"Generations" Titans Return Arcee (with Leinad & Ultra Magnus) Toy Review
Release Date: September 8, 2017
Price Point: $24.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Leinad Titan Master figure, Ultra Magnus Titan Master figure, Blasters x 2, Shield/Car Front
Official images and text below in italics are from HasbroToyShop.com:
Imagine harnessing the power of not 1 Titan Master but 2, with this special edition Transformers Arcee 3-figure pack featuring a Titans Return Deluxe Class figure, a Titan Master figure, and a special edition die-cast Titan Master figure. The Titan Master figure becomes the head of Deluxe, Voyager, and Leader Class Titans Return figures (each sold separately).
In Titans Return, the Autobots and Decepticons unite with Titan Masters, small bots that carry a power boost. Titan Masters are key to controlling an ancient race of warriors the size of cities: the Titans.
Character Specs: Arcee
Function: ferocious Autobot warrior
Function: super intelligence boost
Unite and power up for battle.
Titan Master Leinad
Titan Master Ultra Magnus
Modes: robot, head
Converts in 1 step
Transformers Titans Return Arcee 3-figure pack
Includes a G1-inspired Deluxe scale Arcee figure and 2 Titan Master figures
Includes special edition die-cast Titan Master Ultra Magnus figure
Comes in Transformers special edition packaging
Includes Deluxe Class Arcee figure, Titan Master Leinad figure, die-cast Titan Master Ultra Magnus figure, 2 blaster accessories, 2 collector cards with tech specs, and instructions.
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 twenty 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.
Arcee was introduced in the 1986 "Transformers: The Movie" theatrical film. While she was not the first female Autobot, she was the one that made the most appearances in the G1 animated series and most people associate "female Transformers" with Arcee. For many years there were no Arcee action figures. Three were considered during the Generation One era but never produced. Her first appearance as an action figure was actually as a Botcon exclusive figure in 2001. Using the Transmetal 2 Blackarachnia sculpt, 1200 of these figures were produced. While other Arcee figures popped up (including a KREO Microchanger and a Binaltech redeco) it was not until 2014 that fans could finally purchase a "proper" G1 Arcee that used her classic design. However, despite this figure generally being liked by fans, there was still one itch left to scratch: a Headmaster Arcee figure.
In the fourth (and final) season of the G1 cartoon, Arcee became a Headmaster, with Daniel Witwicky becoming her head (no, really). However fans did not have a Headmaster Arcee figure to represent this version of the character - until now! At HasCon 2017, an early release of Titan Master Arcee was offered as an "early release" exclusive featuring Arcee as a Titan Master along with an additional Titan Master: Ultra Magnus! This figure is a retool and redeco of the Blurr sculpt which was also used to make Brainstorm and Nautica. Ultra Magnus is a retool and redeco of Fangry. Check out the original reviews for my detailed thoughts on those figures. These reviews will focus on the changes made to the figures for this release.
Arcee is not packaged in the standard "Generations" packaging. Instead, when you first look at the box you just see a rectangular box colored black with a white Autobot symbol "streak" on it of the same style as the mass market packaging. There are tabs that you pull on and effectively you "transform" the box as it unfolds. As each flap folds out, you'll see a gorgeous illustration of Arcee instead. On the left side is the Arcee figure itself on a plastic try (held down by plastic bands). The top fold has the collector cards for both Arcee and Ultra Magnus. The right side flap has Ultra Magnus also in a plastic tray. It is really beautiful and dramatic packaging and it helps make the set feel special.
The previous incarnations of this base sculpt all came with the same weapon, a long rifle with an arrow like barrel. This time out that has been taken out and instead Arcee has two pistols. These weapons are based on the pistol she was seen using in "Transformers: The Movie" but shrunken down slightly and with a different pattern on them. Still, the idea of her using small pistols is intact, just with a different design.
The piece which forms the front of the vehicle has been replaced with a new one. This features details that better align with Arcee's G1 appearance including a row of ridged lines in the front. Like Blurr's equivalent piece, this serves as the front of the vehicle mode as well as a shield in robot mode. This vehicle also serves as a mini-vehicle of sorts. In the middle is a white tab, flip it out and you'll reveal a piece of landing gear. Now flip the piece over and you'll find two 5mm ports for Arcee's weapons. Attach them and you now have a mini-vehicle that a Titan Master can sit on top of!
