original 1985 toy is quite given it's due. However the Reveal the Shield version of Perceptor is rightly acknowledged as being flawed. It's not fun to transform and the robot mode has difficulty staying together. I sold my original one in a clear out, got hold of a replacement very cheap about a year later and never opened the replacement! So Perceptor was due for another go and wasn't surprised to see his name show up on the Transmissions Podcast Rumours list in April 2016. We first saw Perceptor at New York Comic Con 2016, the first wave 4 deluxe revealed, where he was shown to be returned to his original alternate mode, a microscope.
Perceptor's Titanmaster Convex, named after the sort of lens that makes things bigger. He's a black Titanmaster with red lower legs and since his detailing is modelled after Perceptor, it's just the legs which prevent him from looking like Perceptor's Microman version, later done as the E-Hobby exclusive Magnificus.
The Perceptor deluxe robot looks like his cartoon/comic model which, bar the head, is very very similar to the original toy. The legs are a bit longer but the original toy's legs felt a bit short. He's much better proportioned that the RTS toy was so he beats that already but still feels rather small compared to the original toy, which always feels awkward. He comes with a very long rifle, complete with a Titanmaster seat at the rear and fixed bipod at the front. Evidentially meant as a sniper's weapon this harks back to his function in several IDW comics. It's held by a 5mm peg underneath but there is an additional peg on each side of the Titanmaster seat. The robot in turn comes with, in addition to the 5mm holes in his hands, peg holes on the outer side of each wrist plus a peg hole in his back for storing the weapon and another peg hole on his shoulder cannon. The shoulder cannon annoys me: the original toy could move it over either shoulder but I always pictured it over his right shoulder and that's what the RTS toy had. However the animation model had the cannon over his left shoulder and it's only his left shoulder the cannon can be positioned over here which I'm finding annoying. The cannon will annoy, and worry me, further later. The cannon pivots up and thanks to the transformation can be folded onto his back out the way for storage. The cannon is completely removable, held on by a 5mm peg, and can be used as a hand weapon and replaced by the sniper gun
Deliberately Flipped Photo!
Articulation is about what you'd expect: ball jointed neck from the Titanmaster, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivels and bending elbows. There's no waist, which is a shame, but he has hips that rotate & bend to the sides, thigh swivels, an odd bend to the sides joint above the knee which can give him a bow legged stance, and bending knees.
Transformation: Remove the rifle and the Titanmaster. Straighten the arms & legs and fold the fists into the forearms. Pull the black panel on the top of the body up about 2cm. Rotate the arms so the blue forearms point up. Pull the arms down & in so they fill the cavities at the side of the body & between the top of the body & the black panel. Fold the feet down 90°. Fold each leg forward 90° at the hip, then out to the sides 90°, also at the hip, and then in 90° at the mid thigh joint. Tab the red kneepads into what was the shoulders. Fold the Autobot symbol on his lower chest down, then fold the slide tray down. Slide the cannon mount into the middle. No really it does slide along that metal bar. Yes I know it's very stiff. Scary joint, there's going to be a few of those broken in years to come so be careful, which is very hard when you're having to use excessive force to move something! Fold the cannon forward to form the Microscope lens so the pivot is flat on the top of the microscope.
The first thing that strikes you about the microscope mode is how small it is! It looks the right size for Generations Metroplex and Titans return Fortress Maximus to be using! The deluxe class hasn't done a non vehicle/beast toy in a very very long time and you can see why: it doesn't work as a real life object at this size. The official pics show that the slide stage is designed to accommodate a Titanmaster lying down, and there's a Titanmaster footpeg on each leg, but there's no obvious storage point for his rifle, so it's a good job it can function as a stand alone weapon.
Like the original Perceptor the Titans Return version is a triplechanger, another function not seen in the deluxe line for some while. Fold the cannon forward & up so that the loop under the lens catches on the tab at the front of the neck. Fold up the small silver chest panel. Fold out the blue blocks in the back of the legs so they're flush under the feet. Fold the legs out to the sides and back 180° then bend the body down at the hips till the slanted tabs on what were the outside of the legs can mesh with the slots on the shoulders. Try to stand the Titanmaster behind the silver panel and give up because the central tab won't fit between his feet.
Not keen on this mode at all. The slanted body doesn't really work. There's wheels underneath it so it's obviously meant to be mobile and probably more tank like, as the cannon is shown on the original's instructions, but I prefer the more flatter, tank like, version that it's frequently seen in and packed in for his Universe reissue. Thankfully it's the work of seconds to flatten the mode out and potentially reposition the cannon so it's mounted on the other 5mm socket on it's barrel to make the mode look much better.
I've struggles with this toy. I think the robot and Microscope are decent enough for their size but their size, especially the Microscope, just feels too small. He'd have been better as a Voyager, and he does have the triple changer requirement to be a Titans Return Voyager, or as a Leader, with the cannon mode incorporating base mode connectors so you could link him to his frequent companion Titans Return Blaster.
Future RepaintsThe Transformers Collection reissue of Perceptor was repainted into the Decepticon Magnificus, based on the toy's original Microman colour scheme, and paired with a Microman figure named Ga'Mede. An ideal name combination for a Transformer and Titanmaster repaint especially since a further 2013 Japanese Generations Magnificus was issued as a repaint of the Reveal the Shield version. The only slight fly in the ointment is that both Magnificus were e-Hobby exclusives so that might prevent a general retail release.
Other than that I'm stumped for Microscope repaints.
Given that Titans Return Perceptor was rumoured as a deluxe, I thought a repaint of Titans Return Hardhead was a possibility, since both have the over the shoulder cannon look and Hardhead's tank mode harks back to Perceptor's cannon mode. Instead Hardhead was repainted in the same wave as a new version of Quake. Even so I'm still quite keen to see a Perceptor from Hardhead and am surprised I've not seen a custom done yet.