Wednesday, January 2nd 2019 12:57am CST
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Seibertron's 2018 Year In Review
We have our traditions here at Seibertron.com and with 2018 coming to pass, we now share what we thought was best this year in all things Transformers, be it toys, comics and on screen adaptations. 2018 was a year of major change for the brand. We had a clearer definition on specific audiences for different toylines, the departure of Toysrus in many markets, the most abundant amount of toys released in one year to date (4 main lines co-existing on the same shelves), full brand unification between Hasbro and Takara, the end of the 13 year IDW Transformers Comic Universe, and a major change of course for the live action film Transformers films. We wrote an article about the positives some changes brought so you can click here
if you want to discuss that further. Amidst all these changes, we got some remarkable toys and quite possibly the best media representation in a good while and below we will tackle all the major categories and 2018 toylines. While some countries did get Siege before the end of the year, it being 2019's Generations toyline, we opted to wait till next year to discuss what was the best from that line. Now on with the cast of opinions:
Best Toy from Bumblebee line
: Our podcast superstar and Seibertron's archivist
: Everyone's bro
: Our top dog news hound, I'll just call him D-Max for short
Our latest news pups Emerje
, Wolfman Jake
And the one who put this all together, your friend and mine, William-James88
Now let's get started!
(Hasbro or Takara)
Scotty P: Legendary Optimus Prime.
The Age of Extinction was, for many, the extinction of their excitement for the Movie franchise. Despite that way too long snoozer of a movie and a mediocre toy line to go with it, the Voyager Class Evasion Mode Optimus Prime was one of the standout figures from a fun-factor perspective, and even kind of featured elbows that weren't gorilla arms - if you weren't around for AoE, this sadly was a standout feature. Legendary Optimus Prime takes that toy and improves it in every way while also making it bigger and more detailed. It even features a truly outstanding experience in how the weapon can be converted into parts of the truck's undercarriage that the robot can carry on its back. It doesn't stop there, as these parts don't have to be removed, put away, or reconfigured while turning the rest of it from robot to truck mode. Some days I feel as old as Kup actually is, so anytime a toy brings something that feels fundamentally different or new while still being a pretty, detailed Transformer that's a big deal to me.
D-Max: Leader Class Soundwave
. I did not get much exclusive to the Bumblebee movie itself, grabbing a few of the little Speed Series Energon Ignitors and the Soundwave. And while all the figures from the line were good and fun looking, and the ones I did get were fun, Soundwave takes the cake. I never got the Titans Return Soundwave, but this one looked so good, and in hand it has not disappointed. The mold is really fun, nice and chunky, and beautifully colored. And I'm excited that all my data pads, the Fall of Cybertron disks, and the micromaster class members of Soundwave's crew from Siege will all be able to fit in his chest.
It also helps he turns into a mean dance studio. The mold is fun, and it really pops with the new paint job. Stellar job with this one Hasbro, stellar job.
William-James88: Legendary Optimus Prime.
This was the first full year of brand unification between Takara and Hasbro where they would release the same looking toys in all lines (ie MP, MPM, POTP, Studio Series). But that didn't stop Takara from giving us a few exclusives here and there and Legendary Optimus Prime is their only exclusive mold of 2018. I love Evasion Mode Optimus Prime so getting him with added chrome and with sculpting and transformation tweaks to make him even better (and bigger) was right up my alley.
Emerje: Bumblebee Greatest Hits Frenzy
. That's right, my favorite figure from the Bumblebee movie doesn't have anything to do with the movie. Who would have thought Hasbro would use this line to correct a great misdeed from Titans Return and finally reunite Frenzy and Rumble? It was a nice surprise, the only downside of which was also giving us Howlback without Garboil. Maybe for the next movie.
Wolfman Jake: This is a little tongue-in-cheek for an answer, but then again, it's reasonably sincere too. I love the Bumblebee Cassette Pack
. That was a very sneaky (and well appreciated) way for Hasbro to finally give us "Titans Return" Frenzy. As a bonus, you get a recolor of Buzzsaw with gold highlights that matches better with the TR release of Laserbeak as well as a blue redeco of TR Ravage as Howlback. I wouldn't have guessed Hasbro would dig that deep for this set, but there you go! What's not to love? (The 1-Step Bumblebee, honestly.)
notirishman: Speed Series Volkswagen Bumblebee
. Why? I mean, this figure is just so much fun to play around with. He's small, with a easy, yet satisfying transformation, and looks good in both modes! He also has the 5mm port in the back, allowing for some fire effects, or the energone core engine, allowing him to shoot forward. I like this lil guy. He's a sweet boy.
Best Toy from Cyberverse line
Scotty P: Ultra Class Shockwave
, for being one of the only toys in the line that has two good modes. The bar is low, and this clears it. God I miss Robots in Disguise
William-James88: Ultimate Megatron
. The Cyberverse line was truly unapologetic in catering to a young target audience and I did not mind that since we had two dedicated main lines for collectors (along with Masterpiece figures from BW, G1 and the movies) and while there are figures that I don't think even kids would like, I think Hasbro really nailed it with the Ultimate class. For the price of a voyager you get a leader sized toy that reminds me of the sturdiness of the Unicron trilogy. That Megatron's transformation even reminds me of the Cybertron line where you get this blocky feel of rearranging hefty parts around to really give two very different and striking modes. I love how simple the transformation is to get him into a tank where while you see the same parts as in the robot mode, everything feels cohesive and fitting of a tank. And the elegant foot transformation into becoming part of the tank treads is something I wish the Siege voyager Megatron could have copied instead of leaving his feet out. Oh yes, you heard that right, the tank mode on this Cyberverse ultimate class toy is better looking than the Siege toy's tank mode. The toy is not for me, but it does a really good job at giving young kids a nice hefty figure with a fun transformation.
