As of my writing this, the Chaos on Velocitron may have already come and gone. That doesn't make sense as most stores got 2-4 units, but the buzz on the forums said that the stores put it out and were told to not expect replenishment. That seems like an unusually small run, although that may be by design. After all, this is basically a high-end BotCon convention set - somewhat disjointed, even - being sold at a big toy store to a mass market audience at not-bonkers prices. If this same set were sold as a convention set, it'd probably be $300-$400. Instead it's at Toys R Us, and 4 of the 5 figures have newly molded parts. And it's $100. And it has one of the most-requested characters from the very popular More Than Meets the Eye/The Lost Light comic book, which people would probably willingly throw down $100 for all by herself.
The set does a good job showing the gamut of what Titans Return has to offer, while the line still has heat. Combiner Wars boxed sets were sold online only around the time the line was losing some steam, whereas we haven't even seen wave 4 yet for Titans Return when this set hit. Hasbro covered most of the price points, missing only the vehicle/sidekick element of a Titan Masters-class toy for Rodimus Prime. He only has his tiny body and head mode.
The actual tiny robot is Autobot Ptero [FOTD #1,570] with new deco and a new face "backpack" forged in die-cast metal. (Or zinc, for those not in to marketing speak.) The small figure is positively slathered in paint, with a fully-painted "Rodimus Prime" face that hides the presence of metal to black legs and a surprisingly nicely-painted face and chest. Hasbro cut no corners here, which is why I assume they left out the Ptero "accessory" component. It cuts costs.
As a micro robot toy, you'll like it. It's sort of bizarre as the robot is only painted to look like Rodimus, without a matching sculpt. He makes a great driver for Fastclash, but the head mode looks pretty rotten on Titans Return Hot Rod. I'd suggest using him elsewhere. He makes a nice head on various Voyagers.
Next up is the Optimus redeco that is Laser Prime. That's his name on the box - not "Laser Optimus Prime," leading some to speculate this might be a different character. Who has "OPTIMUS PRIME" painted on his truck mode. It's the same as the single Voyager toy with different deco. It looks a lot closer to the original G2 Laser Optimus Prime, but the blue is a completely different, lighter shade. Why? I have no idea.
The robot mode is pretty much the same as the last one, with even gaudier stickers that look like the 1995 original - but with more foil. His sword is now blue, his gun is still black, and the legs don't seem to be as loose as the single-boxed version. Articulation is acceptable but the transformation isn't exactly fun - particularly since you now have more labels to worry about hurting as you play with it. I'd say you won't want to screw with it too much. It's a nice update of the classic robot mode, but since it doesn't actually light up like the original you might still want to hang on to that ridiculously great toy.
I should note that transforming the toy is pretty much the same as the last one, except I disliked actually transforming it so I rarely put it in plane mode. Getting the tail fins in place is awkward and annoying, plus the stickers seem prone to ripping off/breaking. I assume the reproduction label community is already on a replacement, and you might want to buy a second set just to have a good Optimus if it ever hits clearance.
Laser Prime's truck mode looks a lot like the original toy, and the jet mode still looks sort of silly. It can't help it. It was forged that way. Overall I like this deco variant more than the original release, but you should get whatever floats your boat. I'd say both - I love the G2-style deco and I'm delighted by the faux-G1 deco. How can I choose? On top of that, Octone (Octane) is coming as well. You can't escape this toy. It's a wonderful display piece with great forest-burning sticker action, plus legit G2 symbols.
Quickswitch is cooler than Titans Return Six Shot [FOTD #1,658] in that he has more interesting colors. He's also just a redeco with a new face - the prototype renders showed a distinctive helmet sculpt which Hasbro left off. You can see this on the box art, too. The original Quickswitch was a completely different toy than G1 Sixshot, although the father/son relationship via the toy commercials make a case for them being the same toy. Sort of. It's really not a fair update.
