"Generations" Titans Return Alpha Trion & Sovereign Toy Review

in 2016, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Generation One, Generations, Titan Master, Titans Return, Voyager

Generations
Titans Return

Alpha Trion General Information:
Release Date: November 2016
Price Point: $24.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Soverign Titan Master figure, Sword, Claw/Blaster weapon

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
The Transformers battle explodes into uncharted territory when the Titans Return. To control an ancient race of giant, city-sized warriors -- the Titans -- the Autobots and Decepticons must harness the power of Titan Masters, smaller bots that give bigger bots increased abilities in battle. Join the battle with Transformers Generations Titans Return figures. An ancient and wise warrior, Alpha Trion possesses immense knowledge. He has spent centuries helping to lead the Autobots. When he does pick up his sword and join them on the battlefield, he attacks with the skill of a true master. His Titan Master partner, Autobot Sovereign, carries the energy of Primus, giving any bot he unites with immeasurable power. Alpha Trion is one of the few bots who can harness that power without risking a systems overload.

This Titans Return Voyager Class Autobot Alpha Trion figure comes with a Titan Master Autobot Sovereign figure. The Autobot Sovereign figure becomes the head of the Alpha Trion 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 Sovereign figure with other bots to create different combinations, or unite other Titan Master figures with this Alpha Trion figure. Find the best team ups and join the battle. Additional figures are each sold separately. Subject to availability. Titans Return Voyager Class figures feature three modes. This Triple Changer Alpha Trion figure converts between robot and lion and robot and vehicle modes. It converts from robot to lion in 17 steps, and from robot to vehicle in 12 steps. The Titan Master Autobot Sovereign figure converts from robot to head and back in 1 step. When the Alpha Trion figure is in lion mode, the Autobot Sovereign figure fits inside. Also includes a sword accessory and a collectible character card with tech specs. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Ha

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 G1 era of Transformers in new forms that incorporate this gimmick.

Alpha Trion is a name that goes back to the roots of the Transformers series. Introduced in the original 1980's cartoon, Alpha Trion was one of the original Autobots who rebelled against the Quintessons and would eventually go on to rebuild Orion Pax into Optimus Prime. Shortly before he joined Vector Sigma he also created the Aerialbots. While he only had a few key appearances in the series, he made his mark and was burned in the minds of fans as a critical part of Autobot history.

For many years there were no toys of Alpha Trion. In the early 2000's one was proposed as a Botcon exclusive (a redeco of "Beast Machines" Snarl) but it never materialized. Years later Botcon would release an Alpha Trion, a redeco of Vector Prime. More recently Alpha Trion appeared as two different KREO figures and as a redeco of Minimus Ambus for the Japanese release of "Combiner Wars" Ultra Magnus figure. Amazingly this release of the character is the first time the character has come out as a mass market, transformable figure outside of Japan.

Packaging:
The Voyager Class packaging for "Titans Return" is very similar to the "Combiner Wars" packaging. The background of the box is black and the right side of the box (if you are facing the box) has the vertical Transformers logo on it with the "Generations" logo above that. The figure is packaged in robot mode in the center and off to the side you can see the Tech Specs card. The lower left side has a bit of Alpha Trion's artwork with the "Titans Return" logo under it. On the upper left hand corner you'll see a symbol with a robot, jet and car indicating the figure is a triple changer.

The side of the box features a more extensive look at the artwork. The back features all three of Alpha Trion's modes with Sovereign in both modes. The right side of the back features the "eco system" for the Titan Master system, illustrating that the Titan Masters can work with various size classes. Alpha Trion's cosells are Titan Master Brawn, Chromedome, /toyreviews/generations/titansreturn/alphatrion/">Astrotrain and Soundwave.

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.

Accessories:
Alpha Trion includes two accessories. One is a sword. This is a beautiful, ornate design. The hilt has claw-like sections that angle upward. The sword blade has lots of line details such as a diamond shape and arrows pointing upward. The lower section has two smaller blades flanking the larger blade. It really looks spectacular. The sword is cast in translucent orange while the hilt and handle are painted a shiny purple. I was worried at first that the paint would begin to scrape off when you place the sword in his hand and then remove it. However after doing this about ten times I still have not seen any indication of paint scraping off.

