's a little let down by the grey gun forming the rear and it's seat. I would have moulded both in black, not grey. Even the black Fusion Cannon part is actually grey with black paint covering all but the 5mm pegs on the side. I like my Fusion Cannon on top of the arm, especially if there's scope to remove it, so I could have done with a bellow the elbow swivel to move the 5mm peg hole on the side of his arm onto the top of the arm while still allowing the elbow to bend. There's a matching socket on his left arm but seeing as Megatron always has his fusion cannon on his right arm (our left) I can't see it getting much use. With the weapons separated I suppose you could go for a Decepticon jet Warrior look with one on each hand. The weapons can also be hand held either separately or combined. In addition there's a 5mm peg hole either side of the rear of the head allowing you to mount the guns there but I think they're better used combined again and attached to the hole to our left/Megatron's right of the head as it then looks like Generation 2 Megatron's shoulder mounted Fusion Cannon.

I'm liking this toy a lot, far more than I thought I would. Properly transformed all three modes are solid. The different combinations of guns and where you mount them adds to the playability of the toy for me and of the box of Wave 4 toys I received Monday, all three Legends, both Voyagers and the Leader, It's Megatron that's really held my attention. It's a good Megatron, better than the CW Leader version I think, and a good toy.

Megatron is a Titans Return Wave 3 Voyager toy released in December 2016 and paired with a Voyager version of Optimus Prime.

Titans Return Blitzwing

If the design wasn't enough to tell you what this toy is really meant to be then computer listings reveal a Voyager Blitzwing, alongside a n Octane who's presumably a Voyager Optimus repaint, probably in Titans Return Wave 5 due circa May 2017.

Future Repaints

From Megatron G2 Green and Archforce purple would make good repaints.

Blitzwing has a "differently coloured" Platinum version, which has more than a passing resemblance to Flywheels, who many expected to be done as a repaint of the previous Generations Voyager Blitzwing.

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