"Generations" Sentinel Prime Toy Review
Release Date: July 2016
Price Point: $24.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Autobot Infinitus Titan Master figure, Blasters x 2
Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Sentinel Prime has returned. One of the most powerful warriors who has ever lived, the former Autobot leader looks to impose his will on a universe that sits on the edge of full-blown war. The Titan Master Autobot Infinitus gives Sentinel Prime temporary invincibility by shielding him with a forcefield.
This Titans Return Voyager Class Autobot Sentinel Prime figure comes with a Titan Master Autobot Infinitus figure. The Autobot Infinitus figure becomes the head of the Sentinel Prime figure. Unite them and power up for battle!
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.
While most of the figures in the first wave of "Titans Return" figures are based on G1 characters, this one is not. Sentinel Prime is a name that was introduced back in the G1 era, but he was never a major character until after the 2000's when a character with that name became a feature character in "Transformers Animated". The name would appear again in "Dark of the Moon". Now he makes his appearance in the G1 inspired "Generations" toy line in an all new form as a Titan Master.
The Voyager Class packaging for "Titans Return" is very similar to the "Combiner Wars" packaging. The background of the box is black and the right side of the box (if you are facing the box) has the vertical Transformers logo on it with the "Generations" logo above that. The figure is packaged in robot mode in the center and off to the side you can see the Tech Specs card. The lower left side has a bit of Sentinel's artwork with the "Titans Return" logo under it. Interestingly the names are listed as "Autobot Infinitus & Sentinel Prime", giving the Titan Master priority. On the upper left hand corner you'll see a symbol with a robot, jet and car indicating the figure is a triple changer.
The side of the box features a more extensive look at the artwork. The back features all three of Sentinel's modes along with Infinitus in both modes. The right side of the back features the "eco system" for the Titan Master system, illustrating that the Titan Masters can work with various size classes. Sentinel Prime's co-sells are Nightbeat, Hardhead, Galvatron and Powermaster Optimus Prime.
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.
Sentinel Prime includes two weapons. One is a rifle/blaster with some really beautiful sculpted detail on it. Among my favorite details are some of the tubes on the sides towards the back. I also like the way even the handles have some nicely sculpted line detail instead of just being flat. This piece has two 5mm pegs, one on the top and the other on the bottom. This weapon is cast in metallic orange plastic. Most of the weapon is painted gunmetal grey except for the bottom peg, which is left unpainted. I love the shine on this paint color and it really gives the weapon a nice industrial look.
The other weapon is different. Sure it is still a rifle/blaster, but this one is wider because the top of the weapon also doubles as a place for a Titan Master to sit! Like other accessories included with the likes of Blurr, this accessory basically becomes a weapons turret that can be attached to 5mm ports on Transformers figures. In this case there are two 5mm pegs on the sides and one on the bottom, giving you multiple ways to attach this weapon to Sentinel (or you know, Fortress Maximus). Even better? There is a 5mm port on top of the weapon, allowing you to attach another weapon! This weapon is also cast in metallic orange plastic with gunmetal grey paint covering everything except the bottom peg and the 5mm port on top. This is a fun accessory and I love how it helps open interactivity among all the different figures and Titan Master mini-figures.
Infinitus is a new character created for "Titans Return". While he is his own character with a special set of abilities, much of his design is based on the IDW Publishing portrayal of Sentinel Prime in flashbacks to the era before Optimus Prime became the leader of the Autobots.
Infinitus becomes a head based on the design of Sentinel Prime as seen in the IDW Publishing comic books. In many ways this design is very "Optimus Prime-like", suggesting the "Prime" lineage had some physical similarities from warrior to warrior. In this case Sentinel Prime has a crest in the center, a pronounced brow piece over his eyes, panels on the side of his head that sweep up and a mouthplate. He's not an Optimus clone however. The head has additional detailing on the top and mouthplate that make it very distinctive. These details include lines indicating layers on his mouthplate and bits of armor that stick out at angles on the top of the head. It's a cool looking head sculpt and I like the idea of the Primes having a lineage that is reflected in their outward appearance.
The head mode is cast in metallic orange plastic. The eyes are painted blue and his mouthplate is painted red. I would have liked to see a bit more color used on the sides of the head or the crest as the orange color can be very overwhelming visually.
When connecting the head to the body, I recommend you have both faces (Infinitus and Sentinel's) facing the same direction. This allows for the easiest attachment and detaching of the head from the body.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
Holding the front of the head, unfold the back half to reveal the robot mode.
