Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Titans Return Wolfwire & Monxo Review

Titans Return wolfwire review

Ah 1987. Walk Like an Egyptian, Dirty Dancing, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (UK!), Beverly Hills Cop 2, visible Nike Air bubbles, Predator, Rick Astley and Michael Fish getting the weather forecast very wrong, Oh to have a time machine.

Fast forward 29 years and Hasbro have decided to take us on a trip in the metaphorical way back machine with redo's of that years Transformers gimmick - the Headmasters.

Titan's Return is really in it's pomp with the second wave of deluxe class figures. Chromedome, Highbrow, Mindwipe, two of which at least were in that theoretical list of characters no one ever expected to see get a modern update at retail. Yet here they are, and completing the wave is Wolfwire....wait - who?! Wolfwire is actually G1 Weirdwolf rocking a brand new bod. Hasbro must have lost the trademark and I would love to know who pinched it and what for. My fingers are crossed it's a prog rock band.

Titans Return Wolfwire is the subject of today's article and if you would like to read more then Head On past the jump.



titans return wolfire beast mode

Titans Return Wolfwire conforms to the internationally recgonised G1 standard of all animal based bots looking like robotic monsters. Non of that boring "they look like real creatures but who" lark which would get it's moment a few years later in Beast Wars, robot beasts made of metal are way more my speed than an ant that looks like a real ant (Beast Wars fans please don't send me hate mail).

G1 Weirdwolf was a beautiful toy but Titans Return takes the alt mode taken to a more beastial place, It's shape moves away from the series of connected blocks the vintage toy wore like a champ and gives you something curvier that looks like it could pounce you in the most adorable way possible. He's a cute little doggie isn't he? Don't tell him that that, dudes got a tail that turns into a sword and a cannon that can not only sit on his back, and a very dubious position underneath - it can seat any compatible Titan Master figure.

If you liked Dino Riders (and who doesn't) then think of that....

....or just look at the picture below.

titans return wolfwire and chromedome
No comment
Hardhead was the perfect demonstration of Hasbro's recent attempts to nudge Generations closer to "G1 with articulation". If you a badge wearing Geewunner like me, you've broken out the Moonwalk (in a replica Thriller jacket no less) several times in celebration. So many details on Hardhead were recreated and tweaked to be more modern (ironic given G1 Hardhead was a futuristic space tank) and that same ethos is evident on Weirdwolf. Or Wolfwire. Yellow wolf guy.

If we pull focus to the front legs, for example, the same shape is retained and even where there are changes, such as the blue on the back, the yellow still cuts in to follow the line of the original. There's ton of detail packed in and it's all imaginative techno stuff, bits that look like they'd slide out the way to reveal rockets, more vents than John McClane has crawled around in, and just so many cool looking cog's a bits that give the impression of moving parts and technology that captured the imagination so strongly on some of the original toys, which we often forget about as everyone and their Weirdwolf dog persues the plainer animation look.

titans return decepticon headmasters wolfwire

For such a good looking mode it's a shame the articulation can be best described as - not very good. Animal Transformers depend greatly on being able to look dynamic and always in movement. Hasbro dropped the ball a little because whilst yellow simpsons dog of death here does have a ton of joint's all of them feel limited.

Wolfwire's wolf head (could have been his name in another life) can pivot side to side on a hinge and the neck flap can unpeg to get a howling at the moon, or watching the Death Star explode pose if you really want to. An opening mouth is a fantastic little addition especially when his teeth are clear red plastic giving him an amazing Halloween blood soaked teeth vibe. Everyone know's I love Halloween but that's not even my favorite design touch, that goes to the two large sculpted cables on the back of his head to suggest a neck. Details like that just add to the imagination factor.

The front legs are on big ball joints but due to clearance they can't spread out too far. Now that I can totally understand, but moving down the leg the great swivel and reused bot mode elbow joint a nixed by the feet. A ball joint is attached in the wrong place as it connects the yellow stalk to the wrist (for lack of a better term) which ruins all foot movement. His huge clawed foot is pinned into the other end of the stalk so can't pivot backwards and with the ball joint being higher up - it can only move backwards.

Back legs are from the bot mode shins sliding upwards but not clicking in anywhere which I guess is designed to minimise blocking movement but they give you another strange piece to contend with when moving. The back paws get the ball joint their front brothers were denied and they are better off for it.

You can get him in some great poses but I always feel like the back legs never quite sit right, forever positioned as if some mean Charlie Brown kids have tricked him into running onto a frozen pond and he's now sliding across it with baffled look on his face.

titan master monxo with wolfwire

Colour wise, as you can see he is dominated by yellow and blue which is almost entirely plastic wherever you see it, as well as some off white plastic, clear red and dabs of paint here and there. Each of the legs uses the same shade of yellow plastic - the but the wolf body and neck panel are are more orangey shade. What gives? Is is it impossible to match plastic colours? Welllll...it's because the type of plastic is different for what I can only assume are reasons. But it looks off and is even more prominent in robot mode.

