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Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys
Date: Saturday, June 25th 2016 9:41am CDT
Categories: Site Articles, Editorials, Top Lists
Posted by: william-james88

Discuss This Topic · Permanent Link
Views: 37,248

Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are my opinions (just like movie or game reviews hosted by sites are still just the opinion of one person) so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.


Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys

While they aren't universally loved, gimmicks are one of the main components of Transformers toys. The fact that they transform itself can be seen as a gimmick of the toyline as a whole and that is what distinguishes it. However, many lines within this brand have had a line-wide gimmick to set it apart from previous toys and to give a different level of playability. However, gimmicks can sometimes limit a toy instead of adding to it, like when articulation is sacrificed.
Since gimmicks have been intertwined with this line since the inception, they can mean something rather different depending on the individual. So this week, we go the extra mile and have two lists. One, written by me which focuses on gimmicks on individual toys and another, written by fellow staff member Shajaki, which focuses on broader gimmicks found through the Transformers' hisotry. Enjoy!

Gimmicks found on individual toys

5. Transformers Cybertron Crumplezone (Land Bullet): Giant Shoulder Guns activated by Cyberkey

In the Cybertron line, every toy had a gimmick where something would be activated (usually weaponry) when a plastic key was inserted into a slot. It was a decent gimmick and had some fun results throughout the line but none were as dramatic or fun as Crumplezone. Almost half the plastic on this toy is consecrated to giant shoulder mounted guns which flip out 270 degrees in robot mode. That comes with sounds of course and you can then fire missiles from them. This can also be done in vehicle mode where these cannons totally change the vehicle from being built for speed, with the cannons serving as mega boosters in the back, to a much more offensive stance with the cannons flipped towards the front.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General


4. G1 Headmasters

Headmasters are awesome. At the very dawn of the Transformers brand, you had these beautiful vehicle modes with cockpits and drivers seats,due to the line being derived from Diaclone which had little figures to insert in the vehicles and dinosaurs. But the Transformers toys didn't come with little guys of their own, until Headmasters came along. You finally had a tiny robot to put in the cockpit of your spaceship or car. And here was the cool part, this little robot transformed into the head of the larger robot. And it was compatible for all other robots of the sort so you could switch out the faces of your larger robots. Also, when inserting the transformed head onto the body of the larger robot, you would trigger another gimmick below the head that showed the stats the head brought to the robot (like intelligence and speed).

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General
Transformers G1 1987 Brainstorm Gallery

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General
Transformers G1 1987 Chromedome Gallery


3. Transformers Masterpiece Optimus Prime (MP 01 Convoy): light up Matrix

Here is the best example of a non intrusive gimmick. Firstly, it was great that the ultimate G1 Optimus toy at the time had a matrix chamber with a removable Matrix of Leadership. And it could light up! It simulated that glow we had seen in the 1986 movie. It's just that perfect little bonus that just made this first Masterpiece toy even more deserving of its title.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General


2. Beast Machines Tankor: double light piping scanning

Lightpiping is one of the best subtle gimmicks ever added to the Transformers toys. When it is well implemented it can make a pretty big difference and it adds that extra spark. The toy with the best light piping gimmick ever though is Beast Machines Tankor (one of the earlier toys to have the gimmick). You see, in the show, he and his fellow tank drones would scan their surroundings for signs of the Maximals. It would be shown as a dot sliding across his Geordi La Forge-like visor (you can see it below in the video featuring his character's introduction). While his toy was not show accurate in deco or transformation (which I argue makes it better), it did have this very feature. Thanks to a smart mechanism, you could actually replicate his visor scanning for some lifeforms. And you could do it in both modes, which is pretty nuts because unlike other Tankor toys, this one had a different head for its vehicle mode and robot mode.



Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General


1. Transformers Beast Machines Air Attack Optimus Primal (Beast Convoy) and his arsenal of gimmicks

This guy has it all. Not only did we get a toy that finally looked like the show model (though released in the Robots in Disguise line), but it did all the things you saw on the show. Firstly, it talked and while that may not seem too cool now, this was the very first time in Transformers history that a toy was voiced by the actual voice actor. It didn't just say his name either, or some random lines. It actually said the characters main revelation and theme of the entire show: "The seeds of the future are buried in the past". It also had a jetpack that unfolded from his back and it would change its sound depending on how you were posing him. If he was posed reaching for the sky, the sound would keep revving up, but the sound would then change if you handled him flying horizontally. This showed that less power was needed for maintaining the same altitude. That is pretty fascinating and none of that was ever repeated since. Plus, he had a punching gimmick (which came with sound) and he could fire missiles from his abdomen. That's actually my favourite gimmick since even if you only have one missile, you will still hear that satisfying blaster noise whenever you press the button. So you can simulate him blasting every vehicon to kingdom come. Also, unlike any other toy with sound gimmicks, you had to first activate the gimmick's central system to then activate all the other gimmicks. Which means that if it wasn't activated, you would not be hearing the sound gimmicks go off when you didn't want to. That makes things far less annoying when transforming him, unlike ROTF Prime where you hear him say his name a dozen times whenever you transform him. In short, this guy rocks and while he is gimmick heavy, the gimmicks are fun and he is still a solid show accurate toy with a great transformation.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General


General Gimmicks Found Throughout the Brand


Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

So much fun, and these two are the best I can think of.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

I think I only had a couple as a kid, but modern renditions like G/L Brainstorm (and 3P takes) have been awesome and really makes me look forward to Titans Return.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

The only bad part about them is instability, but newer renditions are stable and posable!

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

So many cassettes, so many colors, it's like trying to catch Pokemon :lol:

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Gimmicks on Transformers Toys: On Individual Toys and in General

Device Label. So awesome. We need more things like this. For such a small line it had a lot of winners. Also, real world functionality has been around since G1 with Perceptor's working microscope.

Top 5 Best Motorcycle (Motorbike) Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Motorcycle (Motorbike) Transformers Toys
Date: Saturday, June 11th 2016 9:27am CDT
Categories: Site Articles, Editorials, Top Lists
Posted by: william-james88

Discuss This Topic · Permanent Link
Views: 23,737

Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. This week, we have a nice collaboration by other staff members which were quite passionate about several of these toys. These are our opinions so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.

Top 5 Best Motorcycle (Motorbike) Transformers Toys

This is a very simple list. I looked at all Transformers who turned into motorcycles from Armada Nightbeat to G1 Override (who both didn't make the list). There are a ton of motorcycles out there, especially in the movie lines so while the standouts were easy to find (number 1 will surprise no one), it got very tough to distinguish the best amongst many decent toys. So I sought advice from colleagues and fans who seemed to have passion for these very specific toys and rounded them up.

5. Hunt for the Decepticons Brimstone (Jim)

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Motorcycle (Motorbike) Transformers Toys


This little dude is one of the examples of the truly excellent Scout class back in the peaks of the movieverse lines and sub-lines - Hunt for the Decepticons, in Brimstone's case. An attempt to capture the spiky nature of the aesthetics of Bay's production, the general added evil looks to otherwise adorable little figures, some good complex transformations for toys this size - and you get a great blend of colours, stable feet, a precursor to TF Prime's Soundwave's sinister silhouette, plus the potential for Spinning Triblades of Death and Doom, if it takes you a couple of weeks to figure out that, yes, there are indeed hands in there too. One of my first paint touch-ups, too, so clearly it struck a chord!

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Motorcycle (Motorbike) Transformers Toys

-- Va'al

4. Prime Robots in Disguise Arcee

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Motorcycle (Motorbike) Transformers Toys


The PRiD Arcee mold is a top-tier contender for this list. Tight construction, a believable alt mode, a bot mode that doesn't suffer for the small vehicle, and generally good detailing; not only is this a nice toy, but it's generally accurate to the challenging designs of the TF Prime show.

The engineering of this figure takes its marks from the best motorcycle designs and puts them together in a convincing package, while implementing an auto-morph gimmick that is unobtrusive. It does all of these things while keeping numerous and more importantly, meaningful points of articulation. If there are any failings to speak of, it should be noted that the weapons are not really show accurate, which was more of a problem with the PRiD line than with the figure.

There are a variety of delightful, high quality redecos like Chromia and the Queen of the Racing World, Flareup to choose from. So find a biker lady to ride with before someone ships them out from under you.

