Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by me, your fellow editor. These are our opinions so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.
Top 5 Best Transformers Line Wide Gimmicks
The Generations line brought the idea of line wide gimmicks to the spotlight like never before as of late. So I thought of looking back at the brand to see what the best examples of a line wide gimmick were.
5. Cyberkey gimmick in Cybertron
There was something truly majestic about the look of those Cybertron keys. And for the most part, they were very well implemented. The fact that a top 10 list of the best Cybertron toys left out some personaly favourites of mine is proof enough that this might be the best toyline to share a line wide gimmick. In terms of non intrusive gimmicks, this is way up there, but the reason why this doesn't score as number 1 is because the gimmick itself doesn't make the toy all that better. Granted, it's because these toys are already incredible as they are but there is no extra elevation brought about by some swords popping out.
While turning 5 mm ports into a weapon gimmick were a thing since the Energon days, Siege took it to a whole new level while having the customizable weapons be parts of characters released at retail. And thanks to the detail in these toys, the 5mm ports seemed much less out of place than when takara attempted this in their arms micron line. Plus what you can do with these weaponizers is really on another level than what Energon let you do with their weapons. You can make a trailer for Optimus out of Cogs!
So, while some of the most poorly designed toys of all time come from this line, I am not going to let some rotten apples spoil the juicy barrel that was minicons. This was the true beginning of line wide gimmicks and ecosystems. G1 had loads of gimmicks at every corner after the first few years but it was always just a few toys and nothing uniform. Armada made Minicons a thing for everyone. Even Megatron's sneak knife attack relies on a Minicon at this side. There was a nice symbiosis between larger transformers and smaller ones. Also, regarding Minicons themselves, while they were small they were very diverse. Both in style, transformations and what they could do. Some had their own gimmicks, like rotating saws, some could combine and some could become targetmasters or headmasters. All while also serving as the same key to unlock special features on larger toys.
An obvious pick, but no less great. Combiner Wars brought combiners back in a big way. Having all deluxes and voyagers be combiner compatible meant you could do all sorts of mix and matches, more than was even possible in their G1 hay day. Plus, the engineering definitely evolved in 30 years, adding nice articulation to combiners. The fact that their heads were no longer combining ports meant you could have greater diversity in the look of the bots. My personal favourites were the more outlandish and random outputs like Grand Galvatron from Takara. Combining was already one of the most fun concepts from the brand (asdie from transforming of course) so it was great to see the designers have fun with it too.
I personally have 0 issues with making everyone a headmaster if that doesn't hurt the overall toy and aesthetic. And for the most part, that was the case. Making everyone a headmaster meant you had extra playability since now every bot gave you an extra small bot to use for your base, or in the vehicle's cockpit. Plus, it gave you the option of switching heads, which could be fun and a blessing to customisers. It also helped give us some cool engineering since new possibilities were opened up by not needing to cover or hide the robot head. And we did get some marvelous molds, like Trigerhappy, Blurr and Kup just to name a few.
Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by your fellow editor or a guest writer, which is the case today with TF-fankev777. These are our opinions so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.
Top 5 Botbots Series 1 Toys
This toyline grabbed me right from the start, not only for my own kooky tastes, but especially as a line they me and my youngest daughter could enjoy together. And boy has it been a hit with her as well. Our current collection stands at the complete Series 1-3 and SDCC exclusive set, with Series 4 and the elusive for the US series 1.5 in progress. This list will cover just the first series. Even just using Series 1, picking a top 5 out of 61 candidates was no easy task. So when making this list, I considered things like the transformation, articulation, kibble, alt modes, compatibility with other TF’s and yes, even cuteness. So let’s get onto the list.
Nobeeoh is my daughter’s pick, so I had to include her favorite as her love of this figure in particular is what lead me to go all in on this line. And I actually don’t disagree with her choice either. Every time we play, she makes me put on some “deodorant” and cackles like a madwoman, and really it makes for an amusing gag photo opportunity with any of your TF’s with hands big enough to use it like Primus/Unicron or the CW and PotP combiners. There are visible legs in alt mode, but everything else is covered up pretty well. For bot mode, Nobeeoh has good arm articulation, and only a little bit of alt mode kibble hanging off the back. He is pretty balanced and easy to stand up, which isn’t the case with all the Botbots. The eyes in bot mode have a slightly menacing look which I like as well. But I won’t lie, my daughter’s love of this figure is the biggest reason we included him on the list.
It’s a soap pumper, its a pirate, its Sudsbeard!!! This one I feel is the best of all the first series. They really put together an excellent pirate bot mode complete with hook hand and wooden leg, and use a great red and black color scheme. I like how the transformation uses the curve of the pirate hat to become the side of the soap pumper. The arms have good articulation including being able to move the pumper handle/hook. He is pretty easy to stand up and pose. There are visible robot parts in the alt mode, but the bot mode is what really puts this figure on the list. I also think this original deco is the best of any of the future re-uses of this mold.
The alt mode of a plunger? I’m in! If deodorant makes for a fun enough gag with your transformer figures, then pairing up Clogstopper and King Toots (toilet paper) certainly takes things up a notch. (Or would that be down?) Anyway, I put Clogstopper here because I find him grossly adorable and fun to play around with. Gross because it’s a plunger, but that bot mode is adorable and gives me sort of a Dark Helmet from Spaceballs vibe with the huge helmet for a tiny little guy. He is pretty easy to stand in robot mode and has good arm articulation. The split waist/legs lets you lean him slightly forward or backward if needed when posing his arms. The transformation is a bit unique in that his waist and legs split in half front to back to form the bottom of the plunger and help hide the rest of the bot in plunger mode. The rest of the robot conceals pretty well in plunger mode. I feel the biggest missed opportunity in this entire line is that they did not make the handle 5 mm so it would be compatible with most other transformers (it is a little too big). As it is, he can easily be handled by most and other transformers with opening hands.
I thought the inclusion of food items was one of the best ideas for this line as it makes for some great accessories for your regular transformers, and I think Hawt Diggity is the best of the group for the greaser gang. He can be held one handed by most bigger bots with opening hands like the planet bots or combiners, but is a little too small to scale with the titans. Smaller bots can even hold him 2-handed if you can balance things right. In hot dog mode he hides the robot completely. In bot mode, the kibble is minimal with a couple panels that hang off behind his head, and a couple that are attached to his arms. The arms have good articulation and he even has ankle tilts! Okay, well sort of, the way his feet transform basically gives you ankle tilts, and although the legs don’t move, you can use the ankle tilts to let him lead slightly left or right by over rotating one ankle and under rotating the other.
Here we are, at the top of the list, and this was no easy task. I choose Unilla Ice Queen Cone, the best of the sweets. Her only real negative is that her alt mode doesn’t really work that well with your other transformers, as the Sunday is just a little too big for most bots to be able to hold one handed. However, she makes up for it by having the ability to take micromasters for a ride in flying unicorn mode. Yep, your heard that right, Flying Unicorn Mode!!! She will slay you with the power of her cuteness, or gore you with her horn, depends on how she’s feeling that day. The unicorn mode is outstanding with zero kibble since the sundae dish becomes her wings and the sundae with cone becomes her head. She has 4 articulated legs, and articulated wings offering you a bunch of options for posing, which includes being able to rear up on her hind legs if you balance the wings right. Plus, she is simply adorable, how can anyone tell that cute little face that she is not number 1?
Honourable Mentions: I’ll be doing these a little differently, more of a bullet point list pointing out a few other botbots that I wanted to give a shout out for a specific reason.
Lolly Licks gets a spot here for being the only food bot that can fit down Trypticon’s throat and into his stomach.
Burgertron gets a spot here for hitting all the right nostalgia buttons from the old McDonald’s toys from my youth.
Laceface gets a spot here because I like football and he allows your other transformers put a game together.
Chilla Gorilla gets a spot here for being able to fit on Cybertron Primus’ and a few combiners’ heads.
The Toilet Troop tribe in general gets a mention here as brilliantly silly and a great set of items in general.
Every person in the Transformers fandom has that special piece that brought them into the fandom. For some, it might have been an episode of a cartoon. For others, it might have been a comic. Others a toy. Others a movie.
But no matter what that source is, every Transformers fan holds that piece near and dear to their hearts. Even when they've been in the fandom for 5 years, 10, 20, 30, or even 35, they still can remember that one thing that brought them here. And despite whatever else they experience and come to love, they still will always remember and hold dear that entry point.
