Thursday 14 February 2019

REVIEW: Generation 1 Decepticon Targetmasters (1987)

Just last week I posted an article about my complete collection of 1987 Autobot Targetmasters, where I explained that the reason for doing so was an attempt to focus in on some of the sublines of Generation 1 I have completed since diving head first back into vintage collecting. Some of these individual toys have already featured in my favourite vintage purchases from last year, but I thought that there was good opportunity for a few follow up articles too. Well, having done the good guys, now it's time for the Decepticons!

I mentioned in the previous article that Targetmasters were no doubt one of my favourite concepts from G1, although as a child I was actually much more familiar with the Autobot toys that I was this lot. So it was with particular delight to give the Decepticon ranks a go, and especially as I managed to acquire a complete set just last year! It has to be said that I had several moments of good fortune, but it was a fun journey which has included experiencing two of them for the first time ever! It's also a relatively timely experience, as there's no doubt been some renewed interest in these toys after they were given updated moulds as part of the Titans Return line. So, all that said let's dive right in and have a look at the line-up.

First up is Triggerhappy, who I did have as a child and absolutely adored. Looking at him with fresh eyes hasn't taken away any of the nostalgic sheen either; he's still an absolutely cracking toy with a fantastic headsculpt and two great modes. I always thought it was funny how his alt' mode features some of the biggest guns you're likely to see (which you can also use in robot mode should you absolutely wish!), yet he's allegedly powered up through the use of a Targetmaster. I'd almost forgotten how simple his colour scheme is in robot mode, with surprisingly few stickers to be applied and only a few splashes of colour to break up the blue and grey. However, that's not to take anything away from him, as he's an absolutely lovely toy, and one I was thrilled to add to the collection once again.

Now Misfire was one that I have never experienced firsthand before, but I have distinct memories of ogling this toy in catalogues and advertisements during my youth. I mean, just look at it. That hot pink is pretty eye-catching, no? In hand he turns out to be just as marvellous as one might have hoped, representing what for me is some of the absolute peak of G1. There really is a thrill that comes from owning a toy like this for the first time, after so many years. If any of the Targetmasters were a candidate for having a working cockpit to sit their mini-companion in, then it would be this chap I suspect, though alas it was not to be. Still, what toys like this might not have in terms of functionality over the Headmasters, they definitely hold their own in terms of presence and looks. Phwoar.

Now Slugslinger was one that I definitely didn't expect to be adding to my collection so easily. When I decided to delve back into this area of G1, I was already well aware that this toy would be a difficult prospect to acquire in a suitably desirable condition. Most examples that you come across are yellowed to some degree, or feature extensive chrome wear or other damage. I've been told that even a MISB Slugslinger could have issues despite never having seen the light of day. Well consider me very lucky then, as a contact I'd made through the process of another purchase randomly messaged me one day to see if I would be interested in buying this figure from him. As soon as I saw the photos I knew I had to have it - he's practically perfect! Oh, and yes, he's the other toy from this set that I have never experienced before, so that was definitely the cherry on top of an awesome find.

Now we move onto the two recycled moulds from the previous year of G1, with Scourge having been a similar success story in my own collection to Slugslinger. This toy is notoriously hard to find in stellar condition, and frequently fetches some ludicrous prices that I just wouldn't be prepared to pay. So when I ended up in a fellow collector's house with him offering up such a wonderfully-preserved copy for sale, I was very excited. When he accepted the price I offered, I was awestruck! I did have the 1986 version of this toy as a child, but never the Targetmaster before so it's a thrill to have added him to the line-up, and especially so in such great condition considering how hard to find this toy can be. One of my collecting highs from last year, for sure.

Having acquired Scourge, I became instantly more motivated to track down a similarly-minty Targetmaster Cyclonus. Finally, the opportunity presented itself at TFN last year, and a bit of haggling ended with me ticking this chap off the wishlist. In fact I think it was the only toy I'd set out to find other than Goldbug that I successfully procured, but never mind as they were both excellent purchases! This toy is definitely a standout amongst G1 moulds, remaining immensely faithful to the character and yet still entirely its own thing. That face sculpt is the stuff of nightmares!

Aimless, Blowpipe, Caliburst

Fracas, Nightstick

So that's enough said about the main toys themselves but what about their little companions? Like their Autobot equivalents these chaps just ooze personality and charm despite being so small and devoid of articulation. I will say that I do prefer the Autobot crew overall, but there's still something delightful about the Decepticons, especially Fracas and Nightstick. The main problem with this lot is that they're incredibly prone to breaking, as the little clips that hold the legs in place are just not up to repeated transformations. I have begun the process of acquiring a spare set in order to have one in each mode and negate the need for further transforming, but unfortunately they tend to run up high prices for this reason, even without the main toy included! The spare one I have so far was gifted to me though, so that's a good start! Perhaps their Autobot counterparts are just made of sterner stuff?

So there we go, a complete set of 1987 Decepticon Targetmasters. I really didn't expect to be saying that so soon, nor indeed to have found the process so easy - good fortune was definitely on my side when putting this crew together. Still, that's not taken away anything from the pleasure of seeing them all lined up together in such a pleasing condition. In fact it's a thrill to finally say that I own them all, and am no longer relegated to just admiring them in catalogues!

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  1. Why oh why did I paint my Misfire (poorly) and glue space marines all over him?
    Lovely photos as usual, these retro reviews bring back some good memories