Headmasters Return This Summer
The summer of 2016 will see the return of Headmasters to the Transformers mythos.
The 1987 range of Generation 1 Transformers saw the introduction of Headmasters and Targetmasters. They were featured in the three-part finale to the cartoon produced by Hasbro called “Rebirth” or season 4 as well as in the Marvel G1 comic books.
The premise gave some Transformers a small partner that became their heads when transformed and attached. The heads could pilot the larger vehicle, and the vehicles were more futuristic than most of the Transformers produced in the past.
The pièce de résistance of the Headmasters line was undoubtedly Fortress Maximus. Fort Max, as he is called for short (size joke!), was the largest Transformer toy produced in the original G1 line. Standing at 22″ (or 56 cm) tall, his record would only be broken by Generations Metroplex – who stands 2″ taller – in 2013. No relaunch of Headmasters would be complete without a new Fortress Maximus, so I am thrilled that Hasbro will be producing one.
Fortress Maximus is so big because he is a robot that transforms into a whole city!
In transformers lore, Fortress Maximus has divergent origin stories depending on if you subscribe to the Western or Japanese fiction.
In Hasbro’s continuity, Fort Max was created by Spike and the pacifist Cerebros to battle the evil Scorponok.
In Japan, Fort Max started life as a smaller sized cybertronian who was unable to transform, but was friends with Kup. Fortress fled to a cybertronian colony and lived for some time as one of his colony’s elites. Eventually, however, He had to create a city sized transtector that could transform into the battleship to help fight the Decepticons. Fortress called this battleship Maximus.
It’s unclear what fiction will go along with Hasbro’s Headmaster relaunch. One would presume that the comics that have been so successfully produced by IDW would feature the new line since many of the Headmasters characters in the relaunch are already major players in the various comic book story lines. However, Fortress Maximus is more or less a regular sized and sentient Transformer in the comics. If there is a city sized version featured in IDW, it will be interesting to see what, if any, role Cerebros will play in IDW’s Fort Max. Cerebros has traditionally been the brains of Fortress Maximus controlling the city as a larger extension of himself. Will IDW’s Fort Max become a transector controlled by Cerebros?
More importantly, I’m excited to see what the return of the Headmasters means for Takara. The Japanese market famously had different Headmasters than what Hasbro gave the rest of the world. The Headmaster Juniors featuring Shūta, Cab, and Minerva are great examples of this.
I’m particularly excited for an updated Minerva. The original Minerva was a lifeless transector controlled by a young human girl; however, the transector would eventually gain life and as a living cybertronian she took the name of her former human partner as her own. She was often depicted with Perceptor and Wheeljack suggesting Minerva took a position of some importance regarding Autobot science and medical duties.
Only one version of Minerva has ever been released outside of Japan, an Animated version that was exclusively available through Botcon’s custom class in 2011. This toy was strictly limited to 120 pieces. I am lucky enough to be among the few to have one of these figures, and she is one of the prizes of my collection. A mass release of a new Minerva figure would probably only be available in Japan, but it would go a long way in making her more readily accessible to the larger collecting community as her original G1 toy is also considered rare and goes for large sums of money.
Goshooter and Minerva both have been featured recently in Japanese comics created for Hero-X publishing’s Generations books. This would suggest a continued interest in these characters in the Japanese market. Only time will tell.
Hasbro is creating its new Headmasters as part of their Generations toyline “trilogy.” The first part consisted of Combiner Wars. The Headmasters are part of the second installment called “Titans Return.” We do not yet know what the third part will be titled, or what gimmick the toys will feature.
The initial waves of Hasbro’s Titans Return will consist of:
- Crashbash with dragon/dinosaur
- Loudmouth with hovercar/hovertank
- Nightbeat with jet/drill-tank
- Terri-Bull with tank/jet
- Furos w/ Hardhead
- Grax w/ Skullsmasher
- Fracas w/ Scourge
- Hyperfire /w Blurr
- Stylor w/ Chromedome
- Vorath w/ Mindwipe
- Twin Cast w/ Autobot Blaster
- Autobot Apex w/ Powermaster Optimus Prime
- Soundblaster w/ Soundwave
- Fortress Maximus w/ Cerebros & Emissary