Thursday, October 8, 2015

After a 3-year hiatus, Hasbro rocks NYCC again!

Well! Hasbro gave us a subtle tease of "Titan Wars" at Botcon this summer with blueprint images of Blaster, Fortress Maximus, and what we now know to be Sentinel Prime, but I had no idea that they'd be making a good showing of these sorts of items at NYCC this year! This really reminds me of their Beast Hunters revelation from 2012 except, well, better.

For instance:

Holy crap. Real Galvatron! Now, y'all know I'm a huge fan of Combiner Wars Galvatronus. In fact, he may still be tops in my mind over this new mold. Even so, this new Voyager Galvatron is hot shit. One of the great things about Galvatronus was that he was Galvatron, but processed through a very popular franchise gimmick - gestalt combination. Well, the train didn't stop there - Titans Return (yes, that is apparently the official name of "Titan Wars") Galvatron incorporates not just one, but two franchise gimmicks: he's a triple-changing headmaster! :D
While Galvatron is shown above in his animated movie-accurate cybertronian cannon mode above - in other words, nothing new - you can also see his headmaster standing on the aft portion of the cannon. That's cool enough, but we all know that this cannon isn't a vehicle in the truest sense of the word, so where's this headmaster gonna go?
In the cybertronian Starfighter mode's cockpit, that's where! Some already claim to not like this mode. They're idiots. But who, you wonder, is the pilot of this fantastic starfighter?
Yup. That's right! None other than Megatron himself. While he looks a bit too monochromatic here, it's hard to deny the sculpting, despite this headmaster's official name being "Nucleon." I mean, I'd already been forming a fan theory in my head the last few weeks that allows the Sunbow and IDW interpretations of Galvatron to both be correct, and this just helps seal the deal. While I'm still bummed that Galvatronus didn't get a comics appearance for Combiner Wars ( having him possess now-good guy Cyclonus and have Him and Tailgate fight for his soul could have been cool stuff), I love how these new toys that could have been simple updates a la Universe Inferno are taking things in interesting new directions while still accomplishing the objective of giving us great new toys of these classic characters. Also, I'll mention that, apparently, all the voyagers in this line have helmets that go over the headmaster in robot mode to make the head more appropriate for the size class (the headmasters are designed to work with deluxes too!). Oh, and all voyagers will be triple changers, not just Galvatron!
(As an aside, it should be noted that the actual hand-painted display copy has a pretty different helmet; the helmet on the CGI model is based on his IDW incarnation and looks really nice. The physical copy has a helmet that is a bit more evocative of the Sunbow appearance, if stylized. I think I prefer the IDW helmet, but I could live with the other one too)
This guy look familiar? Officially, he's named "Infinitus," but it's pretty clear that we finally have a G1 (specifically IDW-based) Sentinel Prime on our hands! Sentinel is actually set to play a big role in the Titans Return story, after being (presumed?) dead since the beginning of the war. No longer a truck, Sentinel's headmaster can pilot two different alt modes (as noted above, all voyagers are triple changers):
Space Train! Shades of Energon Omega Supreme here. This is a heavily armed and armored Cybertronian locomotive. Sentinel can be airborne now, as well:
Shuttle mode! Wait, I'm sensing a pattern...
...yep, Sentinel here is totally an Astrotrain premold. It's a bit too bad that our first G1 Sentinel you can't even really be his own guy, but at least this body appears in the comics and thus we'll (hopefully) get an in-fiction reason for it. Overall it looks good, and the design actually is really close to Don's Stormbringer sketch of Astrotrain, which is kind of neat. I also really dig the seat gun; it hearkens back to PM Optimus.

