"Generations" Titans Return Brainstorm & Teslor Toy Review

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

Generations
Titans Return

Brainstorm General Information:
Release Date: October 2016
Price Point: $17.99-19.99 (depending on location)
Retailer: Walgreens Exclusive
Accessories: Teslor Titan Master figure, Shield, Blaster

Official images and text below in italics are from the Walgreens web site:
The intelligence of Brainstorm is unrivaled. His cerebral processors are constantly running and he's always working on his next invention or technological upgrade. At times he works so fast he creates unstable inventions with explosive results. Autobot Teslor increases the brilliance of Brainstorm even further, making his genius inventions more advanced, and less likely to blow up.

This Titans Return Deluxe Class Autobot Brainstorm figure comes with a Titan Master Autobot Teslor figure. The Autobot Teslor figure becomes the head of the Brainstorm 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 Teslor figure with other bots to create different combinations, or unite other Titan Master figures with this Brainstorm figure. Find the best team-ups and join the battle. Additional figures are each sold separately. Subject to availability.

The Brainstorm figure converts from robot to vehicle and back in 13 steps. The Titan Master Autobot Teslor figure converts from robot to head and back in 1 step. When the Brainstorm figure is in vehicle mode, the Autobot Teslor figure fits inside. Also includes a blaster accessory and a collectible character card with tech specs.

Includes Deluxe Class Brainstorm figure, Titan Master Autobot Teslor figure, blaster accessory, collector card, and instructions.

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.

Brainstorm was one of the original Autobot Headmasters introduced in 1987. For a long time this character was virtually ignored in both Transformers fiction and the toy line until he became a feature character in the IDW Publishing comic book series. In response to this a Voyager class Brainstorm was released in 2014. This figure is not a downsized version of that figure. Indeed, the aesthetic of this figure is quite different from the Voyager Class. This figure is actually a redeco and retool of "Titans Return" Blurr, so check out that review. This write up will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.

Packaging:
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, wth 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 for the photo 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.

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:
Brainstorm includes the same blaster weapon as Blurr which features the pointed front end and rectangular rear section. This accessory has been cast in teal colored plastic with no paint applications. The other accessory is a shield/weapon piece. This forms the front of the vehicle form including Brainstorm's distinct blasters in front (which were featured on both the G1 and Voyager Class versions). The blasters do not come off of this piece. It is one solid piece. This accessory is cast mostly in grey plastic with the small landing gear piece cast in light grey. In order to match the rest of the vehicle form, most of this piece is painted a teal color that looks slightly darker than the teal plastic used on the rest of the figure. The "landing gear" allows you to use this piece as a mini-vehicle or turret station for Teslor. Flip it over and he can sit right behind the grey peg.

Teslor

Teslor is the Titan Master included with Brainstorm. Unlike many of the other Titan Masters that homage a G1 character, this name does not really call back to a G1 equivalent. Interestingly, the Voyager Class Brainstorm's Headmaster was named Arcana, the name of the G1 Brainstorm's Headmaster. Given that I'm guessing that the intent is for Teslor to be a new character, perhaps to push the mythology of the Titan Masters forward and let the Headmasters narrative fade into the background. I'm also okay with the idea that Teslor is just a new name for Arcana but I kind of like the ambiguity in this case.

Head Mode:
The "face plate" on Teslor in this mode is based on Brainstorm's G1 head design, favoring the designs used everywhere except Japan (where the animation model had a mouth). This includes a series of angled lines that sweep up in the center of the forehead, panels on the sides that end in points and thin eyes with a wide mouthplate. The head is cast in teal and light grey plastic. Brainstorm's face is light grey plastic. Paint applications include blue on the eyes and orange on the mouthplate. These match up nicely with Brainstorm's G1 appearance and the colors contrast really nicely.

When attaching the head to Brainstorm's body I found it is best to have Teslor's head facing the opposite direction as Brainstorm's face. This holds the head in securely while still being fairly easy to detach.

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.

Robot Mode:
Teslor is a direct redeco of Hyperfire with no mold changes (other than the face plate for Brainstorm of course). The head, arms and legs are cast in teal plastic while the torso is light grey. The face is painted orange, matching up with Brainstorm himself.

All the joints are nice and tight on my copy of Teslor.

