Hasbro’s recent line of Titans Return figures cover the gamut from tiny Headmaster-style bots, all the way up to Leader-class figures that have base/city alt modes.
Astrotrain & Darkmoon are one half of the second wave of Voyager-class figures, the other being Alpha Trion & Sovereign. Astrotrain is a retool of the wave 1 release Sentinel Prime, and is easy to see that this mold was meant for Astrotrain first and foremost.
I feel out of the three modes, bot is where it’s most true to the source. He’s not perfect, mind you, but the sculpt, colors and general look of this figure are excellent. Whether you’re a G1 cartoon or G1 toy fan I think you’ll find something to like here.
The only issues I have with bot mode are the long shins and short thighs that limit poseability. Everything else is about what you might expect from a current-day Voyager figure. The head, being a Titan Master, is on a small ball joint but this figure has an extra neck swivel that helps with posing. The port that the Titan Master plugs into is on its own large swivel, which when the side collars are deployed help him be able to see around them. Dues to the universal nature of Titan Masters, Astrotrain’s head is a bit small for his body but it’s not terrible. The face sculpt is very well done and the colors look very good on him.
Shoulders can swivel front and back a full 360 degrees, and can move on an outward hinge a full 90. There is an upper bicep swivel and over 90 degrees in the elbow, but sadly no wrist swivel due to the flip out nature of the hands and he does have hollow forearms as seen above. There is no waist swivel but his hips do swivel outward on a soft ratchet, and forwards and backwards on a heavy ratchet. There is a mid-thigh swivel and a surprising full 90 degree bend on the knees, even though his shins are a bit chunky right below the joint. The feet, due to the triple changer gimmick, can only swivel forward and backwards… no ankle tilts here.
There are some very nicely painted and sculpted details on Astrotrain. His forearms have small cannons that have a nice coat of glossy black paint. The chest has some red and purple detailing similar to how the toy and cartoon looked. The black painted details on his lower legs help break up the monotony of the gray plastic the majority of the figure is molded in, and the purple panels along the sides of his shins give the lower half a little extra pop as well.
The wings on Astrotrain’s back are a very nice shade of purple and have crisp Decepticon tampos on them. They’re also on a double hinge that allows you to put them most any way you feel looks good. The only backpack to speak of is the translucent purple cockpit that the Titan Master (which from here on out will be referred to as Darkmoon) can occupy in both shuttle and train modes, but it really is so compact and well designed that it’s not a hindrance at all.
As you can see, the shuttle is probably the better of the two alt modes, though it has its issues. The colors remind me very much of the G1 Astrotrain that I still own from my childhood, but the purple on top is a bit garish. I can’t help but wonder if he’d look nicer with gray wings to closer match his G1 look. The overall shape of the shuttle is overly wide and squat compared to what you would thing a space shuttle would look like. I guess you could think of as more of a space carrier / battle cruiser to explain the shape a bit better. Imagine multiple Seeker jets in the hangar and dozens, if not hundreds, of Decepticon troops inside. In that case, I think the shape works very well!
The only articulation to speak of in shuttle mode are the small landing skids you can deploy underneath (though he’s so broad and flat there’s no real need to), and the upright tail fins that can adjusted either straight up or on a slight angle depending on your preference. There are a few ports under the wings and near the tail fins that you can mount his two included guns on if you so desire.
Astrotrain’s second alt mode is where this figure departs heavily from the G1 aesthetics. While it is still recognizable as a train, it sports a very heavily modified bullet train look. Aside from the wings and cockpit being uni-directional in design, the train itself has a symmetric design. There are a couple mounting points on the side for the weapons to plug in to, but other than that this mode is static in it’s poseablity. While its not bad, I would have preferred a more classic steam engine design for this mode.
Just like the shuttle mode, the colors are very reminiscent of the G1 toy though a bit heavy on purple again due to the wings folding around the outside of the train. The painted turrets that were on the bot’s arms are proudly displayed here along the top of the train, as well as the clear purple cockpit cover for Darkmoon to sit in. There is tons of scuplted detail along the front (back?) and sides of the train, from the cow catchers on each end the the small flip-down wheels along the sides. The detail that went into this mode is definitely very well done
In short, the transformation between modes hits that sweet spot between simple and satisfying. After you’ve done it once, future transformations will be easy-peasy. There are panels to flip, tabs to peg in, and everything holds together very nicely in every mode. There really is nothing bad I can say about the steps involved or the results that come of them. Good job Hasbro!
Astrotrain comes with just a few accessories in the box. Of course he comes with the standard fold out instruction sheet and collector bio card. There are also two purple molded guns, one similar to his G1 rifle and the other which has a Titan Master seating area in it. I feel the second gun could have been left out of this package, but the theme of Titan Masters having a gun/seat thing must be in every release of the line so I understand why it’s there.
Darkmoon is the other “accessory” included with Astrotrain, though he’s not really an accessory due to his very nature of being the robot mode’s head. If you have had any experience with other Titan Masters (or any Head Masters in the past) you’ll know what to expect here. His transformation consists of him folding in half to form the larger robot’s head. Darkmoon’s articulation is extremely limited with only a pinned hip and knee joints and small ball joints for the shoulders which allow for a very finite amount of outward movement along with the forward and backward motion you’d expect. Not counting the paint on the larger robot’s face on his back, Darkmoon has zero paint apps. He is molded in the purple and gray plastic the rest of the figure comes in. The tiny head does have some very nice detail on it however, and he has some small guns molded into the outside of his forearms. I wish there was a way to hide that giant screw hole on the Titan Master’s chests, but alas there is not.
Quality / Final Thoughts
Overall I’m very happy with Astrotrain, but I feel much of that comes from my nostalgia of owning the G1 toy. He has some limitation in poseability due to his triple-changer status, and the bullet train design is a huge departure from his standard look. I’d say unless you have a thing for Astrotrain figures, don’t pay extra to grab yourself one of these. Perhaps you’d like his mold-mate Sentinel Prime better, since he doesn’t have a history like Astrotrain does to make you notice the faults all that much more.