One more day is left, and this year will be over. If you look at 2016, there have been too high a number of dark moments outside of the life on the boards. But when you look at what our hobby, our fandom, our world of robots have produced, we actually struck some very good chords this year, wouldn't you agree? It has been a year of anniversaries, a year of milestones, a year of beasts and movies and comics, a year of toys, a year of endings and beginnings -- I suppose it's only right that we take some time now to make it...
A Year in Review - Transformers 2016
Art: Kei Zama
That's right: we're back! We'll be taking a look at what happened since the end of 2015, a few categories at a time, as usual. Also, this dish is best served accompanied by a nice 2016 podcast episode. Trés joli.
Let's meet our hosts for the ride, then, shall we..? Introducing:
Our Gracious Over Boards
We've rejigged the categories a little, to include more topics to cover outside of just the toys:
Cobotron - At first I thought Grand Galvatron. That whole set did a real number for my imagination, and the decos come close to the very best of the line. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there was one other toy from the line that I spent more time playing with and building my own stories around. I spent hours "scrambling" to find the perfect team to accompany him, and in doing so discovered that there isn't really a single limb that doesn't look good on him. I think he is the very best torso bot of the line, and he goes by Voyager Sky Lynx. The proportions in torso mode are near perfect, and although some seemed to have issues with loose joints, mine does not. His dino-bird mode is equally as fun, especially serving as a mount for another warrior. And while he looks smashing combined with the G2 Aerial Bots, his best looking feature is still that amazing high collared lynx head sculpt. MEOW!
Bronzewolf - While most would regard the CW era as wave after wave of retools and repaints, it did give us, most importantly, a combiner system that not only worked but worked well, and looked good at the same time. The likes of this we had never seen before, whether in G1 or those awful Movie "Combiners". It also gave us some updated versions of our favorite G1 characters, my favorite of which is Sky Lynx. While it, like almost all other figures from CW, has its faults (namely the inability to separate into lion/bird modes individually). It's a gorgeous looking representation of a character that has gone under-appreciated since the G1 days.
megatronus - Coming at the tail end of Combiner Wars, Sky Lynx is, in this staff member's opinion, the most superbly engineered voyager of the line. He encapsulates all of his G1 wackiness while making for a no-hassle combiner torso - what's not to like? What put him over the top - and this is a perversely personal point - was the devilish difficulty finding him at retail. That made finally finding him that much more delightful.
ScottyP - Grand Galvatron came in late and saved Unite Warriors, as well as all of G1. Let me tell you why...
Editor's Note - Redacted Content: ScottyP wrote about 12,000 words of fan fiction about Grand Galvatron here. It was, well, not very good. In fact, were we to publish it, the whole of civilization may be set back about 12,000 years. That's right - one year for every word. There was this mess about how to properly extinguish a campfire, a romance plot involving time travel and Jennifer Love-Hewitt, a continuation of Budiansky's Skullgrin story arc for some reason, and all the while it just never got anywhere in terms of plot or character development. I think Thundercracker's Josh Boyfriend screenplays are likely infinitely better than every last sentence of this junk that was written by a usually upstanding Site Admin. For the potential entertainment of readers, the last dreadfully melodramatic line is left intact below.
And so it was that Curse Armada Thrust looked wistfully into the deep vacuum of time and thought the only thought that mattered any more: "It was all just a matter of... time."
william-james88 - Part of me wishes this year’s combiners came out last year. I say this because there is no doubt in my mind that this year’s combiner wars toys were better than last year’s by a fair margin. The teams were more diverse in terms of molds and transformations and several had that extra premium feel in terms of paint apps. Yet, there was that mold fatigue that was hard to go against. I remember looking at my G2 Menasor and while I was marveling at the paint apps and tampographs (especially on G2 Wildrider), I didn’t really have this urge to transform the components or put them together simply because any mystery was already uncovered when I transformed the original. While maybe beautiful, redecos rarely have that same special feeling of discovering a new puzzle and with a combiner you get that for several toys all at once. But Grand Galvatron found a way to go against all that. The decos, and especially the two new heads, really went a long way into making this the stand out set of the entire line. To the point where I still felt I was experiencing something new even though they were all redecos (especially the jets). So, while I really like Unite Warriors Computron, I think the best combiner of the year would go to Grand Galvatron.
Burn - Geez where does one start with this? Such a big line to choose from.
But for me, if there was one that really stood out it would be Computron. Not Hasbro or Takara though, a combination of them. (Something I did). While Takara went the extra mile with Nosecone, both did a fantastic job with Strafe (though Takara won there too).
Of course Hasbro gave us the plucky little wheel that could (melt) ... Scrounge!
Counterpunch - I could have turned my attention to the larger teams, particularly UW Computron, but Nosecone was such a delightful tooling that I felt he should get a nod all his own. It’s as if this base body was designed for our scientific drilling expert from the outset. The color choices, the blocky nature of the limbs, and the Japanese exclusive drill all pull together to make what is in my opinion, the nicest limb of the year in the CW/UW line.
D-Maximus_Prime - Hmm, kind of a difficult one for me really. I'm gonna have to say... Strafe. I love the Air Raid mold a lot and it really works for Strafe. Plus, he is the one Combiner Wars Technobot that got a good makeover and he can combine with Scrounge! Both Unite Warriors and Combiner Wars delivered good looking Strafe's, and I love this one. He is awesome. And considering the fact that I consider Computron to be the best Combiner we got from Combiner wars, Strafe is just so sweet.
Kurona - It's a really difficult choice for me, but I've really gotta go with Victorion. When I got her I couldn't stop being amazed with her; the remolding on each figure to make them more feminine was fantastic, it had my favourite CW Voyager, my favourite CW limb twice, Dustup really stood out from the rest of the Dead End mold uses as her own unique thing, the colours are great in person, the sword is absolutely phenomenal, the new feet and hands work so well... I can't stop going on about her. She's absolutely perfect, I'd say the only real disappointment is Jumpstream - I just don't like that Breakdown mold. But hey, car and leg mode are great so can't complain too much.
Va'al - Much like previous years, my toy habits are limited to very select figures at specific times. But I had been eyeing Victorion since her announcement, and the entire Hasbro team knew of my definitely-not-an-obsession with the set at BotCon, Earth Wars meetings, online... It uses one of the best torso molds in the line, it has the adorable motorbike that could, the sword is magnificent, and the Helitwins arrived to kick some sense into Alpha Bravo! Gotta love siblings...
Burn - While the end of Combiner Wars saw more and more repaints that I just wasn't interested in, it was off-set by the introduction of Titans Return. My initial stance was to ignore the likes of Blurr and Scourge who were already represented in my "Neo-G1" collection. But I grabbed them anyway. While not blow my mind impressive, they were okay.
But then there were the others. Hardhead was a fun figure. As was Chromedome. But the two stand out figures for me, and these only recently joined the collection, were Brainstorm and Triggerhappy. These guys look fantastic in both modes. Not to mention how great they are at different poses. If you have the chance, grab these guys. Totally worth it!
megatronus - Deluxe Brainstorm. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. While TR voyagers thus far have been fairly clunky with the occasional inspired touch, the deluxe figures have stolen the show. Of these, Walgreens-exclusive Brainstorm is best in show. Between the original mold, color scheme, streamlined transformation/alt mode, and remarkable poseability, Brainstorm checks off all my boxes. I remain amazed that I could be so sullen over mold-mate Blurr, but so ecstatic over Brainstorm... do you believe in magic?
Bronzewolf - So many excellent figures to choose from. Mindwipe is pretty good, with an engaging transformation with a great looking robot and bat mode. Takara PowerMaster Convoy looks stunning in robot mode and in truck mode, with a cab that looks just spectacular.
But my favorite had to be the Blurr/Brainstorm mold. Walgreens Brainstorm has amazing tampos and color scheme. They look slightly faded and yellowed, making it look like a vintage toy, which, for me, is awesome. The proportions of the mold are really good, and it just looks incredible on a shelf. Really a highlight so far of the TR line.
Kurona - The Titans finally returned! ... with bad UK distribution. And a ridiculous price hike in the UK. And while my own personal funds are declining. I'm poor, guys.
Anyway, this meant I was only able to get Chromedome, Weirdwolf Wolfwire and Buzzsaw (totally counts). I love them all, the Titan Master integration works really well, and I'm glad I finally have a Chromedome for my Lost Lighter shelf. Buuuut, much as I like Domey and much as I'm surprised at how much I've been liking Buzzsaw, it has to go to Wolfwire. Absolutely incredible figure, especially in wolf mode - that's what really sells him. They really went to town on that because there's no molding or paint app choices (Titan Master notwithstanding) I'd change, and standing on his own or among a bunch of other random 'cons he just looks really cool and unique. Oh, uh, the robot mode is cool too. But the wolf is amazing!
Cobotron - My absolute favorite gets a spot further down the line here, so I'll put my #2 in this one. The honor goes to Wolfwire Weirdwolf. I love it when a toy can achieve a nice deco simply by using it's plastic colors to do the work. Wolfy here does that. He also hits a few of my other Transformers sweet spots like, beast mode, and a sword. He is a well made figure with an awesome robot mode, an even better alt mode, and a pretty fun and interesting route to get from one to the other. The Headmaster gimmick goes a long way for me on all the figures from this line, but the idea of a little bot driving a giant robotic dire wolf just really turns a key for me.
