War For Cybertron: Siege – Further Impressions


So, the Siege toy line is in full swing, with a whole slew of toys having been released and more on their way! I thought it´d be time to go through the upcoming releases and give my impressions based on the information we have on them so far… For simplicity´s sake I have chosen to divide these new toys into repaints/slight remolds, heavy remolds and new molds, in that order. Again, I do not look closer at Battle Masters and Micro Masters. Without further ado, here we go!

Repaints/slight remolds:


Red Alert

We have known about this release for quite a while, but recently it finally got officially confirmed. As it is supposed to look like a Sideswipe in another deco, this toy does the job well. Like with Prowl, the light bar for the alt mode can be detached and combined with the rifle, here forming a hammer-like weapon. I am personally not a huge Red Alert fan (despite my quite neurotic personality), but I know he has many fans so I am glad we are getting him.


G2 Sideswipe

Some time ago I thought “what would be really cool down the road would be a G2 Sideswipe release, his crazy set of weapons just fits Siege´s weapon theme like a glove! Preferably, he would get a new name and become his own character! Let´s see what the future holds…”. Lo and behold, here we are with Covert Clone Sideswipe in the Autobot Alphastrike Counterforce boxset. He is not sporting his classic set of weapons unfortunately enough, but the deco looks as sharp as anyone would expect. This release is not for me, but surely for many others!


Raindance and Grandslam/Slamdance

This repurposing of Skytread was unexpected to say the least. Apart from having their decos swapped, a tank and a jet forming a robot is very much Raindance and Grandslam, cassette modes missing or not. Personally I however never was a fan of this gestalt being made up of two robot-mode less robots rather than working like the duocon it now borrows its mold from, but I guess it is just a matter of head canon to fix that. All in all, an amusing but not too desirable curiosity, part of the Autobot Alphastrike Counterforce together with Covert Clone Sideswipe and battle master Trenchfoot.




I must admit that I never found this concept for a G1 Barricade interesting, that is, to simply make him an evil, black clone of Prowl (good cop, bad cop…). I think he deserves his own design, and I am not a big fan of Autobots and Decepticons sharing molds overall (I think Exhaust should be an Autobot too…). Further, this is not a Prowl in a new deco, but rather Smokescreen in a new deco, which kind of detracts further from the already dubious concept. What is interesting though is that we see that there is now support for shoulder cannons in the mold; the cannons we see mounted on Barricade´s alt mode can obviously stay there for the robot mode as well. Then another gripe comes up, that we don´t get both shoulder cannons and the rifle Prowl has. If I am to say something positive about this release is that the deco itself is very nice looking, and makes especially the alt mode look less like, borrowing TF reviewer Peaugh´s words here, “a bar of soap”. Personally, I´ll however go for Smokescreen and Blue Streak instead.


Blue Streak

Looks the part, and we get shoulder cannons plus Prowl´s rifle, no complaints here!



He looks the part as well, and again we get both shoulder cannons and a rifle!



Given how good Siege Ironhide looks, his eternal mold-mate should Ratchet should easily look as fine, however, I find something is off with this one… the head sculpt, the random patches of red in the deco… Is the toy in this photo a custom? (If so, the same should be true for the Blue Streak pictured further up this post) I hope further pictures will put this release in a more favorable light.



I am not sure Ironhide´s mold was the ideal choice for this character, but it works to some degree I guess. The new head sculpt is based on the cartoon model´s and this a bit alien to me as I am more used to the face of the G1 toy. Overall it is however nice to get Autobot targetmasters at all, I wonder what molds the other will use?


Red Wing

This is a great looking deco for the Seeker mold, but as a character Red Wing is a non-entity to me, so I´ll pass on this one.



This is basically Siege Starscream in blue, which is no more or less what we expect from any Thundercracker toy. In other words, the toy does its job. I have personally never found Thundercracker and Skywarp interesting as characters, since they design-wise feel like clones of Starscream, not even having their own heads sculpts, something which help distinguish most of the carbot remolds from their forerunners. This release immediately gave rise to the question “where is Skywarp?”…

More Siege Battle Pack Photos Showing Off G2 Sideswipe, Slamdance, And Skywarp (9)__scaled_800


…a question soon to be answered with the reveal of the Decepticon Counterstrike Squadron boxset which includes the black and purple seeker, as well as three (!) Battle Masters. Like with Thundercracker, this toy does its job and completes the classic Seeker trio, I however think that the practice of locking up members of groups in boxsets is a cheap way of milking money out of fans, here a boxset with Skywarp and Thundercracker together would have been a fairer deal. Well, well…

Major remolds:


Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime

I have no attachment to the Unicron Trilogy but I have always thought Galaxy Prime is a cool Optimus design, and so it is cool to see it get a modern update, as a clever remold of Siege Ultra Magnus. What makes it even more cool in my opinion is however that the core figure is not true to that of the original Galaxy Prime, but rather it is an Optimus whose chest, unlike that of the original toy, is the front of the truck, which however has the same design as that of the original toy. In short, it feels like the core figure the original toy should have had! We now know that the Siege toy designs are being used for the new IDW continuity, and Orion Pax in the comic uses the core figure of this toy for his character design. I think it is a clever way of making this toy desirable to fans that are not into the Unicron trilogy. My suspicion is that when Pax turn into Prime in the comic, he will use the Siege Optimus Prime voyager toy for his character design, calling it now! Overall, I am impressed how different Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime is from Ultra Magnus!

New molds:



This is my first real disappointment in the Siege line. The main reason is the engineering. In alt mode, his arms are clumsily tucked under the spoiler of the car, and in robot mode he has a faux chest! I hate faux parts in general, but especially when it is seemingly not needed at all, and this is such a case. In what way does having that chest make the toy look better? Also, this means his transformation pattern is now completely different from the G1 toy and for example the spoiler does not become his feet in this toy. Further, aesthetically he does not fit in with the overall Siege aesthetic, the render of him does not even have battle damage! It is like he and Impactor (see below), being the winners of a fan vote carried out before Siege was announced, were not designed together with the other figures of this line. The head sculpt is not on point, either. The one positive thing I can say is that he gets both a proper rifle and shoulder cannon, but overall, this toy is a real disappointment to me. In the fan vote that spawned this we could also choose Wheeljack and Tracks, among others. If they do come along down the line, I really hope they are better than this.



Upon its reveal, this figure has gotten a lot of flack from fans. Initially I was also very disappointed, but have warmed up a bit since. My first disappointment was that the toy went for a Marvel UK aesthetic rather than a Last Stand of the Wreckers one, my second one was that he is a deluxe figure and not a voyager, as he should be able to stand eye to eye with either T30 Springer or the upcoming one (see below). The third disappointment was the hollowness of his legs, yikes! Further, while I would not call his alt mode a disappointment, I find it strange that his shoulder cannon is not the main cannon of the tank, but rather the hand-held rifle we also get for some reason. On the positive side though, it is fantastic that Impactor is getting a mainline release at all! Further, the way his iconic arm-mounted harpoon is optional is great! The aesthetic of the figure overall is a little bit wonky, but at a second glance, endearingly so. I´ll get him after all…



This is the first proper home-run among the newer reveals. As perfect as T30 Springer was, it is a different beast from G1 Springer, and this toy seems just as perfect an incarnation of the latter iteration of the character! All three modes look perfect, the weaponry is cool, the scale is right. I really think they knocked it out of the part with this one!



This is the other homerun in this batch of reveals. Just as it is a bit surprising that we never got a G1-based Springer until now, it is surprising that we never got a Jetfire fully based on his Sunbow cartoon character model. But now that we did, what a toy! It looks like the toon come to life in both modes, and has awesome gimmicks like a swappable faction symbol, 5mm ports appearing in the hands when they are closed, the cockpit being able to take a titan master a pilot etc. The articulation also seems stellar with even a waist swivel cleverly worked into the toy. The size of the toy is, being the new Commander Class, I guess, also accurate as G1 Jetfire should tower over average-sized Transformers. This is however my only gripe with the toy, I feel it might be TOO big for my taste. I am afraid that having him in my Siege display will make basically all my other figures look tiny and insignificant, so I am still on the fence about this one. I am also not a fan of the extra parts that helps somewhat creating a Valkyrie look for him which probably drives up the price for a doubtful reward. Overall however, it can´t be denied that this seems to be a masterpiece of a generations toy (ha ha) and I am genuinely curious what other toys this new size class might generate!


Omega Supreme

This toy is a mixed bag. First, it is very cool that we get Titan Class toys at all, so that huge characters like Omega Supreme can be fully realized in toy form as the behemoths they are supposed to be. So in theory, we should indeed be thankful that we get these toys at all, despite perhaps none of them being “perfect”. In robot mode, Omega Supreme however comes close to perfection; the overall aesthetic, the proportions, the design details, this is undoubtedly the Omega Supreme we all know and love! It however has an inexplicable design choice which in my opinion drags down the full package a bit: the blades on the claw hand being transparent. Maybe I have missed that there will be a light up effect in that hand making the blades glow, but in my opinion it does not help; the transparent plastic of the claw blades make them look brittle, which is the last thing we associate with Omega´s mighty claw hand. I have also seen comments online where fans worry that the plastic in question will be brittle in real life as well, while carrying the weight of that rocket…

Which takes us to base mode, where I think this toy really fails. It looks unfinished. The greatest appeal of the G1 toy in my opinion is that the base mode looks nothing like the robot mode, you marvel at how the two modes belong to the same toy! Part of this is accomplished by how Omega´s legs cleverly detach and split up to become parts of the track, which encircles the base. Siege Omega Supreme does not do that, instead the robot basically sits down with the legs splayed apart some, carrying a now elevated track, which as a result is much shorter and just barely encircles what looks like a decapitated, gutted, armless sitting robot. Part of why it looks like that is that the rocket stands so far from the main body that it is not slightly embraced by the main torso as in the G1 toy. And the rocket is looong, unnecessarily long in relation to the torso, but again, the torso does not really feel like a scaffold for the rocket anymore anyway. Overall, the base mode feels extremely lazy and uninspired, and unfortunately this has turned me off from the toy completely. Concept: Awesome. Execution: Lacking. But Titan Class Devastator has finally got his rival, now let´s hope Fortress Maximus and Predaking soon get theirs (Skorponok and Sky Lynx, respectively)!