Emerje: Warrior Windblade
. Now, I know what the popular answer is going to be, but as an example of the Warrior class done right look no further than Windblade. She's well painted, nicely sculpted, has some of the best articulation (bicep AND waist swivels??), and best of all, a non obtrusive gimmick that actually works as it's supposed to. It's definitely a figure that feels like it would have been just fine in the previous Robots in Disguise line.
ZeroWolf: Warrior Class Shockwave
, just really fun to play around with.
notirishman: Shock of shocks, it's Ultra Class Shockwave
. Yeah, I'm sure this will be on other people's lists because well, it's pretty good! While Cyberverse is alright, and the gimmicks seem fun, this toy's gimmick is only on the arm, and the switch is on the same arm. And since he turns into, what is essentially, him in a funny exercise pose, yeah. The toy has a lot of articulation, and since the gimmick is on the arm only, it only hinders the arm. Compared to other Cyberverse figures, there's a lot of possibility, similar to that of a Siege figure. And this guy is just so fun to pose. And the toy looks good in both modes. Only bad thing, is the cannon is cartoon I accurate in both modes, but I can forgive it.
Best Toy from Studio Series line
Scotty P: Ironhide
. Studio Series wants me to "collect the cast". It is a long way from allowing me to accomplish this, but even if it never really does, at least it's providing collectors with some great updated versions of characters from the movies. Yes, there's a Movie Masterpiece line, but it's plagued by every other release having engineering/tolerance issues and only puts out about two toys a year. Studio Series is where it's at, movie toy wise, and this was the best figure in this year's selection. Taking some of the smarter cues from Dark of the Moon's Deluxe Class figure and refining them while adding new touches in the much more scale-friendly Voyager Class results in an Ironhide toy that is super fun to transform back and forth between modes. When he's a robot, envision how he collapses down onto his own legs and becomes a truck, and you'll end up with a truck. I'm all for following the instructions, and on Masterpiece toys I absolutely recommend it, but this is absolutely a case of intuitive design making them not necessary. Some more integrated weapon storage for vehicle mode would have been nice, but that's grasping at straws for drawbacks. If the entire Studio Series lineup were this fun, we'd all be having a blast with movie toys like it's 2007 all over again.
Cobotron: The only SS figure I picked up this year was VW Bumblebee
. Despite the frustration I experienced that first time I went from bot to alt, I really enjoy the toy. After I learned the ropes and got my bearings on his transformation, I was able to appreciate it, and just have fun with him. He has nice articulation making for a fun figure to pose, and has cool accessories (especially that battle mask!) that store nicely in alt mode. And, who doesn't love a classic VW Bug alt mode?
. Look, I will mention Jazz later down the line, and my rule is to not duplicate figures on this list, so it was narrowed down to figures besides Jazz, and there were 4 truly worthy contenders in Starscream, Blackout, Lockdown, and Grimlock. But ultimately, Grimlock just smashed the rest (pun intended and relished). Compared to the previous Leader figure and even the voyager, this figure rocks their socks off. He is so accurate from every angle it is incredible he transforms. And he transforms into a fairly good, not perfect, but good Knight Space T-Rex. And he is so fun! He was the very first bot I took to work, and he still stuns me to this day how good he is. This guy lives up to his movie look, and he is great fun for what he has accomplished. Kudos to you Grimlock, you blew me away.
William-James88: Leader Grimlock
. I did not expect to like this toy so much. I really really love the look of the dino mode where technically all the robot bits are there but they blend into the rest of the detail. It's rather genius. You end up with a much better looking robot mode than ever before, with no backpack. And yet this one comes with not one but two full dino heads for the shoulder pads, as was done in the film. I still can't believe they could reconcile that into a toy and have it work out as well as it does. I love the size too, and the dry brush paint is an excellent effect. This was easily the leader class toy I felt I got the most value from this year.
Wolfman Jake: Voyager Starscream
is easily my favorite so far from the Studio Series line. I've been waiting for over 10 years for a properly sized, sculpted, and colored movie Starscream figure. The Studio Series has knocked it out of the park! The new voyager mold takes a lot of the inspired transformation scheme of the Dark of the Moon Deluxe Starscream mold and expands upon it, giving us a Starscream that is fun and not too cumbersome to convert between modes, looks very much like his on-screen character model, at a size that fits in with the rest of the cast (not too big or too small), and in the original movie colors too! I've always preferred Starscreams "clean" look from the first movie over the tattoo deco he got in Revenge of the Fallen. If that's not your feeling, though, Hasbro had you covered by releasing a redeco WITH the tattoos for anyone fond of that look!
notirishman: 06 Voyager Class Starscream
('07 movie). This toy is fun! Very fun. It's also the best version of Voyager Starscream, which is a recurring theme in Studio Series. The transformation isn't too finicky, and both modes are good. The jet mode looks nice, and has a nice deco to it. The robot mode is very accurate, and is fun to play around with this guy. Since I don't own the Revenge of the Fallen version, I don't know which one is better yet.
