Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime – Review

With Transformers Titans Return hitting the shelves in a big way, it’s time for me to review one of the more recent additions to my collection. It’s time to review (deep breath) Transformers Titans Return Autobot Apex and Powermaster Optimus Prime (whew!). Like a lot of the new Transformers in the Titans Return range, Optimus here comes to us in the form of a triple-changer, much like his G1 counterpart (Powermaster Optimus Prime). Apart from his usual truck and robot modes, he also has a “city” mode in which Optimus can turn into a mini city/base of sorts, ala Metroplex or Fortress Maximus only on a much (much!) smaller scale. Does the extra mode bring anything worthwhile to the table? Let’s see shall we?

Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime

First Impressions:

Looking at Optimus through the packaging window, we can see that he follows the current trend of retaining most of his original style while becoming a lot more detailed. The red and blue colours with the silver accents are typical Optimus, but the flat light-grey that makes up most of the trailer now becomes incorporated into his robot mode.

Box front
Box back

In fact, this particular figure is a re-tooling of Transformers Legends Ultra Magnus. The way that the guns are mounted at the front of the trailer is a carry-over from his G1 days, also the way in which his trailer becomes part of his robot mode is reminiscent of Ultra Magnus. The panels definitely add a bit of bulk to his lower legs. With all the new bells and whistles that the new designs bring, you can certainly tell at a glance that this is Optimus.

Optimus Prime, upgraded.

He has his usual (but updated) face that acts as a “mask” that slips over the Titan Master head and funnily enough, Apex’s head mode resembles Orion Pax. It is Orion Pax that eventually becomes Optimus Prime so that makes this particular figure a real trip down memory lane.

Orion Pax

Accessories:

As with all the Titans Return transformers with detachable heads, would you consider the Titan Master head an accessory even though it’s an essential piece of the figure? You can still swap the heads around with other figures, but at the end of the day you still need a head for your bot.

Titan Master Apex

It’s not like a weapon or similar accessory that you can completely leave off if you want. Apart from the head figure, Optimus comes with 2 double barrelled guns that can each hold a ‘Master and 2 other guns that he can hold in his hands. His hands seem to be designed to only hold his hand guns. They can open and close, but don’t seem able to maintain a solid grip on other weapons. Still, the 4 guns are a lot more than what some figures are getting (looking at you, Galvatron).

Optimus doesn’t need weapons to kick ass.

Articulation:

With the mask on, his head can only turn left and right. There’s no tilt in any direction, but at least he has a full mask and not just a “faceplate” (looking at you again, Galvatron). The mask can be pulled back to reveal Apex, but he looks disproportionately small compared to the rest of the body.

Slightly disproportionate…

There’s a swivel and hinge at the shoulders which gives a good range of motion, and the swivel has a slight ratchet to it that helps with posing. At the elbows there’s a hinge and a swivel at the biceps. His wrists have no movement but his hands can open and close to hold his hand guns. It’s possible that they could hold other items/accessories but they might not be able to maintain a solid grip.


His hips offer a good range of movement and have a solid ratchet to them. He has a thigh swivel and a hinge at the knees. The knees also have a solid ratchet, and like the elbows, can only bend to about 90 degrees. There’s a hinge at the ankles so the feet can tilt forward and back, but sadly there’s no sort of ankle rocker so the feet can’t tilt left and right. Instead, his feet are cut on an angle in a poor attempt to offer some stability. It works when his legs are together (as close as they can get anyway) but apart from that it can be difficult to position his feet nicely when posing. His bulky lower legs can be a bit of a hindrance at times. It could be tricky trying to get him into some of the more dynamic poses.

Ground punch, because why not, that’s why!
Sassy.

Transformations:

The truck mode is still typically Optimus only this time the trailer doesn’t detach. His guns can be mounted in various locations over the trailer, and it can open at the back. It’s possible to carry another smaller vehicle inside (like Titans Return Blurr for example 😉 ).

Blurr inside

I don’t know if it’s a quality control or design issue, but the door at the rear of the trailer doesn’t quite tab together properly. Everything else comes together nicely apart from the rear door.


City/base mode is a bit of a pleasant surprise. Not having any experience with the G1 Powermaster Optimus Prime, I didn’t really know what to expect with this mode, but it’s actually turned out to be a lot of fun.

Base mode – tiny but mighty.

The Titans Return range now comes with lots of little Transformer figures and additional Titan Masters that can interact with all the new base modes that are being released. You don’t need to shell out the big bucks to get the larger city/base transformers like Metroplex or Fortress Maximus (awesome as they are) when you can get a few Voyager class figures together and create your own bases.

Alternate base mode.
Titans Return Galvatron laying down the siege.

Conclusion:

You can transport a Blurr
Or an Arcee
Or even a Jazz.
ComeonOptimusIcanwalkfasterthanthis. Let’sgolet’sgolet’sgo!

Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime (and Apex) is a welcome addition to my Transformers ranks. Apart from a few niggling issues, he has an excellent robot and truck mode. The city/base mode has been a pleasant surprise for me, not having experienced the G1 version. There are a few Titans Return figures out there that have an extra city/base mode and one that has an extra galactic battleship mode, so it’s possible to play out some epic battle scenarios with just a few figures. There are also smaller Titans Return figures and additional Titan Masters that you can get that are fairly inexpensive, so you can really fill out your ranks.
Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Transformers Titans Return range.

