Hasbro was finishing up their touches on summarizing our Generations, while Takara thought we could all get a little United. We were then treated to a blissful BotCon in Pasadena, where we all got a little Animated. With nearly half a year in the books, we were then treated to some eye-catching Michael Bay explosions. Dark Of The Moon was the climax of the much disputatious movie trilogy, and with it came waves and waves of new movie figures. While Transformers: Prime continued throughout the year on the HUB, it was only in the dwindling months in which we were pleased to welcome its toyline into our collections.
Now here I am today along with my fellow colleagues, to reflect on the occurrences of the past twelve months, and to share with you what our favorite things (mostly toys) of 2011 were. Before we get into the meat of the story, let me introduce to you who we are;
- I'm Blurrz - my taste of Transformers is as eclectic as it gets, but please don't call me a hipster!
- From the land down under comes Burn, our succinct, disgruntled and fashionably unfashionable HMW moderator.
- Counterpunch is the revered host of our Twincast/Podcast, and he's into the serious business of having fun.
- Laying the administration law down is Cyber Bishop, so make sure you're a saint (but not in the New Orleans Saints division!)
- The man with the quickest trigger finger in the galaxy, let me introduce our speedy news administrator El Duque
- He's a little bit lost, so please point our News Crew member Lost Cybertronian in the right direction!
- With a pile of loot that's always bigger than yours, say hello to staff member Mkall.
- The completionist ideal is never easy, just ask our News Crew and Twincast/Podcast member Razorclaw0000.
Now that you know a little bit about the men behind the usernames, we are going to share our thoughts on 2011 by explaining our choice in the following categories.
Transformers Figure of the Year
Favorite Transformers Toyline of 2011
Favorite 2011 Generations/Reveal The Shield/United Figure
Favorite 2011 Movie Figure
Favorite 2011 Transformers: Prime Figure
Favorite 2011 BotCon Exclusive Figure
Favorite 2011 Non-BotCon Exclusive Figure
Favorite 2011 Third Party Product
Your Favorite 2011 Transformers Moment
What you're looking forward to in 2012 for Transformers
Enjoy the read, and feel free to emulate us by responding to this topic!
Only one can remain on the top of the scrap heap.
Masterpiece MP-10 Optimus Prime
El Duque: Optimus Prime has always been my favorite character, and I was a G1 kid so this was an easy choice. This is the best representation of G1 Optimus Prime to date, and I never was that big of a fan of MP-01. I was always bothered by the weird shaped truck cab in vehicle mode. MP-10 greatly improved upon his vehicle mode, and alt modes are a big deal for me. Now to wait a few years for MP-20 Convoy Version 3.0!
Transformers Prime - Voyager Prime
Blurrz: Oh, just another Optimus Prime. Can't be that great right? WRONG! Taking this sucker out of the First Edition packaging was the best thing since making turtle burgers. You'll find exceptional articulation, beautiful detailing, a fun transformation, and just a solid toy all around. While it may have the aesthetics of Prime's predecessors 'Animated', and the 'Movieverse', Voyager Prime takes from them and simply leaves them behind. To me, it is the best Voyager Prime of all time. Even if you're not a fan of the series, this figure is designed extremely well. It is hopefully the cornerstone for Transformers toys in 2013 and beyond.
Reveal the Shield Lugnut
Mkall: Probably coming out of left field on this one, however I love the colours on the figure and the homage to the WWII bomber plane. I find that he has a lot of posability and a fairly straight forward transformation. He also came with the Punch of Kill Everything which wasn’t a necessary bonus, but one that many of us appreciate having.
Transformers Prime - Deluxe Starscream
Razorclaw0000: Coming out of left field right at the close of the year, Starscream is a near perfect replica of his on-screen persona. He has a smooth and intriguing transformation, drips charisma, and has as much articulation as some high end Japanese figures, whose main selling points are articulation! My only complaint is the soft rubber, but that's a losing battle to fight.
Cyber Bishop: For me, it has to be Generations Warpath. I love this toy, it's transformation is simple yet to the point. Excellent posability and size. Kup runs a close second.
Counterpunch: Probably one of the TF Prime voyagers, but I don't have either one of them yet. Due to this, I am abstaining from answering this question in protest of Hasbro not having these available alongside the show.
Hasbro capped off Generations and Reveal The Shield this year, while venturing off into new territory under Dark Of The Moon and Transformers Prime. Takara did much of the same, mirroring with United, and other lines such as Masterpiece and Kabaya.