Given that for example Siege Crosshairs is just a remold, it is fascinating to see that this character, who never even appeared in the cartoon, is getting his own, unique mold; no doubt because of his prominent role in the IDW comics More than meets the eye and the Lost Light, but still! The figure looks sharp, I am however somewhat irked by the fact that he has two helicopter cockpits in robot mode, one for each leg. This is what Spinister looks like on his G1 box art so it is accurate in that regards, but it also means that he has an extra, faux cockpit that must be hidden away in helicopter mode. Undoubtedly a weird design choice, but not a deal breaker,



This was an even bigger surprise than Spinister, given that his media presence has been even smaller than the Scavenger in question (who was a choice in a fan poll after all), Apeface looks great in robot and gorilla mode, and the jet is,… passable. Most people seem to complain about it being a brick with wings, but while this is true (and not a big deal to me) I am more annoyed that the cockpit has got an unnecessary makeover. Overall though, the figure looks great, and since I had Apeface as a kid I am totally gonna get the Siege one!



We got an Astrotrain quite recently in Titans Return, a voyager with a design based on a Don Figuerora concept with a cool futuristic design for the train mode. I however passed on it since I could not accept that the figure, like almost every other bot in the subline, was a headmaster. This new one is not, has its classic three modes (robot, space shuttle, steam locomotive) and is a Leader class figure to boot! I think the latter thing is a good thing, I don´t mind Astrotrain being bigger than Megatron in bot mode (cartoon accurate or not) since he supposedly can transport a bunch of Decepticons including Devastator in shuttle mode… The back half of the locomotive mode looks quite messy and unfinished, but the robot mode is spot on. Insta-buy!



While this toy line has its share of repaints/slight remolds it also delivers a whole lot of new molds, and toys of characters whose proper representation we have been waiting for for years (Jetfire, Omega Supreme, a G1 Springer) as well as toys of more obscure but loved characters such as Apeface and Spinister. This toy line continues to deliver, being one of the most exciting in years, and again I can´t wait to see what is coming up next!


War For Cybertron: Siege – First Impressions


This time I will share my thoughts on the upcoming Siege toy line, debuting in late 2018, part one in a trilogy called War for Cybertron which is the next segment of the long-running CHUG/Generations toy line. I originally just intended to post a few tweets about it, but it grew and here we are…

EDIT: I changed the “cast” pictures to show off alt modes for all bots. I also added Prowl and Sixgun to this section. I also now know the Spy Patrol counts as Micromasters, but I am treating them separately due to their association with Soundwave

General concept

The overall idea of the War for Cybertron toy line, at least the Siege section, is to, as the name implies, goes back to wartime Cybertron and explore pre-Earth incarnations of the Transformers. This has been done before toy-wise, the latest example being the toys based on character designs in the celebrated War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron games from High Moon Studio found in Generations/Thrilling 30. This time around we however see new interpretations of pre-Earth Transformers seemingly not based on any media incarnations we´ve seen before. I think there might be more than one reason for this toy line taking this direction.

Looking back at CHUG/Generations, most characters from the G1 years 1984 through 1988 have been remade, not least during the Prime Wars trilogy which gave us Scramble City-styled combiners, Titans, Headmasters and even Pretenders (in a way). In a way, there is not much more of dignity from G1 to CHUG-ify, (except perhaps Micromasters which, as we shall see, are represented in Siege). Therefore, the logical thing is to start the whole G1 remake marathon over, there has been some time since Classics debuted and demand for new iterations of characters last featured say a decade ago (at least in certain size classes, devoid of gimmicks they originally did not have) should be there.


Second, all branches of the Transformers franchise are at the moment G1-oriented. Cyberverse is a cartoonishly stylized version of G1 aesthetically, the upcoming Bumblebee movie has a section featuring very G1ish Transformers warring on Cybertron in it and there is also the Evergreens toy line with very G1-influenced designs. While I am not sure about the reason for this streamlining of the franchising as a whole towards G1, the direction of WFC: Siege fits right in there.

Third, the IDW G1 comic universe is ending after well over a decade, and will be rebooted in the beginning of next year. While pure speculation, it does not seem too far-fetched to assume there will be some alignment between the new War For Cybertron toyline and the IDW comic reboot. Overall, I think the overall concept of WFC: Siege, supported by the comics or not, is a welcome, if not entirely novel, one as I think the Great War is still an interesting era to focus on. If the IDW comics in some way converges with it, it is even better!

It should be noted that like in the G1 cartoon, the pre-Earth concept is foremost visible in the alt-modes of the toys, and even here it varies, with Sideswipe´s car mode looking very close to a real-life Lamborghini, whereas Starscream´s alt mode is a very close match to the tetrajet design in the first cartoon episode… and then there is everything in between. Nevertheless, I am up for the concept!



What sets Siege apart from say, the Prime Wars trilogy but possibly sub-lines before that as well aesthetically is what I would call realism, evident in the degree of sculpted detail and paint finish on the toys. As for the former, Siege toys generally seem to have a higher degree of sculpted detail on their surfaces than their predecessors, possibly to give a more of an impression of realistic-looking robots rather than 3D representation of toons. It is certainly the antithesis of the G1 Masterpiece aesthetic of later years where surface detailing is more or less abandoned in the name of Sunbow cartoon accuracy. As a general rule I prefer the former aesthetic, I have however not made up my mind yet as to whether the new toys are TOO detailed in their sculpting detail or not, that judgment must wait until I actually have them in hand.

As for the second element, paint finish, there is the inclusion of painted “battle damage” on the figures. I guess this also is part of a new “realism” direction, but from what I have seen so far it is not very appealing, rather maybe the one thing that detracts from my enthusiasm for this toy line. But again, let´s see how it looks in hand.



If Titans Return was a celebration of the Headmaster gimmick, it seems that at least the Siege portion of the War For Cybertron trilogy is all about Target Masters, in more than one way:

  • There is the dedicated size class Battle Masters that feature robots (humanoid or beasts) transforming into weapons to wield for larger robots. It feels like a callback to both Target Masters and Action Master partners.
  • The micromasters featured combine into weapons to wield for larger robots, this in turn feels like it is inspired both by Target Masters and the Micromaster combiners from 1990.
  • The weaponizer deluxes turn into armor bits and, yes, weapons, for other robots to wield. This concept is somewhat reminiscent of how Godbomber and Victory Leo worked, only more flexible, as most Deluxes and Voyagers in the line have multiple 5mm ports for these to attach to.

Yes, there are more 5 mm ports than usual on the new toys in order to accommodate the various weapon gimmicks, but it does not seem that they affect the overall aesthetics of the toys too much.



More than anything so far, the casting so far makes this toy line feel like something of a reboot in the Generations department, a sort of Classics 2.0 if you will! The reason is that Siege features large portions of the 1984 cast on both the Autobot and Decepticons line already in the first waves! Optimus, Ironhide, Sideswipe, Hound (Prowl, Ratchet and Mirage in later waves), Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave with Laserbeak and Ravage, Shockwave, even Reflector, it reads as a who´s who of the 1984 toy catalogue! Sure, the alt modes of the designs are “Cybertronian” to various degrees, but if we look at robot modes they are quite close to the G1 source materials and that is how I will display my toys anyway, thus, this toy line feels like a new jumping on point to me, and I am certainly going to jump on! Then there is a second category of characters where we continue to delve into the more obscure parts of G1: Cog, Brunt, Sixgun, Chromia and Micromasters! Chromia is a most welcome addition (I prefer her to be a Cybertronian car over motorcycle), Micromasters are the last major segment of G1 not really featured in Generations yet, and Cog, Brunt and Sixgun? It is awesome that we get add-ons to Titan Class toys released one to five (!) years ago! Overall, I give the casting an A+, there is certainly something for both new and experienced collectors to be found here! Now that we are discussing casting, let´s have a closer look at the individual figures…


Optimus Prime (Voyager class)

Let us start with the most iconic Transformers character, the big red truck dad bot himself – Optimus! As for alt mode, it feels like the G1 truck with added tech detail and a strange looking roof with additional lights… as in, it does not look like either an Earth vehicle or something truly Cybertronian. That roof becomes one massive back mounted plate on the robot mode, arguably its one eyesore. I bet several fans are speculating if that roof can be taken off the figure completely. Apart from that though, I think we have a robot mode that equals the one of Classics Prime, or even surpasses it in ways. Yes there is that backpack and also lower arm kibble, but the latter is less prominent than on Classics Prime, and overall the proportions and the overall design screams G1 cartoon Prime. This will, despite a few blemishes, be the central Optimus figure in my collection!


Megatron (Voyager class)

The tank mode feels a little lackluster, but the robot mode is really on point in terms of aesthetics and proportions. It´s the Megatron I´ve wanted for years, with Henkei being a NERF gun, CW being a Leader Class figure and TR being a triple-changing Headmaster… this just ticks all boxes for me. I first thought the face sculpt was a bit too stylized but I am warming up to it. Overall this figure will be a great counterpart to Siege Optimus.


Ultra Magnus (Leader class; Voyager class core figure plus armor)

I have wanted a “white Prime in armor” type Magnus toy since Fansproject´s Commander Armor for Classics Ultra Magnus. I liked CW Magnus, but was not a fan of the partsforming with Minimus, I also prefer Magnus to actually be Magnus. I am genuinely surprised they did not just create an armor add-on for Optimus but rather went all in and created a separate core figure. Alt mode looks great too, the RiD design looks befittingly alien for the toyline.


Shockwave (Leader class; Voyager class core figure plus armor)

An appropriately scaled Shockwave figure has been strangely missing from CHUG since its inception, this figure however ticks all boxes, nailing both scale, alt mode and robot mode aesthetics. The core figure that is. The accompanying armor/skateboard/alt mode pieces feels like an afterthought being designed so that Shockwave like Magnus could be a Leader Class figure. I don´t care much for four-armed armed up Shockwave or the hoverboard but at least the combined alt-mode looks cool.


Sideswipe (Deluxe class)

I always found Universe Sideswipe a bit wonky and having a bit too clumsy car hood chest to really look like the sleek bot he should be… Siege Sideswipe rectifies all that, it looks like a legitimate home run in both modes. A minor nitpick is that we don´t get a rifle AND a shoulder cannon, but overall, I won´t be needing any other Sideswipe after this one!