The silver paint on Titans Return Wolfwire's claws looks scratched and looking at the renders it seems that's intentional, just if you were perusing the photo's and how I've managed to batter my toys. It's meant to be like that.

The blue and off white plastic extend to Monxo which is the new name for Weirdwolf's Headmaster partner - Monzo. Hasbro missed a trick by not taking the chance to rename him  Omar or McNulty. Anyway, Monxo's figure is based on the original right down to the belt and crotch details. Clearly someone at Hasbro took the time to stare at bot crotches to get the details on point, knowing that one day a rum drinking nerd would be examining it closely and questioning his life choices.

Monxo follows the standard Titan Master template of ball jointed shoulders that move enough to make him look like a penguin, and legs that have articulation purely to facilitate folding up into a head in ways human anatomy is not intended to. Takara put paint on their Titan Master's face so you can see he has a face. On Hasbro's you have to squint or get out the magnifying glass the bad kids at school used to melt poor innocent insects.

Wolfwire's back has an opening cockpit which seats Monxo and also has enough space for a Titan Master mini fridge that I would totally install if I was a Titan Master. Which I wouldn't be because Arcee and Daniel made the whole thing creepy.

Daniel - "It's good to be together again. Arcee, I just wanna say...Arcee...I...I..."


Arcee- "You don't have to, Daniel. I feel the same way, too."

5 year old Liam - "Muuuuuuuuummmmmm!"

Perhaps a cougar would have been a more appropriate alt mode for Arcee.

titans return wolfwire head

Weirdwolf/Wolfwire has a cracking wolf mode and it helps that it looks like something one of the Power Rangers would ride if Zordon was on LSD.  It's a fine tribute to the original and inspite of some a wonky articulation missteps it continues Hasbro's recent form for putting fun back at the forefront of their figues. He may have weird back legs but it's a toy who just looks great posed next to smaller people whom it looks like he'd love to eat.

It's also the first dog I've owned that hasn't bit me.

transformers wolfwire weirdwolf

After Combiner Wars one transformation scheme to rule them all approach, Titans Return has refreshed the imagination with each mould having a very distinct conversio process. Titans Return Wolfwire is no exception with one of the strangest, but cool, transformations I've seen on a deluxe in the recent era.


Wolf head flips back, hands flip out from forearm panels and that stuff is all regular and straightforward. But then it get's a bit playful with the back half of the wolf body folding up into the chest, the sword tail gets sort of pooped out,  and the legs extend with the thigh cover shifting down on a hinge to clip in and give the guy some shins whilst the paws swivel and yellow toes flip out to create actual feet.

The thing to take away here is that we have actual flip out hands and feet again. Good times are back people. I wish I could run around the room like Jimmy Hart yelling "Yeah Baby!" through an imaginary mega phone.

titans return weirdwolf head

Fully transformed, weirdo without the beardo stands tall and svelte - every bit the boss he is. Where G1 toys had blocky proportions and Hasbro have brought those in subtly, Titans Return Wolfwire has a slender, graceful physique with blocky shoulders to add a feeling of power.

Everything about the shape of the sculpt and they way it poses calls to the idea of a bot who is more sneaky and depends more on skill, speed and grace than raw physical strength. If there's one thing Hasbro have done really well, it's imbue each of the 1987 Headmaster updates with a unique looking body that is shaped around their personality and alt mode attributes in a way G1 tried but was inhibited from achieveing.

Wolfwire's lean frame makes him one of the few Transformers that wouldn't out of place in a standard 6 inch figure line up. There's a man in a suit quailty to the anatomy that could pass as a Tony Stark designed outfit on a day when he really craving a glass of Sunny Delight.

titans return skullsmasher wolfwire and mindwipe
Kneel before Wod
As it was with wolf mode, so it shall be with bot mode.

We return to the theme of G1 detailing and again a lot of it carries over. There's the great honking chest flap, and the sculpted silver detail on the shins which corresponds to stickers on the vintage toy.

It is in this mode that unfortunately the different shades of yellow become way more apparent but in a way that might cause your eyes to cross. As previously noted, arms and legs are moulded from the same colour plastic, that doesn't change, neither does the fact that the torso's different, less glossy plastic, is different shade. Where it gets it a little baffling is that the chest flap on the front is painted a different shade of yellow again, a harsher hue that feels closer to G1 Weridwolf than the rest. It's one of those weird mysteries where you wonder why Hasbro went this route where Takara managed to succeed in getting a closer match.