While some of the other Titan Masters in this line call back to G1 Headmasters or feature new designs, Infinitus' design is directly based off of Sentinel Prime's appearance in the IDW Publishing "Megatron Origin" series. Some of the features borrowed from the comic book include:
- The head sculpt is a small version of Sentinel Prime's head sculpt, down to the crest on the top of his head and the unique mouthplate.
- The sides of each arm feature two blasters on them.
- The chest features a raised, curved section on top and a cuved window towards the mid-body area.
- The knee armor is a similar shape to the way Sentinel Prime was drawn in the comic.
- The lower legs feature tread-like designs on them, similar to Sentinel Prime's in the comic.
Infinitus is very well detailed and I'm very amused by him being a "mini-Sentinel Prime". In a bit of coincidence this reminds me of something I always found charming in the Generation One comic book. Since the Headmasters were very new at the time and they were introduced alongside a ton of other characters, artists sometimes made mistakes, effectively drawing Headmasters as mini versions of the larger character or the inverse. This didn't happen a lot mind you, but whenever I saw it I found it funny. This reminds me of that error, except of course this time it was intentional.
This figure is mostly cast in metallic orange, while the torso is silver. Other than the paint applications for Sentinel Prime's face there are no other paint apps unfortunately. It's a shame because some silver on the orange parts or maybe even some black would have helped bring out some details. As it is, a lot of details wind up getting lost because the orange is such a bright color.
There are five points of articulation on this figure. The legs are connected together so they move at the same time when you move the hips or knees.
Let's talk about the proverbial elephant in the room first. Yes, this sculpt is very obviously intended to be a potential retool and redeco into the Decepticon Astrotrain. Before Astrotrain was even officially announced, fans noticed distinctive design elements belonging to the Decepticon triple changer on this figure. Among these design elements are the pylons that come up on either side of the head and the distinctive shuttle wings on the back of the robot. Interestingly Sentinel Prime was depicted as a ground vehicle in the comics, so this "return" of the ancient Autobot seems to also come with a change in this body and abilities.
The rest of Sentinel Prime's design is fairly unique and not a slavish design homage to Astrotrain. Indeed, there are a ton of details sculpted into Sentinel Prime. I'm not just talking about features like small turrets on his forearms or the angled layers of armor on his mid-body. He also has a lot of small panel and line detailing from the torso all the way down to his feet. I also love the overall outline of the figure. The wide shoulders help give an impression of strength and the waist narrows before leading to relatively wide and thick legs. These almost exaggerated proportions are reminiscent of many stylized drawings of anime robots and I didn't expect that until I started playing with the figure in person.
Unfortuantely, as great as the sculpting on this figure is, the deco is...not my favorite among this wave of figures. Sentinel is cast in a bright metallic orange, silver and red. Paint colors on this figure include yellow, metallic red, silver and blue. The yellow is found on the shoulders, torso and knees. The metallic red is found on the face, chest, shoulders and waist/hip area. The silver is used for smaller details such as curves on the lower legs. A small Autobot symbol is tampographed onto the center of his chest. Now, the issue with this deco is that the orange is so bright and uniform that a lot of the sculpted detail gets drowned out in the visual mix. I know it's not realistic to expect this, but some line detailing on the panels or silver wash would have gone a very long way in helping to bring out the details.
There are twenty points of articulation on this figure. That includes four in each arm and five in each leg. The head area has some functionality aside from the Titan Master connecting to the body. The mechanism that Infinitus connects to is actually a small platform that can turn. Since Infinitus can also turn the result are two different ways of turning the robot head. The pylons on either side of the head might turn some folks off but have no fear! Push them down and you can get them out of the way, leaving only Sentinel's head to move free on its own. If you want to get the pylons back, press the silver switch on the torso and they'll pop right back up!
Transformation to Shuttle Mode:
- Detach Autobot Infinitus and convert him into robot mode.
- Push the pylons that flanked the head down. They should lock in place.
- Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Swing the fists into the forearms.
- Point the robot feet down.
- Rotate the lower legs so you can connect them together.
- Lift the section with the wings on them up.
- Swing the panels on the lower legs back, hiding the thighs on the top and bottom of the shuttle.
- Push the wing section down.
- Swing the wings out, and connect them to the arms.
- Swing the vertical stabilizers out at angles.