For me, my introduction to the fandom was the 2007 Live Action Movie. The movie, while not the best and by no means the least controversial piece of media, is still very important to me, as are all of the followup movies. I enjoy the movies for what they are, and I love both the action and the designs that they have brought into the Transformers lore.
And that leads me to the primary subject of this article: my first and second ever Transformers toy.
After watching the movie sometime in August of 2007, 12 year old me wanted a Transformers toy badly. And on Christmas Eve, I got me first: the original Voyager Class Megatron toy. And then on Christmas morning, I got the 2007 Camaro Concept Deluxe Bumblebee. My first Decepticon and Autobot, within 24 hours of each other. And ever since, I have loved and held dear both designs and toys.
Looking back at these toys, the Megatron was a simple and not very accurate toy, but I loved the ice effects and the speed of which I could Transform him. And Bee is a bit limited, but he still has some great design cues, such as how the wheels and wings work, that have not been replicated but I still love.
Ever since these 2 toys, both designs have held a high place in my mind. My definitive Bumblebee design remains his movie design, specifically the 2007 Concept Camaro design, and while there have been many different Megatron designs that I have loved, this was the first, and is important for that reason.
That is where we come upon the present time, and more specifically the last 2 and a half years. About that time, we got word that a Generations line exclusively for Movie toys was in production, and the first new Movie Masterpiece figure was hitting shelves.
The first new Movie Masterpiece was the 2007 Bumblebee, and I got that toy as fast as I could. And I have loved that toy ever since. It brought the 2007 design to life in near perfect detail while also still transforming. It has the mask, the Bee face that I have come to know and love, the little mirrors on the collar, the wheels integrated into the heels, and even the proper wing locations. The only thing missing was the shoulder missile cannons, but that is a minor thing.
And then, in 2019, we got the announcement and release of the 2007 Movie Megatron toy. This was the first use of that design in forever, and it was a Masterpiece! I snagged that toy up, and holy crap was it fantastic. This was a huge, heavy, larger than life, and perfect update to his 2007 design. And that jet mode is huge and wonderful.
Both of the Masterpiece toys lived up to expectations, and they have filled my heart with so much joy, having these perfect replicas of my first 2 toys.
But we weren't done there! Not long after that, we got the reveals of the first wave of 2020 for Studio Series, and in that wave, side by side, were the 2007 figures updated! Unbelievable!
And those 2 figures were pre-ordered and accepted into my home with open arms. And just like the Masterpiece toys, they lived up to their expectations. The new deluxe Bumblebee also perfectly nails that original look, and it feels wonderful to have a 2007 and 2020 deluxe of the same character side by side. And then there is Megatron, the same thing, but at voyager scale. And while he traded in a fusion cannon for a giant mace, I love the mace, and I love seeing these 4 toys side by side. Sure Megatron has the wrong chest, but the paint work is so intricate and perfect, it can be excused.
Having these 6 toys, 3 for each different character, is such a huge deal to me. I can look at these 6, and I can see my adventures through the 13 years I have been in the fandom. I can see where I started, with the limited engineering of the 2007 line that still produced some great toys. I can see where I have gone with the Generations updates, expanding my Generations shelves in all forms, but most specifically for my movie toys. And in the Masterpieces, I can see how I have matured, from simple figures that were gifts or took a month to save up for if I bought my own, to high end collectible figures of my favorite characters.
These 6 have given me an incredible journey, a nice representation of my Transformers adventure. My favorite designs, some of my favorite characters, and my favorite Transformers universe.
It is a joy to have these toys, both original and different updates. They bring me incredible joy, but also strike that nostalgia bone just right. These toys make me feel things; I can feel my journey, my adventures, my life in the fandom.
When other fans get their updates to their original toys, whether they be Generation 1, Beast Wars, Armada, etc. I know exactly how they feel. I can see why they have such an overpowering nostalgia for their firsts and their updates. This is my MP-1, my Classics Prime, my Galaxy Force Optimus Prime, my Power of the Primes Optimal Optimus. The feeling is wonderful, and I could not be happier with where my journey has taken me.
The movies have been my introduction, my driving force, my favorite universe. And here, they have come full circle. My hope is that others who have not felt what I now feel will one day get to experience this nostalgia trip, that they can feel that satisfaction of that perfect update to their first.
Another year, another round of toys! 2019 offered up not only some excellent new figures, but it also provided collectors of all ages plenty of opportunity to collect older figures as well.
And that is what we will be focusing on today. Today, I will be sharing with you the Top 10 Transformers that I collected last year, and then you can comment on the hauls as well as share your own Top 10 of 2019! And remember: any figure you bought from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019 is fair game for your lists! And the figures don't have to be ranked based on being technically good, they should also be ranked on how much joy they gave you.
So here we go!
10) Transformers 2007 Movie Premium Optimus Prime
This was the figure that I was hunting when I went to TFcon D.C. this year, which was also my first ever TFcon. And it was a great experience! If you haven't gotten to go to a convention like this, I highly recommend you do.
But back to Prime: I have the leader Allspark Power Nightwatch version of this mold from the 1st movie, and it is my all time favorite Transformer, the one I could not give up ever. And I wanted to find the version with the sword, very badly. But throughout the Con, I could not find a hint of it, anywhere. And then, when me and my buddies were getting ready to leave, I ran to grab one final autograph. And after getting that, I saw a Prime on top of a pile at a table; it was the Leader with a gun; underneath that, a 2nd of the same Prime; and then, somehow, at the bottom of the pile, was a 3rd Leader Prime, and it was the one with the sword.
I got him! It was a great find, and one I will cherish not only since it is a good figure, but also because of the circumstances of the score.
9) Studio Series Dark of the Moon Optimus Prime
This one ends up on the list not for being the best Studio Series figure, but for being the one that I had been hoping to happen for 8 years.
When I saw Dark of the Moon, all I wanted was a Prime with a trailer that turned into a combat arsenal and flight tech, and it finally happened. And while it does leave some to be desired in terms of trailer detailing/paint, it is still a joy to finally get this set as I had always wanted and envisioned it.
8 ) Ghostbusters / Transformers Ectotron
At the beginning of this year, we knew a Ghostbusters MP-10 was coming out, but we had no idea this wonderful thing was coming. And it was the most fantastic surprise ever. Not only is it a wonderful crossover of 2 franchises I love, but it is also a very very good figure in and of itself. Ectotron is a wonderful figure that is so full of fun stuff, least of all being the first ever Transformer with a Proton Pack.
Ectotron was probably the greatest surprise of 2019, and is one of the best of the year, retro-hauls and all.
7) Siege Omega Supreme
This was a late entry to my collection this year, but ever since I have gotten him, I can't stop messing with and talking about him. Omega is the Titan that we have always deserved, he is of great quality and posability, with intricate detailing and some great paint work. Not to mention his transformation is really fun and his alt mode has so much playability. Omega is a fantastic figure, and one that everyone should get if they want a Titan figure.
6) Studio Series Rampage
My Studio Series figure of the year. Rampage this year was a lot like Jazz from 2018 - He is immensely fun. He is the best figure, technically? No. He doesn't even have elbows. But is he ridiculously fun, and also forms a leg to a massive combiner? Absolutely. Rampage is a wonderful Decepticon figure, and is one of the best Studio Series figures of the year, and one of the best figures of the year.
5) Siege Smashdown
I cannot stop singing the praises of this figure. For a $6 figure, this thing delivers so much. For one thing, a Minotaur that turns into a Hammer. That is brilliant. And then, a hammer, the one sole hammer that we have got in the battlemaster class, one of the few melee weapons, and one of the few hammers we got in the decade. Hammers are rare in Transformers, and I love every single one of them.
This is a figure where you can get 5 of them (like me) or more, and not feel like you've wasted money. Get as many of them as you can. And with a re-release coming in Earthrise, it's evident Hasbro recognized how good Smashdown is.
4) MPM-8 Megatron
While I ranked Smashdown as the figure of the year, Megatron is the most important figure of the year to me. This was a masterpiece of my first ever Transformer, and it was a perfect update. This is a huge figure that impresses in so many ways, not least of which is the fact that he is combiner sized and heavy as heck. He is wonderfully painted, and the sculpting is perfect. This was the update I really wanted my first Transformer to have, and it was delivered upon perfectly.
3) Armada Powerlinx Jetfire
The final 3 on my list are older figures, and those 3 start with Jetfire. I have recently been getting into the Unicron Trilogy, and bought a lot from those lines this year. Armada Jetfire was one of the very first figures I got this year, and it should say a lot that one of the first is in the top 3 of my year-long list.
