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It's time to talk about Titans Return Deluxe Wave 3! The new molds, at least. We're going to start with Twinferno. This represents the Autobot Doublecross, who was never a Headmaster originally. Nor was he ever what you might call "important", having only Japan's The Headmasters series for any animated appearances. It might not be anyone's immediate expectation of what Generations would offer, but I kinda like that.
I never had G1 Doublecross, but based on photos, I like how the robot mode's look has been overhauled for its update. There's a really neat visual contrast between the whole central column of the body which looks like 90% generic robot, and then the dragon neck and head arms, and the wings on the back which are very distinctive elements. There's a little bit more than that which gives away the alternate mode, but I have an odd appreciation for how this worked out. The G1 toy's robot mode looked like a Dinobot's robot mode, but Twinferno is more squared and boxy. The visual effect is as if some random dude got grabbed and had just enough dragon parts installed to fake an alternate mode. I don't know why it does, but it really entertains me.
Let's look at the deco for a bit. There's tampographs that emulate sticker detail, both on the feet and on the chest. I'm usually not a fan of this being done, except that the result is pretty good here. I didn't even realize immediately the silver on the feet were tampos and not actually sculpted paneling, that's how good the effect is. The chest vents I'd rather have seen be sculpted details, but the painted outlines are simple enough to not look goofy in their use.
The toy has no red plastic, so the shoulders are paint dipped or otherwise fully oversprayed inside and out. As is the skirt armor. Which looks incredibly sad. But you would be sad too if someone was wearing you for shorts.
Smoky clear plastic is used to great effect here. The "membrane" areas of the wings might be a little too much on the transparent side, but I like the effect better than if they had been opaque. Glossy black paint is used strategically around the "limb" parts of the wings, letting them be opaque while blending in perfectly with the unpainted material. It's one of the best executions of matching a paint to a plastic I can remember. These things are mainly where the paint went. Outside these areas, the paint is just picking out a few small details.
Articulation might be where this loses some people, at least in one area. The arms enjoy a pretty standard range of movement. And that ends up being a problem when you get to the wrists. The dragon heads are hinged, and the hinges are on the same axis as the elbows. This is a necessity for the beast mode to work right. But because they don't have any swivel joints, if you want the elbows bending forward instead of inward, the head-hands will be upside down. I know these "bicep curl" arms are something a lot of people dislike. I wish there were wrist swivels here too, even just because they'd also benefit the beast mode. The only possible bright spot is that as it turns out, the hands aren't good for holding anything anyway. If you can call that a positive?
The lower body has its own issues. Now, look carefully, and see how the hip joints are behind this plate?
The plate has to hinge out of the way to permit the hips to move forward. It moves easily enough, so it's not interfering. But if you only move one leg, the whole panel still has to flip up, and it looks kinda bad.
Obviously to someone it was very important to have red at the pelvis, and since I'm pretty sure the hip parts themselves can't be painted, this was the only way. But it's a bad solution. Even modifying the shape of the plate could have helped, have the areas over the legs cut a little bit so the legs have some room to move forward without the skirt panel needing to get out of the way. It needn't have hurt the overall look or color balance, either.
The legs have a very nice range of movement under that. Besides the standard movement of the universal hips and thigh swivels, the knees are allowed a deep bend thanks to the transforming requiring open space in the shins.
There is even some ankle articulation, with it able to swivel to either side. The foot can also point down, a lot. I'm not entirely sure how useful this might be to posing, and there isn't any ankle rocker to go with it. But it's something!
The wings are hinged, and are pretty free to stay wherever. Even spread flat they don't much get in the way of normal movement of the robot.
The neck connection is one of the looser ones, I'm afraid. It's best to install the head with the Titan Master's face forward, as it seems to be with about half the line now.
The Titan Master itself is a neat reference. If you get in close to look at its face, you can see it's lion styled and has an eyepatch. It's specifically based on a Battle Beast - or Beastformer - that appeared in a Headmasters episode with Doublecross.
