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Today we're going talk about Sixshot. Besides a quick BUY MY TOY sequence in The Rebirth, Sixshot didn't get any animated appearances outside The Headmasters in Japan. The dub for that series gave him the job title of Ninja Consultant, and thus a long-lasting sensation was born among the fans who knew of that wonderfully awful English dub. And Sixshot does take a bit from the Japanese TV iteration, though in a really weird way. We'll get there.
As a Leader Class toy, Sixshot is more or less the equal in overall size with Ultra Magnus, which is correct for the characters.
But Sixshot is a little bit smaller than the G1 toy, which I have borrowed for this occasion from my friend HeyMickey. Looking at them side by side and the new Sixshot doesn't diverge much from the original. The styling has gotten an overhaul, which I think is for the best, but that's about all.
I mean, yes. This is a Titans Return toy, and so the head is removable. Or the part that's not a helmet is, and therein lies the trick. The Titan Master Revolver is functionally fully enclosed within the volume of the helmet, and the helmet has to store inside the body during transformation.
Thus the Titan Master need not be removed for any mode, so if all you want is a simple Generations Sixshot update, you're all set.
We'll take a quick look at Revolver here. Opening the helmet, there's a headband molded underneath on the forehead. That's the Kanji for six, a call back to The Headmasters where Sixshot was part of the Six Clan of sixchangers. As enclosed as Revolver is, it can seem difficult to remove the Titan Master. It's easiest if you can push up from under the chin. That will pop the Titan Master free without too much fuss. You'll want to be careful anyway, since the entire face is painted in white, so scratches and chips need to be avoided as much as you can.
Alright, so the other Headmasters series reference is the Titan Master itself. The appearance is modeled on Jack, one of Chromedome's friends. Who Sixshot turned in to a suicide bomber, forcing Chromedome to kill him. What an... interesting choice of designs to base Sixshot's Titan Master on.
Sixshot comes with factory applied foil stickers.
Two on the chest.
Two on each wing.
And one each on the legs, down near the ankles. On my toy they're applied pretty well, and so far have not exhibited any signs of peeling up, so I don't have a problem with them being here.
Paintwork is more focused on color correction than details. The legs have one side painted over almost fully in black, and with a finish that nearly perfectly matches adjacent plastic.
The pelvis has a clear plastic part for the false cockpit which is mostly painted over in off white.
The wings are obviously all silver covered, and it looks like they're split between the white and green parts trees.
Some smaller things do get some paint picking them out, like the tank tracks, part of the abdomen, and various silver elements on the legs.
There's a good job of layering parts on the chest to get some more color definition just using plastics. You can see that the color layout is not a spot on recreation of G1 Sixshot. I don't mind the differences, but all the same, it's a good chance that the eventual TakaraTomy release might stay a little more accurate. And this is as good a time as any to note that the particular turquoise used here is among that selection of colors that tends to defy digital reproduction. It's very minty and looks quite pleasant in person.
I'm gonna use the articulation run to talk about some of the design issues that affect the toy throughout its modes.
The outward shoulder joint is a very obvious one, as when raised, it invariably falls back down under its own weight. What we're looking at is a big rivet joint that behaves as a smooth hinge. This would rely on ideal parts fit and material tolerances to form a good joint. But when was the last time we could rely on perfect tolerances? The other shoulder holds up better, at least on this copy.
Beyond that, things are fine in the arms, from the shoulder swivel, to the bicep, and the elbow. The elbow is just slightly limited because of the blocky shapes, and can't hit 90 degrees.
But if you pull out the extension used for transforming, you can squeeze that extra little bit out of it.
A waist joint would be impractical given some of how the toy has to work, so nothing on that front. Thus we come to the legs and the next problem.
The hip joints are behind skirt panels, similar to Twinferno. But these move individually and so don't negatively affect the look of the robot. The forward movement of the hips is on good ratcheting joints with a healthy number of clicks. But the outward half of these universal joints are just friction based, and on my copy they cannot hold the weight of the legs beyond them.
Sixshot will stand just fine, and none of the alternate modes have to rely on those joints bearing a load alone. But it can hurt posing options when the legs start sliding out from under Sixshot. These are also riveted joints, so there's no easy fix.
