If you ask me, Titans Return, the second part of a Transformers mainline trilogy of toys, far surpasses the previous Combiner Wars line. The Power of the Primes line is due to start towards the end of 2017 and without doubt, Titans Return is going to be a tough act to follow. Titans Return continues to pump out quality ‘bots which are fantastic in build quality and engineering and highly, highly evocative of the Transformers Generation One roots.
SLUGSLINGER is part of the final Titans wave and it’s fair to say that this line goes out on a very strong note and it gives me great pleasure to report that fact as ol’ ‘Slugs’ was a highly anticipated figure here at Tonks Toys HQ.
When ‘bots such as HOT ROD and CHROMEDOME hit the pegs as part of the earlier waves of Titans Return it appeared clear to me which part of G1 history Hasbro were mining for their Titans characters. The G1 Headmasters, Powermasters and Targetmasters featured some of the best Transformers of the mid to late ’80s and these refreshed, 21st Century versions of them were pure plastic gold.
Before long we were seeing guys such as MINDWIPE, HARDHEAD, WOLFWIRE (Weirdwolf) and POWERMASTER OPTIMUS PRIME on the shelves and my nostalgia nerve stem was copping a real pounding. Then a ‘bot called TRIGGERHAPPY landed and my expectations went up to eleven. You see, Triggerhappy was part of a G1 Decepticon Targetmaster Squadron comprising himself, MISFIRE and SLUGSLINGER; Gun-totin’ bad-asses that transformed into fantasy jets and starships from the lower bowels of Hell. Now, Slugslinger was one of my all time favourite G1 Decepticons; if Triggerhappy was getting the Titans treatment, could a Slugslinger be on the horizon? I dared to dream and I’m pleased to confirm that in the words of DelBoy Trotter, “He who dares, wins.”
As mentioned, the G1 Slugslinger was a Targetmaster, meaning his little Nebulon counterpart, CALIBURST transformed into his weapon. In the Titans Return line, all the little ‘Titan Masters’ transform into the head of their counterpart, rather than their sidearm or engine. I’m totally cool with this update and it allows for Titan interchangeability between ‘bots which adds to the play value.
The ‘bot mode of this new Slugslinger is utterly awesome drawing the majority of its design cues from his G1 incarnation. The articulation is what you’d expect from a modern Transformer with ball and swivel joints throughout affording a great range of dynamic posing options.
I only have two minor gripes with the ‘bot mode. Firstly, the lack of gold paint on the four circular chest details. On the G1 figure these circles sported gold vac-metal and really helped break up the colour palette on the upper torso. The Japanese Takara release of Slugslinger due early 2018 will feature those gold highlights and an altered colour scheme across the whole figure but it will also carry the considerably more expensive price tag. Secondly, and this isn’t really a gripe, more of an observation, the face sculpt doesn’t bare any resemblance to the G1 Slugslinger. The original Slugslinger had a red visor and a much squarer head which I kinda prefer. There’s nothing wrong with the Titans Return incarnation’s head, its still cool, but one more in keeping with the G1 design would have been appreciated.
Leaving the lack of gold detailing to one side, Hasbro have more than compensated by applying tampo’s to the figure on the legs, shoulders and wings which are based directly on the sticker artwork of the G1 Slugslinger. These tampo’s look excellent and are applied tight and clean.
Slugslinger’s transformation into his duel-cockpit jet mode is very simple for a Deluxe Class figure and highly intuitive. If you’re hardcore like me you won’t need the instructions. Once again, this transformation feels very much like the G1 version and is clean and rewarding. Everthing pegs together very well.
The cockpits on the jet are too small to accomodate the Titan Master Caliburst however if you lift the translucent blue panel in the centre of the jet it reveals a nifty little seat for him to ride in.
Slugslinger’s gun comprises two parts and when separated the two halves each peg under the jet wings giving the wing mounted guns a cool asymmetry.
As you may have guessed I dig the hell outta this Transformer. Titans Return Slugslinger is a fantastic update to a 30 year old character who will appeal to older fans due to the similarities with the G1 original and younger fans due it’s undeniable coolness and simplicy of transformation.
As Titans Return comes to a close let us hope that Power of the Primes picks up where this great line leaves off. And if you see a Slugslinger on the pegs, don’t leave him hanging!