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Old 2016-12-19, 04:43 PM   #1
Clay
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Smile Titans Return discussion thread

I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THEM.

They are, on the whole, more fun than what they looked, yeah? Making everyone a Headmaster seems odd, but the interaction between the head figures and the larger figures is still entertaining, and definitely induces the "grab it and fiddle with it" nerve.

My opinion of the littlest offerings has improved somewhat after learning that the heads are actually made to interact with or complete the vehicle/critter they come with. I really like the little Overkill.

Also, kudos to Hasbro for actually getting the full seven-member basic assortment of 1987 Headmaster reduxes out within a window of a couple of months. None of that four year gap between the Classics Seekers and the Generations' complements or doling the Insecticons out over three years. They actually managed to maintain focus and do a whole subgroup together, not just in a reasonable amount of time, but quickly! That doesn't happen much.
 
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Old 2016-12-19, 09:09 PM   #2
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I like them too! Mostly for being the awesome 1987 characters whose box art was better than their toys! I can't say they're all hits (Mindwipe and Skullsmasher are just not quite there, and Galvatron's spoilt by that silly flip up battle-mask), but they are fun. I like the design work and the mould re-use is helped by some neat retooling.

Not gone overboard with these, due to the increased cost, but the ones I do have I like very much. Especially Blaster, who's a surprise hit!
 
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Old 2016-12-19, 09:16 PM   #3
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The TR line has been great! I missed out on CW when it was in stores, but made up for it with the likes of TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshalls. The 'fun' factor of that line translated right into the TR line, albeit in a different direction. I've made a few purchases so far:

PM Optimus Prime, Hardhead, Skullcruncher, Hot Rod, Getaway (Breakaway), Brainstorm, Loudmouth, and Squeezeplay (Crashbash)

I don't have any of the Voyagers yet, but I've been tempted several times by Galvatron and Astrotrain. I'm waiting on a Soundwave to show up at retail around me. Maybe after Christmas, plus a few of more Titan Masters like Apeface.

You know what's really sparking all this fun for me? My 4 year old boy. He's got a bunch of Rescue Bots, and the CW/TR lines have had some quick, and as you mentioned, 'fiddle with it' transformations so I can keep up. My boy really likes all the Headmasters and their interchangeability too, which he refers to as 'little guys'. It's been great to be able to play along side him for a change (instead of "Hold on... Daddy just needs a few minutes to get 'Transformer X' into car mode..." *son loses interest*).

Conversely, I recently picked up the G1 redecos of the AoE dinobots, which are cool, but they don't rank up there on the fun scale since they're really fiddly and tricky to transform. Not too many years separate these designs, so I'm glad that Hasbro went back to what made Transformers toys in the first place.

Long story short, the Titans Return figures are simply fun.
 


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Old 2016-12-19, 11:15 PM   #4
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They are, on the whole, more fun than what they looked, yeah?
Absolutely yes. With some caveats, but overall I think this is a line where the whole is more than the sum of it's parts. Ironically, I feel like it does a much better job of evoking that feeling than Combiner Wars did, even though CW was literally designed around that concept.

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Making everyone a Headmaster seems odd, but the interaction between the head figures and the larger figures is still entertaining, and definitely induces the "grab it and fiddle with it" nerve.
I don't mind making everyone a Headmaster so much as I mind not making full toys of popular G1 Headmasters in the line where everyone is a Headmaster. But that's a ship that's sailed and I've decided not to let it spoil the fun for me.

I do think that there were some odd choices about which characters to make, though. There's a reason why all the original Headmasters had boxy noggins, and it's because that's the only way to hide all the arms and legs folded up in there. So while characters like Blurr, Optimus, Doublecross or Broadside can be adapted pretty seamlessly, Scourge, Astrotrain, Hot Rod or Galvatron don't work quite as well in my eyes.

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My opinion of the littlest offerings has improved somewhat after learning that the heads are actually made to interact with or complete the vehicle/critter they come with. I really like the little Overkill.
The little TM sets are super-cool, but they're also so expensive up here that I just can't justify buying them unless they're on deep discount. $9 is just too much for a barely-articulated midget that turns into a head and a mini-vehicle that transforms in two steps. I like 'em but it's a shame that Hasbro couldn't have either kept the cost a bit lower or squeezed in just a bit more value with an extra gun or something.

Especially with the all the bigger price points dropping a dollar or two at the start of TR in most of our stores, the price of the Titan Master packs just really seems disproportionate.

