"Generations" Titans Return Ptero Toy Review

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

Generations
Titans Return

Ptero General Information:
Release Date: November 2016
Price Point: $4.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Ptero Titan Master, Mini-Beast figure

Official images above and text in italics below are from Amazon.com:
Transformers Generations Titans Return Titan Master figures are small-scale figures that become the head for Titans Deluxe Class, Voyager Class, and Leader Class Titans Return figures. Choose from Autobot and Decepticon Titan Master characters, unite them with other figures, and power up for battle. 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. Autobot Ptero is a skilled flier and bombardier who can take out ground-based targets from miles above. When he unites with other bots, he gives them the power to fly at supersonic speed. Figure Specs: Titan Master Autobot Ptero Modes: robot, head Converts in 1 step Comes with a mini-beast 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.

Packaging:
The Titan Master figures are packaged on a bubble card. The front of the card is universal across the assortment. It features Fortress Maximus' head floating above his body. To the side is a black bar with the "Generations" logo above the vertical "Transformers" logo. The insert in the bubble has a render of the figure in head mode. The head and vehicle are in the area under Fortress Maximus' head. The back is almost universal in that it features a diagram of the Titan Master "eco system" showing that the heads can attach to Deluxe, Voyager and Leader Classes. The difference however is in the bar code, which is specific to each character.

Ptero

The idea for Ptero seems to have sprung from the same source as his fellow Autobot Titan Master Clobber. Both figures started with a classic G1 Dinobot and then changed the character into a Titan Master. Indeed, early reveals of Clobber actually called him Grimlock but over time the figure was made into a new character. In the case of Ptero he was inspired by the G1 Dinobot Swoop who transformed into a Pterodactyl (and yes, I know Pterodactyls are not dinosaurs by current scientific definition).

Robot Mode:
Autobot Ptero's G1 Swoop inspiration goes far beyind the design of his mini-Beast/vehicle/weapon. Ptero himself looks like a mini-version of Swoop himself, borrowing many of the Dinobot's key details. Most of these appear inspired by the G1 action figure. These details include:

  • The head design has a distinct crest on top and angled visor eyes that resemble those on G1 Swoop's head (note: the animation model did not have visor eyes).
  • The shoulders have a rectangular design with a groove in the middle.
  • The middle of the torso/waist area has a distinct curve starting at the chest and going down to the waist. This is inspired by the section on G1 Swoop where the beast mode head would wind up in robot form.
  • The thighs have rows of horizontal lines on them. These are inspired by similar line details on the G1 Swoop action figure's thighs.
  • The lower legs have thrusters on them.
  • The feet are the same shape/design as G1 Swoop's feet down to a trapezoid in the middle.

I have to say I'm really impressed by how much of G1 Swoop's details were worked into this tiny figure. Give him wings and a longer crest on his head and he'd be like a Micromaster G1 Swoop!

Ptero is cast in red and silver plastic, two of the key colors found on the G1 Dinobots. Silver makes up the head, arms and lower legs. Red plastic makes up the rest. Aside from the face plate for his head mode there are no paint details in this mode. While this is standard across the line, it is still disappointing because there are so many great details that could have been brought out more with a bit more paint.

Transformation to Head Mode:
Push the arms down. Swing the legs up at the hips, then the knees. When attaching the head to a larger figure, I recommend having Clobber's head facing the same direction as the larger face.

Head Mode:
The design of Ptero's head mode is interesting because it is based on Swoop's head design but unlike Ptero's head which used the G1 Swoop action figure as its reference, this design uses G1 Swoop's animated appearance instead! As mentioned above the animated face used two "regular" eyes instead of a visor and that's exactly what this head design has. Of course, given the limitations of the design he does not have a big crest sticking up on the top of his head, but the actual helmet area around the face is spot on and the face has a friendly look to it that befits a homage to Swoop.

The face plate is painted black on the helmet section and silver on the face. True to the original animated series the eyes are painted light blue.

Mini-Beast Review

Pterodactyl Mode:
True to his name Ptero's mini-beast/vehicle is a pterodactyl in beast mode. This includes all the signature design elements including a head with a long beak and a crest on top, triangular wings that come to a point at the ends and small feet at the back. The way this mini-beast is sculpted it is permanently in "flight mode" with its head pointed forward.

This mini-beast is cast in the same red and silver plastic as Ptero himself. Most of the center and rear section is red, with the ends of the wings and the head cast in silver. Red paint is used for the crest on the head and an Autobot symbol on the left wing. The eyes are painted light blue, matching with Ptero's eyes in head mode. I would have liked a bit more paint on the center of the body. The red winds up looking a bit plain, though having Ptero himself attached helps a bit.

Ptero forms part of the mini-beast's body but you have to swing the panel on the underside open, then fit Ptero in feet first. His legs form the bulk of the middle section and his head and part of the upper body is hidden. You can keep him attached by using the opening in between the mini-beast's feet and the tab that sticks out in the back of Ptero's legs.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach Ptero and set him aside in robot mode.
  2. Swing the mini-beast's head down to reveal the weapon barrel.
  3. Flip the mini-beast over and swing the ends of the wings up.
  4. Swing the silver panel in the middle up.
  5. Ptero can sit in the seat, using the two Titan Master pegs in the middle to hold him in place.

Vehicle Mode:
Calling this vehicle a jet would be extremely generous. Instead I would call it a glider-type vehicle with a weapon on the wings and center. In many respects this is a very retro style of play and vehicle design, reminiscent of the Old Skool "Star Wars Mini-Rigs". Others would call it a "because we say so" mode referring to Hasbro basically making up a design and just asking fans to accept it. Either way I think it's kind of fun and I like the idea that it is not a dramatic, gigantic vehicle but instead a smaller, more mobile one. I also dig the inclusion of three weapon barrels (two on the wings, one in the middle) since he is called out as a bombardier in his official Hasbro write up (a carry over from G1 Swoop's tech specs). I can easily imagine Ptero swooping in (heh) and blasting enemies from above.

This mode shows off all the same colors as the previous form, though you do get a bit more silver emphasis in the middle thanks to the back of the seat that Ptero sits in.

Transformation to Weapon Mode (from Vehicle Mode):

  1. Detach Ptero if attached.
  2. Swing the silver "seat back" panel down.
  3. Swing the ends of the wings out.
  4. Swing the peg out from the back.

Weapon Mode:
Like most of the Titan Master weapon modes this is basically a variation on the vehicle mode. To me he looks like a futuristic crossbow thanks to the way the wings stick out to the sides and the weapon barrel in the center. The 5mm peg in the back allows larger figures to hold him in this form.

Final Thoughts:
Ptero is a fun G1 Swoop homage and I appreciate just how much of G1 Swoop's details went into this figure. The sculpt is great and he makes a fun accessory for other "Titans Return" figures. He definitely could have used more paint but that is my only real complaint. Recommended!

Pros:

  • Fun G1 Swoop homage both with Ptero himself and the mini-beast/vehicle.
  • Fun weapon mode.
  • Nice bright plastic colors.

Cons:

  • Ptero could have used some more color in robot mode.
  • The mini-beast/vehicle needs more deco to look more interesting.