Transformers Plastic Types

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Transformers Plastic Types

Postby ApolloX » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:27 pm

I'm a long-time transformer fan and collector, although new to the forums. I really like certain lines of Transformers toys, but dislike some other toy lines, and am not sure what the correct terms/names for what I am describing is.

It seems like when I see a Transformer toy it comes in 2 flavors:

1) Hard plastic. This includes the G1 lines, older toys, and the Transformer Animated toy line. My experience has been most of these toys have hard plastic, metal in the hinges, metal screws, and sometimes metal pieces, although the metal is the part I care about the least. For example, the Transformer Animated toys didn't have much metal but they were very sturdy and transforming them was fun. Even the recent McDonalds Transformer toys were in relatively hard plastic.

2) Soft plastic. It seems like all the newer lines I see look great in the box, but when I open them up, the plastic feels extremely soft and flimsy. The joints are often plastic on plastic, which means they tend to fall part while I am bulding them. For example, I was transforming MP-21 (Bumblebee + spike) and Spike kept falling into pieces now matter how gentle I was.

Is there a common name for what I am describing? I really miss the harder plastics and metal hinges. I feel like the new ones look nice until I transform, and they fall apart in my hands. The Transformer Animation line is the one exception. I'm not sure what they did differently but the plastic felt different.
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Re: Transformers Plastic Types

Postby ZeldaTheSwordsman » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:45 pm

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You have no idea what you're talking about.
* First off, soft plastic = rubbery, bendy plastic. Which does not describe the common body plastic of most modern Transformers - if you think that's soft, you're delusional. And you're kidding yourself if you think G1 plastic was universally more durable: Soundwave's tape door breaks easily in its original design due to a conjunction of its small size the delicacy of most hard clear plastics, Jazz and the Datsuns' windshields are infamous for breaking off, and Mirage...
* Second, A. metal-pinned hinges haven't gone anywhere, and plastic-on-plastic joints have ALWAYS been a thing in Transformers. They allow for types of articulation that metal-pin hinges do not.
* Third, metal screws are also still very much present.
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Re: Transformers Plastic Types

Postby Rogue-Primal » Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:26 pm

Motto: "I hate Decepticons but Autobot traitors are the worst."
Weapon: Particle Beam Rifle
There's also the dreaded GPS Gold Plastic Syndrome plastic.
Old toys had swirl patterns or glitter which is often brittle and crumble instead of stress marks or cracking. Luckily i never had such figures. Generation 2 Slingshot, Generation 2 Electro and Neo Beast Wars Randy are almost completely made out of it, and can even break in your hands if you're not careful.
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Re: Transformers Plastic Types

Postby ZeldaTheSwordsman » Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:29 pm

Motto: "It's unnerving and insulting when people in a toy-based fandom, whatever it is, make statements to the effect that general consumers and fans of lesser financial means should be deprived entirely of the ability to partake of the primary market."
Weapon: Galaxial Rocket Launcher
Rogue-Primal wrote:There's also the dreaded GPS Gold Plastic Syndrome plastic.
Old toys had swirl patterns or glitter which is often brittle and crumble instead of stress marks or cracking. Luckily i never had such figures. Generation 2 Slingshot, Generation 2 Electro and Neo Beast Wars Randy are almost completely made out of it, and can even break in your hands if you're not careful.

Honestly, by the time of G2 and Beast Wars they should have known better considering the dodgy metallic swirl plastic recipe originated with a Diaclone toy: The limited edition "Mekki" (Metallic) release of Powered Convoy.
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Armada Optimus front left trailer strut, cheekguards
ROTF Jetfire "JTFR" Panels
Cybertron Safeguard
RID Ultra Magnus missiles
Vector Prime Cyber Key
Armada Jolt, Thunderclash, Clench
RID Galvatron foot/dragon head, 1x launcher/sword hilt
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Re: Transformers Plastic Types

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:30 pm

Motto: "The only good is knowledge, and the only evil is ignorance."
Weapon: Dual Bladed Sword
All plastics used have been the same types throughout the history of line: ABS, PC, PVC, POM and PA. But there's more to it.