Robot Mode:
Brainstorm is a retool of Blurr. The main differences (aside from the accessories and head) come into play on the arms. The panels that cover the fists in vehicle mode are new pieces. Also the upper arms have been retooled, attaching small wings on the top of the shoulders and adding a hinge for wings on the sides. What's kind of amazing is that even though the retooling is significant, it is striking just how much the character manages to look like Brainstorm. Sure if you stare enough you'll see some Blurr details such as the thrusters on his shoulders. On the other hand the cockpit cover forming part of the torso was a feature on G1 Brainstorm so even that detail works. Even the boosters on his lower legs manage to call back to the G1 toy, which had booster like designs on the sides of his lower legs.

This mode shows off all three plastic colors used for this figure: teal, grey, light grey with translucent yellow on the torso. The teal and light grey make up most of the figure, with the darker grey largely reserved for the wings, forearms and feet. Teal paint is used on the edges of the translucent yellow panel on the torso and the waist piece (which is actually cast in light grey). Some light grey paint is used on the arms, which are mostly cast in the darker grey plastic. There are tampographs on the wings that are based directly on stickers from G1 Brainstorm. This features a silver background, with yellow, red and black details on top. The lower legs also feature tampographs inspired by stickers from G1 Brainstorm. These also feature a silver background with a red rectangle, a yellow rectangle and black arrows. I love how much attention was paid to replicating stickers on this new figure. A final detail that I was very happy to see is an Autobot symbol on the panel in the middle of the torso. This was left empty on Blurr which gave it a slightly unfinished appearance.

Brainstorm has twenty points of articulation. This includes five on each arm and four on each leg.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach Teslor and convert him into robot mode.
  2. Detach the blaster and shield and set them aside for now.
  3. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  4. Swing the pieces on the back of the forearms up.
  5. Swing the arms out to the sides, extending them using the hinge joint connected to the shoulders.
  6. Swing the robot feet up.
  7. Swing the front panels of the lower legs out.
  8. Swing the fin out from the right leg.
  9. Swing each of the lower legs up against the thighs, then swing the panels of the lower legs back into place and connect them together.
  10. Attach the shield to the piece on Brainstorm's back, connecting the two large tabs to the corresponding grooves on the shield.
  11. Swing the shield and back piece up.
  12. Rotate the arms around, then swing them back. There are tabs on the sides of the forearms that connect to a groove on the sides of the torso section. There are also pegs with semi-circle ends that fit into corresponding slots on the forearms.
  13. Raise the cockpit cover and flip up the back of the seat.
  14. Swing the wings on the shoulders up if you had them back against the shoulder.
  15. Teslor can sit inside the cockpit.
  16. Attach the blaster to either side of the vehicle or the underside of the shield/blaster piece in front.

Vehicle Mode:
A friend told me that when he looks at this vehicle mode he sees Blurr with wings slapped on him, and I get it. If you remove the shield/blasters section in front and remove the wings on the sides, it is pretty much Blurr in vehicle form. That said, if you do take into account the wings and the new shield/blasters piece in front he definitely screams "Brainstorm". If you only look at Brainstorm's G1 animation models you may not think this, but look at the G1 toy and you'll see there are plenty of thick sections in the middle and back, just like this vehicle form. I was also happy to see the pieces that cover the fists have raised vent-like designs in the front which call back to similar designs on G1 Brainstorm. The back swept wings and vertical stabilizer also help differentiate this vehicle from Blurr. Overall I think the designers did a great job with this retool, but I can understand how some folks may not love the vehicle form.

There are no dramatic color reveals in this form. The only real "new" details are Autobot symbols tampographed on the top of the wings. This calls back to the wings on G1 Brainstorm, which had Autobot symbol stickers on them as well.

The cockpit cover can swing up to allow Teslor to sit inside the vehicle. There are still 5mm ports on the sides that allow you to attach additional weapons.

Final Thoughts:
For those asking "Why should I get this figure if I already have the Voyager Class?" I'd say it depends on what you're looking for. If you want a Brainstorm that skews in design to the IDW Publishing comic book series, then the Voyager will do nicely. If you are looking for more of an update to the G1 character who is the same size as the other Titan Masters in this series then you'll want this guy. As of this writing he's still available on the Walgreens web site and in-store sightings have consistently been posted on various Transformers Facebook groups. I really like this figure and I think he serves as a nice update of the G1 character separate from the IDW Publishing interpretation. Recommended!