Release Date: August 2016
Price Point: $16.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Monxo Titan Master figure, Cannon, Tail/Sword
Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
A cruel and vicious Decepticon Wolfwire is. Talk in backward sentences he does. His Titan Master partner has a similar knack for reversals. The Titan Master Monxo gives Wolfwire the power to rewind time in short bursts, but it drains his energy to dangerously low levels. This Titans Return Deluxe Class Decepticon Wolfwire figure comes with a Titan Master Monxo figure. The Monxo figure becomes the head of the Wolfwire 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.
In Generation One, Wolfwire was known as Weirdwolf and a brand new character introduced in the "Headmasters" era. His rather unusual official write up above calls back to the character's odd speech pattern. He was paired with the Nebulan known as Monzo who transformed into his head. Like many of the new Decepticons introduced in that era Weirdwolf transformed into a beast instead of a vehicle. In his case he could change into robotic wolf. For this new incarnation, Weirdwolf is now known as Wolfwire, likely due to trademark reasons. His partner has also undergone a name change. In G1 he was known as Monzo, but his new name is Monxo.
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 of the figure in both forms 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 Wolfwire's case Skytread, Mindwipe, Astrotrain and Soundwave are the 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.
Wolfwire includes two weapons. One is a cannon (it's too big to just call a "blaster"). The cannon vaguely resembles the gun included with G1 Weirdwolf including a scope above the main weapon barrel, an angled clip piece and some vertical line details. That said I think it is mostly a new design. This piece is cast in green with no paint applications. The weapon features three 5mm pegs and an opening that represents a seat for a Titan Master. Look inside and you'll see some panel details and even what appears to be a cushion.
The other weapon included with this figure is a sword that doubles as Wolfwire's tail. Style-wise the sword appears to be a wide Scimitar. It's a smart shape to use because it then resembles a curved canine tail. The sword is cast in light grey with some red paint in the middle. It has a long 5mm handle at the end with two smaller 5mm pegs on the sides. It has a really nice series of line details running along the side. This may represent an animal tail, but it looks totally mechanical and not organic at all.
Monxo's head mode is based on G1 Weirdwolf's head design. However Weirdwolf's head was very angled and blocky. This new interpretation of that design is more curved and streamlined. Like Weirdwolf's head design the head features two points on the top leading down the middle of the helmet to a series of horizontal lines. The sides feature pieces that flare out to the sides, but here they sweep back against the head instead of just sticking out to the sides. His eyes are visor eyes and he has a small nose and mouth under them. I really like this modern interpretation of the design. It manages to pay homage to Weirdwolf's head while looking distinctive.
Monxo is cast in light grey and green plastic. The green makes up the sides and the back of the head. The grey is used for the white and the neck/connector piece. The eyes and face are painted a nice, deep red color. This matches up nicely with G1 Weirdwolf's colors, except his eyes were not painted.
When attaching this head to Wolfwire's body, it will fit whether Monxo's head is facing the same way as Wolfwire's face or not. However if you want it to hold nice and tight, Monxo's face should be facing the opposite direction as Wolfwire's. That said, it is a tighter than most of the other Titan Masters that have come out so far, so you'll have to pull a bit to take the head off so be warned.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
In general the Titan Master transformation is fairly simple. Hold on to the back of the head and just unfold it, revealing the robot form.
Monxo's robot mode takes several design cues from the original G1 Monzo figure. These include:
- The helmet section of the head features a large crest in the center on top.
- The chest features a rectangular opening in the center flanked by two rectangular details.
- The waist area has a rectangular design with a diagonal line in the middle.
- The area in between the thighs has a vertical line in the center.
- The thighs have raised rectangles on them.
The arms and lower legs are a bit different in design than Monzo, but it is clear Monxo takes his inspiration from a classic source!
This mode features light grey plastic for the head, torso and thighs. The arms and lower legs are green. There are no paint apps for the robot mode, which is unfortunate but it is also standard for this line. Given a choice I would have liked to see the face painted red to match up with the G1 version more.
All the joints on my copy of this figure are nice and tight. That said, I accidentally pushed on the legs a bit too hard from the side and they popped off. They snap right back on, but be warned.
The G1 Headmasters were very bulky figures, which was pretty standard for the time period. Weirdwolf was probably one of the bulkiest. For this new version however the designers worked hard to streamline the design. He actually strikes a very dramatic and dynamic looking figure while still looking like he has some bulk and strength. It's not an easy balance to achieve in design but the designers managed to do it with this figure. The upper body has some bulk, but it narrows towards the middle to relatively thin legs with some serious knee armor on the front and sides.
Wolfwire has plenty of details that pay homage to the G1 Weirdwolf design. There is the head design covered above of course, but there's more!
- The shoulders have pylons that flank the head and chest area. Inside each shoulder pylon are ten weapon barrels, calling back to some circular designs on G1 Weirdwolf's arms.
- The chest has a panel in front that sticks out a bit with many layers of detailing including a vent like section on the bottom.
