"Generations" Titans Return Sky Shadow with Ominus Toy Review

in 2017, Action Figure Review, Decepticon, Generation One, Generations, Leader, Titan Master, Titans Return

Generations
Titans Return

Sky Shadow General Information:
Release Date: April 2017
Price Point: $45.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Blaster/Tank barrel, Drone/Nosecone, Ominus Titan Master

Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Transformers Generations Titans Return Leader Class figures are large-scale figures featuring advanced conversion and incredible detail. Each comes with a Titan Master figure. The Titan Master figure becomes the head of the Leader Class figure and 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: Sky Shadow: 4-mode thief Titan Master Ominus: security hack Unite and power up for battle. Figure Specs: Leader Class Sky Shadow Large-scale figure Modes: robot, tank, jet, battle station Converts in 18 steps (robot to tank) Links with Trypticon figure (sold separately) Titan Master Ominus 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.

The character of Sky Shadow has his origins in the days of "Transformers Victory" where he was known as "Black Shadow". Back then he was teamed up with Blue Bacchus and the two enjoyed causing all sorts of ruckus around the galaxy. This character has a particular mystique among long time fans because the toy only came out in Japan and for a brief period of time, so you do not see tons of those out there on the secondary market. Many years later, Hasbro released a new version of the character as a Deluxe figure in the "Generations" line. Now the character is back, this time in a much larger form as a Leader Class figure and a Titan Master!

Packaging:
Much like the Voyager Class packaging, Sky Shadow is in a large window box. One side has the "Transformers" logo set vertically with the "Generations" logo above it. You can see the figure through the window with the name "Ominus" and "Sky Shadow" in front. The back of the packaging shows Sky Shadow's stock art in all forms and the usual requisite legal information and personality blurb.

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.

Accessories:
Sky Shadow includes two accessories. One is a "V" shaped drone with small wings on the sides. This piece is a callback to a similar accessory on the original Black Shadow figure. This accessory is cast in black plastic with red and silver paint details in the front. This is not a one use accessory. The piece can be attached to the underside of Sky Shadow's jet mode to form a bit of an extension in front (and it pays homage to G1 Black Shadow, whose Pretender shell had a similar feature). It can also be held as a blaster by swinging out the peg on the bottom. This can also serve as a "mini vehicle" by seating a Titan Master inside of it. I love how much use you can get out of this one accessory.

The other accessory is more straightforward. It can serve as a blaster for Sky Shadow in robot mode, but it doubles as a tank cannon in the tank mode. This weapon is cast in black with red paint in the middle and silver on the barrel.

Ominus

Ominus is a new character whose name is a pun. If you see a shadow in the sky, that would be ominous, hence the name since he becomes the head of Sky Shadow. Credit to the TFWiki for pointing this one out.

Head Mode:
Ominus' head mode is based on the design of G1 Black Shadow's Pretender Shell head. The key design elements from that original figure include two, thin eyes which have very sharp cheek-lines defined under them. The chin has a pronounced "chin strap" piece and the top of the head features a rectangular crest The rest of the details wind up getting filled in by the helmet on the body.

Ominus is cast in black and grey plastic. In this form you mostly see the black plastic. His face is painted silver and the eyes are yellow. These two colors come directly from the G1 version of the character.

Transformation to Robot Mode:
To transform the figure you hold onto the back and swing it down, revealing the Titan Master's limbs and body. The head of the Titan Master may need to be turned around to face the right direction. In Sky Shadow's case, I found having Ominus' head turned around (so it is facing back) works best when connecting it to the larger body.

Robot Mode:
Ominus may be a new character, but the design of this figure has its roots in the Japanese G1 "Masterforce" series. See, Sky Shadow is what is known as a "pre-tool" of the Destron warrior and leader Overlord. "Pre-tools" are figures that are clearly meant to be a different character, but are used as another first before being released as the "intended" character. Voyager Class Megatron is an example of this. While Megatron was released first, the figure the sculpt was intended to be is really the Decepticon Triple-Changer Blitzwing. In this case, Ominus' design references the Overlord release by being based on the design of Mega, one of Overlord's Powermaster/Godmaster partners! Many design elements from Mega's original figure are evident here including:

  • The helmet design features a distinctive, rectangular top section and a cage like mouth piece.
  • There is a distinct "collar" around the neck area.
  • The chest has two distinct panels.
  • The sides of the mid-body area feature a series of lines similar to those on G1 Mega.
  • The arms feature a series of raised rectangles similar to designs on G1 Mega's arms.
  • The thighs have pointed line designs on them similar to those on G1 Mega's legs.

All that said, some details are rather different. The legs have triangles on them and generally look different than Mega's legs. There are also some vertical details on the hip area on G1 Mega that are absent here. This is not necessarily a bad thing, they are just differences worth noting.

Ominus is cast in three plastic colors: black, light grey and dark grey. The black makes up the head, arms and thighs. The light grey is use dfor the torso while the lower legs are dark grey. There are no paint applications in this mode (other than those on the Sky Shadow face).