Best Toy from Power of the Primes line
Scotty P: Battletrap
. Never in a million years would I have guessed that the Duocon combination of Battleslash and Roadtrap would have been such a highlight of the collecting year. I would have expected something like, well, Flywheels is out now - that. Instead, the Legends Class delivered a legacy character, whose only previous update was at Botcon 2015 as a Springer repaint, as a fully realized pair of small Transformers that combine into something close to the size of your standard Deluxe Class toy. Unlike some attempts from the last decade at similar combination schemes that didn't quite hit the mark, Battletrap has as much articulation when combined as each smaller robot does on its own. Proportions can also be a problem when a combined form has so little to work with, but that doesn't phase Battletrap in the least as Roadtrap becomes a pretty normal looking pair of pants for the broad shouldered, v-chested Battleslash's torso mode.
Again! Just a fantastic Combiner. If I had to pick one member of the team as my favorite though, it would have to be Blot. Possibly the most expressive figure of the line. On first look he conveys so much character. Big, dumb, and mean! In both modes. And those unquestionably Decepticony colors tell you right away he's a brute not to be trifled with.
But the oafish clod of a troll would be up a creek without his buddies, so the title still goes to the entire team of Terrorcons.
D-Max: Rodimus Unicronus
. Alright, this was another tough battle, as Abominus and specifically Blot are all really good figures. Battletrap is gorgeous and I think Optimal Optimus is a great Leader. But this figure takes the top prize. He is so evil looking and bulky! He oozes dark charisma with that gorgeous headsculpt and visor, and the purple and black look incredible together. The transformation is fun, and the space Winnebago is great. Nemesis Hot Rod is fun too, but dang does the main Unicronus look look stunning. He is a great figure, truly one of the most underappreciated figures of the past few years.
. It was going to be Blot at first because I thought that toy did a great job at being original even though it was another combiner limb that had to adhere to a system we have experienced for a while now. And plus Predaking came out to very ho hum reviews from the community so I was in no rush to experience him. But man, I am glad I jumped on him on Black Friday because this is easily the best combiner I have ever played with. The combined mode just feels so solid and poseable for a rather big combiner where all individual bots are about the same size. I love his sleek look and was happy to get rid of my third party versions which could not achieve the same poses if their lives depended on it. I have never seen a combiner so well balanced. Sacrifices were made, I can't deny that, but I can't think of a better way Hasbro could have delivered us this imposing toy (aside from giving the knuckles some spikes). The individual modes are fine too and actually feel like voyagers rather than upscaled deluxe figures.
Zerowolf: If I discount Abominus, because he's the toy of the year, then the next one in line is Nemesis Prime
... his deco oozes evil and new accessories sweeten the deal on this evil repaint and for a price that was cheaper then what I would pay at retail for the original Optimus.
Wolfman Jake: Power of the Primes was a bit of a mixed bag and divisive among fans, but it still had a lot to love. The stand-out for me, though was getting a new, properly "evolving" Hot Rod to Rodimus Prime
toy after all these years! That's something we've only really had once before, and not even in G1, where the two forms were completely separate toys. The Masterpiece version was only released by Takara, is extremely expensive now on the secondary market, and had a lot of critical flaws that made the figure fragile to the point that it wasn't a question of IF your figure would break, but when. It IS being reissued in Asian markets currently, but not for cheap. PotP Leader Rodimus Prime is a great treat for G1 fans, particularly of The Transformers: The Movie, for a reasonable price at $50 USD. This figure also probably best showcased the "gimmick" of the Leader Class for the PotP line, where all four modes work very well (though not perfectly). It's the most "balanced" execution of the idea, even if not every mode is absolutely flawless.
notirishman: Titan Class Predaking.
I liked this set a lot more than I thought! Each component was big and hefty, and the combined mode was glorious. The stickers were also much
easier to apply. There were definitely some problems, but overall, it was a great package.
Best Toy from Masterpiece lines
Scotty P: MP-41 Dinobot
. although there's really not a lot to choose from here, chances are this would have ended up here anyway because this is a fantastic collector's piece. Dinobot's design in the show was so far removed from what ever seemed possible in toy form that even Universe 2.0's attempt at an updated look for the character felt like it was near the pinnacle of what you could do, at least at that time. Then Takara Tomy decides to go full-hog for this Beast Wars BBQ and delivers Dinobot, as if he just waltzed out of the TV and has invaded my home for a round of rodent extermination. Even the beast mode, which looked worrisome in some early prototype photos, has more playability than some Transformers do in robot mode, with a host of accessories helping capture the prickly yet lovable nature of our lizard bot pal. While it's a shame that extreme care must be taken in transforming the toy from one mode to another, that's what Masterpiece demands in its new paradigm of hyper-screen-accurate design. Light up eyes, the Golden Disk, and even a stand to help with ultra dynamic raptor action poses make this not only the best Masterpiece toy of 2018, but one of the best of all time. Bring on Megatron!