And remember: Flareup...she's the best.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Motorcycle (Motorbike) Transformers Toys

-- Counterpunch (Host of Twincast Podcast)

3. Animated Oilslick

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Motorcycle (Motorbike) Transformers Toys


This guy. Shows up for the entirety of not-that-much in the fiction (from Animated cartoon to its corollary stories), causes enough damage - WITH SCIENCE - then disappears into the folds of officially sanctioned fan-fiction. The tracks, however, run deep. The most menacingly metal mucus motorbike out there, with an actual ram skull visible in both modes, full asymmetry, cactus limbs, chains, and cheating wheel transformation, this is the Ghost Rider figure that (almost, shhhh) never was - if Ghost Rider had the powers of snot. Brütal Snøt.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Motorcycle (Motorbike) Transformers Toys

-- Va'al

2. Robots in Disguise Warrior Fracture

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Motorcycle (Motorbike) Transformers Toys


Anyone who thinks Hasbro did not take the Robots in Disguise (2015) line seriously will change their mind if they give Fracture a chance. While the material and the way he is built up doesn't scream solid quality à la Galaxy Force, he shows how Takara is at the height of their engineering prowess. His transformation is perfect and more unique and elegant than any generations toy he shared shelf space with. Everything is just so thought out and meticulous. Every piece clips in perfectly and both modes are dynamite with minimal extraneous kibble. There is no way to tell this turns into a robot in vehicle mode and at the same time, the robot mode is so damn sleek with nothing getting in the way of the articulation! This is by far the best toy to come out of the Robots in Disguise line (at the moment of writing) and any fan of Transformers toys would be doing themselves a disservice by not experiencing this toy.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Motorcycle (Motorbike) Transformers Toys

-- WilliamJames88

1. Animated Prowl

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Motorcycle (Motorbike) Transformers Toys


The motorcycle mode is almost completely free of kibble from every angle, only the fingertips are visible from the rear, that's it. Robot mode is also extremely free of kibble, where the usual motorcycle bots have nose blocks that become hunchback growths or wheels that become extra appendages, all of those elements have been integrated cleanly and beautifully into robot mode. The only thing that can even be construed as kibble are the back fins, and even those flow nicely.

This flows right into the posability, this being one of the most posable bots ever made. Not only is he all ball joints, but the side effect of the wheel integration is that his knees are double-jointed, making him one of the few transformers that can crouch.

With perks like show accuracy and little extras like his ninja star hubcaps, I would qualify Animated Prowl as not just the best motorcycle Transformer ever designed, but one of the best transformer designs ever.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Motorcycle (Motorbike) Transformers Toys

-- Trigaba (This wonderful review of the toy was found on our forums)


Honourable mentions: First Edition Prime Arcee is a good toy, but I preferred including other toys on the list rather than two similar Arcees and the Robots in Disguise is usually preferred simply due to the fact that it is more accurate. The First Edition is still a worthwhile toy and I recommend anyone to check this great pictorial review from fellow Seibertronian Carytheone. RTS Wreckgar should also get a mention because he is an amazing effort with a kickass robot mode. However, the breakage issue cannot be forgiven enough to be considered one of the best.

RUMOR: Transformers: The Last Knight - Beginning of Hasbro Shared Universe with ROM the Spaceknight

Transformers News: RUMOR: Transformers: The Last Knight - Beginning of Hasbro Shared Universe with ROM the Spaceknight
Date: Wednesday, June 8th 2016 1:16am CDT
Categories: Live Action Movie News, Rumors, Digital Media News, Editorials
Posted by: Dr Va'al | Credit(s): Forbes, wild speculation

Discuss This Topic · Permanent Link
Views: 31,442

Since posting a very small news story in the Comics section - about the role of ROM the Spaceknight in IDW's REVOLUTION crossover event - we've been mulling over this piece from Forbes, in which the author links the new The Last Knight font with ROM's traditional one in the Marvel comics.

Transformers News: RUMOR: Transformers: The Last Knight - Beginning of Hasbro Shared Universe with ROM the Spaceknight


Several Seibertronians have thrown around a comment about ROM being the titular Last Knight in jest, but thinking about it - is it not possible that this is indeed the beginning of the wider Hasbro universe? Why the sudden change in fonts? Why does Galvatron/Megatron look like a Dire Wraith - ROM's main antagonists in the comics - made out of metal?

Transformers News: RUMOR: Transformers: The Last Knight - Beginning of Hasbro Shared Universe with ROM the Spaceknight

Transformers News: RUMOR: Transformers: The Last Knight - Beginning of Hasbro Shared Universe with ROM the Spaceknight


While we're at it, compare the tagline in the image below, with the one used for the Morse code teaser, 'Something Wicked This Way Comes'. And remember the creators?

Transformers News: RUMOR: Transformers: The Last Knight - Beginning of Hasbro Shared Universe with ROM the Spaceknight

Transformers News: RUMOR: Transformers: The Last Knight - Beginning of Hasbro Shared Universe with ROM the Spaceknight


As the author of the Forbes piece says, there are some parallels in the visual - but is that where it stops? According to Chris Ryall, definitely maybe. Check out more below, and rev your speculation engines in the Energon Pub!

As I said before: “we know Hasbro has movie plans for Rom, the old Parker Brothers toy that was one of the first action figures to include electronic lights and sounds. He’s slated to be part of a shared cinematic universe that will also include the Micronauts, G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., and the Visionaries. It was assumed that Transformers would stay out of it, having previously announced plans for a spin-off universe of their own, and generally not needing the help. Even Age of Extinction, the lowest-grossing Transformers movie domestically (besides the animated one from the ’80s), raked in $1.1 billion worldwide, while the last G.I. Joe movie pulled in a ‘mere’ $375 million internationally. And yet: isn’t that how Marvel launched their cinematic universe? Using the popular character to segue into the riskier ones?”

Even if Rom isn’t happening, his iconography is being used. And as Rom is the least-known to the casual toy collector – aside from some convention exclusives, he hasn’t had a proper action figure of his own in decades – he is the one who needs the biggest push.

It’s time to transform him for the modern world…and roll out.

Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)

Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)
Date: Saturday, May 28th 2016 9:12am CDT
Categories: Site Articles, Editorials, Top Lists
Posted by: william-james88

Discuss This Topic · Permanent Link
Views: 58,904

Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are my opinions (just like movie or game reviews hosted by sites are still just the opinion of one person) so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.


Top 5 Transformer Toys that will shed the most tears

Is there any worse feeling for a collector or child then a piece giving way and it remaining in your hand while you pull away the toy? Or hearing that snap sound? Transformers have so many pieces, unlike other action figures, that some are bound to fall off or break off and it can sometimes break a child's heart, or an adult's heart too. I hope once you have read this list (which is both personal and general) that you can share yours as well!

5. Transformers Reveal The Shield Wreck-Gar

Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)

This is one of the best robot modes around and a really smart cool motorcycle transformer. Except there is one slight issue: he will break if you play with him too much! And it sucks too, it's one of the motorbike's handlebars, which then makes the sweet bike mold look totally uneven. And the added play value of having another Junkion ride the motorcycle kind of becomes moot since his bike is now inoperable. The sad fact about this breakage is that it will happen regardless of if you use it properly, just normal wear and tear will do the trick (though not transforming properly will make it happen sooner). You can't glue it back on because it is part of an automorph gimmick which also gets crushed when the handlebar breaks. So while he can still transform, your handlebar will never get back there and cant be fixed. In this day and age where breakage is supposed to be solved, this is kind of abhorrent. It happened to mine:

Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)


4. MP 09 Masterpiece Rodimus Prime and Transformers Masterpiece Starscream (especially Ghost Version MP-3G)


Why do the most fragile toys have to also be the most expensive ones? The initial Masterpiece Starscream mold is very fiddly and there are a lot of things that can happen to even make the manliest of men shed a tear. The transformation is tricky, involving careful thought and understanding of where parts are going to end up and how they need to get there. Although, I found the construction to be sturdy, it has plenty of points where excess force will cause it to break, if mishandled. And then Takara decided to make one version which was all clear plastic, genius! While clear plastic can be sturdy too, it wont bend. So if you turn something the wrong way, it wont start bending and resisting, letting you know you are doing something wrong, it will just snap. I broke the ghost version's arm while I transformed it the 4th time and the thin pointed ends of his tail fin fell off too after rubbing off something (it was like they were there one moment and gone the next). I am not the only one to have had problems with this mold, you can search online for a bunch of reports about broken Starscreams (or any seeker sporting the MP 03 mold). A common one is the wing connector pieces which appear to weaken the more it is transformed, which is something you never want to hear.

Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)

Another Masterpiece with similar negative points is MP 09 Rodimus, which is also very very delicate. The way it is built, it is inevitable that every single copy will eventually break if posed in robot mode on a shelf. There have been interesting reports of people just one day hearing a clunk coming from their shelves to see that some piece of their Rodimus had succumbed to gravity. A number of joints can break on this toy, here is an example from fellow Seibertronian Itscramtastic:

Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)

And there is this gut wrenching testimony I found online from a user called Robotmonkeys:

Worst purchase was Hasbro Masterpiece Rodimus. I bought it aftermarket at double the price in the summer of 2014. He was my first Mp since Mp 1. I had him for nearly a week when I decided to take him out of the box.
As I carefully removed him, his left arm stayed behind in the blister pack.
My heart sank! After trying all kinds of fixes, I finally got a replacement shoulder. To this day, his arm is limp and not fully assembled due to not being able to successfully push the pin all the way through.


Both these cases are very sad and while I doubt any child would experience this since these toys are collector oriented, big boys and girls can cry. And an expensive collectible breaking may be just that threshold.

3. Transformers Generation 2 Electro (Effectro)

Here is the first case of Gold Plastic Syndrome (GPS) I will address. To get a certain gold pigment or shiny effect in the plastic, different plastics are mixed together and the combinations break down more quickly making the toy crumble before your eyes. While this has happened to differently coloured toys, toys all made of gold plastic in the G2 era (early 90s of Transformer toys) famously suffered from this. G2 Electro is one of the best examples to the point where if you were to buy him mint today, he would probably break when you start handling him or transforming him. Take a good look at the photo below because that it the best way to see an unbroken G2 Electro these days.

Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)


2. Transformers Beast Wars Transmetal Megatron


This toy broke apart in my very hands. It was a sad and pathetic sight. I was unaware that he was prone to breakage and thought it was just my clumsy self. So I set to repair him with krazy glue. But as I would glue together one piece another piece would fall off. I tried some more but eventually gave up when I had his chest in my hands and his feet, and separate arms on the floor. Turns out I am not the only one this happened to, not by a long shot. I feel bad for all the kids who had their Megatron fall to pieces as they played with him in the 90s. Just look for Broken Megatron on e-bay and you will see plenty.

Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)

Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)

Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)

Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)


1. Transformers Generation 2 Slingshot (Sling)

This here is the second case of GPS I want to bring to our attention with this list. What makes this case extra sad is that he completes a combiner so without him, you don't get a nice G2 Superion. I will let Seibertron, the site owner himself, share a word regarding this toy and his gallery:

Seibertron wrote:Slingshot is everyone's favorite gold-plastic Transformer. The figure is a ticking time bomb before it literally crumbles in your hand. I somehow managed to take an entire photogallery of him with only one non-essential piece cracking. Fortunately, his arms, legs, wings and head stayed intact for the purpose of this gallery. I carefully wrapped him in bubble wrap after this and placed him in a small Ziploc tub intended for food in the fridge. Hopefully that'll keep him in decent shape until needed again but I wouldn't bet any Energon on it!


Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)

Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)

Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)

Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)
Transformers Generation 2 Slingshot (Sling) Gallery

Honourable mentions: There are a ton of more toys that are prone to breakage, like the roofs on some G1 cars and Mirage breaking in half, that this list could go on and on and on. So instead of writing more, I would love it if we could turn the entire discussion into the Honourable Mentions section and share which toys of yours broke and which times it hurt the most in your childhood or adult lives. When your toy breaks, no matter if it's a known issue, it will hurt just as bad, so this list is more of a starting point for a discussion.
Pictures are more than welcome (of the broken toy, not of you crying).

Transformers News: Top 5 Transformers Toys Most Likely to Break (and make you cry)

Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes
Date: Saturday, May 14th 2016 1:55pm CDT
Categories: Site Articles, Editorials, Top Lists
Posted by: shajaki | Credit(s): shajaki

Discuss This Topic · Permanent Link
Views: 46,351

Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top List related to all things Transformers. To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Beast Wars this year, Shajaki is counting down the Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes from the original computer animated series. These are one person's opinions (just like movie or game reviews hosted by sites are still just the opinion of one person) so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.

Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

This list was seriously a labor of love. It seems the Transformers were introduced to me at the perfect stages of my life. G1 was a toy commercial, great for the first 5 years of my kiddie life. But Beast Wars with it's more developed stories and themes came out in 1996, and I was just old enough to really appreciate it. But enough of this, there's a lot of words coming at you so let's get started!

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes
(Season 1, Episode 7)

This may have been the first example (or just the first time I noticed) how great Megatrons war strategies were in this show. The most important thing was numbers, followed by flyers. In Season 1 the Maximals were at quite a disadvantage in those regards. In this episode Megatron dispatches his two flyers to take out Optimus Primal rather than making it a straight race to the newly fallen stasis pod thus forcing the remaining Maximals to pursue on foot. Also comes Dinobot's first real test of loyalty as he's not only left alone and in charge of the base and a half-scrapped Primal, but tempted by Megatron to rejoin the Predacons with a big fat raise. To which he poetically replies "EAT SLAG!". Good 'ol Dinobot.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes
(Season 1, Episode 6)

Did anyone else think that Terrorsaur was basically the Beast Wars version of Starscream? I sure did, which made "Possession" a little confusing to me. But I digress. The screechy traitor finally has his day in this episode when he stumbles upon a floating mountain of Energon, which he gets accidentally super charged by. So naturally he hightails it straight to Megatron and tears him to pieces. Thankfully he does so quickly because the charge not only fades but puts him at a critical low amount of energy forcing him to crawl back to mountain for another hit. Unfortunately for him however, a flying gorilla battle and rat bomb kinda ruin his future plans. And it seems his new "followers" would rather rebuild Megatron than submit to his command. Really, this episode just feels like a terrific throwback to the what(?) every 12 minutes that Starscream tried to overthrow Megatron in the original Transformers. And you gotta love that.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes
(Season 2, Episodes 2 & 3)

These episodes are quite significant, as they re-set in motion what started in the series pilot. We are formally introduced to the realization (by Waspinator of all characters) that they are indeed on prehistoric earth, which has grave implications. The Fuzor's also make their debut, which is one of the most creative concepts to come from the franchise. The Maximals fight heroically to what is thought to be their deaths, until the triumphant return of (a now) Transmetal Optimus Primal. And the Spaghetti Western setting adds a bit of well deserved drama and suspense.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes
(Season 1, Episode 10)

Dinobot is attacked by a flower. AND. Oprimus Primal is a stone cold bad-ass. A botched attempt at turning Optimus into a wimp, turns him into a rage monster. And once he's armed to the teeth he blasts his way single handedly into the Predacon base and through each Pred as well. It's actually kind of frightening to see what Primal is capable of once he's let lose of all restraint, and he preforms some pretty gruesome acts. He impales Tarantulas to a wall after walking straight into a barrage of bullets, and Robo-Cop's Waspinator through another. This is also one of the few episodes that Optimus goes "full face-plate" and you know when that happens, look out.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes
(Season 2, Episode 4)

This episode has a number of notable moments, namely a laughing Inferno crushing Waspinator with a jamming station tower (kidding). Far more notable than that though, is Blackarachnia squaring off against Tarantulas. She really showcases her fierce spirit here, her willingness to destroy herself along with her cranial stowaway to regain her freedom (by way of a cracked Energon cube to sever their psychic link) is beyond brave. Another highlight is the awesome fight scene at the end. I recall being impressed with its choreography, it really felt like it was a step up.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes
(Season 3, Episode 7)

The new Dinobot is starting to come into his own as he stalks a misunderstanding Blackarachnia in this episode. Thinking that she's about to be forcefully re-wired back into a Maximal, she goes on the lamb only to be followed by the deadly Transmetal 2 Raptor. After a little cat-and-mouse'ing, he brilliantly leads her into a jamming zone preventing her from calling for backup.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

But when they start fighting for real, it's intense. When he's swiping his massive claws as he slowly closes in, the speed in which he sprints and crashes through tree debris like it were paper, is simply terrifying. The Widow gets the upper hand, if only to demonstrate that he's near invincible like his Spark brother Rampage. But even though Dinobot doesn't fall for her side switching deception later, her and a party crashing Silverbolt manage to best him by triple dose cyber venom'ing him to the face and off a cliff into the jungle below. Invincible or not, he'll need time to recover from that.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes
(Season 1, Episode 21)

This was a great way to bring G1 lore into this new of of Transformers. After introducing the concept of the "spark" and spark mutations, this helps make sense of "Starscreams Ghost" from the original series. The intelligent strategies used by both sides in this episode also make for some great story telling. Screamer attacking where they least expect, the Maximals pretending to be gravely injured to regain access to their base, and the king of deception using the Maximals in an attempt to rule over both sides. Not to mention, Doug Parker does a phenomenal take on Starscream and really brings life to the icon.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes
(Season 3, Episodes 12-13)

If I wanted to save myself some time (and many words) I could simply sum up "Nemesis" in one word: EPIC. But for fun, here's the rest of my words. It seems like this is the end for Megatron, but ironically some leftovers from the enigmatic traitor Tarantulas will revitalize his campaign.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

There were two ancient Cybertronian ships that came to Earth, the Ark and the Nemesis. The Ark is currently housing the deposed Maximals, and Megatron has just found the behemoth Decepticon warship. Meanwhile in irrelevant-town, Inferno and Quickstrike attack some humans in an attempt to steal their caves while Waspinator declares his resignation from the Predacons (and later their loyalty is rewarded by being flambeed my Megs himself). Jump back to Megatron and Dinobot trying to fire up the Nemesis, and the grudge match of the millennium is about to go down: Depth Charge & Rampage. They cross raw Energon blades until Depth Charge has the upper hand and Rampage... disturbingly submits and allows the blade to pierce his spark. Why? Perhaps all immortals wish for death. Maybe he knew his arch enemy would also die in the process. Or even that he sees life as a cruel joke, signified by his unsettling laughter in his final moments.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

We may never know, but Primal mistook their explosive demise as mission accomplished. And yet, the Nemesis rose....

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

The newly reborn Tigerhawk sacrifices himself by taking the full force of the Nemesis while Primal regroups with the rest of the team.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

All the while, the taint of Protoform X has been fading and Dinobot is becoming self aware.... as in, his former self. This ultimately leads him to defy the great dragon in his moment of triumph.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

When the Ark can't move and Primal is down, it's Dinobots dissent that buys Rhinox enough time to crash the newly discovered Autobot shuttle through Megatrons control room, plastering him on the windshield. And it's that very shuttle that carries the crew (and roof'ly constrained Megatron) back to Cybertron, leaving a happy and intact Waspinator behind. That marked the end of the Beast Wars and what many feel to be the most impressive pieces of TF lore even to this day.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes
(Season 2, Episodes 11-13)

This was the first time that I realized that this series had a concrete connection to G1. There were plenty of clues before this but as a kid, they for some reason flew right over my head. What's great about this 3 parter? First off, the Tripredicus Council (who are about to be rightfully immortalized in this years Botcon set).