This Jetfire is really good and really fun. For one thing, he is a massive shuttle, and he forms a great giant robot from that shuttle. The Powerlinx colors are great on him, and I love the faceplated head. And then he forms the pants to a giant Prime. This is an insanely fun figure by himself, and he's a team player too. I could not be happier to have him.
2) G1 Dreadwind and Darkwing / Dreadwing
This was a pair where the story is as important as the actual find. This was a 1:00 AM Friday night hotel find at TFcon D.C., where both of these, as well as a G1 Slapdash and Flywheels, were up for a barter for a half hour, with some help from a friend of mine from the Podcast. Finally, after a half hour, I got the price I wanted, and suddenly I had 3 of the Powermasters in one go, and these 2 are the greatest of that. I now have 5 of the Powermasters, including all 3 Decepticons, and plan to finish that entire team this year.
But back to these 2: not only was getting them a highlight, but these 2 are pretty dang good by themselves. The robots and jets are really good, and then the combined jet mode is really fun and bonkers. It's a sign to me that G1 still has some pretty nice tricks up its sleeve, and I love the entire Powermaster team/concept.
1) Cybertron Defense Red Alert
I will be fully honest, this one was a huge surprise to me. Whenever the Siege Selects Cybertron Defense Hot Shot was revealed, I ended up getting the original from a Twitter friend, and once getting him, I decided to get the other 2 members of the team if I could. And late Saturday night at TFcon, I found a boxed Red Alert and scored him for a great price with the last of my cash (and some help from previously mentioned friend/podcaster).
And wow, this figure is so good. So so good. This is a large toy that has some great weapons, poses pretty dang well, and is just fun. And that chest and head sculpt are fantastic. This is the figure of the year for me, special both for how I got it, and for just how dang good the toy itself is. It is pure joy.
- Classics Optimus Prime
This was another TFcon haul, and while it was not a Top 10 of the year, it is still a great toy that is fun to mess around with and is a good toy all on its own. It feels good to experience a mold so many have had such high praise for.
- G1 Pretender Jazz
Also TFcon haul, this one was complete and a surprise to find for his price. After some Toyhax stickers, he is nearly perfect, and is a wonderful Pretender addition.
- Cyberverse Ultimate Grimlock
I got 4 Cyberverse figures, and this Grimlock is a great toy. He is one of the best Grimlocks we have ever gotten, and he's a great Cyberverse toy. He also has a fun gimmick. This is a toy that Cyberverse needed, and it's one I am glad to own.
- G1 Powermaster Prime with Apex Armor
I got this figure in the fall, and it was wonderful. This G1 toy is incredibly fun, with tons of great features and gimmicks. Every mode has something fun about it, and it is a large great toy.
2019 was a very good year for Transformers fans. While it wasn't as insane as last year (where we had 4 main lines on shelves at the same time!) it delivered as much for collectors as any other years. More even with the advent of the Generations Selects line which feel like the old collector's Club but more affordable and more accessible. I mean, think about it, what other year did we get seven seekers? So yeah, for both G1 and movie fans, it was a very fun year. And Beast Wars fans got 2 Masterpiece figures, so drinks all around! Below are what we here at Seibertron each thought were some of the best toys to come out, grouped up within categories.
A Year in Review - Transformers 2019
To go along with your Year in Review, you can enjoy a nice little sidedish of the Twincast Podcast Episode #237, itself is a 3 and a half hour year in review, which you can download HERE! As for the folks who are joining you here today, check them out in their Avatar glory below:
the News Hounds
The News Mongrels
Best Cyberverse Figure
William-James88: This has to go to Ultimate Grimlock. He was the shining beacon of awesome in a toyline that I felt was something I wouldn't even recommend to parents for their kids. This toy though made it feel like the Cybertron era was back. With an imposing physique and a fun yet not too tough transformation that just feels right and chunky to play with. I even wrote an article about how this is the toy I recommend to any parent who wants to get their kids into Transformers without wanting to break the bank or worry of fragile pieces. I do recomend him to everyone though, just to relive toys of a bygone era that were for all ages and just fun.
Bounti76: Gnaw, by a mile. The simple transformation is familiar if you had Titans Return Gnaw, and though this is a gimmick oriented line, his spinning torso gimmick is unobtrusive and easy to pull off, plus, it makes sense. He's a solid figure for the price point, and could easily be displayed with the aforementioned Gnaw(s) as their leader.
ScottyP: Lil Ratchet. He even has a sled! The Spark Armor "Battle Class" has been excellent, outclassing everything else in Cyberverse by a decent margin, with Ratchet being the best of this size class to date. A simple but still fun transformation, sculpting with a lot of personality and smart articulation points made this an easy choice. I'm looking forward to the Deluxe Class which will hopefully carry over some of the potential in these designs that's been held back by the stingy choice to just put out the bare minimum for Cyberverse toys over its first two years.
D-Maximal_Primal: Spark Armor Sky Byte - This little figure is just wonderful. For one thing, he is a totally competent little legends sized figure that has a really good robot mode and a cool shark mode. The only real weakness to the whole thing is he doesn't have a head swivel. But that is a minor point. The armor drone is a sweet little drill tank that looks pretty neat, and the spark armor combination with the Sky Byte figure is really cool. I love having a drill hand and claw hand on the same Shark figure. He is really fun.
Nathaniel Prime: The line from Season 2 has been pretty fun and good for the most part, but if I had to pick the best, it would probably be a tie between Ultimate Grimlock and Spark Armor Shockwave. Ultimate Grimlock just has some sort of charm to him, and his gimmick, transformation, and looks all scream "fun for everyone!". As for my other tie, isn't it logical? In all seriousness, he's a fun little figure, and the armor gimmick once against knocks out of the park what it means to have a fun gimmick.
ZeroWolf: I'm torn between two, Spark Armour Sky-Byte and Ultimate Grimlock. I'm going to give it to everyone's favourite Dinobot for the pure reason that it does best what I like to see in a toy. It's fun to play with, to pose and stomp around in T-Rex mode. Sorry Skye-Byte, as fun as you were, you'll have to appreciate being runner up this time.
Stargrave: I had to pass on Cyberverse as a whole in favor of collecting the main Siege line but like all fans I've kept pretty good track. I'd have to say the clear winner has got to be Cheetor. A welcomed call back to the Beast Era who not only has a super slick bot and beast mode but comes with a battleship for battle armor. That made me stop and check it out every time I saw in in the stores.
Best Studio Series Figure
William-James88: While last year's Studio Series toys for the Bumblebee movie were some of the worst, this year there were some of the line's best. Like that voyager Optimus Prime and Car Mode Dropkick which I liked even more. What I love most about it is how it shows that after years of doing cars that turn into robots, Hasbro and Takara still have some new tricks to show us. I especially like how the arms are formed so that the wheels are placed to be accurate to the film. I finally have a good looking Dropkick to add to my collection and it's a pretty awesome car mode to have as well.
Bounti76: For me, it's a tie between BumblebeeVoyager Class Optimus Prime and.... Deluxe Class Hightower?? Let me explain. First this particular Optimus Prime figure hits ALL the marks for me. Faithful movie design (though I know it's not 100% accurate), and it looks like G1 Optimus stepped into the movieverse. He's got a fun transformation, looks great in altmode. Combine my kid in the 80s nostalgia with my enjoyment of the live action movies, and it's a no-brainer. So how does he tie with Hightower? Well, given that the live action movies brought me back into the hobby after 20 years, I have a fondness for most movie designs. Though he never transformed on screen, Hightower is a great movie design, and a freaking WEIRD one at that. He's appropriately creepy looking and then some, like a mutant construction vehicle came to life and wanted to kill you. We rarely see any bot mode that isn't humanoid, so his incredibly unique design combined with the movieverse aesthetic puts him right up there, in my opinion.
ScottyP: The full set of Constructicons didn't quite make it out in the whole of this year but they got close, with each figure being a standout so far. I'm giving this to Hightower for being one of those really bizarre Movie-verse Decepticon designs that you'd think would translate into a terrible toy who then ends up being really charming in not only just the goofy design, but also in how surprisingly well it ended up translating into a real consumer product made of plastic. Honorable mention goes to the rest of the Constructicons and car Dropkick. Outside of a couple notable warts, Studio Series has been delightful and I wish more Transformers continuities would receive (and sell enough to deserve) a similar ongoing, consistent and high-quality toy line.
