War For Cybertron: Siege – First Impressions

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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…

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.

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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!

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Aesthetics

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.

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Gimmicks

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.

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Casting

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…

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Optimus Prime (Voyager class)

Let us start with the penultimate 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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!E3544_Starscream_Bot_Mode

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!

 

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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!

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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…

 

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Laserbeak and Ravage (Spy patrol)

The Decepticon Cassettes have also missed 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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Micromasters

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!

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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

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

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

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

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!

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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…

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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:

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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…

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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?

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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.

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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

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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!

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(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…

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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…

Molds

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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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)…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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?

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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?

G1_UltraMagnusPreviewVersion_toy

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…

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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.

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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:

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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:

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

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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…

Dino-Riders-Torosaurus-100-Complete-mint-with-front-card-20140606170224

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…

deintyco2

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?

Autobot-Transformer-robot-1transformer1_532_1506035a

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…

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…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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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!!!

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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!