D-Maximus_Prime - Cerebros. No, really. That dude has so much character in him despite the fact that he turns into a head. He really does look awesome, poses really good, and he is the middle guy in the double Titanmaster gimmick. Plus, his head mode and his individual head sculpt are both amazing.
Shout out to Blurr. He will the favorite of many, but Cerebros wins for me.
ScottyP - This pick was almost Cerebros because that toy/Reflector Pre-tool is great, but I'm giving the nod to Highbrow. I'll go with the Takara Legends version for the superior paint/color scheme and bonus Titan Master car. Plus, that version includes a comic where Highbrow saves Papika from Weirdwolf, who is slowly cutting off all of her clothes but ultimately does not succeed thanks to Highbrow's actions. Anime may not be real, but the fun you can have with Highbrow definitely is.
william-james88 - While all Titans Return toys were fun, I found them rather simple. Legends Blurr was different though. He was quite complex for a deluxe and extremely satisfying. There was a great attention to detail, like how one leg stores the tail fin and how the tiny well rolling wheels are hidden flush in robot mode thanks to perfectly shaped holes. Plus the Takara paint job just makes him such a standout. To me, the only need for an MP Blurr is for the scale, but I am really curious as to how it could have a better look or transformation.
Counterpunch - In a world where so many great figures are coming on line week after week, I have to acknowledge the one that I expected to be my biggest disappointment when he turned out to be one of my simplest joys: Hot Rod is excellent. Transformation, detailing, cherry red candy color, weaponry… he’s the total package for $15.99 or whatever. I love getting surprises like this and lately, they’ve felt few and far between with the predictability of the Combiner Wars line. Hot Rod may not have been a classic Headmaster, but this toy leaves me thinking… maybe he should have been.
Favorite 2016 Transformers: Robots in Disguise/Adventure
Cobotron - Ahhhhh RID. The little line that could. Battle Packs were a hoot. Love that size class. It seems to be unanimous though, that the Warrior Class Decepticons were where it was at in 2016. I'm in. Heck, even Ratchet was better than I had expected, but the clear winner for me is Warrior Thunderhoof. In my book, he could have scrapped by on character design alone, but with everything else this figure has to offer added, he is the clear favorite.
D-Maximus_Prime - Warrior Thunderhoof. That guy is so awesome. He perfectly reflects his show model, which I love, and how many farm-formers have there ever been? Plus, he has antlers and hooves. His Transformation is fun and intuitive, and his robot mode is perfect looks-wise. Yes, he lacks some beef on his back, but he is literally awesome, so it matters not.
Va'al - I'll let this image speak for itself. And never talk to him or his son ever again.
ScottyP - You're making me choose? From all this awesome stuff? Hrm. Warrior Thunderhoof by a nose. In fact, probably by a very small nose, like a reindeer nose. Now I'm disappointed that there was no special Holiday Edition Thunderhoof again, but I digress. Thunderhoof is all the best parts of the stellar design and engineering work that accompanied most of this year's Warrior Class Decepticon releases from Robots in Disguise. Distilled within this blue and black antlered mobster is wonderful articulation and even the occasionally hard to find alt-mode weapon storage. Of course, then there's the transformation itself, which has multiple wild steps that truly involve him folding up and over himself in a way that must be experienced to be understood. The Adventure deco is a thing of beauty, so if you can track that down for a reasonable amount it's the recommended version here.
william-james88 - This line kicked so much ass this year. It was easily the most fun I had in terms of looking at each figure individually. Hasbro told us we wold get Decepticons in 2016 and they delivered. Probably more than either of us would have expected with Megatronus, Quillfire, Thunderhoof, Fracture, Bisk, Scorponok and Starscream. All of them were winners, truly. All are very good toys, with fun designs and new tansformations. Picking my favourite is insanely hard so it will be a tie between Hasbro’s Warrior Fracture and Takara’s Warrior Thunderhoof. Both are ingenious designs and very satisfying. They also look amazing in both modes.
Bronzewolf - The minicons. I know, I know, but hear me out. These collectible little guys are super cool, and one of the closest things the US has to Arms Micron. There's a great array of different characters that take different forms, from beasts to bots and everything in between.
Kurona - Uhhhh, Dragonus. He's kinda cute but I don't like him that much BUT he's the only RiD figure I have. congrats u win
Counterpunch - I mention TAV Windblade here because of the stark contrast in detail and care that Takara is taking with their version of Robots in Disguise. The mold itself is adequate and is in many ways just not as interesting as some of the Decepticon troops who have been 2016's star performers for RiD. What is special though is how Windblade looks like she stepped of the screen. Takara remains the go-to source for those of us who like our figures to actually look like their fictional depictions.
Favorite 2016 Transformers: None of the Above Figure
megatronus - Botcon Predacus. I love this set, and not just because of the cartoon homaging headsculpts/deco or the expertly executed paint job. Nor just because that combined mode is a beast to behold. And certainly, it's not because of the shortcomings of basically all of the individual members. Rather, Tripredacus was my first Beast Wars toy (or set) I ever got (from my parents; Happy Hanukkah!). It's amazing to have a vicious-looking modern rendition on my shelf that can hark back to watching episodes of Beast Wars while holding my Tripredacus. Nearly everything about him harks back to either the original toy or Beast Wars cartoon while adding that modern, Generations-style twist with a combiner face that is spot on 90s ridiculousness. Love at first reveal.
D-Maximus_Prime - Botcon Magnaboss. Yes, he may be mostly stickers with 3 figures that already came out, but I managed to snag the stickers and he is awesome. Yeah, I customized him the other 2 limbs instead of finding Unit-3 and Tigatron, but those 2 figures use the same molds, so it is a good representation. He looks so awesome, and the stickers do some wonderful work. Really awesome addition to my collection!
Bronzewolf - Club exclusive Bluestreak! It might be another CW redeco, but I really appreciate the paint and Tampos, plus it's one of my favorite characters of all time. (Going for the Blue bluestreak deco gets bonus points, too.)
ScottyP - Takara Legends Skids. The extra paint detail makes this figure look like it just escaped an exploding shuttle, magnetized a car, then blew it up after throwing it at a Legislator. Sleep tight, soldier.
william-james88 - Kabaya Fortress Maximus. This was my first time with Kabaya and it was quite enjoyable. This is a great set which actually has paint. And there is no parts forming during transformation from city to bot. Plus it comes with the most adorable little Powerglide ever.
Cobotron - A pop fly to left field! Takara's Diaclone Reboot Dia-Battles V2. I know, I know, it's not a Transformer, but here me out. He is Transformer's Grandpa, and you wouldn't not invite Grandpa to the family New Year's Eve party, would you?
This figure is amazing. If you are a fan of Transformers, a fan of the art of Japanese robot toys, and more specifically a fan of the art of Takara, I can't recommend this toy enough. Over the years Takara has done some really wonderful work rebooting some of their older lines and Dia-Battles follows suit. This toy is impeccably engineered with off the charts articulation and functionality, has beautiful detailing and paint,and is just an absolute joy to behold.
The thing about this figure is the modularity. Out of the box it can be configured into 12 different modes, but with the connection system they've employed Takara has also left it open to improvisation for hours of endless play. It's this modular play pattern that makes this toy so much fun. A great call back to old play patterns of the Diaclone and Microman toy lines. Maybe you need a breather from Transformers but still in the form of a robot toy. Please, give this guy a try. Besides, like I said, he's family. And BTW, he and his Dia-nauts roll tight right along side the Titan Masters.
Counterpunch - Victorion. Here's the thing, Victorion was kind of a flat release. What I mean by that is, for something that should have been more hyped and celebrated, her set kind of came and went without much notice. Victorion is really the first Combiner Wars gift set to offer something truly new and unique. She helps plan the seeds of new thought and characters in the franchise. In a way I wish it had been a more general release and that the whole Torchbearer set was priced cheaper to get more people into the idea. I really look forward to the day when we're adding more characters and ideas to the mythos in a more routine way.
Favorite 2016 Transformers Masterpiece Figure (Hasbro or Takara)
ScottyP - I'm saving MP-32 for a later topic, so I'm going to write about my second favorite Masterpiece figure for 2016 and beg to the good Dr. Va'al that this doesn't get cut. If it does, at least leave this sentence and let me feel the sting of having words murdered by a technicality.
This is an unbelievably tough choice to make, and might even vary depending on mood, but I'm going to stick with MP-29 Shockwave here just in case the MP-33 Inferno feelings I'm having are because of his novelty. In other words, logic dictates this choice. Shockwave is an expressive and gorgeous piece in both form and function. The robot and gun modes are slick and clean. The total package of the figure, accessories (including a clever double-use for the gun stand where it helps hide the gun's back kibble in robot mode), and even some alternate stickers made the long wait for an updated version of G1 Shockwave worth it.
Also, as someone nearly thirty years behind the curve on one corner of Transformers fiction, this Decepticon's heroics/antics in Time Wars were "new to me" this year and made me love this cold purple evildoer even more.
megatronus - MP29 Shockwave. Besides for marking the shift to slavish cartoon accuracy - a key inflection point in the history of this line - Shockwave is simply an amazing specimen. Have you see that light piping? That hose? The parts integration? The smaller gun of himself - that he can hold! More than his features, which more or less speaks for themselves, the release of Shockwave marks the completion of Megatron's lieutenants in MP form - leading up to the big bad himself in 2017.