Chemically speaking, plastics are never pure (as in no additions or pollutants, like "pure water" is nothing but H2O molecules), but rather are mixes. Depending on what it's for, other chemicals like plasticizers are added to make minor changes to its base properties, like elasticity, resistance to heat, and even color.
It's a constantly evolving field, along with the build of the figures made from the stuff, as a consequence figures may have different feels depending on the era it's from (tho it may all be in the eye of the beholder).

Here's a bit of a read about the subject: Plastic on TFWiki.
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Re: Transformers Plastic Types

Postby Skritz » Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:06 pm

ZeldaTheSwordsman wrote:if you think that's soft, you're delusional. And you're kidding yourself if you think G1 plastic was universally more durable


B-b-b-but it's GEEWUN! It was perfect. Imperishable. Superior to everything today from CHUG to Masterpiece. :lol:
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Re: Transformers Plastic Types

Postby ApolloX » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:34 pm

JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:All plastics used have been the same types throughout the history of line: ABS, PC, PVC, POM and PA. But there's more to it.

Chemically speaking, plastics are never pure (as in no additions or pollutants, like "pure water" is nothing but H2O molecules), but rather are mixes. Depending on what it's for, other chemicals like plasticizers are added to make minor changes to its base properties, like elasticity, resistance to heat, and even color.
It's a constantly evolving field, along with the build of the figures made from the stuff, as a consequence figures may have different feels depending on the era it's from (tho it may all be in the eye of the beholder).

Here's a bit of a read about the subject: Plastic on TFWiki.


Is there a common type of plastic they use now versus in the past? I feel like all the older stuff had hard solid plastic. Like Blur from Transformers Animated was quite firm, despite having a lot of thin pieces. Whereas newer stuff feels cheap and thin, like I can bend it with my bare hands. Even the older Car Robots series had stronger plastics (to me).

The fact that a lot of newest ones use a lot of plastic socket joints doesn’t help either. I feel like when I’m transforming older ones and some newer lines (like animated) I can be rough with it and it’s fine. The newer ones (anything made in the last 7 years) always leave me disappointed. Like they fall apart while transforming frequently.

Maybe it’s a weight issue with the plastic? Have yet to find the name/terminology of what I’m referring to though. I just know that any I’ve bought in the last few years have left me very disappointed.
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Re: Transformers Plastic Types

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:31 pm

Motto: "The only good is knowledge, and the only evil is ignorance."
Weapon: Dual Bladed Sword
ApolloX wrote:
JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:All plastics used have been the same types throughout the history of line: ABS, PC, PVC, POM and PA. But there's more to it.

Chemically speaking, plastics are never pure (as in no additions or pollutants, like "pure water" is nothing but H2O molecules), but rather are mixes. Depending on what it's for, other chemicals like plasticizers are added to make minor changes to its base properties, like elasticity, resistance to heat, and even color.
It's a constantly evolving field, along with the build of the figures made from the stuff, as a consequence figures may have different feels depending on the era it's from (tho it may all be in the eye of the beholder).

Here's a bit of a read about the subject: Plastic on TFWiki.


Is there a common type of plastic they use now versus in the past? I feel like all the older stuff had hard solid plastic. Like Blur from Transformers Animated was quite firm, despite having a lot of thin pieces. Whereas newer stuff feels cheap and thin, like I can bend it with my bare hands. Even the older Car Robots series had stronger plastics (to me).

The fact that a lot of newest ones use a lot of plastic socket joints doesn’t help either. I feel like when I’m transforming older ones and some newer lines (like animated) I can be rough with it and it’s fine. The newer ones (anything made in the last 7 years) always leave me disappointed. Like they fall apart while transforming frequently.

