Retro-Review: G1 Hardhead & Duros

Discussion in 'Transformers Feedback & Reviews' started by Philister, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. Philister

    Philister Teutonicons Rising!

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    For more pics, click on the image above

    Prelude: Many thanks to fellow TF-Fan BlackZarak, who loaned me his Hardhead for this review.

    Robot Mode: In robot mode Hardhead is definitely among the larger robots of his time. By today’s standard he’d be a Voyager-class figure, standing almost as tall (though not as broad) as the Ultra-class Universe Hardhead figure. He also dwarves most of the other Headmaster figures from 1987. All that height comes with a price, though, because when seen from the side you notice that Hardhead’s torso is basically just a chest plate and a big rucksack (the cockpit of the vehicle mode) with nothing in-between. Don’t get me wrong, he looks good, but only from the front.

    In terms of posing ability Hardhead is a product of his time, meaning he is mostly a statue that can only move its arms at the shoulders and nothing more. Well, not quite. Hardhead has also got a big shoulder cannon that he can move upwards, at least a little bit. Apart from that, he’s also got two handguns, so he’s quite well armed.

    As a Headmaster Hardhead can detach his head, which becomes a separate figure, Duros (see below). When the head is plugged-in, you can see Hardhead’s tech spec ratings below his chest plate... in theory, at least. On this specific Hardhead here the tech spec meter is broken, so we don’t know how smart, strong, and fast he is. From his bio, though, I assume the emphasis is on strength. So bottom line for the robot mode: nice too look at from the front, nicely armed, but for the rest you need to use that old-fashioned thing called imagination (look it up, kids of today!)

    Alternate Mode: Hardhead transforms into a futuristic-looking tank. The big grey shoulder weapon now rests beside the cockpit, which can open up to seat Duros, while the two additional hand guns can be plugged into two ports on the top of the cockpit and its other side respectively. The tank is very nicely detailed and unlike some of the other science-fiction style vehicle modes we’ve seen in the G1 line post-1985, it still manages to look semi-realistic. So all in all a very nice vehicle mode, in my mind the best vehicle mode of the 1987 Headmaster figures.

    Partner / Add-On: Hardhead’s Headmaster partner Duros is near-identical to the other first wave Headmaster / Nebulon figures from 1987, meaning a pretty posable, nicely detailed little guy. Sure, all he can do is transform into a head, but in terms of detailing and posability he still trumps some of today’s Legends-class figures, so no complaints.

    Side note: Duros can be replaced with the Hothead upgrade from Headrobots (see the picture above). The resemblance is actually quite good, so if you find a headless Hardhead on ebay, you can easily complete him via a Headrobots shopping trip.

    Remarks: Hardhead was among the large number of new figures introduced at the very end of the original cartoon series, being among the first wave of Headmasters. He was little more than an also-ran, though. He got a bit more screen time in the Japanese Headmaster series, but didn’t take center stage there, either. The most attention he’s gotten so far is in the IDW comics, where he got his own Spotlight issue and took part in the Chaos storyline as well.

    As a toy Hardhead is a mixed blessing. He’s got the best vehicle mode of the G1 Headmasters in my opinion, but his robot mode, while cool-looking, is actually little more than a Pretender shell. Having held him in hand thanks to my buddy BlackZarak, I’ll probably refrain from dishing out a lot of money to get him. For a bargain price, sure, I’ll take him to complete my Autobot Headmaster group, but I won’t be paying the big bucks for this one. Recommended to Headmaster fanatics and G1 enthusiasts who don’t mind hollow robot modes.

    Rating: B-
     
  2. iron maniac

    iron maniac Help Uncle Sixshot, Help!

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    The fact that you can't even move Hardhead's legs always bugged me. He was a hollow brick, I would give him a C-/D+ grade overall and this is coming from the biggest Headmaster toy fan.

    I disagree with you on having the best vehicle mode, I have always thought that Brainstorm had the best vehicle mode, robot mode, and the best pose-ability of the original Headmasters.
     
  3. Philister

    Philister Teutonicons Rising!

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    Brainstorm has the best robot mode, no doubt. But I never particularly liked his vehicle mode.
     
  4. FakeEyes22

    FakeEyes22 Well-Known Member

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    This guy is my favorite. Well, he was when I was a kid. LOVED this toy and all the '87 Headmasters, but he was the best to me for some reason. Now, he's pretty stiff. I do still really like the hands, which are large and quite realistically sculpted for the time.

    In '87, Hardhead was my Halloween costume. My Dad made a perfect cardboard head and shoulder cannon. He got quite good after I put him through the ordeal of building Optimus and Rodimus in prior years.
     
  5. Computron34

    Computron34 Butt + Hurt = TF Fans

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    As a kid, I had Brainstorm and Highbrow. But I always remember looking at the catalogue and wanting Hardhead. Even through all his faults, I still love the little green guy.
     
  6. Blot

    Blot Terrorcon

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    I just wanted to say I like the format and pictures/graphics of your reviews and the retro theme. Keep up the good work!
     
  7. Philister

    Philister Teutonicons Rising!

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    Thanks and I'll try.
     

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