The thigh swivels are stronger, but move smoothly. And so we hit the knees. Now, on mine the strength of this joint has not been a problem, but the design of the joint can be. The knee moves freely, and bends to 90 degrees. There's actually a soft catch when it bends all the way, and until you figure that out it'll feel like it stop just short of the right angle. You have a problem though when you find the knee bends just as freely in the opposite direction. There's not any kind of click or extra friction or anything to guide the knee in to staying straight, which feels like a major oversight. The knees need to bend this way for at least one alternate mode, but they need to have a solid resting point in between bend ranges.
I mentioned I don't have a problem with the joint strength. It'll hold itself up fine as is. For now. I suspect over time this joint may wear and loosen, and then standing will be trickier. And it's possible some copies may not enjoy this degree of joint tension even right out of the box.
There's an ankle tilt. It moves in 45 degree steps, so if you use it, you'll be hitting a pretty wide stance. And with the hips being on the loose side, it may sag down from there and become yet wider.
The construction of the joints is indeed the biggest flaw of the toy. A design like this requires more stability: Places the joints can catch and hold in positions, ratcheting to help endure the weight of the limbs. Some of these choices would probably work out at maybe even a Voyager scale, but the mass of Leader Class parts is pushing too far.
Next we'll go ahead and talk about the accessories, since they're part of every mode to a greater or lesser degree of importance. Sixshot has the at this point typical mirrored pair of guns.
The cavity in them is relatively small, so they don't look too terrible used individually.
Unfortunately it is a case again of where the combined gun can't be held in a practical looking way. It's a disappointment, as it would look very nice if the double barrel configuration could be held in a way other than sideways.
These will have their uses in each other mode, which we'll look at as we go through. That said, let's start looking at alt modes. I'm going to be using the robot mode as a base point for each transformation. Most forms are clear enough to figure out where to go if you want to go directly between any given alternate modes.
The wolf is the easiest to reach from robot mode. Start by opening the chest.
Rotate the head backwards, and then fold it in the chest cavity.
Flip the wings around to align them with the channels in the torso, then close the chest.
Fold in the fists, and pull down the paws.
Untab the treads from the side of the biceps, and bring them to the front.
Go ahead and raise the arms forward so you can see what you're doing at the legs more easily. Bend the knees forward.
My preference here is to then click the legs up one notch, but this isn't specifically required.
Swing the wings back. If you want you can leave them against the body like this.
But the instructions have you spread them out to the sides like this.
Flip the wolf head and neck around.
Tab the guns together, and peg them in back to make a tail.
Now from here you're effectively done, the structure of the wolf is complete. But notice this hole in the wolf's head. This is the one mode that really distinctly benefits from removing the Titan Master from the robot helmet.
It slides down in this space, completing the wolf head. It's technically optional, just depending how much the hole there bothers you otherwise.
So at least in one respect this does seem a bit more wolf-like than the original toy. That is, the head shape lends more strongly to that rather than looking like it could be, I dunno, a bear or something.
You can't really help the proportions being weird, since the head has to fit a very specific space, so it can't be properly scaled to the rest of the body. It's not terrible, it just looks a little off. In theory the wolf is articulated, as all the robot joints are still here and not locked in anywhere. In practice it doesn't really work out. For instance, the knees are bent as far as they can go, so the leg can't move any farther forward there. The hip could be moved, but then the back leg drops below the front legs, and you don't really accomplish anything.
And for the same reason you can't do a lot with the front legs. All the joints work, but without the back legs to coordinate with, posing is very limited. Pretty much straight legged, or bent legged is what you can do and still keep a solid stance.
Apart from having Revolver in the wolf head, there's a little space for Titan Masters in this mode. Two can take up tail gunner positions, within the gun and just before it with a foot peg.
You can also peg one at the base of the neck, which seems a bit odder.
Starting back from robot mode, let's make a tank.
Fold in the fists, and pull the forearms to extend them.
Swing the bicep treads around, and then rotate the forearms 180 degrees to line up their tread details.