Burn - This one surprised me. While I was looking forward to him, I was looking forward to Inferno more. But as great as Inferno is, he just doesn't quite reach the level of awesomeness that is Ironhide.
I had my reservations about him from the pictures. But once I had him in hand, I was quickly won over. A boxy little van twists, turns, and folds into a stocky damn good looking robot. While Inferno gave us "ladder magic", I feel it was Ironhide that helped lead the engineering that gave us "ladder magic". Unfortunately his mold brother Ratchet just didn't match up due to his primarily white look.
william-james88 - Masterpiece Ironhide. I am so impressed with how they were able to incorporate the cartoon vibe in robot mode while also delivering a very realistic alt-mode. Ironhide is one of those character that never had a good figure (even the movie versions had trouble getting it right and giving us good toys). And for such an iconic character, that is just so odd but it makes this release that much sweeter. Takara went all out. Gorgeous alt-mode (well, for what it is), great robot mode which has the alt-mode disappear away aside from the perfect alt-mode integration (from the front). this is probably the purchase I was most hesitant of this year that surprised me most.
Counterpunch - Optimus Primal: 1. He's not made of boxes. 2. He's not strictly G1, though that's kind of the same thing as #1. 3. MP Optimus Primal is one of the best designed, best decoed toys in recent history. We should all be excited for what may come to pass with engineering like this for Beast Wars characters. I am eagerly anticipating a BW Megatron just on my experience with this. It shows that the MP line is more than a one trick monkey.
D-Maximus_Prime - Masterpiece Shattered Glass Optimus Prime. He is my first masterpiece, and as a result wins by default, though I'm not sure anyone could top him. He is a joy to behold, with marvelous paint work, a great evil feel to him, and a black badass trailer! The green Energon axe does it for me too, and the amount of detail put into him shows the love that he got. For even more articulated thoughts, you can see my review with plenty of pictures and all the love I can give this guy there.
Cobotron - The Masterpiece toy I had the most fun with this year was Loudpedal. YA! I know! He's a stinkin' repaint, AND of a figure that's maybe not the best in the line. I'm a huge sucker to call backs to ye olden days of pre-TF history. The deco is phenomenal, and I've always loved that almost knight's helmet head sculpt. He re-energized my MP Decepticon ranks in a way I didn't see coming. He and Exhaust are a terrible twosome of trouble making turds who's misadventures have been a treat to watch unfold on my Masterpiece shelves.
...and now: Figure of the Year
Burn - You know what? I'm not falling into this trap Va'al. This has been a fantastic year for figures. I'm not picking one that stands above all for the year. Far too many to choose from!
Va'al - Everyone else fell for it...
Counterpunch - Fort Max was a really significant part of my childhood and one of my best Christmas memories. I remember seeing him on the shelf as a child and being shocked by the size of such a toy. Well, I had intended to wait for the Takara version on Max, but seeing one for myself in Toys R Us changed my mind. Some may gripe (at great length, while no one cares to listen) about how this is a Metroplex re-tool, but to me, this is the figure of the year because it is a really high quality piece and it did a great job of reminding me of the simple joy of spending $115 after coupons and discounts.
megatronus - Titan Fortress Maximus. He's a headmaster with a headmaster - inception in a nutshell. Fort Max borrows just enough tooling from Metroplex to be familiar, but shakes it up enough to effectively differentiate itself from the first 2 foot Titan and, more importantly, to be exciting. Now that he's gone on sale practically everywhere, you owe it to yourself to own a Transformer that could convincingly stand in for your toddler.
Bronzewolf - Since I didn't buy any MP's this year, I'll have to stick with mainline figures, and, with that in mind, Walgreen's Brainstorm would be my pick. I can write a book about how perfect he is in my opinion, and I'm sure others that were lucky enough to find him can, too. His stance and proportions are just amazing, he reminds me of a simpler Generations Springer in a way, where he feels and looks like a premium figure, but for a regular retail price. Just great.
Oh, and also Fort Max. He's cool too.
D-Maximus_Prime - Eesh, toughy right there. We had several really good ones this year. But, I'm gonna have to go out on a limb here and probably differentiate from all the others here: Titans Return Alpha Trion.
Despite its shortcomings, this toy finally gave us all a retail release of the wise old sage from Transformers lore, and to me, there was a lot of love put into him. The 2 alt modes, despite not being completely perfect, homaged so much of this guys past it's crazy. I love the lion mode. It is to die for, the spaceship isn't that bad either guys, come on!
But what wins this one for me is the robot mode. It is beautifully detailed and painted, possibly with more paint then I have ever seen on a Hasbro figure. He has a majestic sword and literally no kibble. Plus, his warrior styled armor is so awesome and it makes him stand out. He is a figure that cannot disappear from your vision no matter how far back on the shelf he is. He is my favorite figure of 2016.
Cobotron - Transformers for me has never been about adhering to any one story line or fiction, but more about cherry picking bits and pieces to build my own imaginary world of robots at war. And the figures that really do it for me are the ones that most inspire me to play out my own stories. This past year the one figure that did that, and did it hard, was Titans Return Alpha Trion. The character design that went into his robot mode is absolutely fantastic! He pushed so many of my fantasy buttons, Transformers or other. The moment I laid eyes and mitts on this ancient, time tested, magic sword wielding, lion adorned, mustachioed robotic mystical knight, triangulated with his mythical beast and mighty battle cruiser alt modes, my head was reeling with ideas of magnificent adventure. And if that wasn't enough, he has the Headmasters gimmick thrown in the mix.
For me Alpha Trion was pure rocket fuel for my imaginary play time. He and Vector Prime have been drumming up some heavy adventures across my shelves for some time now, and those old goats show no signs of stopping until every last Con is made to pay!
william-james88 - While I am not a hardcore G1 fan (I was born in 88 and only learnt in 2014 that the G1 Ironhide toy had no head), I have become something of a purist in my adult life. As a kid, I actually did have a few Transformers toys (G2 Dreadwing) and I had Beast Wars toys and not only did I see them as different lines, but different things entirely. So while I generally do not care if a toy is its own thing and not show accurate, holding that Masterpiece Optimus Primal in my hand in beast mode brought a very new feeling in me as a collector. And the conversion is phenomenal. He truly morphs, the entire shape of the figure is redefined. It's genius, especially how it does it in so little space. Instead of having a vehicle turn into a mechanical robot, you have what is essentially an action figure morphing entirely from one form to the next. To finally have a toy that looks like the Optimus on the show (especially in beast mode) and to have him on the 20th anniversary of said show is truly magical and I cannot think of any other toy that should warrant the title of Figure of the Year.
ScottyP - MP-32 Optimus Primal transforms from gorilla to Maximal Commander, evolving the Masterpiece line in a way where both truck and monkey feel like they belong. This toy is as close as it gets to perfection for a beloved and iconic Transformers character. It was easy to imagine a Masterpiece Beast Wars figure falling flat in form and execution. Toys based on mid-90s CG models that would be impossible to scale to Generation One based MP figures in any practical sense, that also must have beast modes that show as little robot kibble as possible? The recipe for disaster was there, and yet factored in so minutely that it makes me wonder why I was ever worried in the first place. A slick transformation, shockingly clean design, clever accessories, superbly expressive pose-ability, and a genuinely cool light up gimmick make this the clear cut Transformers toy of the year. While picking a runner-up or two would be extraordinarily difficult, the top of the mountain is ruled by a gorilla. Send all complaints to the banana box for disposal.
Made it so far? Here's a break for you all, featuring a relatively recent discovery round these parts!
And now, back to the list, as we move away from toy talk; starting with...
Favorite 2016 Transformers Comics-moment
ScottyP - In a total cop-out to prevent me from making a choice (again) between Sins of the Wreckers and Dying of the Light, which I waffle between on the hour every seven to eight hours, here's a short personal anecdote instead.
I flew to New Orleans last month and took my recently acquired trade paperback of Dying of the Light along with me. As readers of the book will know (hopefully, that's all of you), as the issues progress time edges ever closer to sunset on Necroworld. For anyone not following, that refers to a literal sunset used as a narrative device and not a purely figurative one. Anyhow, as the second leg of my flight took off, sunset was a bit more than 30 minutes away so the skies were still mostly blue in Charlotte and I settled in to take the chance to relax and read. Geography will tell you that when flying west at sunset, you are chasing said sunset.
Despite having a window seat with a perfect view of the extra long and slow sunset, I didn't really grasp this until looking at this panel:
At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me and/or there had been some unknown drop in cabin pressure and a lack of oxygen was driving my brain to view the page as much larger than it should be, but this was thankfully incorrect. What was really going on was that the color of the sky on the page more or less matched the exact color of the sky out the window. I had to keep reading, and did so at a slow, thoughtful pace (it was a re-read, after all) to find that the look of the world outside kept closely matching the world depicted on the page, getting gradually darker as the journey and the story progressed. The flight landed around twilight, with the book only marginally outpacing reality by the end. The last page I got to during that step of the journey? 'Thanks for traveling with me.'
