"Generations" Titans Return Ramhorn Toy Review
Release Date: July 2017
Price Point: $4.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Ramhorn Titan Master, Rhino/Tank/Weapon Mini-Beast
Very early on in the life of the Transformers line the toy line began to move away from the sole gimmick of transformation. Once figures like Combiners were introduced it became clear Transformers could be more than just a robot that changed from one form to another. In 1987 Hasbro and Takara took a bold step into a new play pattern by introducing Headmasters. Headmasters were Transformers whose heads detached and became smaller figures that could then pilot or ride the Transformers in beast and vehicle forms (or in a couple cases, their battle station or city forms!). Now almost thirty years after they were originally introduced the Headmaster gimmick has returned in a new form: Titan Masters!
Titan Masters focuses on the return of small robots to Cybertron that can unlock incredible power, and it is up to the Transformers to merge with them and harness those abilities and strengths. In some ways the story resembles "Armada" which had a similar conceit for the Mini-Cons.
Summer of 2017 saw the release of a new wave of Titan Masters. However three of the figures in this set were a new production run of figures that had previously been released. These three were Apeface, Overboard and Ptero. The fourth figure in the assortment was a new figure: Ramhorn! Based on the Autobot cassette warrior from Generation One, Ramhorn has been reborn as a Titan Master with a vehicle/beast/weapon accessory. This figure is a retool and redeco of Shuffler from the previous wave of Titan Masters. Check out that review for a detailed look at the sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure and accessory for this release.
The Titan Master figures are packaged on a bubble card. The front of the card is universal across the assortment. It features Fortress Maximus' head floating above his body. To the side is a black bar with the "Generations" logo above the vertical "Transformers" logo. The insert in the bubble has a render of the figure in head mode. The head and vehicle are in the area under Fortress Maximus' head. The back is almost universal in that it features a diagram of the Titan Master "eco system" showing that the heads can attach to Deluxe, Voyager and Leader Classes. The difference however is in the bar code, which is specific to each character.
Ramhorn uses the same body sculpt as Shuffler featuring very standard looking shapes on the top but ending in feet that look like the wide feet seen on an elephant (they work for a rhino too so it fits Ramhorn just fine). What has been replaced is the head. Shuffler's robot head was basically an elephant based design condensed into a robot head shape. This time out Ramhorn's head is a rhino head condensed into a robot head shape. It almost looks like a sleek helmet with a horn on it over a head, but there are tiny eyes sculpted and painted on the head. It is a very interesting design and it fits the character.
The Titan Master is cast in a red-brown color and is mostly unpainted. There are some tiny paint details on the head, including blue on the eyes and silver on the horn and mouthplate. These same colors are used for the face on the back of the figure. Unlike Shuffler the plastic colors are uniform here so he really could have used some additional paint applications on the body, but given that unpainted Titan Masters are fairly standard for this line this is no huge surprise.
All the joints on this figure are nice and tight, so no worries about mold degradation.
Transformation to Head Mode:
Push the arms down. Swing the legs up at the hips, then the knees. When attaching the head to a larger figure, I recommend having Ramhorn's head facing the same direction as the larger face.
In Generation One Ramhorn transformed into a cassette that fit inside Blaster's chest. However this time out he actually transforms into a head! However when the designers designed this head mode the didn't make up a new design, instead they went deep into the depths of Transformers and dug up an unused design from Generation One! In Japan there were six Headmaster figures released separate from larger bodies. Three were beasts and three were robots. In fact, Ramhorn's fellow Autobot Titan Master Sawback was based on one of these named "Lione". However there were six additional Headmasters that never saw production, but concept art does exist and that is where the design for this head comes form. See, one of these unmade/unreleased Headmasters was a rhino that transformed into a head, so it made for a perfect meta homage to G1.
The head has many classic Transformers design elements including a crest in the center with horn/antennae like protrusions on the sides. The crest is long, hinting at the horn that defines a lot of Ramhorn's look. The face looks almost hidden under the "helmet" section and it features large eyes, a nose and mouth with lines running down the cheeks. It is very distinct and looks a lot like the concept art for the unproduced Headmaster Ramhorn is based on. The face is painted silver and the eyes are blue, contrasting nicely with the red-brown plastic tha tmakes up the head.
