Review: Transformers Titans Return Hardhead

Just to be up front, with a few exceptions, I don’t have a whole lot of personal attachment to the original Headmasters. I think the concept is really silly, the fictional justifications are nonsensical, and the characters don’t really stand out to me. The few exceptions are characters like Nightbeat, Chromedome, and Brainstorm that are either very unique (Nightbeat’s a robot noire detective, which is awesome) or have been in recent media (Brainstorm and Chromedome are major characters in MTMTE). I don’t think I’m alone here: outside of Japan, the Headmasters never really got much media attention, being relegated to the three-part series finale of the G1 cartoon and then sticking around in the comics for another year or so. If you didn’t have the toys growing up, odds are you don’t have strong feelings towards most of these characters. Hardhead is a bit of a mixed example: he was a recurring character in IDW continuity for years, but he was never all that interesting, and now he’s dead. But hey, this toy’s pretty cool!

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Vehicle Mode

One of the big themes of the Titans Return line seems to be “the original toy but with more joints and more detail.” As such, Hardhead is the same generic sci-fi space tank he was back in G1, only with more detail. It’s not particularly ground-breaking or overly exciting (some painted treads would be nice), but it’s overall a well done altmode.

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The cannon is mounted on a double-hinged joint, which really just lets it move up and down (no rotation here). Like all Titans Return figures, the tank has an opening cockpit to allow the Titan Master figure to sit inside and pilot the vehicle. How cool this feature is is really up to you, but I think it’s a lot of fun. There are also a few pegs scattered about the toy that the Titan Master can stand on, if you so choose.

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Titan Master

Speaking of the Titan Master, this is Duros Furos (I’m pretty sure “Duros” is a species in Star Wars, so the name had to be changed). He mostly resembles the G1 Headmaster, but with a lot more detail. He’s got the standard suite of Titan Master articulation (in case you haven’t noticed, they’re all the same design), and overall he’s kind of boring. At least he’s got a painted face!

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Robot Mode

Following the trend from his vehicle mode, Hardhead looks a whole lot like his original G1 toy, just a bit more detailed and with modern engineering. He looks good! The lime green/grey/black isn’t the most flattering color scheme, but Hardhead wears it well. Despite not being a particularly large figure, he manages to look big and bulky, befitting a guy whose name is Hardhead. The face is toy-accurate with a yellow faceplate, which is fine and all, but I admit that I prefer my Hardheads to have mouths. Oh, well.

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His big tank cannon can move on its hinged position to mount over his shoulder, and thanks to its multiple joints and a sliding mechanism, the barrel can easily get out of the way of both his head and shoulder articulation. The cannon can also be removed and mounted on anything else with a 5mm port, but Hardhead’s primary firearm is a green machine gun, which is fine, if kind of boring.

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Hardhead fulfills the obligatory Titan Master weapon integration in a much more interesting way than other figures in the line. The back of his tank cannon opens up and collapses, revealing a seat for Furos. This makes more sense in tank mode, but the thought of Hardhead popping his head off just to hop into the cannon right beside him is really funny.

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Hardhead is one of the more impressively-articulated figures in the wave: ball-jointed head, hinged and ball-jointed shoulders, double-jointed elbows, wrist, bicep, and thigh swivels, ball-jointed hips, and single-jointed knees. The only thing missing here is a waist joint, which would be pretty much impossible due to the transformation.

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Overall

Hardhead is a great toy and a faithful update to the original. He’s got a ton of built-in playability that really showcases the strengths of the Titans Return play pattern. My only issue with this toy is a personal one: I don’t care much about Hardhead, and the version of Hardhead from the comics that I am familiar with didn’t look much like the G1 toy. However, the strengths of the toy itself are more than enough for me to enjoy this figure and give it a glowing recommendation.

Where to Buy

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