Ominus has five points of articulation: the head, the arms and the legs. The legs however do not move independently, they are connected at the knees so they move together at the hips and the knees.

I love the idea of using Mega's design as the inspiration for Ominus. The sculpt looks great and the joints are all nice and tight. I just wish there was paint detail on the face to help bring out some of the sculpted detailing.

Robot Mode:
Keeping in mind that Sky Shadow is a "pre-tool" of Overlord, there is an impressive amount of sculpted details on this figure that serve as callbacks to G1 Black Shadow. Here's a rundown of the details that appear on both G1 Black Shadow and this figure.

  • The head sculpt features a "helmet" section with a trapezoid shaped piece over the face with a crest on top. Sticking out the sides are blade-like antennae.
  • The sides of the chest feature three raised line details on each side.
  • The center of the chest features a rectangular section with several mechanical details, the most distinctive of which is an angled cable running from one side to the other.
  • The shoulders are round and feature blasters sticking up.
  • The insides of the forearms have three segmented sections while the elbow section have a spike-like section that points back.
  • The waist section has a "T" shaped detail sculpted on it.

The lower half of the body is where this figure differs the most from G1 Black Shadow. This half features details that are call backs to the design of G1 Overlord's lower body. That said, their rectangular and bulky look matches well with the rest of the figure and helps to give the figure a powerful appearance.

Sky Shadow is cast in three main colors: black, silver and dark grey. These were among the key colors found on G1 Black Shadow. The paint colors used on this figure are silver, red, black and yellow. These colors also appeared on G1 Black Shadow so their inclusion here makes perfect sense. The silver is used on the head, the chest, shoulders, elbows and part of the mid-body. The red is used on the chest, waist area and knees. The black paint is used on the waist area. Yellow is used on the eyes and a horizontal line on the chest. Many of these details call back to G1 Black Shadow. The finishing touch on the deco in this form are two Decepticon symbol stickers on his shoulders. It is an interesting choice to use stickers instead of tampographs. I suspect this was a cost saving measure (but I could be wrong). Overall the deco looks fantastic. It does a great job of paying homage to G1 Black Shadow and it looks great on its own.

There are twenty two points of articulation on this figure. That includes five on each arm and six on each leg. The joints on this figure are all nice and tight, and there are mostly hinges and swivel joints, helping provide stability to the figure. Especially on the lower part of the body. The figure feels nice and solid. Each fist has a 5mm port, allowing him to hold his blaster weapon and drone accessory. Each forearm also has a 5mm port, so you can attach accessories there as well.

Transformation to Vehicle Modes:

  1. Detach Ominus and convert him into robot mode.
  2. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  3. Hold the upper part of the body and the lower part of the body and pull them apart.

Transformation to Tank Mode:

  1. Take the lower body and fold each half of the feet together.
  2. On each lower legs, swing out the back half to reveal the halves of the tank turret.
  3. Swing each leg back and over the thighs.
  4. Connect the halves of the turret together.
  5. Attach the blaster/tank cannon to the front of the turret.

Transformation to Jet Mode:

  1. Swing each fist into the forearms.
  2. Push each forearm up.
  3. Swing the center panel on the chest up.
  4. Swing the front of the jet on the back up and over the helmet section.
  5. Swing each of the wings down and connect them to the arms.
  6. Swing each of the vertical stabilizer fins up.
  7. Swing the central fin up.
  8. Attach the drone to the underside of the cockpit section.

Jet Mode:
Sky Shadow's jet mode is the form that directly references G1 Black Shadow's vehicle form design (or more accurately, the vehicle mode of the Pretender Shell). Key homage details include:

  • The jet features three vertical stabilizers, one in the center and two on the sides.
  • Near each vertical stabilizer is a round detail sculpted into the top of the vehicle, these are similar to raised circles on G1 Black Shadow, but those are set more towards the middle of the vehicle.
  • The wings sweep back and then angle down towards the end on each side.
  • The middle section of the vehicle has a cockpit section that sticks up on a curve.
  • Under each wing are blasters from the robot mode shoulders.
  • Behind the cockpit sections are vents on either side.

The major difference between this figure and its G1 predecessor is the aesthetic. G1 Black Shadow was rather thick and bulky, partly due to the vehicle having to accommodate a robot inside of it as part of the Pretender gimmick. Since this figure has no such limitations the jet mode is much more sleek looking than G1 Black Shadow. The sculpt also has a lot of nice tiny details. They are found on almost every panel that makes up this vehicle including the wings and the rear section. The details range from wires to armor plates to what look like access panel doors. I really love how intricate the sculpt is on this figure.

Most of this mode is made up of black plastic. Some grey shows on the weapons underneath the wings. The cockpit cover is translucent red. The same paint colors used in robot mode appear here. Gold is used on a large part of the rear section, inspired by G1 Black Shadow's colors. Silver is used to paint the blasters under the wings. Red paint is used on the vents towards the front and the cockpit section. The finishing touches are stickers on the wings. Each of them has a silver background with a red line in the middle. In the middle of each of those stickers are purple Decepticon symbols. These stickers are directly inspired by similar stickers on G1 Black Shadow's wings. Sure the homage material is great, but I love how these colors look together anyhow.

