"Generations" Titans Return Twinferno with Daburu Toy Review

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

Generations
Titans Return

Twinferno General Information:
Release Date: December 2016
Price Point: $16.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Daburu Titan Master figure; Blasters x 2

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: Autobot Twinferno: fire-slinging warrior Titan Master Daburu: Energon jolt to peak performance Unite and power up for battle. Figure Specs: Deluxe Class Autobot Twinferno Modes: robot, 2-headed dragon Converts in 16 Steps Works with other Titan Master figures (each sold separately) 2 accessories Comes with a character card with tech specs Titan Master Daburu 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.

Unlike some of the other "Titans Return" figures such as Hardhead and Highbrow Twinferno is not based on a character who was a Headmaster in Generation One. Instead, he is based on the G1 "Monsterbot" known as Doublecross. The Monsterbots were a team of three Autobots who each transformed into (you guessed it) monsters with the ability to create sparks (in Doublecross' case you pressed a lever to activate this feature). The character does have a "Headmasters" connection in that he appeared in the "Headmasters" cartoon in Japan and he is of that era of G1 toys. Most likely due to trademark issues, the name of the character was changed to "Twinferno" which is a funny nod to his two headed beast mode. Note however that his Titan Master partner is named "Daburu", which can be interpreted as the Japanese pronunciation of "Double" which is a fun way of keeping part of the old trademark associated with the character.

Packaging:
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 Twinferno's case Sawback, Hot Rod, Optimus Prime and Six Shot 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.

Accessories:
Twinferno includes two blasters. There are some loose design associations one can make with G1 Doublecross' weapons including a circle on the sides towards the back and an angled piece that almost resembles a gun clip (this is much more obvious on the G1 version's weapon). The two blasters are not identical, they are actually opposite sides of a larger "super weapon". Connect the two together and they form a larger weapon that a Titan Master can sit on. Both weapons have 5mm pegs on them, allowing figures to hold them or attaching them to the many bases in the "Titans Return" line as gunnery stations.

Daburu

Head Mode:
Daburu's head mode is a really interesting combination of features from G1 Doublecross' toy and animation model. Like the toy he has parts that come up vertically on the sides and then angle inward (these are actually Daburu's arms). In the front the top of his head is angled leading to a thick brow piece above his visor eyes. He has a nose and mouth flanked by "helmet" pieces that come forward on the sides. The parts on the sides come from similarly shaped panels on the G1 toy, however the top of his head seems more based on the animation model which was mostly flat on this section. The action figure had a "V" shaped crest, but that is absent from this design. It looks good, but I was surprised that the toy would borrow so heavily from the animation versus the original figure.

The head is mostly white plastic with some grey on the piece that forms Daburu's thighs. His eyes are painted light blue matching both the animation and the original G1 figure. This may look a bit plain, but it is in fact fairly accurate to the original animation and I think it looks fine.

I have found the most secure way to attach Daburu to Twinferno is with his head facing the opposite direction as Twinferno's. The other way is too loose and the head can come out easily. There is a bit of the "floppy head" syndrome that Highbrow has but nowhere near as bad. This is not due to Daburu's head, but rather the mechanism he fits into. It should be tighter to prevent the flopping around. Still, the head turns and "poses" without a problem so to me it's not a huge deal.

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.

Robot Mode:
Daburu's robot form is a really super fun homage that almost makes purchasing this figure worthwhile all by itself. A bit of history: during the Japanese "Headmasters" series, the Monsterbots were sent to the planet Beast. On that planet were anthropomorphic animals who sported battle armor and weapons. In Japan these were marketed as part of the Japanese Transformer stoy line (while outside Japan they were known as "Battle Beasts", a completely separate line). One of these characters was White Leo who was, you guessed it, an anthropomorphic white lion. To pay homage to the Headmasters series, Hasbro based Daburu's design on White Leo himself! The most obvious features carried over from White Leo are found on Daburu's head, which sports lines on top referencing White Leo's mane and a feline-like face complete with White Leo's distinctive eyepatch! The chest design also features shapes that call back to the shape of White Leo's chest armor. Look down a bit and you'll see his feet are actually paws complete with individually sculpted claws!