Over the course of 2017 Hasbro released two exclusive boxed sets featuring retools and redecos of existing figures with new identities including Quickswitch and Nautica. These boxed sets each included an exclusive Titan Master featuring a die-cast metal torso, making the items extra special. By that same token this Ultra Magnus Titan Master features a die-cast metal torso and ties this set to the others. The logistics of just why Ultra Magnus is a Titan Master are a bit confounding, but just treat this like a bonus figure and don't go too deep into it.
The Ultra Magnus head design is one of the more recognizable ones from this era of G1. The design features a large central crest, two antennae sticking up on the sides, thick visor eyes, a pronounced chin piece and helmet pieces that come out forward a bit on the sides. All these details are present on this head mode and it looks great.
This Titan Master is cast in white plastic and die-cast metal painted white. In this mode a lot of the white shows on the middle and back. The front uses classic Ultra Magnus with blue on the helmet, silver on the face and antennae and light blue on the eyes.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Swing the back of the head up and straighten it out. If you want to move the head, you will likely need to connect the head to a Transformer body and turn it then. Somehow the plastic simply does not turn easily situated in the die-cast metal body.
This figure uses the Fangry Titan Master as the base sculpt. The torso is a new piece and not just Fangry's torso in die-cast metal. The most obvious design that is different is the chest, which is shaped differently than Fangry's. Fangry's robot head is not quite one I would associate with Ultra Magnus so I wonder why this sculpt out of all of the Titan Masters available.
Ultra Magnus' face is painted blue along with his crest. The eyes are red. White paint is used on the die-cast metal torso piece. These colors are heavily associated with Ultra Magnus and I think they look great.
Unlike the previous "Generations" version of Arcee, this figure takes its design inspiration from the IDW Publishing comic books. You can see this design here. That said, almost every IDW artist has altered the design of the head a bit (some skewing more towards G1 animation, others doing their own thing). G1 Arcee's head design was pretty much a face under a helmet with big "Princess Leia" buns on the sides (what can I say? It was the 80's). This design takes that one and streamlines some elements. The "buns" are not as big on the sides of the head. The vertical lines that curve from the back to front create layered sections of the head leading to a central crest. Also, the sides of the helmet have small, angled bits that come forward a bit, overlapping the cheeks. Being a Titan Master, you do sacrifice some design because the back of the head is cube shaped rather than being fully round. However I think the design looks great, and it is immediately recognizable as Arcee.
The head is cast in white plastic. Pink is used to paint the face while blue is used on the end of the crest and the eyes. The "helmet" section is painted white. A darker shade of pink is used on the sides. You can see Leinad's head in this form which is painted silver.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Swing the back of the head out and straighten it out to form the legs. The arms on the sides can swing up and down. When attaching the head to the body, be sure Leinad's head is facing the opposite direction from Arcee's so it holds in place securely. I found if you attach it the other way it falls right out.
Most of this figure uses the same base sculpt as Hyperfire, Blurr's Titan Master. However the head is a new and distinct sculpt. It looks like a cone shaped helmet because well, that's exactly what it is! You see, "Leinad" is actually the name "Daniel" backwards. Trademarking a generic name like "Daniel" no doubt proved difficult, so the Transformers team just spelled it backwards and voila! We have a cheeky trademark. The cone shaped head is actually a helmet as seen on the Exo-Suits used by humans in the G1 cartoon. This is the design that was used for Daniel Witwicky's "Headmaster body" in G1, so it makes perfect sense. The rest of the body is white with some dark grey on the legs, taking inspiration from the look and colors of the G1 Exo-Suits.
All the joints on my copy of this figure are really nice and tight. I love this relatively obscure G1 homage and I much prefer this design over just reusing Hyperfire's head.
Arcee utilizes the Blurr sculpt as its foundation. The main change to the sculpt involves the upper arms. They are new pieces featuring a round section at the shoulders with panels attached to the back. Both of these details are based on elements from the G1 animation model. Other than the head, weapons and shield piece the rest of the scupt remains the same as Blurr, but it is amazing just how much swapping out those parts helps give this design a distinctive look.
