Toy Review - Transformers: Titans Return Deluxe Wave 4
With the fourth wave of deluxe-class Titans Return figures, we start delving into unnecessary repaint territory. Fortunately, we also get 3 new molds to offset that, so let’s dive in and take a look at a set of figures that has been out for a while now but I’m just getting my lazy keister around to reviewing!
Perceptor: Let’s start with the positive…the attention in translating the original G1 toy into something more modern is extremely well done here. Sure, the “tank” mode isn’t the most convincing…but neither was the G1 toy’s "tank" mode. The interesting thing, to me at least, is that G1 Perceptor was actually one of the better articulated figures of the original line…so to see that nudged just a little more into a more modern level felt like the best kind of upgrade. My biggest problem ends up being with the robot arms in microscope mode. In many modern day transformations, a lot of the robot parts lock into place…whereas here, they don’t. This ends up adding a fiddly nature to the figure that doesn’t flatter the figure. That’s my biggest beef…but there’s also one last nitpick: while the Titans Return line has done a great job with regards to head storage in alt-mode up to this point, what to do with little Convex while Perceptor is in his microscope mode? [Maybe scale it back from ‘great job’ to ‘good job’. The Blaster/Soundwave mold wasn’t too terribly impressive with its Titan Master storage either. – Ed.] He can kind of/sort of lay in the examination tray…but truth be told this is the first Titan Master I’ve become convinced that I’m going to lose eventually. Oh, to skip back to another positive, I’m glad that Hasbro didn’t pull the usual double-gun merging into platform for Titan Master here…instead giving Perceptor a sniper rifle, a nice tip of the hat to some of the IDW lore. All in all, he’s a good update and while the arm thing I mentioned above isn’t a deal-breaker, it is a solid strike against the mold.
Krok: The first of the two repaints we’ll look at, Krok, to be polite, is a complete and utter missed opportunity. You’ll recall in our review for wave 1 Skullsmasher that I commented on just how utterly loose the joints on my figure were and, when given the opportunity to buy a second copy of the mold…well, I’d determined it was pretty much a universal thing. Three waves later, you’d think Hasbro would take the time and at least tend to that issue (to say nothing of the mold’s desperate need for some sort of heels!). Nope, he’s the same floppy mess…possibly even floppier…as the original. Hell, that action stance I have him in in the photos? That was really the only way I could get him to stand without the support from another figure or a stand of some sort. It’s a shame too, because I really dig the colors they chose for this repaint (based off of an old Action Masters figure). But that cool color scheme just simply isn’t enough to save it. I’d say the only reason to pick up Krok is if you’re a completist.
Quake: Our second repaint, this time of the Hardhead mold…another one from wave 1, but this one much more solid...both originally and here as well. While the colors are spot on, the choice of this asymmetrical tank vehicle mode, when the original G1 double targetmaster had a more traditional tank mode, seems a bit off. This one likely falls into the whole Hasbro ‘we have to reuse each mold as often as we can’ philosophy…granted, that’s nothing new…but ever since Combiner Wars it’s gotten really rather blatant. [CW Dead End, we’re looking at you… - Ed.] As much as it feels like a cop-out to write the following, this toy can really be summed up in one word: fine. It’s fine. Nothing earth shattering, it’s just a solid toy with a decent paint scheme. Anyone that either has a fondness for the old G1 character, missed out on the original Hardhead release or, yes, is a completist should go ahead and pick this guy up.
Topspin: From the moment I saw him, I figured this to be my favorite of the wave…and while he’s pretty good, he just misses that distinction. While often met with disdain from the hardcore Transformers fan, I have to admit a fondness for the old Jumpstarters. Sure, the gimmick didn’t work right…or for too long…or at all…depending on your own individual toy, but there was something about both their design and their color scheme that grabbed me almost instantly. For me, it’s kind of a shame it’s taken Hasbro so long to give them a much deserved update. This wave brings us Topspin with the easy retool of Twin Twist coming in the next wave. His transformation scheme is an odd mix of Combiner Wars limb-bots leg transformations with the rotating chest gimmick we saw in Titans Return Triggerhappy…with an interesting collapsing of the arms thrown in for good measure. This ends up being pretty satisfying for the most part…however getting the legs to collapse JUUUUUUST right can be more than just a little bit fiddly…depending on the mood your toy is in at the time. This is the thing that keeps him from being my favorite. Well, that and one other thing…the front…prongs…from vehicle mode really don’t store well in robot mode, they just end up jutting out the back at an angle. I don’t know if it was something that was costed out when developing the mold or if it was laziness on the part of the design team [Or if it’s you just being overly picky. – Ed.] but it feels like there should have been a relatively easy fix for this. Still, these really do boil down to nitpicks. Topspin is a great toy, a long awaited update and an easy recommendation.
Kup: At first, he just seemed so bland. I was convinced that I wasn’t going to like him. Perhaps this factors in to why I like him as much as I do. His transformation scheme doesn’t feel like it has borrowed from anything in recent memory giving the toy a fresh feeling that many toys in this Prime Wars Trilogy just haven’t been able to capture thus far. There’s only one thing that bugs me: I wish the front end would lock together a little bit better. Sure, I’d also like it if there was something to hold his Titan Master into the cockpit a little bit better too…but…meh…it’s not really an issue. The remaining two-thirds of the transformation, unfolding and repositioning the legs and how the arms fold up, really make this a fun toy for when you need something for your hands to do that doesn’t require much in the way of attention. [Back in the old days, we didn’t have fidget-spinners, you damn millenials…we had Transformers! – Ed.] Wow…sounding like an old fart is way too appropriate for a Kup review. While the double gun/Titan Master platform gimmick is well and truly past ‘old’ in my opinion, the added benefit for Kup is that you can put the two handles around his wrist to form a double-barreled blaster that to my eye looks much better. As cool as it looks though, without a proper peg it does suffer from some stability issues. I’ve already mentioned it, but Kup here is my pick of the litter and is the figure to get from this wave.