"Generations" Chaos on Velocitron Nautica Toy Review
Release Date: March 2017
Price Point: $99.99 (in a boxed set with Fastclash, Laser Prime, Nautica & Quickswitch)
Retailer: Toys R Us Exclusive
Accessories: Sword & Blaster (Laser Prime), Blaster & Shield (Nautica), Blasters x 2 (Quickswitch)
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.
With the success of both "Combiner Wars" and "Titans Return" in mind, Hasbro looked to the example of boxed sets such as Computron and Liokaiser as inspiration to create a group of exclusive boxed sets for "Titans Return". Like those boxed set this set features exclusive redecos and retools of previous figures, but this set has the added bonus of a (roughly) Legends Class figure not available anywhere else! "Chaos on Velocitron" features five characters:
- Fastclash: a new figure based on the G1 Autobot Clone, Fastlane
- Laser Prime: a redeco of Voyager Class Optimus Prime
- Nautica: a redeco and retool of Deluxe Class Blurr
- Quickswitch: a redeco and retool of Leader Class Sixshot
- Rodimus Prime: a redeco and retool of Titan Master Ptero
This review will focus on the changes made to Blurr for this release, so please check out that review for more detailed information on that figure.
"Chaos on Velocitron' is packaged in a large boxed set that is reminiscent of the "Combiner Wars" boxed sets in design. The box features striking artwork of all five characters charging forward (with Rodimus Prime amusingly riding on Optimus Prime's back!). The artwork is gorgeous and striking. The lower left hand section shows each character included in the set in the same style as the "Combiner Wars" sets. The back has a grey background with a grid on top. All the characters shown are renders, not actual toy photographs.
Inside the box, the figures are mostly in vehicle mode sitting in a large plastic tray. The figures are mostly held down with small plastic stretch ties. The Titan Masters are lined up along the top in robot mode. Included with the set is an 11x17" print featuring the artwork from the front of the box. The back of the print features the tech specs for each character in the set. Oddly, the tech specs do not mention the names of the Titan Masters for any of the characters. We can of course assume Optimus Prime is paired with Diac, but we do not know the names for Nautica and Quickswitch's Titan Masters. The print is similar to the prints included with the "Combiner Wars" boxed sets. Unfortunately, in what appears to be a cost saving move, the print is not in a protective envelope, so be careful how you remove the tray as it could bend the print. In the same plastic bag as the instructions you will also find a trading card also featuring the boxed set's artwork.
The character of Nautica was introduced in the pages of the IDW Publishing comic books. Born on the world of Caminus she wound up on adventures with Windblade and Chromia (and later other Autobots) and quickly became a fan favorite character. She is the only member of this boxed set to have originated in IDW's comics. Everyone else has a previous G1 or G2 version. Like much of this boxed set Nautica is a redeco/retool of a previous figure. The figure was originally released as Blurr with Hyperfire. It would later be given an extensive retool and redeco as Brainstorm. Check out those reviews for a detailed look at the base sculpt. This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release.
Nautica includes the same two accessories as Blurr. One is the shield piece that forms the front of the vehicle mode (and a little vehicle for the Titan Master) and the other is the same blaster that Blurr came with. Both accessories are cast in lavender. The shield piece has a small skid that swings out for its mini-vehicle form. That piece is cast in pink. When it is used as the front of the vehicle, there are some yellow paint applications running along the side and wrapping around the front. The blaster is unpainted.
It seems odd that I am just listing this figure as "Titan Master", but the issue here is that nowhere on the packaging or instructions is the name of Nautica's Titan Master called out. Even the tech specs do not call out a name. That means this part of the review will refer to the figure as "Nautica's Titan Master" until Hasbro reveals an official name.
Nautica's Titan Master is a straight up redeco of Hyperfire, Blurr's Titan Master. She (I'm assuming it's a she until told otherwise) is cast in lavender and pink plastic. The pink forms the torso to waist area, the purple forms the rest. There are no paint applications or sculpt changes to this form. All the joints on my copy of this figure are nice and tight.
Transformation to Head 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.
The thing about Nautica's head design is that it has varied over time. There are some basic elements that remain from iteration to iteration, but every artist has their own take on it so there is no "100% correct" version of her. That said, the designers did their best to work with the limitations of the Titan Master head design with this sculpt. The entire face plate is new, featuring Nautica's large crest with an angled "V" shaped piece around it and the sides of the helmet section overlap her cheeks. The chin area has a raised "chin strap" piece on top of it. The only big detail "missing" from her design is the translucent face shield that she was drawn with early on in the comics (though she does not always have it on depending on the artist and scene). From a sculpting point of view I think she looks great. It is a very distinct head sculpt and is instantly identifiable as the comic book character.
