Monday, 31 July 2017

Titans Return Overlord with Dreadnaut

Titans Return Overlord with Dreadnaut

Having teased Overlord during the Botcon 2016 presentation and then trolled us by by revealing Sky Shadow first at NYCC 2016 we had then had to wait four months for his official reveal at Toyfair 2017!

Now I'm of the age where I can remember the gold boxed Overlord sitting on Woolworths shelves here in the UK and it's been a mater of some regret that I never bought one at the time and some frustration since that he has not yet been reissued. So I've been looking forward to this new version very much.

He comes in robot mode out the box but we'll look at the vehicles first: remove the gun and separate the toys by pulling down on the waist. At this point it should become immediately apparent that, apart from a new waist panel at the front, the legs and the Megatank that they turn into are identical to the tank sold with Sky Shadow. So see that review for more on the tank and how to transform it.

So returning to the upper body: fold open the top of the head and remove the Titanmaster Dreadnaut.

Sky Shadow's Titanmaster was modelled after Mega, one of original Overlord's powermasters. Titans Return Overlord has Dreadnaut as his Titanmaster and he's modelled after original Overlord's other Powermaster Giga - see this picture for a comparison. The Titanmasters have identical chests, which look like they're on the same sprue as the upper arms, elbows, Titanmaster clip and Leader robot hips judging by the colour changes, and identical black upper legs, which are probably on the same sprue as the base mode ramp connectors. However the arms, lower legs and head are new and the head has been painted cyan to match Giga's original head and chest. I'm willing to put money on both Titanmasters being with the Japanese version of Overlord.

So close the top of Overlord's helmet and reverse it. Remove the Megajet's nose from Overlord's arm, fold the peg in and clip the Megajet's nose into Overlord's backpack with the nose pointing down and the white side facing backwards. Fold the Megajet up and forward so it covers the head.

Once again there's no need to have removed the Titanmaster from the head for Transformation. This, coupled with the head being painted when it could be cast from the same blue plastic as the chest, makes me think we may end up with a deTitanmastered head on TakaraTomy Overlord. We'll deal with what will happen to the two Titanmasters I think will be included on that toy later .....

Fold the hands into the forearms. Straighten the arms and retract the elbows into the forearms. Fix the shoulders in relation to the body thanks to tab in the armpit and a slot on the arm. Fold the wings out the side of the arms, fold up the tail fins, fold down the landing gear.

Overlord's Megajet is a stylised SR-71 Blackbird, with black main body that's got more blockiness and straight lines that the Blackbird's sleek rounded lines. As per the original Overlord the engines and underside are cast in white slightly spoiling the appearance of the Blackbird as is traditional for Transformers versions of the plane: Snapdragon is the wrong colour, the Micromasters Fireshot & Vanquish need two robots to form the vehicle and Revenge of the Fallen Jetfire is a horror to transform that I'm still having nightmares about to this day! The cockpit canopy, cast in clear orange plastic, opens for Dreadnaut to sit in it, though the hatch is rather stiff! The floor of the cockpit is also clear orange and folds down. Really this is for his base mode but it gives the impression of a nice entrance ramp/escape chute. One the side of each engine and the middle of the rear are 5mm holes for you to mount his weapon on. Titanmaster Apeface's jet mode looks rather nice piggybacked on he jet, attached via it weapon mode handle mounted in the middle rear hole and indeed his weapons mode works rather well there too. Either side and slightly forward of the rear hole are a Titanmaster Foot Pegs with another on each side following about 4cm further forward. On the underside of the rear of the jet is a Titans Return base mode ramp connector should you wish to attach the jet by itself to something.

If this mode came in black and turned into a robot by itself I'd be perfectly happy with it and it's pretty good as it is paired with the existing tank. I think the jet is the better of the two halves though, not because it's newer but because the tank fees a little too short and doesn't have a raising barrel or rotating turret.

Like Skyshadow it is possible to link he tank and the jet but the connection is a little more tenuous here. Open the robot's chest doors on the underside of the jet. Place them round the front of the tank turret and press the tabs on them into the slots on the slide of the turret that you didn't know were there till you started looking for them to do this!

The hold .... could be better. You're liable to get them separating unexpectedly but hey, it's a working dropship combination!

The two vehicles also come together to form the base mode. The tank transforms exactly as it did with Skyshadow but the jet is a little different....

Start by pulling the nose of the jet off. Rotate the jet nose so the bottom faces up and reattach it. Pull up the plates that form the sides of the jet's top rear - I missed their equivalents on Sky Shadow when reviewing it - and pull them back so they are flat against the rear of the toy again but pointing out the back of the jet. Bend the back of the jet up 90° and stands on this with the white underside of the jet nose facing forward. Slot the tank into the rear of the jet, peg the gun into the hole on what was the jet's rear, and fold down the clear yellow hatch that was under the nose as a platform for Dreadnaut to stand on.