In this form you can open up the cockpit to seat a Titan Master figure inside. There are also three pegs on the top of the vehicle (one on each wing and one in the center) allowing Titan Masters to stand on top. The blasters formed from the robot mode shoulders can be moved side to side. Overall that's a good amount of play value for a jet mode.

Tank Mode:
The tank mode is a carry over from this sculpt's eventual use as Overlord (who splits into a jet and tank mode in vehicle form). In the context of Sky Shadow however, this is not a mode generally associated with the character. Keeping in mind that the tank is formed from only half the figure, it is a bit smaller than your typical Transformers tank, meaning I would normally expect it to be longer in the front and back. Also, due to the way the tank mode comes together, the turret is locked in position and cannot move at all. These two issues are the primary drawbacks of this vehicle.

On the good side, the sculpt is very detailed. Every inch of this figure is covered in details from armor panels to wheels and treads as well as tubes wrapping around the edges of the turret. There are even some line details sculpted into the inside of the driver's compartment. From a sculpting perspective the tank looks amazing.

This mode mostly shows off black plastic. The driver's area is covered with a translucent red panel. Red paint is used on almost every part of the figure including the back, the cannon, the hatch on top of the turret and the wheels on the sides. Silver is used on the end of the cannon barrel and the very front of the tank. A large Decepticon sticker is found on the front of the turret on the right side. I know I have said this in past reviews, but I'll repeat it: the silver/black/red combination is one of my favorite deco combos for action figures, and the combination looks awesome here.

There are five pegs on this figure to accommodate Titan Master figures. The hatch on the right side can open up to accommodate a sixth Titan Master. The tank treads are not functional. Instead the vehicle rolls on three wheels on the bottom of the tank.

Putting aside G1 accuracy in giving Sky Shadow two vehicle forms, I really love how much the designers worked to make the jet mode look like G1 Black Shadow's Pretender shell vehicle form. From a play perspective this is a lot of fun.

Transformation to Base Mode (from vehicle modes):

  1. Be sure Ominus is set aside.
  2. Detach all the weapons and set them aside for now.
  3. Hold the tank and pull the halves out a bit, splitting it down the middle.
  4. Swing each half of the tank forward.
  5. Swing the turret half on the left leg into the back of the leg.
  6. Swing each lower leg out to the side.
  7. Swing the legs forward at the hip joints.
  8. Rotate the legs forward.
  9. Swing each of the wings and up.
  10. Swing the cockpit up, then push it down on the hinge over the robot helmet/head section.
  11. Extend each robot arm and swing them out.
  12. Push the central fin down.
  13. Swing the side vertical fins to the sides.
  14. Swing the wings back down.
  15. Using the central post, push the lower body half into the slot in the middle.
  16. Swing each panel with the vertical fins on it forward.
  17. Attach the cannon to the center of the base.
  18. Attach the drone to the cockpit section.

As an alternative, you can raise the cockpit up so its hinge is at an angle. This allows you to swing open the cockpit cover to create a place for a Titan Master to stand.

Base Mode:
Base modes are among my absolute favorites in the Transformers toy line. I love bases that can connect to each other like the G1 Micromaster bases or the "Titans Return" bases. Not only can you build a cool city, but it helps build the fiction that the bases are part of a larger Cybertronian world. Having small figures such as the Titan Masters inhabiting these bases adds to that fantasy and the grandeur of these forms.

This mode mostly shows off black plastic. The middle section has gold on the platforms that extend forward. The central cannon and tower feature red paint. From a visual perspective, it is kind of fun having these dark colors as a sort of canvas to put Titan Masters of assorted colors on the base.

There are seven Titan Master pegs in this mode. If you adjust the robot leg/ramp sections you can uncover two more. The tank hatch can also be lifted to accommodate another Titan Master. The ramp areas formed by the wings and the leg on the right side are sized to allow you to fit Titan Master vehicles such as Skytread's on them. Sky Shadow's base form is also designed to allow you to attach it to other "Titans Return" bases. There is one central connection point at the back of the main tower formed by the cockpit section. This connection point is a little high (you'll note in my photo I had to elevate Soundwave a bit to connect him). The other connection points are in the front. If you split open the halves of the feet, you can swing out connection points on each foot. Even better, the legs can be repositioned, allowing you to attach the other bases in various configurations.

Final Thoughts:
Sky Shadow is a fantastic example of a "Pre-Tool" figure. A lot of his details pay homage to G1 Black Shadow and he is fun! Many may wish to wait for the Overlord sculpt, and I get that. However I think this is different enough from that figure that it justifies the purchase. Highly recommended!

Pros:

  • Fantastic "pre-tool" sculpt featuring many G1 Black Shadow details.
  • Great deco pattern.
  • Fun transformation to all modes.
  • Fun alternate modes.

Cons:

  • Some fans may not be fond of this being a "pre-tool".