Starscream (Voyager class)

While I was never personally a fan of the tetrajet design, it is cool that this Cybetronian version of the Seeker alt-mode is getting a toy incarnation. I find the jet mode a bit lacking with its large undercarriage,  in terms of robot mode however, I think this Starscream is the nicest one we´ve had since Classics, and in voyager scale to boot!


Hound (Deluxe class)

I have personally never cared much for Hound as a character, but this interpretation just oozes cool, I think it looks better than the upcoming Masterpiece Hound. Another “definite version” figure for me!


Soundwave (Voyager class)

Robot mode looks perfect, scale is perfect and it is awesome the deployer mechanism is there. Alt mode is a bit of a question mark though, hopefully there is a hidden boombox mode in there too…


Laserbeak and Ravage (Spy patrol)

The Decepticon Cassettes have also lacked straightforward homages in CHUG with them turning into other things (tank Frenzy and Rumble) or being compromised by additional gimmicks (triple changing in TR). These figures are however on the money, I am not a fan of laserbeak´s visored pre-Earth look, but it is a minor nitpick overall.


Ironhide (Deluxe class)

It seems that the van brothers are particularly hard to really nail in both CHUG and Masterpiece, could it be the lack of toy references that adhere to the original cartoon models? Classics Ironhide had its jigsaw puzzle-like alt mode and CW Ironhide was a lazy reuse of Off Road so this figure is a major step up, if not perfect; I don´t like how the windshield chest looks on the bot mode, it feels more like Kup than Ironhide… overall the best CHUG Ironhide yet though, with a nice alt mode as well. And cool weapon!


Refraktor (Reflector) (Deluxe class)

It was a positive surprise to see that this character(s) is getting a figure, and the way one of them has some sort of passable alt mode while three of them combine into an SLR camera is ingenious! I will however settle for one of these figures as I generally don´t get multiples of the same mold. Clever way of making other people buy multiples though!


Chromia (Deluxe class)

A retool of Moonracer/Novastar, this figure looks quite different with added sculpted detail and the lack of a combiner port (the latter which was a shame by the way). Personally I prefer Chromia to have her cartoon alt mode over a bike, so while being another retool I feel like Chromia owns this mold more than Prime Arcee´s. Overall happy that she is getting another toy!


Skytread (Deluxe class, Duocon)

The only thing that detracts from this fine looking figure is that it does not have separate bot modes for its respective components the way Battletrap´s did… On the other hand, maybe it is Battletrap that is not the perfect update given that it has those extra modes? Either way, on its own terms this looks like the perfect Flywheels homage!


Prowl (Deluxe class)

This figure is one of the few that does not feel 100% great. The alt mode is too smooth and rounded and somehow nondescript and has weird, transparent tires. Robot mode is however the best CHUG Prowl we have gotten by far. A nitpick would be that he lacks shoulder cannons, but maybe later iterations of the mold will have them somehow.


Cog (Deluxe class, Weaponizer)

This is another big surprise, casting-wise! It is really cool to get a figure which is basically an add-on for Titan Fortress Maximus, in full deluxe-size! As a Weaponizer, Cog can split into several weapon and armor pieces for other characters to wear. The gimmick is cool although one I personally don´t care for (more play than display value), I however find it lazy that the arms seemingly need to parts-form for switching between robot and alt mode. Minor nitpick, though.


Brunt (Deluxe Class, Weaponizer)

…and here is an add-on for Trypticon! The tank mode looks G1 while the now existing bot mode is based on Don Figuerora´s old Sentinel design from Stormbringer. Another weaponizer gimmick I won´t be using, but the figure will be perfect beside Full-tilt at Trypticons massive feet!


Sixgun (Deluxe Class, Weaponizer)

As I own Metroplex, this is another insta-buy for me. I remember wanting a variety of third-party offerings of Sixgun a few years back, and while I did not get any of those, Hasbro once more delivers! Robot mode looks ace, alt mode is a bonus and very cool, and then there is also the “guns” mode which is most befitting for this particular character, given his origins. Again, I don´t like partsforming is required for transformation, but given all that this figure does (and that the G1 toy was a partsformer) it is understandable.


Battle Masters

I treat these collectively since I have no larger interest in the size class as such. I guess they are alright. I am not a big fan of the Targetmaster gimmick overall but for those who are I guess these are a welcome addition. Again, there is more play value than display value here, and I am all for the latter.



As for these, I think it is neat that we are getting updates at all, I personally would prefer if they had more articulation in robot mode over being able to combine to weapons in pairs. The Battle Patrol combined weapon looks cool, but the other ones less so. Again, more play than display, which is of course fine in a toy line!

In summary

I look forward to this toy line very much! It really feels like it is a Classics 2.0 of sorts, a new jumping on point for anyone who wants to build a collection with the most classic Transformers characters. On top of it, I think that many of the toys in this line surpass previous versions of the characters they portray in many cases! The only thing I can´t help wondering is, what happens when the War For Cybertron trilogy runs out of its most classic characters? What will be left given how much the Prime Wars trilogy covered so much so recently? Given how promising this line seems so far, I am happy to find out eventually!


From Toy to Toon #1: The Mini Cars

We all know that the toy designs for many G1 characters were modified when models for the characters were made for the Sunbow cartoon. The thing that often seems to differ the most is however the faces of the characters, especially (but not only) for characters whose toys were originally part of the Diaclone or Micro Change toylines. One explanation for this could be that Hasbro wanted human-like, relatable characters to sell the toys, even if the toys themselves sometimes had nondescript faces; the overall trend is that toys with faces consisting of only visor and mouthplate (or one of these) got a cartoon face that was fully “exposed” and human-looking!

In this post I will study the design disparities between toy and toon for the 1984 Mini Cars characters (with one exception) through my own drawings of the respective designs! A disclaimer: I don´t claim to be an accomplished artist by any means, but hopefully my drawings are good enough for showcasing the evolution of the designs of Transformers characters, which is the purpose of this post! Having that said, let´s go ahead…


Huffer, toy (left) and toon (right)

The G1 Huffer toy has a face typical for the 1984 Mini Cars, having only a visor to show we are looking at some kind of vaguely defined face. The head design of cartoon Huffer is a drastic departure in many ways, giving the character a humanoid face and even changed the head shape of the toy to make it more rounded and human-like. The two features that carried over from the toy (except the color scheme) are the two lines/ridges running down Huffer´s forehead, and the outline of the visor, now surrounding Huffer´s eyes. Overall, the cartoon design is certainly the more expressive and relatable one. windcharger 2

Windcharger, toy (left) and toon (right)

Like with Huffer, Windcharger´s toy to toon transformation is that of a face with a visor and mouthplate to a fully exposed humanoid face. The main thing preserved in the cartoon design is the angular dome encasing Windcharger´s head (not unlike the “head box” of G1 Motormaster), but even that is different in that the top now is completely flat (at least in the character model). One more thing that has been retained is the chin guard. It is interesting that someone at Hasbro really seems to like the admittedly wonky head design of cartoon Windcharger, given that the Power of the Primes toyline saw the release of a very cartoon accurate Windcharger toy despite there being another recent legends sized-toy more based on his G1 IDW design. I personally prefer the latter.


Brawn, toy (left) and toon (right)

Of all the 1984 Mini Cars toy, Brawn´s robot mode is possibly the one that is least human-like, as he does not only have a featureless, almost scary face, but also claws for hands and eerily flat legs (it might be a tie with Huffer). His cartoon incarnation has both a human-looking face, and more humanoid arms, hands and legs, he however still retains the dome-like helmet from the toy, which is quite unique among transformers head designs and his most defining characteristic.


Gears, toy (left) and toon (right)

Like Brawn, Gears has a pretty unique head design. In the typical fashion his toy face is visored and the cartoon face his human-like, but the latter has retained the general head shape of the toy, as well as the two diagonal bars running along Gear´s cheeks. Whether the small areas outside those bars are also part of Gear´s face or just armor is up to interpretation. While the former seems to be true for the G1 toy, Gear´s Generations toy has a complete face in between said bars and armor outside them.


Pipes, toy (left) and toon (right)

Pipes is the only 1986 Mini Car character I feature here, for the same reason that he is quite peculiar: all 1986 Mini Cars except Wheelie are remolds of the 1984 Mini Cars, sporting humanoid faces, much in line with the cartoon ideal. Pipes, however, has a face as featureless as the majority of the 1984 Mini Cars, with a visor and mouthplate! The cartoon went half-way in following the 1984 redesign pattern and gave Pipes visible eyes, but kept a mouthplate on him. Personally, I find this design less unique than the toy´s so I was  happy to see the latter return for the ill-fated IDW G1 version of the character. Rest in Peace, IDW Pipes!

Bee 1

Bumblebee, toy (left) and toon (right)

Of all the 1984 Mini Cars characters, no one has a face, no, head, where the cartoon version is more different from the toy than Bumblebee. Seemingly, the only thing that has carried over from toy to toon here is the presence of horns, but even these are vastly different between the two; while the toy has short, blunt horns more akin to some kind of antennae, the toy has the same kind of bull-like curved, pointy horns as Cliffjumper´s cartoon incarnation has. The ornament on the forehead is also reminiscent of the one on toon Cliffjumper. Toon Bumblebee´s face is humanoid and probably best designed as cute with its “chubby” shape, most befitting for the kid appeal character that he is.

Bee 2

Bumbleebee, G1 Encore toy (left) and Masterpiece Bumble toy, Battle Mask version (right)

The Encore version of the G1 Bumblebee toy is spot on the G1 cartoon design, but some fans found the face sculpt of Masterpiece Bumble a bit lacking. Included with that toy was however also an alternative face, based on the design of the face of the G1 toy. This was a nice nod the Bee´s design origins, but as you can see above, it is not only the face that differs between G1 Bumblebee´s toy and toon designs; including an alternative head altogether with the Masterpiece would have been more adequate!

The disparity of the toy and toon faces of G1 Bumblebee has been explained as the former is him carrying a “battle mask”, this mask has since become established in canon, for example in the live action movies. The battle mask concept is a good in-world explanation for all design disparities between toy and toon faces for G1 toys, another is however that the masked versions, if given a new color schemes, can be Decepticons. My personal idea for a G1 Stinger (the red Decepticon Bumblebee clone in the movie Age of Extinction) is to simply take a red G1 Bumblebee toy and let the (yellow) G1 Encore Bumblebee toy be… Bumblebee!

This was the first part of what will become a series of posts; next up I will take a look at the larger Autobot Cars, wait for it! 🙂

Thanks Seibertron.com and TFWiki for picture references enabling my drawings!