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

They give resonance to the notion that the situation is more grand than the (seemingly) simple conflict going on on prehistoric Earth, as Megatron's actions have had consequences on Cybertron that we haven't even seen. Second, Ravage.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

Talk about throwbacks! Not only is he formidable, but still Decepticon to the core. Which we see when Megatron reveals the hidden message on the golden disk and turns the Jaguar to his cause. It's his predecessor, the original Megatron and Ravages former Commander instructing his descendants to find the Ark in the distant past and destroy the Autobots, thus altering history in favor of the Decepticons.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

When I first saw this scene, it sent shivers down my spine. Which actually happened again when Ravage yells "DECEPTICONS FOREVER" and transforms into cassette mode.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

Fortunately for the Maximals, Rattrap decides to show off his exceptional saboteur skills and single handedly takes down Tarantulas, Ravage, his ship, and in turn Rampage as well.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

But the chills continue as we see the legendary Ark, ancient Autobots and Decepticons, and Optimus Prime himself as (BW) Megatron tries to wipe him out of existence. "Optimal Situation" aside, Megatron actually succeeds, and to me that gives him legendary status.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes
(Season 2, Episode 9)

Has a character shown this level of depth before in the franchise? Every TF fan out there has likely either seen this episode or at least heard of it, for it brings us the final fate of the much beloved character Dinobot. Some might even argue that it was felt even more than the death of Optimus Prime in Transformers The Movie, I know it was for me.

Megatron discovers that he can change the future, and decides to start by exterminating the human race at its earliest roots. In an effort to save the future and past alike, Dinobot engages the entire Predacon team with total disregard for his own well-being.... and is triumphant. He cuts Inferno in half, blasts Blackarachnia with his stolen gun, squashes Waspinator, forces a backfire on Rampage with the bugs head, and beats Quickstrike with his bare hands. This brings him to the point of no return, where he's about to go into stasis lock but over rides the command as there's still one maniacal Predacon to deal with: Megatron. A villainous speech rock/stick beat-down later, Dinobot subdues his former Leader and destroys the Golden Disk once in his possession with the last ounce of his remaining energy. Megatron furiously flees when the Maximals arrive, but it's far too late for the heroic raptor. He wanted his story to be told truely, and be judged accordingly with the good and the bad. And his former comrades solute him as his spark joins the matrix.

One of the greatest strengths of the Beast Wars series, is it's limited cast. Because of this, we were subject to some incredible character depth and development. Dinobot was no exception. He was in fact the first winner of the Fans Choice Transformers Hall of Fame in 2010. It's no wonder this single episode is held in such high regard. His complexity made him an incredibly interesting character and he was one of the driving forces for the series and the stories within. His strong sense of honor and deep contemplation of his ultimate fate are what motivates him into action. He does some things that he's not proud of, but tries to make amends by giving his own life to save many others. The acceptance of his destiny can be heard in one of his most famous (and final) lines:
Dinobot wrote:The question that has haunted my being has been answered: The future is not fixed. My choices are my own. And yet, how ironic, for I now find I have no choice at all. I am a warrior... let the battle be joined.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes
(Season 3, Episodes 5-6)

These episodes are dear to my heart, as it is the return (sort of) of my most favorite Transformers character: Dinobot. I can't even describe how much I loved his Transmetal 2 form, he looks like if you touched him, regardless of where, you'd be bleeding. The new look, and the fact that he mostly growls and only has two lines makes him kinda terrifying. And him tearing up Depth Charge was was bad-ass. But the reason this doesn't make the top 10 is because it left me wanting soooo much more. Which we get in "Proving Grounds"!

And now, some LAWL's!


Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Beast Wars Episodes

Thanks for reading folks and stay tuned for my upcoming Top Beast Machines list (whenever that comes out)! Shajaki out!

Top 5 Best Seeker Molds Among Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Seeker Molds Among Transformers Toys
Date: Saturday, April 30th 2016 7:06am CDT
Categories: Site Articles, Editorials, Top Lists
Posted by: william-james88

Discuss This Topic · Permanent Link
Views: 50,250

Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are my opinions (just like movie or game reviews hosted by sites are still just the opinion of one person) so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.


Top 5 Best Seeker Molds

The seekers have always been the best example of Takara and Hasbro maximizing profits while keeping the bottom line down. To sell identical jet toys painted in different patterns, they simply incorporated that in the fiction, making them different characters. These would be the ideal characters to keep bringing back since you could always score several characters while not having to make new original molds for each one and no one would mind. It would instead be anticipated and wanted. This practice has given us a lot of seeker molds throughout the years, there is a new one in practically each line, especially in the past 15 years. And now we look at the best examples of seeker molds. Before we begin, just so we are all on the same page, a seeker mold is defined by ONE big important rule: two or more characters which share the exact same flight themed mold/character, kind of like a clone concept where they just wear different coloured shirts to identify them. It is not always used for Starscream and his fellow seeker acolytes but those are usually more exceptions to confirm the rule and it doesn't need to have all come out at the same time either (now that's really maximizing profits). The intention is that they have the same look. Since we are now accustomed to get a seeker mold in every line, originality and style goes a long way on this list, as you can see with the first entry...


5. Transformers Prime: Robots In Disguise Dreadwing and Skyquake

Believe it or not, but within the Transformers Prime show (not the Aligned continuity proper, if that is even a thing), the true seeker mold shown is actually shared by Dreadwing and Skyquake. These two are brothers which share the very same jet mode in different colors, which is the actual definition of seekers. While Starscream's awesome mold was redeco'd multiple times in the toys, they never appeared on the show, making Dreadwing and Skyquake Prime's true seekers. And they don't disappoint. I totally get behind the negative points to this toy (I will now refer to this mold as a singular entity) like the heavy robot kibble underneath, the exposed hands in the back ala ROTF Starscream, and the weapon it comes with (but that's a negative with almost all the Powerizer toys). BUT style can go a looooooooong way and this guy has boatloads of it. Firstly, it is an impressive and imposing robot mode which is perfectly show accurate. The legs may be big under the jet but they fill it out and add a lot of weight and volume to the robot mode along with the broad shoulders. While the light-up weapon is forgettable, the sword is great and you can pull off some great poses showcasing the great and noble swordsman Dreadwing is. Also, the transformation is both refreshingly involved for a seeker and yet intuitive at the same time. The torso transformation is far more intricate than even the Masterpiece seeker mold and unlike every other toy on this list, it actually hides the nosecone completely in robot mode, without it becoming extra kibble, and leaving a nice tapered look to the cockpit as the chest. Also, that headsculpt is amazing and probably my favourite headsculpt ever found on a seeker.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Seeker Molds Among Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Seeker Molds Among Transformers Toys
Thanks to James Jackson for this fun picture

4. Masterpiece Seeker mold 2.0 MP 11

I was not a fan of the first attempt at a Masterpiece Starscream. The aim for a perfect jet mode really sacrificed a lot and made the robot mode quite goofy (no proper heels, weird jet kibble on both sides of his face and insane kibble hanging off his hips). I also disliked the chest transformation which was overly fiddly. My toy ended up breaking and it soured me over the idea of an MP Starscream. So hearing that the new one was just a retool of the old did not make me bounce up and down for joy. However, I evetually did get a taste of this new and improved mold and it was definitely a step in the right direction. The fiddly and awkward chest transformation is still there, with the odd design choice of the cockpit tapering the opposite way than in the cartoon, but it is still a great improvement to the cartoon likeness in general. He has heels now too and no extraneous kibble aside from the nosecone forming a backpack of sorts. He retains that wonderful articulation and that amazing jet mode and in general the transformation is extremely satisfying (especially the leg area). My only issue is that your mileage with this mold will really vary depending on which version you get and for what price. I wouldn't pay 200$ for what is essentially 10 year old engineering (beautifully refurbished though). However, many people have had the chance to get some at only 10-20$ more than the Generations Leader Seeker mold, which is an amazing value when looking at it that way, especially if the chest is solid and stays in place in robot mode.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Seeker Molds Among Transformers Toys


3. Prime First Edition Starscream mold

This is one of the best seeker molds of all time. The design choice to have the robot mode be so slim and sleek makes him look creepier than any version of Starscream before. I am so impressed with how they were able to pull off a robot mode as skeletal as the one depicted onscreen and yet still have him perfectly transform into a tight and smooth jet mode where no robot limb protrudes, as is often the case with jets.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Seeker Molds Among Transformers Toys


2. Classics Seeker mold

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Seeker Molds Among Transformers Toys

The deluxe Classics seeker mold, which kept being used from 2006 up until 2015, is perfectly show accurate even when looking at the jet from below. It is a highly detailed figure with a shockingly pleasing jet mode and a simple transformation that is remeniscent of the G1 show. My only pet peeve with this mold is that it carries over the G1 problem of the nose cone becoming kibble in the back of the head. That makes the conehead seeker retools a bit less flawed.