Generations/Reveal The Shield
Mkall: Yes they’re two seperate toylines, but we all know that it was a guise to get us more figures for the Classicverse line. With long-awaited characters like Blurr, Kup and Perceptor and even some surprises like Skullgrin and Thunderwing, this line is a G1er’s wet dream.
Counterpunch: This line is the best in my opinion for a few reasons. It provided us with a wide selection of classic characters. In more than a few instances, they are better than their Japanese counterparts (I'm looking at you Wheeljack. Scourge is debatable too). What's really great about the line is its ability to put characters that really define "obscurity" back on the shelves (Thunderwing, Skullgrin, Straxus, Black Shadow). It's astounding that these toys exist at all.
Lost Cybertronian: Generations was the line to make you proud to be a collector this year. The wide range of established characters as well as the obscure characters made this line a collectors dream. The first time I saw the prototype for Warpath, I nearly wet myself.
El Duque: Despite the line's unfortunate distribution issues it's still my favorite line of 2011. Wreck-Gar, Special Ops Jazz, Tracks, Lugnut all great figures. The rub signs are a little cheesy, but being a G1 kid they were a great nostalgia kick.
Cyber Bishop: It gave us superb reimaginings of Generation One figures such as Kup, Tracks, Wheeljack, and Warpath.
Blurrz: I just can't resist the shiny. With some fantastic molds decked out in bright shiny paint, and Power Core Combiner mini-cons being converted to Targetmasters, this line is just the best that was offered this year for me. Figures like Jazz, Tracks, Blurr and Frenzy/Rumble feel like musts for anyone buying into the Classics-verse.
Power Core Combiners
Razorclaw0000: Get your pitchforks and torches ready folks. Power Core Combiners ended in a good way, showing us exactly what the line could have been if we got passed the non-starter first Wave in a timely fashion. Heavytread makes a better Guzzle than DOTM Guzzle, while Skyhammer has one of the most distinctive jet modes in years. Finally, the sublime Undertow gives us a double homage to Waverider and Octopunch, and kicks rightful ass on his own. The final, controversial five pack, SpasticOverrun, does a great Stunticon vibe without tarnishing the names of the originals.
Kabaya Transformers Gum Box
Burn: As far as favorite Toyline for the year goes, there's no real one that stood out for me. I could easily pick figures from each line. But, like last year, the fun continued. So again, if I have to choose one, then Kabaya, I choose you!
Neo-G1's been a hit since 2006 and it's been continuing strong ever since. The staff looks at their favorite from either Hasbro's Generations and Reveal The Shield or Takara's United.
Counterpunch: Holy Moly. No figure released in this line, this year better personifies its character. Not only is the shiny paint a step up over the domestic release, but it's so in-tune with who Tracks is as a narcissistic jerk that I love it all the more. Seeing the OG logo on the hood was just a bonus.
Razorclaw0000: Not the United version, whose strange blues diminish the elegance of the toy, the Generations version is an excellent update to an overlooked, but still iconic, figure. Doing away with the ridiculous flying space boat mode, Gen Scourge adopts a sleek orbital bomber configuration, managing to fit a complicated robot into a very compact alt-mode. In-wing weapon storage caps off an already great figure.
El Duque: Always been a fan of Wheeljack, and he was due for the Classic universe makeover. My Energon Downshift can finally go back into my Energon collection. Love the mold, and look forward to TFCC Runamuck and Runabout repaints!
Blurrz: While it might be the obvious choice for someone named Blurrz, it's more to it than that. While the mold is fantastic, and the Hasbro colors are solid, United just takes it to a whole different level. Many may complain about the very pale teals of United Blurr, as well as his shinyness, but it's a great homage to the Generation One toy that was plastered in teal and baby blue.
Lost Cybertronian: Tank alt modes for Transformers seem to be a dime a dozen now a days. However Warpath was a G1 update that was needed in the worst way. The Universe legends figure was great but the deluxe just blows it away. He was my favorite mini bot in the G1 days and his Generations figures doesn't dissapoint.
Burn: One figure stood out in this line for me. I love tank Transformers and Warpath has always been a rather unique character. This modern day update for him takes a G1 minibot and turns him into a well articulated figure.
While explosions and explosions and more explosions showed up on the silverscreen for Transformers Dark Of The Moon, a multitude of quality toys showed up into the hands of our staff members.
Human Alliance Roadbuster
Counterpunch: This toy really marks for me what a movie toy needs to do. It's big enough to show off all the detail in the design and engineered well enough with tabs and slots to connect together that I actually enjoy handling it. The only flaw I'd mention isn't even something this toy did wrong, it's that all the HA Wreckers aren't in Guns-a-blazing mode.