Floroformers – it´s a thing!

Do you recognize this man?


If you consider yourself a true Transformers fan, you should. The man is Filipino artist Floro Dery, responsible for finalizing the character models for all Transformers in the Generation 1 cartoon, as well as original character (and environment) designs for it and the 1986 animated movie. According to TFWiki, he takes credit for other things as well, and seems to have a had a few run-ins with the fandom of an arguably embarrassing character, but for this post, let´s focus on Dery´s legacy as an artist. I will in fact argue that his original character designs are so distinct, that they deserve to be viewed as their own “genre” within TF design. So, which are his original character designs?


Evolution, from left to right: Courtesy of Kojin Ono, Shohei Kohara, Floro Dery.

Some might argue that all Transformers characters, as they appeared in the cartoon counts, since Floro Dery after all finalized their character models after Shohei Koharas templates, in turn based on the toy designs of the likes of Hideaki Yoke, etc. But as stated above, these are his adaptations of existing designs rather than original ones. So which are his original designs? The first, obvious answer is of course the whole Transformers cast of the animated movie, containing some of the most recognizable and iconic characters including Hot Rod, Kup, Springer, Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge. So which are the other characters, and how do they demonstrate the overall features of “Floro-ness”? In fact, it seems that his designs preceding the movie anticipates its aesthetics, in a step-wise fashion:


1.Nightbird – Curvy, organic design

Some might argue that this character is not a proper Transformer, given that she is human-built, has no apparent alternate mode and possibly not even a consciousness (although it is hinted at at the end of her episode in the cartoon). She is however, stylistically a precursor of things to come, with her curvy, almost organic appearance.


Am I the only one being as happy about this as for Arcee herself?

Further, she just a got a toy which is labelled as a Decepticon Transformer, with an alt-mode to boot, since she is a clever repurposing of Generations Arcee (another of Dery´s designs, a move which echoes Impossible Toys doing the same thing for their version of Arcee a few years back…). I hope to see more of Nightbird in the future!

51ec493df2255b1ec632fdd8975222da Femaleautobots

The Sage and his gals. Note the varying degrees of curviness to them!

2.Alpha Trion, the Female Autobots – Kibble-free, colorful and (sometimes) bearded!

Alpha Trion, the old Cybertronian sage, has become one of the central characters of the franchise. He is undoubtedly a Transformer, possibly the eldest still alive, but he has no apparent alt-mode and a kibble-free, rounded appearance, much like Nightbird. Also, he displays two features that are quite novel; a quite gaudy color scheme, and a beard! Overall, he looks more like a human  than a robot, and the same could be said about the Female Autobots he mentors on Cybertron – they look more like women in armor, sporting similarly striking color schemes! In the case of Firestar and Moonracer their boxy vehicle modes are shown in the cartoon, yet, they are seemingly kibble-free, rounded and curvy as robots.

Devcon-Body01 Gambler_Devcon_vehicle

Trademarked head cannon (not “canon”), as previously seen on Firestar and later on Scourge…

Devcon – Sci-fi alt modes

The above things goes for Devcon, the Autobot bounty hunter, as well. A common feature for him and the Female Autobots is also that their vehicle modes are decidedly “Cybertronian”, as we don´t encounter any one of them on planet Earth, but while the ladies have car modes somewhat reminiscent of futuristic cars, Devcon´s is a futuristic jet which bears no resemblance at all to any vehicle found on Earth; this “alien-ness” would re-manifest itself in many of the designs he did for the movie…


The Japanese video release poster is the better one, albeit containing a few spoliers…

The Movie – The full realization of Floro-ness!

To test the above points on the movie crew, let´s compare two group pictures, one of the Ark Crew Autobots.and one of the Movie Autobots:

maxresdefault   9f08b4908d2d347f928154e5839bfd13

Stark contrast, yes?

All the above-mentioned differences are there: The Ark crew have decidedly boxy appearances with a few rounded features here and there, while the movie Autobots are overall rounded, with pointy features here and there. While the early Autobots all sport what could be called basic colors; red, blue, orange, green and so forth, the Movie crew sports pinkish red (Rodimus), cyan (Blurr), turquoise (Kup), lime-green (Springer), tangerine (Wheelie) and pink (Arcee). Further, rather than transforming into realistic Earth vehicles, they all have futuristic alt-modes, and at least Blurr does not really resemble any existing Earth vehicle (this is even more true for Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge´s alt-modes). Finally, Wreck-Gar sports a mustache and a beard! As do Scourge, and Unicron himself… Overall, the aesthetic departure from the original, toy-based Transformers characters is enormous, part of which can of course be attributed to the then futuristic setting of the movie, but with Floro Dery at the helm of the designs, the Movie cast turned into something truly unique, spreading its influence to this day…


The back row – inspired by the front row?

The Legacy

So what is the legacy of Dery´s designs? To see if his style continued after the movie and the end of Season 3 of the cartoon, let´s take a look at what came after! The 1987 lineup was the first to not use any pre-existing molds for its new toys, but rather design all toys from scratch. While a generally boxy design ethos marks its return, Cybertronian alt modes are now a dominant presence, as is striking color schemes. Further, it can be argued that except for the occasional backpack and wing pair, the new toys are extremely kibble-free, exemplified by the Autobot Headmasters, the Clones and by Sixshot, who pulls this off despite having six (or seven) modes!!! It should be noted, however, that while the color schemes became increasingly gaudy all the way through Generation 2, Earth vehicle modes made a strong comeback already in 1988, and boxiness continued to be the norm until Beast Wars. Verdict of long-term impact of style: debatable. Maybe Dery´s style was a passing fad after all?


Kibblier than they used to be, and I dig it. Can you find the one bot not designed by Dery here? Tip: he is hiding in the back…

Nevertheless, his Movie cast forever made their mark on the Transformers universe. While the movie script, with the events and themes it conveyed was arguably a huge part of its impact, it was Dery who defined it visually through his designs, both for the environments and the characters that inhabited them. Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime, Kup, Springer, Arcee, Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge, not to mention Unicron, are all Transformers icons today, and they have appeared in countless sub-franchises since. As the movie marks its 30th anniversary next year, more Masterpiece homages might follow MP-28 Hot Rodimus which is set for Japanese release at the end of February 2016…

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God knows I want it…

Finally, a word of honesty: I personally never fancied Floro Dery´s designs too much, even as a child! Then, I simply found it too different from the look of the 1985 cast. Today, I feel that his design style made the at least the future TF Universe look more like fantasy than sci-fi.


As evidenced by this discarded dragon combiner design…

I never liked kibbleless-ness, as I thought things like Prowl´s car chest and door wings was what made TF´s special among hordes of other robots, showing off that they do transform into stuff rather than attempting to hide it (still do). Today, as something of a Takara purist, I have even had a bit of a hard time accepting the Movie cast as “true” Transformers! (Although conversely, an argument could be made that they are among the first TF characters who are not repurposed Diaclone/Micro Change bots and thus most “true” in that regard). But at the end of the day the impact and presence of the movie lot to this day cannot be denied; they are an integral part of TF history and evolution, and as a active member on TFW2005 I sometimes feel Floro Dery does not get enough credit for his enormous contribution to the franchise. What if we could recognize his designs by giving them a name that evokes that their creator? How about… “Floroformers”? 😉

Combiner Wars – Trends and Predictions


So far, exceeding expectations…

Hi y´all! This week I will try something different… We are almost a week past some awesome reveals at the 2015 Toy Fair in New York. And at least for me, seeing the mold uses for the Protectobots, Cyclonus and Viper set my imagination in motion. So I thought I´d make a summary of the combining characters so far and what molds they use, and using this, as well as other clues given by toy listings, comic covers etc, try to predict which the upcoming Combiner Wars characters are and what molds they will use… This post will be quite lengthy, but I have a lot of thoughts to convey, so please bare with me!

First, let´s take a look at an overview I made of released and upcoming combining toys in Combiner Wars, containing everything we know so far. The colors in the cells signify molds, so if two characters share a color they also share the mold. Let´s take a look now!

CW now

(Click for larger view)

This is about it. Many gaps, but we can still see some patterns, and base on these make some predictions. These are:

We have nine Scramble City-styled teams so far, and the Autobots outnumber the Decepticons

Assuming that Optimus Prime and Maximus will get their own full teams, and assuming that Onslaught will be followed by the rest of the Combaticons, we have six (!) Autobot teams and three Decepticon teams, so far. Given that Decepticon combiners historically have outnumbered Autobot teams, it is an interesting development, but it might get evened out eventually…


Most likely, the Blackjack mold, too…

The Motormaster mold is used three times…

Usually the norm for Transformers is that each mold will be used two times (I think Metroplex´s one, will he get one, will be found on Caminus). As for Combiner Wars, it however seems that every mold being part of a gestalt will be used at least THREE times each. It is especially “Optimus Maximus”, the white Optimus Prime paired with a Legends Rodimus (Blackjack remold) that has made me convinced of this. But further, seeing how easily Silverbolt was turned into Cyclonus mainly by switching the jet strapped to his back for a new one, it is easy to see how the same could be done for Scattershot. Further, Off-Road, having already been repurposed as First Aid, is a likely base for Swindle, and Alpha Bravo, already sharing mold with Blades, in principle looks like a Vortex repaint. Overall, this concept, let´s call it the “three per one rule”, leads us to another realization…


Above: The “base teams”

We have seen all the molds used for the “vehicle leg” of Combiner Wars (but none of the beast ones… )

As much as I want to see new molds, I think the remaining combining teams will be using molds we have already seen in the previous teams. This is, for teams with vehicle-based alt modes. Since Hasbro has said Combiner Wars will continue into next year, I think it is safe to assume that the beast-former combining teams will appear, and that these will constitute their own cluster of molds and mold-sharing. But as for vehicle formers, using the “three per one” assumption above, it is easy to see how existing molds can cover the remaining characters, with quite some accuracy at that.