- The weapons can be attached to the sides, top or wings.
- Infinitus can sit in the cockpit on the top of the vehicle.
Sentinel Prime's vehicle mode is not your traditional space shuttle. Instead it is a flat and more futuristic looking shuttle, befitting a technologically advanced robot. Instead of a tube like body the main section of the shuttle is flat and the vertical stabilizers are set at angles. The wings are probably the most traditional shuttle-like detailing, featuring familiar curves from the sides to the front. Like the robot mode you'll get a look at a lot of sculpted detail here. Specifically the wings have really intricate panel lines and shapes on them that give the vehicle a nice, complex appearance. This mode also positions the turrets from the robot mode forearms so they point forward. It's a bit of a shame they cannot be positioned independently for play value, but I do love the idea that Sentinel is a flying arsenal even before you attach extra weapons to him.
This mode shows off a lot more of the metallic red plastic which makes up the rear stabilizers, the wings and parts of the front section. Some orange still shows, mostly in the front. Some translucent orange plastic can be found in the cockpit section on the back of the figure. Unfortunately this mode suffers from a lack of paint applications to take advantage of the sculpted detail. There is silver and yellow on the sides, a touch of silver on top and two Autobot symbols on the wings. That's it. It's a shame because the flat shape of the vehicle really lends itself to acting like a canvas to feature all the details mentioned above. Without some deco to help bring out those details, they largely get washed out by the bright orange and red colors.
I don't want to seem like I'm all down on the shuttle mode. In fact, the play value is where this mode shines. First, there are six 5mm ports on the figure. Two under the wings, two on the sides and two that flank the cockpit in the back. Since several of the Titans Return weapons and accessories can become turrets (including one of Sentinel's own weapons) you can attach those weapons on the sides and add on extra Titan Masters as gunners. Add on enough weapons and Sentinel winds up being an insaney heavy armed shuttle and I had lots of fun attaching extra weapons and adding weapons to some of those weapons during the photo shoot for this figure. This functionality also encourages interaction with other Titan Masters figures, thus linking him to the rest of the Titans Return line with more than the Titan Master head gimmick.
Transformation to Train Mode (from Shuttle Mode)
- Be sure Infinitus is detached or sitting in the cockpit.
- Detach the weapons for now and set them aside.
- Swing the robot arms out to the sides and up.
- Swing the panels from the robot legs back against the robot legs on the top and bottom of the figure.
- Separate the waist/hip sections and swing the legs up.
- Open up the panels on the top of the lower robot legs and swing the feet in so the train sections face outward.
- Connect the arms and legs.
- Swing the panels on each leg out to form the sides of the train mode.
- Attach the weapons to the sides of the train.
Keeping in mind again that this figure was really developed more as Astrotrain than Sentinel Prime, this train mode makes perfect sense along with the robot and shuttle forms. Unlike Astrotrain's G1 counterpart however this train looks like several cars of a train connected together, with either end able to serve as the front of the vehicle. The ends of the train look very much inspired by a current day Earth-based train with an angled top section and a window for conductors and drivers to sit inside. The front has an angled Cow catcher/Pilot section sculpted into it as well. The sides feature a wonderful example of taking details in one context and changing them up in another form. The sides feature the same panels from the top and bottom of the shuttle mode but here they wind up revealing themselves as train wheel and window details.
My comments about the deco for the other modes apply here. The windows on the sides in particular could have used some emphasis and it's a shame they aren't painted to bring them out. It's also a shame the ends are not painted (they are silver and unpainted). Theres so much rich detail there (including ladders and doors) that I wish they were given more attention.
This mode rolls on drums on the underside of the train. The cockpit winds up in the middle section where you can also attach four weapons via 5mm ports. It sounds odd at first (attaching weapons to a train) but when you consider he also has small turrets pointing both ways (from the robot arms) what's a couple extra weapons? I love putting weapons on the sides that can accomodate Titan Masters. It adds a level of play to the train that I find fun.
When I first saw this sculpt on shelves, I passed on it in favor of Galvatron and the four Deluxes in wave one. I was put off by the bright orange color and for the most part, the deco is the weakest part of this figure. However as an action figure it is super fun. I really enjoy all three forms and I found myself transforming and playing with the figure a lot even after I was done taking the photos for this review. If you're put off by the colors, keep in mind the more muted Astrotrain is coming, but I would absolutely recommend fans who want a fun toy pick this up.