Release Date: July 2016
Price Point: $16.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Furos Titan Master figure, Shoulder Cannon, Blaster
Official images and text below in italics are from Bigbadtoystore.com:
Titan Master Furos might be the only bot who craves battle more than Hardhead. That makes him the perfect partner for the combat-driven Autobot. Just don't get them started on whose fireblast took down that Decepticon. Furos gives Hardhead a regenerative healing power that instantly repairs armor and systems damage in battle. This Titans Return Deluxe Class Autobot Hardhead figure comes with a Titan Master Furos figure. The Furos figure becomes the head of the Hardhead figure. Unite them 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 Headmasters era in new forms that pay homage to the originals.
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 Hardhead Loudmouth, Blurr, Sentinel Prime and Autobot Blaster are his cosells.
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.
Hardhead includes two weapons, both of which are based on the G1 Hardhead's accessories. The first is a giant shoulder cannon, which also serves as his main weapon in vehicle mode. This cannon measures in at about 4.5 inches (about 11.43 centimeters). That's almost as tall as the figure itself which measures about 5.5 inches (13.97 centimeters)! Like the G1 weapon it is based on this cannon has a rectangular section in back leading to a cannon barrel in front. However this piece has a lot more extra layers of details than the original such as several beveled layers in the back. The designers also worked some functionality into this piece. The top has a 5mm port, allowing you to attach an additional weapon. Also, you can swing open the back of the cannon to reveal a seat for a Titan Master figure! Also the cover has two small pegs on it, allowing a Titan Master to stand on it. This adds to the fantasy play of having smaller robots cooperating with a larger robot and I really love this feature. This piece is cast mostly in a flat grey plastic with some metallic grey in the back for the seating area.
The other blaster is a smaller one also based on G1 Hardhead's hand held weapons. Like the G1 version this weapon has a stock in the back then a raised section in the middle leading to a small barrel at the end. The sides have a lot more detail to them than the G1 version of the weapon, but like that version a lot of the detailing involves having raised lines, creating grooves along the sides of the weapon. This weapon has 5mm peg at the base. It also has a small circular port near the top on the right side that can peg into the "Titan Master pegs" in vehicle mode. I only wish that there were two of these weapons included with the figure since the G1 Headmasters all had two of each weapon.
Furos' name is inspired by Duros, the name of the G1 Hardhead's Headmaster partner. This new name is likely due to trademark issues. At first I found it odd that such an unusual name would be taken, but in fact it is used in the ,a href="http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Duros" target="_blank">Star Wars Universe (thanks to David Fryer for this catch). Still, Furos is as good of a name as any and the suggestion of the word "fury" is appropriate for a Titan Master driving a heavily armed tank!
In general, each Titan Master is basically a small humanoid figure that folds up into a cube shape to form the robot head. The details vary from figure to figure, mostly using the G1 versions of the characters as the source for the design.
Furos' head mode is based off the G1 action figure, not the animated model which had a different head design. The head is square in shape with a central crest with visor eyes, a mouthplate and rectangular shapes flanking the mouthplate. The mouthplate has distinct lines etched into the sides. He even has small, almost wing like protrusions on the sides of the head. These designs elements are all based on the G1 Hardhead's head, but some of the designs have been smoothed out a bit so they are not as angular as those on the G1 version. Most of the head is a light green color while the front portion is light grey. His eyes are painted blue and the mouthplate is yellow. This is a really well done interpretation of the G1 Duros' head mode and it looks great.
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. The head of the Titan Master may need to be turned around to face the right direction. In Hardhead's case, it's best to make sure Furos' face is facing the same direction as Hardhead's face when connecting it to Hardhead's body. If you do it the other day it holds a little too firmly and you might pop Furos' head off in the process.
In his robot form, Furos has several details inspired by Duros. These include:
- The head has two panels on the sides and a V shaped crest on the top of the head.
- The chest has a raised section of armor in the middle with two beveled armor panels on either side of the chest.
- There is a tube running across the waist area, almost like a belt.
- There are layers of vertical details on the shoulders.
- The lower legs have rows of horizontal lines running across them.
Overall Furos is a fantastic homage to Duros. He is significantly smaller than Duros however. The original G1 Headmasters were roughly the height/size of a modern day Voyager Class figure, so their heads were sized accordingly. That said, it's great to see how much of the detail from the original carried over into this figure.
This mode uses green plastic on the head, arms and legs. The torso is light grey. His eyes are painted blue and the face is yellow. This pretty much matches up with the colors of G1 Duros.
Furos 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.
Hardhead's robot mode is a combination of details from the G1 action figure and animation model. These include:
- The head design was discussed above, but it is based on the G1 toy's head. It is interesting to note that a different "face plate" will be used for the Japanese version representing the character's appearance in the Japanese "Headmasters" series.
- The shoulders each have a raised armor panel on them. On the G1 figure it was a square, but on this figure it is an octagon.
- The center of the chest has a design on it resembling a hatch with a circle in the center and a sculpted hinge.
- The sides of the chest have rows of horizontal lines.
- The area between the chest and the hip area has angled, L shaped sections that are stylized versions of similar designs on the G1 toy.
- The hip/waist area has a rectangular section resembling a belt buckle riffing off a similar detail on the G1 toy's sticker in the same area.
- The lower legs are made up of sections that become tank treads in vehicle mode.