D-Maximal_Primal: Rampage. It was a tough choice between Rampage and car Dropkick, but ultimately, Rampage for me wins out. For one thing, he has presence, being pretty dense and heavy for a voyager figure. He feels really good in your hands. The paint work is also very well done, making him look really good and imposing. He also forms 3 solid modes (robot, bulldozer, leg). He may not have elbows, but he is still a very solid figure that looks and acts the part. I also love how poseable his jackhammer lower body is. He is so unique in body style and he can move it too. He's just really cool.
Wolfman Jake: SS-38 Optimus Prime Bumblebee Movie. The Studio Series has been knocking it out of the park, with a few foul balls here and there. The best of this year, though, has to go to the Bumblebee Movie version of Optimus Prime. THIS is the live-action movie version of Optimus Prime we should have gotten back in 2007. He's the perfect blend of intricate mechanical detailing with an almost pristine, realistic vehicle mode, all with so many more of the classic G1 Optimus Prime visual cues to make for a character that strikes all the right cords with both longtime fans and newcomers to the franchise. The vehicle mode, though unlicensed, certainly looks the part. The robot mode is detailed, beefy, and unmistakably Optimus Prime. The transformation is interesting, with a few neat surprises. There may be a bit of a design issue, particularly with parts of the leg assemblies, but it doesn't detract from the overall fun of this figure. He look great paired up with SS-18 Bumblebee
Nathaniel Prime: Studio Series is a line I entered with moderate expectations, and came out overjoyed with such cool and awesome figures! There was something for everybody, and while none were perfect, most of them were great enough to enjoy. As for my favorite, it was simply too hard to pick just one favorite. Between Car Mode Dropkick, the Constructicons, and so many others, it would too much for me to write (and too much for you to read!). In the end, I settled with SS38 Bumblebee movie Optimus Prime. A figure that hits all the marks for what it means to be an Optimus Prime, while having a flawless robot mode, altmode, and a transformation that makes me drool.
ZeroWolf: I've been debating this a lot, and it comes down to either Rampage or (this will shock everyone) Bumblebee Movie Optimus Prime. Rampage is bounds of fun though, so in this case, he takes it, though for me, none of the constructicons have disappointed.
Stargrave: Rampage. I didn't get a ton of Studio figures this year but man, Rampage won me over. And the only reason I think he beats out Hightower is that he came first. It's an amazing feat of pulling off that strange monstrous robot mode out of that vehicle mode, and he still turns into a foot for Devastator. No he doesn't have elbows, poor guy doesn't even have two feet to stand on, but despite these set backs, the paint, sculpting, the grotesque face, and articulated claws and treads all added up to make me go, so, I guess I'm getting a movie Devastator in the collection now.
Best War for Cybertron Siege Figure
William-James88: I have been doing this end of year list for a few years now and you may notice the trend that I am ecstatic when Ratchet and Ironhide are not given the short straw. MP Ironhide was a godsend not just because it was a decent representation of Ironhide in the G1 show but because we finally got a decent Ironhide toy, period. And this year we got that again with the Siege mold. Now we finally have a good Ironhide and Ratchet toy for our non MP collections. I pick Ratchet specifically for this list because I was really impressed by how dedicated Hasbro was to make him sculpted as differently from Ironhide as possible while retaining the same overall look and transformation. A lot of care went into the distinction between two characters that are very unique from one another from a character perspective. plus I like the asymmetrical arm details and the extra accessories (which didn't make him more expensive than a regular deluxe, yay).
Bounti76: If I'm being forced to pick, I can't help but pick Voyager Optimus Prime. Fun, unique transformation (though I do worry about the sturdiness of some moving parts). He is a fantastic CHUG style figure in robot mode, which is how I display him most of the time anyway.
ScottyP: Rung, because it happened at all. Now bring on a larger, more articulated version!
D-Maximal_Primal: Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime. This figure is a load of fun. The base figure is pretty dang good, minus the visible hands in truck mode. And then you get to the larger figure, and it is spectacular. The truck mode is pretty imposing, and then the robot mode is pure joy. The battle damage paint looks pretty good on him, and adds to his strong imposing robot mode look. The head is also spectacular, and rounds out a pretty dang good package as far as Siege figures go.
Wolfman Jake: WFC-S43 Mirage. One of the winners of the Siege Fan Poll last year was also one of the best Deluxe class figures to come out in the line! Mirage looks great in robot mode and is tons of fun to transform, customize, and display. The vehicle mode certainly looks the part of the G1 toy and cartoon model for the most part, but a few things like the large engine block made out of the robot arms shoved under the spoiler and the faux back end that is blatantly the robot mode chest, keep that alternate mode from being perfect. Still, this is easily the best representation we've had for G1 Mirage in a modern toyline since the 2006 Classics mold. While it was great at the time and featured no faux parts, the proportions were a little wonky and he was missing some trademark accessories, like his shoulder cannon. The Combiner Wars version of Mirage was fun as combiner fodder, but didn't quite sit right as a true Mirage update, what with being a repaint of Dragstrip. The Siege version of Mirage fixes all of that and gives us a transformation scheme just as good, if not better, than the Classics version. The way the rear wheels tuck up into the back torso of the robot mode is just pure magic! The translucent blue plastic parts also help Mirage really pop on a display shelf. He's just so satisfying, and I didn't even blink at the idea of double dipping on him to get the all clear blue version as well from the "Fan Vote Battle 3-Pack." (It helps that it also contained the exclusive Powerdasher Aragon figure as well as the also superb Impactor figure with new paint details and his IDW inspired helmet.)
Nathaniel Prime: Like Studio Series, there was simply too much for me to love, and it's hard to talk about just one. To settle the internal war over a favorite, I'll just go with Titan Omega Supreme. The only Titan class figure that has no flaws to me, it has such a presence in anyone's collection. It helps that he comes with my favorite Micromaster too!
ZeroWolf: A clear winner here, as despite the fact that I'm not a G1 guy, this toyline has delivered quality and fun figures, and that's nothing to sniff at. There was a figure that stands tall against all overs, and that is Jetfire. The designers went all out on him and it shows, lots of play value, and looks great in the crowd.
Stargrave: I haven't been disappointed by a single figure from the Siege line. I honestly love each of them for reasons from aesthetics to construction to fan service to nostalgia. I've thought about this for days and it keeps not making sense, but, I've gotta give it to Voyager Megatron. Many people have had problems with Megatron and I get all of them. He's got some flaws, but he's also undeniably Megatron. Outside of turning into a gun this is the most G1 accurate version of Megatron we've gotten in ages. Now that can be G1 nostalgic for the toys and then there's G1 nostalgic for the cartoon. This hits both notes for me. He's broad, he's beefy, the colors are all there and in the correct places. The countenance is perfect, the fusion cannon is PERFECT. Totally subjective here, but to me, I haven't been so pleased with a version of Megatron since Classics. These bots are all darlings to me though, thank you and hats off to the Siege line.
Cobotron: I want to put Optimus here. He is fantastic in every regard. But, when I look at Siege as a whole and think about which figures struck the strongest chord, I keep coming back to Sideswipe. Wave 1 Deluxes were the first Siege toys I received, and Sideswipe was the first I opened. Coming out of the Prime Wars Trilogy, my mind was blown by the precedent he set. The bar had risen. The elegant simplicity and intuitiveness of his transformation, the attention to his classic character design, and the tightness and solidity of his build quality were a fantastic introduction to the line to come. Almost the entire line continued to live up to the standard he had set in my mind. I actually prefer Red Alert's deco and details, always have, but I give it to Swipe since he was the first.
Best Masterpiece Figure
William: My favourite Transformers character and figure is Beast Wars Megatron. This is in no way objective, it's just what I grew up with and what made me fall in love with Transformers. So to have him be given such grand Masterpiece treatment was exhilarating. My copy had no problems and he is just sublime. I really like how he is an homage to the original toy,s transformation with many more tricks up his sleeve, like how that whole back section just folds away and how they give him a left arm. Plus that paint work is stellar.
ScottyP: Beast Wars Megatron but have to note that with one exception this was a phenomenal year for Masterpiece and this was a difficult choice to make. Megatron accomplishes something that I wouldn't have thought possible by delivering an outrageously detailed and complex incarnation of the Predacon leader that doesn't compromise in either mode. Parts of the accordion-ish folding when compacting the dinosaur mode's scales aren't what you would ever call intuitive, but the fact that it can do what it does at all is such a feat it's tough for me to hold that against it. Assuming the pelvis on yours didn't explode into purple glitter, nothing else from 2019 delivers the presence and personality that this toy brings to the table.