The Mini-Beast/vehicle/weapon included with Ramhorn is the form most fans will remember him in: a robotic rhino. This piece has been retooled extensively to give him some of the key details from the G1 character. First, the head is totally new. Instead of a robotic elephant head, there is now a robotic rhino head complete with small ears, two horns and a wide, thick snout. The eyes have a fierce appearance similar to G1 Ramhorn and coupled with the thick, angled body shape it has a very tough looking appearance. The other part that has been retooled are the weapon packs on the sides. Instead of the weapon pods with one blaster barrel sticking out in front, Ramhorn's Mini-Beast sports two (non-functional) rocket packs, with three rockets on each side. The design of these packs is based on the accessories that came with G1 Ramhorn and they look fantastic. While the rest of the figure remains the same as Shuffler sculpt-wise these two changes give Ramhorn's Mini-Beast its own distinct appearance and it looks great.
This Mini-Beast is cast in the same red-brown plastic as Ramhorn himself. The sides are painted gold, calling back to G1 Ramhorn's weapons. His eyes are also painted gold (another G1 callback). A red Autobot symbol is painted onto the left side weapon pod. Now, this Mini-Beast could have definitely used a bit more paint say, on the legs, but the gold color covers up so much of the sides you really don't miss it.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode (from Beast Mode):
- Detach Ramhorn and transform him to robot mode.
- Swing the beast mode head up.
- Rotate the beast mode head around and point the rhino horn in the same direction as the tail.
- Swing the beast mode feet up.
- Ramhorn can stand on the pegs at the back of the vehicle.
This mode partly requires you use some imagination. Shuffler had the benefit of having a trunk that could mimic a tank cannon. In this case the rhino horn looks like, well...a rhino horn sticking out in front. Of course you can use your imagination and picture the horn firing off as a rocket or firing energy blasts. Still, who cares? This mode still looks fantastic. It is a neat mini-vehicle and conveys a sense of power despite its relatively small size. I will also reiterate that I love the sculpted details which include treads on the legs and armor panels on the sides.
No surprises with the deco. There is still a ton of red-brown plastic showing and the unfolded rhino horn/cannon does not expose any new colors. The only real paint apps are the gold ones on the sides from the beast mode.
In terms of functionality the "turret" can still turn in a circle, which is more rare in the Transformers toy line than you would expect. The back still has two Titan Master pegs, allowing a Titan Master to stand in the back and "drive" the vehicle.
Transformation to Weapon Mode (from Vehicle Mode):
- Detach Ramhorn and set him aside for now.
- Swing the rhino horn up.
- Swing the front beast mode legs up.
- Swing the peg in the back down.
The weapon mode shares the same basic design as Shuffler's, meaning it looks like one incredibly powerful rocket launcher. The only slight downer (and I emphasize slight) is that the shape of the rhino horn on the bottom is so distinct as a horn that it does not look like a weapon clip in the same way Shuffler's trunk did. Other than that however I still love this mode. It is an insane weapon and this time out if you add in the three rockets on either side he has even more firepower than Shuffler!
Color-wise there are no surprises here, which is a shame. Given the relative lack of paint in the other modes I would have liked to maybe see some of the rocket tubes painted or outlined somehow.
Update (February 12, 2018):
In late 2017 fans were taken by surprise when the already hard to find Ramhorn figure was revealed to have a color variant of all things! While some Ramhorns were being found at Aldi Supermarkets as "stocking stuffers", most of these turned out to be the first variant which primarily had a red-brown plastic color (this is still available as of this writing in a Titan Master Wave 5 set via Entertainment Earth). However the new variant replaced the red-brown plastic color with a darker brown. It is unclear exactly why this was done given that the figure was released so late in the "Titans Return" line, but it makes for an interesting footnote in Transformers history. In terms of availability, there were some store sightings reported here and there on Facebook, but for a brief time the most reliable way to get this variant was to order the individual Ramhorn figure from Entertainment Earth (the listing has since been taken down). Everything else about the figure is the same, from the sculpt to the gold paint and the deco on the head mode. While I do not think everyone needs to charge out to find this variant, I am glad I own it alongside my original "red-brown" Titan Master Ramhorn!
Ramhorn is fantastic. I won't grade him as high as Shuffler since there are some areas where he could be better, especially in the paint department. Shuffler at least had the benefit of being two different colors of plastic, but Ramhorn does not. I still think every fan should own this figure, just be aware that he's not as cool as Shuffler, but that's a pretty high bar to set in the first place.
- Wonderful double homage to a G1 character and unproduced Headmaster.
- Mini-Beast/Vehicle looks great in all modes.
- Great homage details in the sculpt.
- Fun to play with in every mode.
- Tank turret can actually turn in a circle and the cannon moves up and down.
- Needs more paint in Titan Master robot form to break up the uniform plastic color.