Of course, the sculpt is one thing but the colors on the figure are what really help complete the visual of this figure being Arcee. This figure is cast in pink, white and translucent pink plastic. If you look at the color layout you can tell the designers were trying to use G1 Arcee as their inspiration. Here are some of the G1 inspired decos:
- The panels behind the arms are pink with white edges on top.
- The shoulders are pink while most of the arms are white. The forearms have some pink around the forearm area.
- The chest has white painted across and then it comes up in the center in a triangular shape.
- There is a spot painted dark grey in the mid-body that roughly aligns with a similar detail on G1 Arcee's torso.
- The thighs are white and the center sections of the lower legs are painted white.
Overall I like this deco but I find one omission odd: an Autobot symbol on her chest. This was part of the animation model and it would have been easy to tampograph one onto the chest. Go figure.
All the joints on my copy of this figure are nice and tight, so no worries about mold degradation here. As mentioned above, the front of Arcee's vehicle mode can become a shield which can attach to the side of either forearm. This piece can also be stored on her back by attaching it to two tabs. In a rather unexpected move, the shoulders have been sculpted with ports on the sides that look like they are meant to accommodate Nautica's hover fan accessories! While they do attach, they do not sit very snug in there so they fall out fairly easily. They display just fine, but move the figure around a bit with them attached and they will fall off.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach Leinad and convert him into robot mode.
- Detach the blasters and set them aside for now.
- Attach the shield to the back.
- Swing the chest panel up.
- Swing the panel with the dark grey detail on it up to form the back of the Titan Master's seat.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing the robot feet up.
- Swing the panels on the bottom of the forearms up over the fists.
- Swing the arms up.
- Swing out the front halves of each lower leg.
- On the right leg swing out the small decorative pod.
- Push the legs together, then swing them up and swing the the lower leg panels in, forming the rear of the vehicle.
- Pull on the arms to swing them out.
- Swing the shield on the back up.
- Swing the arms all the way back and push them against the sides of the vehicle.
- The blasters can be attached to the sides of the vehicle.
The general shape of this vehicle mode is still very much Blurr's outline from the angled headlights in front to the thrusters in the back. However the designers did retool two parts to help sell it as Arcee. First the front section formed by the shield has a series of lines in the front that recall G1 Arcee's vehicle mode. In addition, the decorative "pod" on the back of the vehicle has been changed to better resemble the one seen on the G1 animation model. In some ways it looks like Arcee tok her G1 vehicle form and modified it into a hovercar.
This mode is mostly cast in pink plastic. The cabin cover is translucent pink and the seat inside is white plastic. There are quite a few paint applications in this mode. White paint isu used on the front, the middle and the back, giving the vehicle some of the details seen on the G1 animation model. The headlights are painted blue. On the sides and the back are dark grey paint details. The finishing touch is a giant, tampographed Autobot symbol. I really like the deco on this vehicle mode. While the designers were limited in terms of sculpt, it is great to see how much they tried to make up for it with the deco.
The weapons can be attached to the sides of the vehicle. You can also attach them to the underside of the hood/shield piece in front. Leinad or Ultra Magnus can be seated inside the cabin section. As mentioned above, Nautica's hoverfans can connect to the sides of the vehicle, but they do not hold on very tightly.
Perhaps the biggest gripe I have heard from people about this set (aside from its availability) is that the designers did not just take the "Generations" Arcee and retool it to accommodate a Titan Master head. However if you look at the side by side photos of that figure and this one it's clear that would not work in terms of size. Blurr's body design made the most sense for this figure (no, Chromedome would have just looked weird) and I really love how much the designers try to pay homage to G1 Arcee with the retooling and deco. Highly recommended!
- Unique and excellent packaging design.
- Features several retooled parts, not just the head.
- Extensive redeco featuring more paint applications than usual.
- Bonus Ultra Magnus Titan Master is a nice continuation of the boxed set exclusives.
- We finally have a Headmaster Arcee!
- The shape of the vehicle mode looks a bit too much like Blurr despite the retooled parts.
- Hoverfans from Nautica do not hold tightly to the sides of the shoulders.