1. Galaxy Force Seeker mold (voyager)

It only makes sense that the very best seeker mold also happens to be the best Cybertronian design out there. The alt mode alone is full of homages to both the cybertronian tetra-jet of G1 (from the first episode) and Don Figueroa's design for Generation 1 Starscream in Dreamwave's The War Within. There is no point in including the Titanium seeker mold on this list (or the FOC seekers) when you have this bad boy which is better in every way when it comes to cybertronian design. It even has the best and least obtrusive cyberkey gimmick of the line which gives him energon swords which always flip out unobstructed. What I love so much about this mold, and many others in the Cybertron/Galaxy Force line, is how both the vehicle and robot mode share the same body and components and yet both modes are unique from one another. Unlike other seeker molds, like the Dreadwing mold above, the alt mode is not a robot under a jet, the jet IS the robot and vice versa (like the FOC mold done right). While the very first version of this Starscream mold obtained in the US was the oversized version, with Takara releasing the mold at its intentional voyager size, Hasbro saw the potential of the original voyager version and used it for a Thrust coloured Starscream release as well as Dirge, making it a rightful seeker mold.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Seeker Molds Among Transformers Toys


Honourable mentions: The G1 seekers are fun, though the excessive parts forming feels very dated. I also really like the ROTF Dirge mold which was used for Jetblade as well, but I dont know if you would count that as a seeker mold (you decide). I didn't include any of the movie Starscream toys on this list since the only one that is amazing was Leader Starscream from HFTD and he was never made as any other seeker, unlike what was done with the other classes. And I am fine with that since Starscream was the sole seeker in the films.

Also, while they are very frustrating to transform and handle, I love the style of the Alternity seeker mold. The alternators line lost some steam in the US and when Japan came up with the follow up line featuring a 1:32 scale (rather than 1:24), Hasbro didnt pick it up. That is too bad because it had some very cool ideas, like having the seekers be cars with the car's shell forming the robot wings. Like that they keep their distinctive seeker motif while also having an alt mode that strays from tradition (which would still scale with the rest of the line). It's also interesting how Thundercracker and Skywarp were given a more traditional seeker headsculpt while Starscream's featured insect-like eyes. Oh, and they also feature die cast parts, rubber tires and style money can't buy.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Seeker Molds Among Transformers Toys

And one last mention. For the size class, I am far more impressed with the Animated Activator seekers than the Generations Legends seekers. Even though the Activators are similarly small toys and older than that Generations mold, they have far better articulation. I would even say the Activators are better seeker toys than the Animated Voyager Seeker toy.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Seeker Molds Among Transformers Toys
Transformers Animated Skywarp Gallery

Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys
Date: Saturday, April 16th 2016 8:08am CDT
Categories: Site Articles, Editorials, Top Lists
Posted by: william-james88

Discuss This Topic · Permanent Link
Views: 54,971

Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are my opinions (just like movie or game reviews hosted by sites are still just the opinion of one person) so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.


Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys


5. Transformers Energon Sharkticon

This is a perfect little guy which marks a start to the golden era of quality deluxe class figures from Hasbro for vehicle Transformers (which lead into Classics, Cybertron and Animated). This is an inventive design combining the beast like elements of a shark and a submarine vehicle, making it beautifully Cybertronian. The Transformation is simple but effective, making both the robot and vehicle mode quite distinct, with different shapes and details. The articulation is as good as today's toys but the plastic is better and the pop out firing missiles in vehicle mode is a nice touch on this awesome figure which rocks one of the sweetest decos I have ever seen on a Transformers toy.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys


4. PCC Undertow and Waterlog

Every one of this toy's three modes is fun. It is hard not to like a speed boat with gattling guns. The green clear plastic cockpit (and robot-mode visor) is a nice touch which adds to the water theme and the light blue combiner ports dont take that much away from this figure as it does others since they end up looking like cybertronian breathing tubes in robot mode. What seals the deal though is the combiner torso which has a steam punk diving bell helmet, going all out on the water theme. And if that wasnt enough, you get the most distinctive minicon partner in the entire line with Waterlog. His more humanoid look makes him a cross homage to both the Centurion toy series, from Kenner, as well as Microman thanks to that clear turquoise plastic he is partly made of. He also doubles as a clear turquoise chest shield, making this really resemble some Microman toys. To have all this awesomeness crammed into a scout class Transformer is quite a rare thing these days.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys


3. Transformers Hunt For The Decepticons Sea Spray

Who would have thought little old G1 Seaspray would one day be the hulking bad ass he became with this toy. While the alt mode pays homage to the small G1 toy, the robot mode goes for a more streamlined movie look crosed with more traditional and smooth robot designs. I especially like how smooth the alt mode is, it looks so clean with every part connecting together flush that you wouldn't expect it to turn into a robot. But it does and you wouldn't want to mess with it due to the wide upper chest and shoulders and face plated robotic scuba helmet. But just to show you he also has a fun loving side, you can flip flippers from the underside of his feet and he has a fold down ramp in vehicle mode for him to accommodate any scout class Autobot who would need a ride across the pond. In the end I just love the look of this figure and how accomplished it is as a transforming toy which has no unnecessary kibble in either mode.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys


2. Transformers Beast Wars Metals Depth Charge

There is just so much win with this toy from the headsculpt to the metal manta ray alt mode with a deco that just pops. I like how beefy he is as a toy and I really like the opposite sides of the manta ray face becoming the legs, along with the how glorious he looks with his wings in robot mode. He also has a very fun central disc launching gimmick which works in all modes. If that wasn't enough, his tail becomes a harpoon and he has a shark drone which can fire missiles. Definitely one of the most fun toys of the Beast Wars era.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys


1. Transformers Beast Wars Cybershark

An extremely efficient transformer whose body length shell serves as a great disguise to a very poseable robot. The shark mode has beautiful deco which looks as good as any plastic shark toy found in toy stores in the 90s. What is amazing is that, despite it being a shellformer, it has great alt mode integration that is very reminiscent of traditional transformers with having the head of the alt mode as the chest. A main aspect of the original toys that make up what we call G1 was the disguise component and how they could infiltrate other toylines which didn’t transform. With its phenomenal alt mode, this sharkformer is a perfect example of this legacy. The deco on this toy is as masterful as that headsculpt and he comes armed to the teeth with extra shark themed projectiles (that can be stored within his back) and his pincertail. Of course, that is aside from his hammerhead shark head which he can shoot from his body!

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

Honourable mentions: Revenge of the Fallen Depthcharge, Energon Mirage, G1 Octopunch (he was the first with the deep dive helmet), and Legends Gelshark.

And of course, a water themed list wouldn't be complete without a mention of Transformers Armada Tidal Wave!!!!!!! The main reason he didn't make it is because while his name was very much "Check me out, I am water themed!", I found the toy far too Cybertronian looking that it didn't fit the water theme the creators were probably going for, aside from the aircraft carrier component. The Battleship mode looks more meant for space travel than going across the sea.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

Water theme fight!

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Water Themed Transformers Toys

That awesome photo was brought to us by Daniel Cole!

Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Air Vehicle Alt Modes

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Air Vehicle Alt Modes
Date: Saturday, April 2nd 2016 11:25am CDT
Categories: Site Articles, Editorials, Top Lists
Posted by: william-james88

Discuss This Topic · Permanent Link
Views: 51,268

Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are my opinions (just like movie or game reviews hosted by sites are still just the opinion of one person) so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.


Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (Air Vehicles)

As we previously witnessed, cybertronian alt modes can be a very lazy excuse for a subpar alt mode that looks like a mishmash of robot parts. To counter that, I wanted to showcase the amazing designs that Takara and Hasbro came up with when exploring the cybertronian aesthetic and how an amazing cybertronian alt mode could result in an equally impressive robot mode. After all, these are the default looks of these characters on their home planet by definition, so it's interesting to see when designers go all out to give the best representation of said character. Since there are so many great toys out there, I divided this between land vehicle alt modes, which we discussed last time, and this week's list which focuses on cybertronian air vehicle alt modes.


