Blackjack's Review: Titans Return Deluxe Class Hardhead (w/ Furos)
ĒItís either my way Ė or no way!Ē
Man, what a crazy series of years, huh? 2015 brought to us Combiner Wars, which reinvented the Scramble City style combiner formula, but in a far larger scale and adapted with individual toys that function quite decently as standalone Classics/Generations-style figures. Itís something that everyone said was impossible when Classics was just starting outÖ and in 2016, we get Titans Return, a subline-slash-successor to the Generations line, which featuresÖ everyone as Headmasters.
And in a pretty awesome manner, Hasbro released every single Ďbasicí Headmaster released way back in 1987 as Deluxe class toys, all of whom have brand-new moulds and transforming heads. Brainstorm, Hardhead, Highbrow, Chromedome for the Autobots, and Mindwipe, Weirdwolf and Skullcruncher for the Decepticons. Weíre actually missing Apeface and Snapdragon from the 1987 lineup, but they kind of count as Horrorcons, who are a slightly different from the basic Headmasters.
One of the first toys I experienced from the Titans Return toyline is Hardhead, and boy, what a fun little bugger. I didnít plan to buy this and he was given to me as a present, but what a fun little toy! Heís what convinced me to eventually splurge and buy a huge chunk of the Titans Return toy line.
Hardhead as a character is your average stubborn, aggressive soldier, and while he didnít have that much to do either in the US cartoon (only appearing for three episodes as the cartoon closed) or the original Marvel comics (basically being the dude that tells everyone to fight during the couple of issues that introduced the Headmasters, before being shoved into the background). He probably had a lot more to do in Japanís Headmasters cartoon, but a quick glance through summaries doesnít seem to indicate that heís got much of a distinctive personality. Relatively recently, around 2007, Hardhead was randomly brought in as one of the characters to feature in IDWís relaunch of a modernized Transformers comic, participating in a huge chunk of the Furman-written arcs, before being killed and brought back as kind of an undead fellow, sticking around for a huge chunk of the Costa run before dying again.
An unrelated Predacon in Japanís Beast Wars Neo toyline is also called Hardhead (I actually own that dude!), a purple retool of Beast Wars Dinobot. That Hardhead is a dumb goon. Over the years since his original release in 1986, Hardhead has been given a homage during 2009ís Universe toy line, which saw Ultra-class Onslaught repainted in Hardhead colours, but this version of Hardhead is a far more slavish reproduction of his original toy, taking cues from both his original toy as well as the character model used in the cartoon and comics.
Hardhead transforms into a space tank, because all kinds of futuristic vehicles were on the rage back during the post-1986 Movie toy line. Hardheadís tank mode is a bit of a combination of an armoured vehicle and a tank, and while itís less boxy and more obviously splayed-out compared to his G1 counterpart, Hardheadís alternate mode takes all the cues from his original toy. Heís got a mainly green body, four tank-tread assemblies, an orange cockpit on one side, and a huge-ass cannon on the other side. Itís a pretty cool-looking space tank, and rolls around well. There arenít any real obvious robot parts that show in this form beyond the obvious hinges here and there. Itís a pretty attractive tank, with the green, gray and black working well to make Hardhead look attractive but still practical, and the transparent orange cockpit being a very nice detail that stands out.
The main gray turret is impressively large in proportion to Hardheadís body, and itís a bit refreshing after so many older Generations/Classics/Universe toys have these dinky excuses of plastic that kinda-sorta have gun details moulded on. Hardheadís turret can be angled upwards and downwards, and rotate on its post. It canít aim towards Hardheadís left side thanks to the cockpit getting in the way, though. You can plug Hardheadís hand-held rifle on top of Hardheadís turret for extra firepower.
What I really love about the Titans Return toys is that each little figure is its own transforming playset for the little Headmaster figures, and Hardhead, I think, is one of the most successful ones. A lot of the other toys like Triggerhappy and Highbrow are happy to just have guns that combine into a gun emplacement that little Headmaster figures can ride around in, but Hardhead goes the extra mile. The orange cockpit opens and you can slot a little headmaster in there. The rear end of Hardheadís big tank cannon slides open in a very smooth manner, allowing another Headmaster to sit there and pilot the huge cannon. The way that the piece of cannon slides backwards really makes it look like itís part of the design of Hardheadís alternate mode, maybe by whoever designed Hardheadís alternate mode before he scans it, instead of an oddly large gun with a random chair the way some of the other Headmasters have.
