Saturday, 10 December 2016

Titans Return Titanmaster Ptero

Titans Return Ptero

Of the 1985 Dinobots, Swoop always held a special place for me. Partly that was due to his place in UK Toy Mythology: we got toys of Grimlock, Slag, Snarl & Sludge here in the UK but no Swoop. He missed out again in the Classics line, where Grimlock, Sludge & Snarl got re-released, and also misses out in Generation 2 when we get new colours for Grimlock, Slag & Snarl. We didn't get the 2003 "Armada" Dinobots, where Grimlock, Sludge, Snarl, Swoop and Triceradon (Slag) are joined by Slapper. (honestly, you loose one Dinobot name that might be offensive in Britain and gain another with almost exactly the same meaning!) Due to overstocks of early cases we never saw the Energon Mega Dinobot set consisting of Grimlock & Swoop in the UK and when the Grimlock was re-released in Age of Extinction, Swoop wasn't. We DID get Animated Swoop in 2008, the first released in the UK, along with Grimlock & Snarl. Age of Extinction gave us new versions of all the Dinobots, but I suppose the closest we in the UK get to a "classics" Swoop is when the Wal*Mart 2 packs featuring Grimlock, Slug (Slag) and Strafe (Swoop) were released here through ASDA and we got the Beast Wars Terrorsaur repainted in a cartoon and Diaclone appropriate blue.

The Titanmaster figure in Titans Returns has gone for an alternate approach and has the colours the toy does: all grey with red chest & upper legs. In some ways it's sad that the grey here is different to the grey used on the Grimlock Titanmaster Clobber, but the grey here is closer the silver used on the original Dinobots. Swoop wouldn't be my ideal candidate for a Headmaster/Titanmaster because the distinguishing feature for his head is the crest/fin sticking out the back of the head, formed from the crest of the pteranodon mode head. There's a hint of that on his forehead but otherwise they've gone for a toy accurate approach with the head mode with a black helmet rather than the cartoon's red. It looks OK but it isn't really screaming Swoop at me.

However the accessory IS saying Swoop: it's a mechanical pteranodon with a red body and grey wings & nose. The wings move up & down and the mouth opens. The Titanmaster looks like he should sit in this mode, and indeed he can loosely, but his official configuration here is to bend him into a seated position, open the door on the underside and slide the legs through so the ankle spur locks into the hole on the pteranodon's tale and the head slides into a slot under the pteranodon's neck. It holds solidly and helps bulk out the dinobird's body.

The hinging in the neck is interesting and used in the Transformation to vehicle mode. The lower jaw is attached to the neck halfway along it's length and then attached to the top of the head at the back. This means the head can be flipped round so the jaw runs under the underside of the neck with the beak to the rear and a gun barrel to the front. Turn the dinobird over and fold up the seat & wings to form a jet for the Titanmaster to ride in. Footpegs on the underside of the base of the dinobird neck, now the jet floor, help secure him in place.

The one man jet mode is OK, but I think I prefer it with the wings folded out to the sides.

From jet mode remove the Titanmaster, fold down the wings & seat and fold the handle out the back of he vehicle to form the weapons mode.

Ptero's weapons mode is a bow, something occasionally seen with Transformers. While it's nice to see something a little out of the ordinary I'm struggling a bit with this one as it is, essentially, the dinobird on it's side!

I'm pleased to see another Dinobot head in the Titanmasters line to compliment Clobber. It works in all it's modes, but the pteranodon is definitely the best. Now what about Slag, Sludge and Snarl?

Future Repaints

The obvious repaint for this would be to swap the red for blue and the black paint on head for red to produce a version matching the original Transformers cartoon. An all red version as Terrorsaur would be nice too as would something in black/purple Decepticon colours.

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