Cobotron: HOLY SMOKES! I think the only MP I got all year was MP-42 Cordon
! I've learned patience with MPs over the last few years. I don't go for the toon accuracy they are striving for with the line these days, and that's fine. Because Takara has proven again and again that they won't forget us toy fans. My patience paid off, and Cordon delivered. A fantastic achievement in this mold. He's elegantly complicated without being annoying. And in this classic Diaclone deco and toy accurate head sculpt, he checks all the boxes of what I look for in what I consider to be a masterpiece. Also just ecstatic to add another officer to my Diaclone Police Force.
D-Max: MPM-05 Barricade
. We got some great Masterpiece figures this year, including 2 great Movie Masterpiece figures, a Beast Wars Masterpiece, and a few G1 Masterpiece figures as well. And while Dinobot is an amazing Masterpiece, I have to give the MP of the year to Barricade. Barricade finally truly lived up to the Movie Masterpiece title in every way: looked the part in every way in robot mode, had a great alt mode, and the transformation was smooth and worked. The weapon on him is really good, and he is a lot of fun to pose, he looks so menacing! The die cast feels great on him, and it is so cool that we are getting die cast on all of these Movie Masterpiece figures. He is the perfect encapsulation of movie Barricade, and I don't think they really could have improved him in any way.
William-James88: Takara MP Dinobot
. While my initial copy's head did break off, I did get a replacement and I can assure you that this toy is worth the money. The transformation is smart, the robot mode is killer and the deco is as premium as you can get. And we finally have a Dinobot that looks good in both modes (this feels like MP Ironhide all over again).
Emerje: MP-41 Dinobot
. The Beast Wars Masterpiece figures as a whole have been amazing so it's no surprise Dinobot would be an outstanding figure. Photos can't prepare you for just how big this figure is when you first open the box and behold the massive raptor for the first time. It's an intimidating figure to hold with all of its moving parts and folding panels, but once you've transformed it a few times it's quite the engineering marvel. And then you've got all the little things like the clever dino head eye change feature, the faces, the weapons, the laser eyes, and the golden disc. I'm not even mad about the stand anymore knowing it's compatible with the upcoming Megatron. Yeah, there's things they could have done better, but I shudder to think what that would have done with the price.
Wolfman Jake: Looking back, this was a leaner year for Masterpiece figures. I was going to say MP Sunstreaker would take the cake by a stellar mile, but he was technically released in the last few days of 2017, though I wouldn't have him in my hands until January of 2018. As such, I'm going to say that Cordon
is the Masterpiece of the year for me. The mold itself is a wonder, being able to covert between a licensed realistic Countach Lamborghini and the fictionalized "supertuned" model we all know and love. The robot mode looks utterly fantastic, and it was a great idea of Takara to spice it up a little bit with the original toy-inspired head sculpt and shin detailing to differentiate Cordon from Sunstreaker by more than just coloring and a police light bar. The transformation is very involved, but clever and ultimately rewarding, even if frustrating at times, and the amount of articulation in this figure is incredible too. Little touches like working pop-up headlights and the reverse opening hood in vehicle mode are icing on the cake.
notirishman: I don't own any Masterpieces that came out on 2018, buuuut, if I would have to choose something, it would be MPM-5 Barricade
. The Bay movies certainly popularized this character, especially into a bad-cop persona. And as a fan of Barricade's design, this certainly portrays it extremely well. The figure looks great, looks awesome to pose, and is relatively cheap (by that, I mean it's cheaper than other Masterpiece figures, and was on sale for a while). The alt mode also looks spot on. Great!
Best exclusive from 2018
Scotty P: Dino Cassettes
. The greatest con ever pulled on the Transformers fandom was by four Autobot cassettes that managed to work their way into the stratosphere of secondary market pricing. Two of these (for now) have returned to apologize, and they brought along cool clear counterparts and some bonus Bumblebee toys. Sure, the back of the feet on the combined Legout mode is a victim of a terrible and unfixable (I think?) assembly error, but Legout really looks kind of terrible anyway. For serious G1 collectors that don't want to or can't spend four figures on elusive imported Deployers, these were an event - the freaking Dino Cassettes
! I can't wait to see what other "that will never happen" reissues leave that category in the years to come.
Cobotron: Repugnus was The COOL! And, I really enjoyed Leader Class Nemesis Prime more than I thought I would. With that dope little punk rock night ninja Nemesis Pax inside, but surprisingly the one exclusive I think I was most excited about was the Walmart G1 reissue of Starscream
. I never had Starscream as a kid, and in all these almost 35 years I never hunted down a vintage or reissue of the character. He is a very premium release, with the added hand ports, Megatron blaster ,and the tampoed eyes. The construction and casting is great, and in that awesome G1 packaging, he really did open a portal to the past for me. Obviously there is nothing new about the toy. No innovation in engineering, or some fresh new take on on an old character, but I found much gratification in finally completing my classic G1 Seeker trio. Nostalgia is a strong magic! I was not expecting to be so taken by its power.
D-Max: SDCC Exclusive Throne of the Primes
. I mentioned Optimal Optimus earlier in this review and how he was a pretty great figure, and now he can get some recognition as a member of this list. The Optimal figure itself is pretty good, and it has a ton of options, as the "Prime Armor" section can operate as an entirely separate unit from the little Optimus Primal figure. Armored gorilla, surfing gorilla, robot, robot and gorilla, and more. And in this release, we got the smaller and larger figures both in the original Primal colors, and it looks so sweet. And then you get the crown and the scepter that holds Prime and Titan Masters, and a throne (even if it is cardboard). The whole package is a ton of fun, and it's pretty fun to have a place for all 16 Prime Masters to gather together while still having a great mold with unique accessories. Truly some fun stuff.
