Release Date: October 2016
Price Point: $16.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Autobot Stylor Titan Master figure, Blaster (small), Blaster (large)
Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
If anyone can produce an Autobot super soldier, it's Chromedome. The computer scientist can reprogram a bot’s systems to make them function at beyond-peak performance. Autobot Stylor gives Chromedome a rare programming tool: the power of mnemosurgery, the ability to access and edit another bot's memories. This Titans Return Deluxe Class Autobot Chromedome figure comes with a Titan Master Autobot Stylor figure. The Autobot Stylor figure becomes the head of the Chromedome figure. Unite them and power up for battle. Titan Master figures can become the head for Deluxe Class, Voyager Class, or Leader Class Titans Return figures. Unite this Titan Master Autobot Stylor figure with other bots to create different combinations, or unite other Titan Master figures with this Chromedome figure. Find the best team ups and join the battle. Additional figures are each sold separately. Subject to availability. The Chromedome figure converts from robot to vehicle and back in 12 steps. The Titan Master Autobot Stylor figure converts from robot to head and back in 1 step. When the Chromedome figure is in vehicle mode, the Autobot Stylor figure fits inside. Also includes 2 blaster accessories and a collectible character card with tech specs. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
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.
I have a very specific attachment to the character of Chromedome. Sure right now he is immensely popular because of his appearance in the IDW Publishing comic book (in part due to his relationship with Rewind). However at the risk of sounding cliche, I was into Chromedome before it was fashionable. See, Chromedome was the very first Headmaster I ever owned, and in my youth my family could not afford to buy entire waves of figures for me, so every figure was precious and represented his "kind". Bumblebee was my main Mini-Car, Hot Rod was my main Targetmaster and Chromedome was my main Headmaster and he led my Autobots on many missions over the years.
Chromedome is fairly well known among fandom, but interestingly the only recent action figure of the character was the Timelines version. While that version was awesome it was not available at mass retail, so this is the first time fans can easily add Chromedome to their collections in a long time.
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, wth 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 Chromedome his cosells are Clobber, Highbrow, Alpha Trion and Soundwaveh.
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.
Chromedome comes with two weapons. One is the the same sculpt as the weapon included with Blurr and Brainstorm featuring a pointed front end. The other weapon is a new piece that is roughly T shaped with a long barrel at the end that narrows towards the front. The top of the weapon features a seat for a Titan Master. Behind the seat is a 5mm peg and in front of it is a 5mm port. The sides each feature a 5mm peg as well. This allows Chromedome to hold the weapon in various ways and use it in vehicle mode. You can attach the smaller weapon to the port in front of the seat and it looks like the Titan Master is operating the weapon. The larger weapon is a tad cumbersome looking in my book, but at the same time it offers up some fun play value. Both weapons are cast in red plastic. Under certain light you can see some metallic flake which gives it a nice shine.
Autobot Stylor is one of the few Headmaster-inspired characters who made it into this Generation of figures with his name intact (albeit with the "Autobot" description in front). While the original Stylor was an alien from the world of Nebulos, "Autobot Stylor" appears to be a fully mechanical "Titan Master" and Cybertronian.
Chromedome's head design takes its design inspiration from a couple different sources. It starts with the original G1 toy, where the central crest is flanked by wing-like sections that stick out to the side with rows of horizontal lines inside. The mouthplate is flanked by small rectangles with more horizontal lines inside. When the character was brought into the IDW Publishing comic books a lot of these details were heavily streamlined with the sides of the head sweeping out. Some angles were added as well. Along with visor eyes (instead of two separate, thin eyes) this design is heavily influenced by the current comic books.
The face piece light grey with blue eyes and orange on the mouthplate. These colors have their origins in G1 but they also match up with his current comic book appearance.
From a functionality standpoint I found the way Chromedome is packaged is already the ideal way to attach Stylor to the body, specifically with Stylor's head facing the opposite direction as Chromedome's face. Sure it shouldn't matter but on some earlier Titans Return figures it did.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Swing the back of the head down and straighten it out to form the legs. The arms can swing up.
The robot mode uses the same sculpt as Hyperfire, who is included with Blurr. This makes perfect sense since Hyperfire was based on G1 Stylor's design. I go into detail in Blurr's review about the Stylor designs found on Hyperfire, but many are very obvious including the square shaped head with large visor-style eyes and the circles on the shoulders.
Unlike his G1 counterpart, Stylor's torso is brown plastic while the head, arms and legs are red. Unfortunately there are no paint applications on any of these parts so a lot of the nicely sculpted details are kind of lost in uniform colors. This was disappointing since Hyperfire did have some paint applications on him. That said, Blurr needed much more paint so I guess there's always a trade off.
Stylor has five points of articulation. This includes the head, arms and legs. The lower legs are fused together as one piece so they move together but they can bend at the hips and knees. The bottom of the feet have two small ports which allow you to attach the figure to corresponding pegs on the larger vehicles/figures. I love this feature as it adds to the world-building fantasy play that is part of "Titans Return". Many of the figures in this line can connect to each other to form larger bases and this eco-system of play helps enhance the idea of these cities being places where robots small, medium and large interact with their environment.
Before I get started on this figure, let's clear something up: this figure is not a redeco/retool of "Combiner Wars" Dead End. I won't go into this at length but I wrote about this in detail back in February. Essentially the Takara Tomy designers used Dead End as the starting point when conceptualizing this figure. However they did not retool it, they just borrowed elements of its design for this figure.