These, plus nine deluxe molds…

Further, consider the picture for the torso section in the poll for the fan made combiner. Here Hot Spot´s and Groove´s molds were first revealed, but no others. I think this is basically it; there will be one large jet accompanied by a small jet, used for gun, a truck cab accompanied by a small car forming a chest, and a long truck with a motorcycle forming a chest, and those are the choices, since these molds are the ones that will be used, period. It is somehow symmetrical as well; three Legends, three Voyagers and nine Deluxes together make up nine Gestalts… Now, Rook´s mold was indeed not in the poll and turned up eventually, and it could be that Brawl and Nosecone will share a mold, but then I don´t see where Rook would be used next. In the Optimus Maximus team, as… Bulkhead? (Would be cool). On a hole, however, it seems that there are three “base teams”, the Aerialbots, Stunticons and Protectobots, that are providing the molds for the other teams. Now, assuming that this is correct, extrapolating on the “three per one” rule”, as well as using some other hints from elsewhere, I have made the following predictions…

CW predictions

(Again, click to zoom in)

So, what can we make out of this? Let´s see…


Above: 2015 – The glorious return of Road Pig?

Combaticons: There will be a new member, turning into a bike

Since the pattern for Hot Spot/Groove seems to be a set one, judging by the recurring Motormaster/Blackjack pattern, and the seemingly recurring Silverbolt/Powerglide pattern with Cyclonus/Viper, supported by the schematic representations of these in the Fan Built Combiner poll. Also, it seems that we will get a Brawl without treads, but exchange that claw Rook´s vehicle mode is using for a hefty, twin-barreled cannon, and paint him military green, and he will look the part. Just like Off Roads mold will be excellent for Swindle, and especially, Hot Spots for Onslaught! Blast Off? An Aerialbot remold, most likely…


Above: Probably close to the truth. By Siegfried07 at the TFW2005 forum

Technobots: Remold Galore

As awesome as all-new molds would be, the Technobots will use a mix of molds from the previous “base teams”. In short: Scattershot will be a remold of Silverbolt, Strafe a more or less heavy Aerialbot limb remold and Lightspeed a Stunticon (most likely Dead End) remold. Afterburner will not be a motorcycle, but the slimmest car on offer (Drag Strip´s) and Nosecone, well… Rook´s vehicle mode is the beefiest one, and notice that hole it has in the front? Seems like we could fit a drill with a 5mm peg there… Also, there will be a new little mini-jet member, unless another Legends mold which can be used as a weapon is used. This would be a quite reasonable way for Hasbro to recreate a quite unique team in an economically sound but still somewhat satisfying way. For purists, there is always Quantron…


Above: Siegfried07 does it again

Optimus Prime team: Bee is the last piece of the puzzle

Well, we´ve seen him combined with the Aerialbots, but there have also been listings of upcoming deluxe class Prowl, Mirage, Ironhide and Sunstreaker, suggesting that a full team for Optimus is coming our way. The one thing we don´t know about yet is who would form the chest plate, but for this crew, Bumblebee seems like the obvious choice. For one, he can be seen in the poster below (albeit in his Classics incarnation)…


Above: Riddled with clues…

Optimus Maximus team: The new Autobots in the 1986 Movie 

Say “White Prime” and any G1 fan will answer “Ultra Magnus”. While an upcoming toy is named “Optimus Maximus” he is indeed a white Prime, and seeing he will use Rodimus for chest plate further evokes our favorite City Commander, and the combo of the two is evocative of the 1986 animated movie. My personal take on who the remaining members will be is therefore that they, too, will be classic characters from the movie; Arcee, Blurr and Kup reusing Stunticon molds and Springer reusing the helicopter mold. I however admit that this theory is not rock solid; Rodimus and a Magnus core bot lookalike could in all honesty mean anything…Maybe some random Lost Light Crew members? Maybe they will be 1987 Autobot Targetmasters (based on an idea below)? We´ll see… Personally I am however disappointed that the third use of this mold was not the awesome Thunder Clash, it could however be remedied by giving him a unique toy…

10829735774_7890f5fbed_b 10829900523_e99b7a8145_b

Above: Let´s hope I´m right!

Decepticon Jet Team: The 1987 Decepticon Targetmasters make their comeback 

Seeing Silverbolt being remolded into Cyclonus and Powerglide becoming Viper, them belonging together seems obvious. So what about the limbs? It could of course be that these are Scourge and the classic Seekers Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker, but I don´t think so for a number of reasons. First, they don´t fit together thematically. Cyclonus, Scourge, Ramjet, Dirge and Thrust of course constitute the 1986 “Decepticon Jets”, but this too is a rather loose connection. Rather, I suspect that we will see a 1987 Decepticon Targetmaster team, with more or less extensive remolding turning the Aerialbot limb members into Scourge, Triggerhappy, Misfire, and Slugslinger. If not else, this is an excellent opportunity to boost the attractiveness of these otherwise obscure characters (save Scourge). Befittingly enough, Viper would effectively become the Targetmaster of a Targetmaster-themed gestalt! Also, since a Starscream repaint of Leader Thundercracker (himself a remold of Leader Jetfire) seems to be in the works (befitting for Cybertron´s current leader) we might assume that Skywarp will follow and that this is how we will enjoy the classic Seekers in the years to come…

Buest Guess

Above: My best guess…

Fan Built Combiner Team: Hot Spots third use

We already know that this team will hail from the Sea of Rust and have a mixture of cars and planes for limbs. As for the torso, I call it now; this team´s leader will use the Hot Spot mold. Look at the table above and you realize that this way, every Voyager mold gets used three times. I for one chose this mold when voting, maybe just because of the novelty factor, and maybe Hasbro counted on this for having it winning, or maybe they already had a finished design in the pipeline… Either way, it just seems obvious that there will be a third use for the “long truck” mold…With a mix of random cars and planes 😉

Bonus Predictions…

There is some other speculation which can be done on the basis of the above, let´s check it out…

predaking1 r_abominus-033

At least these two are essential…

Beastformer combining teams, evening the odds

Again, I am pretty sure that there will be a “beast wave” following the vehicle leg of combiner wars covered above. I think we will see Predaking, possibly next year, not Scramble City-styled, but Titan-sized, much like Devastator of this year. We will then see Abominus and Piranacon, sharing molds to some degree. If the “three per one” pattern is correct and consistent, there should be a third use for these molds as well… Monstructor? This way, we would have, all in all, six Scramble City-styled Autobot teams, and six Decepticon ditto, which would finally even the odds a bit for the Autobots (although we would have to ignore the Titans…) Other possibilites… Combining Dinobots? After a combining Optimus Prime, nothing truly surprises me…


He looks good, but is it really Huffer?

Yet more extensive mold reuses as a rule?

To have three characters per mold makes a lot of sense in Combiner Wars given the large number of often similar characters which has to be covered. But what if it doesn´t stop here? If we get a Leader Starscream, we have a non-combining mold getting more than two mainstream toys. While this has always been the case for the Seekers and the Datsun brothers, having Jetfire sharing molds with the former seems to mark the start of a new era, where we might have to expect more than two uses for many new molds. This is indeed a cost-effective way of covering more characters with less investment in product development, but it could sure cause an outcry among fans if its use becomes too widespread or careless. Combiner Wars Huffer, anyone?

Ultramagnusg1toy Magnuslongshot

Left: Two characters in one toy? Right: Never truly canon in the first place anyway?

Ultra Magnus will be split into two characters

We seem to be getting a new (combining) white Prime, around roughly the same time as we get a Leader Class Ultra Magnus, the former toy is based on the cab/inner robot of the G1 Ultra Magnus toy, the latter on the trailer/battle armor of the same toy. Could this be a way for Hasbro to end the ambiguity about the existence of the inner white Prime of Magnus, by making it a separate character, Optimus Maximus? It makes great sense, financially, as it creates an incentive for all the detractors of the “inner white Prime” to start buying previously undesirable white Prime redecos as they retroactively become incarnations of this new character… The existence of Minimus Ambus in the Leader Class toy somehow underscores this… Minimus is Magnus now, the white Prime someone else… …which also would render Fansproject´s City Commander kit irrelevant from a canon point of view (Leader Magnus seemingly already has for many on pure esthetical grounds). From now on, maybe Optimus is a character for which we can expect at least two mold repurposes for every toy as standard?


And this guy, the new standard repaint for Ultra Magnus, never mind the “inner blue Prime”?

As for Optimus Maxmimus, if he is indeed “White Prime” from now on, I wonder what kind of personality he will have? There are indeed many exciting things ahead for us!

Thanks to Seibertron for reference pics, the TFW2005 forum for the combiner poll pics, and to forum member Siegfried07 for his excellent digibashes!

EDIT: Jalaguy of the Allspark forum kindly pointed out to me that Hasbro has been releasing Generations figures in a 6 Voyagers – 16 Deluxes pattern for the last few years, meaning that some of the Voyagers above might remain void of their own exclusive limbs. However, seeing the new three toys per mold rule (rather than the usual two toys per mold) seen in Combiner Wars might change this. It is true that Optimus has been illustrated combined with Aerialbots, but the current combination scheme for Superion on the back of the Aerialbots packaging shows Drag Strip as one of the limbs, so it might just be a matter of the irregular release schedule for the toys. Let´s wait and see… It´s a great year to be a Transformers fan! 😀

EDIT 2: I have realized that I might not have expressed this explicitly, but another clear pattern that did influence my predictions is that for the teams released so far no mold occurs twice in the same gestalt. Also, another member of Allspark noted that each (Scramble City-based) team has featured one new member so far. This was an oversight in my above analysis, and if this holds true for the Technobots Afterburner might be released “on the side” using the Groove mold, possibly being wielded as a weapon. In that case, taking all the above into account, the chart would look like this:

cw altered

In time, soon enough, we´ll see!

A Few Years Into the Future…

In the last post I discussed what I think will happen to the Great G1 Remake Marathon, but let´s now expand the scope to the franchise as a whole. There are a few things I think will happen in the near future engineering-wise, and these are…


Above: How about a toy factory in your living room?

1. 3D Printers will transform Transformers manufacturing and distribution

Like the media industry has already become transformed by digital technology, so will the toy industry. This revolution will not change the design of the toys themselves so much (at least not in the beginning), but WHO makes them, and HOW. We already see the beginnings of it; fans putting up their creations on Shapeways, Hasbro inviting fans to co-create their products, and so forth. And as 3D printers become cheaper and eventually a common household appliance, many changes are likely to occur. First, distribution models: As it becomes easier for people to print at home, it is likely that Hasbro makes as least part of their products blueprints for model kits, which fans purchase online, print and assemble at home. In addition to whole figure kits, additional weapons etc might become distributed like this as well. Second, the DIY scene is likely to explode on the design level as well. From custom replacement parts and accessories to whole figures, which can be traded through services like Shapeways, or directly from fan to fan.