William-James88: The Punch Counterpunch
toy came out of nowhere. Not only is he an exclusive brand new mold, but it happens to be of a perfect new rendition of the character. And by perfect, I just mean that he retains all the original toy's gimmicks (of two distinct robot modes and one car mode) without adding any new gimmicks to fit a particular line. They went all out on this one, with a gorgeous car mode and two cool robot modes which are indeed quite different from one another. I especially love the hand switcheroo in the transformation, very clever.
ZeroWolf: Amazon Exclusive Counterpunch
, a great toy, and such a surprise to see.
Wolfman Jake: Power of the Primes Punch-Counterpunch
was the biggest surprise for me. I wouldn't have guessed that we'd get a Deluxe class figure for PotP that wasn't a combiner limb, but instead kept the complete original gimmick from the G1 toy intact! Punch-Counterpunch has a beautiful car mode, very curvy and sleek, with transparent windows (which is always appreciated). The transformation among all three modes is pretty easy, but still results in two spot on looking robot modes on top of the already mentioned fantastic vehicle mode. It's just a very satisfying figure to have in the collection, being a late and often forgotten G1 character, and fun to play with too. It's rare to have a "reverse" triple changer in Transformers that sports two different robot modes and one alternate mode.
notirishman: San Diego Comic Con Throne of the Primes
, boss monkey. I don't own the Power of the Primes Optimal mold, and it's pretty good. It looks good, and turns into a hoverboard riding monkey, amongst other things. The deco is pretty good, and helps to blend the backpack Primal blend in. Also, the additional accessories, the Throne of Primes, the Scepter of Sparks, the crown, and the 4 Primes are all awesome (BTW, I bought this on HasbroToyShop, not the Con).
Best “Other” Transformer
Cobotron: Diaclone had some fun releases this year, but they were all the little Powered System Suits, which are certainly fun. It's a shame Battle Buffalo didn't make it out in time. It would have taken this cake, for sure. So, my "Best Other" goes to Takara's Star Wars Powered by Transformers Millennium Falcon
. The toy is just so silly, really. Bordering on stupid. I happen to be a big fan of stupid silly. It's a real cram sandwich of two of my favorite things ever. The engineering of the toy is fantastic, and the transformation is smart! I love the sculpts and the abstract use of the Falcon shapes to make the Han and Chewie Mechs. And, that dang Wookie head sculpt is just awesome! Also the cross playability with my Diaclone collection has proven to be a ton of fun!
D-Max: Star Wars Powered by Transformers Millennium Falcon
. The Star Wars Powered by Transformers line has had 2 figures with Darth Vader as the Tie Advanced and Han Solo and Chewbacca as the Millennium Falcon. I never got Vader, but having owned the original Transforming Millennium Falcon, I really wanted this new one. And dang, it is cool. It is such an improvement over the original, and so bulky and sturdy and detailed. The Falcon is pure perfection, and then it has the bonus of the robot modes. Both heads are awesome, with the Battle Wookie and the Face-plated Solo head. And they are chunky but still really posable. The figure may have been expensive, but dang was it worth it with how unique it is. A great line that really deserves some more love.
ZeroWolf: Takara Tomy Millennium Falcon
, I know many aren't sold on these but I love them.
notirishman: Flame Toys Nemesis Prime
. This was my first model kit, and it was fun to build! Time consuming, but fun! I also hold this in a special place, since I bought this at my first New York Comic Con, or heck, my first convention. It was also the first thing I bought too, heh. The toy itself is also a very sleek, and has a great design. And as a model kit, it has tons of articulation.
2018 Toy you liked least
D-Max: Power of the Primes Novastar
. It's not that this figure is bad, it's just lackluster. Believe me, I'm enjoying the increasing number of females bots in the lineup, and Elita-1 proved you can make a killer gal who looks good and can pull off all the modes given to them. But the Moonracer mold, and specifically Novastar, are lacking. The giant backpack, the transformation, and the tiny robot mode compared to the alt mode just don't help these figures look as good as I wanted them too. It was a bit more noticeable in Novastar to me just because of the colors and the fact that I prefer Moonracer's head sculpt. They make great arms for combiners, but the other modes don't work that well. They needed a bit more design work, and they could have been pretty great figures.
Wolfman Jake: Power of the Prime Starscream
is just an utter disappointment. From his first reveal to seeing him in person on the store shelves, to reluctantly buying it to have a Starscream combiner torso, this rendition of Starscream has been very uninspiring. The robot mode is overly stylized with a tiny head, Popeye forearms, and Mega Man boots. It just doesn't work. The jet mode is extremely poor. While it's very common for airplane Transformers to have a lot of kibble in the undercarriage, PotP Starscream does little if anything to hide it. Worse yet, his chest is still a faux cockpit in robot mode. I really don't like that on Starscream figures. The one redeeming quality of the figure is the torso mode, which is fun to convert into and looks good as a core combiner piece, but the massive amount of metallic stickers are still very distracting in that mode. I had been waiting for over a decade for a decent Voyager Class Starscream to use in my "Classics" displays, and this was NOT what I was waiting for at all. At least Voyager Siege Starscream is right around the corner, so I can forget about the squandered potential that is PotP Starscream.
notirishman: My least favorite toy of the year is... Cyberverse Warrior Class Optimus Prime
. Now, why you ask? Well.
