Toy Review - Transformers Titans Return Leader Class: Powermaster Optimus Prime and Autobot Blaster
Remold and yet to be remolded.
Believe it or not, that’s not necessarily a negative as we take a look today at the Titans Return Leader Class Wave 1 figures, Powermaster Optimus Prime and Blaster.
Given my close personal attachment, we’ll start off with Prime. Sure, it’d be easy for me to relay the story about how my mom did the Christmas shopping a little too early in 1984 and I ended up with all Masters of the Universe toys under the tree as opposed to the much sought after Transformers and, most notably, the Autobot Leader, Optimus Prime…when every other kid in the neighborhood got him. I could go further and talk about how I latched on to Ultra Magnus when he was first released and how he almost filled the void for me on my birthday in 1986…or how my mom finally redeemed herself for the blunder of ’84 with Powermaster Optimus for my birthday in ’88…but Editorial is giving me crap about the long-winded stories. [Damn right…and our imagined readership thanks us daily. – Ed.] In giving you the short version though, I’ve actually accomplished a couple of things: completing the total shaming of my mom by finally posting a version of the story out on the internet for all to see [Feel any better there, big man? – Ed.] and establishing a connection between Magnus and Powermaster Prime.
Now, we find the roles reversed. Usually, we find Magnus as a remold or recolor of Prime, but here, we see that Optimus is an extensive remold of the Ultra Magnus mold used in Combiner Wars. That said, Optimus gets right what Magnus got right…and actually a slight bit of improvement…but fails exactly where Magnus fails, only the design of Prime actually amplifies this failing. The key difference between the two obviously is the Headmaster gimmick…although it’s not that big of a difference, as Magnus has the whole Minimus Ambus thing going. The improvement that Prime sports over Magnus though is the fact that his Headmaster buddy Apex has a place in both robot and vehicle modes…where I’m still figuring out what to do with Minimus Ambus when I put Magnus into vehicle mode. Prime’s helmet, when in vehicle mode, can be folded in such a way so as to make a seat for Apex to sit in. If only Minimus had this luxury. The fail comes from the hollow plastic feature yet again…most notably in the arms but also present in the vehicle mode too. Most of the hollowness in vehicle mode I could live with…but the big gaping hole in the front of the trailer serves as a reminder that not only was this mold not really meant for an enclosed trailer, but that the Hasbro design team either ran out of cash or ideas to fill that in some way.
Moving on to Blaster, well, it’s not going to surprise anyone that this is going to be converted into Soundwave for wave 2…right? And while Powermaster Optimus Prime’s transition from Powermaster to Headmaster kinda sorta makes sense in that he’s had a tiny little partner before, well…I’m just not seeing it for Blaster. That’s merely a conceptual gripe though as Blaster turned out to be a great update…with one minor complaint. The transformation is both interesting and about what you’d expect if you have any experience with the old G1 version and yes, he has the capacity to store…well, they’re not cassettes anymore…maybe PDAs? Do those even exist anymore? Maybe really small smartphones? Anyway…yeah, he’s got some buddies that were released in wave one of the Basics…Rewind and Stripes (why not Steeljaw?). [Because he’s the leader of the Earthbound Decepticons in the new RiD cartoon…shudder…and kids are easily confused. – Ed.] The headma…ahem…Titan Master himself, a nod to Japanese Blaster’s upgraded form in the Headmasters series, Twincast, embeds in a ‘remote control’ with the same dimensions as the aforementioned buddies. I put remote control in quotes simply because you’ve really gotta look at the thing in order to see it…thanks to Hasbro for cheaping out on any paint apps for many of the toys in this line. [It’s really starting to become an issue/problem. Take a look at our review for the wave 1 Voyager class bots for more thoughts on this. – Ed.] And this segues into my main problem with the figure…with storage capacity for only one slab…let’s call ‘em slabs…if you opt to use this for Rewind or Stripes, then there’s nowhere for the Titan Master to go within Blaster himself. Given how small these little bastards are…it kind of makes conditions ripe for Twincast to get lost. Now, given the helmet that covers the Titan Master, one might think that this would simply be a case of using one of the many single Titan Masters that Hasbro is offering at the lowest price-point of the line…but that doesn’t quite work out. You see, Titan Masters for larger bots that have helmets that will go over them are designed for such…not turning into the entire head but instead really just the face portion and that’s about it…leaving the rest of the head to be created by said helmet. This works great for the most part…until you start bringing in other Titan Masters to participate in the play pattern…and then you get some pretty funky results. Think that scene in Beetlejuice, toward the end, where he tries to pull a fast one on a recently deceased shaman…just saying.
Both Optimus and Blaster (and likely a running theme in most Leader class offerings in this line, the upcoming Sixshot being the exception) have base modes to provide little playsets for the tiny Titan Master figures…with the added option of linking up to Fortress Maximus. Blaster’s looks okay and Prime’s looks like rubbish from the pictures I’ve seen. You’ll notice that I opted not to include any pics of said base modes in this review because honestly, I’m just not that interested. I’ve had these figures for a bit now and have yet to make use of those modes…so if you’re interested, please look elsewhere.
All in all, while both figures have some failings, there aren’t any real deal breakers in either of them. I will say that if I had to recommend one over the other, I’d give Blaster the nod. There feels like there’s less hollowness to him and overall accomplishes what he sets out to do…and that is provide us a much overdue update on the original G1 character. While you have to give Hasbro some credit for using the Ultra Magnus mold for Powermaster Prime, the hollow plastic and how the trailer section was handled in vehicle mode do tend to detract from the toy. I get that this trend in using less plastic isn’t going away at all…but if we had more bots like Blaster that successfully hide the fact that less plastic is being used as opposed to Prime who practically shouts it…this wouldn’t be much of an issue. Still, short version: Blaster is a great update and if you liked Ultra Magnus, you won’t have much in the way of problems with Prime. Both bots are certainly worth checking out.
(In the pics below, you’ll notice that Prime has matching guns. I had him swap with Magnus. The official packaged Prime comes with exactly the same mismatched guns as Magnus did, so if you have both, you can pull off a similar swap if you are so inclined.)