Friday 28 October 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Legends LG-26 Scourge

The Combiner Wars have come to an end, and now it’s time for the titans ro return! After successfully relaunching combiners as a main range, the Transformers franchise has now turned its attention toward doing the same for Headmasters – creating an all new line featuring both classic Headmaster characters as well as incorporating the gimmick into other existing characters. Among these included Transformers: The Movie/G1 season 3 leader Galvatron, and together with the previously released Combiner Wars Cyclonus Unicron’s trifecta of heralds is complete with the release of Scourge. While the American Titans Return figure sports a deco similar to that of the original G1 toy, TakaraTomy’s Transformers Legends version instead draws its inspiration from the cartoon – offering fans two different interpretations depending on where their nostalgia may lie.

Titans Return/Legends Scourge is a deluxe class figure, which in the West usually means they come in blister packaging with a nicely printed card back. The same isn’t always true in Japan, as this Scourge comes packaged in a nicely sized box similar to that of his larger line-mates. The box itself isn’t particularly lavish, but the simplicity of it is a nice throwback to the older G1 boxes and the artwork used is particularly good. The front of the box sports a nice big window to show off Scourge in vehicle mode, as well as a cornered off section especially for the Headmaster (packaged in robot mode).

The transformation instructions are nicely printed out on a fold-out sheet, covering the vehicle to robot transformation in a number of easy to follow steps. The back of the sheet also features more of the great artwork that adorns the packaging, along with tech specs and the next part of the Legends manga that runs through all of TakaraTomy’s current releases.

Scourge transforms into a futuristic hovercraft-like vehicle that could quite accurately be compared to a bar of soap. Previous figures (such as the 2010-11 Generations release) have tried to move this towards something a little more recognisable, but nostalgia always wins out in the end so Scourge is back with an alt mode that looks just like his original one. The overall look of the vehicle is very clean and manages to cover all the robot body parts well, but unfortunately the sheer number of tabs needed to hold the front together can lead to a small but unsightly gap in the nose section. However even in vehicle mode Scourge has plenty going on, sporting multiple ports on the body to attach various weapons. As shown off on the packaging, the gun can be mounted on the top of the vehicle via a central port. Scourge’s Headmaster partner also has the option of either sitting in the cockpit section, or plug onto the vehicle’s tower to homage the Floro Dery “head exposed” design of the character.

Going by the Titans Return release Scourge’s Headmaster partner goes by the name of Fracas, which is the same as his original Targetmaster partner. The Legends version of the figure doesn’t feature any name on the packaging, but given that it’s such an obvious homage we’ll go out on a limb and say it’s the same here as well. Although small and carrying a Scourge face backpack Fracas is a rather nifty little figure – sporting a moving head arms, legs and knees (although the legs are connected in the middle). Unfortunately this particular Fracas has some sloppy paintwork on the Scourge, something which is much more of a rarity with TakaraTomy releases.

Once transformed into robot mode the body (known as a Transtector in the Japanese fiction) can be connected to the head, which plugs in snugly via the port provided. Unlike the larger Voyager-class figures the deluxes have no spring-loaded gimmick getting in the way of the head, and so the figure is able to retain its full amount of neck articulation. That said, with the heads held in by those tiny Headmaster heads there’s always that niggling fear of breakage.

As far as an updated, affordable version of G1 Scourge goes, you can’t get much better than the Titans Return/Legends figure. In both modes it really captures the look of the character with minimal changes, and TakaraTomy’s cartoon deco brings out that even further. The cape has been designed so that it doesn’t just make a brilliant shell in vehicle mode, it also does the job perfectly in robot mode without looking like a robot with half a vehicle hanging off his back. The sculpting detail is superb, and as you can see from the pictures even with a few paint scuffs the head looks absoloutely superb. The only really week element here are the hollow forearms and upper legs, which is a problem unfortunately shared by a lot of these figures. Scourge’s double-barrelled blaster can be combined alt mode’s tower blaster to form a more impressive triple-barrel weapon, which can also fit a Fracas or any other Headmaster partner as a pilot/rider.

(Also yes I know I mistransformed the left upper leg in these photos. But it was a great photoshoot and I didn’t think redoing it from scratch would have matched up.)

In terms of articulation Scourge sports full neck articulation (along with the ability to tilt the head slightly thanks to the connection), ball-jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, ratchet-joint thighs, upper-leg swivels, hinged knees and feet. Some sort of waist joint certainly wouldn’t have gone amiss, but it’s still a pretty great range that allows Scourge to pull off all sorts of poses. Since the cape section is also segmented and hinged, it can also fold back out of the way of the arms if you happen to find it getting in the way of your posing needs.

All in all Scourge is a fantastic figure, providing a great update that’s true to the original toy. Some will probably scoff at the figure simply because Scourge was never a Headmaster before, but since the gimmick really impact on the figure at all you’d be a fool to pass him up just because of that. Great mould, great articulation and TakaraTomy’s G1-toon inspired deco adds an elegance to Scourge that makes him so much more eye catching than the plainer Titans Return version. That said, the deco differences mean they would make some pretty nice Sweeps, so you might just end up spending even more money on Scourge than just the added TakaraTomy price tag.

1 comment:

Shinkenred said...

This was a pretty good review! Not sure if you ever found out about it later on, but in Japanese continuity (particularly in The★Headmasters), the small robot IS the character, not someone else. (Ex.: Where Stylor is Chromedome's Headmaster partner in the US, that little guy actually IS Chromedome in Japan) And the Legends manga explains and expands upon it some: apparently, well into the future (like after the 2025 of Unite Warriors), a Decepticon set off a black hole bomb that would utterly screw up EVERYONE. So, they managed to get their heads to this place called the Legends World, learning to transform into tiny versions of their former selves. Of course, they do get Transtectors based on their original bodies...and all manner of wildness ensues. Even the Chou-jin Masterforce peeps come back, etc. It gets really crazy.

Annoyingly, it doesn't do anything to explain the Headmasters who don't have bodies here, and only have little triple changing vehicles, but this isn't the case for everyone since the vehicles came with some of the early Headmaster releases.