Titans Return Topspin and Twin Twist Gallery and Review!
In a twist holiday surprise this weekend, spinning into the Allspark Studios today are none other than fellow Wreckers, Topspin and Twin Twist! I don’t want to jump the gun before starting this review, but you definitely want to check out the pics to see why this duo is a must add to your shelves!
The Jumpstarters were a favorite of mine as a kid. 32 years ago, my great aunt Faye gave me Twin Twist for Christmas and I loved him the moment I saw him. He had arm articulation, a wicked gun, a weird alt-mode, and a pullback feature that worked nicely, even if I never was good at getting him to jump and land on his feet (Did anyone ever get that to work?) I thought he was a lot of fun, even though I was never able to complete the team. I was surprised to find years later when I joined the fandom that most people didn’t really have the love for the toy that I did. It really seemed like I was one of two people in the entire fandom that loved the Jumpstarters (I’m looking at you, guy who used Twin Twist for troop building).
Over time, their status as Wreckers and their inclusion in the comics has appeared to raise their approval with fans. The release of the Titans returns molds generated excitement online, and it finally feels like they both have the toys they deserve…at least from the POV of a former 9-year-old kid who has loved them for roughly 30 years.
I am going to start the review with the bot that is closest to my 9-year-old heart. Let’s take a look at Twin Twist, then we will highlight the differences between him and Topspin, since they are basically the same mold. (editor’s note: This order has nothing to do with the fact I owned him as a child. 😉 )
Twin Twist’s vehicle mode is that of a Cybertronian drill tank, just as you would expect. Many of the details on the G1 mold were realized via stickers, and this version does a fantastic job recreating those characteristics in plastic form, such as the vents, the front of the cockpit, and the chest panels. Added updates/changes are colored treads, which are located closer to the center of the tank, and arrow shaped tips on the drill bits, as well as a clearly defined cockpit.
As one of the few figures I had as a kid, the updates were a mixed bag. I realize your mileage may vary, but for me, this figure both looks like and does not look like the figure I loved and cherish. I think the detail that throws the look off is the placement of the treads. They are too far to the center, with too much hanging off the back of the vehicle. That being said, it’s a change I have had to accept. There is no way to get the amazing robot mode we get without placing those treads where they are, and I have had to come to grips with that. The only real and minor downside to the vehicle mode is that his Titanmaster partner, Flameout, doesn’t fit perfectly inside the cockpit without a little some work. You have to lean him back as far as you can, and even push his head backwards a bit. Even then, it’s a very snug fit. In spite of that small issue, the vehicle mode is fun, and looks enough like the original, with a bit of creative license thrown in. While it is “off” by just a bit, I have come to love it almost the same as the classic vehicle mode.
Rotate the feet out on the back of the tank. Separate and pull out the legs and close the backs in over the them. Rotate the body at the waist. Flip the treads over towards the top of the vehicle as far as they can go. Bend the body over at the waist, popping the lower section of the body off of the chest section. Pull the arms out from the side at the shoulders. Open the cockpit and rotate the drill section up as far as it will go. Rotate the torso a full 180 degrees along the panel that forms the chest. Flip the cockpit down and then rotate the lower body back up into the chest until it clicks into place. Open the panels on the front of the arms and pull the forearms out, while flipping the hands out as well, then close the panels to fully form the arms. Flip the air vent panels forward on the legs to form kneepads, then add Titanmaster Flameout as the head and Twin Twist is ready for battle!
You know, the tread placement is also a minor issue here. They are too high on the arm, and hang too far back. But you know what else? I don’t care. His colors and every other aspect of his design are pretty spot on. Additionally, between the big guns, the great poseability, and the lack of stickers that the voyagers in this line suffer from (your stickers suck, Hasbro), Twin Twist is pretty much a home run. The Takara run of this mold appears to have a few additional minor details added via paint opps, but honestly, if you just get the Hasbro version, you really aren’t getting shorted at all, unless the Targetmasters coming with the Legends figures are important to you.
The aforementioned articulation is everything we have come to expect from Generations figures, perhaps a little more. Both Jumpstarters have all the usual joints, but none of the negatives that sometimes come with said joints, such as parts that easily pop out of place or movement that is hindered by some part of the alternate mode kibble. I really can’t find a true negative, even a minor complaint. These guys are perfect.
The same ideas on the updates to Twin Twist apply to Topspin. I want to thank Hasbro for not putting any chrome or stickers on these guys, especially Topspin. It would have been easy to do, but it would have ruined them for me.
Topspin clearly becomes a Cybertronian spaceship/fighter. Having re-read the tech specs for both figures prior to writing this review, I really think the original bio was stretching to call his front end “pontoons” and have him being a land/water vehicle. This is a boat that would have quickly sunk, so he will always be a space fighter to me.
Topspin’s robot mode is, again, just what you would expect. He is well balanced, with great articulation, and he looks ever closer to his G1 version than Twin Twist does. What’s not to love?
Weapons and Upgrades
The Jumpstarters’ guns plug into the underside of the wings in official photos. There are several other holes along the vehicle where they fit, however, so you can set them as you like. Twin Twist’s weapons can store nicely on the side of his tank treads in robot mode, if you take the half circle tab at the back of the gun and plug it into the thin area at the top of the treads between the large and small triangular shapes. Topspin’s guns tab in nicely into the front of his wings in robot mode as well. This will allow you to augment their arsenal with aftermarket items, while not misplacing the commercial accessories.
I can confirm in the pictures below that if you have the Mech Ideas 3rd party Jumpstarters, you can use the Wreckers hammers with the Titans Returns versions of the characters. Perhaps you’d like to make few more upgrades, like G1 accurate details?
A stop at Toyhax (their stickers don’t suck) for some additional details and these guys are close to perfect. Can you say, Wrecker’s sigil?
I personally really want guns like the ones the original toys came with, so I just ordered retro styled blasters from Nonnef.
Jumpstarter Weapons set: https://www.nonnef.com/collections/tf/products/jumpstarter-tr
I do not yet have any of these upgrades, but I will definitely get some comparison pics in for you once the Takara versions of these molds finally hit stateside.
For those of you that like to swap parts and want a (reasonably cheap) custom, buy an extra set and do this to expand your Jumpstarter team:
I would like to close out this review by reminding Hasbro that we could really use some repaints of these molds, and that the Saltman-Z color schemes would be a great thing to use as an online/store exclusive. 😉 (Custom Saltman-Z courtesy of Cheets’ Tweaks.)
I really enjoy what Has/Tak have done with my favorite childhood Transformers duo. The alterations are minor, but acceptable. The vehicle and robot modes are near perfect. Added bonus is a set of Titanmasters that do not detract from the figures in any way. The transformations are nicely complex without being frustrating, and all the parts stay locked in place nicely in both modes. These figures are great, and while I know I say this a lot, they are sure to please a fan of any age (ages 8 and up).
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Enjoy the rest of the pics!