Tardimus Prime, anyone?

Of course, there is more to making a Transformers toy than fitting some pieces of plastic/resin together; for examples screws and pins are needed as well. This might mean that other design solutions will take over the ones previously had by for example pins, maybe transformers in general will start looking more like Construct-Bots. However…

2. Automatically transforming Transformers becomes the next paradigm

As regular Transformers become easy to design and assemble at home, there will still be categories of figures that are traditionally produced and sold. One such category will be high-end collectibles with degrees of engineering and deco still not feasible to achieve for the general masses, but in the same way that the use of ball joints dramatically increased the poseability of Transformers toys, standardized from Beast Wars and onwards, the next big evolutionary step might be this:


You might think I am kidding. But think about it. About 30 years ago, G1 Brawl, a toy achieving four modes by means of manual, step-by-step transformation looked like this:


Now fast-forward to this, same character, same four modes, new toy:


As much as some long-time fans loathe it, one-step changers and “flip-and-changers” are probably here to stay. And as esthetically compromised as they are today, so were many G1 Transformers back in they in order to accommodate intrusive gimmick of other kinds. Give these “auto-transforming” toys a few years, and they might start looking like today´s Generations figures in terms of proportions, complexity and overall esthetics. While losing the puzzle aspect of classic Transformers toys, they would be superior in terms of action; imagine a Bumblebee who switches from car to robot with the press of a switch, and back simply by gently pushing a part of the robot mode, by means of a chain of interlocking internal pieces…


Like how the armor of this badass toy opens and closes with the pressing of one lever…

3. Marionette-style Transformers

Imagine that on the automatically transforming Bumblebee´s back, there is some kind of grip allowing for his arms and legs to be steered, accomplishing a running motion by the hand that holds him, a bit like a marionette…


Like the kicking action of this toy, only more advanced…

4. Remote-controlled Transformers toys…

The next step would be to have such toys remote-controlled, driving, transformation, running, posing, everything! It may start sounding like sci-fi at this point, but given that Transformers stays another 30 years or so in the business, things are bound to happen eventually, aren´t they?


In fact, they already are

5. …and beyond!!!

Life imitates art, so why stop with toys? These guys won´t stop until they have their own full-sized car-former…


…now, give this a few years and combine it with the latest AI technology…

Now, am I completely unrealistic in my assumptions? Or maybe too humble? What do YOU think? Please share your thoughts below!

The Great G1 Remake Marathon Part 2: Trends and Speculation About the Future

In the last post I presented an overview I have created of what I call the Great G1 Remake Marathon. In this post I will summarize my findings and offer a little discussion based on these…


Above: Sideswipe – sufficiently remade yet?

From the initial discussion of the list it in the last post, we can see a number of trends materializing for the Great G1 Remake Marathon. Among these are:

1.Within 2015-2016, the 1984-1986, i.e., most iconic, character lineups will have been mostly completed as CHUG, thanks to Combiner Wars.

As we can see from the list, basically all essential characters from 1984-1985 have already gotten CHUG updates, and as for 1986, the biggest gap was constituted by the Scramble City Special Teams. We now know that Devastator, is getting released during 2015, and most likely, all of the Special Teams as well. As we have been told Combiner Wars will last for more than a year, it is reasonable to think that during 2016, the remaining Scramble City teams, as well as Predaking will be released (the latter possibly in the same Titan Class scale as Devastator). That leaves only a few, albeit large holes in the “remade lineups” of 1985-86, namely, Omega Supreme, Sky Lynx and Trypticon. Given that we got Generations Metroplex, it might not be unreasonable to believe that the others will in time become realized as well… Regardless, Combiner Wars is in a way the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to recreating classic G1 characters, with the large hole previously constituted by the combiner teams seemingly becoming filled in the foreseeable future…

catalog_1986_a catalog_1986_b

Above: Soon, not too many left to cover…

2. Both HasTak and 3P´s are treading into 1987 and beyond…

It´s already been a while since third party companies started recreating the 1987 Headmaster characters to much fan acclaim, what is new is that HasTak has now followed suit with the release of Brainstorm, the first remade Headmaster with its unique mold – that also functions as an actual Headmaster! And from 1988 we got a unique mold with Scoop. 1989 has seen two Pretenders getting their own molds, but on a whole, 1987-1989 has only seen some of their most popular characters realized. To which degree will these years become covered? More on this below…


Above: Do you see these guys getting their own new molds anytime soon?

3. Third Parties seem to be shifting from CHUG to Masterpiece-styled toys

This is not so much derived from my overview as from the Transformers news flow the past few weeks. Nevertheless, it is possibly a sign of something of a saturation point for 3P CHUG releases. Right now, the members of Unique Toy´s Abominus tribute Ordin are being revealed and released. Looking back, it seems that combiners have indeed been a staple of 3P companies, since this category of Transformers was the most sorely missing category until recently. Indeed, after Ordin, the only truly classic combiner not remade by 3P´s will be Piranacon, and if we count all G1 combiners, also Monstructor. Given that we have now begun the Combiner Wars on the official side of things, should we expect 3P´s to homage them any time soon? Judging from the past few months, the trend is instead shifting towards Masterpiece-styled toys, and multiple companies making the same  We are already in the midst of a “Dinobot War” where some of the companies are clearly following Fanstoys in going for this size and aesthetic, and apparently an Insecticon War is underway. Also, with the release of a 3P MP Mirage, and multiple versions of Hound coming up, even from companies not having dealt with Masterpiece-styled toys before, we might be seeing something of a paradigm shift…


Sever or Guttur… design-wise, a pair of front paws apart?

These trends open up for a few questions…

1. So, when will the race end, and where does it end?

Judging from what we have been seeing so far, it seems that the word “media representation” is key. The market for remakes of G1 toys is based on nostalgia. Nostalgia for the toys themselves, but perhaps even more so, for the characters they have come to represent. From its very inception, the Transformers franchise has built its strength on a clever synergistic effect between in themselves fantastic toys and exciting media creating characters and a mythos around them. The fact that the very toys eventually becoming Transformers were originally unsuccessfully marketed in the US by Takara proves this; only after the creation of fleshed-out characters, a captivating back story, and a well-made cartoon to showcase these, the toys met unprecedented success, well up to the somewhat anticlimactic animated movie. Few would disagree that the most iconic Transformers characters are still the original 1984 lineup, followed by 1985 and then the 1986 characters, all of which were well represented in both the cartoon and comic. From thereon, the 1987 toys were only shown in the cartoon miniseries “The Rebirth”, and from there, only in the comic, which had admittedly far less impact. Increasingly, the franchise struggled with diminishing sales until its eventual demise in the early 90s.

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For some, the buzz died with Optimus…

So, while it could be argued that HasTak are still in the midst of recreating 1986 characters and eventually will remake the whole 1987 cast and beyond, there are reasons to be skeptic. If we think about which comic-only characters were most popular, thanks to the effort of Simon Furman, we get Nightbeat, Bludgeon and Thunderwing. All of these have indeed been remade. As for Brainstorm and Scoop, they were arguably made popular as characters, by IDW. While it is possible that IDW have made more 1987-1990 characters commercially viable as toys, question is, will they ever cover these years as a whole? Even for 1987, 3rd parties have been remaking Headmasters, but not yet Targetmasters, and they indeed seem to be shifting focus towards MP-styled toys. Character-wise, 1986 is still the last lineup to be iconic across the board, and it remains to be seen how thoroughly the years beyond will be remade…


In all honesty, how many of the above characters, or even toys, are absolutely essential?

Also, from 1988 onwards we have whole categories of toys which divides the fandom; Pretenders, Micromasters, Action Masters… How will Pretenders be remade? With small, articulated robots in fetal positions in cavities in large, articulated shells? Or as action figures with “tech drones” on their backs as 3P company Play With This Too are going for? Or as robots bearing traits of the shells, transforming into the core robots alt-mode like with Generations Skullgrin? As for Action Masters, will they follow the examples of Treadshot and Axor? Again, it can be done, but is there enough fan support? I think that Micromasters could really work as a modernized concept, but I don´t think each and every character from there will be remade, as they had little coverage even in the comics. As for nostalgia-based remakes of individual characters, my personal guess (although I´d love to be proven wrong) is that CHUG will stop expansive coverage after at least 1987, and MP might not stretch beyond 1986, with a few added highlights of later years.

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Above: The Pretender Skullgrin, G1, Generations and Play With This Too´s “Desolataur”. Which one is for you?

2. How will the Third Party scene look a few years from now?

Again, as much as I like to be optimistic, I am skeptic that the ongoing proliferation of 3P companies can last in the long run, it just don´t seem economically viable to have a scene crowded enough to have five (?) different 3P companies making the same five Dinobots, sometimes with minor differences in between them. As much as we love choice, many fans might also agree that the current Dinobot race is something of an overload, supply-wise. We simply don´t need THAT many multiple homages to the same characters, especially not when they are Masterpiece/3P-priced. It might be that the current Dinobot boom represents something of a climax, after which there will be some form of contraction as too many companies find themselves doing the same thing, and only the best will survive the competition. When Dinobots have been covered both in CHUG and MP-style, what are we missing? Possibly MP-styled combiners. Warbotron are already making them however. I just don´t see enough characters with enough nostalgia factor being viable for “3P MP”-release. MP Punch/Counterpunch? It´s hard to believe, but again, I like to be proven wrong in this instance… I regardless think that eventually, 3P´s must more and more become what has been dubbed as an “Indie Transformers scene” first with more characters never haven gotten toys, and then with original characters like Steel Core and the Glacialbots… It´s what I hope for, anyway 😉

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Above: The way to go, IMO

3. So, if the CHUG and MP remake races reaches their ends, then what?

Here´s where it gets interesting, speculation! I have thought of a few alternatives…

  1. When the 1986/87 marks are reached, the remake race will just go on…

This would go against my theory about nostalgia factor. Indeed, to true old-time fans ANY G1 toys have some degree of nostalgia to them. So, remakes would continue consequently through 1990, and when G1 is finished, the race would continue into G2, Beast Wars (which we already have seen being remade) and into the Unicron Trilogy. But this raises two questions. First, do the Beast Wars and Unicron Trilogy have strong enough fanbases for “their” generations of Transformers? They have clearly gotten the money by now, but have they got enough nostalgia? Second, even for Beast Wars toys, with high articulation being standard, it is unclear whether today´s toy engineering have much improvements to offer for said toys. Again, although we have seen some Beast Wars and Armada characters being remade, does it mean that complete lineups of characters will be remade?