The other accessory is a multi-purpose weapon. On the surface level it appears to be a three barreled blaster that looks like a paw with claws extended (a reference to his beast mode). However it also serves as a seat for a Titan Master to sit in. In Alpha Trion's vehicle mode it also serves as a control tower. This piece is entirely cast in red. The shade of red is interesting, bordering on purple. This is inspired by his cartoon colors from the original cartoon. There are no paint applications on this accessory.

Sovereign

Sovereign is a new character being introduced as a head for Alpha Trion. In the comic books he has a long back story that makes him a "bad guy" (albeit unwillingly) but there is no real G1 equivalent for him.

Head Mode:
Alpha Trion was introduced in the Generation One cartoon as an old, wise character. His head design recalled a different, more ornate age of design in Cybertron's history. This head design takes the G1 design and tones it down a bit while managing to pay homage to it. One of the most distinctive features of this design is his crest and "horns" that angle out to the sides. This piece then extends right over the eyes. The other distinctive feature from G1 Alpha Trion's design is a large mustache and a beard. These elements make him instantly recognizable to G1 fans. However the top part of his head has been toned down a bit. In G1 the crest and "horns" extended up behind his head. Here they end at the top of the head. Overall the sculpt looks fantastic. It's detailed and true to the character.

The head is cast in maroon, silver and purple plastic. Maroon makes up most of it, but you can see the silver and purple on the top. The crest/horns section is painted purple while the eyes and face are silver. This is one of the more detailed paint jobs on a Titan Master head and it looks great.

When attaching Sovereign to Alpha Trion I find he fits most snug if he is facing the opposite direction of Alpha Trion's face, but your mileage may vary on this.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
Holding the front of the head, unfold the back half to reveal the robot mode.

Robot Mode:
"Titans Return" has shown with releases like Sawback that the Transformers team has been digging deep into Transformers history for reference material. For Sovereign's robot mode they went into a rather obscure zone: Botcon exclusives. When Fun Publications released their Alpha Trion figure, it was a redeco and retool of Vector Prime. Like Vector Prime, Trion included a Mini-Con partner. Alpha Trion's partner was named Beta Maxx and it is that figure that Sovereign pays homage to.

Sovereign and Beta Maxx share several design elements including:

  • The head designs on both have a wide, "U" shaped horn piece on top of the helmet section along with a mouthplate and thin eyes.
  • The chest panels have a distinct, angled shape that comes to a point on the sides. The panels themselves have a groove inside of them.
  • The inside of each forearm has a series of vertical lines.
  • The mid-body section has a series of what appear to be tubes with line details running along them.
  • The thighs have circles on the front.
  • There are vertical lines on the lower legs that are a callback to the vertical fins on Beta Maxx's legs. Behind those designs are circles.

I have to give the designers a lot of credit for picking such a fun and relatively obscure callback for this figure. It works perfectly and there is a ton of detail on this little guy.

Sovereign's head, arms and lower legs are maroon colored. His torso is purple while his thighs are silver. There are no paint applications for this mode, but the three different colors help break up any potential monotony.

There are five points of articulation on this figure. The legs are connected together so they move at the same time when you move the hips or knees. I have to say, the joints on my copy of Sovereign are the tightest among all my Titan Master figures. It's great if you consider they'll likely just loosen up over time with use so I was very pleasantly surprised.

Alpha Trion

Robot Mode:
It is pretty obvious when you look at Alpha Trion's robot mode that he has a beast mode. There are literally two halves of a beast mode head that form his shoulders. This figure is very ornate and it looks absolutely amazing in terms of complexity. There is not an inch of this figure that is not covered in some type of rich detail. Among my favorites are the chest, which has an orb in the center (a bit of a callback to a Spark Chamber or perhaps a Matrix) and the armor around it, which has a series of oval shaped details sculpted into it. Even smaller parts like his feet have layers of detail and armor. Even on the back there are small details such as two (non functioning) pistons and a series of vertical lines on his shoulders. I think the sculpting on this figure is absolutely gorgeous and distinct from other figures in the line.

