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!


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