Topspin & Twintwist being a big part of the Transformers advertising in 1985 when they first came out, playing on their auto transforming feature. But somehow they never really featured in the media, having to wait till nearly the end of 1986 for their first comics appearance as part of the Wreckers. Over the years the toys have become increasingly disliked due to their simplicity and with it their characters too, to the point that when Roberts & Roche bumped off their IDW versions in Last Stand of the Wreckers nobody batted an eyelid! The Topspin name has been reused a few times but the closest to redoing the characters was the Fall of Cybertron Topspin & Twintwist, part of the FoC Wreckers/Ruination and even then they're just repaints.
Now I've always quite liked the Jumpstarters: our first Transformer was one, Topspin, and the sculpting on them is superb, a classic example of the Transformers house style in robot mode. I always wanted Twin Twist but never owned one until relatively recently.
Then The Transmissions Podcast reported a rumour of a Titans Return version on 21st April 2016 and his release was confirmed in December 2016 when a picture of the toy was seen on an early Skyshadow sample. Hasbro didn't show the toy or release official images till the New York Toyfair on 17th February 2017 by which point they'd been released in the Far East for a month!
The first thing that strikes you about Topspin, even when he's still in his packet, is what a big boy he is, tall and chunky, towering over his original which is just taller than the Titans Return version's waist. He looks very similar to the original with the major detail being ported over including the wings mounted on the upper arms and the blue head with a blue visor over a silver face.
Articulation is pretty good: Head turns courtesy of the Titanmaster's ball joint, the shoulders shrug up & down at the body as well as being ball jointed at the arms, each arm has a bicep swivel and double bending elbow, his waist turns, his hips are ball jointed, his knees and his knees bend. While not articulation as such the shoulder mounted wings bend back and forth which should help prevent breakage.
Topspin comes with two dual barrelled blasters that are the opposite of each other. These tab together to form a four barrelled gun, with a 5mm peg handle underneath the combined weapon that he can hold while a Titanmaster sits in it. The only problem is that this doesn't look much like his original gun but fortunately he can, just about, hold the original too! The original gun has a 4mm peg, which would be far too loose in Titan's Return Topspin's 5mm fist hole but near the top is 5mm ring which just about provides enough clutch for the newer toy to hold. It's a bit loose and will fall out if you move it but is fine for static posing.
Transformation: Removing the Titanmaster Freezeout and transforming him reveals a mini robot with the same colour layout as Topspin: blue limbs & head, white chest. Open the panel on he underside of the forearms, fold the hands in and fold the forearm back so the elbow section recesses inside the forearm. Close the forearm door again. Rotate the waist 180°. Pull the upper portion of the waist joint away from the rest of the torso and fold forward 90°. Turn the torso behind the chest panel so that the neck & Titanmaster socket end up at waist level and what was the waist is at the top. Fold the waist back 90° over the neck. Open the cockpit canopy. Fold the prongs at the front of the vehicle & the landing gear out and forward. Swing the arms alongside the cockpit, tabbing into place. Seat the Titanmaster in the cockpit with his arms raised in front and close the canopy on him. Fold the rear of each leg back about 80°. Collapse the upper leg by folding it into the lower leg and tab the legs together then fold the knee pads down & closed and the feet into what was the front of the leg. Tab the guns under the wings or peg into what was the legs and lower the landing gear.
Interesting Transformation, the moving the waist to the neck is similar to Titans Returns Triggerhappy while the legs are a variant on the method used to shorten them since the Combiner Wars Aerialbots.
The finished spaceship looks just like a proportionally flatter & narrower version of the original with an added pilot's cockpit in the middle. That detail alone vastly improves the look of the vehicle mode making it feel like an actual vehicle someone could be using, albeit a very science fiction space fighter. Each wing has a Titanmaster foot peg on it to accommodate additional crew.
Love it. Superb update.
Topspin was sold at 2 per case in Titans Return Deluxe wave 4.
Titans Return Twin Twist with BurnoutAs soon as a Titans Return version of Topspin was rumoured people began to speculate on Twintwist being done too and done as a retool of Topspin. Although very similar in many ways the originals don't actually share any parts but I could see the reasoning. The week before Toyfair he turned up on a Case Listing from a retailer and then the night before the show he was accidentally revealed on Twitter by Hasbro themselves, the latest in a long line of similar mishaps, before being officially revealed in the showroom, alongside his brother who was already out, with his official images following later that day.
In contrast to the original Twintwist the Titans Return version appears to be 90% reused from Topspin! The parts changed are the larger robot face & the front of the shoulders with the wings on the arms & front of the vehicle exchanged for moulded caterpillar treads and a new vehicle front with drills respectively. While the original Twin Twist had drills whose thread indicated they turn the same way, the Titans Return version has threads which oppose each other indicating they'd turn in opposite directions. Of course, like almost every other Transformers drill tank they don't turn!