Kurona - Dying of the Light. ALL of it. This probably shouldn't be surprising; if you know my Transformers opinions at all you'd know I adore MTMTE and consider it leagues above every other Transformers fiction (though a lot of the stuff filed under 'everything else' is still great, gimme Beast Wars and Animated any day)... and for that reason I don't actually want to say anything specific about it. I don't want to spoil what I consider to be top-notch fiction. I'll just say that Dying of the Light was an absolute thrillride from start to finish with everything I could want out of a series. except Nightbeat. Needed more Nightbeat
william-james88 - Definitely the end of More Than Meets the Eye. I liked seeing Megatron take down the DJD and how a lot of threads were wrapped up. I also really enjoyed Overlord’s reaction to the idea of finally taking down Megatron which shows how much the character has matured (I also finally read Last Stand of the Wreckers this year for the first time so the contrast was interesting). I am very curious of what is happening next. I love Blaster and can’t believe he would be such a $%!* to cooperate with Getaway. Something’s up.
Va'al has serious thoughts he has already expressed regarding that last point. More for the discussion, perhaps?
D-Maximus_Prime - More Than Meets The Eye #54, when Megatron walks onto the field of battle and silently blasts his enemies away, saving his comrades and sending them to safety. That page gives me goosebumps it's so beautiful. Alex Milne has never given us bad art, but that page alone is a masterpiece in its own right.
Counterpunch - All Hail Optimus and the reaction panels: The reactions of the major story players in the face of Optimus' annexation of Earth was my favorite moment. I loved having a progressively heroic Megatron in one book with a progressively authoritarian Prime in another. The script was flipped, so to speak, for a time. I hope that these two characters slide further into a morally questionable gray zone.
Cobotron - With what little time adulthood/parenthood allows for the hobby these days I don't get around to reading many comics. Most my time is spent with the toys. But, for my birthday this year my brother gave me the full run in trades of Transformers VS G.I. Joe, and I have to say it was one of the most strange and wonderful comic book experiences I've ever had. The art is so out there and, the story telling is tongue-in-cheek. It blew my mind. I told my bro I loved that the art looks like a Funkadelic album cover, and he replied with a laugh, "Yeah! Prison art!".
At first glance the art looks so amateur, but the more I pored over every detail, I came to understand the genius of Tom Scioli. I felt like present day me was standing in eleven-year-old me's childhood bedroom doorway watching myself play one of my many TF/Joe mash ups. Or was I standing in the doorway of Scioli's childhood? Either way it was a great ride, and reminded me of the innocence and intricacies of a child's imagination. This series is not for for everyone, and I understand why. If you get it, GREAT! If you don't, you probably won't. And, that's OK. I would recommend these books to anyone, as long as they come at them with an open mind.
Va'al - Issue #5 of the slow-burning gem that is Till All Are One. This book has gone through so many repolishes, renamings, rebrandings, and even though Windblade is still mostly the titular character, the latest iteration is the best fitting to the ensemble, in terms of cast, story, scope and repercussions. May follow Transformers/ex RID/Optimus Prime for the core mythos and politics, several follow More Than Meets the Eye/Lost Light for the sad gay robots (get over it, it's a compliment) and the inevitable feelings and convoluted plots. I stick with TAAO, like the two Windblades before it, as it brings cosmic action, cosmic mythos, post-colonial themes, religious vs secular debates, still one of the best Starscreams around - visually and in writing. And the best collection of biting one-liners not reliant on continuity nerdery.
Va'al splurted out tea while reading this line, and had to take a break from editing.
Favorite 2016 Transformers Show-moment
Kurona - A few things to get out of the way first. I don't watch Rescue Bots but from what I've seen, it's a pretty neat show. And while I've been enjoying RiD, I haven't found anything about it that I really like and really thrills me. So I can't point to any one thing about it and say "that's amazing" or "this is easily my favourite part". It's just kinda decent and meh.
And while it is arguably the worst Transformers show since Energon - I actually liked it less than Energon - yes, my favourite Show thing this year is from Machinima's Combiner Wars. Though if you've taken part in that board discussion, I think you all know what it is - it's Megs. It's friggin' Megs. It feels like every single amount of effort, originality and unique ideas went into this single solitary character because he is great. Maybe it's because CW was such a bad show that the one good thing seemed so much better, maybe it's because I haven't enjoyed a lot of cartoon Megatrons (aside from BW who is arguably a different archetype), but this guy freaking rocks. He's always enjoyable to watch, he's always got a quick quip, he has some character resolution... oh, yeah, and he turns into a super space gun in addition to having an actual vehicle mode. If you have to watch CW, just wait until you get to Megatron. He's the one good part, I swear.
william-james88 - This was a weak spot for Transformers this year. I really liked the interpretation of Megatron in Machinima’s Combiner Wars. He was so jovial, daring, untouchable and yet relentless all at once it was a joy to watch. It also showed me that the fandom was not bitter about change in the least. We will always be up for something new if it is done well.
D-Maximus_Prime - Bumblebee v. Bisk from "Bumblebee's Night Off" in Robots in Disguise. That is now ranked up there as my favorite fight scene from RiD, and second in the aligned continuity behind only the Predaking/Magnus/Wheeljack fight from Prime. The music, the lights, the whole thing was a great fight scene. I loved every second of it and I constantly rewatch that scene.
Shout out to the return of Starscream though. When he walks through that Space Bridge... Ooooooooooh maaaaaaaaaaan
Bronzewolf - Ratchet returning to the Aligned continuity. It's been a long time coming for the doc, and I'm glad to see him back on the screen. One piece of what made Prime such a great show has made a comeback to maybe make RID a bit better.
ScottyP - Steeljaw's first stroll through Glowstrike and Saberhorn's ship full of Decepticons in Robots in Disguise Season 2 Episode 3. Crazy colored Vehicons, Chompazoids, and even Crystal Widow!? It was a short but really fun scene that began to inform the ultimate direction Steeljaw took during the season. Honorable mention here to Grimlock making pretzels.
Counterpunch - My 2 year old decided that watching RiD with me was the way to spend good quality time. I particularly enjoyed when he told me definitively that Optimus was "red and black." I almost corrected him when I looked up at the screen to realize that he was right.
megatronus - Anytime Grimlock gets screen-time on RID. Grimlock has gone from one of the most annoying/perplexing characters on the show to one of the most entertaining. Pretzel, anyone?
Favorite Transformers Game-moment
Va'al - Cheating a little again here, but... Being part of the actual Earth Wars consultant/contributor/influencer group, my thoughts and face and voice and all! (My body will only and forever belong to Burn - though he never takes me up on the offer. ScottyP might...) I got to chat to the developers, finally meet Seibertron himself, and bring Alpha Bravo along for the ride to Space Ape Games.
megatronus - As a lifelong Transformers fan and long-term collector, I've struggled to share my hobby with those I love, particularly my wife. Well - love finds a way. Ever since I started playing Earth Wars beta back in February, I've been hooked. Once the game hit wide release in June, my wife decided to see what all the fuss is about - and now she's hooked. Say what you will about Earth Wars and mobile gaming, but I'm grateful to have found a channel through which to share this hobby.
D-Maximus_Prime - I only got the Earth Wars game recently, but I love using Vortex. His attack is fun and can be used so many times in one battle. Plus, he looks really cool in the game. He may be on my C-team, but he does not lose fights.
Kurona - Hm. Earth Wars can be very frustrating, and really stretches the limits of the free-to-play genre... but the one upside this brings is that it makes it VERY nice when you get a particular unit you want. I just got a 3-star Soundwave over a weekend, that was wicked.
But the real good thing is how good it feels to co-operate. Oh, sure, it's just contributing points towards an event or a war, but it feels good to have all that build up and feel like you're really helping out everyone else in addition to just yourself. That's what I love about this game. Co-operation.
Bronzewolf - That RID Augmented Reality game that I reviewed! I know it's random and not really a "game" perse, but man, it's a fun little thing to mess with for a bit. Check it out, it went underrated. (The game, not my review. Well, you can check that out too if you want. )
Favourite 2016 fan creation: art, custom, video, comic, fiction
Kurona - Thew. Just... just Thew. His reviews are just the most fun out there. I love him.
D-Maximus_Prime - Thew's Knockoff Beatdown: Ruination. I always enjoy his reviews, but I love a good beatdown of knockoffs. The fact that this one focused almost solely on Bruticus/Ruination KO's made it lots of fun, as well as the fact you can see how poorly made some of those guys are. Plus, I love a good pun or 50.
Bronzewolf - Cobotron's Bluestreak. Man, I'm a sucker for Streak, and when getting a combiner wars version was a pipe dream (which it still kind of is, if you don't count the club version), one herobro rose from the ashes: Cobotron. His Bluestreak is just great, very clean, and well-executed.
Cobotron - There is so much good fun stuff out there. Even in our own Transtopia. So I'm going to keep this one here in the Seibertron family. The wonderful photos of our friend and forum mate, Cyberpath. If you haven't seen his pics, you haven't been to the 'Awesome Pictures And Poses Thread'. His pictures are amazing, and I always look forward to seeing what eye candy he will post next.
I've poked and prodded him to start his own thread to showcase his work, but I've now become accustomed to seeing his pics scattered across the many threads that weave the tapestry of our Seibertron.com forums. Thanks for sprucing up the joint CP!
ScottyP - With apologies to the amazing effort and creativity shown during October's #LostLightFest on the same platform - My pick goes to something from the amazing Twitter account of Inkybauds, longtime Transformers fan known for his involvement in the (now becoming legendary if I daresay) Transmasters fan club in the UK. Earlier this year, he created this series of three tweets (one, two, three) containing a list of fake, but hilarious and timely "Modern Transformers Names". Go laugh, then come back. This Kroktease article will be here when you get back.