5. Transformers Energon Megatron

While Megatron has turned into cybertronian spaceships quite a few times to the point where it is now one of his staple alt modes, next to a tank and gun, this was the very first time he had one and the best so far. It is such a departure for the character. I love how utterly alien it is, like an 80s Lego Spaceship (SPACESHIPS!) set, especially with the wings split open, which is also reminiscent of the X-Wing. I also love how massive and chunky this toy is in robot mode which plays a nice contrast to the sleek and narrow nosecone while preserving the impression of Megatron’s power. The homages to Galvatron are outstanding and have been brought up in another list. They even have a purple redeco which is one of the most faithful and best Galvatron toy made so far.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Air Vehicle Alt Modes

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Air Vehicle Alt Modes


4. Transformers Cybertron Sideways (Galaxy Force Noise Maze)

This guy’s design is literally out of this world. That robot mode looks like nothing Hasbro/Takara has ever done or will ever do; he’s like a demonic Gundam figure from hell. He is also an amazing example at showing how you can make a cool looking spaceship which integrates its entire alt mode into the robot, and his alt mode doesn’t look like a jet on a robot’s back. The way the abdomen transforms is unique and he accomplishes a long tried gimmick of having wings become swords. What I like best about him is how his robot and alt mode depend on one another to function and yet both have their own unique accomplished look.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Air Vehicle Alt Modes

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Air Vehicle Alt Modes


3. Transformers Cybertron Vector Prime

While the robot mode is really great and gives him the appearance of a wise and powerful wizard, the alt mode is simply a knockout. This toy was initially supposed to be based on the Star Wars Sith Infiltrator but that was just a starting point and the design evolved over time to give us this magnificent ship. There are a few other possible homages maybe at play with this ship. I spot tiny similarities between him and the “Last Autobot” from Marvel’s G1 comics, which was also a guardian appointed by Primus. I also love how this alt mode is just covered in intricate sculpting. There are piles and piles of gears interconnected all over the surface of the vehicle. These are joined by a series of curved and intricate cut lines that look like the mysterious characters found on Beast Machines Optimus Primal's chest (from the RID line). All these details help sell Vector Prime's ancient appearance and link with Primus. These details also look like a clock’s gears which refer to both his age and his position as guardian of time. Aside from all this beauty, he also has the best and least intrusive minicon integration, along with brilliant weapon storage (more on that in another list) and a quick but fun transformation. At this point, ranking these picks from 1-3 was almost arbitrary since he is a superb transformer toy and has a cybertronian vehicle mode which is really hard to beat.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Air Vehicle Alt Modes

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Air Vehicle Alt Modes


2. Transformers Universe - Classics 2.0 Cyclonus

This toy is so slick. It accomplishes the sleek robot mode and cybertronian jet mode with minimal kibble present in either. It is usually hard to engineer a nosecone out of a robot mode which is why it is usually part of the robot mode design or brought to the back, as is the case with Energon Megatron. However, for this toy, the engineers were clever enough to have the nosecone fold into the robot chest as well as an extra telescoping mechanism. You end up with a toy that looks like Cyclonus just jumped right out of a G1 episode and onto your desk.
Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Air Vehicle Alt Modes

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Air Vehicle Alt Modes

1. Transformers Galaxy Force Starscream

This is such a smart and stellar cybertronian alt mode that I just could not place it any lower than number 1. The vehicle mode is a great homage to both the cybertronian tetra-jet of G1 and Don Figueroa's design for Generation 1 Starscream in Dreamwave's The War Within, while being it’s own unique design at the same time. I even feel it has a semblance to the Star Wars Star Destroyer due to how it is more flat than the two other source points, and that look is power incarnate. What I love so much about this toy is how both the vehicle and robot mode share the same cybertronian body and yet look totally accomplished and unique from one another. This results in a very simple transformation that yields amazing results. There is no jet on top of the robot, the robot IS the Jet. While his vehicle mode evokes power, that same notion is incorporated in the robot mode giving him a very regal appearance with a lot of bulk, especially around the shoulder area. Of all the bodies Starscream has had, this is one where I could totally see take Megatron head on and lead the Decepticons. He also has the least bothering exposed head which is not conspicuous or evident and works well with the highly detailed alt mode, as well as an equally unobtrusive cyberkey gimmick which gives him energon swords which always flip out unobstructed. It’s too bad the initial version of this toy never made it outside Japan, but luckily Hasbro saw the potential of this mold and used it for a few other decos, making it a phenomenal seeker mold. I wish they didn’t stop at just Dirge though.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Air Vehicle Alt Modes

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Air Vehicle Alt Modes


Honorable Mentions: The main one I struggled to keep on the list was Beast Machines Jetstorm.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Air Vehicle Alt Modes
Transformers Beast Machines Jetstorm Gallery

The Transformers era with the most of these cybertronian air vehicles would have to be G1 and while that is for a very specific audience (and another list), I cannot help but find some designs just outright amazing. The one I would like to point out is Scattershot. He shares a lot of the same points Energon Megatron had. I love how his alt mode has a central cannon that is principle to that mode and distracts from any robot kibble one might notice (like the legs). The fact that the cannon can open up and serve as a cannon for a battle station mode all while this toy is also a torso for a scramble city combiner is just gravy.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Air Vehicle Alt Modes
Transformers G1 1987 Scattershot Gallery

Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Land Vehicle Alt Modes

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Land Vehicle Alt Modes
Date: Saturday, March 19th 2016 8:03am CDT
Categories: Site Articles, Editorials, Top Lists
Posted by: william-james88

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Views: 65,784

Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are my opinions (just like movie or game reviews hosted by sites are still just the opinion of one person) so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.


Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (Land Vehicles)

As we witnessed a few weeks ago, cybertronian alt modes can be a very lazy excuse for a subpar alt mode that looks like a mishmash of robot parts. To counter that, I wanted to showcase the amazing designs that Takara and Hasbro came up with when exploring the cybertronian aesthetic and how an great cybertronian alt mode could result in an equally impressive robot mode (hence why Cybertron Override isn't on the list). After all, these are the default looks of these characters on their home planet by definition, so it's interesting to see when designers go all out to give the best representation of said character. It turns out that there were so many good designs and toys that I had to split this up between two lists, one for the best cybertronian land vehicles (which is what we will start with) and one for the best air vehicles (which will come next).


10. Transformers Animated Cybertron Mode Optimus Prime

Burn said it best for this toy:
"I was never a fan of (Animated) aesthetic, but for the Cybertron forms it worked well and embraced one of the things I love about Transformers. The fact that they're an advanced alien life form. And this guy encompassed that look, sleek, and futuristic."

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)


9. Transformers War For Cybertron Cybertronian Megatron

I just love it when a cybertronian tank doesn’t mean a robot spreading his limbs out to form a hap hazard H tank and/or sticking his head out (like so many other Megatron or Shockwave toys). Instead, here, you have a very compact weapon of war with a giant cannon and dual purpose treads that make better thrusters for some light vertical jumps when brought under the vehicle (replicating what was seen in the video game). These treads then have a fun transformation of folding onto one another to make some bad ass forearms (and connect the hand pieces). It’s a great look and a breath of fresh air for all other tank Megatrons.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

8.Transformers Cybertron Crumplezone (Land Bullet)

When it comes to cybertronian alt modes, this guy cannot be ignored. It is a perfect combination of both strength and speed with a sleek alt mode that is also massive and powerful looking, especially with the giant cannons that spring out. The Japanese name for this toy really encompasses that cool combination of power and speed by calling him Land Bullet. That contrast really comes full circle when you realize that the sleek and long vehicle becomes a brawler type robot with huge forearms and a wide chest. I love that rockbiter-like head sculpt (where the jaw moves as his head turns). This toy also has one of the best retools ever with Dark Crumplezone (called Arm Bullet in Japan) which has every single part redone for a totally new look.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)


Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)


Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)


7. Transformers Animated Cybertron Mode Ratchet

It is so fun when designers have a field day with cybertronian modes. This mold is one of those fun occasions where we can see what these alien robots actually looked like back on their planet. As you might guess, it is unlike anything you would find on Earth. I really like how removed this quadrupedal vehicle is from Ratchet’s Earth mode while still giving you an idea of why he would pick a van as an alt mode on Earth. This has more of a tortoise design which indicates a greater importance on maneuverability than speed, which works very well for a rescue mission. In the end, I just love how this is a really heartfelt attempt at designing an otherworldly ground vehicle that isn’t simply the robot mode in some funny position. What’s great is that you still end up with a robot mode that is very similar to the one found on Earth mode Ratchet. This subtly adds an extra layer to the mechanics of Transformers where the scanning mechanism results in a greater change to the alt mode than the robot mode. That’s amazing!

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)



6. Transformers Cybertron Megatron (Master Megatron) Gallery

This guy is all about the alt mode. Sure, the robot mode is fine aside from balancing issues with his monstrous shins, but seriously, you get this guy for the alt mode. This gives us the answer to the ultimate question "What would the Batmobile look like on Cybertron?" It would look awesome, that's what! And like I said, Megatron is no slouch in robot mode either. For one, the intricate detailing makes it seem like he is wearing Unicron's armour. Look at the circuity and circular details on his shoulders, for instance, which are also found on Unicron. He also shares that spike motif along his arms. In short this is just a great beefy Transformer who's bigger size just means more detail, with a very satisfying and intuitive transformation and loads of articulation.

