Transformers Generations Titans Return Titan Masters
Item No.: Asst. B4697 No. C1101 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Tiny head robot, small elephant Action Feature:Transforms from head to robot Retail:$4.99 Availability: February 2017 Other: First US Release
When you deep dive in to TFWiki - and you will - eventually you'll stumble on obscure Japanese toys that never came out here and are very expensive. The original Shuffler is worth hundreds of dollars and changes from an elephant to a robot head. The Titan Masters Autobot Shuffler puts the head and the elephant in a slightly different format - a tiny robot becomes a head, while the elephant can be a tank or a missile launching weapon. It'a a lot more toy for a lot less money, so naturally I was doing cartwheels when I found out it was being made.
This 1.5-inch robot is probably a reference to something that isn't obvious to me - I thought it might be a Diaclone pilot figure, but I can't find a match. At this size the face and helmet could be a bug or it could be an elephant mask - the latter makes more sense. It's a cute little robot, but like the others you have to squint to see the reddish and grey details. The figure itself is undecorated, but the face plate on the back has a face and eyes.
The Autobot Shuffler head mode looks better than the 1987 Japanese original - I mean, go ahead and look it up. It's weird. The forehead is more like a fivehead or sixhead, with a pointy crown and giant ears. This new toy has a more standard helmet, and the little vents on the faceplate are done in a way that looks more consistent with the current look of some characters in the comics. But not Shuffler. Shuffler's not in the comics. He fits nicely on a bunch of different bodies, so be sure to give it a try with whatever you have on hand.
The elephant mode is cute, but not as cute as the G1 original. The new toy has smaller eyes and ears, making it just a tiny bit less cute - and when we're talking robot animals, cute counts. He has no problems standing upright, and the Shuffler head can be stored in the belly. If you opt to not store him inside, or lose him, the toy loses none of its visual appeal or structural integrity. In short, it's a good design.
I'm kind of surprised to say that I like the tank - the elephant trunk becomes the top of the turret. The 5mm peg grip is the cannon. The legs become tank treads. It just plain works, with minimal kibble. The only complaint - and it's no complaint - is that the rider stands on the back pushing it not unlike a shopping cart, and can't sit inside. Given the scale, this is more than acceptable. It's sturdy and it looks more like a tank than it does a mangled elephant carcass.
Finally, there's a blaster mode - which is acceptable. It's not bad but it's still a missile battery with an elephant trunk dangling off the bottom. It's convincing enough, but not necessary given all of the other modes are pretty much perfect. It's easy to tell that it is indeed a weapon, with sculpted weapon details, and it's not just an "it's a weapon because we say it is" configuration. There are enough sculpted bits that don't require you to use your imagination to make the mode work.
While not terribly colorful, Shuffler provides five modes for five dollars - all of which are fun enough to try. The toy is pretty sturdy, although I did accidentally swivel the elephant face off during a transformation. It popped back on without a big fuss. Hasbro did a great job with this one, and I'm curious to see if there will be a Japanese repaint that's even truer to the original deco with tons more paint. I think the deco here is just fine, but I'm not saying no to a redeco should one happen.
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