Of course, being based on a G1 figure there had to be some callbacks to the original Alpha Trion and there are! First is of course the head design, which is extended via horns that pop up on the sides of the head if you press the orb in the chest. This makes the head look a lot more like the G1 animation model. The other, less obvious homage involves the shoulders. The halves of the beast mode head have horns sticking out at angles. This is a callback to the spikes on G1 Alpha Trion's shoulder armor! This figure also has curved forearms that resemble the G1 animation model. While these homages are not overwhelming in number, it is cool to see them at all.

Alpha Trion is cast in maroon, purple and silver plastic. The orb in the chest is cast in translucent orange plastic. He has a rather ornate deco made up of silver, purple and maroon paint. Among my favorite deco points are the shoulders and torso. There is a lot of intricate alternating between the various plastic and paint colors. The result is a complex looking figure whose colors still remain true to the character.

There are seventeen points of articulation on this figure. This includes four on each arm (including the exceedingly rare wrist articulation) and five on each leg. The head can turn side to side, though technically if you have the horns up it is the platform the head attaches to that moves. It can't turn all the way however due to a limitation of its design. Due to the way the figure transforms, he does not have waist articulation.

Alpha Trion has 5mm ports in both hands allowing him to hold his weapons. There are also 5mm ports on the back of his shoulders that allow you to store his weapons there.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach Sovereign and convert him into robot mode.
  2. Detach the weapons and set them aside.
  3. Point each foot down.
  4. Rotate the legs so the beast mode claws on them face out to the sides.
  5. Push the two legs together.
  6. On each leg, swing out the panel from the side of the lower legs to finish forming the runway on the ship.
  7. Rotate the fists and forearms around, then swing them up against the shoulders.
  8. Swing each shoulder up on the silver hinge, then swing it down so the shoulders are flat against the ship (there is a tab on the shoulders that fits into a groove on the side of the ship).
  9. Attach the claw weapon to the 5mm port in front of the control tower.
  10. The sword can be attached to the shoulder sections on the sides.
  11. On the bottom of the front section, swing down the ski if you want to "land" the ship.
  12. Sovereign can either sit in the claw weapon or the control tower.

Vehicle Mode:
Alpha Trion's vehicle mode is a bit of a homage to his Botcon incarnation. This vehicle is basically a spaceship modeled after an aircraft carrier. In many ways this is similar in spirit to the Botcon Alpha Trion's spaceship mode (which also had a long front end).

There are a lot of neat details on this vehicle including lines on the top that lay out where aircraft would streak across as they charge into battle. The control tower section looks great, resembling the tower on a real life aircraft carrier including rectangular details layered on top of one another. In front of that is the claw weapon, which is similar to the cannons found on some real life aircraft carriers. While it may be distracting to have the beast mode claws on the sides, the joints that connect to the claws actually have some neat mechanical details on them including rocket launcher tubes and vents. Like his robot mode, this form is full of details and it looks great.

Of course, by now you're probably wondering...why is Alpha Trion an aircraft carrier? Why not just a more scifi looking spaceship? Well, that's because this figure is a "pretool" (a figure created as one character but intended for use as another later on) for the Autobot Triple Changer Broadside! After swapping out a pile of parts, this base figure and its engineering will be used to form a robot who can transform into a jet and an aircraft carrier. As I write this he is already beginning to hit some markets and wind up in the hands of fans around the world so I look forward to getting him.

This mode focuses a lot more on the maroon and purple colors, with silver making up smaller parts like the sides in the front and hinges in the back. The tower "cover" is translucent orange which really pops visually against the other, darker colors. There is not a lot of paint on this mode. There's a bit of silver in front, some gunmetal on the sides and that's it really. Unfortunately the deck of the ship winds up looking a bit plain because of this. It really could have used some lines painted in on the top to make it look more finished.