Va'al - Not because I was behind the initial input of a couple of them - Burn was there with me at least all the times, just quiet about it - but I really enjoy the terrible threads that we create on Seibertron, from Civil War to Braingate, to the acronyms one, even my one-person campaign for Alpha Bravo to become the New Prime of Cybertron. Alpha Prime - It Just Sounds Right.
...and now: Moment of the Year
D-Maximus_Prime - Hard one to pin down... but I gotta say pre-ordering my first Masterpiece. I have yet to attend a Transformers convention but nothing felt quite like when TFSource opened their MP SG Prime pre-order. As soon as he was even teased, I wanted him, and as he is my first Masterpiece, he is incredibly special. First Masterpiece, and it is one of my favorite comics characters. Shattered Glass was an amazing comic, and I want more Shattered Glass stuff. I like it when the good guy is suddenly the bad and viceversa. Probably why I love Autobot Megatron in IDW so much...
ScottyP - Keeping it short: Masterpiece Ironhide was the first toy I got after having to cut Transformers purchasing off completely for six weeks towards the start of this year for reasons dictated by life. For some of you, this immediately has no impact, but please bear with me. For a serial buyer such as myself, who's bought literally hundreds of Transformers each year for the past 12 years, six weeks is an eternity. Getting Ironhide in and getting to experience a really great toy of a character I've always loved in a truly meaningful, focused way was one of several events in that stretch that helped me reflect on the reasons I collect these toys and follow these unconventional characters. Steady, brave, and shining in that beautiful red, Ironhide showed up in the mail one afternoon in late February and had to be savored. Would the impact have been the same if it had been, say, Black Tracks? Why did the character of Ironhide mean so much in that moment? Finding the answers to those questions led to a few new and exciting paths down untread trails of the hobby. Life can beat you up or threaten to destroy Autobot City in your own shuttle by slipping by the early warning system, sure. But when you feel like giving up, think about what Ironhide would do. Maybe second guess it a little because of the potential consequences. Ultimately, the answer remains the same - when life asks you to give up, look down that fusion cannon pointed at you and say 'No'.
Cobotron - Oh! You mean like the time I was 100% ready to just slagging hate Masterpiece Hot Rod for his cursed cartoon accuracy, then I got him, transformed him, and he held me in is arms sweetly, and showed me the error of my ways? 'Cause that was an awesome moment! (cont'd)
william-james88 - It was that week of those slow reveals from Takara of all the components for Computron. This was the Combiner with the biggest question mark throughout the first year of the line and it is so crazy how much of an adventure it turned out with Hasbro and Takara going in completely different paths. Takara knew theirs was a big deal and they let us savour it. First by slowly showing each figure in grey scale and then showing them to us in colour. I remember marveling at each one, especially when there was a time I thought I either would not get Computron or have him be made the cheapest way possible. I was so damn happy when I saw that giant drill in the silhouette. It turned out to be one of the best toys of the year and what I like was the fanfare that came with his reveal. It was a fun adventure from the Takara announcement to getting him in my hands.
megatronus - Back to Earth Wars - one of the things my wife loved about the game was the inclusion of the Torch Bearers on the Autobot side. That's right, the component members of Victorion, Pyra Magna and the rest, have representation in the game. Well, when Amazon had the Victorion box set on sale for $40 a few weeks back, I pounced. Now my wife has her very first Transformers - a lady combiner, no less!
Cobotron - (cont'd) Or the time the Wife not only agreed that I should go to BotCon, but said "you need to go to BotCon". It was my very first, and very sadly the last. I've never seen a dealer room dedicated to just Transformers, and I took full advantage of Candyland. Knocking out a few grails along the way. The whole thing was really great though. Just the vibe and camaraderie of the whole community. It was a real treat getting to meet folks, make friends, and talk the talk during a whole weekend dedicated to the thing we like. And, Va'al even swam all the way from France! That was AMAZING!
Counterpunch - A few people will acknowledge Botcon's closing hours as their moment of the year, but I think for me, it was arriving at Botcon 2016 and watching everything fall into place one last time. We were so chill and well behaved. There were only three of us in a room, instead of twelve. No one puked. No one got stuck in a tire swing at the hotel's fake beach. No one passed out in a hallway. We've come a long way baby.
Va'al - You kidding? I loved arriving at the second day of BotCon, with only a couple of people I'd actually already met, and finally get to see everyone in the flesh! From carytheone to Cobotron, to Sabrblade to the entire Twincast crew, the Audio Knights crew, some of the COMPETITION, the artists, the Hasbro team again... and just roll the entire weekend trolling the event with custom Alpha Bravo fanboi tshirts.
Bronzewolf - Joining Seibertron.com. Seriously, I've been reading this site religiously for at least 5 years now (it became part of my daily routine) and I wouldn't trade the opportunity to write for it for anything. Love it, love the people, love the subject matter. Can't get better. Va'al: Awww.
Kurona - Dying of the Light for all reasons mentioned above. Again, don't want to spoil anything; but it's got everything I could want and just keeps going without ever hitting the brakes. An absolute Masterpiece.
Here comes the finale!
What are you looking forward to in 2017 for Transformers? With no real order...
-Titan Trypticon: more kaiju, please!
-More Titans Returns: my quantity of fun is directly correlated to my quantity of headmasters.
-Next Gimmick: Powermasters? Pretenders? Beast Wars? I'm excited to see what's in store for Transformers.
-HasCon: As a Marvel Legends and Star Wars collector, I hope HasCon is a success.
-MP36 Megatron: No words. Just silent tears of joy.
The continuation of Titans Return figures, Trypticon is coming. Will be interesting to see how he turns out. Oh and then there's the movie. I won't be getting my hopes up for it, so here's hoping it surprises me, and here's hoping some of our readers surprise me and tone down the anti-Bay rhetoric that generates so many reported posts!
The reveal of the next Beast Wars Masterpiece toy. I am hoping it is Megatron. Well, I wish it to be Dinobot but I really cannot imagine how that toy would ever work. How can he be such a slim dinosaur and turn into such a tall dark and handsome bot. The full reveal of Titan Class Trypticon is also something I look forward to but the fact that we can all picture how it will look like roughly and knowing that available space for more toys in my home is quickly diminishing kind of dampens my anticipation for the reveal, in comparison to my hopes for the next Masterpiece Beast Wars announcement.
The possibility that the next line of Transformers may give us toys of the original 13 Primes.
Classics UK Volume 6, and dare I dream Classics UK Volume 7 might also come out? I'm also looking forward to basically everyone being wrong about Power of the Primes, including me.
Oh, and finally finding out if that note Mr. Roberts left me at the end of MTMTE #38's script was a joke or a scolding (and no, I won't tell you what it said ) Va'al knows. Va'al was there. Va'al was kinda responsible for it.
Titans Return and Lost Light. Quite possibly the most generic response I could have given... but can't really think of much else. MTMTE is my favourite Transformers fiction (and overall fiction at the moment), while Titans Return has really hit the ground running. The rest of IDW too, actually - TAAO is REALLY getting good, and Optimus Prime... looks decent.
I gotta say hopefully going to my first convention. Botcon may be no more, but I will still get out there go someplace. I gotta get to one of these and live it out. There is so much potential there that I need to experience.
Figure wise, I'm really looking forward to the Titans Return Leader Decepticons. The 2 we have revealed so far look amazing, and I really look forward to some lesser known guys getting some great attention from this line. (Please Nautica!!!)
Toys, toys, toys, and more toys. Titans, Powery Primes, Liony Convoys, MP Artfire, RID's Combiner Pants Force. I'm sure 2017 will be a breakneck switchback mountain road of reveals, that will make for a great ride. I also always look forward to the hunt, and swapping campfire stories with all here in Seibertown. To a better year than the last!
Perceptor. Bring it on, man. I've been kicking around grabbing a fanstoys Tesla, but waited because of the rumors of a mainline release. I'm so glad I did. I could not be happier with how he looks, and can't wait to pick him up.
I'm also looking forward to Trypticon's reveal and potential release, and The Last Knight. I'm being cautiously optimistic (perhaps more optimistic than I should be) about it. I'm very optimistic about the toys, though. Some of my favorite real-life cars finally embodied as transformers. I'm stoked, and I'm waiting with baited breath until they get revealed.
I'm also looking forward to continuing involvement with this great community and writing for Seibertron. I know it's sappy but talking transformers with you all is the highlight of my day, and always enjoyable. To 2017 and beyond!
On those words, we come to a close on a retrospective glimpse at a busy year in Transformers, Seibertronians, toys, comics, community and more... Now it's up to you! What made your 2016 special in Transformers? What do you hope our Gracious Robots Overlords [there's more than one?!] will bring in 2017, the next Movie Year? The Energon Pub is open at all hours - just grab a seat, and let it out.
May we all surrender our Intellectual Property, and achieve Total Brand Awareness.
The Titan Masters for Wave 3 of Titans Return are being found at retail slowly but surely. Personally, I believe this wave has the very best Titan Master so far: Sawback. This is a figure inspired from the G1 headmaster figure Lione and here you can see how the two compare. Of all Titan Masters so far, Sawback/Lione is the perfect G1 toy to be represented since he was only just a head in G1 so being just a head now works.