So, transforming. To start with, you need to point the wings all the way back, and straighten the arms at the sides, with the top of the dragon heads pointing back.
Unclip the shoulders. This can be difficult. If it sticks, just work on it slowly until the tab slips free, and then bring the arms together in front.
Now raise the whole unit. There's a double hinge, so make sure to straighten that out as you go.
The slots in the shoulders fit around these tabs to hold everything up.
Lift the skirt armor up as far as it goes.
Now, flip up the tail halves on the legs, unclip the ankles and swing them all the way around, and fold the legs back on themselves.
Tab the legs together, and close the tail ends. Now, here's the tricky part. There are three slots in these grey pieces. The middle one needs to fit these tabs on the body. To do that you pretty much have to just keep slowly adjusting the angle to the leg/tail chunk until you can get those slots to line up and seat down.
Next, pull out the lower dragon legs, and unfold the feet. To finish up, orient the legs, dragon heads and arms until you have the body in a posture you like, and you're all set.
Now, I said to arrange it to a way you like because Twinferno is pretty flexible in how it can stand and remain stable. You can get this in a surprisingly steep angle and still have it stay on its feet. Likewise, there's plenty of room before the tail gets in the way to have it standing straight up. That is about the best I can say about this, though. Because I really don't like how this came out.
The body is a mess. You have this really long, boxy core body that is pretty lacking in detail aside from a vestigial buzzsaw. It leads down to this ugly collusion of floating panels and edges at the waist.
And the tail is the kind of thick, stubby chunk that a lot of people complained at Fall of Cybertron Grimlock for.
The organic looking limb parts, while consistent with the original toy, look badly out of place, and probably should have been abandoned in favor of robotic ones in order to unify the visual style more.
From the back things actually look pretty alright. There's more sculpt detail, elements come together more tightly, and there's a more coherent aesthetic. But I believe having to say "only look at it from behind" is not an acceptable solution.
I like the look of the dragon heads. The lower law being overall bigger than the uppers isn't ideal, maybe, but I can live with it. And the inside of the mouth is detailed nicely.
The Titan Master cockpit requires lowering the skirt panel first before you can open the cockpit screen. I haven't had any issues with Daburu getting stuck in there despite the depth and limited space with which to try to pull the Titan Master back out later.
The smoky clear plastic makes it hard to see anyone sitting inside. There's a 3mm port in the middle of the hatch to connect to a compatible flight stand. I only mention that because the remaining Titan Master interaction would actually benefit from a horizontal flying pose.
There's foot pegs on the back, so Daburu or anyone else can ride standing on the back. Or you can make use of the weapons as we slide seamlessly to talking about the accessories. The combined guns tab to the back and make an effective outboard seat. But impractical unless the body is completely horizontal. I was disappointed that the weapon can't be installed backward and used as a platform for a Titan Master while Twinferno is standing. The foot pegs just don't leave enough space for the toes.
There are holes on the dragon heads that theoretically can accept the gun pegs. But the fit is incredibly tight and scary. And even when you get them in, it looks terrible. I like the design of these guns, and unlike most of the ones that combine like this, they still look reasonably whole even separated. Sadly they just don't play very well with the robot.
The other option is to tab them on top of the shoulders. This is easier and pretty stable, though still maybe not the best look.
If you want, you can even peg the guns in these holes on the wings. But I don't know why that should even be an option.
But mainly I just tab the separated guns in on the back to store them out of the way when in robot mode.
Twinferno feels particularly disappointing because it's doing stuff outside the normal style of engineering Generations toys typically fall in to, and so it ought to be interesting and engaging. And to a point, it is. The problem comes up when you see that a chunk of those choices that make it different end up feeling like they're hurting the toy. And for once the issue isn't even one of tolerances, I don't have any real complaint about that except for maybe the neck socket. This is down to the engineering, and there are important things about it that just don't work for me. I wish they did, because this is otherwise the kind of thing I want to see more of.
|Date||December 3rd 2016|
|Score||(6 out of 10)|
|Link||Titans Return Twinferno & Daburu|
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