On top of all this the basic shape of the figure is similar to the G1 version including having a shoulder cannon the right side along with having treads on the arms and legs and the tank cockpit section on his back.
This figure isn't just a recreation of the original figure however. There are a lot of details on this figure which are very modern. The arms are a nice example. Instead of being rectangular blocks, they have an angle that sweeps back at an angle. The chest width is more pronounced than the G1 version, giving him a more powerful looking sense of proportion with the rest of his body. Other additional details include layers of armor on his thighs and waist area. He really does look like a modern day interpretation of Hardhead and I love the sheer amount of detail on this figure.
Hardhead is cast in green, light grey and metallic black plastic. The green is heavily used on the torso area and hands. The gunmetal is used on the arms, hip joints, lower legs and feet. The light grey is mostly found on the head, shoulder cannon and thighs. Color-wise this pretty much matches up with G1 Hardhead. I really like the way the various plastic colors break up certain sections such as the metallic black hip pieces attached to the thighs. Interestingly enough the wheels for the vehicle mode can be seen here and are cast in translucent orange, the same color used for the cockpit in vehicle form.
Paint colors on this figure include black, yellow, silver and red. The black is used on the torso and waist area for small window-like details. Red is used on the aforementioned "belt buckle", matching a similar detail on the G1 figure's stickers. Yellow is found on the face and waist area. Silver is used to paint the middle section of the hip and waist area. As mentioned earlier blue is used to paint the robot eyes. Each shoulder has a silver and red Autobot symbol tampographed on it, matching the location of the Autobot symbol stickers on the G1 figure. There is a third Autobot symbol right under the "hatch" detailing on his chest. This matches up with the location of the heat sensitive symbol on the G1 figure. I really appreciate how much you can tell the designers studied the original figure while laying out this deco. I'm especially fond of the details in the waist area thanks to the nice combination of colors that all match up with the stickers in the same area on the G1 figure.
Hardhead has twenty points of articulation in this form. This includes six in each arm, three in each leg and the shoulder cannon's ability to swing up and down. Unlike the G1 figure, the head can turn here thanks to Furos having head articulation. I was especially happy to see Hardhead has wrist articulation and a swivel joint on the arms allowing for a variety of poses. I was very happy to see the shoulder cannon can be swung to point up or forward. Unfortunately there is one oddity in my copy of this figure. The left arm's elbow joint is loose, so unless you position the upper elbow joint back a bit, the forearm tends to just flop down part of the time.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach Furos and convert him into robot mode.
- Detach the blaster and set it aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing the fists into the forearms.
- Push the forearms up against the upper arms.
- Push the robot feet down.
- Swing the shoulder cannon all the way back so it is next to the cockpit.
- Swing the back of the robot up.
- Swing each of the lower legs out to the sides, then up against the sides of the thighs.
- Swing the waist piece against the thighs.
- Swing the robot's lower body back, then use the tabs underneath the cockpit section to connect to the grooves on the inner thighs.
- Swing the robot arm/tread pieces up and push them in to the sides.
- Furos can be placed in either the cockpit or the back of the shoulder cannon.
- Attach the blaster to the top of the shoulder cannon.
Years before the likes of "Armada" Megatron or Overload rolled onto the scene Hardhead was a scifi looking "H" tank in Generation One. Instead of a rectangular vehicle form with one continuous tread on each side, this type of tank has four independent tread units with the armament and driver's section in the middle. Now in "Titans Return" Hardhead is this type of tank again, riffing on details from the original G1 figure.
This new incarnation of Hardhead shares a very similar design with his G1 namesake. The center section has a cockpit section on the left side with a cannon on the right. There are four tread sections separated in the middle. Other details are carried over from the G1 version of the figure. Among my favorite details carried over are on the rear tread sections. There you will find an elevated section in the back shaped like a sloped rectangle and a trapezoid shaped section on the sides. These details are directly borrowed from G1 Hardhead. I really admire how well the designers have managed to pay homage to the G1 figure in robot and vehicle forms.
Color wise most of the green plastic winds up being concentrated into the middle while the metallic black parts wind up on the treads. The main cannon is light grey and the window to the cockpit is translucent orange. This mode also shows off the grey and black deco from the robot mode chest and the three tempographed Autobot symbols. I do wish there had been a few more bits of deco on the tread sections to match up with the stickers from the G1 toy.
Furos can sit inside the cockpit which swings open (revealing some cool sculpted seat details inside). There is a tab on the back of Furos' legs that fit into a slot in the seat. The vehicle rolls on two wheels on the bottom of the rear treads and a single wide wheel on the front. The cannon can move up and down. Open up the back and a Titan Master figure can sit inside of the extra seat. Earlier in this review I mentioned Furos has ports on the bottom of his feet that allow him to stand on pegs sculpted into the larger figures. You'll find one of these pegs on each of the four tread sections. The pegs hold up the Titan Master figures well and even better, they're not too visually obtrusive thanks in part to them being a dark color. They wind up blending in with the dark tread sections very well.
This is my first "Titans Return" review and I have to say it's a great start. I love the look of this figure in both modes and he's a fantastic update of the original. I really like the way the Headmaster gimmick has been executed as well. I do recommend this figure, but I think he could have used some more deco and that one loose elbow joint is a bit annoying.