The figure just looks terrible in robot mode, and the gimmick doesn't look fun at all. The flip out axe causes the left arm to be at a permanent 90 degree bend at the elbow, and no hand. The proportions aren't too good too. Also, the gimmick doesn't work well, and makes the back look funky. Truck mode is, alright, I'll give it that.
who answered picked the same thing, the Cyberverse Scouts
. Scotty P wrote the best response to sum up why: One of the worst concepts for Transformers toys ever conceived was released this year: Transformers Cyberverse's Scout Class. If you just look at these in robot mode, they don't seem bad. They're smaller sculpts at a low-ish price point, kind of, with a character lineup that's somewhat diverse and each features a unique action feature. If they didn't transform at all, they actually might be forgiven and these being a case of The Brand and its characters being used to make products and toys for children as one of its goals would make sense.
This is not what happened here. In an effort to have some kind of transformation be a part of the toys, which is a respectable goal, it was decided to have them transform from robot into a half-robot-half-alt-mode thing. A "gerwalk" style Starscream can maybe be forgiven, but just look
at some of these other monstrosities begging for death.
He probably will catch you and kill you, because you'll be too busy laughing
at him to run from his... wait is that a meat tenderizer? Never mind, you'll definitely survive every encounter with Guy Megatieri over here.
If this is what Cade Yeager had found he'd have left it in that burnt out rubble of a movie theater.
You might think this isn't that
bad and that you could just tilt it over more to make it vaguely more Dinosaur-like, but if you thought this, you'd be wrong as that only turns it into a more pathetic looking hunchback mutant nightmare robot. Any effort to use the limbs to try and salvage this poor Dinobot commander result in a frustrating exercise in futility. So close, yet so far.
It's a shame the Scout Class has had its good name sullied by these abominations. I feel bad for any children that received these for over the Holiday season from parents and relatives with the best of intentions (they do look decent in their packaging), because they're bound to yield bad experiences that make no sense within any Transformers play pattern. Avoid these at all costs and question what kids and collectors did wrong to deserve such awful representations of on-screen characters.
Toy of the Year
As a whole. Maybe one of the very best combiners of all of the Prime Wars Trilogy. Sure, Hun-Gurr is a freaky reworking of Silverbolt, and his dragon mode is lacking in some departments but, as a torso, it's as if the designers learned from every mistake they made on the Combiner Wars torso bots, fixed it, and said, "we're sorry friends. Hope this makes up for it." Everything tabs together so well. On every bot. it's the one combiner I can grab and play with knowing I won't have to waste time fiddle-farting the forearms or anything else back together.
From the amazing color palette, to the silly monster modes, to the stock feet with just enough ankle tilt, and joints that can hold a giant sword above his head. A-bom was a hit straight out of the park! -Cobotron
Scotty P: This category doesn't say best
in the title, so this goes to MP-29+ Laserwave
. Let me explain this choice of a straight-up palette swap of a 2016 toy, since on the surface this makes no sense. 2018 was a confused and chaotic year for Transformers, but everywhere you look, there's a single yellow eye inside of a purple hexagon. The IDW comics end, and we learn it's pretty much all Shockwave's fault. Cyberverse's end-of-season big bad? Not Megatron, but Shockwave. Several new toys for that iteration of Shockwave, plus a Generations Leader Class figure at long last, all got to newly adorn collectors' shelves this year. He even has a small role in the Bumblebee movie. This was Shockwave's year, so the definitive Masterpiece figure of him gets my nod as "Toy of the Year" for how well he represents everything about 2018 in Transformers. And that dark purple should not be underestimated, this is THE
Shockwave toy for your collection.
D-Max: Studio Series Jazz
. I will preface this by saying he is not the greatest Masterpiece of a toy this year. On a technical level, there are figures better than Jazz. But he is an incredibly fun
figure that ticks every box of mine and is amazing in his own right. He is small, yes, but the small package is of great quality, perfectly painted, perfectly sculpted, and great fun to pose and mess around with. The transformation is involved but still fun and not overly complicated. And he is a character that was in need of a good deluxe figure, and this mold killed it.
And the thing about being a small toy that is a great posable package is that he can go everywhere and anywhere with you, and the silver paint he is coated in just pops anywhere you take him. He has become one of the best and favorite figures of my collection, he goes with me a lot, and he is the most photogenic figure that has come out in a long time. So yes, he is incredible, and proves that sometimes the best things comes in small, unexpectedly great packages.
William-James88: Lots of great toys came out this year, and while there were standouts in all categories (as you have seen), I think Movie Masterpiece Barricade
is the one I would recommend most. With the rising prices of Transformers collectible figures, I was happy to see that we can still get Masterpiece engineering at a fair price. The designers were able to use a lot of the real alt mode parts in robot mode and contort them to resemble what we saw in the film. Plus this item being an Amazon exclusive meant everyone who had a computer and credit card could get it, fixing distribution problems of the past. While I was unimpressed with the other MPM toys so far (especially Optimus, where I still highly recommend the ROTF leader class toy over), Hasbro and Takara really gave us a Masterpiece here. I am not even a fan of the Bay films, but that wont stop me from admitting what a great toy this is.