As stated above you can seat a Titan Master in both the claw weapon/cannons and the control tower. The 5mm ports on the sides towards the back allow you to attach additional weapons (because really, a giant sword looks a bit odd on an aircraft carrier). Add some nice big guns and Alpha Trion starts looking like one powerful warship!

Transformation to Beast Mode (from Robot Mode)

  1. Detach the weapons and head. Transform Sovereign into robot mode.
  2. Rotate the hands and forearms around then swing them up against the shoulders.
  3. Swing the control tower section on the back up and back (so it is on top of where the head was).
  4. Swing the shoulders together to form the beast mode head.
  5. Holding the upper body, pull the lower body to extend the middle section out.
  6. Swing the claws/legs from the torso forward and swing the claws forward.
  7. Swing each foot up against the back of the lower robot legs.
  8. On each robot leg, swing the beast mode legs out.
  9. Swing the lower body up against the upper body. Connect the tabs on the back of the control tower section to the corresponding grooves on the waist armor piece.
  10. Adjust the rear legs so they line up with the front legs.
  11. Connect the sword in the back. Part of the sword's hilt connects to a groove on the underside of the waist armor.
  12. The claw weapon can be attached to the side of either rear leg.

Beast Mode:
When Alpha Trion was first announced many fans saw the Botcon homage right away. See, once upon a time there was going to be an Alpha Trion Botcon toy based on the "Beast Machines" Snarl sculpt (who many jokingly called "Alpha Lion"). This figure was never released, but now we have a release of Alpha Trion as a lion! Well, kind of. Whereas Snarl was a very traditional looking lion (albeit, a techno-organic one) Alpha Trion's lion form sports a distinctive horn on his head. See, Alpha Trion is not just any lion, he is a Xiezhi, a mythical Chinese lion with a horn. The Xiezhi was a symbol of justice and law, making Alpha Trion a good choice to have this mode given his virtuous personality.

This beast mode looks mostly mechanical, but there appear to be some techno-organic bits as well. This especially true on the mane, which is sculpted to look like organic hair, not wires or hard angled "tufts" of metal. The snout however is angled and looks mechanical while featuring lion-like details including whiskers. There is also a bit of fur on the back towards the tail, adding to the techno-organic appearance. There is significant bulk on the front half of the Xiezhi and even the back has thick, strong looking legs. Now, some may be a bit turned off by some of the details in this mode. The control tower on this back and the consolidation of robot mode parts might not be aesthetically pleasing to some fans. It is all a matter of personal taste.

The same colors from the other two modes carry over here. The mane has a combination of purple and silver paint on it. The same colors can also be found in the middle and rear of the figure. Each paw has gunmetal grey on the claws. Translucent orange plastic visually pops on the control tower on his back and the tail. Truth be told there are so may alternating colors in this mode I don't really see the need for more deco. Sure there are some intricate, mechanical sculpted details that maybe some black wash could bring out more, but that is unrealistic for a modern day Transformers figure.

There are fourteen points of articulation on this figure in beast mode. Most of this articulation is focused on the rear legs. The front legs have limited articulation because of the way they are attached to the front part of the beast mode. The legs can swivel and bend at the top and claws but this does limit posability. Sovereign can sit in the control tower on the back of the figure. You can also attach weapons with 5mm pegs to the sides of the rear legs.

Final Thoughts:
Alpha Trion is not for everyone. His aesthetic is very different from most other Transformers and some folks may find his beast mode strange and off-putting. I personally dig all his modes and find them each fun to play with in their own way. I will also confess that his beast mode being one of East Asian origin makes me biased towards it. It's also cool to finally have a fully transformable Alpha Trion figure on store shelves. I'd say if this review and photos don't convince you to get this figure you'll probably want to skip it, otherwise it's a worthy addition to your collection.

Pros:

  • First mass release of a transformable Alpha Trion in "Generations".
  • Fantastic sculpting in robot and beast modes.
  • Cool homages to past Botcon exclusives.
  • Unique beast mode.

Cons:

  • Deco in vehicle mode is sparse.
  • Posability in beast mode is limited.