"Generations" Titans Return Twin Twist Toy Review

in 2018, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, Generation One, Generations, Jumpstarter, Titans Return

Generations
Titans Return

General Information:
Release Date: May 2017
Price Point: $16.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Freezeout Titan Master figure, Blasters x 2

Twin Twist

Official images and text in italics below are from Amazon.com:
Transformers Generations Titans Return Deluxe Class figures are 5.5-inch scale figures that come with a Titan Master figure. The Titan Master figure becomes the head of the Deluxe Class figure. It also works with Deluxe Class, Voyager Class, and Leader Class Titans Return figures (each sold separately). In Titans Return, the Autobots and Decepticons unite with Titan Masters, small bots that carry a power boost. Titan Masters are key to controlling an ancient race of warriors the size of cities: the Titans. Character Specs: Twin Twist: demolitions expert Flameout: conversion cog overdrive Unite and power up for battle Figure Specs: Deluxe Class Twin Twist Modes: robot, tank Converts in 18 steps Works with other Titan Master figures (each sold separately) 2 accessories Comes with a collector card with tech specs Titan Master Flameout Modes: robot, head Converts in 1 step Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

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 twenty 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. In true "Generations" fashion, Titans Return gives us characters from the Headmasters era in new forms that pay homage to the originals.

Twin Twist is a character who actually represents a gimmick that predated Headmasters by a couple years. Instead, the Generation One version of this character was a "Jumpstarter". This feature involved a pullback gimmick that would allow the figure to roll forward by itself in vehicle mode then release a clip that would cause the robot to spring forward and transform into robot mode. It was a simple gimmick, but a fun one to play with! You can see the gimmick in action in the embedded video below (via Youtube):

Twin Twist is one of those relatively obscure Autobots who has not appeared a lot over the years in the Transformers toy line. The last time we saw this guy it was in the "Generations" toy line in 2013. Back then he was a redeco and retool of Brawl. This time out he is a redeco/retool yet again, but the base sculpt is much more appropriate: Topspin! This review will focus on the changes made to the Topspin sculpt for this release.

Packaging:
The Titans Return packaging uses the design of the last few years and updates it. The figure is packaged in robot mode with its weapons to the side. An insert shows you the alt mode along with the names of the Titan Master and character along with the "Titans Return" logo. The side of the insert gives you a look at the character's artwork. Most of the backing card is plastered with a close up of the character's package art. While entire bodies were drawn for this line, the packaging zooms in to the chest and head to focus on the Titan Master gimmick, with the head hovering a bit over the body as if it is about to connect. The side has the now familiar "Generations" logo with an Autobot symbol on it and the vertical "Transformers" logo under it.

The back of the packaging shows off the stock photography for the photo but more importantly, it shows off a diagram explaining the way the Titan Master play system works. The heads of the Titan Masters can be swapped from figure to figure, and the diagram helps illustrate this across size classes. These also act as cosells. In the case of Topspin, his cosells are Autobot Shuffler, Perceptor, Broadside and Sky Shadow.

Titans Return figures come with a collector card, similar to last year's "Combiner Wars" series. However these cards are shaped differently, with corners cut out on two sides. The front features the character's artwork, giving you a better look at the full body. The back features something fans have wanted since last year: tech specs! These are not traditional specs with a full motto and so on, but instead there are four qualities reflected here (via icons). The four icons are: A robot flexing arms (strength), a character running (speed), a brain (intelligence) and a missile (firepower). These are laid out on the X axis of a bar chart with lines going across from a scale of one through twenty. Traditional tech specs only go from one to ten, but these tech specs take into account the Titan Master being combined with the Transformer. This extends the line into the zone past the number ten. I'm really glad these were added in as I think it was a missed opportunity not to do so last year. I also appreciate the bright and colorful icons and lines used on the back of the cards.

Accessories:
Twin Twist includes the same weapons as Topspin. Each one is a blaster featuring two barrels, a thick center section and round notches that run along the bottom. Each blaster is the mirror image of the other, offering some visual symmetry (and playing into their functionality). Both pieces are cast in a blue plastic and painted silver except for the 5mm pegs. Each weapon features two 5mm pegs, one on the bottom and half a peg on the side towards the back. Both weapons can connect via tabs/notches on the top. This creates a four barreled weapon that can also double as a "gunnery station" that any Titan Master can sit on top of. The notch on the back of his lower legs fits into a slot in the middle, though it does not hold very tightly so be careful.

*Note: During my photo session the weapons between Topspin and Twin Twist wound up getting swapped out but since the sculpts (and paint color) are the same it does not dramatically change what the figure would look like holding its own weapons.

Flameout

Head Mode:
Flameout's head mode is based off the G1 Twin Twist head design. This includes a "helmet" section with a central crest, angled sections on either side and a thick "brow" piece above the eyes. The helmet wraps around to the sides of the face with a thick layer near the cheeks and a thinner layer on the outside. His face is set in a very serious expression which calls back to the character's violent nature in his G1 tech specs.

The head is cast in light grey plastic. The face is painted silver and the eyes are blue.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
To transform the figure you hold onto the back and swing it down, revealing the Titan Master's limbs and body.

Robot Mode:
Flameout's robot mode is the same sculpt as Freezeout, which offers up a nice pun. Clearly the names of both characters represent the personalities of their respective Autobot partners to a degree (Twin Twist being "hot headed" and Topspin being more "cool headed", get it?). Having both share sculpts but be different colors is appropriate in this context.

Flameout is cast in light grey plastic with the eyes painted blue. I do wish that he had a bit more paint since the entire figure is grey.