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Also, kudos to Hasbro for actually getting the full seven-member basic assortment of 1987 Headmaster reduxes out within a window of a couple of months. None of that four year gap between the Classics Seekers and the Generations' complements or doling the Insecticons out over three years. They actually managed to maintain focus and do a whole subgroup together, not just in a reasonable amount of time, but quickly! That doesn't happen much.
Boo for making Brainstorm an exclusive, though. But in general, I agree with you. Even when they first announced that they were doing a Headmaster line I didn't really expect to see all these guys getting toys, let alone ones that are pretty accurate to their original designs.

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I like them too! Mostly for being the awesome 1987 characters whose box art was better than their toys! I can't say they're all hits (Mindwipe and Skullsmasher are just not quite there, and Galvatron's spoilt by that silly flip up battle-mask), but they are fun. I like the design work and the mould re-use is helped by some neat retooling.
The aesthetic is really, really, 1987, isn't it? The designers have done a great job of capturing the "look" of that era of G1 figures. Much moreso than they did with the CW figures and their attempt to recapture the fun of the Scramble City combiners. I hope they bring that philosophy along to whatever the next line is. If anything, it makes me a bit sad about all the Movie cast done up TR-style because I'm daydreaming about how cool it would have been to get a line in the future that's full-on Dery-style the way this is full-on blocky 1987 designs. But it's hard to call that a complaint when really it's just an acknowledgement of how dead-on they've been with the Headmaster (and Targetmaster and Powermaster, considering Triggerhappy and PM Prime) look so far.

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I don't have any of the Voyagers yet, but I've been tempted several times by Galvatron and Astrotrain.
I'd have to say that the Voyagers are my only real disappointment with the line so far. I think the designers just tried to do too much with them. Making them Triplechangers and including a big TM cockpit somewhere on the body and filling most of the chest with those pop-up head pieces has left most of the figures in the Voyager assortment looking a bit underwhelming compared to the Deluxes or Leaders. Even Astrotrain/Sentinel, who I like, have pretty weak-ass alt-modes.

Overall, the Voyagers just don't have the same deceptive simplicity as the rest of the line.
 
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Old 2016-12-21, 04:14 PM   #5
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Absolutely yes. With some caveats, but overall I think this is a line where the whole is more than the sum of it's parts. Ironically, I feel like it does a much better job of evoking that feeling than Combiner Wars did, even though CW was literally designed around that concept.
That's true. Overall though, I give Hasbro quite a bit of credit by going simpler and focusing both lines on fun and cross-play. I have a bigger soft spot for the CW line since I got them all on the cheap, but I like the TR line just as well.

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The little TM sets are super-cool, but they're also so expensive up here that I just can't justify buying them unless they're on deep discount. $9 is just too much for a barely-articulated midget that turns into a head and a mini-vehicle that transforms in two steps. I like 'em but it's a shame that Hasbro couldn't have either kept the cost a bit lower or squeezed in just a bit more value with an extra gun or something.
The TM's are only $5 USD here in the States, so they make a better impulse buy. Like you, I do wish they did just a little more, as they're cool for a bit, but quickly fall into the 'meh' category.

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I'd have to say that the Voyagers are my only real disappointment with the line so far. I think the designers just tried to do too much with them. Making them Triplechangers and including a big TM cockpit somewhere on the body and filling most of the chest with those pop-up head pieces has left most of the figures in the Voyager assortment looking a bit underwhelming compared to the Deluxes or Leaders. Even Astrotrain/Sentinel, who I like, have pretty weak-ass alt-modes.

Overall, the Voyagers just don't have the same deceptive simplicity as the rest of the line.
I'm glad I haven't bought any yet then. Maybe when they go to discount I'll pick one up, because I'd feel better with a $15 USD purchase on one than $25. Especially with quite a few stores going to $10 USD for the TR deluxes during the holidays.

I also ran into a lone TR Soundwave at Walmart last night and snagged him. I had already been collecting the data pads (Laserbeak, Rumble, Ravage, skipped on Buzzsaw) and I can't wait to open him up. From the moment I saw some stock photos I knew he was an instant buy. It'll be great to have a traditional Soundwave in my collection, as my previous attempts were Cybertron (Voyager), WfC (deluxe), and FoC (Voyager) with all the data discs. I really hope they drop a TR Frenzy soon.
 


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Old 2016-12-21, 06:42 PM   #6
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That's true. Overall though, I give Hasbro quite a bit of credit by going simpler and focusing both lines on fun and cross-play. I have a bigger soft spot for the CW line since I got them all on the cheap, but I like the TR line just as well.
For me, I think the difference comes from how much you need in order to actually "unlock" the cross-play. With CW you needed to buy at least a Voyager and four limb-bots in order to connect them together into a super robot, and more than that if you wanted to mix and match. With TR, get basically any two toys and they can interact with each other in some way (unless you bought two Legends).