Interestingly, while he is a new figure, Chromedome somehow wound up sharing a couple parts with Blurr. Specifically if you look his thighs and knee armor, these pieces are the same design as Blurr's thighs and knee armor. Keep in mind that early on in the development process Transformers are CG models inside a computer. I would not be surprised if some smaller parts such as these were swapped around between renders to expedite the process of creating the figures. The thighs and knee armor are small enough parts that I don't think this is a huge deal at all.
Like Stylor's head mode, Chromedome's overall design appears to be a combination of both G1 and IDW Publishing influences. The design definitely leans towards being a streamlined, modern day version of G1 Chromedome. This includes key details like a panel iin the center of his chest flanked by angled lines that sweep outward and angled shoulder armor. There are some cool smaller details on this figure that are also found on G1 Chromedome. These include lines/notches on the lower legs that wrap around to the sides and angled lines on the waist area. Other details come from the G1 animation as well as IDW's comic books. These include a distinct line pattern on the top of the forearms and rather thick and wide looking armor on the top of the lower legs.
Keep in mind that Chromdome is drawn differently from artist to artist in the comic books. I would say this version leans more towards his earlier IDW Publishing appearances and not the one where his proportions are wide on top with huge wheels on his shoulders. To me this design does a great job of taking elements from various interpretations and merging them into a distinctive whole.
Chromedome is mostly cast in brown and beige plastic, both key colors found on G1 Chromedome. Interestingly his wheels are a smokey, translucent grey color. It's very distinctive looking and I'm glad the designers did not just go for the generic black color used for most Transformers cars. Some red is used on the waist/hip area. This is the same red that is used for his weapons. The brown is largely found in the center of the body and on smaller parts like the fists. The beige is used on the arms and lower legs. Overall this spread of colors matches up well with G1 Chromedome's colors. Paint colors on this figure include red, silver and blue. The most distinctive color pattern is found on the chest. There red is used for the center panel and two of the lines on his chest. Then silver is used for the lines on top of those. An Autobot symbol is tampographed in the center. All this deco pays homage to the stickers and colors on G1 Chromedome's chest. The mid-body, arms and lower legs all feature silver while a bit of blue is used on the top of the lower legs. Overall I like the deco on this figure a lot. If you think about it, not many Transformers have this distinct color combination so it's nice to see it come together on this figure.
There are sixteen points of articulation on this figure. This includes ball joints on the shoulders and hips, so the range of articulation is good. All the joints on my copy of this figure are nice and tight, which is great to see since some of the earlier waves had uneven quality control. Chromedome can hold his weapons in his hands or attach them to 5mm ports on the sides of his shoulders. You can also combine his weapons into a "super weapon" that he can hold in one hand.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach Stylor and convert him into robot mode.
- Detach the blasters and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing the fists into the forearms.
- Swing the back piece (the front of the car) back.
- Rotate the upper body around at the waist.
- Swing the front panels of the lower legs out to the sides.
- Push the robot feet down.
- Swing each lower leg section up over the thighs.
- Push the two lower leg sections together.
- Swing the front panels from the lower legs in.
- Push each of the robot arms down to form the sides of the vehicle.
- Swing the front of the car forward and snap it into place.
- Pull the halves that form the top of the cabin section forward and push them into place.
- Swing the robot mode chest panel up on the bottom of the car.
- Attach the weapons to the top or sides.
- Stylor can ride inside the cabin section.
Chromedome's vehicle mode is a new interpretation of his G1 vehicle mode. It has a lot of the key sculpted details from that design including:
- The basic shape is a bit angular and blocky in parts instead of having smooth, curved lines.
- The front is angled with thin headlights and a raised section in the middle including a small notch in the center of the hood inspired by a similar detail from the chest panel of the robot mode.
- The cabin section leads to a raised rear section that then slopes down. The rear section has angled vent like designs.
- Small details from the G1 figure also carry over here including a set of horizontal lines on the hood, raised panels on the sides and even some vertical lines near the headlights.
I have always liked Chromedome's vehicle mode. If you look across the pantheon of Transformers car modes there are not a lot like this. I also appreciate how much the designers worked to make it look as much like the G1 figure as they coiuld, even going so far as to create the faux chest plate on the hood!
This mode is mostly brown plastic in the front and beige in the back. The translucent plastic used on the wheels is also used for the cabin section. Red paint makes a splash in this mode on the top of the cabin section and the sides. The hood has angled silver and red designs on them which are essentially larger versions of the details from the robot mode chest. The center of the hood has a tampographed Autobot symbol. Finally blue is used on the headlights. I really appreciate how the deco in the front of the vehicle mirrors the robot chest even though in this version of the character the front of the vehicle no longer forms the torso of the robot mode.
The weapons included with the figure can attach to the top of the vehicle using tabs and notches instead of pegs and ports. There are 5mm ports on the sides that will also allow you to attach his weapons. In true Headmaster/Titan Master style Stylor can sit in the cabin section.
Chromedome is a fantastic Titans Return figure. He pays homage to his G1 self and the current comic books very well and he's fun to play with! Th eonly strike I hold against the figure is how plain Stylor looks without any paint on him in robot mode. Recommended!