"Generations" Titans Return Windblade with Scorchfire Toy Review

in 2017, Action Figure Review, Autobot, Deluxe, Generation One, Generations, Titan Master, Titans Return

Generations
Titans Return

Autobot Topspin General Information:
Release Date: May 2017
Price Point: $16.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Scorchfire Titan Master figure, Swords x 2

Official images and text in italics below are from BigBadToyStore.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.

Product Features

  • Deluxe Class size
  • 5.50 inches (14cm)
  • Made of plastic
  • Convert from robot to jet in 9 Steps
  • Include Titan Master Scorchfire that can become the head for other Titans Return Deluxe, Voyager, or Leader Class figures in 1 step

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 twenty 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. Unlike most of the characters released as part of "Titans Return", Windblade did not exist until decades after Generation One.

Windblade was released in 2014 as the fan voted character. The character would go on to appear in both the IDW Publishing comic books and the "Combiner Wars" cartoon series. Eventually a version of her would join the Autobots in "Robots in Disguise". Now she has become a Titan Master as part of "Titans Return".

This figure is a heavy retool of the base sculpt that was used for both Highbrow and Scourge. However, the retooling is so extensive that this review will essentially treat this as a whole new figure. The only parts they share are the main mechanism in the center of the body and the thighs. Everything else is new.

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 for the photo 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 the case of Topspin, his cosells are Ramhorn, Misfire, Blitzwing and Sky Shadow.

Titans Return figures come with a collector card, similar to 2016'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:
Windblade's weapons are two long swords. Unlike the more sleek and curved swords her previous versions came with, these swords are straight with a bunch of machinery at the base. The blades end at an angle on top and there are several tabs and connectors along the length of the blade. The bottom has 5mm handles, allowing her to hold the weapons. What the swords lack in graceful design, they make up for in functionality. You can connect the two swords together at the blades to form, what essentially looks like a giant surfboard with rocket trails in the back (from the handles). A Titan Master can sit on top towards the handles which is an odd way of riding a surfboard, but hey, when you already have a robot whose head pops off to become another robot, goofy things like this are easily acceptable in my book.

The swords are cast in translucent yellow plastic, but they are mostly painted silver. The yellow only peeks out here and there, most notably on the handles.

Scorchfire

Head Mode:
Windblade's head sculpt is based on her original "Generations" design. The "helmet" section looks like hair shaped into a round form with a fan on top. This piece is cast in black plastic. The face looks almost human complete with red lines around the blue eyes and red "lipstick" on the mouth. The face is painted white. After several years of Windblade figures, this is easily recognizable and I like the way the designers managed to sculpt a rounded face design into a figure that is mostly blocky.

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.

Robot Mode:
Scorchfire reuses Fracas' torso, but the other parts are new including the head, arms and legs (though the legs have similar designs). The head features wide visor eyes and a mouth that are painted white. The rest of the figure is black plastic. I am thankful the designers painted the face otherwise it would have just looked like a black blob of plastic.

All the joints on this figure are really tight, more so than a majority of the Titan Masters in my collection.

Windblade

Robot Mode:
The original Windblade figure was very thin in some places, reflecting her stylized, feminine appearance. In contrast, this new version of the character is significantly bulked up, especially in the torso and leg areas. This is partly due to the need to accomodate parts from the base Scourge tooling. Between the central bar involved in the transformation and Scourge's thighs, some parts wind up being bigger than the Generations version. The body also has to accomodate a Titan Master as a head, so there is another gimmick that needs to be accounted for in the design.

All that said, the character is still easily identifiable as Windblade. Like the first version of the character she has wings on her back with large hover fans on each. Her chest has layers of armor that narrow around the waist and widen again around the hip area. Her arms have "L" shaped armor on the shoulders and each forearm has a fin sticking out on the sides. Also, the front of her lower legs have thruster-like details in the front and the area around her neck area has a distinct collar design. The sculpt is easily recognizable to anyone familiar with Windblade, but for those looking for the same aesthetic as the "Generations" and "Robots in Disguise" versions of the character, be warned there are differences.