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I'm glad I haven't bought any yet then. Maybe when they go to discount I'll pick one up, because I'd feel better with a $15 USD purchase on one than $25. Especially with quite a few stores going to $10 USD for the TR deluxes during the holidays.
That's what I'd go for. I'm satisfied with the Astrotrain I got for 40% off, but would probably be a lot more nitpicky about the little things that don't work at full price. And I can only imagine the later waves will have more nits to pick, since the later Voyagers seem to have traded paint apps for shitty-looking stickers.

They don't seem to sell through super-quick like the Deluxes do, either, at my local stores. So it's a lot easier to wait for a sale on Voyagers.

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I also ran into a lone TR Soundwave at Walmart last night and snagged him. I had already been collecting the data pads (Laserbeak, Rumble, Ravage, skipped on Buzzsaw) and I can't wait to open him up. From the moment I saw some stock photos I knew he was an instant buy. It'll be great to have a traditional Soundwave in my collection, as my previous attempts were Cybertron (Voyager), WfC (deluxe), and FoC (Voyager) with all the data discs. I really hope they drop a TR Frenzy soon.
I've got the MP with all his tapes, so I'm probably set for life in the Soundwave department. Still hoping to snag a Blaster, though, since the mold looks like a lot of fun. Personally I'm hoping that we get more than one of his tapes made into a datapad (Stripes hardly counts in my books), though Rewind and the TM Ramhorn that was rumoured are at least be a nice start. Now gimme an Eject, Steeljaw, Raindance and Grandslam please, Hasbro!
 
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Old 2016-12-21, 08:01 PM   #7
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Of all the Classic eras of Transformers, I think the characters from 1987 are my favourites. That entire line was just cool beans. I love the variety and colours of them and to see them done up in spangly new tools just makes my heart sing! I especially like seeing forgettable guys like Triggerhappy being front and centre with some rigtheous sculpting and engineering on the go. There's some real love been put into the TR line and its a joy to behold And play with. A lot.
 
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Old 2016-12-21, 09:48 PM   #8
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Yeah, I have to agree there. The 1987 designs used to get a lot of flak from the rabid GEEWUN crowd who hated them for not being the Diaclone-derived toys that they grew up with, but honestly I've always loved them. They were much better toys than most of the stuff that came earlier, just by way of not being so fragile, and the toys often had better articulation too. And thanks to the Marvel comics that I read growing up, most of them feel like fully fleshed-out characters to me (even ones that I really only got to know via the profiles at the end of the book).

And the retro-future sci-fi aesthetic of the vehicles is just amazing. Designs like Lightspeed, Hardhead, Strafe, Sureshot, Triggerhappy or Highbrow are just beautiful, wonderful examples of 1980s futurism. The beasts are probably a bit more of an acquired taste, but even then I've always thought that the 'Con Headmasters and especially the Terrorcons had a much better look in beast mode than the Dinobots or Insecticons.

I would say that seeing them reborn as fully modern toys with the "look" fully intact is a dream come true, but honestly I never even dreamed that something like this could happen because the Generations toyline has always followed in lockstep with the fandom's rabid love for everything pre-movie. I mean, hell, did we get any new mass-retail toys of the 1987 cast before this year other than Voyager Brainstorm? I guess there's the Prime Terrorcons, if you count those. So far this year we've gotten like sixteen (even if some aren't quite in the form I'd have preferred), and another ten if you count the '88 -Masters and the Movie guys who became Targetmasters, and a (kind of shitty, but still) box set of Technobots. Even a couple years ago it would have been unbelievable.
 
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Old 2016-12-21, 11:04 PM   #9
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I mean, hell, did we get any new mass-retail toys of the 1987 cast before this year other than Voyager Brainstorm?
Cyclonus with Nightstick?

He's not really new but he's the only one to come to mind. I'm only counting him because he actually came with a Targetmaster.
 
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Old 2016-12-27, 06:27 PM   #10
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For me, I think the difference comes from how much you need in order to actually "unlock" the cross-play. With CW you needed to buy at least a Voyager and four limb-bots in order to connect them together into a super robot, and more than that if you wanted to mix and match. With TR, get basically any two toys and they can interact with each other in some way (unless you bought two Legends).
That's a good point. For a deluxe and one Titan Master ($15-20 total USD?) you already have cross-play. The CW stuff I picked up (at discount) ran $55 for a full combiner (4x$10 limbs, 1x$15 torso). I didn't think about it from that perspective. And with the designs they've been doing, the figures are simple, highly articulated, and fun.
 