D-Maximal_Primal: MPM-8 Megatron. This is the movie 1 Megatron that we have all deserved and needed, and they delivered in an epic way. This figure is huge and heavy. The robot mode itself is as tall as a Prime Wars combiner! And it is super detailed and super well painted. He is really strong and stable, and the light piping and super attention to details just finishes off a fantastic robot. The jet mode is also really big and cool, and casts a heck of a shadow. The transformation is also pretty dang good, and I would argue it is the best of the Movie Masterpiece figures.
Wolfman Jake: MP-46 Blackwidow/Blackarachnia. This was not a banner year for the Masterpiece line. We're only (just barely) getting 5 figure in total by the very end of the year (if Hound isn't delayed again). Beast Wars Megatron and MP-44 Convoy/Optimus Prime version 3.0 are just too expensive for me to invest in right now. MP-45 Bumblebee version 2.0 is very flawed with unsightly kibble. Hound isn't even out yet, so I can't rightly pick that, no matter how amazing it looks to me right now. That leaves us with...Blackarachnia. That's not to say that she isn't a great Masterpiece figure in her own right. She's got a killer robot mode that evokes perfectly the character model of the Beast Wars femme fatal. She's got lots of fun accessories to reference the original cartoon, like the goggles, and the original toy, like the alternate missile launcher with a "spider silk" cord, and even includes a stand with a thematically appropriate energon web with which to pose her. The spider mode has been divisive, thanks to some mistransformed examples at trade shows and in official photography, but it's not at all terrible. It's just not perfect, but then again, none of the Beast Wars Masterpiece figures have perfectly "organic" alt modes. Each one has a bit of robot detail or kibble that isn't hidden. Blackarachnia is not an exception in that regard. Still, she's also not the best Masterpiece figure I've ever had, but she's not anywhere near the worst either.
Cobotron: Even though technically released in 2018, I didn't receive MP-36+ (toy version) Megatron until January of '19. Can we count it? I have to say, I waited out the 1st release of this toy in hopes of a plus version, and it was for me, the most major Masterpiece event of the year. What an amazing figure! I finally got to experience all the grandeur of this figure no matter the version, but in the deco, details, and head sculpt I had wanted from the start. He is with out exception the crowning jewel of my MP Decepticons.
Nathaniel Prime: This year truly was a feast on our optics with the Masterpiece line (unless you were a yellow Beetle ). For me, the best Masterpiece figures that were released this year are a tie between MP44 Optimus Prime and MP43 Beast Wars Megatron. Both figures scream the essence of the MP line; to be the best versions of the characters they represent, and I feel those figures do that job quite nicely.
Stargrave: No reveals just releases? Sorry Lio Convoy, next year my multi-maned friend. As an old Beast Wars fan I'm between Megatron and Blackarachnia on this. But, if I ask myself who I truly love more it's Black Arachnia all the way. One of thee best characters from that show and has kept coming back in the games and the cartoons year after year because she's got too many awesome qualities you just can't deny her. The quality of the Megatron toy may be better, but if I had to pick one, it'd be Black Arachnia. Ah we can all moan about that spider mode all day but come on how many of you display your MP's in alt mode, really?
Best Exclusive Figure (anything goes as long as it was an exclusive in some way)
William-James88: The Refraktor 3 pack is just good fun. While Reflector looking the same is show accurate, I am not much of an army builder. Most of my toys aren't on display anyway so getting three of the same toy is not too appealing and this is the kind of toy where if you only get 1 then you are denied the alt mode he was designed to turn into. So, lucky for me, we had this three pack to honour the toy deco with more accessories. So not only do I now have 3 different looking toys (which I can customize with accessories) but they turn into an even better looking camera. And I could grab this exclusive at my local TRU as easy as any other figure, which was icing on the cake.
Bounti76: Siege Greenlight and Dazzlestrike. From a background character with no lines, Greenlight getting a toy is nothing short of astounding, considering this was the kind of thing only Botcon used to do. Her headsculpt is plucked directly from the 1985 cartoon episode she appeared in, and her paint applications, deco, and colors do a lot in distinguishing her from her mold mates. Add a Battlemaster with the best action effect piece in Siege, and Greenlight easily wins.
ScottyP: Gurafi and Noizu/Decibel for giving me continuing hope that the era of "not reissuing toys so that a handful of collectors that bought import G1 stuff 20 years ago can still feel special" is over. Also because more cassettes are always welcome, they're pretty fun toys, the presentation with vintage style packaging plus new Tech Specs is fun (ignoring the nonsense Frenzy attached for some reason) and it provided another entry to my collection of Lost Light characters that I thought would never be attainable.
D-Maximal_Primal: Ectotron. Oh man was this one an interesting one. For one thing, just the reveal and release was super cool, and then they actually went ahead and made a full transforming and fully functional Ecto-1 Transformer, and the made it really well. He is tall, he has an awesome alt mode, the transformation is really good, and the paint work is really good. He is such a spectacular figure, and it is a blast to have a Transformers with a proton pack. He looks good no matter what you do with him, and he was such a joy to get.
Wolfman Jake: Refraktor Reconnaissance Team 3-Pack. Let's start with the mass-retail version of Siege Refraktor (née Reflector). We've been waiting a LONG time for a good update of the G1 cartoon character. There have been a few attempts along the way, like the "Targetmaster" version that came with Thrilling 30 Skrapnel, or the BotCon exclusive retool/repaints of Combiner Wars Shockwave, but neither came close to capturing the cartoon character model of Reflector so well, and in just the right scale. Siege Reflector has an amazing head sculpt, just the perfect amount of techno greeble detailing, and is painted to perfection. Although the singular "space cruiser" alt mode is nothing interesting, the combination of three Reflector toys makes for a great, classic camera alt mode. The special edition 3-Pack builds on that by including even more accessories to give the camera mode an even more convincing look, complete with flash cube, grip and shutter button, and a viewfinder. The figures themselves have been meticulously repainted to represent their original toy versions, rather than the cartoon versions, and are made even more distinct by their new accessories listed above. It's just too bad the heads weren't resculpted to match the original toys as well. The fun doesn't stop there with this set either. We also get an adorable little Kremzeek figure to cause mischief and mayhem among the Transformers. Finally, the whole set is packaged in a nifty box, styled after real 1980's camera releases. It even comes with a VERY tongue-in-cheek instruction manual meant to mimic those of the era with tips and tricks to get great photographs...in the service of the Decepticon war machine. You'll learn how to spy on your enemies, blackmail your colleagues, and make the perfect propaganda poster. A LOT of love went into making this exclusive box set, and it shows. Every bit of it is appreciated. Just like Mirage above, this was an easy choice to double dip on Reflector. I've got a trio of the cartoon versions on the shelf and the toy versions in camera mode displayed elsewhere. The extra accessories are still compatible with the mass-retail version of Reflector too, so you can beef up the cartoon camera mode if you want as well. Bravo, Hasbro!
Nathaniel Prime: While the main line has been awesome enough this year, the exclusives were the cherry on top to me. There were so many nice exclusives to choose from, and they were all really nice, from the Ghostbusters Crossover, to the Siege exclusives. My favorite one this year might just go to Ectotron, who just barely beats the Refraktor 3 Pack.
ZeroWolf: Tempted to say Siege Ratchet but I'm going to go with the Refraktor 3 pack. I liked Siege Refraktor well enough, great army builder and a fun way to build the camera mode. This set though was amazing, even down to the packing. These are the kind of exclusives we need more of.
Stargrave: Cromar. When I was a kid (many thousands of years ago) I actually had Cromar. And he was an outlier then, and an exclusive, just like he is now. So when I saw that strange clown face on Sixgun's body I figured we'd be getting the rest, and then there were the Rainmakers, and the Refraktor 3 pack, and more. But with Cromar's reveal my hair was blown back and I realized just how deep down the rabbit hole the Hasbro team was willing to take us. Take the rules, grab your expectations too, and throw 'em in that trash can right there. Buckle up and get your nerd on, this is going to be one heck of a ride.
Cobotron: Out of all the awesome exclusives that were offered this past year, the one I was most excited for was the Refraktor 3-pack. If you've ever read (or cared about) anything I've ever said, you'll know that this kind of thing is precisely my jam. A fantastic modern update to an old classic. It oozes with all the toy detail of their original release. Not to mention that it is a fantastic call back to the Takara of old. No surprise that this Microchanger has found a happy home with my Microman collection.
