Release Date: February 2017
Price Point: $19.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Convex Titan Master; Rifle; Shoulder Cannon/Microscope lens
Official images and text below in italics are from :
Unite this Titans Return Deluxe Class Autobot Perceptor figure with the Titan Master Convex figure. The Convex figure becomes the head of the Autobot Perceptor figure.
- Deluxe Class Autobot Perceptor figure and Titan Master Convex figure
- Autobot Perceptor figure converts from robot to microscope in 13 steps
- Titan Master Convex figure becomes the head of Autobot Perceptor figure
- Titan Master Convex figure works with other Titans Return figures (each sold separately)
- Unite and power up for battle
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. In true "Generations" fashion, Titans Return gives us characters from the G1 era of Transformers in new forms that incorporate this gimmick.
Perceptor was introduced in Generation One in both the cartoon and Marvel comic books. In the cartoon, he was an Autobot scientist who featured prominently in many episodes of the original series and even had a feature role in "Transformers: The Movie". In the comics he was the leader of an Autobot resistance cell on Cybertron. More recently he was a key character in the "Titans Return" cartoon. Over the years the character would pop up now and then including a Deluxe Class figure in "Reveal the Shield", a Classics Legends Class figure and even a Kreon! This new version of the character is largely based on his G1 appearance with some influences from the current IDW Publishing comic books.
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 Perceptor, his cosells are Repugnus, Sergeant Kup, 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.
Perceptor comes with two main accessories: his rifle and shoulder cannon. The rifle is partly based on his appearance in the IDW Publishing comic books which feature the character as more of a sniper/sharpshooter than a scientist at times. This rifle looks really cool, featuring a stand sculpted into the front to rest the weapon on and a section in the back for a Titan Master to sit in. This weapon is cast entirely in black plastic with no paint applications.
While not immediately obvious, the shoulder cannon (which doubles as the microscope's body tube/eyepiece section) can detach from the figure. It has a 5mm peg on the bottom, allowing you to attach it to any 5mm port. For fun, you can attach it to his arm "Megatron" style! This piece is cast in red, black and teal plastic. The dial in the middle is painted silver.
Convex is a new character introduced in "Titans Return" who transforms into Perceptor's head. His appearance is largely based on the G1 Perceptor action figure.
This figure primarily uses artist Guido Guidi's redesign of Perceptor for the IDW Publishing comics as its design reference. Most of that design had its roots in Perceptor's G1 appearance, but for the most part the character was made leaner so he would look more like a warrior (and strike lots of cool poses). This is reflected in the head mode. He has most of the requisite G1 cartoon/Marvel comic book model details including a large crest at the top of the head, a curved helmet section with a ridged area on the back of the head and a face featuring two eyes, a nose and mouth with a pronounced chin piece. For the most part this sculpt matches up nicely with its comic book counterpart in head mode. For fans who wanted Perceptor's signature targeting scope over one eye there is no sign of it here. Personally I am okay with this as I prefer the more symmetrical appearance this figure has (which calls back to the G1 incarnation of the character).
The head is cast in black and red plastic. Black makes up most of it. The face is painted silver and his eyes are painted yellow which is a callback to the eyes on the G1 Perceptor action figure.
Be warned, on my copy of Perceptor with Convex, it takes a tiny bit of extra strength to detach the head from the body. Your results may vary.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Holding the front of the head, unfold the back half to reveal the robot mode.
Convex's robot mode is largely based on the G1 Perceptor action figure. Some of his key details come straight from that figure. This includes the head, which features a round "helmet", high crest and instead of a mouth, a mouthplate on the face. Another G1 based detail is a rectangular panel sculpted into the chest. This mirrors a similar design element on G1 Perceptor's chest. The legs also share a lot of design similarities including a trapezoid shaped design on the lower legs and raised sections on the feet. These are all callbacks to the G1 action figure and I am very happy to see these details worked into such a tiny figure.
Convex is cast in black and red plastic, who of Perceptor's signature colors. Most of his body is black while his lower legs are cast in red. Unfortunately, aside from the details on Perceptor's face, there are no paint applications on this figure.