Also, just a heads up: the "Just us geeks" website named this as one of the top 5 Transformer toys of all time in 2012.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)


5. Beast Machines Tankor

This is quite the underrated toy with loads of non intrusive gimmicks (like hidden saw blades) and the very best light piping ever. Firstly, they actually went out of their way to make the toy better and more fun than the intended cartoon model by giving it two separate and different looking heads when they could have been boring and just have the tank stand up with the same head (as was done later in the Generations line, sometimes cartoon accurate means more dull). In the show though, this head is (sadly) the same and thus it scans the environment in both modes which is shown as a red dot going from side to side on his visor. Well, this toy replicates that by having a nob which turns so that a slit in the light piping moves from side to side, making it look like he is scanning. This works for both the tank head and the robot head, and better yet, they are interconnected so that both gimmicks are activated at the same time. It’s also a solid and bulky toy with a fun transformation that is more complex and satisfying than the more show accurate toy.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)


4. Transformers Animated Arcee

We often get sleeker versions of earth based cars (like Cybertron Hotshot) that don't capitalize on the potential of designing vehicles from other worlds. This one totally fits the bill though. Unlike so many other alt modes, it bravely crosses the line between being a futuristic design to a full blown cybertronian one. It is a great homage to G1 Arcee which is followed through in robot mode and I like the added massive spoilers in the back. That detail gives it enough variation from the traditional Arcee model. Too bad it has exposed hands in vehicle mode though. Props go for it having that signature Arcee backpack without going the easy route and making this a shellformer.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)


3. Transformers Generations / Legends Arcee

Animated Arcee might be great but this one tops it. This cybertronian cruiser is very sleek and definitely otherworldly. I love how compact it is and perfectly aero dynamic yet not necessarily designed for speed. It’s just a summer loving convertible from a different world. It rolls super well too and there isn’t any extraneous robot kibble. However, that is due to it being a shellformer but the shell does fold in onto itself at the midsection recreating the G1 look very well. It is great to see a deluxe come with so many accessories and different places to store them in both robot mode and vehicle mode (the vehicle mode storage where Arcee’s robot hands hold a gun into place is really clever). While this is not a masterpiece, it looks exactly like the G1 cartoon model. Especially with the softer Takara deco which looks like it is made of delicious candy. For those who don’t know, this is the only toy from this line (Thrilling 30) to be designed partly by Takara instead of simply Hasbro. Since this is the very first toy of G1 Arcee, Takara felt it would be a disservice for it to be an update to her G1 self, which is the theme of the Generations line (and all the other “classics” lines.) So they stepped in and made her design reflect her G1 self as much as they could. That dedication and passion makes this toy extra special.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)


2. Transformers Generations War For Cybertron Cybertronian Optimus Prime

I LOVE this toy. This is one of the last great stand alone deluxes we have gotten. It’s massive in size, as intricate/complex as any Transformer toy can get (regardless of size class) without being frustrating, has plenty of smart paint apps, looks really close to the game model, has great plastic with a really fun shine to it, and was sold at a deluxe price point. It also sports an awesome looking cybertronian alt mode. I find this design so smart. Optimus wouldn’t be a truck with a trailer on Cybertron but the designers found a way to still give him an alt mode that screams Optimus yet also scream Cybertron at the same time. I love how smooth the front half of this armoured vehicle is. It is very alien and original. What I am most impressed with is how the smooth surface is actually made up of a bunch of smaller segments which fasten to one another very well to give the illusion that his armour is one uninterrupted shell. It could have been so easy for Takara’s engineers to just make him a shellformer but they instead opted to find places along his limbs to integrate his alt mode’s smooth panels. I find that incredible.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)


1. Transformers Animated Rodimus Minor

This is a perfect toy, especially for a deluxe scale. Unlike the G1 and classics toy, the designers really go out of their way to give this that extra cybertronian flare, which works since the character was on Cybertron in the show. So instead of the alt mode being a futuristic Countach, it has more of an alien look with a lot of curves and undulations replacing the sharp edges. I especially like the dashboard area which looks more like a dome atop a vehicle, thanks to the clear plastic found on every side. I really hear John Hammond saying “no expenses spared” when looking at this toy, especially from the side where I see the designers went out of their way to have details on separate pieces line up to make it seem like the exhaust pipes are running all across the back portion. That is of course in addition to the excellent paint apps, use of clear plastic, double projectile weapon, as well as ball jointed wrists and feet providing maximum articulation (a far cry from most deluxes since). The transformation is also quite ingenious, especially the bit where they store the front wheels into his chest piece to make him look just like his cartoon model (which was designed before the toy). In fact, this toy was actually used as the starting point for MP Rodimus, just to give you an idea at how highly this toy is regarded by designers.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)


Honourable Mentions: So many cybertronian Tanks!!!!!!!

This is a top 10 so there was enough space to mention everyone that had a simultaneously great cybertronian land vehicle mode and robot mode without resorting to any transformer doing yoga and calling that a mode. The ones that get lost in the crack are those who have great robot modes but subpar alt modes where being "cybertronian" is more of an excuse for an alt mode being the secondary focus and for some reason, it's usually tanks. The two I included are to me, the best cybertronian tanks, because they do something different and original, in their transformation and their look. The rest follow a similar formula. The legs spread out to become the treads, the arm(s) becomes the cannon(s) and the head floats around somewhere, always visible. While Revenge of the Fallen Megatron is a great example of this, there are way better toys to honour here that arent as lazily designed such as Titanium Fallen, Robots in Disguise Megatronus, Prime Shockwave and Animated Shockwave. That later toy is an engineering marvel since it has two identities where each distinct robot mode has a "distinct" alt mode. While the change from one robot mode to the next is amazing (as can be seen below), the alt modes had to remain simple. So not the greatest alt mode(s), but great robot mode(s) and a great toy to own.

Same with The Fallen. He does something pretty cool where that extra kibble in the back (with painted flames to represent the fire burning in him at all times) helps make an easy transformation where most of the robot limbs are reused but to fill in the tank with the treads adding alt mode specific detail in the outside. Both the sculpt detail and stellar deco work hand in hand giving you an impression of the Fallen burning like a furnace from within himself.

As for Prime Shockwave and Robots in Disguise Megatronus, the fact that these two tanks pretty much use the exact same parts for both modes means the tanks are super sleek while there is very little extraneous kibble in robot mode. However, it does mean that there is a lack of new detail in either mode and robot parts (especially the heads) can be seen in tank mode.

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers News: Top 10 Best Transformers Toys with Cybertronian Alt Modes (land vehicles)

Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment

Transformers News: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment
Date: Thursday, March 17th 2016 8:16am CDT
Categories: Comic Book News, Reviews, Site Articles, Editorials
Posted by: ScottyP | Credit(s): ScottyP

Discuss This Topic · Permanent Link
Views: 45,045

Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment
(Or: I Swear This Isn't a Site Article)
(Unless Va'al swoops in on Alpha Bravo and makes it so...)
(Which just happened.)


Note: This article is an editorial, and as such, it reflects the views of the authors and the author alone. Much like our reviews, top lists and other articles, it is not indicative of Seibertron.com, the site owner, or the staff.

The Transformers: Deviations one-shot came out this week and I was extremely excited about this book. I love the 1986 The Transformers: The Movie with a passion, and any addition to its lore, imagery, and self-contained universe is something I jump at with fervor.

There's a reason this movie has withstood the test of time. It's likely most accurate to say that there are a multitude of extremely good reasons this has happened and not just one on its own. From the iconic music (whether or not you enjoy it ironically being outside the scope of things here) to the sublime voice cast to animation that put the weekly TV series to shame, this movie's lasting appeal is one of a hundred factors responsible for the brand's sustained success. Success which, it should be noted, has far surpassed a majority (though not all) of the 80s and 90s nostalgia act properties that have gone away for a time then re-emerged into current pop-culture awareness. TF:TM as I'll call it a lot from here on out was the first time the brand evolved, and it did so in the most amazing way for me.

Transformers News: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment


I should really elaborate on some of those points in regards to TF:TM a bit more. First, to get it out of the way since I've already brought it up perhaps somewhat pointlessly, the music in TF:TM is a time capsule of everything 80s movie soundtracks did, for better or worse. This helps give the movie some lasting appeal. Since the ultimate point of this article is about a comic book which inherently doesn't get a musical element, that's all that will be said about that.

The voice cast for the original movie was comprised of a great mix of the talents from the Sunbow cartoon, interspersed with Hollywood stars such as Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Idle, Orson Welles, and even the pop-culture star John Moschitta - the "Micro Machines Guy". Some could say it's odd to bring this up when setting the frame for why a comic disappointed me, and there's some merit to that. This said, the "voice" of a comic is found through elements such as the art, coloring, scripting, and even the letters. More on this later.

Same goes for the animation of TF:TM and the merits of bringing that up as a comparison element in this writing. While a comic is by the very nature of its own medium a static entity in visual presentation, recent works have set the bar extremely high for pencil, ink, flat, and coloring work, with outliers in quality usually relating more to stylistic choice rather than, well, any perceived quality.

Hopefully this has so far established the level on which I revere 1986's Transformers movie. If it didn't, hopefully that "revere" word tells you what the last few paragraphs may not have. I really, truly consider TF:TM to be that era's magnum opus for Transformers material, as it hits almost every beat in perfect harmony with what you'd expect out of Transformers while being simultaneously fun, scary, tragic, celebratory, uplifting, depressing, piquing, and imaginative.

Given this, works that have come out over the years which have expanded on or had fun with TF:TM have been both welcome and fantastic. We've had DVD commentaries expand greatly on the production and decisions made through out it. We've had the amazing material unearthed and preserved by Paul Hitchens, whose YouTube channel is the gift that keeps on giving. Then there was the 20th Anniversary's retelling of the movie from IDW Publishing. While more or less faithful to the original work, this gave us something extremely cool: a two-page spread showing Omega Supreme, Superion, and Defensor defending The Ark from a Decepticon attack staged by Menasor and Bruticus. Retcons can be dubious, but this one was quick, effective, and satisfying.