Turn the shoulder caps 90 degrees so the wheels face the same direction as the treads.
Move the wings back a little, then fold the whole wing unit against the back and snap them in place.
Click the hip joints back as far as they go - it should be two clicks.
Bring the lower legs up at the knees.
Hinge the shins up from just below the knee and raise them so they sit parallel with the top of the tank.
Fold in the robot feet, and point the gun barrels forward.
Swing the wings all the way around to square up the body.
Tab the guns to the side of the turret structure, and you've got a tank.
This vehicle mode probably suffers the most of the problem I talked about with the robot, where there aren't enough places for things to lock in. In this case it's the turret, so let's take a closer look at what's wrong. The robot's legs have no means to attach to each other in this configuration which I see as a major flaw to begin with. It's compounded by there not being a solid resting position for the legs in this use. I have to mess with it a lot to get things leveled out between both legs so the tank doesn't look broken. Given it's the primary feature of this mode, I think it's hard to excuse leaving the turret so unstable like this.
There's a secondary issue in the tread structure, because this is one of the arrangements of the arms where they don't lock in place. The wings folded back help to stabilize them at least along one axis, which is no small help. But I really would want to see some real means of holding them in position.
As for the way the tank looks when you go past the structural issues, that's fine for me. It's credible to me as an anti aircraft tank, or something along that line.
The turret even is free to articulate upward to support that idea. This would never pass for any sort of main battle tank, but it at least can pass for having a reasonable function.
The tank mode has an enclosed cockpit for a Titan Master. You might have to move the turret to get good access, though.
Very minimal interior, but it serves its purpose.
Besides that, the tank has one of the highest number of Titan Master spaces, with pegs spread in usable locations all over. I dub thee, "Party Tank".
Next up is armored car, so back to robot mode to start again.
Fold up the fists and extend the forearms out.
Pull the arms out from the body, and swing them down along their double hinge.
Fold the heels down, this will make the following process easier.
Pop the shins just below the knee, and collapse the lower leg.
The rotate the lower legs 90 degrees in toward each other.
Tab the sides together, then go back to the heels.
Fold them in together, and they'll overlap with each other.
They'll lock the sides solidly together, though you may have to press them in again just to make sure it's all secure.
Fold the feet all the way down to face the front of the car. Or fold them back and out of sight if you prefer.
The arms will tab in to the silver blocks on the sides of the legs, though it can take a little massaging to get it to line up.
Swing the wings 180 degrees to the opposite end of their track, and tab the wing assemblies in to the back.
Open the wolf jaw to make a ...radar dish, I'm gonna assume?
Attach the guns in the ports on the wing surfaces, and that's the car ready to go.
This is where we start getting to simpler modes, as there are no moving parts. The armored car mode is set apart from its G1 counterpart by not having a way to transform it where the wheels are reasonably placed. I mean seriously, it looks really weird with a third of the car sitting forward of the front wheels.
On the plus side, this is a mode that locks itself together very solidly. The arms tab in and become very sturdy and the legs are compressed and locked together. Everything is compacted together in to a nice chunk of goofy vehicle.
On top of that, I dig the main Titan Master spaces. The car mode has open air seats, plural, so two Titan Masters can ride side by side, almost like a real car!
The tank mode cockpit can be used too, if you don't mind sitting someone backward. And there's four foot pegs that can be utilized. Though if you move the guns, there's even two more to use!
Again returning to robot mode, we'll start working on the jet. This time we want the chest wings left out. And maybe the helmet. More on that farther down the process.
Pull the arms out and swing them down to their lower position, then rotate them 180 degrees so the hands are pointing up.
Bring the bicep treads from the sides of the arms to the now back-facing side.
Fold the wings out flat against the arms. They won't tab in anywhere.
Rotate the legs 90 degrees so the back of the legs face each other.
Pull out the heels, tab the legs together, and interlock the heel parts as you fold them back in toward each other.
Fold in the fists, and rotate the forearms so the wheels face toward the back.
Swing the wings out to the side, but don't worry too much about how far; they'll need adjusted still.
Unfold the outer part of the ankles, and rotate the tips 180 degrees, then tab both sides together.
