"Generations" Titans Return Gnaw Toy Review

in 2016, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Generation One, Generations, Legends, Sharkticon, Titans Return

Generations

Chop Shop General Information:
Release Date: November 2016
Price Point: $9.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Mace weapon

Official images and text below in italics are from BigBadToyStore:
Transformers Generations Titans Return Legends Class figures are 3.75-inch scale figures. When this Legends Class Gnaw figure is in shark mode, Titan Master figures fit inside. Additional figures are each sold separately. Subject to availability. 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. Where Gnaw goes, hundreds of Sharkticons follow. Known for their limitless appetite and razor sharp teeth, he and his troop of Sharkticons tear apart bots left vulnerable on the battlefield. While they can’t agree on who gets the first bite, they can agree on remaining loyal to the master who fed them last. Character Specs: Gnaw: assault lookout Figure Specs: Legends Class Gnaw Modes: robot, shark Converts in 12 Steps Accessory Comes with a character card with tech specs Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.

Gnaw is a character with a strange history in the Transformers toy line. Originally released as a Decepticon, Gnaw was (by modern standards) roughly a Mega Class figure who did not really have an Autobot equivalent. However when the character appeared in animation, he was not a Decepticon nor was he an individual. Instead Gnaw became armies of Sharkticons who served the evil Quintessons. They were basically mindless cannon fodder but their roots were in a Decepticon toy. After that the character pretty much disappeared for years. Sure there were shark-based characters in "Beast Wars" such as Cybershark. There was even a homage to Gnaw in the souvenir figure sets for Botcon 2010. However this Gnaw figure is the first time that the G1 Sharkticon character has been brought back into the toy line as he originally appeared.

Packaging:
Gnaw is packaged in a blister set against a rectangular backing card. The card features a large segment of his package art in the front with a black bar and the modern "Transformers" logo over the black bar. In an unusual move, the artwork shows his alternate mode instead of his robot mode, emphasizing the "Sharkticon" aspect of the character. The "Titans Return" logo is in smaller letters at the top. The back features multiple languages and a brief bio of the character with photos of the toy in both modes. The photography is set against a light colored grid background, evoking Generation One packaging. The bottom features several legal notices and an "Authentic Transformers" symbol.

Robot Mode:
In both toy form and animation, G1 Gnaw was a rather round and odd looking Transformer. As a kid I always thought the Sharkticons looked a bit awkward after their dramatic "Transformers: The Movie" introduction. Well here we are over thirty years later and not that much has changed! This version of Gnaw has a very similar design as the G1 version. This includes the general form of the robot where his arms are formed from the beast mode legs, a round torso, the lower shark jaw hanging off the chest and thick, stubby legs. This sounds like he's not all that great of a design but in fact it's the opposite. Gnaw has a very unusual design and its dramatic features such as the row of teeth on his chest and the "fins" on the top of his head all really show a commitment to the shark theme and I love it. He's not all rotund looking however. Because of the way the character transforms, his back is mostly flat, with the shark mode fin sticking out the back so it helps balance out the look a bit.

Gnaw is cast in light grey, dark grey and light blue plastic. The grey colors make up most of the figure but the blue is used in key parts such as the upper arms and a section of the chest to balance out the grey. These colors are based off the same colors he had in G1. To add some extra detailing pink paint is used on the jaw piece on his chest and vertical sections of the thighs. His face is painted light grey with red on the eyes. A bit of light blue paint is found on his feet which surprised me. It's a really tiny detail and if the designers had not chosen to paint it I might have missed it. What's really nice about this detail is that it reflects the color of the G1 Gnaw's feet. I love little touches like this. The finishing touch on the deco is a small Decepticon symbol on the center of his chest.

There are nine points of articulation on this figure. This includes two on each arm and leg. This sounds like a low number, but both joints on his arms are ball joints, so his actual range of motion is pretty great. Gnaw comes with a mace weapon that has a 5mm peg at the end. He can hold it in his fists or you can attach it to the underside of his forearms. I'm perfectly happy with Gnaw's play value and he is one of the few Legends Class figures that has a weapon accessory, making him extra special.

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach the weapon and set it aside for now.
  2. Turn the robot head around.
  3. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  4. Swing the heel pieces on each foot forward.
  5. Push the lower shark jaw on the chest up.
  6. Swing the fin on his back down.
  7. Swing the robot legs up.
  8. Push the lower legs together to form the beast mode head.
  9. Connect the tabs on the top half of the head (behind the jaw section) to the corresponding slots on the lower jaw section.
  10. Swing the fin forward.
  11. Swing the robot arms/beast mode legs back.
  12. Rotate the robot forearms around to form the beast mode legs.
  13. Slide the mace weapon into the slot on the back to form the tail.

Beast Mode:
While they were called Sharkticons in Generation One, the design of these creatures was only vaguely shark-like. Sure they have rows of scary looking teeth, fins on their backs and the grey color even echoes the grey seen on many real life species of shark. However the Sharkticons also had other weird designs including two large, bulbous eyes set in the front of the head (not the sides), thin arms with claws at the end and a round body that looked more like a frog's than that of a shark. Still it's an interesting "scifi" design and I always think of it as having been modeled on an alien shark-like creature from another planet.

Gnaw has a lot of the key features of the G1 Sharkticon. This includes the fin on his back, the bulbous eyes, scary looking teeth and even two small on the underside of the lower jaw. His legs are even thick and squat while his arms are thin and long with claws at the end. Even better, his tail is still a mace weapon (which Kup used to his advantage in "Transformers: The Movie" in an unforgettable scene). Overall he has the weird, retro monster look that Gnaw should have. I am absolutely thrilled the designers did not try to modernize or change the design. He is instantly recognizable as a Sharkticon.

This mode shows off a lot of the light blue plastic on the arms, legs, fin and tail. His jaws also reveal a purple color on, what one could consider his "gum line" on top. The eyes are cast in translucent green plastic, calling back to the color of the eyes in the animation. There's not a ton of paint in this mode but frankly he doesn't need it. He looks great and the shades of pink and light blue recall the aesthetic of a different time in pop culture when such colors reigned over others in everything from toys to clothing.

There are eight points of articulation in this mode, which is pretty great for a Legends Class beast mode. These include his arms and legs, but also the ability of his upper and lower jaws to open even wider, which can look threatening or comical depending on your perspective. In a strange yet amusing feature you'll find two Titan Master pegs inside the lower jaw. That means a Titan Master can "ride" inside his mouth (or get eaten, again it's all perspective)! This is one of the silliest yet awesome features of a Legends Class figure period and I love it.

Final Thoughts:
Gnaw is love. He is unique and looks great in both modes. Even better, he is very faithful to the G1 designs. On top of all this, being a Legends Class figure makes him an easy "troop builder" (assuming you can find him on shelves or online). I personally plan on getting at least eight of these guys to act as a little Sharkticon army!

Pros:

  • Faithful to the unconventional G1 design.
  • Fun transformation.
  • Weird (but fun) features.
  • Legends Class makes for good troop building potential.

Cons:

  • The seam in the center of the beast mode head's top section does not always hold together well (it seems almost temperature dependent).
  • It would have been cool to have a 5mm peg at the end of the mace weapon so it could be held vertically.