Mkall: I don’t collect movie figures, but if I did, I suspect that Human Alliance Topspin would take this category. He looks to be in a league all his own in the line, with weapons out the wazoo and poseability too! From what I hear, his Transformation isn’t too bad either.
Cyber Bishop: I only have a couple so I will have to say Roadbuster.
Leader Sentinel Prime
El Duque: A complex figure that had me scratching my head several times during the initial transformation, but a great payoff when it's all said and done. Great alt mode, and weapons, big fan of the sword and shield.
Burn: This is simple for me. Helicopter TFs i've found are more often miss than hit. Skyhammer not only hits, he blows the target away. Great design in both robot and alt mode. Highly poseable and Hasbro added a great feature with the rotator blades folding back behind him rather than becoming some useless weapon. Had they folded a second time to completely wrap around his body he would have been perfect.
Ultimate Optimus Prime
Lost Cybertronian: I know this is not the most popular choice but he is a very underrated figure that needs some love. Not only do you get Optimus Prime with trailer, it transforms into this imposing battle armor with a BFG. Since I grew up in the G1 era, I don't mind his overall brickness.
Razorclaw0000: A cooler repaint to the excellent Sandstorm, Half Track edges out with his "moon buggy" deco. Super posable, with a buttery smooth transformation and cool gimmicks, this figure wins for the sheer fact he can nonchalantly hold his shotgun over his shoulder, ready to slag anything that moves.
While the show has been going steady for over a year, the toyline only showed it's face in North America in November. While the selection is rather limited, here are our favorites.
Blurrz: Disregarding the very superior Voyager Prime figure, Arcee is also quite fun. It seems that as time progresses, the designs for Transformers get slimmer, and the plastic that's being used isn't getting any better. With Arcee's design, I just didn't think her figure would be pulled off well. But alas, I was wrong. Some say the pink and white just doesn't mesh well with the Prime aesthetics. Well you can't spell homage without OMG. Whether it's gaudy, tacky, or lipstick on a pig, it's still signalling back to the 80's, and there's nothing better than that.
Cyber Bishop: So far all I have is BB and Arcee and I really dig Arcee
Counterpunch: I'll eventually buy the Voyager Starscream for my display, but this toy is so good that I picked one up just to display/take pictures of with my other non-TF toys. There's more character in this design than in the entire Dark of the Moon Line.
Lost Cybertronian: How many opportunities do you get to own an official zombie version of a Transformer? Nuff said.
El Duque: Muscle car alt mode with Boss Hog style bull horns! Plus he's not a Bumblebee repaint. Shame he didn't last longer on the show. Bring on the zombie version! Also didn't hurt that his character was voice by the Rock.
BotCon got Animated this year in Pasadena, California. Early June saw the release of the figures that likely put the nail in your Animated collection coffin, as well as a handful of SG/G2 releases.
Shattered Glass Thundercracker
Mkall: This figure is the definition of niche, which makes him al the cooler in my eyes. He’s either an add on to a three-years-past Botcon set, OR he’s a near-ringer to Action Master Thundercracker. His colours are *ahem* eye-catching, and the logo was done so that one doesn’t even need reprolabels to re-cast the figure. I love him!
Razorclaw0000: Barring the long in the tooth Shattered Glass concept, G2 Thundercracker is fan-wank incarnate. Stuffing six eye-searing colors into one familiar package, Fun Pub managed to transcend awful, and wrap all the way around to amazing. While the mold is as tired as the SG concept, the execution still brings a smile to my eye.
Lost Cybertronian: This catagory was the hardest one for me to decide. This is the first year that I bought into botcon toys because I love Transformers Animated. The Stunticon Job boxset was a pure genius idea, so my favorite figure is their unofficial member Toxitron. He is an obscure character and a awesome repaint of the Optimus Prime mold and I love the Bizarro type personality he was given in the Stunticon Job comic.
El Duque: Can't get enough of this mold, or Tranformers Animated for that matter. Such a great figure in both modes and the new head mold was just icing on the cake. This guy really looks wild.
Blurrz: Certainly not as fortunate as Razorclaw0000 last year (yes, I'm jelly) when he got a seat in the customization class for the Classics G2 Sideswipe. So getting the Animated version in G2 Sideswipe colors was the next best thing, sort of. Well it's still not as cool. *Shakes fist at Razorclaw0000*. The Rodimus mold is one of my favorites from the Animated toyline, and the Breakdown head sculpt adds to the figure's flair. Racing stripes are a nice addition, and nothing like colorless clear plastic =3.