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Old 2016-12-27, 10:32 PM   #11
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Not gone overboard with these, due to the increased cost, but the ones I do have I like very much. Especially Blaster, who's a surprise hit!
I should like to say that, at an entirely anecdotal level, $15 seems to be the breaking point. At Walmarts here, the deluxe figures have been reduced to $10 when rung up, but the pegs at some stores still say $15. At the stores where the $10 price is displayed, they've sold out, whereas at the ones with $15 price tags, they're shelf-warming.


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Boo for making Brainstorm an exclusive, though. But in general, I agree with you. Even when they first announced that they were doing a Headmaster line I didn't really expect to see all these guys getting toys, let alone ones that are pretty accurate to their original designs.
Yeah, I mean I would have considered it reasonable for them to trickle out the traditional headmasters over the next six months with Brainstorm as an exclusive following in another year. As it happened, I think I found all seven within about two months. Compared to Starscream/Thundercracker/Skywarp and the Coneheads, that's wholly unexpected.

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And the retro-future sci-fi aesthetic of the vehicles is just amazing. Designs like Lightspeed, Hardhead, Strafe, Sureshot, Triggerhappy or Highbrow are just beautiful, wonderful examples of 1980s futurism.
You should look at the vehicle modes for Maketoys Quantron. Not that you need to buy a Quantron, but you should look at pictures of it.

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I would say that seeing them reborn as fully modern toys with the "look" fully intact is a dream come true, but honestly I never even dreamed that something like this could happen because the Generations toyline has always followed in lockstep with the fandom's rabid love for everything pre-movie.
I've never understood as that, but rather that they were just making new figures in more-or-less the same sequence that they came around the first time. Minor gimmicks for individual figures can be done at any time (see the sporadic releases of the triple changers), but for the larger subgroups with cross-interaction (combiners and headmasters), it was just easier to do a bunch all at once. Plus the last iteration before combiner wars gave us Trailbreaker/Hoist and Skids, which were the last of the characters based on Diaclone left. So, aside from completely retreading what they've already released (which may actually be warranted: Classics is ten years old now!), it's sort of the natural next step to do a large selection of 1987-1988 characters.
 
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Old 2016-12-28, 05:56 AM   #12
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Cyclonus with Nightstick?
Cyclonus not so much, but Nightstick definitely counts.

The fact that we're splitting this hair shows just how slim the pickings have been so far, though.

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And with the designs they've been doing, the figures are simple, highly articulated, and fun.
CW and TR have definitely scaled back the complexity, at least for the Deluxe-sized figures. And while it led to a bit of tedium with Combiner Wars (everyone basically transformed the same because they all had to be able to yoga into arm and leg modes) with Titans Return I think it's led to a line that's a lot more fun than some of its predecessors. In some of the previous iterations of the line (I'm thinking especially of Universe and Thrilling 30) the Deluxes could get too complex, and you wound up with a lot of figures that were overengineered and not a lot of fun to transform. The enforced simplicity of the recent stuff means we don't get any Deluxes the likes of Universe Galvatron, or even stuff like Straxus or Universe Prowl where it's difficult to transform the toy without parts inadvertently popping off. Or even something like Generations Rattrap, where each mode looks great but going from one to the other is kinda terrifying.

I still enjoy some of those older figures a fair bit, but I find the newer stuff way more fun to transform even if it's notably less polished (i.e. hollow limbs and a bit more kibble). It's a nice change of pace, if nothing else.

And that doesn't mean that I don't enjoy complex figures, either, but I do think it's better when that level of complexity is reserved for the Voyagers and Leaders where it has more room to breathe.

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I should like to say that, at an entirely anecdotal level, $15 seems to be the breaking point. At Walmarts here, the deluxe figures have been reduced to $10 when rung up, but the pegs at some stores still say $15. At the stores where the $10 price is displayed, they've sold out, whereas at the ones with $15 price tags, they're shelf-warming.
Up here it's $20 -- that MSRP seems to ward off all but the most devoted of collectors. But as soon as they go on sale, even by just a few bucks, people are on them like a barracuda.

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Compared to Starscream/Thundercracker/Skywarp and the Coneheads, that's wholly unexpected.
The seekers also suffered from one member of the team being shuffled off to an exclusive, though in their case it was worse because Skywarp was packed with the Classics Magnus that was so popular for a while because of that (in hindsight, hilariously primitive) third-party armour. It wasn't until this year that I finally tracked one down at a reasonable price to complete the set (thanks again, dalek!)