This is a fantastic Easter Egg for Transformers fans and really shows the designers are aware of the brand's history and various lesser known incarnations. While hardcore Transformers fans may consider a series like "Headmasters" common knowledge, there are many who think "Transformers" ended with season 3 and didn't resume until the Unicron Trilogy. For those fans this may just be a fun and unusual design, so everyone wins!

Daburu is cast in black, white and grey plastic. Sadly he is unpainted in robot mode. I would have liked to have seen his eyepatch painted at the very least. Part of me is very curious to see what (if anything) Takara Tomy does with this figure since they often give their Headmaster figures plenty of deco.

This figure has the standard five points of articulation for Titan Masters: the head, arms, hip and knees. Since the legs are fused together they move together.

Robot Mode:
Twinferno is one of those great examples of the designers paying a lot of attention to the original figure when developing the "Generations" version. Almost every detail on this figure is some type of callback to features on G1 Doublecross. He retains the basic shape of G1 Doublecross (though I'm glad his wings can move in different positions on the back) but there's also a lot of smaller details carried over from his G1 counterpart. Here's a rundown of some of the key details:

    The chest features a "collar" like design in the center and on either side or rectangular sections.
  • The middle of the torso features a raised circle. This is actually a visual reference to the button that would activate G1 Doublecross' "spark" feature.
  • On either side of the aforementioned raised circle are two circles set vertically. These same details can be found on G1 Doublecross.
  • The waist area has two raised rectangular areas and one in the middle with a beveled edge.
  • Each arm is made up of the heads and necks of the beast mode, giving him "dragon head hands".
  • The inner thighs feature rows of overlapping armor lines, similar to a pattern on the inner thighs of G1 Doublecross.
  • G1 Doublecross featured a sticker which showed some vents on the sides of his legs. This same piece now forms Twinferno's feet, but the "vent" details are still there, tampographed onto the sides.

Like G1 Doublecross this figure is cast in grey, black and white plastic. The grey and black make up most of the figure. Some translucent black plastic is used for the wings on his back. In terms of color matching the G1 figure, the designers did their best, going so far as to paint his shoulder armor and waist-plate red (they were red plastic on the G1 toy). Other small details carry over too such as red on the chest, yellow on the waist area and silver on the knees. An Autobot symbol rounds out the details on the right side of the chest. Overall the designers did a great job of taking the G1 color scheme and making it work for this figure.

There are twenty one points of articulation on this figure including four on each arm and five on each leg. One point that some fans have had issues with is the lack of wrist articulation so you can rotate the dragon heads. Personally I am not all that bothered by this (and hey, it's G1 accurate!) but I can see why some folks would want that option. Since you can rotate the arm at the shoulder, I don't think wrist articulation is all that important (but it would have been nice, I agree). Each blaster can fit into the hinge piece for the dragon head jaws. You can also use the tabs on the weapons to connect them to the slots on the red shoulder armor pieces. For weapon storage there are 5mm ports on his wings, so you can stash the weapons back there if you want your Twinferno to go into full melee combat mode!

Transformation to Beast Mode:

  1. Detach Daburu and convert him into robot mode.
  2. Detach the weapons and set them aside for now.
  3. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  4. Holding the shoulders, swing the arms together towards the middle.
  5. Swing the entire section up (beast mode arms and all), attaching the on the torso section to the corresponding slots on the shoulder armor.
  6. Move the beast mode tail halves up.
  7. Swing the feet and the grey panels they are attached to out to the sides.
  8. Connect the lower legs together.
  9. Swing the lower legs up.
  10. Push the two halves of the tail together.
  11. Swing the beast mode legs out from the robot feet and position them so the figure can stand.
  12. Connect the two weapons together and attach them to the back of the beast mode.
  13. Daburu can sit in a cockpit in the beast mode's torso or ride the weapon on the back.