It hasn't all been perfect either. Let's not forget the "Battle in Space" toy pack-in comic from 6 years ago, which had additional canonical material involving Tracks, Grapple, and Warpath, and while that wasn't the best in production either it's also not something anyone wanted me to spend extra money on. The set cost the same as two deluxe toys did at the time anyway, and now I can imagine that those guys had something going on during all that. Autocracy also did some fun stuff with the iconic Optimus v. Megatron battle, though that was more homage (in fact) and Flint Dille apologizing (in tone) than anything else. Even then, that was also only dedicated to a few pages of a work that was setting out to accomplish something completely different.

I could keep listing examples of works inspired in ways good and bad by TF:TM for eons, but that's not what this is for. Suffice it to say that if you need any objective measure of its impact, look no further than the amount of times Transformers fiction will trot out lines such as "One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall."

Transformers News: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment


This all leads us to the announcement of Transformers: Deviations. Part of a series of one-shot comics for various properties for which IDW has licensing rights, the Transformers iteration of this little side non-canon "What If?" series was going to deal with The Transformers: The Movie and the pivotal battle between eternal rivals Optimus Prime and Megatron. As anyone reading this site is surely aware, Megatron not only defeats Optimus Prime, but kills him, albeit not right there on the spot. Optimus survives on an operating table long enough to pass the Autobot Matrix of Leadership on to Ultra Magnus. All the while, Hot Rod, the Autobot that many Transformers fans "blame" for Optimus' death just because he failed at run-in interference during that fateful battle, stands by observing.

The rest, is silence. Er, the rest is history. Sorry, Beast Wars Anniversary and all that on the brain.

Deviations' premise is set to have fun with history and imagine what would have happened had Optimus Prime lived through this encounter. This is immediately where disappointment started to creep in upon publication of the book's standard preview pages released online in advance of its print publication today. The most predictable thing to do is to say "well, guess Optimus would have killed Megatron if he hadn't died himself, right?" That's ok though, predictable stories can still be entertaining and there's still a whole world of interesting paths to take beyond that with the rest of the movie's material. Still, from the outset the book pigeonholes itself into path B leading to path C, when instead path B could have lead to paths D, E, F, G, 42, Z, Primax 1023.1 Alpha - really anything at all.

If you can't tell, my biggest gripe with this book is the story. I'll come back to it to wrap things up, but let's get the production elements out of the way.

The colors, letters, and in fact most all of the art is fantastically done and lives up to the legacy of TFTM to which it will be compared. These parts of the book's "voice" are, generally, very good. The disappointment sets in with a handful of pages/panels where the pencils and inks are just not the quality one would expect from a real talent like Tramontano. The inconsistency is even more glaring when I think about how really, truly beautifully done some other parts of this comic are. If this is due to deadlines happening then I can forgive.

Let's pause to consider some of the worst offenders in inconsistent style such as:
  1. Leaving off Astrotrain's wing upon takeoff on Page 6
  2. Ultra Magnus' downright weird looking glare on Page 7
  3. The entirety of pages 20 and 21
  4. The downright goofy looking Rodimus Prime in the last two panels of the book
If these were stylistic choices, then in my opinion they were poor ones. I could find more, but again, the production of the book outside of plot/story and dialogue really aren't the big issues that led to my disappointment.

It's the story. It's the characterization. Deviations stopped being a fun "what if" and turned into the worst kind of parody, and it did so in one glaring moment: the first time Ultra Magnus speaks. This is where the voice of the comic got overridden despite many of its other elements being sound. The message behind the voice wasn't of reverence, it wasn't of disregard for one factor (big as it may be) of the original story, it was one of bitter disregard for what had otherwise followed Optimus' death in TF:TM.

Transformers News: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment


If you're going to change an existing story based on one element, in this case Optimus Prime and Megatron's fates being swapped, and then choose to start things out en medias res then you better approach the setting of the rest ceteris paribus. Or at the very least, honor the little bit that came before that was not re-written. Magnus' first words to Hot Rod felt wrong. Off. They just weren't a thing this Ultra Magnus would say. Would Kup? Yes, so why didn't he?

Changing gears to paint my disappointment another way, I'll admit, I really did enjoy Megascream. I really wanted to like this book and I really tried to have fun with it. I kept trying to have fun with it when the Dinobots pre-emptively attacked the Sharkticons, or when the Decepticons combined just like Trailcutter told us they would for no reason, or when Unicron just sort of snacked on dead Decepticons such as Thundercracker and Skywarp instead of reformatting them.

Yet this is where the disappointment mounted and the book started to spiral into a bad place for me. For every Megascream there was cringeworthy dialogue meant to evoke TF:TM that instead bastardized the original intent of the words. For every Dinobot attack there was the underlying pointlessness of their presence on Quintessa and a potentially super fascinating storyline with Kranix of Lithone (which couldn't even get spelled correctly - and it was done twice so tell the wiki folks to put that one under "errors") that was dropped like a hot potato. For every Decepticon combiner there was confusing scene building accompanied with overly busy layouts. What Moon Base got eaten? One? I think? For every Unicron snack, there was the realization that this "What if" was not a well-informed, "pick up the ball and run with it" dream engagement for the author, it was an indictment on the movie I love so dearly.

"Indictment" is a rather strong word, and maybe it isn't the right one since I don't think there was any ill intent, but that's really how it came across to me emotionally. Clever dialogue turned shallow. Alien worlds humming with the otherworldly imaginings of Floro Dery instead used as mere set pieces for your Action To Come After These Messages. Fascinating, fun new characters like Springer and Arcee thrown into the Planet Junkion in a flaming, doomed Autobot shuttle, barely to be mourned. At least they got to show up at all, and at least then without having their characters assassinated.

That's the other part where I felt like this book was an indictment of its forebear: the complete and gratuitous character assassination of Hot Rod.

Transformers News: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment


If you didn't like Hot Rod as a kid, I understand. If you don't like him now, I understand. Hell, my wife doesn't like Hot Rod. "Hot Rod's a punk bitch" is probably what she'd tell you, or something to that effect. All the same, the best versions of Hot Rod through the years all make you "love him or hate him" but they keep one factor pretty consistent: he's competent and brave. While Deviations hits the brave factor, it does so while putting Hot Rod into the part of The Fool. The Hot Rod one should expect here is the one that yes, indeed, shot at the attacked shuttle carrying the Decepticons into Autobot City, but that Hot Rod knew what he was shooting at. That Hot Rod had a plan when trying to help Optimus while he fought Megatron, even if it backfired. That Hot Rod had a semblance of leadership skills, and could bank a shuttle into a safe crash onto Quintessa then regroup and find his friends, "And then save Cybertron!"

This Hot Rod insults fallen comrades, makes shuttle damage worse to the point where the thing explodes, has to be told to get Daniel to safety, then runs in and saves the day at the last minute by a stroke of luck and not of guts and will like the Hot Rod that defeats Galvatron within Unicron's innards. Then he dies so he can personally redeem his earlier failure, because he's so incompetent this time that he can't escape? What even happened there?

At the end of my reading of the book, I felt the tinge that every geek like me into any Sci-Fi property does from time to time of what's colloquially known as "nerd rage". I had to take a few hours to calm down from this to collect my thoughts on what exactly I didn't like, because I could certainly "nerd rage" for hours and not do anyone any good in the process.

But after some days of processing it and then re-reading my paper copy today, I was able to distill my disappointment and find its source. The author of this book was well intended, and was clearly just trying to have fun, but ultimately penned an indictment on one of the Transformers franchise's most important works. If you're going to just have fun, go hire Tom Scioli to do the art and go absolutely crazy, then I can follow the intention. The accompanying poor dialogue choices, inconsistent art, and sometimes positively confusing scene building makes this a book I won't look back fondly on, rebuy three times, and pine for years for more like Last Stand of the Wreckers, it makes it something I'll file away and never read again like Continuum.

Transformers News: Transformers: Deviations' Subtle Indictment


There's a certain subset of Transformers fans that will love this book. Some of them are on this site, hell even in this very thread. Enjoy it. This is your G1, the version that basically doesn't exist after early 1986. This book is for you and this post is my last word on it, because no one likes a hater.

But for me? I enjoy the rich history of all soon-to-be 32 years of The Transformers. Ups and downs alike, I can find something to enjoy. I found some things to enjoy in this book that I never want to read again! While I can appreciate the idea of Deviations, the execution of the book left me so bitterly disappointed that it led to a realization. That is this: the creative team behind The Transformers: The Movie all those years ago realized that the brand had to evolve or die. Optimus dying wasn't a choice, it was a necessity. Since it's NCAA Tournament season, we'll say the franchise had to "Survive and Advance". IDW has helped some of our favorite Generation One characters survive, by advancing and evolving the narrative scope and quality of their ongoing books. Deviations is an indictment on this progress as well, and looking on social media, the loud corner that wants "G1 back", despite it being here all along, often twice a month for the past decade, wants you to go buy this book in triplicate so you can vote with your dollars.

Do that if you want, but also realize the subtle indictment it implies.

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Transformers Podcast: Twincast / Podcast #160 - Grappling with Memory
Twincast / Podcast #160:
"Grappling with Memory"
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Posted: Saturday, December 3rd, 2016
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