Nautica's face is painted a very light grey color (it is not quite 100% bright white to me). She has yellow details on the "helmet" section and her eyes are painted blue. Her lips are painted pink, a design element that originates in the comic books. For the most part these colors nail a lot of the comic book appearance. I do not feel like there are any major details missing from a deco perspective.
Update Note: At San Diego Comic-Con 2017 the names of several Titan Masters who had not been previously identified were finally revealed. Nautica's Titan Master was revealed to be Parsec.
In the IDW Publishing comic books, Nautica's vehicle mode is a hover vehicle that can also travel in space over short distances. It has a curved front end and large hover fans on the sides with a cockpit section in the center. Given that, I can see how a retool of Blurr made sense for this figure. Blur has an angled front end, but it looks like it could be one used for a spaceship or hovership (I mean, the original Blurr is a hovercraft). He also has a cockpit section in the middle. To help the base sculpt look more like Nautica, the designers created two hover fan accessories that attach to ports on the sides of the vehicle. Attaching hover fans to the sides gives the figure a distinct profile and aligns it more with the look of Nautica in the comic books. It is not a perfect translation from page to plastic. That would have required a whole new figure. However, I appreciate what the designers tried to do within their limitations.
Nautica is mostly cast in lavender plastic with some pink, light grey and translucent blue parts. The pink parts are mostly bits that peek through from the robot mode such as hinges on the sides/arms. The translucent blue is found on the cockpit section. Pink plastic is used inside the cockpit for the seat. The cockpit section has lavender paint on it to match up with the plastic and I have to give the designers kudos for matching up the colors so well. The other major paint color used on this figure is yellow, which you will find on the front section, the hover fans and the thrusters in the back. Smaller details on the hover fans are painted light grey. The finishing touch is a large silver and red Autobot symbol tampographed on the cockpit window. I think the deco looks fantastic. It is not hyper detailed, but between her first and most recent appearances in the comic book, Nautica's colors have changed enough that I am okay with this deco leaning more towards her current appearance.
All of Blurr's functionality is intact on this figure. You can still have the Titan Master sit inside the cockpit and the weapon can still attach to the underside of the front end or the sides. The hover fans attach to the sides of the vehicle, but they are essentially accessories themselves. You can detach them to reveal the Titan Master pegs on the sides of the vehicle. Blurr has the same ports for the hover fans so if you want to have some fun, you can attach the fans to him!
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Pull the sides of the vehicle out.
- Swing the front of the vehicle down.
- Detach the front of the vehicle and the weapon and set them aside for now.
- Rotate the sides of the vehicle around, then swing up the front parts to form the robot arms.
- Lift the cockpit cover up, swing the back of the seat up, then push the cockpit cover over it.
- Swing out the panels on the rear of the vehicle mode.
- Swing the lower leg halves down.
- Swing the sensor pod from the vehicle mode in on the left leg.
- Swing the panels that form the front of each lower leg in.
- Swing the feet down.
- Transform the Titan Master into head mode and attach it.
- Attach the weapon and shield to the arms or back.
The various retooled elements all come together in this mode. Between the new head design and the hover fans, the robot mode has a distinct outline and look that distinguishes it from Blurr or Brainstorm. I think she looks great, even though there are very "Blurr-esque" elements on the figure including the thrusters on the shoulders and lower legs. That said, fans who were hoping for a 100% comic book accurate Nautica will be disappointed as she is not as bulky as the comic book interpretation of the character, nor is she as curved on parts like the arms and legs.
Lavender is the primary plastic color in this mode, but this time out we get a lot more pink plastic. This shows up on parts like the elbows, fists, waist, thighs and feet. I really like the way the pink and lavender tones work together. While bright, they are subdued enough not to be an eyesore in any way. Her chest winds up being translucent blue (a nod to the comic book version of the character). The newly revealed deco points in this mode include yellow on the mid-body area, grey on the legs and blue near the feet. It is hard to rate the deco on its accuracy to the comic book version of the character since her appearance has changed over time (and varies artist to artist), but the "spirit" of the character is definitely there.
All the joint son my copy of Nautica are nice and tight. Her weapon fits nice and snug in her fists. While you can attach the shield to the side of her arms, the hover fans do get in the way so you have to push the shield back a bit. Of course, you can detach the hover fan if you wish or mount the shield on her back for storage.
Nautica is a nice retool/redeco of Blurr. I think apart from creating an all new figure this was about as good as it was going to get given the sculpts available. The new "face plate" sculpt on the head looks great and I really like the colors used on this figure. The biggest issue I think many fans will have is that you have to purchase a whole boxed set to get this figure, and that is perfectly understandable.
- New face plate sculpt is true to the comic book character.
- Colors look great and deco suits the character.
- Joints are still relatively tight given that this base sculpt has been used twice before.
- Many fans would have preferred a whole new sculpt for the character.
- The hover fans get in the way of placing the shield on her arms (though you can remove them).
- A wrench accessory would have been nice.