So, speaking of headmasters, they are what the Titans Return line is built around. Everyone, save the legends toys, is a headmaster. In fact, we are even getting "solo" headmaster releases! Dubbed "Titan Masters," these headmasters come packaged with an accessory that the headmaster can both use as a vehicle and combine with to form a more cohesive vehicle/animal. The headmaster can also, of course serve as a replacement head for one of the larger toys in the like while their vehicle can be wielded by the larger robots as a weapon! It's a pretty cool system and much more interesting than the current crop of small TFs, the neo-RiD minicons. It should be noted that all four of these Titan Masters are based on actual G1 Headmaster characters, including Squeezeplay who is depicted here (but named Crash Bash):
Here's the head mode, which is a bit more stylized than the original toy. Looks great, though - appropriately evil.
This is his partner's "vehicle" mode: yes, it's a dragon, but it is the mode Squeezeplay can ride like a vehicle. The wings are a bit iffy, but not to bad.
And here you can see the combined dinosaur mode - Squeezeplay himself forms the lower jaw, chest and forearms of the Dino. Pretty neat, and very well-integrated! I think he'd go pretty well with Galvatron, so he will most likely get purchased (though "Terri-bull," nee Horri-bull, looks pretty great - best of the vehicular Titan Masters).
This little guy may look familiar - it's Grax, headmaster of...
Skullcruncher! Damn right. This has got to be one of the truest G1 update toys in since Classics debuted in 2006. I should know; Skullcruncher is one of the few transformers I own that pretty successfully survived my childhood intact. Since this new one is a deluxe (notice the lack of a helmet), I'm sure he will be a bit smaller than the original, but I'm cool with that. Seriously, other than the tail weapon being less straightforward than the original, which was just a chainsaw-sword, this guy looks great. I like that the gator claws will be easily usable as robot weapons, Wolverine-style.
And here, my friends, is the jeans-short-wearing, shit-eating Florida Gator mode.

Wait, let me start over, sorry! Just upset about the lack of a bulldog TF to balance things out, that's all. Anyhow, if this doesn't scream G1 I don't know what does. Also, it's hard to tell here, but in some of the NYCC display photos, it's clear that Grax no longer has to ride in Skullcruncher's mouth - which was a neat but conceptually weak idea for a cockpit - rather, it looks like a panel on the gator's back (where the stats panel was on the original toy) lifts up to reveal an open-air cockpit. It would be hard for me not to pick this guy up!
And here's one more MTMTE character to check off the list. Actually, I think I was one of the few who was pretty happy with the data disc FoC Rewind and thought that TFCC Rewind really didn't work (neither did their Chromedome, which I expect will be rectified in this toyline). Still, this new legends-class Rewind does look great and certainly has an articulation advantage over the data disc. Oh, and he's also ready to assassinate not-Megatron (expect a lot of pics online with this toy next to CW Megatron with the latter's chestplate opened)! By the way, it should be noted that as nice as Rewind's bot mode is, Stripe's (a Ravage tiger premold) is terrible. No purchase on that one. Or Buzzsaw, who was actually revealed at SDCC. Looks like the humanoids will be the winners of this set of "cassettes."
All the new TR legends toys have a vehicle mode for the headmasters to pilot, and amusingly enough, Rewind's is a tank, just like the TFCC toy. Additionally amusing, his tank mode reminds me of nothing more than Titanium Megatron, one of the worst TFs in modern history. Not that I'm knocking this toy. This works fine within the constraints of the size class and triple changing gimmick.
For his normal altmode, Rewind gets a bit of an upgrade from simple flash drive in MTMTE to full-blown tablet/smartphone, with a cute (?) microcassette wallpaper. Not sure if the gun can store in this mode, though if Hasbro was smart, they would have given it a stylus-like slot to slide into (that might be what is going on with his nearer arm). We'll see. But what good is Rewind without his big boss?
Yep, sound stage/tactical base mode Blaster! He's one of the new leader class toys, sporting a very PMOP-like base mode. You can see his headmaster form on one of the platforms to the left.
And here is the big ol' bot mode. Looks pretty cool, though I'm happy enough with FoC Blaster (and going to spend enough on other TR toys) that I don't know that I need this guy, despite my plans to get Rewind. Still, no complaints!

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