Above, left: Admittedly, improvement. Right: Perfect as is?

  1. The G1 remake cycle will start anew, before completing 1990.

This option suggests that the remake of classic G1 characters will never really end, but keep on repeating a remaking of 1984-1987 characters in a continuous fashion, making use of the following facts;

-For every character, there are several possible size classes. For example, I passed on Generations Springer and Blitzwing because I think these characters should be “normal-sized” ie Deluxe-sized, not to tower over most other of the toys. Conversely, many people feel that Classics Grimlock should have been a Voyager, etc.

-New molds for characters remade as “unconventional remolds”: The newly released Combiner Wars Huffer is making use of a Legends Class Optimus Prime mold, making many fans feel that save the head sculpt, Huffer has actually not been adequately remade. Also, there are a few things we have come to expect of Transformers toys since the advent of Classics, like ankle tilt, which makes some cases of remakes desirable.

-We just can´t get enough of certain characters – Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, anyone? Jetfire/Skyfire just got a second update as well. And this might go on…

In fact, as the examples above shows, we are in fact already in a at least a second cycle of remakes running alongside the completion of the first, and we have toys from later generations already being remade as well ( it´s in the sub-line imprint, duh!). But, perpetually?


Above: Jetfires – Original (1985), second remake (2014) and the first, in my opinion superior, remake (2006)

  1. The whole remake marathon will actually subside in a few years, until the next big revolution comes along

Here we assume that, indeed, you can only make so many remakes of so many characters, and eventually we reach a point where further remakes becomes redundant, simply because they won´t be significantly improved over their predecessors. Arguably, there have not been enough technological revolution in toy engineering since the Generation 2 Cyberjets (and even G1 Astrotrain has some kind of ball joints for his arms, right?) for it to be possible to improve significantly on at least mainline toys for motivating further remakes after the current run “finishes”. What would then happen is a few (or more) years of less feverish remaking, until something comes along that completely revolutionizes the way toys are being made, making possible yet new heights of realism to our beloved characters, warranting their purchase. But when? And, in all honesty, will I care as much about Transformers when I am, say, 50 years old? It is hard to say, but a generation ago it was not socially acceptable having toys as a hobby for grown-ups (if you don´t count model trains), in ways we are the first generation bringing our childhood culture into our adult lives, full-on. Will we always be active collectors? Hard to say. And if we are not, will our kids carry the torch into the future, even for G1?


For today´s kids, is Bumblebee even a beetle? Does he even have a nose?

Having said all this, I certainly don´t think that Transformers as a whole will disappear any time soon. If these 30 years has taught us anything, it is that this particular toy franchise is lasting and adaptable as few, outliving most other contemporary toy brands by far. While G1 will always be first and always revered as such, the “second coming” of the G1 toys we are seeing now could indeed be the last one, at least in terms of magnitude. But again, that does not have to be a bad thing. Whatever shape the franchise takes in the future, I am sure excited to see where it goes, be it to my personal preferences of liking or not. Long live Transformers!!!


Note: This post was about my thoughts on the future of G1, specifically. For my thoughts on Transformers toys as a whole, see next post…

As usual, big thanks to Seibertron for their excellent archives of TF pics, and to Botchthecrab for his great catalog scans!

The Great G1 Remake Marathon

Today I will write a few (?) lines about what might be the main concern for us adult Transformers fans, or more specifically, the ones of us who grew up with the very first wave of Transformers toys and media: Generation 1, or again, to be specific: G1 remakes!

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It should be obvious why…

While Hasbro and Takara continue to produce new Transformers sub-lines, introducing new cartoons, toys and characters, the majority of characters in these offers are taken from the classic Generation 1 roster. Further, while these new sub-franchises (Like Robots in Disguise, starting this year) tend to be the mainlines along the Movie sub-franchise, there are sub-lines mainly focused on celebrating the G1 toys and characters running alongside them. This subsection of the Transformers toy franchise was possibly sparked by the Alternators/Binaltech sub-line back in 2003, the year which the first Masterpiece toy was also released. It was however during 2006 the Classics sub-line was launched, mostly as a filler toy line, but in the form of its Japanese counterpart, Henkei! Henkei! and its spiritual successors Universe and Generations it is continuing to this day (commonly lumped together into the acronym CHUG). Together with Masterpiece, which arguably got a reboot in 2011 with the new Optimus Prime (MP-10) we now gave two official “remake lines”, further, third party companies like Fansproject and Mastermind Creations are mainly focused on reproducing G1 characters with modern engineering as well, contributing to what I like to call “The Great G1 Remake Marathon”, running for a little more or less than ten years, depending on how you count.


If you count this guy, even 12 years…

So, having had around than a decade of G1 toy remakes, what is the current state of affairs? Are we close to “finishing the race”? In that case, where do we draw the finishing line? If we ever “finish”, what next? This is what I mean to discuss, later, but first…

To get a more comprehensive picture of what has been remade so far, I spent a fair amount of hours and put a list together for an overview. I put up the list on this page in the blog. My working method was as follows: List all Transformers toys during the US Generation 1 run, from 1984 to 1990, year-wise. Exclude Micromasters, due to the high unlikeliness all of them will get remade. Make separate sections for Pretenders and Action Masters, due to the same reason (more on this below). Add prominent toys only released in Japan, as well as characters appearing in G1 media but not getting toys back in the day. Also, add a few new characters from the IDW comics and elsewhere which have been retconned into the G1 continuity, for fun!


Above: Drift and Straxus, most welcome additions to “G1”

In the list, bold letters stands for the character having gotten a CHUG remake, and CAPITAL letters signifies a Masterpiece release. Simple black letters signify that a third party company has released the equivalent of a CHUG toy for the character, underscore means that there is a 3P Masterpiece-styled release. Red letters means that a character does not have any update, as of yet. Further, an asterisk means that while there is an official release for a given character, it has had limited distribution, through mail-order service, a single chain store retailer or by being a convention exclusive. Further, some remakes are repaints of existing characters whose counterparts were not mold-mates during G1, meaning that their robot modes often look significantly different from those of their original character designs. This can also be the case with mainstream releases, two notable examples are Generations Sandstorm and Doubledealer. Such remakes are marked with a “#“.

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Above, left: So good we don´t care about resemblance. Right: Stretching it?

However, as long as their robot modes are not significantly different from their G1 counterparts, I accept toys with new alt-modes as legitimate updates, examples of this are Generations Sergeant Kup and United Frenzy and Rumble. The key question is has the character in question gotten a mold designed for it with the intention of being an update of the G1 character? While this is the case for Kup, Sandstorm is arguably but a clever re-purposing of the excellent Springer mold, with corresponding alt-modes but a robot mode vastly different from the G1 one. On a side note, there is a discussion in the fandom that CHUG releases have departed more and more from a pure G1 esthetic in favor of portraying the designs featured in IDW´s G1-based comics. However, as these comics is a take on the G1 continuity, rather than say, Aligned or Movieverse, I count them as G1 regardless of whether the designed debuted in the comic or toy shelf first.


Above: G1, in my book

At last, I have not included toys based on (the awesome) War For Cybertron/Fall of Cybertron designs. While it is subject to intense discussion as to whether they count as G1 or not I say they don´t; they are part of the Aligned continuity family, and even as these design turn up in IDW´s G1-based comics, they themselves are not more G1 than say, Waspinator, Tankor and Starscream´s Armada body. Whether one think the WFC/FOC toys work as G1 updates is a different matter; these toys are obviously closer to the G1 esthetic than they are to the Prime one (for one, they have noses…), but as their first appearance was in the Aligned continuity they don´t count, IMO. I do however count toys from Music Label and Device Label when they are a good fit for “G1 update”. These sub-lines are not tied to media of a different continuity and are clearly representing the G1 incarnations of the respective characters.

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Above, left: counts. Right: doesn´t. My list, my rules 😉

Having gotten all of this out of the way, let´s try to get a quick overview. First, as for Masterpiece releases, it is not yet (if ever) feasible to discuss what have not been done, as the series have such few entries. Let us therefore focus on CHUG remakes, as there at least seem to be a theoretical possibility of reaching some kind of higher level of completion eventually. While I do not intend to reproduce the whole remake list here (again, it´s here), let´s take a look at the general trends and interesting cases.





Most of the characters on this list were never featured in the cartoon means they are obscure and unlikely to ever get official updates. The three Powerdashers (bottom of the list) were only available through mail-order  Bumper was not even an official character, the toy instead randomly appearing packaged as Bumblebee or Cliffjumper (!), only becoming recognized as as his own character retroactively. The three robots making up the SLR camera Reflector were only available through mail order, but nevertheless featured in the cartoon, and the team leader (?) Viewfinder saw a release as “Reflector” but the other two team members are still missing. The really surprising omissions on this list are however Laserbeak and Buzzsaw. The only explanation I can come up with is that their releases of Masterpieces might have made them getting CHUG releases become seen as redundant, but I think many with me would disagree…

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Above: 1984 omissions. Left: Understandable Right: Strange


Top Spin
Twin Twist


Omega Supreme
Sky Lynx


Venom# (“Venin”)



The Omnibots (the last three on the list) were only available as mail orders in the US back in the day, and they were never presented in the media, hence their lack of updates is not surprising. Venom is member of the Deluxe Insecticons, a group that similarly never were featured in the media. While Chop Shop was mini-partner for Legends Megatron, and him and the others of this group at least got Fansproject releases as repaints of the Fansproject´s Insecticon team (due to them sharing alt modes with these), this is not the case for Venom, and it seems unlikely anyone will pay attention to him anytime soon. Worthy of note is that the mini-partner “Venin” (trademark issue?), a repaint of Waspinator, was released together with Legends Acid Storm. Given that there is only a fleeting similarity in name and alt-mode between him and Venom, I am not inclined to consider it is a proper update, but I included him for the sake of overview. Omega Supreme and Sky Lynx would both demand massive toys, which make them unlikely getting G1 updates out of share budget reasons. Having gotten Generations Metroplex, we should however never say never… The big and obvious omission on this list is however Shockwave. While he has gotten an excellent third party Masterpiece-styled toy (Fanstoy´s Quakewave), any official update is missing. Strange! As for CHUG releases of him, we only have a FOC toy. Kickback should soon follow his fellow Insecticons and get a G1 update released. However, apart from Grimlock, the Dinobots only have third party updates. Actually, so many 3P renditions of them are coming up that HasTak might wait for a while longer to release their own…

