Toy Review - Transformers Titans Return Deluxe Class: Wave 1
Yeah, I know, I’m a little behind on these guys…given that they’ve mostly come and gone from toy shelves…but I haven’t been able to take pictures of more recent acquisitions so we’re stuck playing a little catch-up for now.
The first wave of Titans Return deluxes are a bit of a mixed bag and, not to sound like a factionist, but at least in my copies they tend to fall along faction lines…the Autobots being the good figures and the Decepticons with some problems. We’ll get to that in a bit. We’ve already seen this a little bit in the wave 1 leader class reviews, but this wave of deluxes helps to confirm the fact that under the Titans Return banner, there is no division between Headmasters, Targetmasters and Powermasters, as Scourge and Blurr, who had both been Targetmasters, show us. The other half of the wave, Skullsmasher (apparently Skullcruncher was taken…or parents-groups pitched a fit…) and Hardhead, are updated, smaller versions of their G1 selves.
So, why did I lead with the fact that the Autobots here are good and the Decepticons are…not so much? Well, the Autobots serve as a good proof-of-concept: heads attach fine and tightly, retaining poseablity and the joints are tight on both. The Decepticons in this wave prove how the concept could fail: wobbly heads and joints that can’t resist gravity or the slightest breeze. Whatever you might think about the ‘Cons, they are surprisingly thoughtful in that no single one has all of these issues, Scourge suffers from wobbly head and Skullsmasher opted for ragdoll-like joints. Usually I’m of the mind to chalk this up to just being my copies, but looking over some YouTube reviews, it’s pretty clear that this is a widespread thing, which, again, is unfortunate.
Let’s take a look at the bots individually starting with Scourge. Starting off in robot mode…man, that’s a lot of blue. Now, to be fair, the original toy is nearly identical in its coloration and such…so it’s safe to say that this is where the designers took their cues from. That’s…kind of unfortunate. Sure, it saves on the paint budget (which Hasbro has been doing A LOT lately) but it ends up making the toy bland overall. One need only look at Takara-Tomy’s version of the toy to see how much more an animation-accurate color scheme really makes the toy pop more. Hell, that’s present in this very same toy’s vehicle mode, where we see a much better mix of varying shades of blue with some white to break it up. It looks great. My only beef with vehicle mode is where to put Scourge’s gun. The instructions have you peg it in on the top side of vehicle mode but it just looks and feels…wrong. It works great on the side but, in lacking a duplicate, ends up being asymmetrical…which always bugs me. Still, I’ll take asymmetry over pegging it topside any time.
Staying with the ‘Cons, next up is Skullsmasher, who fairs much better in the color department as his color scheme is practically identical to his G1 self. Speaking of which, the strange tail-nub weapon is now a full-blown shield. There isn’t much in the way of transformation for him, as you’d kind of expect, but there are a couple of interesting (if somewhat frustrating) things going on with his arms as you convert to his alligator mode. The gator itself has limited poseablity (jaws, neck, tail and limited limbs) but that again falls within the range of about what you’d expect.
Switching sides, we hop over to Hardhead who is, like Skullsmasher, a straight up update of his G1 self and also like Skullsmasher, is pretty successful in doing so. As with Scourge, the Takara-Tomy version of the mold comes with a headmaster that has a mouth…not a faceplate. There are some color differences as well, once again where the Japanese release opts for a color scheme more in line with the animation. Transformation is quick and intuitive leading to a pretty solid tank mode. All in all, a pretty solid offering.
Wrapping up, we have Blurr who, like Scourge, is a lot of blue and is such in adhering to the color scheme of the G1 toy. To keep the toy from being completely bland, Hasbro has mixed in some metallic flecks into the blue plastic to nice effect. Still, comparing this figure to the Takara-Tomy animation accurate version…well, it’s lacking…for all the same reasons Scourge’s bot mode was lacking, that being the whites break up all the blue and just make the toy more visually interesting. The vehicle mode is a better approximation of Blurr than the previous Classics/Generations version which was just a repaint of Drift. As with bot mode, there’s a lot of blue here, once again drawing its inspiration from the G1 toy.
For the wave overall, it’s a bit of a mixed start to the new line, highlighting right off the bat that execution is everything. Having already reviewed the Voyagers and Leaders from this wave, it’s clear that I’m already on board, but the 50-50 nature of this first deluxe wave really did underscore that this could be really good…or really bad. As we’ll see later on in waves two and three…fortunately things took a turn for the better!