Toy Review - Transformers Titans Return: Deluxe Class Wave 3
Titans Returns just keeps trucking along. This time, we're taking a look at the third wave of deluxe class figures as well as the Walgreens exclusive Brainstorm. The wave 3 line-up consists of Hot Rod, Triggerhappy, Breakaway (a rename for the old Powermaster Getaway) and Twinferno (a pretty awesome rename for Monsterbot Doublecross). One thing you'll notice right off the bat is that this wave doesn't have the same 2 'Bots, 2 'Cons pattern of the previous two waves...which is unfortunate for two reasons. First, what can I say, I like my forces to be evenly matched. Second...well, we'll get into that when we take a look at Breakaway. To be succinct, Breakaway shouldn't exist.
Let's start off with the universally accepted best figure in this wave and the only Decepticon: Triggerhappy. Like Powermasters, it seems that Targetmasters are trading up into Headmasters in this line...and while Triggerhappy is the first one we'll look at, he's not the only former Targetmaster in this wave. [Did you forget Blurr and Scourge already??? - Ed.] Triggerhappy literally does just about everything right: he's great in both modes and has a fun, simple yet complicated transformation scheme that is incredibly satisfying and, at the time of his release, unique. Unfortunately, Hasbro is planning to wear this one out almost as bad as they have certain other transformation schemes [Contain yourself. - Ed.]...since his fellow Targetmasters, Slugslinger and Misfire, will also share this scheme. Sigh. Still, for the moment, he stands alone. The only minor flaw with him is that the side guns from his vehicle mode stretch pretty high up back along his arms...which might interfere with articulation, especially in posing. Still, if you can buy only one figure from this wave, Triggerhappy's your bot! Or 'Con. Or...dammit, you know what I mean.
I guess since I'm going in a descending order, the number two of the wave [No, not THAT number two...we'll get to him at the end. - Ed.], for me anyway, is Twinferno. Before we look at the figure, let’s look at his Titan Master, Daburu. As is sadly becoming consistently the case, he’s completely unpainted…which is a downright shame because in order to see the homage present here, that means you’ve got to REALLY look hard. If you look closely at his head, you’ll find it to be a little cat-like with an eyepatch. Turns out, this is a nice nod to Battle Beasts (Beastformers in Japan), who, as it turns out, did indeed appear in the Japan-only Headmasters animated series back in the late 80s. As for the figure itself, some internet reviewers have knocked it for its boxiness but to me it feels like a callback to the old G1 toys themselves…and I can’t be the only one who is reminded of Victory Saber with the way Twinferno’s feet transform, can I? The toy and its transformation are fairly unconventional…but then again, aren’t the Monsterbots pretty unconventional for Autobots? Still, Twinferno isn’t my favorite in this wave for a reason. Sadly, he’s got gorrila elbows. While wrist swivels, like painted Titan Masters, are clearly going the way of the dodo in this line, a bot like Twinferno really could’ve used them…and I’m not afraid to say that had they given him wrist swivels, not only would it have solved the gorilla elbow problem, but it would have added more posing possibilities to the beast mode resulting in a total win-win situation and would shoot him up past Triggerhappy as my favorite of the wave. But alas, ‘twas not to be. Cheap bastards. Still, with a good transformation, a great color scheme and a neat but botched homage, you could certainly do far worse than this fellow.
Since we’re in the middle of the pack here, this seems like the best time to talk about Brainstorm. When details were first revealed, I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to be picking him up. First off, he was going to be a Walgreens exclusive…and I’ve been pretty hit-or-miss when it comes to finding those. Second, I wasn’t sure if making him a Blurr remold/repaint was the best idea. Third, Hasbro had just done a Brainstorm in 2014 as a Voyager class Generations figure…it seemed a little early to retire it. Still, to continue to use that toy as his new, updated compatriots would all be deluxe class…well, okay, I’m weird, if most of the original Headmasters were going to be deluxe class, then yes, I needed a deluxe class Brainstorm. Fortunately, finding him at Walgreens wasn’t terribly difficult (even though I had already ordered and received him from the Walgreens website by the time I saw him in the wild). And I’ll admit, the remolding added to Blurr works pretty well for Brainstorm…but there’s one thing between the two characters that I have a problem with. For Blurr to have a slightly open cockpit is okay for me, after all he’s a race car…the pilot can be exposed to atmosphere. In Brainstorm’s case, however, he transforms into a Cybertronian Fighter Craft…so, you know, atmospheric and deep space flight and given the speeds likely in his atmospheric flight…well, let me put it this way, you don’t see any current jet fighters with open cockpits, now do you? I’ll confess that this only becomes a logic issue if you assume that there’s a life form within the Titan Master that needs to breathe. If it’s a Cybertronian akin to a Mini-Con, for example, the point becomes moot…but since the original Headmasters concept did have either a Nebulan or a Human in there, then you can see where I’m coming from. Speaking of the Titan Master, I gotta admit I love what they named the little guy: Teslor, naturally referring to Earth’s own mad scientist of legend, Nikola Tesla. The problem is…Brainstorm has always been paired with Arcana and I gotta admit, as cool as the Teslor name is, my brain keeps calling him Arcana. Still, with the release of Perceptor as a Titans Return deluxe…perhaps his head is worthy of this moniker. [Yeah, Convex is a clever wordplay…but c’mon, Teslor is WAAAAAY cooler. – Ed.] Anyway, the figure, short and sweet, is essentially Blurr only different and it’s perfectly fine. It’s not a mold I’m tired of yet and it works mostly well as Brainstorm…so it’s worth picking up to complete your original Headmasters team.
Hot Rod has been desperately in need of an update ever since the fairly unsatisfying Classics figure came out WAAAAAAAY back in 2006. Damn. Ten years. Yeah, he was definitely due! And don’t get me wrong, sure, he’s a bit low in the rankings for this wave but it’s a pretty damn good update. There are two things that bug me though…and they REALLY bug me. First off, his Titan Master, Firedrive, is COMPLETELY unpainted…just completely, utterly, gray. It’s just so muted, ugly and lifeless…which is the complete opposite of anything associated with Hot Rod. Sure, this might be some sort of irony coming from Hasbro but again, with their continued pulling back on paints or additional plastic, joints and so forth, ultimately this feels less like irony and more like just being cheap SOBs. So already this figure starts off on a bit of a bad foot…but the biggest problem is with what Hot Rod is most known for, his wing spoiler that practically defines his silhouette in robot mode. That is Hot Rod’s calling card and if you mess with that, you mess with the bot entire. Well, that’s exactly what Hasbro did. Sadly, the spoiler is completely obscured from the front. On the sides and from the back, sure, you can see it…and you can also see the problem…it sits too low on his back. As I said about voyager class Megatron, if you mess with an iconic feature of one of these characters, diminishing it in some way, you end up tarnishing the whole figure and sadly that’s what Hasbro has accomplished here. So while this Hot Rod is indeed a vast improvement over the old Classics mold, it’s just like the Classics mold in that the minute it hit store shelves, it was already in need of an update. And sadly, that’s why he sits so low in the rankings for this wave.
Last and least…we have Breakaway. Who is a Chromedome repaint. Fuck you Hasbro.
So there we are, wave 3 in a nutshell. Triggerhappy is a must have while Twinferno and Hot Rod do have some shortcomings…but how much those affect you will really be up to you. Brainstorm is certainly worth adding to your collection if for no other reason than to complete the original Headmasters team…but he’s also a solid remold/repaint to boot. And Breakaway shouldn’t exist…that is…if there was a just and loving god. Which clearly, there isn’t.