Also, of all Titan Masters so far, Sawback has the very best integration with the Titan Master vehicle by filling out the mane of the lion. Here is a comparison between the lion mode on the G1 figure and its homage:
More comparisons with g1 we have Sawback on Hardhead and Skullcruncher and the G1 counterparts of the same combinations.
And here is Sawback with the other new molds from his wave:
Notice how well that Titan Master works to make up the mane.
Since Lione never had a robot mode (he was just a head), Sawback's robot mode is completely new and actually refers to the alt mode of his G1 counterpart by having a beast face:
The lion turns into a single pilot aircraft of some sort. What I find great is how there is painted detailing in the wings to give this form detailing not found in the other modes, with silver painted guns on the wings. While the instructions say to keep the legs up, I prefer them down.
Here is an alternate transformation for each new mold from this wave:
And here is Sawback in his shield mode, along with the other new Titan Masters in their respective weapons modes.
Let us know what you think of Sawback and the others.
A wave of undead TITANS has touched down on CYBERTRON! Even with the help of the massive METROPLEX, WINDBLADE and STARSCREAM can only hold them off for so long. They need help from Elita-1—and they’re going to get it whether she agrees or not. The fate of CYBERTRON depends on it!
Now, where were we?
With the weird time shifts of IDW's release schedules - seriously, even continuity has nothing on them - we're still working in the aftermath of Titans Return, and really quite heavily so. Said aftermath continues to provide an excellent backdrop to the evolving dynamics of the Council, and the whatonearthisgoingon-ness of Elita-1 and her Titan Carcer. How? Read on...
What Sparkstalker said!
An issue which rolls much faster than the previous one, which was more focused on build-up than resolution, we start to see the direct consequence of having called all major players into play, and Elita One still unwilling to lend a hand - because something is up with Carcer, as everyone knows by now.
Though there is plenty of character building in the various scenes across the issue, and Windblade, Ironhide, Starscream, and even Metroplex get a good dose, the one that stood out the most was Obsidian, this time round. We've seen him loving his tiny 'gotcha' screens, being imposing and menacing and lurking and looming - we get to see a very different side of him, now that he's next to his First. She's probably worse things than him.
concerned creepy puppy
Mairghread Scott has also been able to do some subtle characterisation of the various names and faces that appear in group shots - keep an eye out for all of them as you dodge lasers, blasters, missiles. I have some further thoughts on the issue in terms of plot, but more on that below, of course.
There is a lot happening all at once. It's a giant battle with giant Titans, occurring both in space and on Cybertron. It's a big canvas. Sara Pitre Durocher fills it masterfully, using panels, action layouts, character interactions and page breaks to convey the sheer scale of the event and of its impact upon Starscream's current rule, along with the Council.
And if crowd and battle scenes weren't hard enough for lineart, colourist Joana Lafuente blends her skill with equal mastery, and makes individuals in a crowd stand out, from the guards around Ironhide, to the Titans attacking, to the faces appearing between convicts, citizens, dwellers and ex-colonists. That, and we still have some excellent space scenes, too.
And this shot
Tom B. Long, still on letters as we've come to expect, still delivers (as we've also come to expect) in fonts, captions, and interplaying the two and more into a coherent part of the visual storytelling. Metroplex's speech-style is still one of the highlights of this book, and so very nice to look at. We also then have Pitre Durocher on main cover, with a similar, echoing variant by Priscilla Tramontano (thumbnailed), plus a continuation of fan artist spotlights with Zoner taking a turn on RI.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
Diplomacy also means strategy. Leadership also means compromise. Both definitely mean tough choices, and the unique mix of Windblade and Starscream's takes on the current situation at hand brings out a definitely intriguing and potentially incredibly consequential storyline revolving yes around Carcer, but also Metroplex, but even more also - and particularly - Elita-1.
One Scary Lady
As I said above, I like Obsidian's 'new' side, I like his interaction with Elita, I like that Windblade and Starscream are collaborating on a difficult task, I like that we have a side-support from Chromia, I like that we have everyone - and I mean everyone - in the issue (Check out ScottyP's spoilery character roster in our database!). I like that I have no idea where this is going. I can only think of other Titans, past storylines, speculate, and mostly, just wait for the evil to unfold. Join me?
Hello, Seibertronians, I hope you all had a good holiday!
I just happened to receive Titans Return Hot Rod for one of my gifts, and thought I'd throw together a little pictorial review for you all! So let's dive in and klook at one of the most anticipated figures of wave three!
Let's start with the figure himself: he is just great looking. He totally encapsulates the aesthetic Hot Rod is supposed to have. That sleek, young look is just perfectly represented. While his robot mode might not have the most accurate colors, (namely on his legs), he is undeniably the Roddy we all know and love.
Although yes, I agree, you can't see his wing enough over his shoulders.
Hot Rod comes with two large rifles, so he can go full Rambo mode
These guns can combine to make another seat for a Titan(head)Master, per the norm with most wave 2/3 figures.
This seems like a cool additional feature until until you realise that, because of the placement of the handles and Hot Rod's articulation, there's no way that I've found for Rod to hold the gun in a fashion so the Titan master sits upright, unless you make him go street gang style.
The other gun-related issue (with mine at least) is the gun's pegs are just slightly too big for his hands (or vice versa), so when you put the guns in his hands, it requires a good bit of force, and with nothing directly under his hands to support that force, it all goes to the little pin keeping his hands on. I could easily see these breaking if not done correctly. Then again, it could just be an issue mine alone has, and others will have nothing to worry about.
Next up: size comparisons. Roddy is actually a bit tall for a deluxe, and not just because of his massive shoulders.
With some other Movie mates of all sizes:
Class of '86
Next, let's cover what is easily the best part of this figure: His vehicle mode, and Good Lord. Perfection. It really is. It feels solid, the transformation is great, everything clips together so well it's almost unbelievable. As many others have pointed out, he also has some cues to the TF: Animated incarnation of this character, which is awesome by itself.
Cruising with some more Cybertronian cars. Hasbro again knocking it out of the park with these.
Before we wrap things up, I wanted to touch on his Titan master: he's unpainted. Yes, continuing with the trend wave 2 started, he doesn't have a lick of paint on him, other than Hot Rod's face. But not only this: He's completely one color. Something even the Wave two figures did was mold the arms and legs in a different color than the rest of the body, just to give it some variety. I'll probably end up custom painting him, but it really is a blemish on an otherwise really good figure.
Other than that (and the limited articulation I didn't really touch on) he's a really, really good figure, and easily the best representation of this character we've ever gotten in a mainline release. I highly encourage picking him up!
REVOLUTION is over—but the danger to Earth is just beginning. As OPTIMUS PRIME pulls Earth into the larger universe, he’s painted a target on Earth… and a new alien incursion begins when a corkscrew shaped craft drills into our world!
Here we go again
What do we have here? A new title from John 'Continuity' Barber? Look at it this way: Revolution is over, Reconstruction is starting, corporate is backing out slightly just for a little bit, and it's time to patch up what's left of crossover events. Enter the same cast, a different title, and a lot of clashing personalities. Welcome back to Earth.
The Status Quo
Barber has a penchant, has always had it, to play with story from an entry point. This series is probably the most promisingly enabling of that, with Optimus Prime being narrator and thread, as his personal story bleeds into his formation and current situation, shaping and being shaped by the context and the players around him.
This is true for the flashbacks, in which we see his young idealist law-enforcer self. This is true for when we switch back to the current events, where those ideals are a little shakier, and other people are more likely to call him out on things, from Pyra Magna (more of her please), to Soundwave, and even to his older allies.
For a reader who's followed RID, Transformers, all the crossovers and events, and even before all that, back to earlier stories with red-blue-bot, some of this may feel familiar, sure. But it's an excellent first issue that doesn't compromise its jumping on point in any way. It has enough new stuff to keep regulars in, and enough grounding to bring new audiences along too. That's a win-win for me.
Kei Zama's work on the pages is something to behold. It's not often that an excellent cover artist is also a truly great interior artist, and when it happens, they deserve all the praise they can get. One of the interviews about her cited a number of heavy influences, from Marvel G2 to 2000AD, but I also see some James Raiz in more TF-friendly terms, and it's definitely her own take on sequential narrative, with bold inks and shading to boot.
LOUD DYNAMIC LINES
And if the lines are gritty, and bold, and heavy without crushing the page, Josh Burcham crushes the work with some of the best colours he's produced in his career. If you thought Sins of the Wreckers was good, this goes in a different, even better direction altogether, and the two styles work oh so very well.
By contrast, simple and effective
With the old style coming back, and a lot of new faces, Tom B. Long has a lot on his lettering plate, but do we really have any doubts that he can make it work, even with new art and busy panels? Not at all. The flow is great, the captions fit, and nothing is sacrificed. Plus, IDW got Paul Pope (with Lovern Kindzierski) to do a variant cover. Sara Pitre Durocher tags the shiz out of graffiti art, regulars Casey Coller, Joana Lafuente, Andrew Griffith are still magnificent, and the Sonny Liew and Tim King are great additions/banes to completists. Nice touch on the UK-variant Zama cover too, with David Garcia Cruz on colours.