I think the base mode has done a good job of capturing the essence of the original Overlord base mode, and the tower formed from the jet is really similar to the original. The problem here is the tank portions: the split tank halves feel far too close to the main body. Here they're connected to it by the upper legs whereas the original had them further away and linker with ramps. Maybe if the upper legs could telescope out a bit to give them some distance or even fold out into three sections to form a thinner ramp? But as it stands the width of the base mode feels far too compact. There's a base mode connector at the end of each leg piece and another at the back of the jet tower. Each leg, and the base of the jet mode, has two Titanmaster pegs one it plus a further one on the tower canopy. But somehow the base mode doesn't feel busy enough. There's no space for the Titanmaster to stand behind the gun, like you could on Skyshadow, and it lacks the attachments, fold out weapons and even ramp to the front the original had.

Robot mode transformation: Remove the gun & Titanmaster and close the orange platform. Open the ends of the front tank halves to form the feet, fold in the base mode connectors, then fold each tank half 90° out to the side to become the lower leg. Fold the straightened leg in at the hip and then rotate it 180° out to the sides so they're the correct way round: the front of the base mode is now the robot's back. Fold the tower back down flat. Fold the rear jet panels, covering the robot's thighs, up onto the robot's back. Extend the arms, fold out the hands, fold the fins & wings back and pull the shoulders out to the sides untabbing them. Separate the nose of the jet, turn it 180° and reattach, folding the nose down onto the robot's back. Pull the jet nose off again, folding the landing gear in and the peg out and attach to one of the holes in the robot's shoulder. Rotate the helmet so it faces front, open the top and insert the Titanmaster. Place the gun in his hand.

Overlord's body follows the same pattern as the original with the jet's engines becoming it's arms, the underside of the jet body becoming the chest, with the jet nose becoming a shield while, as also per Sky Shadow, the tank forms the legs with it's barrel becoming the hand gun. So while the lower part of the toy is identical to the earlier leader the top half is very different and has been closely modelled on the original Overlord chest design. The six barrelled gun array is there on our right of the chest as is the grey box that on the original folded down with the Powermaster gimmick to become a missile array. With the Powermaster gimmick gone the box is now little more than moulded detail but if you lean him back at his waist another missile array is revealed hidden in Overlord's abdomen.

The Powermaster gimmick has sort of been emulated on Overlord, albeit in a way that doesn't do anything. His chest doors open revealing two cavities that a Titanmaster can be slotted into. Be careful though, I've found the fit to be rather tight and TFWiki agrees. The inclusion of this feature has made me thought that the Takara version might get a significant retool with a permanently attached head and both Mega & Giga Titanmasters retooled with Powermaster style engine. However it could just be a look ahead to the Power of the Primes Primemaster gimmick.

Articulation: identical to Sky Shadow, including the odd double shoulder joint I hadn't discovered when I reviewed that toy. I cant's see why the shoulder joint would raise to the side out of the body when this feature is duplicated by the shoulder sitting in the arm. 5mm hands of course but Sky Shadow's 5mm ports on the arm have moved up onto Overlord's shoulder for the purposes of mounting the jet/shield. 5mm port on the rear of his waist for weapon storage.

There's some fun to be had with this toy. Thanks to the "two vehicles become one" feature and the shared tank/legs with Sky Shadow the two toys can swap trousers in robot mode for some colourful combinations. The jet nose, in addition to being worn on his shoulder, can be used as a hand held shield, can be stored on his back or used as chest armour thanks to a slot on his chest and a tab on the jet.

Fans have been wanting a decent Overlord update for some time and this toy delivers. Jet, tank and robot deliver and the base mode is the only place it really falls down in comparison with the original but is itself OK by Titans Return standards. My expectation is hat we might see something interesting from TakaraTomy with this early in 2018.

Future Repaints

Having done Sky-Shadow surely Thunderwing is an inevitability? I can't see him being a Leader by himself: we think there's one wave of leaders left after Overlord and to do him there would mean repaints of the same toy released in three consecutive waves. I could have seen him more as part of a boxset, the only flies in that plan being that there was already a Titanmaster Thunderwing in the Siege On Cybertron boxset and that Hasbro seemingly went off the boxsets after the first two. However with [url=]Thunderwing featuring in the Power of the Primes vote[/url] I could see this toy being retooled with a new jet for legs to fall in with the leader's power up gimmick.

The Leader size might be a little large for him but the plane & tank combine to form robot transformation is surely an ideal fit for the Duocon Flywheels/Skytread?

I can't get over the leg configuration on Sky Shadow's base mode. With the tank turret part folded away it would make the perfect base for a Leader Perceptor with the upper body forming a different cannon tank by itself and then combining in Microscope & Robot mode!

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