Skullsmasher, Titans Return Deluxe Class, Hasbro 2016

Every now and then during the course of collecting figures, you completely miss a character and don’t bother to give it a minute’s thought whether to obtain it or not. It just stays off your radar. The Decepticon Headmasters were that for me. When the TF movie came out, I was angry. Like many other fans in the 80’s, I was pissed off (or rather traumatized) that they killed Prime, my childhood hero and saint, along with a bunch of his buddies and even his arch nemesis too. What the hell?! It was the utter annihilation of the 1984 G1 lineup as we knew it and I wasn’t a big fan. Not at onset.

Post Humous Prime. The figures released in 1986 and everything thereafter marked a big departure from the classic designs of G1 that were mostly based on real vehicles, and not futuristic creations.The Decepticon Headmasters, interestingly enough, were based on animals – a crocodile, a wolf, and a bat. Big mean animals make for prime bad guy fodder. Not very realistic looking figures, but based on real existing things nonetheless. The classic figures were now a thing of the past, and it was a bitter pill to swallow. But all good things must come to an end, and even newer things can become classics. The end of 1st gen figures paved the way for many more great figures to come, including this reboot of a much loved character from the 1987 Headmasters lineup, and a lovable goon in the Japanese animated series.

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These colors really shine in this packaging. Almost too pretty to open, but couldnt’ resist!
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We all know him as “Skullcruncher” but Hasbro’s lawyers had a different idea.

Beastly Badass. The updated Skullcruncher (“Skullsmasher”) has one of the best beast alt mode designs next to Masterpiece Grimlock, in my opinion. It has such amazing lines, proportions, and details, especially for a $15 item. The only place where it falls short is the quality of the plastic across the board is pretty crappy. The tail and neckpiece are thin and hollow, the cockpit lid is a rubbery flap that doesn’t want to cooperate, the main body plastic is lightweight and cheap feeling, making him top heavy and flimsy feeling overall. Hence the $15 price tag.

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Flushed down the toilet and raised in the Cybertron sewers.
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Fuschia mittens are gonna be all the rage this winter.
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Such pearly whites / light grays. This tooth and tongue detail is some of the finest I’ve seen on Takara figures. It’s a soft material and is sculpted as if it were an action figure. Using an animal as a base for the design seems to open up a lot of interesting possibilities for different manufacturing and design methods.
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The original cockpit was in the crocodile’s mouth, but this placement really rings true to the original Headmaster style, as well as the Diaclone predecessors.
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Doesn’t Grax even kind of look like a Diaclone pilot?
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The lid might not do this design any justice, but at least the cockpit has some nice detailing.
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Dude, could you close your mouth, please?  Ewww. 

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All gators aside, his robot mode is super impressive.

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Is this the Green Goblin’s doppelganger or what?
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I love his little Wolvy claws. It’s a great update from the original design, where his claws just stayed tucked behind his wrists.
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This is such an interesting head design that pays homage to the original but in a very unique departure on some other tip.

Let’s get into some poses. This guy is full on the articulation, even if he’s mostly hollow.

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Fully armed, he’s kind of goofy. I just don’t know about that tail cannon / sword thing.
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The tail weapon doesn’t look so bad when he’s in a better pose.
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Those scrawny calves have a tough time holding his heavier torso. It’s ok for fresh figures, but over time with continual rubbing, I can foresee this figure getting bad joint wear at the knees. Might need to keep a minty MOSC one on hand.
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Poses like these are where this figure really excels!

I only collect figures that I really like, and this one was a total gamble for me that I’m happy to have taken. I’m no completist by any means, but this figure makes me want to get all the Titans Return Headmasters and catch up on all the figures I missed the first time around. We may never see a Masterpiece version of this guy, so grab this fig before it’s too late!

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