Emerje: Prime Wars Trilogy Power of the Primes Punch/Counterpunch
. Let me start by saying I have three of the original G1 figure, I have the Transformers Collectors Club exclusive Timelines version, I have the Subscription Service Counterpunch, I have the little Punch Kreon figure (technically Nightbeat, but just look at it
), and now I have two of the latest incarnation. There's a lot of ways this could have gone wrong and it did nearly everything right! For starters it's an entirely new mold, not a recycled mold that can barely make the gimmick work. Then the transformation is smart, really doing the original figure justice. Plus there's the interesting choice of including a Prime Armor piece (since it's a PotP figure) that makes one heck of a great jet pack appropriate for a spy, whether that was by chance or by design. Yes, there was a factory issue with the shoulders, but that was easily corrected. This was everything I always wanted in a remake of one of my favorite G1 figures and it didn't disappoint.
ZeroWolf: This was a hard one, surprisingly a lot harder than I first thought. We've seen a lot of good toys this year though some I got were technically from last year... And further back. However there was one that excited me as soon as I knew he was coming... Abominus
. I have found memories of trying to track down G1 Terrorcons at a car boot-sale, found Cutthroat, Blot and Sinnertwin that way. So fast forward to wave 2 of Power of the Primes and I was away.
This new update of Abominus is fantastic and while I'm never too keen on G1 these days, I make exceptions for exceptional renditions. All the team members are fun to handle and play with in both modes (I tend to be very lucky regarding QC issues), they would be toy of the year contenders just with those qualities but when they combine... Abominus is a monster for all the right reasons. He's so good he makes me want to track down the G1 toys again and the Beast Hunter Legion toys and variants just to have a display.
Wolfman Jake: It's hard to choose just one, especially from so many different lines this past year, but if I had to pick, it would still be Studio Series Starscream
. You can check my answer for the best Studio Series figure for why this figure checked all the boxes for me, but suffice it to say, it was something that has been a long time coming, and now that it's here, I have a renewed appreciation and interest in collecting the live-action movie figures once more.
notirishman: Darn you Will! This was so tough. This is also my first year doing this. Buuuut, I'd have to give it to (drumroll please)... Studio Series Leader Grimlock
. Man, what a figure! What a good looking figure! Seriously, just him standing there, he looks awesome. He has so many details, and has crazy amounts of movie accuracy! The dino mode is weaker, but still great! My one nitpick, one, is that his "butt flap" in robot mode doesn't stay up in dino mode if you don't bend it to grab onto the mace hand.
Favourite Cyberverse Episode
. I was never a windblade fan, but in 2018 everything changed. I finally got to finish Till All Are One, which was so good it made it in my top IDW Transformers Comics of all time list
, and I watched the episode Siloed with my 3 year old daughter. This was a tight episode with some nice solid action, and it featured Windblade against a squadron of seekers. My little girl loved it and I loved watching it with her.
notirishman: Megatron Is My Hero
. Certainly the most entertaining episode to me. The second flashback shows how the Deceptiocns came to be, with a public rally from Megatron. I really enjoyed this, and was not something seen from Megatron in most cartoons. The next flashback shows when Optimus first splits from Megatron, the latter of whom announces war. The final flashback is an entertaining chase scene which ends when Soundwave subdues Bee. Then Megatron tells him his plan, and rips out Bee's voice box. The voice actors and score really add weight and emotion to the scene, and I loved it.
who answered picked the same thing, Maccadam's
. D-Max wrote the best response to sum up why: This episode was so rich in Transformers lore! Maccadam was a great club tender (can't call it a bar really), and it was such a rich atmosphere with all the bots and cons pre-war, and then as things deteriorated, it stayed a place of neutrality, and it was so cool to see Maccadam scare
Megatron down and make him run away. And it was so cool to see that Maccadam was secretly helping Bumblebee the whole time he knew him, planting the seeds of memories to help him in the present. The episode was pretty much perfection, and I thoroughly enjoyed this scene of no fighting and just the progression of relationships from peace to war.
(either issue(s) or series)
D-Max: IDW Unicron #1
. Unicron had so much potential, and started with a lot of potential. It sadly ran out of steam and ended short of where I had hoped it would go, but Issue #1 was a pretty great issue. After getting the destruction of Elonia in #0 complete with a Wheeljack sacrifice play, #1 acted as an even bigger all out fight, complete with some great Beast shots and some great views of the inside of Unicron. It even served to make him even scarier in that early time, as the planets and life forms he ate became part of him, still partly alive but twisted now to serve as his insides and his antibodies. Issue 1 made Unicron something to fear, and gave us some great battle shots. It was the issue that made Unicron feel like the huge deal he was meant to be.
William-James88: Lost Light #20
. We had been waiting 2 years for Rodimus to finally confront Getaway and this paid off. Not only that but it was done at the hands of artist extraordinaire Casey Coller. That page of Cyclonus against Starsaber is my favourite Transformers comic book panel of all time, this is no hyperbole.