A couple notes on the transformation: When you swing the arms forward, you will likely hear a very audible "snap" (or you'll feel it). This is a but unnerving. This is partly because the clip that holds that piece in place has a notch that's a tad too big, so it really holds tight. On one hand I much prefer the piece holds tight than flop around, but at the same time I am concerned about this piece eventually snapping. For the record, I've transformed the figure about six times as of this writing and I see no wear on the tab or the slot, but it is something I thought worth mentioning.

There is another aspect of the transform that is not ideal. When you transform the figure, part of it involves sliding the panels that were right above the robot feet over the robot waist area, forming part of the beast's lower section. On the back there are two tabs that are clearly meant to slot into grooves in these panels. However the tabs are not quite long enough to fit into them. The good thing is, due to the way the legs stand the figure up, they sort of "push" these panels together anyway, so he's stable and the mode holds together just fine. However it was awkward fiddling with this for several minutes before realizing the tab would not perfectly slot into the grooves to "tighten up" the waist area of the beast.

Beast Mode:
Like the robot mode, Twinferno's beast mode takes a lot of its design cues from G1 Doublecross. Like his G1 counterpart he is a two headed dragon creature who has arms with clawed hands and walks on two legs, dragging his tail behind him almost like an 80's style T-Rex. His wings are relatively small and hang off the sides near the arms and his heads have distinct horns sticking out the back. A lot of the smaller design elements from G1 Doublecross make it into this toy. These include:

  • The shape ofthe head has a long snout, long horns in the back with line details running along them. His mouth has teeth lining them.
  • The arms and lower legs are sculpted to look almost organic with "fur" patterns on them.
  • The wings have a similar shape including coming to a point on top and a couple of points on the bottom.
  • There is a saw blade sculpted into the center of the beast mode chest. This is a callback to a saw blade on G1 Doublecross that would move when you activated his action feature.
  • His tail has raised spikes/notches on them.

Overall the designers did a great job of bringing G1 elements into this figure. Some details are a bit more refined of course including the teeth and horns on the head However he has all the signature angles and odd design elements that place his history in a time when the Transformers toy line was becoming more experimental with sub-groups.

The same colors seen in the robot mode carry over here but the red is mostly hidden. Like G1 Doublecross the head and neck areas are mostly grey plastic with white for the top sections of the head. Unlike the G1 figure, the eyes on the beast mode are painted red (G1 left them unpainted). The saw on his chest is painted black and silver from the robot mode carries over on the tail section. This may seem like a relative lack of deco and I guess it is, but when compared to the G1 version it is actually quite accurate to what came before.

There are eighteen points of articulation in this form, which is actually a lot for any beast mode. A lot of this is focused on the heads, which can each rotate out to the sides and in as well as bend forward and back. The legs also offer quite a few points of articulation and of course I count the wings being able to swing up and down. Moving the legs can be a bit awkward due to the aforementioned issue with the panels connected to the legs not tabbing in properly to the main body of the figure, but it works. All the joints are nice and tight as well, even the ball joints for the arms.

In terms of play value there is a lot you can do here with Daburu and the weapons. The weapons combine so Daburu can sit in them, and you can place this gunnery station on Twinferno's back. Swing his legs back a bit, point his heads forward and it looks like he is flying with serious weapons on his back! If you prefer to have the weapons attached to the wings, Daburu can stand on two small Titan Master pegs on the back, a feature I love finding on any "Titans Return" figure. If you want Daburu to ride inside of Twinferno, swing the panel on his torso open and Daburu can sit inside. I'm really happy there are so many options for this figure. Let's face it, after you're done looking at sculpting and deco the figure still has to be fun to play with, and these features add a ton of fun in my book.

Final Thoughts:
Twinferno is not perfect. His proportions are a little odd in beast mode and the tabbing issue with the leg panels in beast mode is rather bothersome. Still he is a very faithful representation of G1 Doublecross and he's fun to play with in both modes, so I give this guy a thumbs up. Recommended!