Toy of the Year
William-James88: Siege Optimus Prime was my toy of the year early on and it stayed that way the whole way through. I keep picking him up, transforming him, posing him. He is a really solid toy with a nice spin on the Optimus transformation. Being familiar and new at the same time. I really like the back detail too and that Hasbro went the extra mile not to have hollow looking legs. His is now the main Optimus of my classics scaled collection.
Bounti76: Orthia. She wasn't supposed to exist, and collecting her components took two years and three toy lines, but having the Female Autobots all together (and able to combine, to boot)n in toy form is amazing. The limbs all coming from the same mold does a lot to eliminate the somewhat awkward proportions of Elita One's torso mode but she looks great in her combined form.
ScottyP: MP-44 Optimus Prime version 3. One day, I'll be banned from choosing two different MP figures then putting one here and another in the "Best Masterpiece" category, but that hasn't happened so here we are. See, this category doesn't say "best" explicitly, so my interpretation becomes "Transformers toy of the year is the one that most represents the year 2019 that is also still a good toy." In several ways, MP-44 is indicative of almost every piece of the brand as we know it this year:
Repeated and continued reliance on 1984 and 1985 as the basis for stories and products instead of creating something truly new.
Multiple iterations of the same 'A' and 'B' tier characters in every form with new design refinements on each pass.
Masterpiece toys that utilize increased part count and an insane amount of paint to create figures that, sometimes to a fault, are oddly adherent to specific frames of the Sunbow cartoon while totally missing the mark when compared to others - and I don't mean in-betweens.
Pricing that is sometimes prohibitively expensive to the point of being exclusionary.
Lose-able effect parts.
Optimus Prime being awesome and driving you to spend lots of money on his toys anyway even if you're a little tired of him.
Anyway, more about this actual toy follows. I was extremely lukewarm on it when it was announced and still think the shoulders are too small unless the goal actually was "Headmasters" Convoy, but nearly everything else about my initial bah-humbugging was very wrong. The transformation feels really complicated and impossible to memorize at first, but by the third instance of exploding this toy from truck to robot and back I found myself barely needing the instructions and even then, it was mostly for recalling the precise order of when to transform a sub-assembly before integrating it with others. While the legs are still a little needlessly complicated in spots, the magic of moving pieces near the wheel well up into the torso while still retaining all of the expected articulation can't be denied. There are certainly more little quirks and annoyances I could mention, but the overall experience of this toy coupled with what is indubitably the nicest trailer ever given to a G1 Optimus Prime makes this the capstone that most collectors will remember when looking back on the brand's 35th Anniversary.
Let's just not talk about the similar attempt in MP-45 Bumblebee, who is the butt fumble to MP-44 Optimus' miracle game ending "Statue of Liberty" play that ends in a touchdown.
D-Maximal_Primal: Transformers War for Cybertron: Siege Smashdown - Who would have thought that a $6 Battlemaster could be the best figure of the year. Well, I can tell you confidently that Smashdown is the best of the best. For one thing, the very idea of Smashdown - a Minotaur that turns into a War Hammer - is a truly inspired and unique idea, and I have loved it from the reveal. For another, the paint work covers what it needs to, both modes are really good with a fun little transformation. and Smashdown just goes with anyone and everyone. I personally bought 5, and I have enjoyed placing Smashdown with everyone and anyone with 5mm hands. Everyone needs a Smashdown.
Wolfman Jake: WFC-S28 Jetfire. This figure is an absolute dream come true! We've had a few other modern updates to Jetfire in the past 13 years, one of them being a Voyager sized figure from Classics in 2006, based more on the original toy than the animation model, another being the Leader sized figure from Thrilling 30 about five years ago, which gave us a toy accurate alt mode and a very stylized cartoon-homaging robot mode. (I'm not going to count the Legends figures or the "Cyber Series" figures here.) Siege, though, has given us a nearly perfect cartoon Jetfire (or is it Skyfire?) at long last! He's BIG, a brand new size class, in fact: "Commander Class!" He's fun to transform, with quite a few nifty little tricks. He comes with a ton of accessories, so you can armor him up a la the original toy if you really want to. But, most of all, he looks like he stepped right out of the TV screen and into our figure collections! This figure is gorgeous, hefty, and has a real presence among the rest of the War for Cybertron Trilogy cast. Hasbro and Takara even built in an insignia changing gimmick, so you can have him as a Decepticon scientist/explorer from before the war, or as a new ally to the Autobot forces on Earth, just like in his debut episode in the G1 cartoon, "Fire in the Sky!" If all of that wasn't enough, Jetfire can interact with other Siege figures, acting as an areal transport of sorts for Deluxe class figures. He even has a secret compartment in the cockpit to fit a Titan Master or Prime Master figure! Jetfire has everything you could want in a Transformers figure, in terms of on screen fidelity, solid engineering, quality control, and playability.
Nathaniel Prime: Honestly, while the majority of people would only list one toy that defined this year, I have three, all of which were critical and are equally important to what 2019 meant to a Transformers fan. Those 3 toys are Studio Series Bumblebee Movie Optimus Prime, WFC Siege Omega Supreme, and Masterpiece Beast Wars Megatron. These toys are the utmost best 2019 had to offer, and there is nothing to be disappointed with any of them.
ZeroWolf: There can be only one winner here, and that is War for Cybertron Siege Titan Class Omega Supreme. An fantastic update, oozing with play value and features, sturdy and all around fun.
Stargrave: Rung. Of all the reveals and toys that came as shocks this year, nothing beats Rung. I honestly cheered out loud. I probably teared up like Kirk giving the Spock Eulogy when I saw that reveal, and it's all resonance from the amazing character he was in the comics. Some could say there've been better characters, stronger, better armed, but I can't think of a whole ton that have touched my heart like Rung did towards the end of Lost Light.
Cobotron: WfC - Siege Leader Class Ultra Magnus. This choice has nothing to do with fact or science. It's not based on engineering wonders or innovation in Transformers design. It's all based on feelings. Squishy gooshy nostalgia covered feels from the heart. Second only to Bluestreak, Ultra Magnus is my favorite Autobot. While Combiner Wars Magnus was also an awesome toy and a neat alternate take on the character. I was over joyed to get a traditional City Commander with all the modern articulation and design. The inner figure is great on his own, and only gets better armored up. He is the one figure I have played with the most all year long.
Best comic book issue
Bounti76: Given the glacial pace of the first several issues of the ongoing, I haven't read many comics this year, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the Galaxies series.
ScottyP: Transformers: Galaxies #2 was everything I want in establishing fiction for a new continuity, while the one-shot Transformers '84 #0 actually felt like a heartfelt apology for Regeneration One that showed veteran Transformers writer Simon Furman still has it after all. Unable to pick between the two, I choose both. If you don't like it, petition the other admins to make more rules for these sorts of things
Hats off to Tyler Blesinski, Simon Furman, Livio Ramondelli, Guido Guidi, Jean-Paul Bove, Tom B. Long, Tom Waltz and David Mariotte for these two excellent entries into the Transformers comic book library.
D-Maximal_Primal: Transformers Galaxies #2 - Galaxies has proven to be a very enjoyable series, and my favorite so far was issue 2. For one thing, we got our introduction to the Insecticons, and for the first time ever, this comic made me care for the Insecticons. They are creepy as heck, and their story was both frightening and cool. And then you have the progression of the Constructicon story, and both of them intertwine for form a very good and enjoyable story. I hope Galaxies continues to shine, and I hope the ongoing can take notes from Galaxies as well.
Shout out to the Ghostbusters/Transformers crossover too, that was a fantastic crossover series!
Nathaniel Prime: From what I've read in 2019, I'm not really impressed with alot of what I read. I'm hoping IDW picks up the pace and returns to their former glory with their comic book series. That being said, I would say the Transformers Ghostbusters Crossover comic, particularly the first issue, is what I would say was my favorite comic book issue of the year.
ZeroWolf: While not an issue persay, the Transformers X Ghostbusters crossover was the best TF fiction we've had all year. It treat both franchises with respect and was a joy to read. Ectotron is a great new addition to tf lore.
Stargrave: Hmmm. I'm going to just say Galaxies as a general offshoot. As an idea really. It was just what fans wanted, maybe needed to keep their Transformers comic book fires burning when the mainstream title had them dimming down. For all that Galaxies has brought and intends to bring, my hat's off.
Best Cyberverse Episode
ScottyP: S2 E15, "Wiped Out". Hot Rod, Bumblebee and Cheetor accidentally get involved in a turf war between three rival gangs of surfer bro Sharkticons, each led by a Sharkticon that looks like a Street Shark. I made none of that up. It's totally amazing. Watch this show!