 

What happened to all your guns, Galvatron?
Quality over quantity, Prime. Quality over quantity.

Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia – Review

Coming up we have Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia. Beast Machines is the follow up series that takes place after the events of Beast Wars.  I never really got into the two shows, but since the release of the first Blackarachnia I’ve come to consider her as an interesting choice to add to my collection.  Apart from the original Beast Wars and Beast Machines versions, there’s also a Transformers Animated version.  I recently acquired Blackarachnia at a local Pop Culture Expo and have been meaning to do a review since then.  So here we go!

Package front
Package front
Paackage back
Package back

First Impressions:

The Beast Machines cartoon aired in the late 90s/early 2000s and I think it shows here.  For an expert saboteur she’s pretty bright and colourful.  There’s a lot of purple and green going on with some black here and there, and some clear green plastic covering some of her bio-mechanical workings.  I really like the paint work they’ve done here.  She’s a deluxe size, but with her leg span and posture in beast mode she could possibly be slightly bigger than that.  Even in robot mode she stands a bit taller than what would pass for a deluxe these days.  Her spider/beast mode is as spindly and creepy-crawly as you would expect, and her robot mode has that “dangerously feminine” style to it.

Beast Machines Blackarachnia
Beast Machines Blackarachnia
Come Get Some
Come get some

Accessories:

Sadly, she doesn’t come with any accessories.  Given how they’ve designed her “hands” it makes it a bit tricky for her to hold any sort of weapon.  She has two “claws” towards the end of each arm that can swivel in, so she might be able to hold on to something, but then it looks a bit weird with one massive appendage hanging out the end.  You could probably pretend that they’re some sort of scythes and call it a day.  Beast Wars Blackarachnia comes with a grappling hook and launcher that can be deployed in robot and beast modes, but unfortunately her Beast Machines version misses out.

Ready to Pounce
Ready to pounce

Articulation:

She moves pretty well in both modes.  In beast mode she has enough joints in her limbs to create most “spidery” poses.  She also has a neat feature in her spider head where if you pull the green and purple pedipalps apart, the mouth pieces move up and down.  It’s equal parts cool from an engineering viewpoint and creepy if you’re not a big fan of spiders.  The transformation process is pretty straightforward and it’s quite easy to repeat the steps.  There’s no instruction sheet here, instead the instructions are printed on the packaging.  Another neat feature is her “visor” that can move up and down to cover her eyes as well as reveal additional eyes on her forehead.

Laying in Wait
Laying in wait
On the Move
On the move

In robot mode she has a decent range of movement, apart from her head that is.  She does have a double swivel in her neck that allows for turning and tilting up and down.  However, due to her “hair” being a solid piece of plastic, she is unable to tilt her head back at all.  She can only look down slightly though.  She has ball joints in the shoulders and elbows that allow for a decent range of movement, and just past the elbows is a swivel so you can turn her forearms.  The aforementioned “claws” can turn in for grasping things (or create a massive “flipping the bird” effect).

Yeah, well, same to you, buddy!
Yeah, well, same to you, buddy!

She has a swivel at the waist and ball joints at the hips as well as hinges in the knees and ankles.  The elbows and knees can only manage a 90 degree bend though.  The legs tab together nicely in robot mode, but then she’s left with some overly long feet.  It would have been nice to have some sort of lateral swivel in the legs, but I guess it would have been too difficult to do due to the transformation process.  The really long feet do make her pretty stable though (her spider abdomen makes her a bit back-heavy).

Does this make my abdomen look big?
Does this make my abdomen look big?

You could try to pose her en pointe (with the “toes” of the feet separated slightly to give more surface contact points), but that requires a whole lot of patience to get her to balance right.  Even then there’s not a lot you can do from there.

Tippy toes
Tippy toes
Find you inner balance
Find your inner balance…
Or try a 3-point stance
…Or try a 3-point stance

Conclusion:

Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia is a bit of an odd duck in my collection.  I don’t have any other transformers from Beast Machines or Beast Wars, and I don’t have a lot of other insectoids/arachnids for her to hang with.  That aside, she’s proven to be quite an interesting figure.  I often find scenarios for her that I normally wouldn’t consider for other transformers or other figures in general for that manner.  Fans of the shows should be sure to pick her up if they haven’t already.  The lack of accessories and the issue with her head are just minor things really.

There are variations to her modes that can also make things a bit more interesting.  Her robot mode arms can be moved forward under her body in spider mode so that they face the front.

Alternate spider mode
Alternate spider mode
Alternate spider mode
Alternate spider mode

It’s also possible to have a sort of half-transformation where you can have her robot torso on top of her spider legs.

Half and half mode
Half and half mode

Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia can be found at the link below along with other transformers in the Beast Machines and Beast Wars range (and be sure to keep an eye out for the Transformers Animated version as well).

Excuse me, have you seen any giant spiders around here?
Excuse me, have you seen any giant spiders around here?
I think I saw one over there.
I think I saw one over there.
Keep looking~~
Keep looking~~
Boo!!
Boo!!
Byee~~ See you next time, Antman~~
Byee~~ See you next time, Antman~~