Scotty P: Lost Light 16-25
. I really thought that if it was going to end, it'd be a year or two from now. I was ready for that. I wasn't ready for things to end so soon. Clearly enough readers were, at least readers of the "paying customer" variety, so IDW pulled the rug out from under not only their shared Hasbro universe, but their long-running Transformers meta-series too. For Optimus Prime
and its namesake character, this felt fine - the larger story arc was approaching its natural conclusion and respect is due to the creative team for not wanting to "force it" and do more.
clearly wanted to do more. The Scavengers have been flying death flags since More Than Meets The Eye
#7 when they debuted, and surely that was leading to a sad but wonderful Last Stand of the Wreckers
-esque heroic departure for them. Roller returned a couple years back and looked pretty in the background, but surely one of Orion Pax's most loyal soldiers had a greater role to play. More examples exist (the haters probably can't wait
to tell you about them) but the book was cut short and these adventures have been lost in time. The remaining story was compressed after the "Mutineers Trilogy" concluded, and after some final setup, we reached Lost Light #16
and "The Everlasting Voices". Compression can be bad, but in this case, compression was used as a metaphor when Rodimus' crew suddenly found themselves on Mederi. Oh, and this was also a good thing
Starting there and going on through the end the final ten issues of Lost Light
chew up your expectations with no remorse. Rather than returning a sloppy mess spit out at force, it subverts your expectation of even that by delivering a powerful, appropriate, and definitive-if-you-want-it-to-be ending that harvests a yield from years of seeds cultivated in a way that allowed for maximum efficiency. In other words, while some storylines never took root and a couple other minor plots died on the vine, the good stuff that you really wanted was there and left you plenty satisfied. James Roberts story handily unseats (for me) the last chapters of Simon Furman's initial Marvel run as the best Transformers comic ending there ever was. By utilizing a murderer's row of talented artists in Brendan Cahill, Casey Coller, Jack Lawrence, and EJ Su, when combined with Joana Lafuente's ability to keep a visual coherency through color, the production prowess of Tom B. Long on letters and the steady guidance of David Mariotte as editor, a full package of fun and emotion that I'll never forget made 2018 a special but bittersweet year in Transformers comics. "We've Achieved Something" never felt so appropriate.
Favourite part of Bumblebee Movie
Cobotron: I saw it! And just in the nick of time. I really liked it. Wouldn't say I loved it, but I was definitely entertained and had a good time. Obviously all the Cybertron scenes where just a total cream dream. I had seen plenty of teaser and leaked shots, but when it opened with a shot right on Ratchet, they immediately had my attention. And I didn't know Brawn was in there either. I enjoyed some of the feels in the relationship between Charlie and Bee. Who knew Bee could be so cute and cuddly, then turn around and kick so much ass like a big boy? Well, actually I guess we all did.
But I think my favorite thing about the movie was all the great, well storyboarded fight scenes that I could actually see! No more 360 spinning whirlwind flying camera moves distracting my eye for the one thing I went to the cinema to see. My favorite space robots battling one another.
Oh, and I also really got a kick out of, "I like the way they pop!".
Scotty P: "Thank you for helping me find my voice" is a fantastic line and felt like a meta-contextual, fourth wall breaking moment of realization for the film franchise. This
is what it could be. Unfortunately y'all were too busy with freaking Aquaman
to care, from the looks of it.
D-Max: The Bumblebee vs. Dropkick battle
. The Bumblebee movie has been such a great experience, and it really is a fantastic movie. The entire thing is a really fun experience and there are a ton of different things that make the movie great. But the Bumblebee vs. Dropkick fight was awesome. We got both bots slugging it out, using weapons sporadically when the chance arises, special moves are used by both bots, some of which involve the different alt modes. Transformation as a battle move! It was great. And then the imaginative end to it all, Dropkick getting chains all wrapped up in himself while transforming, and then starting to ask Bee if he really thought chains would stop him, only to blow up. And then the shot of Bee holding the chain after that, that was awesome. That was a very well thought out fight, a great scene that I really enjoyed.
The part where Bumblebee goes "Iron Giant in weapon mode" on the military was great too. I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for him to put his foot/fist down, and it did not disappoint. I loved it. Fantastic movie and fantastic bots and content.
William-James88: I love everything about the first 15 minutes of this film. The Cybertron sequence is everything we ever wanted (can't believe it took 10 years and a new director to figure it out) and I especially like when Bee gets to earth. I love the quick scanning of a jeep and him re-emerging from the new alt mode with the newly acquired kibble, I liked everything about his fight against Blitzwing. It was just shot in such a perfect way, bot against bot. Not a bunch of crap flying everywhere with quick cuts all over the place. So refreshing. Also, it was super cool to have our man Jon Bailey in the film as both Shockwave and Soundwave (who both sounded the part).
And while a lot of the comedy didn't really do anything for me, I absolutely adored Bee's response to Cena's salute. It was perfect and hilarious.
notirishman: The first two scenes, when the Autobots fight and flee Cybertron and when Bumblebee comes to Earth. While yes, these are more action based than anything else, these two scenes were a blast. The action was better in my opinion, since less was going on (in the case of Bee vs Blitzwing) and each character gets their little quip (Cybertron). Also, Blitzwing's death was creative, and gnarly. Also hey, some John Cena humor. Nice!