All the joints on my copy of this mini-figure are nice and tight.
Not only does this design look good, it is a wonderful callback to the G1 Perceptor action figure and shows a nice lineage between the original toy and this one.
This figure is based Perceptor's current design in the IDW Publishing comic books. That design in turn has its roots in the original Perceptor action figure and G1 animation/comic book model. The result is a figure that has a combination of elements that call back to the history of the character. Some of these design elements include:
- The head sculpt has Perceptor's classic round helmet with a crest in the middle. Unlike the G1 toy, he has a face instead of a mouthplate with eyes. However the head is more narrow than the G1 animation model, which goes along with the slimmer look of the IDW design.
- The chest has a panel in the center formed from the stage/slide holder section.
- The shoulders are blocky like the G1 design, but the top sections have parts that swee up at an angle based on the IDW Publishing model.
- Each of the forearms are thick and rectangular with the microscope dials on the sides.
- The area above the waist has a rectangular plate with an Autobot symbol on it.
- The lens from the microscope mode winds up on his shoulder. Unlike the G1 toy, it can only mount over the left side (like the animation model).
- The knee armor has a horizontal line running through it.
- The lower legs have trapezoid shapes in the front with small triangles inside.
- Each foot has a raised section on top.
Overall the sculpt is fantastic. He's instantly identifiable as the Autobot scientist (or sniper if you prefer). I really like the proportions on the figure. The center of the body is fairly narrow, but his arms are big and bulky while the shoulder cannon looks like it would pack a wallop if you were hit by it. The result is a really nice combination of sleekness and power.
There are some very nice color choices on this figure. The three main plastic colors are all metallic. Taking inspiration from G1 Perceptor they are metallic red, teal and black. Clear plastic is also found on his chest and of course, inside the microscope lens. The placement of the colors basically matches up with the G1 toy with the colors alternating. For instance the upper arms are red while the forearms are teal. The smaller parts (the elbows and fists) are black. It is a great color combination and different than a lot of the other figures in the assortment.
The paint details are mostly done in silver, with smaller ones painted in silver, red and black. The silver is most heavily used on the torso where it is used on the border of the chest plate, the rectangle with the Autobot symbol on it and the panel behind the clear chest panel. The face is also painted silver, as are the dials on the sides of his forearms and the lens cannon. Taking a cue from the G1 action figure, his eyes are painted yellow instead of blue (like the G1 cartoon and IDW model). The red is used for the aforementioned Autobot symbol. Perhaps the most interesting deco details are a series of tampographed graphics on the sides of the lower legs. These tampographs feature a combination of shapes in teal, black, red and two shades of grey. This is based directly off of the stickers found on the sides of G1 Perceptor's legs. I had not expected these details and they look awesome.
There are eighteen points of articulation on this figure. That includes three in each arm and five in each leg. I am also counting the ability of the cannon to be moved forward and back. The joints are all nice and tight. No floppiness here. The fists each have 5mm ports in them, allowing you to attach his weapon. You can attach additional weapons to the 5mm ports on the sides of his forearms. Need to toss more weaponry into the mix? There is another port on the top of the shoulder cannon! If you want to store his weapon, it can plug into yet another 5mm port on his back. My only minor complaint is that there is a lack of any heel piece that extends back a bit, which can cause the figure to topple over if you position it in certain poses.
Transformation to Microscope Mode:
- Detach Convex, transform him to robot mode and set him aside for now.
- Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing the fists into the forearms.
- Slide the shoulder cannon/microscope lens into the middle.
- Pull the black panel with the microscope lens up.
- Point the robot feet down.
- Rotate each robot arm up, then push them in.
- Swing the legs out to the sides.
- Rotate each leg up.
- Swing the lower legs forward. There are tabs on the knee armor that connect to slots on the robot shoulders.
- Swing the chest panel down.
- Rotate the shoulder cannon/microscope lens around, then angle it downward.