Robot Mode:
Twin Twist is a retool of Topspin and at first glance he looks dramatically different but that is a testament to the effectiveness of strategic retooling and a good deco. In this mode there are four key tooling changes:

  1. The head sculpt is different, reflecting Twin Twist's G1 appearance (see Flameout's review above).
  2. The shoulders have been replaced with new pieces. Instead of the angled detail towards the top, these shoulder pieces have vertical rectangles based on the shape of stickers from the G1 toy.
  3. Instead of wings, the shoulders have large tread pieces attached to them.
  4. The back of the figure has two drill bits on them instead of the blades on Topspin.

Between the head sculpt and treads on the shoulders, two of the major features of the figure instantly help differentiate it from Topspin. The general blocky shape of the limbs and torso also help make it look more like the G1 figure even though some of the smaller details are very different. For instance, the center of G1 Twin Twist's chest has a raised shape on it while Twin Twist has a flat panel with control panel details on it.

The deco also helps make this figure look more like its G1 counterpart. Twin Twist is cast in light grey and blue plastic. The blue makes up most of the torso and back while light grey makes up the rest. Here is a rundown of the paint details based on G1 Twin Twist's stickers:

  • The shoulders feature yellow strips on them.
  • The left side of the chest has silver on it (which was the background color of one of G1 Twin Twist's stickers).
  • There is an Autobot symbol tampographed in the mid-body based on the G1 Twin Twist's Autobot sticker.
  • The knees feature yellow vents with red paint around them. This is based on a yellow and red sticker on G1 Twin Twist's knees.
  • There are yellow details pianted onto the top of the feet which is sort of a side reference to the yellow stickers on the sides of G1 Twin Twist's feet.

Unfortunately my G1 Twin Twist looks rather rough so not all the stickers I describe above are in my photo (I have since ordered Reprolabels for him).

All the joints on this figure are nice and tight. The weapons hold in the fists slightly more loose than Topspin but they're just fine. The weapons can be connected together to form a gunnery station for a Titan Master. Like Topspin he has several attachment points for 5mm peg weapons including the shoulders and legs.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the weapons if attached.
  2. Detach the head and transform it into robot mode. Set it aside for now.
  3. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  4. Swing the panels on the forearms out, swing each fist in and swing the panels back in place.
  5. Push each forearm up over the elbow joint.
  6. Swing the tread pieces on the shoulders forward.
  7. Swing the top half of the robot forward.
  8. Rotate the section with the drill bits and robot arms around.
  9. Lift the cockpit cover.
  10. Swing the drill sections forward, then swing the cockpit covers down.
  11. Swing each arm forward into the slots on either side of the cockpit.
  12. Rotate the leg section around.
  13. Swing the inner panels on the lower legs out.
  14. Push the feet up.
  15. Swing the knee armor forward.
  16. Push the lower legs up over the thighs.
  17. Push the knee armor down.
  18. Flameout can sit in the cockpit.
  19. Attach the blasters to the sides of the treads or the rear section of the vehicle.

Vehicle Mode:
Like the robot mode this form has been retooled to align this mode with its G1 counterpart. The retooling features four changes:

  1. The blades from the front of Topspin's vehicle form have been replaced with drills.
  2. Instead of wings on the sides, Twin Twist has treads.
  3. The back of the feet have rectangular thrusters sculpated into them instead of the round ones found on Topspin.
  4. The thrusters on the panels that form the back of the lower legs feature rectangular thrusters instead of the round ones on Topspin's legs. This is a nod to the G1 toys which had different leg designs despite having similar engineering for the "Jumpstarter" gimmick.

The end result of these changes is a vehicle that looks quite different than Topspin. The vehicle looks bulky and powerful and modern all at the same time.

This mode shows off the same colors as the robot mode, but the cockpit cover is translucent blue with blue paint around the edges to match up with the blue plastic that made up the torso in robot mode. The drill sections are painted silver, the treads are painted black and the knee panels wind up on the back, which really pop against the light grey plastic. One finishing touch is an Autobot symbol on the cockpit section. I really love the way the deco looks in this mode.

The cockpit section opens up so a Titan Master can sit inside. On either side there are two connection points for weapons with 5mm pegs. That manes you can really load this figure up with firepower! Sadly, there are no Titan Master pegs for the mini-figures to stand on. In all honesty this surprised me. Pegs could have easily been sculpted onto the robot arms or the tread sections.

Base Mode:
The "Base Mode" is actually an unofficial mode for Twin Twist. However, it is official for the upcoming redeco and retool of Twin Twist Road Fire from the "Legends" Big Powered set. Road Fire is going to be a significant retool, but I wantd to get a sense of what the base mode would look like using Twin Twist and it's not bad at all. There are a couple ports to attach weapons and you can have a couple Titan Master sized figures hanging around.

Final Thoughts:
Twin Twist is a fantastic redeco and retool of Topspin. He looks great in both modes and Hasbro and Takara Tomy continue to show how effective their retooling skills have become in the past few years. This figure is an absolute must have if you're collecting "Generations". Unfortunately Twin Twist fell into "late wave" syndrome where he was relatively hard to find towards the end of "Titans Return" and after market prices for him are rather high (going as high as $40+ on Amazon so buyer beware.

Pros:

  • Fantastic sculpt.
  • Carries over a lot of the details from the G1 Twin Twist, but modernizes them nicely.
  • Good articulation.
  • Weapons can be placed in multiple spots.
  • Nice, tight joints.
  • Good deco.

Cons:

  • Flameout needs more deco.
  • No Titan Master pegs in vehicle mode.
  • Relatively hard to get at original retail price.