Counterpunch: This is the true calling for this mold. The white is crisp and actually...you know, white. (Hasbro, take notice) The details are sharp and the clear blue plastic on these really makes the deco. Well worth picking up a set of three (and a KP Auto Trooper so that you have a little Atari to go with them).
BotCon's not the only one that gets all the fun. We had exclusives from conventions all around the world, as well as exclusives overseas from North America abroad, and exclusives from select online retailers.
e-Hobby United Autobot Set (Hot Rod, Scrapheap, Kup)
El Duque: I'm cheating but they came in a three-pack so I'm listing all three. I was mainly buying this set to get Scapheap, but upon having them in hand I realized how much more G1 accurate Kup was, and the weird greenish blue translucent Hot Rod ain't bad either. I almost passed up on the set since I initially only wanted Scrapheap, but other two were a pleasant surprise.
Counterpunch: The thing is, they just got Kup right. He's the original toy color, which is really fun and the way in which the damage is detailed onto him is really befitting for Kup. I use this as my original Kup in my Classics display and United Kup as my Targetmaster Kup.
Razorclaw0000: Hasbro found a way for me to like the fat face Takara developed for 2010 Unicron, in a remarkable way. Perfectly capturing Unicron's Movie appearance, Amazonacron stays second only to the near unobtainable Shining Unicron as my favorite treatment of that mold. The light blues and rich oranges pop.
e-Hobby United Decepticon Set (Galvatron, Scourge, Cyclonus)
Razorclaw0000: Speaking of the '86 Movie, the E-Hobby Decepticon set, still comparatively unpopular, captures the scant few seconds during the movie when Unicron reformats the broken husks of Decepticons into his new heralds. Crystal purple so delicious it's almost lickable, the set captures, to me, exactly what an exclusive should be: balls-deep crazy.
Million Publishing United Stepper
Lost Cybertronian: I know I don't own this figure (I will) but I have two versions of the mold. This repaint is the next logical step of the Generations Jazz mold. The pictures that we have been treated to are just sublime and the paint job does the character justice. Plus, he comes with a Targetmaster.
Dark WFC Prime and Megatron
Mkall: This set is completely underappreciated. Not only do you get two solid figures from the Generations line, you get some of their best colourings to date! Prime in Black is always pleasing, and this time he even has Decepticon Symbols! Megatron on the other hand steals the show. I can’t stop looking at the awesomeness that is his paint job. My only question is when are we going to see a Good Guy Megs repaint?
Takara Exclusive United Micron Haywire
Blurrz: Out of all the exclusives, this is simply my favorite. The Power Core Combiners mini-cons were really sloppy in my opinion, so when Takara decided to go out and turn them into Targetmasters for a handful of their United figures, I was ecstatic. He has a bit of a problem staying in Blurr's hand, but the additional firepower is much appreciated. Certainly a must for any hardcore Blurr fans! (Just me, right?)
Established third parties FanssProject, Perfect Effect and others continued their winning ways, while MakeToys and TFCToys made their most explosive products to date.
Counterpunch: Three Insecticons...all of which are great fun, but in my opinion, Stormbomb aka Bombshell is the best. His insect mode lacks the issues that the other two have (Thundershred having odd tolerances and Backfiery's wings being immobile for the most part). The weapons grant the figure a lot of versatility in how the figure is posed and displayed..
SFX Scouting Force X
Razorclaw0000: I was tempted to be a dick and say the Night Ops version, but the regular is a great homage from Perfect Effect to the cartoon versions of Spectro, Spyglass, and Viewfinder. Now, however, they're tired of being the little guys come loaded with weapons and ready to take down the likes of Omega Supreme. A crazy amount of accessories, which all neatly and perfectly combine into a somewhat absurd purple camera, this set is tons of fun with tons of character.
TFC Toys Hercules Figures
El Duque: G1 Devastator/Constructicons is my favorite combiner hands down, and to finally have a properly updated version of these guys is a dream come true. Sure they've hit some snags along the way concerning QC, but they've been quick to address them and take steps to correct. I cannot wait to complete this guy. In fact I'm so pumped I'm getting two sets!
FansProject's CA-02 Flameblast
Blurrz:I'm a big fan of space shuttle Transformers, so when you take FansProject's brilliant Explorer figure, and repaint into the colors of an actual space shuttle, I'm game. Dual pistols and a sword are also why I'm drawn to this being my favorite third party figure of the year.
i-Gear MP Coneheads
Lost Cybertronian: I couldn't pick just one conehead as my favorite because they look better in a group. Igear took the MP seeker mold and improved on it with great quality. They gave us MP figures that Hastak may or may not ever get to. They really help fill in the MP seeker ranks.