Perceptor's microscope mode is a fantastic update of the original figure's microscope mode. While the transformation is different, a lot of the basic design elements are still the same. For instance, the robot arms wind up on the sides and sticking up while the legs wind up in an "L" shape to form the base. Also like G1 Perceptor his chest panel swings out to form the stage/slide holder. It may not be the most realistic looking microscope, but there is no mistaking what it is when you see it.
The robot mode colors pretty much just carry over here since you are literally looking at all the same parts, just in a different configuration. No alt-mode shell hiding robot bits here - but of course he doesn't need any. You do get a better look at the details that were behind the chest panel.
Articulation is not really an issue given this alt-mode, but you can move the lens up and down. Even better the lens is actually functional! The G1 Perceptor toy also had a functional lens that was even called out on the packaging so this is a really cool callback to that figure. Of course, you need to have something to magnify, so the stage/slide holder piece is designed to be able to accommodate a Titan Master in either robot or head mode. There are slots for the tab on the Titan Master's legs to hold them in place. This is both an unexpected and awesome little touch.
The 5mm ports on the forearms, the lens and the back are still accessible in this form so you can attach weapons to him. There are also two Titan Master pegs on the legs, giving him more interactivity with Titan Masters.
Transformation to Mobile Laboratory Mode (from Microscope Mode)
- Swing the lower legs from the robot mode out.
- On the outer part of each lower leg there is an angled tab. Swing the lower legs in to match those tabs with the slots on the robot shoulders.
- Swing the chest panel all the way back. This will also lift up the waist and mid-body panel.
- Swing the silver panel up from the center of the chest.
- Swing the teal sections under the robot feet forward.
Mobile Laboratory Mode:
In a figure that is already choc full of G1 references, the designers added another one and it's super fun. Before the toy released as Perceptor was part of the G1 toy line, it was the Micro Change Series - Microscope Robo MC20 MicroScope which featured a tank mode that could accommodate a Microman figure riding on top. This carried over to the G1 figure as a "Mobile Laboratory" mode but most fans I knew back in the day just considered it his "tank mode". For this version of the character the designers decided to pay homage to this form by including it as an official transformation!
Most of the parts you see in this mode come right from the microscope form, but one section opens up that reveals some really cool details. When you swing the chest/waist/mid-body panel back it reveals a bunch of details underneath that look like a bunch of machinery and controls. The panel that you slide up from the chest reveals a small screen and control terminal. I love "base mode" style details like this, and it makes perfect sense given the play pattern of having Titan Masters interact with larger Transformers as bases (or in this case, more of a gun emplacement or tank). The other newly revealed parts are the treads in front, which line up nicely with the treads sculpted on the legs.
From a deco perspective, the only "newly revealed" parts are the metallic red plastic sections in the "command center" area and the treads. It would have been cool to see maybe one or two silver paint applications here. It would have helped bring out the beautifully sculpted details better. The treads are painted black.
The original Microman Microscope had a spot for a Microman pilot to sit on top. This time out Perceptor allows several Titan Masters to interact with his base mode. The area in the middle where Perceptor's chest would be is the main area for a Titan Master to stand. There is a slot that fits the tab on the back of the Titan Master legs. Then you can attach the other two to the Titan Master pegs on the legs. Want to toss a couple more Titan Masters on there? The chest plate forms a nice platform for them to hang out on in the back. But wait, there's more! If you take Perceptor's rifle and attach it to the lens, then take a couple other weapons from other figures that also have "gunnery" seats you can add on even more Titan Masters (or Prime Masters). I absolutely love how many mini-figures you can have interacting with this mode. It is super fun and looks very cool.
Perceptor represents some of the best that "Titans Return" has to offer. It is a cool looking update of a classic G1 character who retains his G1 alt-modes. Even better, he has some excellent play value. Any criticisms I have of the figure are minor nit picks. You definitely want this guy in your collection!
- Excellent design combining both classic and modern elements.
- Beautiful plastic colors.
- The tampographs on the legs are awesome.
- Super fun "Mobile Laboratory" mode.
- Could have used heel pieces that swung out to help provide extra balance.
- Some extra deco in base mode would have been cool.