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Broadside & Blunderbuss

Transformers Titans Return
by yo go re

Scale? lol what's that?

With the Decepticons rising, the Autobots power up with Titan Master partners to stop them! Blunderbuss gives Broadside the ability to temporarily mass shift and turn into a hulking giant.

Broadside was one of the Generation 1 Autobot triple-changers, which means he gets completely forgotten next to Astrotrain and Blitzwing. But he even gets overshadowed by the likes of Springer and Octane. He's the total runt of the litter, which is ironic considering his size. The toy only stands about 6¾" tall, but the character... well, the character would be right up there with Fortress Maximus and some of the other true behemoths. He might even be bigger than Omega Supreme!

The design of the toy sells that size and power very well. He's large and solid and blocky, lots of square shapes and firm angles. The shoulders, in particular, are massive cubes that look like they'd provide him with a lot of arm strength. His main colors are red and gray(s), though he also has translucent blue wings sticking out to his sides. He moves at the knees, thighs, hips, elbows, biceps, shoulders, and neck, and is armed with a large translucent blue rifle.

All the Titans Return figures have to have heads that are the same size, so Voyager Class figures like Broadside get pieces to flank the head to make it look more appropriately sized for the figure - there weren't any features like that on the original 1986 toy, so they had to be invented for this one. This head is an update of the original, with a ridge up the forehead, a bump on the chin, large cheek flaps and a red visor. The design used to be rounded off, but this time it's just as square as the rest of the body.

The old Broadside wasn't a Headmaster, so his little buddy Blunderbuss doesn't have any antecedant. Standing a bit below 1½" tall, Blunderbuss is a gray and maroon 'bot clearly based on Cybertron Safeguard, which is a choice that requires some explanation. Broadside is an extensive retooling of an earlier Titans Return figure, Alpha Trion. Extensive. Like Broadside, the Alpha Trion toy had two modes: a lion and a space ship. Both of those modes referenced various Alpha Trion con exclusives, one of which was a repaint of Vector Prime, including a repaint of Safeguard called Beta Maxx. So 2005 Vector Prime and Safeguard led to 2007 Alpha Trion and Beta Maxx, who led to 2016 Alpha Trion and Sovereign, who led to 2017 Broadside and Blunderbuss. Whew! Confused, yet?

Broadside's first altmode is an aircraft carrier, measuring 10" long, 4" wide, and 3⅛" tall thanks to the combination of the support legs underneath (meant for display, not an actual representation of what would be on the boat) and the control tower on top.

The red in this mode is very conspicuous, even limited as it is to the prow of the ship. There are nice little panel lines on the deck, suggesting the elevators and launchers you'd see on the real thing, and even a landing strip angled across the back. Lamentably, that raises a problem.

See, the landing strip is a sticker rather than paint. A shiny silver sticker. So are the "36" stickers on the prow and the side of the tower. The numbers aren't a big issue, but the runway... man, the runway. First of all, the stickers run over sculpted details (and in one case, over a hole where a peg is supposed to tab), which already makes them look like unprofessional crap; and secondly, they're applied around the hinges on pieces that fold over themselves, meaning they get all bunched up and wrinkled the first time you move them. It's not good.

On the other hand, the set comes with a really clever piece: a white sprue with five small jets that can be plugged onto miniscule posts on the deck of the ship. They're unpainted, of course, but the shapes are instantly recognizable: Silverbolt, Quickslinger/Firefly, Air Raid, and Skydive - these miniature planes are the Aerialbots! But where's everybody's favorite hero, Alpha Bravo? Anyway, judging by the size of the planes, we can tell that Blunderbuss would be about the same height as Superion. Getting an idea of how big Broadside would be, yet? There are 10 pegs on the deck, giving you plenty of options about where you want to display them.

The second altmode is a jet, kind of. It has the nosecone and cockpit of a jet, and it has wings, but the robot's big square legs are just stuck on the back end with no thought. The arms don't really go anywhere either, but they're not as egregious as the legs. Blunderbuss can sit in the cockpit, or you can attach the big blue gun to the top, and he can sit in that (in boat mode, the control tower flips open to become a seat).

There are pegs for the Aerialbots to attach in this mode, too, suggesting that the plane mode is just as gigantic as the carrier - a change from G1, when he was supposed to be a normal-sized jet and a normal-sized aircraft carrier. I guess they didn't need to assign Blunderbuss mass-shifting abilities after all.

Broadside is... well, Broadside is hard to judge. His robot mode is really nice, with a suitable design, good color choices and a fair amount of articulation; his boat mode is okay, with a few weird choices (namely, the support fins on the bottom); but the jet mode is junk, and the stickers are badly done. So this is a triple-changer with two okay modes, one highly crappy mode, and a major annoyance in the form of its decoration. I want to recommend Broadside, but I'm not sure I can.

-- 04/11/17

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