Thoughts Spoilerish ahead
We know this by now: Roberts and the MTMTE Lost Light team work best with the fandom they created, Barber and his rotating titles and teams are in charge of the core mythology, lore, and backbone storylines for the IDW verse. Optimus Prime, in this first issue is very similar to the early RID books I loved so much - internal narration devices included - and yes, while full of stuff, leads directly from the general reader that bought Revolution.
..but what about the fun, then?
If this is what Reconstruction is going to bring, I'm quite happy to cautiously join in for the ride, and for one, accept our benevolent diplomatic if ego-inflated robotic overlords. And if they look this good doing it, thanks to Zama and Burcham, it's definitely going to be a swish ride for a little while at least, despite the criss-crossing plotlines that the editorial team will have to keep track of (thanks, synergy - we will achieve Total Brand Awareness).
Somewhat-spoilery review for Lost Light #1. A little spoilery. Spoiler-ish.
Five years ago, Rodimus and a collection of traumatised, lovelorn and/or sarcastic Autobots set off on a quest to find Cyberutopia. So far, they've made a right hash of it. They've misplaced their map. They've lost their ship, the Lost Light, to a mutinous escapologist. Oh, and they're dead.
Well guys, it's been a painful few months with only Fort Max's Titans Return cross-sell and the Scavengers' little mini-issue to tide us over, but finally we're back! Rodimus, Megatron, Ultra Magnus, Ratchet, Drift, Nautica, some dead bodies, a legislator and a whole slew of new and returning characters! The main story! A bunch of lonely losers gallivanting around the galaxy who barely ever transform or fight but we still love for some reason!
Yes, we're finally back to the main focus after that nail-biting cliffhanger at the end of #55 from... Primus above, July. It has been a long time. As more and more details about its continuation came out with each one decidedly confusing us - why the re-branding? They're dead? Why did Rodimus get replaced with his Shattered Glass toy? Who's this new 'Anode' character, why are they partnered with Hosehead's Headmaster and what gender are they? - we finally get all the answers.
Well, most of them.
We know Anode's a girl, at least.
Talking of Anode, she takes up quite a bit of the issue; stepping into the newcomer-for-the-benefit-of-the-reader's-experience role. She's fun, obviously has a lot to her than she's letting on, and is delightfully quirky with a number of one-liners to drop here and there. Her partner, Lug - who, as noted, some might remember as being Hosehead's headmaster in the original G1 toyline and Marvel comics but bears no such role here - plays the straight man were they a comedy duo, but don't fret, they're not simply comic relief. That's as much as I'll say about them though; you'll have to read the issue for the rest. I'm such a tease. But make no mistake, after just a single issue, I'm in love with them.
That's quite a lot about Anode and her not-Headmaster companion, but there's no need to worry - the old Lost Light crew most certainly wrestle the spotlight from them soon enough.
And in a series built around them, it shouldn't surprise you to know that there's a lot of great character moments this issue. The whole gang gets their time to shine with laughs and berating and mourning their companions, but the ones who stands out in particular are Megatron and new addition Terminus; their long-standing intrigue taking center stage. In simply a few panels you really get the feeling this is going to be one of the most interesting dynamics of the book, but all the fuss over the newcomers does not come without an important homage to those lost.
The whole gauntlet of emotional expression is represented excellently partly through aid of a beautiful, elegant flow - one never feels as if one scene stops too soon or goes on longer than it should; nor does one feel the transitions are too jarring. The pacing is just as on-point as it's always been.
This issue is largely a breather and recollection of what happened before we get going again. A pit stop, if you will - but with some new faces among your usual crew of mechanics. As expected, this is very character-driven - not a whole lot moves forward in terms of plot, aside from some very spoilery stuff at the end. And I'll remind you this isn't a very spoilery review, just spoiler-ish.
If you've been following Lost Light news for the past few months, you might have heard tell of the new art duties - Alex Milne is still aboard, but his duties in the art department are now shared with newcomer Jack Lawrence. And it's this issue he makes his debut; both with the comic itself and with the main cover. How does he do?
Well, a better job than Drift. In all seriousness, he's a perfect fit. He manages to bring his own unique flare and style to the issue, yet at the same time it still has that... special feel MTMTE did. That sort of balance between simplicity and complexity that allows for fantastic variety and emotional expression; that balance that allows us to believe these are still giant space robots who turn into cars yet are fluid and human in their motions and activity. There's also one scene in particular that's... rather breathtaking, but it's also very spoilery. And since this is once again, just a spoiler-ish review, I'll simply say the page after Drift & Anode
If there's one particularly good way to sum this issue up... it's by calling it MTMTE #58. Or #59 if you count the Scavengers' little Revolution adventure. It's the perfect continuation of MTMTE and has everything you could want in there with nothing feeling off or awkward or like someone's lost their touch; with only a new art direction perhaps being a tad distracting (though in a delightfully good way; Lawrence expertly captures the simplicity yet complexity of both design and character)... but that wonderful positive is also the issue's biggest negative - and it's something pretty important that needs to be addressed.
It's not called MTMTE #58/#59. It's called Lost Light #1.
This is seemingly through no fault of any of the creative team; as best as I can tell it's a re-branding mandate from someone up high. But no matter the reasons why, the fact is this is an Issue #1 and hence has a responsibility to be a decent jumping-on point for new readers. And were I a new reader? I would be extremely confused. Putting a lot of the issue behind a newcomer's eyes (Anode) helps a lot, but you still feel really lost. Magnus' short explanation of the prior events is hardly enough.
And clearly the Lost Light team felt the same way because there's a massive 5-page summary of the entire MTMTE series after the main comic story. Yeah, this isn't something I mentioned in the review, but it's there and it's huge and it REALLY gives off a vibe of "we didn't want to be an issue #1 but this is here if this is your first issue". For a returning reader this is a good refresher of what happened and helps you catch up in case you forgot anything - though with one notable error; the main villain of Dark Cybertron was apparently D-void, who knew? - but for a new reader I get the feeling it'd be an overwhelming turn-off.
However... this is my only big criticism of the book. It's still the comic, story and characters we know and love (with a few new wonderful additions). It's still arguably the best Transformers comic to have ever been. It's still MTMTE. But because of that last bit, it's not something new readers should start with.
Basically? If you want to continue MTMTE, read this comic; it's wonderful and still the same comic you know and love. If you're a new reader? ... start with MTMTE #1. Then MTMTE #2. Then the rest of the series. If you start here, it's going to be just a little confusing and overwhelming.
We've reached the half-way point in our holiday photo challenge, Seibertronians! Yes, that's right, we just passed day twelve, and we're doing great! All of the submissions have been excellent, and we're sending out this small reminder for anyone else who wants to participate! Remeber, post a photo of any transformer figure doing any winter activity, and post the results below.
You have now until Christmas day. Happy holidays from Seibertron.com!
That's right folks, it's time! Fresh off the delivery truck, we bring to you our latest Seibertron.com review: Masterpiece Shattered Glass Optimus Prime! Shattered Glass Prime is a redeco of the original MP-10 Optimus Prime mold and is based on his Shattered Glass self, as seen in his 2008 Botcon toy and in the Fun Publications comics. He is the first of the Masterpiece Shattered Glass characters, and we are set to take a good look at him below!
Included in this review is that heroic Autobot we all know and love, Cliffjumper, who had the misfortune of meeting up with Shattered Prime. He will be used for comparisons, as well as a little fun right at the end.
Firstly, we'll take a quick look at the box, as it features some really awesome artwork of Prime gunning down some poor soul, along with a bio introducing us to this Shattered Prime.
Next up, we will start off with the Truck mode. The truck mode is your standard cab-over that we are all used to, but it has some very nice detailing for the shattered glass version. Shattered Prime's twisted phrase of "Till all are gone!" is printed nicely on the left side right above the drivers door, and it stands out really nice. The silver stripe helps break up the marvelous purple cab nicely along with the side view mirrors.
There are also some very nice green highlights where the roof lights and headlights are, and they stand out against that purple, along with the yellow windows. The broken passenger side window is a nice touch too.
At first, I wasn't too sure about the dull gray used for the grill and smokestacks, but you know what: it works. That muted color gives him a nice "dark" vibe, fitting for the Shattered destructor. The blue used for his legs/back part of the truck is also really cool, and it really stands out with the gray used.
Overall, we have a really strong truck mode that ticks all the boxes save "chrome" but Nemesis Prime covers that better than this guy would have.
Up next, we'll look at that marvelous trailer. Now, Shattered Prime only ever had a trailer in a single lithograph. He never had one in the comics or with any previous toy. This figure, however, decides to include one, and it is a trailer that I really do like.
The trailer itself is cast in a nice rich black color. It is so rich, you can see my reflection taking some of the pictures in it below. The trailer then has a deep purple set of stripes running down the side, the purple of which is beautiful and stands in shining contrast to the black. The giant purple Autobot symbols also really stand out and make the outside of this trailer really pop.
Lest we forget, this trailer, along with the actual figure, have nice chrome wheel rims, and they all stand out so well. That is part of what is making this figure so awesome: the colors all mesh and pop so well, no matter where you go! The underneath part of the trailer uses that same gray that Prime uses for the grill, and it works. Had they cast this in chrome, this trailer would work great for Nemesis Prime as well.
Take a peak!
As this is the first Masterpiece I have ever handled, he feels really big and heavy. There is some good weight to guy! The Transformation is also a blast and a half, with some small bits but so many large bits that flip around in genius style. Definitely one of the best transformations I have ever handled.
