So on the 22nd January 2017 fans were pleased to see a feature in Figure King No.227 revealing a set of heads, confirmed by a TakaraTomy image release a day later. The set was available for ¥3,240 at WonderFest 2017 Winter in Japan on February 19th and after February 25th the set was sold at Cybertron Satellite Shops and Takara Mall in Japan.
The six toys are presented in a small box with a window on both sides: One side shows off the robot mode while the reverse shows their heads.
The set roughly divides into two halves: three heads from deluxe toys featuring their western head sculpt in the Japanese plastic colours and three heads from the Titanmaster class not previously released in Japan.
The Legends LG-21 Hardhead carries a face with a mouth, as per the Japanese cartoon, unlike the faceplated one seen on the original toy and used for Titans Return Hardhead. Now the mouth version is the one I prefer as that's what I'm used to from the comics which is why I bough the Legends version. Circumstances intervened and having planned to go Legends all the way I've ended up with a full set of both Legends AND Titans Return original Headmasters! This figure uses the faceplated head but is easily distinguishable from the western version by having a more beige colour to the helmet detailing and a yellow faceplate, as opposed to the grey ad green of the western version. Unfolding the figure into robot mode we see the Titanmaster looks identical to the Japanese version.
Brainstorm almost has the opposite problem. Titans Returns Brainstorm is, like the the original and the 2014 Voyager. Almost every version of Brainstorm in media from the original cartoon to the Marvel comic to the IDW version uses a faceplated Brainstorm. Now the two versions of the western Titans Return Brainstorm were a little difficult to obtain: one was a store exclusive, the other was par of the 2016 SDCC boxset. So many people in the west, and he UK in particular were pinning their hopes on the Japanese version to give them he toy they needed and were surprised when Legends LG-39 Brainstorm had a rather different face to what they were expecting! The Japanese Headmasters cartoon is the only place that Brainstorm is regularly depicted with no faceplate and visible mouth! The look there is something of a shock to a western audience who are used to the faceplate, but has some popularity amongst More Than Meets The Eye fans for his brief appearances in that comic sans faceplate for story reasons.
The Brainstorm head in the Legends EX set gives the Japanese toy the more traditional head with a yellow faceplate. The face itself is slightly off white, almost mint as per the Japanese Brainstorm and once again the Titanmaster robot is identical to the one seen with Legends Brainstorm.
Chromedome follows a slightly different pattern: Titans Return Chromedome has a head not modelled on the toy but on the modified version used for his IDW More Than Meets The Eye appearance. Fortunately Legends LG-32 Chromedome uses a head that looks very similar to that used the original 1987 Chromedome and in The Japanese Headmasters cartoon.
The Chromedome in the boxset then is the More Than Meets The Eye head design and looks very, very similar to the Titans Return version. The face is slightly whiter with a more yellow mouth. Transforming into the Titanmaster though reveals a very different toy to the western version with a grey chest, instead of brown, and extensive paint apps on the smaller head.
The three remaining Titanmasters in the set appeared in the Titanmaster assortment in the west.
Skytread, the renamed Flywheels, was a repaint and new face for the Titanmaster Terri-bull who was issued in Japan as the Titanmaster Bullhorn packed with LG-37 Ravage. Terribull's tank, also repainted & packed with Skytread in Titans Return, was repainted as Tankette in Japan which was sold with Legends LG-21 Hardhead. -->
Flywheel, no s in Japan, is all but identical to the western Skytread and is the only toy in this set to use plastic colours identical to it's western issue. Without the two side by side I'd struggle to tell them apart. Flywheel has redder eyes and red flashes on his shoulders plus a silver face. A spare Flywheels is useful to work with Titans Return Trypticon as per the UK comic story Meltdown!
Titanmaster Clobber, obvious to all as being Grimlock, was first released in the west as Titanmaster Crashbash, who was repainted in Japan as Cancer which was packed with LG-24 Shockwave while it's dinosaur/dragon accessory has been sold in two different colour schemes in Japan first with Legends LG-22 Skull as Batora and then as Servant packed with LG-34 Wipe.
Reverting to Grimlock for his Japanese release he significantly changes his colours with the dark grey becoming light grey to better match the original Grimlock toy while the chest becomes a less successful paler yellow. Additional black paint apps are applied to the sides & rear of the arms making the Grimlock head mode look superb.
The only Titanmaster head completely new to Japan in this set is Brawn. The jeep/gun he was packed with in the west has appeared, recoloured in a horrific pale blue, as Synapse who was packed with Legends LG-39 Brainstorm.
There's some "interesting" design choices taken with the Japanese version of Brawn. The yellow is brighter and the green is more olive, like his previous Japanese version in the Henkei Minibots set. Arms are coloured a greyish blue to mimic the grey of Brawn's Generation 1 cartoon appearance with a silver faceplate & blue visor on the 1984 Minibot like head, mirrored in the silver face and blue eyes of the larger head. The real oddity is on the smaller Titanmaster head's helmet and the helmet of the larger robot head: both are blue, and quite a bright blue. If they were going for animation accuracy, as TakaraTomy frequently do, then grey would have been appropriate. For original toy accuracy, silver. But blue? Most Odd. A real head scratcher of a colour choice.
For pictures of these sets see
Future Head setsThere were six head designs in this set not previously released in Japan. Curiously the number of head not so far used in Japan from the first two waves of Titans Return, the limits of the current Japanese Legends releases, also currently numbers six. The one not used are the Hasbro Titanmaster heads for the toys of
In addition Sentinel Prime's Titanmaster Infinitus has been used twice in Japan without being seen in anything like it's original colours and also lends itself to white Ultra Magnus and black Scourge/Nemesis Prime recolours.
Then there's all the post wave 2 toys......
I don't think we're done with these sets yet!