"Legends" Targetmaster Slugslinger with Caliburst Toy Review
Release Date: December 30, 2017
Price Point: 4000 Yen (Takara Tomy suggested retail price)
Retailer: Japanese Exclusive
Accessories: Headmaster figure, Caliburst Targetmaster figure/weapon
Translation below by Doug Dlin:
There are many who call Slugslinger a coward for never tiring of shooting enemies from behind, but his qualities as a Decepticon soldier who despises losing most of all may be greater than any of the other Decepticons'. However, because of that cunning, he is likely to thrust his gun muzzle behind even his allies. As such, he is one of the soldiers to whom even his teammates are wary never to show their backs.
When Takara Tomy decided to release the Titan Master figures in Japan they did not follow the exact same release pattern as Hasbro. Instead of just having the characters packaged as Headmasters/Titan Masters, they decided to go the extra mile and include a Targetmaster weapon for those characters who were Targetmasters in Generation One. One of these characters was Misfire, a character introduced in 1987. This figure is a redeco and retool of "Titans Return" Slugslinger. Check out that review for my original thoughts on the figure. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
The "Legends" packaging is a combination of modern and Generation One elements blended together into a box. Unlike the "Generations" versions of these figures the "Legends" figures are packaged in boxes. The box is rectangular and set horizontally. With the figure packed in vehicle mode behind a window, it recalls the design that was used for the G1 Targetmaster packaging. The packaging uses a vertical Transformers logo on the left side of the box (if you are facing it). On the other side is package art for the character and a grid background, a detail inspired by G1 packaging. Caliburst is on the lower left of the package in robot mode while Slugslinger's head is in the upper right hand corner and labeled as "Head Master" (two words, not one). The back of the packaging shows the figure in both modes and Caliburst's ability to transform into Slugslinger's weapon. It also shows the ability for the Head Master to fit inside the vehicle mode in a small window to the side.
Unlike the "Titans Return" line, the "Legends" line seems to be treating the Head Master figures as the core personality of the character. Much like the "Headmasters" cartoon in Japan, the body was basically a large mech suit (known as a 'Transtector' in "Headmasters" and "Masterforce" lingo) being controlled by the smaller head. With that in mind, the Caliburst figure from "Titans Return" Slugslinger has been reused, but given a deco based on Slugslinger's own colors.
The Head Master's robot mode parts have not been altered for this release. He has the same head, arms, torso and legs. However, his colors are different from the "Titans Return" version of the sculpt. The teal from "Titans Return" has now been replaced with a more medium tone blue. The torso and thighs are a very light shade of grey. The face is painted white and his eyes are painted red. The shoulders have gold details on them. Interestingly this does not match either the original G1 Caliburst figure or his animation model from "Headmasters". In the "Headmasters" cartoon his face was painted orange with red eyes and his shoulders were just blue.
In head mode it looks like the face was given a tweak, smoothing out the face and eliminating the oval around the mouth area seen on the "Titans Return" version. However when I stared at the face for a while I realized the oval is still there but the grey paint on the face is thick enough that it covers most of it up. The eyes are painted red and the "helmet" section is blue plastic.
In Generation One the Targetmasters all included a transforming mini-figure that became a weapon (hence "Targetmasters"). To better align this figure set with its G1 counterpart, a new Targetmaster figure was included with Slugslinger representing Caliburst, his Targetmaster partner.
This version of Caliburst is a whole new figure, featuring a lot of details inspired by the G1 version of the character. These include:
- The barrel of Caliburst's weapon mode is attached to his back, sticking straight up.
- The head has a curved helmet section with a crest in the middle and visor eyes.
- The shoulders feature a trapezoid shaped detail on top with two smaller line details under them.
- The handle of the weapon mode sticks out of the middle of the chest.
- The lower legs have a vertical rectangle on the lower part of the knees. Then below that are two horizontal lines. This follows a similar pattern to G1 Caliburst's leg design.
Unlike his G1 counterpart, who was very blocky in many ways, this design is much more streamlined looking and there is a slight bend sculpted into the arms to make him look more dynamic. Most of this figure is a slightly different shade of blue than the one found on Slugslinger himself. This is a slightly darker blue. The weapon barrel on his back is clear plastic. Silver paint is used on the weapon barrel, arms and lower legs. His face is painted gold (standing in for the orange in the cartoon) and the eyes are painted red. I love how much paint there is on this little figure. This is one of the hallmarks of the "Legends" line and I think he looks great.
There are seven points of articulation on this figure. This includes the shoulders, hips, knees and head. The knees and shoulders are ball joints, allowing for a good range of aticulation.
Transformation to Weapon Mode:
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing the weapon barrel back, then pull it forward. This will bring the weapon barrel over the head while the hips and legs are moved up.
- Turn the lower legs so the feet point out to the sides.
