Review: Transformers Titans Return Chromedome

With its 57th issue next this week, the critically acclaimed Transformers comic series More Than Meets the Eye is finally ending (and then continuing in Lost Light, but still). Even though the comic started almost five years ago, it still feels like a new part of the franchise. It seems not too long ago that fans were clamoring for figures of MTMTE characters, and in the cases of the more obscure ones were pretty much resigned to never getting them. I mean, who’s ever going to make another toy of Chromedome, right? Guess I better buy this expensive exclusive retool of Wheeljack, because this is all we’ll probably ever get. Three third-party Chromedomes and an entire new line of once-obscure 1987 characters later, and there’s a Chromedome toy on the shelves. And all it took was the comic ending!

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Vehicle Mode

The trend of Titans Return is to be a slavishly G1 accurate as possible. As such, Chromedome is a big, blocky, semi-futuristic car. Not gonna lie, I think this is a really boring alternate mode. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, it’s just not terribly exciting. Not for lack of trying: the smokey-clear wheels seem like an attempt at adding something cool, but honestly it comes off as a little cheap and reminds me of RID Drift.

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That being said, as a car mode, Chromedome’s works as well as any of them, especially with the Titan Master gimmick. It’s not the most intuitive opening cockpit mechanism I’ve seen (you’re basically just starting the transformation), but it totally works.

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What doesn’t work quite as well is how his guns mount in vehicle mode. There are dedicated tabs and slots on the larger gun and the roof so that it can mount, but it looks kind of silly. I appreciate the design, but honestly I don’t think there’s any way that sticking a giant gun onto a car doesn’t look stupid.

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Titan Master

Chromedome’s head is Stylor, who thankfully didn’t suffer a name change and got his body back from Hyperfire. Unfortunately, he did not get Hyperfire’s nice paint apps, and comes off as extremely bland. The lack of paint on the Titan Masters is probably one of the biggest disappointments of wave 2. How much do those tiny paint apps really cost?

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Robot Mode

Instead of attempting to directly homage any one design, Titans Return Chromedome is kind of an amalgamation of different G1 Chromedomes. The head is pretty clearly Roche’s MTMTE design, but in G1 cartoon colors. The body is very much not the lithe, top-heavy MTMTE design, aiming more for a blocky, G1 look. It actually most resembles (and shares some specific details with) Chromedome’s pre-war IDW appearance, but for the most part it’s pretty much its own design. And it’s not too bad! He’s a little chunky in the legs, and the entire front of the car is sitting on his back (those armpit wheels look really uncomfortable), but overall he’s got nice proportions and a fairly clean look.

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One thing Chromedome is not is a retool of the Combiner Wars Dead End mold. This has been a controversy ever since the toy was unveiled, and continued even after people were getting the toy and confirming that there are no parts shared between the two molds. There is a bit of shared engineering in the legs and arms in particular, but it’s not a retool. Chromedome does, however share parts with Blurr: the thighs and knees are identical sculpts. It’s a very subtle and entirely inoffensive bit of parts reuse, and I don’t have an issue with it in the slightest.

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Another bit of parts reuse appears with his weapons, one of which is just Blurr’s gun in red. It totally works, and I much prefer it to the other, Titan Master-compatible rifle. It’s not really bad, it just looks sort of awkward no matter which way Chromedome holds it. I usually combine them together so the bigger rifle looks less flat. The guns are probably the weakest part of this figure, and I’m not sure why he couldn’t have gotten matching rifles like the G1 toy.

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Articulation on Chromedome is pretty standard, and, amusingly, identical to the Dead End mold. Ball-jointed and hinged shoulders, ball jointed neck and hips, bicep, waist, and thigh swivels, and single-hinged elbows and knees. All his joints are reasonably tight and work well, though the kibble under his arms and his blocky legs prevent a whole lot of dynamic posing. And thankfully, unlike Highbrow, Chromedome feels nice and solid.

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Overall

Chromedome is pretty solid, if rather unspectacular. He does everything he needs to do and does it well, and that’s about it. If you’re looking for a MTMTE style Chromedome, this guy should suffice (though I do think the TFCC version serves that purpose a bit better). If you just want an upgraded toy of the G1 Headmaster Chromedome, I’d say this figure is near-perfect. Chromedome’s not my favorite of the line, but he does leave me satisfied.

Where to Buy:

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