But you're right. Considering past precedent, I really didn't expect to see all seven "basic" HMs in the line at all, let alone front-loaded to the first couple waves. If anything I would have expected a random selection of guys, the HM Juniors and the Horrorcons, all at different size classes and mostly pushed to the end of the line to make room for Headmasterized 1984 Autobot cars and Seekers. With these seven being the batch of Headmasters that people care about the most (Fort Max and Scorpy aside) it's great that they managed to make them all available early on.

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You should look at the vehicle modes for Maketoys Quantron. Not that you need to buy a Quantron, but you should look at pictures of it.
Honestly can't say that I care for them. They remind me too much of the vehicle designs from the Star Wars prequels. I can see why they'd be popular, though.

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I've never understood as that, but rather that they were just making new figures in more-or-less the same sequence that they came around the first time. Minor gimmicks for individual figures can be done at any time (see the sporadic releases of the triple changers), but for the larger subgroups with cross-interaction (combiners and headmasters), it was just easier to do a bunch all at once. Plus the last iteration before combiner wars gave us Trailbreaker/Hoist and Skids, which were the last of the characters based on Diaclone left. So, aside from completely retreading what they've already released (which may actually be warranted: Classics is ten years old now!), it's sort of the natural next step to do a large selection of 1987-1988 characters.
Generally, I think the underlined is what most people expected them to do.

I don't know how much you paid attention to the Q&As that the design team does, but the old team always seemed to be ultraconservative. Fans would ask them about combiners, or Headmasters, or Pretenders, and they would always talk about why they can't do that -- can't do combiners because distribution makes it too hard, can do Headmasters because kids will lose the head, etc., etc... I don't think anyone could have forseen the huge change in philosophy that took hold after Hasbro cleaned house and brought a new team on board.

I mean, before CW we had (if I'm counting right) exactly four Classics/Generations molds that were created for post-86 characters: Legends G2 Megatron, Thunderwing, Scoop, and IDW Brainstorm. One of those is bloody Megatron, another was both in the cartoon and a major player in current comics and a third was just about the most recognizable Decepticon from the Marvel run. The other, of course, is Scoop, and even I think he was a baffling choice.

They didn't even do new molds for Nightbeat or Bludgeon (though, yes, he did get a cool Moviefied toy in the ROTF line). We actually got more new Beast Wars toys in that timespan (Cheetor, Dinobot, Rattrap, Waspinator, Rhinox), and Hasbro's never been more than lukewarm to Beast Wars since it ended. There's no way that ilk was ever going to make a new mold for mother****ing Weirdwolf. They wouldn't even do Constructicons or Dinobots other than Grimlock because it was "too risky".

In contrast, in the past six months we've gotten something like twenty new molds for post-86 characters (maybe a couple more or less...I'm a bit foggy on which of the single-pack TMs are repaints of who), much like Combiner Wars flooded the shelves with Scramble City characters who'd only gotten (if memory serves) repaints and a couple Universe Ultras before that. I might not always be 100% on board with the execution, but the new guys are willing to try stuff that would have been utterly mind-blowing five years ago and I think that's fantastic.

Of course, the last couple lines have definitely raised my expectations. Now I'm waiting for them to figure out a way to make Pretenders not suck!
 
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Old 2016-12-28, 11:10 AM   #13
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I'm kinda hoping they do do Pretenders. I'd be happy with a Scout/ Legends sized figure backed into a nicely sculpted shell that has some basic articulation. Though I think they'd have be Voyager scaled toys for the concept to work. I'd be less hot on Deluxes with a Legion. Er, depending on the execution of course...!

I've been very impressed with the stuff Hasbro have been doing over the last couple of years. Combiner Wars was solid and I love my new Bruticus, and that they trotted out LioKaiser and G2 colour variants, alond with curveballs like MP Shattered Glass Optimus which is a real treat (I love this toy and have been trundling him around in truck mode for most of the holidays).

I think whats selling me most on the TR stuff is that those old '87-'88 designs still seem so fresh and its really good to see stuff that isn't another car/jet/tank. I love having things like Twinferno and Wolfwire! More of that please (crosses fingers for Snapdragon).
 
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Old 2016-12-28, 12:16 PM   #14
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Yeah, I have to agree there. The 1987 designs used to get a lot of flak from the rabid GEEWUN crowd who hated them for not being the Diaclone-derived toys that they grew up with, but honestly I've always loved them. They were much better toys than most of the stuff that came earlier, just by way of not being so fragile, and the toys often had better articulation too.
It's weird how there's huge nuances in the fandom created by just being a year or two apart in age.

Okay, I had a few of the Diaclone-type pieces, but it was the larger stuff like Prime, Ramjet and Grimlock (plus some minibots). By the time I was being bought TFs regularly it was the post-Movie stuff. So the larger, sturdier "neon dayglo playsk00l" stuff.