D-Maximal_Primal: Parley - This episode was fun, giving us a look at peace talks between the Bots and Cons, and gave us some fun character moments. It reminded me some of Maccadams from Season 1, with how enjoyable it was and how fun it was to see Bots and Cons actually enjoying each other somewhat. It also ended kinda dark, in contrast to the tone of the rest of the episode, setting up the stuff to come in a pretty memorable way.
Stargrave: Although the series as a whole is not my personal cup of tea, there's Transformers cartoons on the air! And kids like it! That's good news any way you cut it. Cartoons, comics, toys for old, and toys for young; those are all branches of our hobby and when one does well, they all do well. I love that there's an aspect of the brand to appeal to younger fans.
What are you most excited for next year?
William-James88: The Cyberverse deluxe figures. It's really the most novel line of next year when you think about it since the other lines (Generations War for Cybertron and Studio Series) are simply continuing the good work we saw this year. But Cyberverse is getting an overhaul with toys closer to what collectors expect. And since the show designs are based on those G1 evergreen designs, this means we will finally get good toys of those designs. Really looking forward to Megatron most since it's a great take on the G1 design turned tank-former. Plus I feel we are getting really good value with the additional BAF. I usually hate BAF since it has become less of an extra and more of an actual part of the value (meaning a bigger BAF piece will mean a smaller individually packaged figure and vice versa) but here we are getting toys that all have as much to offer in complexity and accessories as the Generations line and yet also come with a bonus piece which you can turn into an extra figure if you get the whole set.
Bounti76: Piranacon. He's expensive to complete, and I don't care for the Japanese names of the figures, but we're getting the last G1 Scramble City style combiner, and he looks great.
ScottyP: I'd like to say Earthrise's modular base play-pattern concept but can't be sure if it will live up to its potential until we see more products. Instead, would like to mention how excited I am for the first official English release of the 1980s Transformers manga. Even if it ends up being terrible it's always fun to see older parts of the brand's fiction recollected and made more accessible to a wider audience.
D-Maximal_Primal: The completion of Studio Series Devastator. This is a figure that I have been eagerly looking forward to, and with 4 of the 8 components in my hands and 2 more to arrive soon, I could not be more excited. I am ready to see this hulking behemoth rise up and fully form up. Bring him on!
Wolfman Jake: One word: Earthrise. I was a bit incredulous when the War for Cybertron Trilogy Siege line was first introduced back in 2018. Figures appeared to get smaller. Some had questionable greebling sculpted in. They had "battle damage" paint apps. But once I got the first wave of Siege in hand, I knew I was in deep. This was the new standard for Transformers toys, and I was excited about getting updates to many of the Classics, Universe, and early Generations toys in my collection. These things look like mini-Masterpieces. Earthrise looks poised to take this new standard and run with it. There isn't a single figure from the first wave of Earthrise that I don't want, and I'm anticipating more reveals in the coming weeks. The sky is the limit right now for Transformers collectors, and I couldn't be happier!
Nathaniel Prime: 2020 will be the turn of the decade, and I'm excited for it to come! As for what's coming, there's just so much to love! To keep it short, I'm super excited for Piranacon, The War for Cybertron Earthrise line, and Studio Series Devastator. And as of this morning, I'm super excited for the Transformers Terminator crossover!
ZeroWolf: Honestly, Earthrise. Siege proved it wasn't just a G1 pretty boy, with new additions and great little surprises (like Smashdown) so I'm hoping Earthrise does the same. Iron Works is a great preview of this and I'm looking forward to seeing the rest. Of course Fortress Maximus also gets his rival next year, which should be a sight to see!
Stargrave: Earthrise most of all but honestly, I can't remember a time where I saw more fan dreams come true. Thrilling 30 was pretty close, but with Powerdashers and Rainmakers and Rung and primo Cyberverse figures hitting the shelves, I'm looking forward to another year of surprises and dreams coming true. Here's to another year of collecting and feeling joy from this awesome hobby.
Cobotron: Earthrise, of course! Most notably, Hoist. Just glad to finally get a neat representation of this figure. Beer belly,weird long legs, and all. And I'm sure we can all anticipate a Trailbreaker from the mold too. Also really looking forward to Cliffjumper and the fact that he finally got his very own mold. And I am excited to see how the A.I.R. Lock system plays out.
Christmas is a week away!!!!!!!!!!!!! Since I do sell part of my collection on the side, I have been bombarded by people buying from me for last minute Christmas presents, especially since the shelves only have a small subset of all the characters the brand has to offer. However, most requests and questions have been parents and since all I have to sell is more collector oriented pieces, I don't have anything for 4-5 year olds.
Parents seem to ask for the same thing, a big durable toy that can transform, look good and yet not be too difficult and not too expensive. So basically, a toy from the Cybertron era back when there was no divide between collectors and kids, but of course a toy that can still be found on the shelves right now. And I recommend the same toy each time, so much so that I thought of writing this quick editorial to help any parent who is still looking for a nice big Transformer toy for their kids.
My pick is Cyberverse Ultimate Class Grimlock. I have written a whole review about him and how awesome it is for a kid's toy.
No other toy aimed at kids even comes close to being as awesome as him. He is very imposing and really commands the space he takes. While he is light, the plastic feels strong and durable. The transformation is not too difficult but interesting and there are even surprises in it for people who know the typical Grimlock conversion inside and out. He has decent poseability and fine gimmicks that don't get in the way. Plus, he is the size of a leader class toy, almost 9 inches tall and only costs $30 USD ($40 CAD).
And he transforms into a Dinosaur, something still awesome for kids to discover. So, if you are a parent with a kid who loves Dinosaurs and Robots and you want to introduce Transformers to them and also want to wow them with a big toy while not breaking the bank, this is the one for you.
Here are some links, where you can still get him in time for Christmas, followed by more images of the toy.
Am I the only one getting a bit sick of Studio Series Bumblebee toys? Not in the fact that there are lots of them, but more that it's the same functional design every time. Unlike Optimus, where movie toy designers kept reinventing the transformation throughout the years, Bumblebee toys suffer from just changing incrementally every time. And that's been the case since the first deluxe toy (which you can see in a comparison shot below). That doesn't make them bad toys, it just makes them predictable and rather boring in terms of transforming figures.
That's what this toy suffers most of. It's based on the same movie Bumblebee transformation we have gotten since The Last Knight (TLK). Meaning, the car roof folds up and gets stuffed into the torso, the arms with no wrist swivels are tucked at the base of the car, you get that back window flip for the double wings, the middle of the car hood is separated from the sides and under it is a fake kibble piece for a more accurate chest and the legs unfold through a series of 90 degree pivots with the feet doing a full 180. These are all ok steps to go from a good looking car to a decent looking robot but they are all steps we did before. And the fact that it's the same steps results in robot modes that look about the same from one toy to the next, as you can see below.
I will repeat, none of that makes this a bad toy, it just makes for a boring experience. If this is your first movie Bumblebee toy, then you will probably be satisfied. What is frustrating is that this toy only comes with the battle mask, meaning that if you want a Bumblebee toy looking closer to his movie one appearance where all the Autobots meet up the first time with Sam, then you are gonna fork out some money again for another incremental change.
The car mode is fine. It's apparently not a perfectly accurate alt mode, but I can't tell. I have it compared to the alt mode his first movie toy had, which is said to be a perfect representation in car mode. Looks fine to me though. I will say that I much prefer how the car mode tabs together than other Bumblebee toys with this transformation, like the one from TLK or the one from the Bumblebee movie.
The robot mode looks great but I would have really liked to have a normal face, it feels a shady not to include it. While the transformation is a rinse repeat of other toys, design wise this does make it the first Bumblebee with that now iconic Camaro alt mode to have those extra little wings in the back, along with a very nice looking chest and even those small clavicle-like details next to his neck (pretty sure those are supposed to be his mirrors). I would have loved them to paint those yellow though. I mean it would go a long way and highlight the novelty to the sculpting. His robot mode is the best looking transforming deluxe representation of this Bumblebee design.
He has an arm cannon accessory which covers his hands. It feels really cheap though since it's just all in black and clashes with the rest of the deco. I mean for a line that is all about movie accuracy, the sole accessory to come with the figure looking like this is a bit lame. In terms of articulation, while he is missing some (like wrist swivels), there is a transformation joint on the leg that you can use to make up for a lack of ankle pivot.