Takara appear to have gotten a better match there, though they still retail that orangey bare plastic,  but the one paint app I wish Hasbro had copied is the blue paint on the knee pads. Not only is it G1 accurate but it makes his legs look longer. Please reprolabels, just add that sticker to your set and I'll buy it. Takara are also using a different face to Hasbro, but this one isn't bad - in fact it's ace. Owing to the way it's painted, it looks like his eyes are smoking like Akuma. He's still got the visor, and it shares many elements but Takara chose the full G1 block face route (I'd buy one if I could afford to double dip), Hasbro have followed the same design process as the body and updated it to be more refined and organic looking.

That chest flap does open by the way, as an unintentional homage to the classic Headmasters. Why does it open I hear you ask, well it's for transformation back to wolf mode, to allow you to press the body out and extend it. Reprolabels have to be making a sticker to take advantage of that.

titans return wolfwire sword

All of the articulation problems from wolf mode slide away in robot mode allowing Titans Return Wolfwire to be the Flashdance star he always wanted to be. .

Unhindered articulation is a luxury retail figures aren't always afforded  but aside from the shoulders there's nothing to really stop you from getting great, dynamic poses. With the shin plates tabbing in securely they aren't the hindrance they are in wolf mode and the large foot area gives him great balance. Helping aid that balance are the joints which are all very tight but not so tight they feel like they may snap if you apply too much pressure. Hasbro evidently didn't want Wolfwire to suffer the same fate as poor Skullcruncher whose legs were so loose he could barely stand. Quality control across Titans Return has generally been pretty good in my experience, with Skullcruncher's loose legs and whatever is going on with Highbrow's bobble head neck, so it's pleasing to see it continue with Wolfwire. He's a joy to pose.

Take my passion for Wolfwire and make it happen, hopefully the pictures come alive and Wolfwire can dance right through your life.

What a feeling *break dances into kitchen to put some cheese and toast in the oven*

transformers titans return wolfwire weapon

Titans Return Wolfwire's tail becomes a rather perculiar looking techno sword. It's less a blade, more an instrument for bludgeoning someone to death. It's so massive and curved it looks kind funny, but fits with the whole technological vibe this guy exudes - even is as a sword it makes no sense.

Fortunately his body feels like it was designed with the sword in mind, so he can pull off some incredible "I'm to kill you in the most visually striking way possible" stances with no trouble. Pegs on the side of the sword can tab, with some force into the big circular bits on the side of his legs to kinda act as a sword holster. This only works if you position his hands on the hilt to look all dramatic like, otherwise it's pretty odd having a sword floating around on the side of a knee.

A comically oversized cannon is included whose primary purposes is to act as a chariot for Titan Master figures, a gimmick that spreads out across the whole like. Wielded in Wolfies hand, it looks too big and tabs on either side of the hand prevent it from sliding fully into the hand.

Transformers titans return wolfwire, mindwipe, fortress maximus and skullsmasher

Titans Return has been a dream for 1987 Headmaster fans and the most surprising thing has been seeing Hasbro knock out all six OG bot bonces within the first two waves. Usually they'll put out most and then leave the final one till the tail end of the line and your only way to get it is when it turns up in a discount store, or by making a wish to Santa.

I don't suggest sitting on old mens laps to get toys, just don't do it. It's even creepier than Arcee and Daniel....maybe not.

Titans Return Wolfwire may be suffering from a bit of an identity crisis but his toy has no illusions of what it's gimmick is and how it applies it. G1 nostalgia may be at the heart of everything this toys does, but the modern touches augment that and give us what is easily the standout Decepticon Headmaster so far.


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Currently listening to: Another depressing Forest match on the radio.

5 comments:

  1. excellent review of all aspects

    ReplyDelete
  2. Young man, there's no need to feel down.
    I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.
    I said, young man, 'cause you're in a new town
    There's no need to be unhappy.

    Young man, there's a place you can go.
    I said, young man, when you're short on your dough.
    You can stay there, and I'm sure you will find
    Many ways to have a good time.

    ....sorry. Revenge for the Bangles. :-)

    Fun review, iHulk! Weirdwolf is very neat; I like Mindwipe a bit better but there's not much in it.

    Keep up the good work!

    Cheers, Neuta

    (It's fun to stay at the...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neauta, your comments and posts are my favourite thing on the internet :D

      Cheers mate! Mindwipe is cool, what's not to like about a robot bat who can hang upside down from your door frame, but I need to spend more time with that one.

      Delete
  3. Heehehee, Weirdwolf's trademark was used by not a band but a Graphic design company set in my city of Kansas city, Missouri
    http://www.weirdwolf.net/WGD/index.html

    ReplyDelete