For me, that's what Transformers was. Being a grown-up and getting my hands on the older stuff hammered home how completely unsuitable they would have been for me as an actual toy. As a five-year-old I'd have completely destroyed one of those Datsuns in the space of three minutes and lost all the parts.

If a Headmasters-era toy broke it was usually due to being played with, rather than because it's a die-cast model car that someone had rigged to unfold into a primitive robot...
 
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Old 2016-12-28, 03:03 PM   #15
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I do have to admit, I like this line a lot. It's even saved me from getting the Fansproject Chromedome, and the figures are just so much fun to fiddle with.

That being said, I wouldn't have so many of them as I do if Walmart hadn't put them on sale.
 

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Old 2016-12-28, 07:43 PM   #16
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Pretty much all been said, but hollowness aside this is the best general audience line I've seen come out of the brand in a long time. Even the mini figures like Fangry and Apeface display quite nicely with WST (and things like Lord Scorpion).

I wonder what the other reactions to that official survey about 3P figures fed into, and how many of these designs already existed in some form at that point? Emiliano's posted a bunch of them for things like Alpha Trion but there've been a lot of releases and there are lead times...
 
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Old 2016-12-30, 02:07 AM   #17
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I'm kinda hoping they do do Pretenders. I'd be happy with a Scout/ Legends sized figure backed into a nicely sculpted shell that has some basic articulation. Though I think they'd have be Voyager scaled toys for the concept to work. I'd be less hot on Deluxes with a Legion. Er, depending on the execution of course...!
Based on how they've handled the last few lines, I think we can hazard a guess at how they'd tackle Pretenders. They'd want cross-play to be a thing, so the inner robots would probably need to be able to swap between bodies. I would guess that they'd make the inner 'bots Legends size, because just by visual inspection I think it would work well with both Voyager and Leader-sized shells. They would probably want to avoid having any shells that are just action figures and nothing else, because that was the original line's major flaw. Again, just eyeballing it, I would guess that would work out to the Leaders being full-fledged Thunderwing-style Mega Pretenders that can transform independently of their inner robots, and combine in vehicle mode. The Voyagers...maybe they could either transform into a perfunctory vehicle, or partsform into vehicle-mode add-ons for the inner robot? Legends would probably be stand-alone inner robot figures compatible with the bigger size classes.

Like you, not sure what they could do with Deluxes. Maybe use them for Gunrunner/Roadgrabber style Pretender vehicles. Either a simple hollow shell that pops onto the robot, or a smaller but more complex add-on that can partsform on as either vehicle or weapon bits?

The other thing that I sometimes forget is that Deluxe, Voyager and Leader are price points, not strictly size classes -- assuming the budget doesn't change, I don't know how the resulting toys would be effected by making a small, solid inner robot and a mostly-hollow shell. Would a Deluxe Pretender wind up being the same size as a Deluxe robot, or bigger, or smaller?

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I think whats selling me most on the TR stuff is that those old '87-'88 designs still seem so fresh and its really good to see stuff that isn't another car/jet/tank. I love having things like Twinferno and Wolfwire! More of that please (crosses fingers for Snapdragon).
The older Generations lines were really sticky about which alt-modes they'd use, for sure. It seemed like they spent way too much time going "that won't sell!" and not enough time spent trying to figure out how to sell a tapedeck or a microscope or a robot wolf. The fact that those things are not only possible but commonplace now is fantastic.

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It's weird how there's huge nuances in the fandom created by just being a year or two apart in age.
It is! But I'm not sure it's just a year or two, honestly. I was born in 1984, and I always got the impression that the hardcore pre-movie fanatics were around a decade older than me -- old enough to get into the first bit of the franchise, but age out of it quickly and become scornful of the "kiddy" stuff that their younger brothers were playing with.

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For me, that's what Transformers was. Being a grown-up and getting my hands on the older stuff hammered home how completely unsuitable they would have been for me as an actual toy. As a five-year-old I'd have completely destroyed one of those Datsuns in the space of three minutes and lost all the parts.
Yeah, like you I kinda experienced things in reverse. I started off with the big, tough post-movie toys and didn't really get introduced to the Diaclone/Microchange molds (aside from a few hand-me-downs and mail-in purchases using Robot Points) until G2 hit. But even at ten or whatever, I figured out pretty quickly that the older molds may have been pretty, but they weren't able to stand up to the sort of rough play that my Targetmasters and stuff could shrug off. And even with me being extra careful the only one that survived intact was G2 Sideswipe (not coincidentally, the last one I bought). If I'd gotten them when I was younger I would have destroyed them so quickly it would have made my parents very leery of getting me any more.

