Review: Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

The Titans Return line sure has hit a bit of a rough patch, distribution-wise. Waves 1 and 2 trickled out no problem in the US, with the only straggler being Leader Soundwave. After that, aside from Titan Masters, distribution just kind of… stopped. Wave 3 Deluxes and Voyagers are nowhere to be found, and Titans Return pegs in my area have been largely barren since Christmas. This led to my immense surprise to wander into a Walgreens and see Wave 4’s Perceptor sitting on the pegs. Perceptor wouldn’t have been my first choice, but with the wider distribution of the Titans Return line sort of up in the air at this point with The Last Knight on the way, I’ll take what I can get. Let’s scope out this figure! (oh god kill me)

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Microscope Mode

This is Perceptor’s second toy in the Generations line, which has shifted style from “reimaginings of G1 characters” to “G1 toys with more joints.” Instead of a half-track research truck, Perceptor turns into an old-school bright red microscope. Is it exciting? No, not really. But hey, it’s G1 accurate, which makes a lot of people happy. There’s nothing critically wrong with this mode, but it’s just… a thing. 

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Being a microscope and not a vehicle, Perceptor has no cockpit for his Titan Master. Instead, according to the instructions, he’s supposed to lay down in the tray under the microscope lens, which looks exactly as silly as it sounds. I would be more into this if it didn’t come off as just lazy. The microscope itself doesn’t function at all, though it does slightly extend at the twist of the knob to make it look like it’s functioning. It’s all fine and well for a G1 Perceptor, it’s just that G1 Perceptor is boring.

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Artillery Mode(?)

So G1 Perceptor had a third mode in an attempt to make him less boring, and while it’s not covered in the instructions or the packaging, Titans Return Perceptor can assume a similar mode. It’s actually pretty nifty how the toy transforms into what is, I think, an artillery cannon of some sort. This mode is slightly more impressive than the microscope, and I think it makes far better use of the Titan Master play pattern… except there’s still no real place for a Titan Master to sit as if they’re manning the cannon. I really want to love it, but at best it gets a solid B- in my gradebook.

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Titan Master

Perceptor’s head-dude is Convex, which is silly but adorable. He’s modeled after the G1 Perceptor toy with its faceplated head, not that you could tell with the unpainted black plastic. The detail is there, but as with most post-wave 1 Titan Masters, the lack of paint brings it down.

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Robot Mode

Check it out, it’s totally Perceptor. Perceptor is one of those robot designs that’s really hard to screw up, since he’s basically just a robot man with a cannon on his shoulder and doesn’t really turn into anything. This particular figure looks to be modeled after Guido Guidi’s IDW Perceptor design (the shoulder spikes are the main givaway), though his head sadly does not have a targeting monocle. He’s maybe a little bulkier than I typically envision Perceptor, and the microscope cannon is a little big, but the proportions are overall spot-on and he looks great.

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Speaking of IDW Perceptor, this toy ditches G1 Perceptor’s boring generic gun in favor of a proper sniper rifle, which is the character’s weapon of choice in the comics (because guys, believe it or not comics Perceptor is a total gunslinging badass). He can’t really assume any proper sniping poses, but it can peg into his back for storage and looks sort of okay. He’s a pair of pistols shy of being a proper Wrecker, but I’m glad to see some real IDW flavor thrown into this otherwise slavishly-Geewun figure.

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Perceptor’s articulation is fairly average for the line: ball-jointed neck and shoulders, single-hinged elbows and knees, universal hips, bicep and thigh swivels. Plus his cannon mount has a double-hinge not unlike Hardhead’s, so it can move onto his back or even be detached and pegged somewhere else. A waist joint would have been superb, but the series of hinged panels on his belly sort of prevent that (which is odd, because outside of the hinge for his chest panel, there’s no real purpose for them – especially the small silver bit with his Autobot badge). Ankle tilts also would have been nice, as without proper heel spurs Perceptor can be difficult to balance. At least his Titan Master connection is solid!

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Overall

I won’t lie, I was very lukewarm on Perceptor when I first picked him up. I like the character in the comics (despite his lack of focus for the past four years), but I’ve always found his general design and the G1 character extremely boring. Once I got past my biases and accepted the toy for what it is, I have to say that Titans Return Perceptor is a solid toy and a great update of the G1 figure. He’s not quite as mind-blowing as Triggerhappy or Topspin, but he’s definitely up there with Blurr and Hardhead as one of the really good deluxes of the line.

Where to Buy:

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