Release Date: July 2016
Price Point: $4.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Accessories: Crashbash Titan Master, Dragon/Dinosaur Beast
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 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.
Crashbash is the new name for the G1 figure that was known as Squeezeplay (or Cancer if you were in Japan). From a story perspective, this is sort of an "alt universe" version of the character so he's not an organic humanoid who becomes the head of a robot. Instead in this continuity Crashbash is a Titan Master who becomes the head of a larger robot. He also comes with a beast that transforms from a dragon to a dinosaur and a weapon. It would seem Crashbash is the sentient component of this set with the beast serving more as a transport and combat armor.
Crashbash has a really interesting sculpt. His head has a design that looks like it takes inspiration from the Decepticon symbol. This includes a crest that comes to a point at the bottom, "horns" that come out to the sides and angled designs that come to sharp points. His face has small eyes with an open area that looks like a mouthplate with a point at the bottom. His torso has claw like designs layered on top of the armor. Other sections including the legs have angled designs on them as well. Interestingly this design is not based on Lokos, G1 Squeezeplay's Headmaster. Actually after looking a few designs from that year I could not find any Headmasters that correspond with it completely. Still it's a very intricate and evil looking design and I like it.
Taking a cue from his G1 inspiration, Crashbash is cast in lavender and grey plastic. The lavender is used on the head, arms, back and legs. The torso and waist sections are grey. The face is painted silver. These echo the colors from G1 Squeezeplay. I do wish there was a bit of detail on the torso or arms just to help bring out the details, but this is about what one can expect paint-wise from the Titan Master mini-figures.
Crashbash has five points of articulation. The legs are fused together so moving one moves the other at the hips and knees.
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 Crashbash's head facing the same direction as the larger face.
While his robot form may not have been based on the G1 design, the head mode certainly is! Crashbash's head mode features a distinct helmet section that includes four segments wrapping from the sides to the front. On the sides are two panels with angles at the top and ridges towards the bottom. Near his cheeks are parts of a helmet that bevel outward on the top and bottom. His face is angular with a very pronounced chin piece and the eyes are thin and set at an angle. This is a really nice update of the original Squeezeplay head with some more detailing and more angled lines to give it a modern appearance.
The head is lavender colored and his face is painted silver. The eyes are painted red. This is very much based on the G1 figure which had a lavender helmet and grey face.
In a really interesting choice, Crashbash's beast has two beast modes, one of which is a dragon. I found this interesting since Squeezeplay changed into a beast that looked like a cross between a cobra and a crab. This mode seems based on dragons from the popular image of a a western style dragon. The head has a very bird-like appearance with a small horn-like protrusion in the middle and a beak at the end. The legs have curved sections on top with clawed feet. On the back are wings and the tail is very obviously part of the dinosaur mode head. Overall I actually find this mode more cute than threatening looking. I confess this is partly due to just how small this figure is compared to a Deluxe or Voyager Class figure. I am a bit bothered by how odd the tail looks and I wish this little guy had arms, but that's a personal sense of aesthetics. Your mileage will vary.
This mode has a good mix of lavender and metallic grey colors. The grey is mostly found in the middle on the wings and feet. Lavender makes up other parts including the main body, neck, head and tail. His eyes are green and there is silver paint on the neck. I do wish there was more paint on the wings or legs just to break up the colors a bit but overall it looks okay (read: not great, but acceptable).
There are seven points of articulation in this form including the legs and wings. On the back the tail can swing down to reveal a stand with two small pegs. Crashbash can stand on this in robot mode so he is riding the dragon. I like this interactivity. It reminds me of some scenes from the G1 cartoon where a Headmaster partner would be seen "riding" their Transformer partner in beast mode.
Transformation to Dinosaur Mode:
- Bring the wings together.
- Attach the tab on the back of Crashbash's lower legs to the corresponding slot on the tail (aka the dinosaur head).
- Swing Crashbash's arms up and place his head in the open slot from the back section of the dragon mode.
- Swing the two wings up and together, with the robot arms sticking out from the sides and pointing forward.
- Reposition the legs so Crashbash can stand on them.
This mode is an interesting one because it seemingly pays homage to another G1 Headmaster: Snapdragon. The head of this mode is similar to Snapdragon's with its wide snout and rows of three line details on the side that are similar to details found on G1 Snapdragon. he also has blocky arms much like Snapdragon and he even winds up with a blaster on his back (Snapdragon's blasters attached to his back in beast mode). This mode even winds up with a tail that comes to a point at the end, with layers of armor sculpted in near the base. In G1 Snapdragon was well, a dragon in beast mode. However this form looks more like a dinosaur of some sort (perhaps even an 80's version of a T-Rex). I think of the two beast forms this is the better looking one.
The same colors found in the other forms carry over here. There's a bit more breaking up of colors thanks to grey in the middle and back. The eyes are painted green and you can see silver on the tail (a carry over from the other beast mode's neck). Again, there are definitely spots that could have used more deco, but the figure does not look as unfinished as say, some One Step Changers.
The legs and tail can move in this form, but the arms and head are kind of stuck in one position due to the way Crashbash attaches.
This is really a bit of an afterthought as modes go, but it is still an official one. If you start in dragon mode, set Crashbash aside (or attach him to a larger robot body in head mode). Swing the wings together, fold the dragon head/neck down, swing the dragon legs and connect them to the tabls on the sides. Finally, swing the peg on the figure down. This 5mm peg allows larger figures to hold this figure as a weapon.
The weapon mode is basically just a variation of the dragon mode, but there are three weapon barrels sculpted into the figure to make this mode more convincing. One rectangular barrel is located where the base of the dragon neck was. The other two are circles on the bottom of the feet. Together, they help make this mode look like it has some serious firepower.
For those wanting a complete modern day Squeezeplay, you'll have to wait to see if a proper "body" is made for him in the future. For now this is a fun little set that only whets the appetite but isn't 100% satisfying. If you're into these little Titan Master sets then I say absolutely pick this up, but if you want "proper" Headmaster style figures stick with the classes from Deluxe and up. I like it partly because of the unusual dual beast mode "transport" and the really nice sculpting on Crashbash himself.