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Originally Posted by Denyer View Post
I wonder what the other reactions to that official survey about 3P figures fed into, and how many of these designs already existed in some form at that point? Emiliano's posted a bunch of them for things like Alpha Trion but there've been a lot of releases and there are lead times...
Wasn't that just last year? I wouldn't think there'd been enough time for it to have much impact on stuff that's been released yet.

I do wonder if some of the change in philosophy can be pinned on the huge Beehives that formed in the Prime/DOTM era. Seeing pegs filled with nothing but their supposed premium fan-favourite character may have changed a few minds at Hasbro HQ about just how much "name" characters help to sell an average toy.
 
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Old 2016-12-30, 12:56 PM   #18
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Having grown up with the '84 stuff, I can attest that only the most solid of the original Diaclone toys survived my clumsy fingers. My first were Frenzy and Laserbeak. Frenzy lost his feet and Laserbeak disappeared behind a banister (it was a weird cowled thing with a hollow interior which I decided one day it would be a good idea to slide him along, he slipped underneath and that was that). Sludge survived pretty well until I managed to snap his robot mode leg off. Slag survived intact, but I lost all the weapons (for Sludge too). Wheeljack lost his fins and one front wheel, and the canopy ended up cracked. Ratchet survived intact (I think even as a fairly clumsy child I was aware he was a bit more delicate than most so never took him out to play). The Minibots I had; Powerglide, Hubcap and Powerglide lasted fairly well. Powerglide lost the pin from right arm at some point (no idea) so that fell out. Hubcap's tyres eventually succumbed to cracking and splitting. Optimus just had to put up with my sister snapping his rifle in half removing it from that peg hole in the trailer and me standing on him which snapped part of the panels on his shoulders off. Lost the hose, but everything else was there. I do recall his stickers peeled heavily as time worn on.

The later figures I had Flywheels, Battletrap, Submarauder and Snapdragon remained hardy and durable. And with all their weapons too! So yeah, more Power to the '86 up toys. They weren't all gems, but they were colourful and fun. And, in the case of the '87 stuff - BIG. And everyone knows the big toys are always more fun. That said, as an adult, I'm more about the Diaclone/ Microman toys as I appreciate the detail and whatnot that the later boxy designs lack. But then I'm not playing heavily with these to destroy them so much. The '87 figures given the Generations treatment makes more sense to me - the original '84 - '85 characters had good enough toys to me to not need updating.

I can't recall anyone being sniffy about the change from the Diaclone stuff to the '86 and up toys, more that you were seen as a bit juvenile if you were still interested in toys at secondary school level (11+) when everyone was trying terribly hard to be grown up.


In terms of Pretenders, if we're looking at an interactive play pattern, then I think you'd probably more likely see a Legion scale inner-robot which could switch between Deluxe/ Voyager/ Leader 'Shells'. For Deluxes, I think some kind of action figure with a cavity the Legion robot can plug into would work - I'd be thinking some sort of Micromaster styled robot with the same basic size whether its a jet/ car/ boat/ tank - and Voyagers having a transforming shell with Leaders having some sort of Mega-Pretender / Base function going on. That would work.

That's an interesting observation about the Beehives that have built up and I think it has prompted some change of tack, which seems to be where the Generations line has started to find a sweet spot, RID on the other hand just seems to be an odd mish-mash of stuff, maybe due to Hasbro firing off the line to be all things to all consumer bases (but surely this is what Rescue Heroes exists for...?)

Its served up the same basic core characters in the Deluxe size class, just repainted. There is no one size class that you can collect all the characters in with guys like Fracture and Springarm having to make do with One Step or those weird Launder figures. There's Legion scaled figures with again figures only available in that scale, plus slightly larger Legion toys with clip on armour. Then you've got Mini-Con's that automorph into animals and robots into...a thing the Deluxe toys can use, with some dayglo add ons, and these things seem to vastly outnumber the of larger robots that can utilise them. There's no voyagers to speak of, instead there are huge, simplistic Leader Class One / Three Step changers which seem to be a tough sell for the price they're asking. The nadir of these is the 50 Bumblebee toy which has Legion-levels of articulation/ transformation and seems to be appealing to the same market that buys those preposterous 3ft 'Big Figures'. Its basically the equivalent of having Duplo and Creator Lego targeted at the same groups and based on the shelves full of this stuff, it doesn't much appeal to the demographics its targeting. In the stores I've got in my area, only the Deluxes seem to shift (and only when they're on sale with a significant discount). Which just goes to show, a line with a bit of thought and focus will do better than one that wont.
 