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Above: 1985 omissions, again understandable (left) and inexplicable (right) 






Wipe Out#

First: Ultra Magnus has recently gotten an excellent Masterpiece toy, but his CHUG release is only a “white Prime”, without his outer armor (conversely, his Masterpiece toy lacks an inner white Prime), hence, the completeness of his CHUG representation can be discussed, although Fansproject somehow rectified this with releasing their City Commander Armor for the CHUG toy. Sandstorm has gotten an awesome update, I am really only listing him here to acknowledge that he did not get his own mold. Gnaw is the only movie character missing, but he is rumored to turn up this year. Until recently, none of the Scramble City Special teams (making up a respectable share of the 1986 lineup) had gotten real updates, but as of now all seem to get covered during 2015´s “Year of the Combiner”. The question however is, will Predaking get released as well? Also, there´s a whole slew of cassette characters not getting remade, as well as mini vehicles, but third party companies has these all covered for “remake completists”. Trypticon was released as a Deluxe-sized repaint of an Energon toy, clearly making him miss a unique updated mold, and of his minions only Wipe-Out got released as a Windcharger repaint. The fact that Trypsie is a city bot requiring a hefty investment to produce could speak against him being remade. But again, Metroplex got an update and he needs a rival…


Above: An armor-less Ultra Magnus and Senator Ratbat in “bat-mode”, close enough?


Fortress Maximus




This is the first year when the omissions are more numerous than the releases, on the official side. While third parties have Fort Max, Scorponok and the Technobots, Terrorcons and Throttlebots covered, none of these have gotten official remakes yet. In fact, the ONLY character from this year who has gotten its own mold as of yet (If we don´t count Goldfire as IDW Goldbug) is Brainstorm. And while third parties have covered most of the Headmasters from this year,  the Targetmasters do not have updates at all. As is the case with the Monsterbots, Duocons and Punch/Counterpunch, as for these, official updates somehow seem unlikely due to their obscureness. Sixshot is anything but obscure, but given how costly he would be to remake for HasTak due to his complexity, he seems unlikely as well, however, MMC has got him covered. Overall, although Fort Max, Scorponok and Sixshot are icons, the 1987 lineup as a whole is the first to not be iconic across the board. This mostly has to do with the end of the Transformers cartoon, but more on that in next post.

r_brainstorm-146Goldfire with Generation 1 Goldbug Robot

Above: Brainstorm(s) (left) and Goldbug/Goldfire (right), the only 1987 characters who has gotten unique molds.


From here onwards, I will only consider which characters have actually been made, as these are in the minority on both the official and unofficial side. Also, I will not bring up Micromasters here as I consider these getting updates to any higher degree unlikely. As for 1988:

PM Optimus Prime


The only toy who has gotten it own official mold this year is Scoop, which is quite bewildering, given that Nightbeat (who only got a repurposed mold) is the only character from this year who is something of a Transformers celebrity (alongside PM Prime and the Seacons). We also see a Pretender getting an update here, Skullgrin (a remold of Darkmount/Straxus), which is a hybrid between the shell and the inner robot.

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Above, left: Scoop, the only 1988 character with a unique mold for his remake. Right: Nightbeat, the only 1987 character with true star power?

As for 1989, we have these Pretenders characters having gotten updates:



Bludgeon´s toy is not a proper CHUG release, but a part of the 2010 movie line, it nevertheless is faithful to the G1 design in many respects. Thunderwing is a proper CHUG toy and very close to its G1 toy design-wise.

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Above: Thunderwing and Bludgeon, the only Pretenders from back in the day that become popular characters (in the comic)

As for 1990, there are only Action Masters and Micromasters, and as for the former, no unique molds have been made, and only Axer got a broadly released remake in the form of Axor (a remold of Movie Lockdown)

Honorable mention, 1989:


Monstructor (and his Japanese mold-mate Dinoking) is made up of Pretenders, but is not a Pretender in his combined form. Although he is a quite prominent character in the IDW comic, as of yet, no remakes at all.

As this post has become quite long, I will discuss the questions posed above in the next post. See you there!


If these guys will ever get official remakes, it has to be this year, right?

So, to summarize:

  • 1984 is near completion, with the only notable omissions are Buzzsaw and Laserbeak (and maybe Reflector)
  • 1985: 1985´s only notable omissions on the official side is Shockwave and the Dinobots sans Grimlock, and Omega Supreme for HasTak as well as third parties
  • 1986 will come close to completion during this year with the release of the Scramble City Special Teams
  • 1987 characters has seen very few original molds released by HasTak, 3rd parties have covered Headmasters, the last Scramble City teams and the Throttlebots, but nobody have touched the Targetmasters, as of yet.
  • 1988 is to a large degree untouched both by HasTak and Third parties
  • 1990 is the year of the Action Masters and Micromasters, the latter who I chose not to cover in my list, no remakes with  unique molds  regardless

In the next post I will share some thoughts on the findings in this one and make some suggestions about the future of G1 remakes in the Transformers franchise. Wait for it!

Thanks to Seibertron and Brr-Icy for the pictures used in this remake exploration!

My Beef With Scramble City (And How I Got Over It)


Above: Sideswipe and Dead End – which is the sexier bot?

I introduced newcomers to the Scramble City concept in and earlier post, where I recollect myself describing them pretty favorably. But honestly speaking, even as a child, I found the smaller toys of the sub-line (the ones forming the limbs) rather dull and unconvincing in many ways. When having toys like Optimus Prime, Blue Streak and Inferno, a toy like, say, Dead End, just seemed so simple and cheapened down in comparison.


Still not convinced?

While the former toys had transparent car windows, rubber tires and a fair amount of die cast (metal) in them, not to mention being nicely proportioned with exquisite face sculpts, Dead End was smaller and, save for some screws and pins, made entirely out of plastic and the car windows were only painted onto the car body. Perhaps foremost, with the peculiar exception of the Protectobot Streetwise, the heads of all smaller “limb-bots” doubled as the connector peg for the combined mode, which resulted in many of them having, small, square, quite generic heads looking very much alike, with tiny faces etched unto them.


Inferno and Hot Spot – which is the sexier fire truck bot?

Even the bigger team leaders left things to be desired. While none of Optimus Prime, Blue Streak and Inferno had much leg articulation, they had very articulated arms with elbow joints which somewhat made up for this. The Protectobot team leader Hot Spot on the other hand, had arms that had shoulder articulation, but basically were two blocks hanging on the sides of his body. Further, he had hip joints, but they only provided for moving his legs sideways, for accommodating a (much needed) split leg position when combining him with his minions into Defensor.


Above, left: The Constructicons, carrying their combiner kibble. Right: The Combaticons – tons of loose pieces

And then there was the combiner kibble. Each Gestalt (combined robot) required an extra head, at least one chest plate, fists and feet, all of which were loose pieces not really having anywhere to go until they were needed for combination. In contrast, while the Constructions needed additional pieces for combining into Devastator, they were at least able to become integrated into their team member´s vehicle modes. Personally, as a child, I eventually traded all of my Scramble City limb bots with friends having Constructicons they had inherited from their older brothers. Even when not being able to collect all members, and none of the connecting kibble parts, I felt the Constructicons were the superior toys as individual pieces. Still do, however…

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Dead End: Still not that sexy, but a bot of many functions

Since re-entering Transformers collecting, I have come to realize that what the Scramble City bots lack in esthetics, they have got in versatility. Every scramble city bot is virtually a quadruple-changer; every smaller member of a team has a robot mode, an alt-mode (vehicle or beast mode) arm mode AND leg mode. In a similar manner, all team leaders have a robot mode, alt mode, torso mode, and in most cases, a base mode, acting as a play set for the smaller members of the team. I used to think that the distinction between the arm and leg mode for the smaller bots was simply a matter of flipping their head/connector peg, but after having made attempts to create my own scramble city transformer prototypes, I have realized that accounting for the enabling of that flip action alone affects the whole design of the toy, for better or worse, making it quite sophisticated in its own right.

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80´s icons

Further, I have come to find the comparatively crude, “cheap” design of Scramble City toys utterly charming, in the same sense that I find 8-bit Nintendo graphics charming and evocative of my 80´s childhood. In fact, it was a third party/independent toy company, Fansproject, who fully made me have this realization and thus reevaluate the Scramble City sub-line with their eminent offer the Glacialbots. This combining team, transforming into mechanical ice age animals (and yes, I am a huge paleontology fan), were engineered and designed in such a fashion that they might as well could have been released in 1986. This included having the same measures for the figures themselves, for the connectors and their ports, as the original Special Teams, so that they can actually swap limbs with each other! What was more, they remedied the ever so frustrating concept of loose combiner parts by making sure all pieces, such as fists, feet, etc, were fully integrate-able with the individual robots of the team. Seeing the glacialbots, I for the first time viewed the scramble city concept with new eyes. In retrospect, I thus find the Scramble City teams are fun, ingenious and utterly charming in their un-articulated, generic boxiness.


Above, right: Three members of the Glacialbots. Right: Glacialord, swapping limbs with Computron

One complain could still be made about Scramble City – why the need to swap limbs? While it could be argued that this gimmick of Scramble City combiners is unnecessary and requires sacrifices in design and appeal of individual robots, it nevertheless made it easier for us as children to collect a complete combiner, given that it could be hard to gather all members of one team, if not bought as a gift set, it also made it possible to assemble your own Gestalt with the bots you happened to like best from the respective teams. Last year was the 30th anniversary of Transformers as a franchise, and this year, 2015, actually marks the anniversary of the appearance of the first Gestalt, Devastator! Befittingly enough, Hasbro has dubbed this year “The year of the combiner”, with, as of January, Superion and Menasor under release and with well-founded rumors of Devastator and Defensor being in the pipeline. At least for the first two, the toys have a standardized connection mechanism for combining, and the smaller bots can form the arm or the leg in any of the teams. In other words, not only the Scramble City characters themselves, but the very gimmick defining the sub-line has been reintroduced, which is, if anything, a testament to the legacy of this essential chapter of Transformers history.

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Above: Superion and Menasor – updated

Thanks to Seibertron for the pictures!