Maybe it’s a weight issue with the plastic? Have yet to find the name/terminology of what I’m referring to though. I just know that any I’ve bought in the last few years have left me very disappointed.


As said before, the main types described in the article have remained the same, but their composition (that's the word you're looking for?) has changed throughout the years. One good example of that is the potential elimination of Gold Plastic Syndrome (related to "Popy Disease" if you've heard of it), by lowering the amount of metallic flake thought to be the cause of the plastic turning brittle prematurely.

I will agree to the notion that newer compositions may feel "softer", or rather, more malleable and able to "bend" more before breaking, and that is key in the current design philosophy. Instead of having them be "unbreakable bricks" (which can still break with enough force, producing hazardous sharp shards), figures now have parts that easily pop off and back on without permanent damage, and increasing toy safety (no sharp shards!). Not saying that saying "softer" is necessarily better overall, mind you. I get nervous from being unable to gauge the snapping point :lol:

Here's a question for the lot of you: comparing plastics of like Generations and Cyberverse to Masterpiece, are they different in feel, and if yes, how?
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Re: Transformers Plastic Types

Postby Optimum Supreme » Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:22 pm

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A lot of the CW and TR figures' plastic seem "cheaper" than normal, but not all of them, and not something easy to explain, just how they feel "off" in comparison. I can't recall any real issues with those figures as a result, just like they felt like Hastak trying to save a buck here and there. Given where we are now with higher prices in Siege, it apparently didn't help much if at all.

And that's not anything to do with the actual soft "rubbery" plastic used on some parts of some of the figures like TR Mindwipe or the treads on CW Megatron.
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Re: Transformers Plastic Types

Postby Chimera245 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:41 pm

Maybe what you're trying to say when you talk about "hard" and "soft" plastic, is how thick and sturdy vs. how thin and flimsy the molds are? I have noticed a lot of figures of late have been more hollowed-out feeling than earlier on. Like maybe they're trying to save plastic without actually making the figures smaller.
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Re: Transformers Plastic Types

Postby Emerje » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:52 am

Motto: "*Shrug*"
Weapon: Saw-Edged Pincer
Let's face it, G1 figures had a lot of problems and some of them were plastic related. The die cast parts didn't take paint well and chipped easily, the paper decals wore off quickly (foil decals are superior if you can get them to stick), and joints would wear out just like they do now. There's the perception that G1 figures were sturdier and built better than figures today, but they were still prone to all the same plastic problems that we see today and then some. Tight ratchet joint springs would wear our or break the joints just like they do now, friction in spinning parts would make them too loose (check out the arms on a well played with G1 Seeker, legs on a G1 Autobot Car, or just about any mini bot's moving parts), and sometimes they just break with normal use (I've had so many weapons snap in half just sticking them in a hand).

I handle figures today and while they feel different I don't feel like they've caused any new problems that didn't exist before.

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Re: Transformers Plastic Types

Postby ExciKaiser » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:28 pm

Optimum Supreme wrote:A lot of the CW and TR figures' plastic seem "cheaper" than normal, but not all of them, and not something easy to explain, just how they feel "off" in comparison.


I think I see what you mean.
TR HotRod and TR Kup have a really different type of plastic for example.
I'm not sure if it's a real different type of plastic, or way of molding etc, but I really hate the kind of plastic used for Kup, which is also the same as Twintwist and topspin and some others.

If we keep TR as example I see in total 3 kind of plastic :

- HotRod, Powermaster prime, Hardhead etc. hard plastic, stressmarks will appear immediately if trying to bend.
- Blurr, mindwipe etc. seems a little more soft. less prone to stressmarks.
- Kup, topspin, twintwist etc : looks porous and/or grainy. near 3D printed.

Do some people have more info on that ? why these differences ? what kind of plastic etc?
Not english-native speaker. Thank you for being cool on my typos.
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