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Old 2017-01-05, 06:04 PM   #19
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The perspectives in here are amazing! I was born in 1980, and didn't have any TF's that were made past... 1986? Most of which held up fairly well but took one hell of a beating... but I didn't have any of the 1984 cars like the Datsuns.

EDIT: That 1986 comment is a big lie. I had a few: Goldbug (1987), Guzzle (1988), The Race Car Patrol Team (Roadhandler, Freewheeler, Tailspin, Swindler) (1989).

I never owned a Headmaster, Targetmaster, etc. my entire childhood, yet I am completely captivated by the Titans Return line. No nostalgia is playing any part in my enjoyment of these Transformers. Figures like Skullcruncher and Triggerhappy are flat-out fun, and I don't mind the really odd (to me) stuff on the shelves like Mindwipe and Weirdwolf. I don't know if it's totally collectors around me, but these are selling well around here when on 'discount'.
 


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Old 2017-01-05, 10:43 PM   #20
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I can't recall anyone being sniffy about the change from the Diaclone stuff to the '86 and up toys, more that you were seen as a bit juvenile if you were still interested in toys at secondary school level (11+) when everyone was trying terribly hard to be grown up.
That's something I remember all too well. I certainly wasn't telling anyone that I still played with my Transformers when I was in grade seven or eight. Junior high was shitty enough as it was.

But I definitely remember looking down in scorn on future generations of Transformers toys after I...well, not really "grew out of it", since if I'd done that I wouldn't be here. After I stopped following the new stuff, though. So post Beast Wars. I had nothing but disdain for Beast Machines and especially RiD (which committed the cardinal sin of being anime) in my teens and even after I joined the online fandom it took years to stop reflexively hating them.

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In terms of Pretenders, if we're looking at an interactive play pattern, then I think you'd probably more likely see a Legion scale inner-robot which could switch between Deluxe/ Voyager/ Leader 'Shells'. For Deluxes, I think some kind of action figure with a cavity the Legion robot can plug into would work - I'd be thinking some sort of Micromaster styled robot with the same basic size whether its a jet/ car/ boat/ tank - and Voyagers having a transforming shell with Leaders having some sort of Mega-Pretender / Base function going on. That would work.
I just don't see them doing shells that don't transform. Even though it would be accurate to the source material, it's also the one part of the source material that was almost universally reviled, and I'd have to think they'd try to find a way around it. But who knows, maybe they could find a way to make it work?

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Originally Posted by Skyquake87 View Post
Its served up the same basic core characters in the Deluxe size class, just repainted. There is no one size class that you can collect all the characters in with guys like Fracture and Springarm having to make do with One Step or those weird Launder figures. There's Legion scaled figures with again figures only available in that scale, plus slightly larger Legion toys with clip on armour. Then you've got Mini-Con's that automorph into animals and robots into...a thing the Deluxe toys can use, with some dayglo add ons, and these things seem to vastly outnumber the of larger robots that can utilise them. There's no voyagers to speak of, instead there are huge, simplistic Leader Class One / Three Step changers which seem to be a tough sell for the price they're asking. The nadir of these is the 50 Bumblebee toy which has Legion-levels of articulation/ transformation and seems to be appealing to the same market that buys those preposterous 3ft 'Big Figures'. Its basically the equivalent of having Duplo and Creator Lego targeted at the same groups and based on the shelves full of this stuff, it doesn't much appeal to the demographics its targeting. In the stores I've got in my area, only the Deluxes seem to shift (and only when they're on sale with a significant discount). Which just goes to show, a line with a bit of thought and focus will do better than one that wont.
It's the same story here. The RiD stuff suffers a bit from the same problem as AoE did, in that I can't tell at a glance whether I'm looking at a toy that's supposed to be for a three year old or an eight year old. So I'm never entirely sure what I'm looking at. But as best as I can tell the Deluxeish figures sell okay here, though not as well as the nicer-looking and often-cheaper Generations figures. The One-Steps and gimmick figures not so much, as that seems to be the only stuff left on store shelves at times and I never notice those pegs being empty.

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I never owned a Headmaster, Targetmaster, etc. my entire childhood, yet I am completely captivated by the Titans Return line. No nostalgia is playing any part in my enjoyment of these Transformers. Figures like Skullcruncher and Triggerhappy are flat-out fun, and I don't mind the really odd (to me) stuff on the shelves like Mindwipe and Weirdwolf. I don't know if it's totally collectors around me, but these are selling well around here when on 'discount'.
No Targetmasters? What a dreary childhood that must have been!

But I'm glad to hear that the figures have an appeal even to folks that didn't grow up with those characters and that design style!
 
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