Transformers Generations Titans Return Deluxe
Item No.: Asst. B7762 No. B7033 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Tiny head robot Xort, helicopter, two guns Action Feature:Transforms from head to robot Retail:$14.99 Availability: September 2016 Other: Wobbly, loose, and bobbly
Depending on what kind of Transformers fan you are, you may have no idea who Highbrow is. He appeared on the cartoon in a flash. I couldn't tell you what he did in the comics. He's not in the movies, or video games, and he's probably the least well known of the 1987 Autobot Headmasters. This toy has a few curious choices and a few problems. I won't say "don't buy it" but I'll say don't buy it first - get this one to finish your set.
I've got no real emotional attachment to this guy, so I can say it's a nice G1-esque toy with the kind of colors and details you would probably imagine from a toy aimed at adults. It's not perfect - the accessory interaction is my main problem - but given that it cleverly makes use of existing Scourge parts, it's quite impressive.
This 1.5-inch head robot is Xort, and he's Fracas (the mold from Scourge) with a new face plate on the back. Basically. At first glance it would seem the two are identical, but the backs of the hands and the sides of the legs are a little different. Xort has a few more details. Also a "#1" above the heel on mine. Also the head is a tiny bit different, plus or minus some paint. I'd say Fracas looks better overall, and Xort really doesn't match his ancestor Gort in terms of color matching. The name change was no doubt due to trademark reasons, but the colors? Well, I assume it must have had to do with room in the tooling. He's OK - but the details on the chest and head colors look barely anything like the original toy. This doesn't bother me all that much, but it is always curious which features Hasbro selects to retain.
Quality control on my sample is iffy. The knees are floppy - like "thrift store damaged goods" floppy. The hips are loose, but not quite as loose. To top it off, the clip in Highbrow's neck to connect the head via Xort's noggin is super wobbly. It's not just Xort - any head will nod back and forth in this clip. I rarely say this, but I'd probably buy an upgrade kit to fix this and some of the other loose heads. It looks nice but is functionally weak. It'll be fine on your shelf, but it's super floppy. If Highbrow were to go headbanging, Xort would kick Highbrow in the eyes.
The head mode is good, even great. It seems to owe the most to the US version of the robot head as seen in the "Rebirth" episodes with a gunmetal helmet, a visor, and a grey face. It's Highbrow! Or a Highbrow - given the Takara-Tomy remolding, you've got options.
As a chooper, Highbrow is decent update of the original who was built around a few Scourge parts - you'll notice the rear of the toy has the same transformation as the front of the space boat mode of Scourge, pulling out, twisting around, and folding over itself. This is by design in the line, where they sneak in a lot of reused parts in small ways to - I assume - keep the tooling and design budget down while giving us toys that look completely new. It's incredible, and the chopper looks decent. It has two double-bladed blades while the original toy had two triple-bladed blades, and the wings aren't quite as bent as the original. You can still mount the guns on the wings, and they have very obvious landing wheels on them. Unfortunately, cramming the magazines in the hexagonal wing holes so the wheels touch the ground is a tight fit and I assume, with time, it will scrape off some paint. The detailing is good, with little guns on the nose, the wings, and of course, the guns. Guns should be on all of the guns. You can merge his two guns together to be a big weapon with a seat for a Titan Masters figure, but odds are you won't do this. It's just a nice extra. The back of the vehicle looks like feet, but I guess that's the way of things.
Transformation is a little tricky, but you can pretty much see where everything should go. I had some issues tabbing together the back of the helicopter, but other than that everything was a snap. The arms become the grey things on the sides that look like arms, the legs become the foot-like things on the back that look like feet, and the canopy area just goes on the robot's back.
The robot is nice - it borrows elements from the old Highbrows, one of which caught me by surprise. There's a little grey box on his chest. The original toy opened up to reveal tech specs, which is no longer a thing. This one is jointed - so it pops out at an angle, to better resemble a similarly sculpted element on the original toy. You can push it in flat, too. It's not necessary for the transformation, it's just a nice perk. As mentioned above, he's got a great head sculpt - but with the colors (and your familiarity with old toys) he might remind you of the original Autobot Jumpstarters Topspin and Twin Twist. Maybe. The figure has about 19 meaningful points of articulation, much of which is in the arms - double shoulders, swivel and bend elbow regions, jointed wrists, and all of that stuff. He has numerous 5mm holes to store weapons and stuff, which is nice - but really you're just going to make use of his fists, which have somewhat loose wrists on my sample. Your mileage may vary, but once the guns are in his hands the friction on the forearms hold them in place. I'm sure this could be read as some sort of unfortunate metaphor, but that's not why we're here, so let's just say it's a pretty great robot with a few friction issues.
This is not the best toy in the line. I love the colors, the sculpt, the details, and the toy in every mode - I just wish the parts fit together better and it was a bit sturdier. If I so much as pick up the robot Highbrow, the Xort legs fly in all directions. The guns don't quite fit as landing gear, as they were clearly sculpted to be, without a fight. But he can stand, he can transform, and he'll decorate your desk nicely. Don't not get him, but don't make him a priority. Reserve that for Wolfwire and Chromedome from this wave.
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