The only thing more improbable about getting a new Slugslinger is that it's the second one - the Energon model was a weird, messy pile of parts. This one does a good job reviving the original toy's colors and general feel, with a limited number of changes. The toy shares engineering with two other remakes, so it kind of needs to be flexible.
The tiny head robot is a lot like Blowpipe and Aimless - 1.5-inches tall, same mold, but with face paint that looks little like the G1 toy or animation model. It looks good, though. You get 5 points of articulation, and you can pretend that it looks at all like the original Caliburst.
In head mode, it's similar to the original - but it has eyes, rather than a visor. Usually the US toy has a head that looks like a toy, while Japan follows the animation - as luck would have it, Slugslinger now has his cartoon head.
His robot mode is pretty fantastic - as a toy, it's a lot like Misfire and Triggerhappy. The legs are the same, the articulation is good, but the gun is a real departure from this line so far. Most of the toys have weapons that double-up after splitting in half, but this one stacks on top of one another, with foot pegs to let a figure pilot them. They look vaguely like the original Targetmaster gun, but don't turn into a robot.
The robot itself is a weird delight, with tampos everywhere. Why does he have tampos on top of his torso? You can't see them well in either mode, but there they are, looking authentic. His shins have fake decals too, as do the wings. I've had no problems getting him to stand or be posed, and with about 19 points of articulation I'm having a decent time here.
Transformation is basically like Misfire [FOTD #1,803] for the legs and arms, with a new torso, new wings, and new kibble to navigate. It's easy to transform, but there are some tabs that don't quite fit in as well as I'd like.
The jet mode brings back the "double cockpit" trope of the 1980s, which came up a lot. There was one in StarCom, there was a tandem one for an X-Wing in Star Wars that never came out, and who could forget the double snorkel Snork Jo-Jo? Neither cockpit opens, instead a compartment in the body flips open to seat a Titan Master. There is no place on the body to mount the guns like the original, but there are holes on the wings if you split it apart. While there are elements that look like landing gear, none are present - it's just an illusion. I love the tampos, which seem like overkill, particularly the ones on the top of the torso. The jet looks a lot like the original, and other than the blue belly of the original Hasbro did a nice job bringing back the classic design.
I love this toy, but the character does nothing for me. The only thing I can tell you about Slugslinger is the double-cockpitted aircraft, other than that he's a bit of a cipher. As such, this is a toy for you to define. If you like how it looks, you're going to enjoy playing with it. If you don't like it, skip it, move on, save those dollars for Power of the Primes. I think it's a nice, weird toy and a nice send-off to the deluxe-sized toys of Titans Return. As we creep forward on the original toy series' timeline, we're going to get more of these guys - blank slates, cameos, or complete unknowns as Hasbro slowly ticks off the remaining remakes from 1984-1987. Figures like this are a fun surprise, tributes to our childhoods but reminders that while all good things once came to an end, perhaps there may be an end to our nostalgia market too. Eventually it's going to have to start over, perhaps with Armada or the movies or some other category. (I know, you'd like me to say Beast Wars. Despite being the best thing ever, it lacks traction so I'm not hopeful.)
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