"Generations" Titans Return Krok with Decepticon Gatorface Toy Review
Release Date: July 2017
Price Point: $16.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Gatorface Titan Master figure, Blaster, Tail/Shield/Weapon
Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Transformers Generations Titans Return Deluxe Class figures are 5.5-inch scale figures that come with a Titan Master figure. The Titan Master figure becomes the head of the Deluxe Class figure. It also works with Deluxe Class, Voyager Class, 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: Decepticon Krok: foot soldier Gatorface: systems lock Unite and power up for battle. Figure Specs: Deluxe Class Decepticon Krok Modes: robot, crocodile Converts in 12 Steps Works with other Titan Master figures (each sold separately) 2 accessories Comes with a collector card with tech specs Titan Master Gatorface Modes: robot, head Converts in 1 step Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
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 Headmasters era in new forms that pay homage to the originals.
Krok is not one of the more well known Transformers characters. In Generation One, he was introduced as part of the "Action Masters" line. As a young collector I always loved the design of the figure, even if it could not transform. Aside from a few appearances here and there in the Marvel comic books, the character was not very prominent. Years later he would return as a Transformers Collector's Club exclusive. Now he is finally part of the main line of "Generations" figures. This figure is a redeco and retool of Skullsmasher, so check out that review for a detailed look at the sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
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, with 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 of the figure in both forms 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. In Krok's case, Repugnus, Decepticon Quake, Broadside and Sky Shadow are the 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.
Krok includes two accessories: a blaster and a tail/shield/weapon. Neither piece has been changed from its initial release in terms of sculpting. The blaster is cast in neon yellow plastic. The tail piece is purple plastic with black paint on it.
The functionality of the tail remains the same:
- There is a peg that swings out on top, allowing Krok to hold it as a shield.
- You can store the blaster in the tail, then have Krok hold a peg at the end so now the weapon looks like a giant cannon instead of a small handheld blaster.
- If you flip the tail piece over, you'll see a seat sculpted into it. You can seat a Titan Master there as a gunner.
Gatorface's head design is based on G1 Krok's head sculpt. I always found this design to be one of the more unique ones coming out of the G1 era. Sure he has the "helmet/face" type design, but part of the helmet wraps over his mouthplate, which has an opening in the middle akin to the one seen on Optimus Primal in the "Beast Wars" cartoon. He also has two distinct cyliners on the sides of his head and thin eyes that always looked to me like he was grimly sizing up an enemy. I love this head sculpt and I appreciate the way the designers made it work despite the restrictions of having to stick to a rough cube shape to accomodate the Titan Master transformation.
Calling back to G1 Krok, the main plastic color on this head is neon yellow. The top of the helmet section and the mouthplate are painted silver. His eyes and the crest on his head are bright pink. The neon yellow may not be for everyone, but that was the aesthetic of the time, and fortunately there are plenty of darker colors on the body to balance it out.
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.
Gatorface's robot form is the same sculpt as Grax. The head, arms and legs are cast in neon yellow. The main body is a purple color. These are the main colors of Krok himself. Unfortunately there are no paint applications on this robot form. While this is normal for "Titans Return", the yellow is so bright that under certain light a lot of the intricate, sculpted detail is drowned out, and that is a shame.
Gatorface has the standard five points of articulation for a Titan Master figure including the head, arms, hips and knees (though keep in mind the legs are fused together). The bottom of his feet have ports in them that allow him to connect to pegs found on various Titan Master vehicles and figures.
Krok's body uses the same sculpt as Skullsmasher. There are some superficial similarities between the two bodies, but really this sculpt is Skullsmasher's body in new colors. The designers really did give it a good shot (and for the most part, they have succeeded). The plastic colors on the figure are now black, purple and neon yellow. The color distribution is very similar to G1 Krok, including black on the chest and forearms, neon yellow thighs and black lower legs. Even his weapon is cast in neon yellow like G1 Krok's.
Paint applications help this Krok look like his G1 predecessor. The chest has pink on the mechanical details in the middle, echoing a series of window-like designs on G1 Krok's chest. The mid-body has red down the middle with silver on the sides, calling back to similar colors on G1 Krok in the same area. However on G1 Krok grey was used instead of silver. The legs feature purple paint details that help offer some contrast with the black color. The finishing touch is a tampographed Decepticon silver in purple and silver on the chest. Overall Krok looks fantastic. The colors are very unusual in the Transformers line and despite the brightness of the neon yellow all these colors work together very well.
The joints on my copy of Krok are all relatively good. His hip ball joints are still more loose than I want them to be, but they are nowhere near the flop-fest that was Skullsmasher. He could stand and pose just fine, but I wound up adding some nail polish to the hip joints anyway to tighten them up.
Transformation to Beast Mode:
- Detach Gatorface and convert him into robot mode.
- Detach the weapon(s) and attach the blaster to the end of the tail.
- Swing each robot hand into the forearms.
- Swing the shoulders up at a slight angle. There are small tabs on the shoulders that fit into the corresponding grooves that flank the slot for the head.
- Swing the beast mode head on the back up and over. Attach the tabs on the back of the beast mode head to the corresponding slots on the shoulders.
- Swing the claws on the front beast mode legs up.
- Push the feet up.
- Push the lower robot legs together.
- Swing the lower robot legs up and down.
- Attach the tail to the peg on the back of the beast mode. This helps keep the lower legs together in this form.
There is no G1 Krok beast mode to compare this form to because G1 Krok could not actually transform. However, with a name like "Krok" it makes perfect sense for him to have a crocodile-like beast mode. This form is the same sculpt as Skullsmasher, but I totally buy it as a different character. This is largely thanks to the very different set of colors. All the colors from the robot mode come into play here. The plastic colors are black, purple and neon yellow. This mode also shows some translucent yellow which offers light piping on the head and on the cockpit cover. The black and purple alternate a lot and it helps keep the colors from looking too uniform. Then the yellow helps offer a bright splash of color here and there and it's great.
Purple and yellow paint can also be found from the front to the back, and like the plastic colors themselves they really help the figure's deco look interesting. A finishing touch on the back is a tampographed Decepticon symbol on top of the cockpit cover.
All the joints in this form are nice and tight. The cockpit cover is still a soft, flexible plastic which is interesting since you do not often see translucent soft plastic used on Transformers figures.
Krok is an inspired way to repurpose Skullsmasher's sculpt. I've also always loved Krok since his Action Master days partly due to his unusual design and partly because he was one of the few brand new characters introduced in the "Action Masters" line. It is a bit of a shame that the hip joints are still a bit loose, but other than that I really like this figure. Recommended!
- Great sculpt in both modes.
- New head/face plate sculpt is a good interpretation of the G1 head sculpt.
- Intuitive and fun transformation.
- Nice color pattern that also pays homage to G1 Krok.
- Joints are better than Skullsmasher's (though not perfect).
- Hip joints could be better.
- Ideally more parts could have been retooled such as the chest.