Finally found Triggerhappy in a local store, along with the casemates Hot Rod, Twinferno, and Breakaway; I picked up Hot Rod as well, and an extra Triggerhappy in case the first one was broken, which wasn't the situation so now I have an extra.
Hot Rod, let's start there, the first new regular mold in 11 years. Hot Rod gives a weak impression at first blush.... His deco has weak choices like no orange crest on the head and no side flames, no chrome, thick yellow paint on the wing that on mine came with a small chip showing the black plastic under, and the titan master is totally monochromatic gray plastic aside from the Hot Rod face on the back. His sculpting feels a bit off from the rest of the line like he was sculpted from outside Hasbro/Takara, the materials feel lighter and more brittle than other figures, and there are odd choices like the hollow space around the cockpit interior. The vehicle mode looks fat and out of proportion, and sports ridiculously thin wheels.
But, after experiencing it more, it has more charm than first impressions. The vehicle mode while odd in the rear half because the cockpit takes up less space and it's narrow, actually has nice modern supercar lines, flow channels, aggressive fenders, a very nice front profile.
Transformation is a bit cheesy with 2/3rds of the sides becoming the arms, and not in a clever way, just high shoulders to offset how long the arms really are. The chest flip-over is alright, the leg flip-over is generic though. The Titan Master port is a new style of design and it's awkward to snap in because it keeps deflecting, but once installed it works fine.
Bot mode stands as tall, slightly taller than many and a whole head taller than the Classics figure. This Hot Rod's biggest failing is probably the narrow chest coming off the high, broad shoulders; it doesn't remind me of the IDW version or the G1 character by being that narrow. The other thing that doesn't do it for me is the Titan Master face, it's trying to go for the IDW by having a bigger chin, but it just feels like Ironhide instead, and leaving the crest unpainted doesn't help at all; on top of all that the Titan Master's body doesn't meld with the face at all. But once you get past that, the overall is decent enough with good lower body proportions and a general sense of balance. While mine has somewhat loose hip ball-joints, in general he has decent articulation for his bricky look.
His guns are mirror twins that snap together to make a small ride-in vehicle, they fit in his fists tightly, and stow in bot mode on his outer biceps or loosely tabbed into his wing (they'll only stay here if you open the wing, put the gun in with the handle facing in, then close the wing to trap the handle between the back canopy and the wing, but it works) and in vehicle mode just behind the front wheels or attached to the engine block.
Overall, he's a mixed bag but the good outweighs the bad, there's some stuff that works pretty well in each mode, and it makes a better impression in-hand than in-package. He is good in enough ways to say he's better than the shrimpy Classics figure.
Triggerhappy is probably the best Transformer figure in the last 3 years, getting nearly everything perfect. The execution is so good that it feels effortless, with elements lining up that shouldn't work as well as they do, and a transformation that's downright memorable. All for a character nobody remembers from the Targetmasters days that made a single appearance in the G1 cartoon.
Vehicle mode is a space starfighter with very large twin cannons on either side that end in gold engine thrusters, couple that with a narrow tapered nose that leads to a cockpit and there are some X-wing Fighter comparisons to this design. Everything that's good about the G1 figure is made better here. Lots of sculpted detail that suits the ship well, very little hollowness or robot kibble, everything makes sense. The opening cockpit looks so nice, it breaks in the middle to have the rear fold up, revealing a few control surfaces, it's a tight cockpit for the Titan Master but the nose breaks down to make it easier to seat him. The colors look downright nice, purple with light gray, sporting a few blue, gold and silver accents, everything's nicely balanced. The robot gun halves can peg into the underside of the wings to bring even more giant guns to bear on this vehicle.
Transformation is astounding, and I cannot think of a more delightful one. The rear half unfolds to become the legs, and then the nose and rear half swap places, and then the arms fold down on struts to perfectly finish the torso. If you want, the guns can stay attached and end up tightly packed on the back.
Bot mode is great too, and not in a flashy way but in a "this is what it should be" style with fantastic proportional balance; even the way the backpack sits so tight against the back is better than other versions of this. The color palette changes to bring more gray to the party which adds to a transformational feel. The joints are all tight but not obnoxiously so, even the titan master neck and the waist have the right tension. The one thing folks may not like are the long guns attached to the forearms, they hit the folded-back winglets if you bend the elbows and then rotate them out (though you can just hinge them away from the wing). And the titan master head is like a dark Optimus Prime, red facemask with gold eyes surrounded by blue, like he has bagged, sunken eyes.
Even the guns are cool, they combine to make a ride-on instead of ride-in vehicle so each gun is proportional to the figure as an assault rifle. They also have no junk everywhere the way so many others do, no tabs or extra pegs or weirdness, the vehicle mode sits flat while the guns look like guns first. While some hollows on each inner half, the outer side of each has no hollows so they look great.
Overall, once again the Decepticons get the winning figure in this line, and in this case it's pretty much the best one I can remember. Everything on Triggerhappy is fantastic, and will make you lament that they're not all this good.