Quickswitch can be a robot, fighter jet, car, missile truck, wolf, and "submarine." Cast in much brighter colors, the Autobot six-changer is basically as fun as his Decepticon counterpart but doesn't strike me as a decent update of the original G1 Quickswitch toy. I don't see a flying puma or hovercraft mode here, but the whole teal/red/grey/white coloring is here. If you can only afford Quickswitch or Six Shot, I'd be inclined to suggest Quickswitch just because he's unlikely to get another toy and has pleasing colors. It's also worth noting that his (or the other) Titan Masters figure in this set is nameless. Rodimus is the only exception.
Fastclash is a new mold based on one of the two Autobot clones, Fastlane. You might look at the Titans Return car mode and go "woof, that's ugly." It's also G1 accurate - that old toy was similarly hideous and barely looks like a car. One Titan Masters figure can drive it, and Rodimus fits perfectly in the driver's seat. The car mode is going to require a fair amount of imagination to see as an actual car, coming in at even less convincing than a six-changer's modes. It has wheels, it has a spoiler... but other than that, it's not much of a car. I like the painted wheels, though.
Transforming the toy is easy, and if you futz with it you can see some moving parts that are going to be shared with his as-of-yet unconfirmed clone brother. According to the box it's a Legends-class toy, according to Hasbro (supposedly) it's its own class. I'm going with the box - it's roughly 4-inches tall and rather wide, putting it in the same feel as the Scout-class toys from Transformers Cybertron. He has a great head sculpt and about 13 points of articulation. He has no weapon, but he does have a nice chest tampo that pays tribute to one of the original rubsigns on the toy. I don't know if you'd be happy with it for ten bucks, but as a new mold in a set of decent repaints and remolds, it's a nice one. I appreciate it. It also more or less confirms the potential threat of there being three more sets - this is a "Speed Set" which had a "Strength Set" announced as a rumored companion last year. That's going to Big Bad Toy Store. I assume the other sets are for intelligence and firepower.
Autobot Nautica is why you probably will want this set, unless she gets a better, new figure down the road. The quantum mechanic is a remold of Blurr [FOTD #1,485] and it more or less works. She was given turbine shoulder pads and a new head with a snazzy purple paint job. This means she can turn in to a car with fans, rather than a Cybertronian submarine, but Blurr's alt mode is convincingly not-a-car that this sort of thing doesn't exactly tax credibility any more than a race of alien life forms turning in to Earth vehicles.
Somehow, the colors do a good job selling me on the character. Hasbro could (and maybe should) do a wholly original Nautica toy later, but for now this ain't bad. The head is pretty charming, with painted lips looking better from some angles than others. She lacks the blue visor she sometimes has in the comics, but she has some yellow highlights. Those turned out nicely.
Her vehicle mode is perfectly fine for her first and so far only toy. Blurr's futuristic alt mode could be a jet, or a submarine, or a car - it's not a stretch to see it as whatever Hasbro decides it to be, plus or minus the fact it's sort of a convertible with a big opening in the driver's seat area. It's not super sea-worthy. That doesn't matter - the purple colors look great and you're going to leave her in robot mode, anyway. You'll also overpay for her alone on eBay. That's how much people like Nautica.
And that's it! What a set. It's all Autobots, and the next set is a mix, so the good guys are going to continue getting the most toys. If you see this at or around regular retail price it costs out quite nicely - $100 for a $45 Leader, a $18 Deluxe, a $25 Voyager, a $10 Legends, and a $5 Titan Master toy is a pretty decent deal. If you have a coupon or two (and I did, to the tune of $40 off) this is a slam-dunk of a set even if you already have one or two of the toys in other colors. I can't imagine we'll get another Fastclash toy down the road, it seems unlikely they'll do Nautica again any time soon, and the novelty of die-cast metal on a Generations toy is certainly charming. Also something I hope they aren't testing so they can bring it back on a greater scale. The funny thing is I could see people pushing one another out of the way to pay $400 for this as a convention exclusive, but I would assume it'd sell slowly if made in decent numbers for a mass market. So far it looks to be a short run, and I hope that's not the case - at $100 there's enough nifty stuff in here that an adult fan would likely have a pretty good time with the set. I hope they spread out the other ones, because it's totally fun to get a bunch of toys I want at once like this.
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