Windblade is cast in metallic red and metallic black plastic. There are red and metallic blue paint applications on the torso. the legs have some black paint on them. Her hands and parts of the wings are painted metallic black. It is pretty great how well the black and red plastic colors match up with the black and red paint colors. This may not sound like the most robust color scheme, but it is actually fairly accurate to Windblade's original design which was also mostly red and black.

Windblade has seventeen points of articulation. This includes three in each arm and five in each leg. Her swords can fit in her fists or you can store them away by attaching the yellow tab on each blade to the corresponding groove on the wings. For those who love posing their figures with Bandai stands there is a port on the back of the figure you can attach to the Bandai stands for fun displays.

Transformation to Vehicle Mode:

  1. Detach the head and transform it into robot mode. Set it aside for now.
  2. Detach the accessories (if attached) and set them aside for now.
  3. Straighten out the arms and legs.
  4. Pull the lower body down, extending the body using the central bar that was tucked away inside the torso.
  5. Push the wings down so they are level with one another.
  6. Swing the cockpit piece forward and lock it into place.
  7. Swing the lower legs forward, forming part of the vehicle mode's rear section.
    Attach the weapons to the underside of the wings.
  8. Scorchfire can sit in the cockpit.

Vehicle Mode:
Windblade's vehicle mode is a stylized version of the design seen on the original Windblade figure. The general shape of the vehicle is the same, with a cone shaped cockpit section in the front, the robot legs forming the rear of the vehicle and hover fans on the wings. However some elements seem to lean more towards the "Robots in Disguise" version of the character such as a rather thick cockpit section and more angles on the wings. That said, the wings on this version of the character swing forward at angles instead of sticking straight out to the sides. Also, instead of a single vertical stabilizer in the back, this version has two. Despite these differences the general shape, colors and hover fans give this away as another interpretation of Windblade.

This mode brings out some details not seen or focused on by the robot mode. The front section is red and black with a translucent yellow cockpit. The forward halves of the wings and the hover fans are black. More black detail comes from the legs in the back of the vehicle. Black paint is also used on the area that flanks the base of the cockpit section as well as the nosecone.

Like other Windblade figures the hover fans can be moved so they can be set horizontally or vertically (and all the angles in between of course). There is a port behind the cockpit cover that allows you to attach the sword weapons combined. While this was likely intended to have the sword blades pointing forward (so any Titan Master sitting in the seat can face forward) I preferred attaching them the other way so the handles of the swords essentially look like weapon barrels! In a nice little touch there is a landing skid that swings out underneath the cockpit, offering stability if you are displaying this in vehicle mode. Titan Masters can sit inside the cockpit. Just lift the cover up, seat the figure inside and close it. Want more Titan Master interaction? There are two Titan Master pegs on top of the vehicle allowing you to attach two passengers to ride along on adventures!

Note: Fellow fan Jim C. notes that the sword can be attached to the port behind the cockpit as well. Thanks Jim!

Final Thoughts:
A lot of credit goes to the designers for practically redesigning the entire original Scourge sculpt and turning it into this figure. While they do share some parts, it is not immediately obvious until you spend some time looking at the figure and that is the hallmark of a great retool. The color choices are nice too. I appreciate the use of the metallic plastic colors and how the designers integrated many of Windblade's previous design elements into this figure. I do like this figure, but she is not a "must have" in my book.

Pros:

  • An extensive and impressive retool/redeco.
  • Does not just retread previous Windblade designs but instead creates a slightly more "advanced" looking version of the character in vehicle mode.
  • Good deco (mostly thanks to the use of metallic red and black).

Cons:

  • Some of the proportions are a bit odd due to the reused parts from the Scourge sculpt.
  • The weapons are not the most convincing swords partly due to all the greebles running along the length of the weapons.