Article: Is "Titans Return" Chromedome a redeco & retool of "Combiner Wars" Dead End?

in 2016, Article, Deluxe, Generation One, Generations, Titans Return

Toy Fair 2016 Follow Up: Is Chromedome a redeco/retool of Dead End?

This past weekend fans were introduced to a host of new figures to be released in the coming year as part of "Titans Return". Among the ones fans are most excited about is Chromedome due in no small part to the character's popularity in the current IDW Publishing comic book. Some fans however looked at the figure and sensed something familiar about the design, and the rumor mill began suggesting that the figure is not new but is in fact a redeco and retool of the "Combiner Wars" Dead End figure. Many fans have expressed concern over the last few months about how "repaint heavy" the "Combiner Wars" line has been (something that was addressed in the Toy Fair interview round table), so this become a particularly salient point to address.

First, let's start with a look at the individual figures. First is a look at "Combiner Wars" Dead End (this is the official Hasbro photography).

Combiner Wars Dead End

And now take a look at a render of Chromedome provided by Hasbro.

Titans Return Chromedome

Scroll up and down (or just stare if your monitor is really big), stare a bit and you'll see the similarities. Chromedome has high shoulder panels like Dead End. Both figures have hollow forearms where the fists swing inward for the vehicle mode. On both figures, the front of the vehicle folds back with the front of the car pointing up. Both also feature superficial similarities like a gap between the halves of the arms at the elbows and wheels on the sides of the lower legs.

So case closed right? We have (yet) another redeco/retool on our hands yeah? Not so fast fellow fans. What we really have here is an example of a good engineering scheme carrying over from a previous year, but a whole new figure. During the first round of interviews at Toy Fair, someone did indeed ask if Chromedome was just a redeco/retool of Dead End and Hasbro product designer John Warden told the group that the Takara designers started with a Dead End figure to develop a proof of concept of the Headmaster gimmick, so some of the engineering of that figure has a lineage that leads right into Chromedome. That said, it's all new parts and sculpting. There are no reused parts.

If you head on over to my Facebook gallery from Toy Fair you'll see that Chromedome is indeed...more than meets the eye (I couldn't resist). Aside from the superficial similarities listed above, let's really take a closer look:

  • The Headmaster gimmick pretty much means the torso of Dead End couldn't be used for this figure since the entire Combiner Wars joint functionality would have to be replaced.
  • The detailing on the arms are very different from one figure to the other. For example Dead End has a distinct cylinder that is set horizontally near the shoulders, Chromedome lacks this detail and instead has a more angular, blocky shoulder.
  • The pattern on the wheels are different. Dead End has a series of horizontal lines that line up with each other running along the wheels. Chromedome has alternating rectangles.
  • The rear window sections of Dead End's vehicle mode are sculpted into the rear panels of the lower legs. On Chromedome the cabin section of the vehicle mode is a hinged piece that swings back against the back of the lower legs.
  • The lower legs on Dead End have the feet sculpted into the bottom and set at angles. Chromedome has distinct foot pieces that appear to swing out from the lower legs.

This is not the first time a type of parallel development has happened in the "Transformers" toy line. Several of the Micromaster figures in G1 transformed the same way (front of car swings back, sides swing up for the arms, rear swings back to form the legs). In more recent times "Energon" Starscream surprised many fans back in 2004 with his similarities to Generation 2 Smokescreen (something I address in his review).

It is undeniable that Chromedome has the "spirit" of Dead End's design, but fear not folks. He's a brand new toy and you can feel confident that your hard earned dollars are going to a new toy later this year!