Turn the shoulder wheels to face in toward the body.
Attach the guns to the wing tips, and then adjust the wings so the guns line up parallel with the body.
Okay so, about leaving the helmet out like I mentioned before. If you're keeping Revolver in the helmet all the time, you can ignore that and have the head stored like normal.
Otherwise, you need to have the helmet outside because there's not a proper cockpit in this mode.
The one that visually fits in is obviously too small to actually hold a Titan Master. Instead, the intent is that you'll open the chest and sit Revolver or another Titan Master in the cavity inside.
It works, but at this rate I'd rather just leave Revolver sitting inside the helmet and not have half a head hanging out the back regardless of if I was keeping Revolver attached the rest of the time.
This mode has some issues. It suffers of the arms not being secured to anything, but sadly that's far from exclusive to this mode. More annoyingly, the wings don't secure in place.
Now, the hinges the wings articulate on are quite strong, so it's not so much a question of being unstable. It's a question of making no sense. In the tank and car modes already we saw the base of the wings tab in to the body, when there's arguably no need for them to do so. In this mode, you're told to put the tank treads in a position that blocks the wings from locking in place. Despite this being the mode where it finally seems to make sense to have those tabs in use. It also demonstrates a need for a soft click point in the swivel range of the wings, something to guide them to the correct orientation for this mode to keep the guns lined up. As is, if you're very concerned about it, enjoy the time you'll spend trying to align everything on your own. I kind of feel like I'm nitpicking a little, but I don't like what's happening with this mode.
There is space for a few Titan Masters to stand around on top of the jet mode, if you like.
Going once more back to robot mode, we can go to the mode everyone makes jokes about now. We're back to the standard start point with helmet and chest wings tucked away.
Swing the arms down to their lower position, turn the shoulder wheels 180 degrees to face them inward, then rotate to have the hands pointing up, and then fold the fists in.
Raise the wolf head out of the back, and point it basically upright.
Bring up the wings to meet the wolf head, and adjust the parts until they line up and can tab together.
Point the heels down.
Rotate the legs inward and tab them together.
Take the combined rifles and attach them to the tabs at the end of the forward section.
They call it a submarine, and I think that was a mistake. It wasn't a mistake to take the form of G1 Sixshot's gun mode and give it a friendlier identity, they just shot in the wrong direction. With the large mast, I can kind of see where they'd get something nautical out of this, but I don't think the idea floats otherwise. Had it been me, I'd have branded this as a space cruiser or battleship. There's a little more imagination to the underlying concept, so an abstract form is more acceptable.
Plus since there's no up or down in space, you scientifically prevent any upside down gun jokes!
This has most of the same stability issues as the other modes. The arms aren't locked in anywhere, and because the legs aren't compressed, there's less solidity around the hip joints. Also, with the gun barrels not contributing to locking the legs together, the smaller tabs have a harder time keeping that all sorted out.
And yes, of course you can hold it as a gun mode. Though if you do, the tends to sag in front because of how the hip ratchets are aligned.
As far as Titan Masters go, you have the car mode seats, plus one foot peg and the combined rifle for extra accommodation. On the lighter side, but it actually looks pretty cool when fully manned.
This Sixshot doesn't move its parts exactly like the G1 toy, so if you want to make something like the Wingwolf form that The Headmasters invented, you won't get an exact recreation. But as you can see, there are still good options to pick from. Just play around and see what you like. That's what the animation staff of The Headmasters did, afterall!
Sixshot is flawed. Odd design choices, omissions probably necessitated by budget concerns, and materials not always interacting perfectly. It's not any different problems than any given toy might see, there's just more of it at once. Sixshot was an ambitious thing to do. A lot of it worked, but some of what didn't is going to stand out more strongly. Don't let that color you against the toy, because for as much as I might have complained through this, in the end I still feel pretty happy with it as a complete package. I wouldn't suggest going out of your way to grab one as quickly as you possibly can, but it's worth picking up. Just be careful that you don't accidentally discharge a submarine in your face when you do.
|Date||January 9th 2017|
|Score||(6 out of 10)|
|Link||Titans Return Leader Class Sixshot|
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