Hardheadís transformation is simple. You basically transform the four tank treads into Hardheadís individual limbs, fold up the tank, flip up a bunch of other parts, snap his head on, and voila, you get his robot mode. Of course, itís very faithful to the original toy, except after 30 years of engineering development, Hardhead has joints now. Heís got a fair amount of articulation. All the Headmasters have pretty secure joints that allow the head to rotate around and look up a little, and a very kibble-free robot mode allows Hardhead to move a fair bit and assume a lot of poses. Heís got shoulder joints, two articulation points on his elbows, double-jointed wrists, a hip joint, double-jointed thighs and knee joints. Itís pretty much the standard for most Deluxe-sized figures nowadays, which is fun. Heís stable enough to maintain a fair amount of poses, thatís for sure.
Again, Hardhead looks a lot like his original figure, just updated to have, yíknow, joints and a more proportioned look. I really love the translation of his alternate mode colours into his robot mode, though heís got a lot less green and a bit more grey. There are additional paints of silver, red and yellow on his crotch area, two Autobot insignias on his shoulders, and his head is painted very well to highlight his bright baby-blue visor and his yellow faceplate. To note is that Hardhead uses his toyís faceplated head, whereas in all of his fictional appearances, Hardhead has a mouth. I actually prefer Hardheadís faceplated head, so yeah.
Hardhead is a bit of a brawler, so he comes with guns. Thereís the green-coloured sidearm, which is delightfully chunky and scales well as a big rifle-sized weapon for Hardhead to hold. Hardheadís huge tank cannon can aim upwards for a more passive pose, or aimed forwards to blast people in the face. If you want, you can remove the tank cannon and have Hardhead hold it in his other hand.
A very pretty robot mode, a very well-articulated one and one thatís very faithful to its source material
Hardhead alone is already a very cool Deluxe-class transformer, but he also comes with a little Headmaster buddy, DurosÖ mis-spelled as Furos due to trademark reasons. Duros is basically the same with every other Headmaster dude out there, with his head on a ball-joint, his arms being able to hinge up and down, and one-way hinges on his hips and knees. He canít be too complex, after all Ė better for more of the engineering to go on the bigger Hardhead toy. What I really like is how well-painted Duros is Ė his head and limbs share Hardheadís green, whereas his torso and abdomen are gray. His face is painted, with his eyes being blue and his face being yellow.
Iím actually surprised that the other Titans Return toys I purchased after Hardhead have Headmaster partners that are justÖ unpainted, relying on the Ďarms and legs are one colour, body and head are anotherí formula. Monzo, Vorath, Blowpipe, Revolver, and Infinitus donít even have paint at all. Duros is a very pretty little Headmaster, and I really like him for that.
Marks out of ten for the following:
8/10 Very simple, but it achieves what itís trying to do without cutting corners or making the toy needlessly complex. Hardheadís very fun to fiddle around with, and both modes arenít compromised by the other.
9/10 There arenít a lot of parts in Hardhead that look like they're fragile or would be easily subjected to stress. Thereís always the problem of losing the little Headmaster piece, but thatís not a big problem, to be honest.
10/10 Heís a very solid Transformer even on his own, but the added Headmaster gimmick, and the idea that even a simple Deluxe class toy can function like a little playset for the Headmaster figures without compromising the integrity of the toy (which is a huge problem for a lot of the Armada line) is very well executed.
9/10 Hardhead is pretty much a spot-on adaptation of both his original Generation 1 toy and his fictional appearances, and the choice of colours they made Ė even for little Duros Ė is well done.
9/10 Hardheadís clunky feet kind of gets in the way of some poses, but other than that heís a very well-designed and well-balanced toys with a wide range of articulation.
8/10 Oof, Deluxe class toys are kind of expensive nowadays. But for Hardhead, youíre getting one of the better figures of the toy line, and definitely more bang for your buck.
9/10 Hardhead is easily one of the best toys that Titans Return has to offer. He ticks all the right spots without actually having any major problems, and is a very pretty and fun toy. Iíve since acquired several other toys from the Titans Return toy line, and while some might be more interesting visually than Hardhead Ė who by design is a pretty simple toy Ė Hardhead is still one of the most solid entries in the Titans Return toyline, and indeed, the entirety of Generations.