Transformers Generations Titans Return Titan Masters
Item No.: Asst. B4697 No. B4698 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Tiny head robot, small vehicle Action Feature:Transforms from head to robot Retail:$4.99 Availability: June 2016 Other: Eyes, not Goggles
The Titans Return line brings us back the classic "Headmaster" gimmick in a big way, but it's not identical to the original toyline. The new heads don't unlock stats on a toy, and they don't always come with the original body. Characters like Nightbeat exist solely as a head right now, although a fully-transformable Nightbeat [FOTD #1,009] came out a few years ago it did not feature the gimmick. It also featured the comic head, which was actually the Siren head, but that's another matter entirely. This new Nightbeat is kind of neat, but is ultimately a diversion - a weird, adjacent take on a popular character among fans that is an acceptable toy that, sadly, doesn't fulfill the mandates of fan expectations (body, car) or the instructions (part tolerance issues.) This is the least great figure of the first wave of heads.
This 1.5-inch robot is sort of similar to Muzzle, the original 1988 Nightbeat head. The coloring doesn't quite match, the sculpting is different, and this one has slightly more articulation - you can move his neck, shoulders, hips, and knees. The figure has enough articulation to ride the jet mode of his vehicle like a hydrofoil, or to be plugged in to the jet mode through the application of Brute Force. He has a face mask, a visor, and the blue and yellow coloring a Nightbeat needs - but it's not quite a perfect match. This Nightbeat is his own man, and doesn't really work well as a match to the original toy in any way other than a passing similarity. It holds together nicely, and if you bend him over he turns into a Nightbeat head.
The Nightbeat head mode does have a distinctive feature - it does not look like, nor is it colored like, Nightbeat's original toy. The Titans Return Nightbeat has an open mouth, small red eyes, and a yellow face. The original Nightbeat toy has a closed mouth, blue eyes, an orange face, and a blue helmet with yellow lining. In the comics - which is how most people know the toy - he wears a visor, and is commonly blue with yellow and/or orange. Considering the unique eyes and open mouth with visible teeth, this is certainly a unique departure from the original head - he doesn't even have the "pistol ears" - and is in no way a more authentic recreation of any existing Nightbeat toy. It's a new take, it's a new thing, and you will not be left wanting for a "Titan Master Socket" upgrade replacement piece to put on your Thrilling 30 Nightbeat so that you may use this head. Rather, this figure makes an excellent pilot for a Titans Return vehicle or a figure to populate one of the four known bases coming for this line. The head is in no way bad - it's neat, actually, and has a lot of personality - it's just that if they called it "Bill" or "Fartsmeller" you'd probably be more accepting of it as a new toy of a new character.
The vehicle mode by default is a little jet - the wings fold down, and the figure basically lays on top of it. There's a nice red canopy, tank treads, and a little bit of yellow to bring it to life. The figure plugs in to two very small pegs near the back, holding on for dear life as you wave it around your desk and make "whoosh" noises. The metallic blue plastic looks great, and the yellow very closely matches the aforementioned recent Nightbeat toy. I should also note, the vehicle seems to be completely plastic - much like recent Mini-Cons, metal pins and screws were seemingly engineered out in the name of efficiency and/or cost reductions.
Transformation to drill tank (and weapon mode) is easy - fold up the wings. Flip the nosecone to a drill. Flip up the plug to attach the figure - and you're mostly done. This is where the figure starts to become a nightmare. To complete the drill tank mode, you have to plug in the head to a small socket and there's really not enough clearance to get it in there without using a lot of force. It's not smooth, it does not plug in well. Kids will not enjoy this, and collectors may accidentally decapitate Nightbeat in the process. This where the figure goes from "maybe not your cup of tea, but basically good" to "low-level design disaster." You are best served by leaving the head component off. You will be happier.
The tank - which becomes a handheld drill if you flip down a 5mm peg on the back - is really pretty. The silver drill doesn't spin, but it is sculpted nicely and painted well. The treads have silver bits on the sides with sleek lines and equally slick silver decoration making them pop nicely - one side has an Autobot symbol. It's a cool little vehicle, but has no wheels and, again, the figure's ability to plug in may well be the worst in the entire line. I hope there's a retool variant.
As a drill weapon, it's fun - I gave it to (of course) old Nightbeat because that sort of thing is funny. He holds it just fine, and the coloring compliments him nicely. It is not an exact match, but it's a fun tool to give a robot who already has a weirdly inappropriate insect wing-themed blaster. Nightbeat could really use an all-new, all-better toy, but until then at least he gets to be one of the odder toys in the line so far.
Because everything about this figure is strange, I got my $5 worth. Just to have a face that looks like it is sneezing, that is worth $5. I can't wait to see if Hasbro does another completely new Nightbeat for this (or a subsequent) line, or if Takara-Tomy decides to take the basic design and give it an overhaul. Since the figure doesn't fit well with the drill tank mode, and because it doesn't really look like the character, and it's just sort of weird, I'm not going to go say you should run out and get this toy. I sort of am preemptively worried it might hang around not selling and preventing waves 2 and beyond from hitting - it's just not great. But at $5, as dumb as this sounds, I'd still say give one of these guys a shot - if you like the other 3, you'll probably get enough out of this one to be amused. If you failed to enjoy the others, for the love of all that is good in this life skip this one.
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