And then, we get to the robot mode. Geeze oh man, does this guy rock in robot mode! All the gray is now given the chance to shine, and it does so wonderfully, contrasting against that purple and dark blue and bringing the whole figure together. The yellow windows now seem so muted against that purple, but it only helps bring out the evil in the guy. His new dark helmet and red eyes are also pretty sweet, though I wish they could have made the head a little bit more sinister.
While we're at it, let's get that trailer standing up! The trailer unfolds as the original did, but it feel so much more sinister and cool looking in black and grey, with some silver and dark blue in there to break it all up. The combat deck stands up and the little cockpit area, complete with evil green glass, folds out. This thing looks so goofily hardcore and awesome. I am very glad they included it in the set.
Plus, given how often he gets into fights, Prime needs that repair bay a good bit I'm guessing.
As you can see inside the trailer, there are some accessories that we need to take a look at. First up is the Matrix he comes with, which is die cast and it feels marvelous. The silver, gold, and rich blue center make this matrix a beauty to behold, as seen with some natural light shining through below.
He also contains 2 weapons: his ion blaster and evil ax. The blaster is cast in that gray that Prime's thighs and grill are cast in, and even has a little silver paint in the back. This, along with the head, are the 2 parts that I am a bit disappointed in, as the blaster feels a bit too dull, like they could have done a bit more to it and made it pop more.
Now the ax, that thing is a winner. The green is the same as the canopy on the combat deck, and it really does shine. The shade of green screams "evil" and it is so big and bad looking that I am keeping it on his hand almost all the time. It is perfect weapon that Prime never used but always needed.
Check these things out!
Also to add, we have a size comparison with ole Classics Cliffjumper, along with a slightly different pose of Prime with all his gear:
In conclusion, I love this guy. As my first Masterpiece, he is a joy to behold and own, and I would highly recommend him to anyone who may be interested. Shattered Glass is a special and unique part of the Transformers we love, and hopefully this guy is an indication that there are more Shattered Masterpieces headed out way. He is outstanding and is worthy of being a masterpiece.
And, to wrap things up, check out a few special poses below that those who have seen or read anything Shattered Glass may recognize. Thank you to Transgeek2345 for the video where I was able to obtain these comic images
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.
Due to some technical difficulties, the list could not be published last Saturday, but instead here we have it to start the week off, enjoy!
Top 10 Best Head Sculpts
This is Seibertron’s 50th list and for this milestone, I wanted to have some fun on a topic that can be quite subjective since it is 100% about your sense of aesthetic. Here are the 10 head sculpts I like most amongst all Transformers toys. Criteria is mixed and subjective but I went for what I found either well done, detailed, interesting or definitive with a hint of the brand’s legacy factoring in here and there.
It is a very humanoid head compared to most robotic heads sported by Transformers and it works well with his more slender physique. I like how it is within a dome, giving off that crazy scientist vibe (ala Mr Freeze and Herman von Klempt) which also works with the motif that his main weapons are liquid concotions he comes up with.
This was such a brilliant release by Hasbro. They honoured both the G1 toy and the cartoon in one fell swoop. That Macross themed mask is gorgeous and just exudes cool with a great respect to the best sci fi mecha design while the cartoon inspired face underneath is on point.
I love how his head looks like a stylized decepticon symbol made more devilish. Him not having distinctive eyes works to great effect to capture a design of someone wanting the world to burn and have the flames reflect in his visor. Light piping was a great addition to the brand and it works wonders here.
I love how part of this design is very traditional looking for an interpretation on the Optimus Prime Head sculpt. However, they add this extra beast era detail of having horns which adds a noble savagery to him. To me, this really becomes the ideal merging of a classic Optimus design for a Beast era, merging the two most important eras of Transformers, the one that started it and the one that brought it back. I also adore the metallic reflective eyes. While light piping may be awesome, I do like this alternative, it proves that there is more than one way to make a robot’s eyes feel alive.
This shows how the brand kept being fresh throughout the years. This was a fully original design for a character that is now as classic as any other. I love the black marks on his face, which remind me of a Dathomirian.
As we get into the top 5, nostalgia is bound to weigh a bit more, and while this is such an iconic face, the reason why it has been such a mainstay is because it was awesome from day one. The faceplate and visor has this no nonsense vibe and harkens back to mecha designs older than Transformers. The rendition of that design here is magnificent.
Speaking of magnificence, the designers really outdid themselves with this head sculpt. While this may not be the ultimate rendition of G1 Megatron, it is the ultimate rendition of his face. I just love the extra dents and texture added to it, giving it a modern and more 3 dimensional spin on a classic catoon design.
Speaking of classic designs harkening back to G1, we have Vector Prime, who’s face is literally the G1 autobot symbol. You can see it, from the crest to the mouth and chin piece. The Cybertron/Galaxy Force line had the very best head sculpts, to me, because they took familiar Transformers aesthetics and added to them, giving us something new and timeless. This design is a perfect example.
A sense of tradition goes a long way in a head design but rather than this head be an homage to a character, it instead harkens back to the history of where these toys originally come from. I am referring to the oni design that adorns his feline like helmet. Also, the eyes have that metallic sheen I loved so much from Big Convoy, but in a nice red tint to bring out the evil. The amount of detail here puts almost every other head sculpt to shame. But that’s ok, because if every oher head looked like this, then it wouldn’t be unique.
It is hard to describe why I love this head sculpt so much but here I go. As I said with vector Prime, the Cybertron line excels at bringing out the best classical Transformers designs and making them new. This head is the epitome of that with references to classical autobot designs including prime like antennas, a helmet which reminds me a lot of Springer, especially at its base and a perfectly happy autobot face which looks similar to a Datsun brother. Yet the combination of all these elements gives it a brand new design that is all it own, especially with the inclusion of a clear yellow plastic visor that is reminiscent of the previous form of Hotshot (who was originally supposed to be Bumblebee) and the retractable visor. I love having all the differently coloured/painted plastic come together to form this head sculpt. Here, we see how the Brand can reinvent itself design wise and be new, while also preserving the legacy which has contributed to its longevity. It stays relevant but honors the past and that is what I hope in general from this Brand at every moment.
Honourable Mentions: I am sure the comments section will be full of them, so please be sure to click the "join discussion" button to see them. As for me, the three I had a hard time removing off this list were the heads of Alternity Banzaitron, Beast Wars Neo Guiledart and 2001's RID Megatron.
Me Grimlock say this not happen in these stapled picture squares!
Let's get one thing straight right off the bat when it comes to this final Revolution tie-in one-shot: it's of extreme importance to both the Transformers as well as the shared Hasbro universe being created by IDW. There are stakes, meaningful actions with meaningful consequences, and more snooker references than you can fit in your pocket.
As deadly serious a book as a game of Shoot Shoot Bang Bang
With Prowl hanging out with Cerebros, Fortress Maximus, and Red Alert, that leaves the Scavengers to pick up the plot and go to Earth. Crankcase is getting set to meet up with an online chat room friend, and the Energon Goodies are chalked and ready.
Nothing can ever go wrong when you've got Energon Goodies!
What they find waiting for them ends up being more than they bargained for, closing back in on a plot from the Furman-era of IDW that was long thought to be over, finished. Right on cue, things ricochet in completely unanticipated ways.
Oh, well, I suppose it can.
It can't be understated how significant the main reveal of this Revolution edition of More Than Meets The Eye is. Not only does it bring back a popular but fearsome character, it neatly ties together every aspect of the crossover, closing up plot-holes and nicely calling its shot for the last ball that clears the rack and readies this universe for what's to come.
I guess maybe things never go well with Energon Goodies.
There are more amazingly well placed references to other franchises than you can shake a stick at, with immediate fan favorite G.I. Joe character MP3 being assigned one of the most famous and ubiquitous of Action Force gadgets. It's moments like this one that show how well studied both authors, Nick Roche and James Roberts, are when it comes to the franchises involved in this incredibly well received event series.
One of my college buddies claims to have invented the slang "obvs". To date, he has not been proven wrong since I cannot go back in time to see who else may have said it first.
The tremendous pacing of the issue allows the story time to work, with the scope of events being illustrated effectively in a way that brings some genuine emotion. For the people of Earth, things may never be the same again, especially since this is the first time any city in the United States has ever been destroyed in any way in the IDW Transformers fiction.
This is probably Spike's fault.
Just when things can't seem to get any worse, the power of the crossover comes full force. The organic yet infinitely complex details of the years long build to Revolution pay off in a big way, and in one masterstroke of plotting, the entire purpose of this three month long, 13 issue event becomes as clear as the right angle for a corner shot.
There's a reason this writing team is held in such high regard, and this issue again makes it clear exactly why that is. They'll always be held to the gold standard of their own creation, but will they ever come close to capturing that magic again?
Private messages about this review will be promptly ignored.
I think they did, and they may have even surpassed their past achievements. We won't soon forget this one. Hold on to your butts and call your loved ones - Transformers, nay, comics themselves just changed forever.
. out of
(Actual review: this issue is a fantastic work of comic relief that manages to move along one major Transformers character's story line in a meaningful way. Be prepared going in to have a good time and you certainly will. Readers should also know that this issue stands alone in a way where no prior reading of other Revolution books is required. The paragraph about the art above is genuine, it's really good. 5 out of 5 is also the real score.)
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