Cyber Bishop: This is what PG could have been if imagined and executed correctly by Hasbro, not that joke of a PG fig they released with the movie like.
We of Seibertron.com are proud to have brought you the latest Transformers news in the past year. Here are our standouts.
Dark of the Moon
Razorclaw0000: Say what you will about Michael Bay, but he really solidified the Transformers Movie brand with Dark of the Moon. Epic in many ways, and two and half hours of non-stop fun, the movie did a great job of reminding us to not take the franchise so seriously, and lighten up. Also, Alan Tudyk stole ever single scene he was in.
Counterpunch: I don't give a gawddamn what anyone else has to say on the matter. It was a fun movie to watch and I got to do so with ten or so of my closest TF buddies. Those opportunities don't come along every day.
Cyber Bishop: I really enjoyed DOTM.. It was a great summer popcorn action flick that had giant transforming robots blowing each other to hell.. What more could you ask for?
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron VGA Trailer
El Duque: This may seem like a minor event is a year with so much other big Transformers news, but this did it for me. Something about seeing Optimus Prime carrying an injured Bumblebee, Bruticus combine, and Grimlock's transformation with The Humbling River playing in the background sent chills down my spine.
Lost Cybertronian: After that tease we got with Darkness Rising last year, the cartoon went full steam ahead this year. While the episodes were hit and miss sometimes, this season sets up what will turn out to be a worthy series.
Victoria Toy Fair 2011
Blurrz: Meeting great people, meeting the masterminds behind the third party scene, and being able to cover all of that for this wonderful site. Certainly a great event hosted by Cherry Bomb Toys, and a taste of even greater times to be had in the upcoming years
Botcon 2011 Hall of Fame: Erector
Mkall: Right from the outset I knew that the campaign to get Erector into the Hall of Fame would fail. Call it intuition, logical thinking, psychic ability, whatever; I knew that the campaign to get him in would not work. What I did not expect was the extent Hasbro would go to to at least make it fail with flare. I still want to see the Erector concept art they came up with during the video they showed. Finally I laughed a lot when Aaron Archer came out on stage and basically said “We all had our fun, but this isn’t going to happen again.” To me that showed how seriously Hasbro holds the TF brand – they’re willing to have a bunch of fun with it, but they know when to say that’s enough.
Burn: This one is strictly personal, but for me, it was getting my own home and finally being able to unpack my boxes and boxes of TF's and get them on display.
We want more! We want more!
More Transformers Prime Toys
Mkall: It’s going to rock, plain and simple. I don’t know if the Prime characters were designed with toys in mind, or if Hasbro had to get creative in coming up with the likenesses, but each figure is an uncannily accurate version of the show, and there’s human figures (whether you like them or not). There is very little I can find in any of the figures previewed that makes me not want them more! 2012 may be the end of the world, but at least I’ll die a happy collector!*
Razorclaw0000: I'm very excited for the rest of the First Edition figures to make their way to retail in the US. (Damn you Canada!) With three figures in my hand, and a few exclusives already sealed away, I'm giddy at what more we will get. Bulkhead and Prime look to be standup figures, and some of the prototypes we've seen at SDCC have me excited for a full size line.
Burn: The only thing interest me currently is getting Prime figures into Australian stores.
Cyber Bishop: Seeing the new Prime toys and whatever generations surprises they pop out @ Toyfair and Botcon
Finishing TFCToys Hercules
Counterpunch: It'll be a long time coming, but when that bad-boy is all together, shelf space will be cleared. Autobots will cower in fear. Devastation will have come
El Duque: This has been a long and costly endeavour, but I think the end result will be worth it. To finally have a proper six figure Devastator figure on my Classics shelf is something I've dreamed about since the first Classics figures debuted.
Mastermind Creations Sixshot
Blurrz: Seeing this prototype in person blew my mind. I never grasped the thought of it being of such size, but it's a freaking behemoth. I simply can't wait to get this when it's released! A leader class figure, with a multitude of weapons and a plethora of different modes, it's just simply amazing.
G1 Uppers Menasor Combiner
Lost Cybertronian: I love combiners and I love the Botcon Stunticon Job boxset. They are two great tastes that taste great together and I have high hopes that these guys can turn the Animated Stunticons into the lovely Menasor they deserve to be.
There you have it. Once again, Happy 2012!
Seibertron.com News Crew