Review: Transformers Titans Return Alpha Trion

Alpha Trion is one of those weird G1 cartoon characters who never got toys, despite being fairly prominent in the franchise. In the cartoon, he was basically the Obi-Wan/Merlin type character who served as Optimus’s creator/father figure/mentor/wizard. A3 has popped up in most continuities since then, remaining a highly iconic (if minor) figure in the franchise. Lately, Trion has been in the spotlight after is was retconned that he’s actually one of the interdimensional 13 original Primes, at least in the Aligned continuity. Unfortunately, that detail carried over to IDW’s endearing jerkass version of Alpha Trion, and lately he’s been acting a lot more like a generic wise old man rather than the snarky ass he started out as. Oh, and apparently he’s a Headmaster. And a triple changer. One of his modes being a lion. Ladies and gentlemen, Titans Return Alpha Trion.

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Lion Mode

Now, before you go into capslock fanboy rage, it should be said that Alpha Trion as a lion is not exactly unheard of. Way back in the mid-00’s, there were plans to repaint Lio Convoy into a convention-exclusive Alpha Trion. I have to imagine that the presence of a lion mode here is a reference to that cancelled idea. Honestly? I think it totally works. Lions are often characterized as wise, almost godlike (I’m thinking Aslan here), which jives with Trion’s schtick. Also, Trion… Lion… it rhymes! 

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Flimsy justifications aside, it’s… a passable lion mode. He can’t do much more than stand there and look majestic, but at least he does that really well thanks to his really sharp color layout. The red, purple, and silver go so well together and make the Trion Lion so pretty to look at. The suspiciously sword-like tail is a little strange, and most lions don’t have horns. Or cockpits. Y’know what, let’s just move on.

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Spaceship Mode

Trion’s third mode is a space cruiser, which I suppose is more in homage to his first toy (an exclusive redeco of Vector Prime) than anything else. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this mode, I just find it a little boring. The color layout is less interesting, the sword just has to stick on the side, and it doesn’t look particularly dynamic or characterful. However, it is pretty cool how most of the organic-looking lion parts are hidden away in favor of mechanical hard edges, so points for that. It also looks suspiciously like the deck of an aircraft carrier. Hmm…

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Titan Master

Being a Headmaster for some reason, Alpha Trion’s noggin is actually a little guy named Sovereign, who may or may not be a certain secretly-Cybertronian Earth businessman, but looks a whole lot like Beta Maxx. Like all the wave 2 Titan Masters, Sovereign is woefully bereft of paint, but he at least benefits from Trion’s lovely plastic colors.

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Robot Mode

This ain’t your daddy’s A3. Far from looking like a caped wizard, this Alpha Trion looks more like the leader of a band of Vikings with his burly figure and ornate fur armor. Personally, I really dig this design and this take on Alpha Trion, at least in the context of his IDW incarnation. Trion hails from an ancient time when Cybertron was split into thirteen tribes led by warlords, one of which being Trion himself, so this is what he might have looked like back in those days.

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The look definitely isn’t going to work for everyone, especially if you’re wanting a more G1-esque Alpha Trion. While it still doesn’t quite capture the look, the figure does offer a bit of customization by leaving the lion forearms folded down like coattails/the back of a cape, and keeping the pop-up horn additions pushed in for a slightly more traditional Trion look. It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s cool to have the option for an alternate appearance.

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Trion’s articulation is fairly standard, with universal shoulders and hips, hinged elbows and knees, ball-jointed neck (with a slight built-in swivel for the horn mechanism), and swivel biceps, thighs, and wrists. The lack of a waist joint is somewhat excused by the transformation, though I admittedly could have gone with some form of ankle tilt. He can’t really pull off anything fancy, but given how bulky he is, I don’t think that’s necessary. Alpha Trion isn’t exactly known for his dynamic poses, anyway.

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Alpha Trion isn’t exactly known for his proficiency with a sword, either, but it works for the character and it’s cast in a lovely translucent orange. I think this is one of the nicer sword accessories since RID Bumblebee, and its size fits Trion very well. He also comes with a missile platform thing which is infinitely less exciting, and definitely one of the lower-tier Titan Master compatible weapons. I tend to leave it attached to his butt to keep the illusion of a cape, where it’s at least out of the way.

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Overall

Titans Return Alpha Trion has been getting a lot of negative reception since his reveal, which has only slightly diminished with his release. It seems that this is a very polarizing figure that you either love or you hate, probably depending on how much you love G1 Alpha Trion. I’m definitely in the lover category, because I think this is a creative and cool take on A3 and a really fun toy, to boot. I hope this mold gets redecoed into a character with a bit of a wider appeal (or Go Prime, but that would be too perfect), but for now I’m very happy with Headmaster Alpha Lion.

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