- The sides of the upper arms have tube shapes on them, similar to those on Weirdwolf.
- Each forearm has two raised details on it, similar to those on Weirdwolf.
- The front of the thighs have a series of thin, horizontal vent-lines that are based on a sticker featuring similar details from Weirdwolf.
- The lower legs feature sculpted details that look like V shaped lines in the middle with vertical panels overlapping them on the sides. Each of these vertical sections have small notches towards the top. This calls back to stickers on Weirdwolf's lower legs.
While much of Wolfwire's details are based on Weirdwolf, he has a lot of smaller details that are all his own. This includes a series of claw-like designs on the sides of his chest panel, raised round armor on the outside of the knees and some of the line details on the legs.
Wolfwire is cast in yellow, green and light grey plastic. The yellow makes up most of the upper body, lower legs and feet. Green plastic is found all over including the shoulders, the torso, forearms, parts of the legs and feet. Even unpainted it's cool to see how nice the various colors alternate on this figure. The dark green color contrasts very nicely against the yellow.
Paint colors on this figure include light grey, silver and red. The light grey is found on the torso, the arms and the lower legs. Silver is used for the line details on the thighs. A tampographed Decepticon symbol is found on the center of the chest. One of the brightest spots of color is the red on the face. Now, by modern day standards there could be a lot more deco on this figure for sure. However when I compared him to Weirdwolf it was kind of eye opening because he really did not have that much paint on him to begin with so in a way it's very true to the original. Still, I would have liked to see some of the details on the green sections brought out more with silver and perhaps some on the upper arms.
Wolfwire features eighteen points of articulation. This includes three in the arms, five in the legs and feet as well as waist articulation. The shoulder, hip and ankle joints are all ball joints, so you get a bit more range of motion out of them too. Surprisingly, Wolfwire's joints are tight. It's no secret quality control is not what it used to be with action figures, so it's great when a new toy based off all new tooling comes out of the packaging this way. Wolfwire can hold his weapons in his hands or attach them to 5mm ports on the sides of his arms or the sides of his legs.
Transformation to Beast Mode:
- Detach Monxo and convert him into robot mode.
- On each forearm, swing open the top panel, swing the fist back into the forearm and close the panel.
- On each forearm, rotate the beast mode paws around.
- Swing the arms up.
- Swing the beast mode head/neck piece on the back forward.
- Holding the front and rear halves, swing the robot torso up, then forward and slide it into place, extending the body for the beast mode.
- Swing the panel connected to the head/neck piece back.
- Swing the robot feet up into the rear paws.
- Swing the lower leg armor up.
- Rotate the ankle/rear paws around.
- Attach the sword to the light grey piece in the back.
- Slide the fins on the cannons into the corresponding slots on the rear of the beast mode.
Wolfwire's beast mode is a more streamlined and modern looking version of the G1 figure. Looking over the two you'll see plenty of details from the G1 figure carrying over here. These include:
- The head has roughly the same shape with a long snout, pointed ears on top and beveled sections on the sides that would be tufts of hair on a real life wolf.
- The sides of the front legs have partial tubes on them, a key detail on G1 Weirdwolf's shoulders.
- The four paws have round details on the sides meant to represent hinges, similar to G1 Weirdwolf.
- The top of the figure has windows for the cockpit section just like G1 Weirdwolf.
- There are round, raised details sculpted into the sides of the section where the rear legs bend.
Wolfwire is not just all G1 detail homage however. He has a lot of details that improve on the original. This includes individually sculpted claws on each paw, extra mechanical details on the tail, extra line details on the head and extra mechanical details on the sides of the legs. He looks really great, and thanks to the proportions on the figure he looks more like an actual canine.
Wolfwire's color break out is similar in this mode to the last. You get a bit more light grey thanks to the head and rear section. Translucent red appears on the top of the main body, serving as windows of the cockpit. Translucent red is also used for the inside of the head providing a semi-light piping appearance if you shine it against a light. This red also makes up the inside of his mouth, which is a neat effect that I don't recall seeing before in recent years. The main paint applications in this form come from silver paint on the claws and the rear, near where the sword attaches to form the tail.
There are eighteen points of articulation in this mode. It's pretty unusual for an alternate mode to have as much articulation as the robot mode but his mode manages to do that thanks in part to how many joints there are in the legs. I'm also counting the ability of his head to turn side to side and for the mouth to open. The back panel opens up to allow Monxo to sit inside. You have to position him carefully. Line his head up with the notch on the cockpit cover so it can close properly.
*Note: Many fans have experienced a problem with the hinge on the back panel crumbling during transformation. While I did not experience this during my review, enough fans have experienced this that I think it is widespread. I have lowered my original rating of the figure accordingly.
Wolfwire is a fantastic update of the original figure. I think he's one of the best examples of the new generation of Headmasters/Titan Masters. He has a cool sculpt, great colors, homages to the original and he's fun to play with. Unfortunately the panel breakage issue puts a dampener on my original "highly recommended" grade.