- Swing the robot legs forward. Connect the tabs on the lower legs to the corresponding slots at the base of the weapon barrel.
- Swing the robot arms up.
The weapon mode has a different configuration than his G1 counterpart. On the G1 Caliburst's weapon mode the legs swung back and the arms pointed forward. In this case it's the other way around. The legs point forward while the arms swing back. The design of the weapon barrel in front is very similar to the G1 design, with a single barrel that leads to a section that widens at the back. The peg on the bottom allows any figure with a 5mm port to wield Caliburst in weapon mode.
This mode shows off a lot more silver concentrated between the lower robot legs and the weapon barrel. This is a nod to the colors on the G1 Caliburst figure which concentrated a lot of the silver color on the front and top of the weapon mode.
Slugslinger has been given a slight retool in vehicle mode. In the cartoon (and G1 toys) the Targetmasters had the ability to connect with their Targetmasters in vehicle mode. Usually the weapon just sat on top of the vehicle somewhere. The "Titans Return" versions of these characters did not have Targetmasters, so they did not have this ability. However this figure does have a Targetmaster so the cockpit cover piece where the Head Master would sit has been retooled. It now includes a 5mm port on the top, allowing you to attach his Targetmaster there. It is a small, yet important change that better reflects the character's appearance in the cartoons.
To better match his animated appearance, Slugslinger trades up his "Titans Return" colors for colors based on his animation model. The blue is the same blue seen on the Head Master, which strays away from a teal appearance and looks more like a light blue. The other prominent plastic color is a very light shade of grey. Other parts such as the cockpit covers are cast in translucent blue-green. The colors work very well together and they do have a certain brightness that one can easily associate with the G1 cartoon.
Since this version of Slugslinger is based on his cartoon appearance, he lacks the G1 toy based tampographs on the wings and back of the vehicle. Instead, the wings have small purple Decepticon symbols on them and there are gold strips painted on the back. The rear thrusters are painted silver and blue paint is used on the lower halves of his cockpit sections. Overall the deco looks good. I'm a big fan of tampographs so I miss them, but given what the designers were trying to achieve they definitely succeeded.
As mentioned above you can attach Caliburst in weapon mode to the 5mm port in the middle of the vehicle. He still has the 5mm ports under the wings so you can attach other weapons there. The cockpit cover still lefts up in the middle to accommodate the Head Master figure.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Transform the Head Master into head mode and set aside the Targetmaster for now.
- Lift the wings up slightly.
- Flip the vehicle over and separate the tabs on the robot wrist area from the legs that form the back of the jet.
- Swing the back of the vehicle out to begin forming the robot legs.
- Swing the cockpits in front down, then back.
- Swing each arm up.
- Swing the fists out on each forearm.
- Swing the legs forward, then swing the hip hinge back.
- On each leg swing the robot feet forward.
- Separate the legs.
- Attach the head.
- Caliburst can fit into either fist in weapon mode.
It is not immediately obvious, but there is one retooled part on this figure that seems random at first, but may have been intentional all along. If you check out my "Titans Return" Slugslinger review you will note the official photo shows the waist piece is actually the one from Misfire. However, then the "Titans Return" Slugslinger figure was actually released, they used a unique piece with more detailing. However, this version of Slugslinger actually uses Misfire's waist piece, matching the original "Titans Return" renders from Hasbro! This is a small detail for sure, but it adds another difference in design from the "Titans Return" version and was definitely worth noting.
This mode shows off a lot more of the blue plastic along with light grey parts. it is quite different from the "Titans Return" version in that the tampographs are all gone, and paint applications are found in different places. For instance, the shoulders have vent-like panels painted silver while these were unpainted on the "Titans Return" version. Also, the legs have gold stripes on them, but those tampographs are gone too. What we do get however is gold paint on the four circles on his chest. The center of the chest has a small, purple Decepticon symbol. It is hard for me to say this is objectively better or worse than the deco on the "Titans Return" version. Both have their merits and while I have a preference for tampographs, this better resembles the cartoon model.
Much to my surprise, the joints on my copy of this figure are all much tighter than those on my "Titans Return" Slugslinger. Sure I expected some difference, but this is pretty dramatic. The figure is totally solid and I really appreciate that from a quality assurance perspective.
"Legends" Slugslinger is a fantastic figure and if you somehow missed out on "Titans Return" Slugslinger it is absolutely worth it to chase this guy down as a substitute. Between the Targetmaster weapon, the tight joints and deco he is a really cool figure. Highly recommended!
- Caliburst is a great little figure and this set feels more "complete" than the "Titans Return" version.
- Good cartoon-based deco.
- Colors are dramatically different from the "Titans Return" version.
- Joints are very tight.
- Some fans may miss the tampograph details found on the "Titans Return" version.