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with Xort

Series: Titans Return
Allegiance: Autobot
Categories: Deluxe Headmaster
Year: 2016

Highbrow knows all the answers but usually can't be bothered to explain them in ways other bots can actually understand. He's one of the most intelligent Autobots and a master of predicting what the Decepticons will do next. The gravity disruptors of Xort give Highbrow the power to manipulate gravitational fields.

Robot Mode: Let’s start with the fact that Highbrow is pretty much a spitting image of his predecessor G1 Highbrow. It’s clearly intended to be the same guy, the design is pretty much the same. The new figure has far better articulation, unsurprisingly, including ball-jointed shoulders and a design that allows for head movement despite the fact that the figure is a Headmaster whose head detaches and becomes a separate figure (see below). That said, the clamp that holds the head in place is a bit loose on my figure, so the head is a bit wobbly. Not sure if that is a general problem or not, and it’s certainly not a big thing, but I thought to mention it.

Detailing on the figure is pretty nice, too, and Highbrow has a solid stance as well, so he can pull off quite a few poses. One thing I’d have liked would be for the rotors on the back of his shoulders to fold together as they did on the G1 figure, but that’s just a minor thing. In terms of armaments Highbrow comes with two rifles which can combine into a bigger cannon, which he can hold double-handed in a pretty cool pose, too. So bottom line, a very nice robot mode. Some minor things could be improved, but overall I like it very much.

Alternate Mode: Highbrow transforms into a futuristic two-prop helicopter. It’s pretty much the exact same alternate mode as the G1 toy, just a tad more detailed and streamlined. The cockpit opens up so you can seat Xort (see below) inside and you can mount Highbrow’s two guns under the wings. Or rather, you HAVE to mount Highbrow’s guns under the wings, because the rear wheels of the landing gear are actually part of the guns, only the front wheel is part of the actual toy. Also, if you mount the guns as depicted in the instruction sheet, the landing gear is turned sideways instead of down (maybe it’s meant to be retracted here?).

The two guns can also be combined into a single weapon with a seat for Xort and be mounted on the side of the helicopter. Not only does that look somewhat awkward, though, it also means that, you guessed it, the helicopter now has no landing gear. Anyway, the vehicle mode looks pretty good, but the landing gear thing is a bit of a letdown. How hard would it have been to put it on the actual figure instead of the gun? Apart from that, though, no complaints. A nice helicopter mode.

Partner: Highbrow’s head detaches and transforms into the Nebulon… eh, sorry, Titan Master… Xort (originally called Gort). Xort is a tiny little thing, but he has ball-jointed arms and can move his joint legs, which is about as much as you can reasonably expect with a figure this small. So bottom line, nicely done for what he’s supposed to be.

Remarks: Highbrow was one of the original 1987 Autobot Headmasters and appeared in both the US three-parter “The Rebirth” as well as the Japanese Headmaster series. Unlike all the other Autobot Headmasters, though, it took him no less than 29 years to finally get a new toy onto the shelves (not counting name recycling for the movie toyline). Probably because unlike his cohorts, he doesn’t have much of a comic book presence to his name, either. Maybe that will change now, we’ll see.

As for the toy itself, well, we waited 29 years for a new Highbrow and it was worth the wait. Highbrow was among my favorite figures as a kid (he was my only 1987 Headmaster, too) and I’m thrilled to see him reborn. There are some minor things that prevent an A-rating, but overall he is a pretty great figure and fully recommended.

Rating: 2+
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