The best thing I can say about this figure is that nothing falls apart, it tabs in as it should, nothing feels too loose and you can pose him with little issue. While this should all be a given for a toy of passable quality, it's almost a miracle for a movie Bumblebee toy of recent years. Still I'd wish for more articulation because right now even Cyberverse has surpassed Studio Series in terms of articulation for the deluxe class. Also I would have liked that additional face and some kind of effort for the cannon's deco.
I'll cut to the chase, this is the best representation of movie Soundwave we have ever gotten. I have comparison images to the on screen character below and looking back I am baffled that we were all so laissez fair about what came before. I know I love the Human Alliance mold (you will see it below in the comparison shots as the Movie the Best redeco) but it doesn't really convey the proportions of the character properly, definitely not as good as this new deluxe does.
The car looks fine. I really like how everything tabs in well. Everyone will be very happy that the car is covered in the appropriate silver paint (no more off white plastic, yay!). The clear windows do mean we see some of the robot junk in there, but I am fine with it. The clean interior and opening doors lead to lots of sacrifices on the Human Alliance toy so I prefer that the designers chose to favour different aspects this go around.
And it pays off, boy does it pay off, because the robot mode looks perfect. Soundwave was a stocky guy in the films, and while he had a large torso, it wasn't immense compared to some teeny tiny legs. He was more Wolverine than Johnny Bravo and we finally get that here. What impresses me most with this toy is how few steps there are to the conversion to get from two modes that look nothing alike. People often think that more steps may equate to a better design/engineering, but I never did. There can be beauty in simplicity. In fact, I would argue that it is much harder to get to a good looking and accurate robot mode, especially of a movie bot, with fewer steps. Toys can be overcomplicated just as much as they can be oversimplified and this one is just right.
The designers picked their battles well here with the alt mode integration and what parts should be real (like the chest) and which can be designed to look like alt mode detail (the front of the legs). I love how the arms are half car detail and half robot detail and each mode orients it just right so taht you think it can only belong to one particular mode. It's just a very efficient design. The car lights reorienting to give him the side panels framing his chest are the best example of that.
In terms of articulation, I didn't notice until comparing these to the new Cyberverse toys, but it's lacking for today's standards. Unlike deluxes in the Siege and Cyberverse line, this toy and many other Studio Series deluxes do not have wrist swivels, ankle pivots or even waist articulation. Which is kind of ironic since the movie look has them sculpted to make it look like they are made up of a million moving parts. Kudos to the designers for at least tricking me into thinking it is made of more parts than other lines (and I mean that sincerely).
He comes with a very important accessory, Laserbeak. While I never liked the skeletal chicken look, I can't fault it for looking the part. It latches well onto wither or Soundwave's forearms and can even tag along in the back of the vehicle mode. Those are two different type of latches and the mini figure will slightly convert to fit in whichever scenario.
It's odd how objectively, this toy may not be offering much as much as other Transformers toys at his price point (for instance, he has less steps, less height, less accessories and much less articulation than the new Cyberverse toys), but subjectively I feel more satisfied by him than many other toys. He always had a unique design for a car bot and he did not get as much representation in the movie lines in the west, and unlike Siege and Cyberverse this isn't retreading the same G1 design, so he feels more fresh. He surprised me, and I loved discovering the efficient conversion, and sometimes that's all I need for a toy to stand out. I would thus recommend him to any Transformers fan, regardless of their feel for the Bay aesthetic.
Every two weeks, Seibertron.com brings you a Top 5 list related to all things Transformers written by your fellow editor or a guest writer. These are our opinions so what matters most is what you guys think of the topic or list, and I hope to see your own lists or comments on omissions and ranking. Let's have fun! All previous lists can be found here.
Top 5 RID 2001 Toys
I feel the most underrated lines in Transformers history share the same name: Robots in Disguise. We already spoke about toys from the most recent use of that name so now we will talk about the original RID line. This line is very odd when you look at it since it was the return of G1 characters in a Transformers show with robots changing into cars. But there was also a holdover from Beast Wars with beast based characters among the bad guy ranks. One of the more famous characters from that line, Sky Byte, was a reuse of the previously released Beast Wars toy Cybershark but with a new colour scheme and identity. The line went even further back than Beast Wars for its toys, like the G1 and G2 line. Speaking of which the first entry on this list is...
Robots in Disguise was a mishmash of the old and the new and Scourge is the best example of that. He is a redeco of G2 Laser Optimus Prime from a decade prior brought as a new character. Funny enough, due to the character's fan base, this deco is even more popular than the original Optimus Prime release and from here on out that black, red and teal became the defacto redeco of EVERY OPTIMUS PRIME TOY (I exaggerate, but just a bit). Also, people forget, but this was a Toysrus exclusive, making him one of the best within that category too.
Yes, the best Beast Machines Optimus Primal didn't come out in Beast Machines. This toy came once all was said and done and that toy designers could finally work off the final designs from that show and was released in the Robots in Disguise line. They even wrote that he was a time traveler in his bio just so that this random entry in the line would make some sense in the fiction of it all (at least they tried). And I am glad they went for it, because as I wrote, this is the best Optimus Primal with the Beast Machines design. He looks like in the show and was even voiced by Gary Chalk (first Transformers voice actor clip in a toy ever). That transformation was also really since even though the arms are the same parts for the robot and beast mode, they find a way to alter their look and make them show accurate. That's pretty nuts given the fact that they how he got from one mode to the next in the show was through morphing rather than traditional transforming (reorienting parts).
It was Robots in Disguise that brought back Optimus Prime as the main hero of the Transformers franchise and he had quite the toy to represent his return. This was a Japanese design so it gave westerners something rather new with the idea of building upon a base figure over and over to create bigger and bigger super modes. It brought upon a whole new level of complexity too. I think my preferred mode though is the standard super mode (Super Fire Convoy) before he becomes a literal god. I find it's the best proportioned and still really imposing. The playability with this guy was through the roof with the extending functional firetruck ladder that was fully loaded with missiles and pop out guns.
This is one of the best combiners of all time and one of the most original. It's really impressive how he goes from three bullet trains that look like model trains (no visible robot kibble) which can turn into three individual robots and then also combine into one big robot. And that big robot looks rather uniform for a combiner and it had a great headsculpt. He's just a toy you have to experience to see the genius that went into him.
To be honest, all the robots on this list are rather close in ranking. Any of them could have been number one (well, maybe except Scourge if I am prioritizing original molds for the line). But I picked this one just due to the sheer ambition of it. He has 10 modes. 10 MODES!!!! And while some are forgettable (elephant?) I really like how several modes look rather unique and bring out different aspects of the toy. There's the two headed dragon, the main robot mode, a griffon, the jet, the bat and, my personal favourite, the giant hand. There are these seemingly decorative disks on his wings that become wheels for a car mode. Granted, it's not show accurate but it doesn't take away from the other good modes this guy has. And he looks so majestic and regal in this jeweled version of the decepticon colour scheme.
Honourable Mentions: The new autobot brothers Side Burn, Prowl, and X Brawn
RID is known for bringing back the the robot cars in a big way (it is called Car Robots in Japan after all) so I wanted to mention the new take on the concept of car bots this line brought. The cars were realistic, like in G1 but the transformations were very different. The car kibble was asymmetric in robot mode with a lot of new robot mode detail, like in the chest area which used to be a prominent piece of the car instead. I always like new concepts so these definitely gold a nice place in the legacy of cars transforming into robots.
The new deluxe Cyberverse toys are by far the toy which fans are most curious about. We all know more or less what to expect from more toys from the Studio Series or War for Cybertron Trilogy line but this is completely new.
I will start by saying this, while these deluxes are the same price point as a Studio Series and WFC deluxe they are as different from either of those as a Studio Series toy is from a WFC toy. It's a different feel and aesthetic. This review is for Shockwave. Now, right off the bat my first impression was that he was far less interesting than the other two, but there is a good reason for that: he already had a decent toy. Megatron and Optimus are both infinitely better than whatever else you can get in that scale in that line, but Shockwave had several good toys, in whatever scale you wanted. Unlike all other warrior class toys, his warrior figure did actually feel worthwhile. The fact that the spider tank needs him to have crucial articulation like knees and elbows made him leagues better than any other warrior figure.
So now we have this deluxe which costs a third more and the big question for me was, is he a third better? The short answer is objectively yes. As you will see in the images below, he is gorgeously painted on all sides, which really helps in the tank mode. He has way more articulation like ankles, head, waist and a wrist. He has lots of accessories, like a nicely painted gun (a way cooler gun than any other weapon to come with any deluxe this year), two clear effect parts that can combine and a removable clear plastic tube attached to a gun hand that you can insert above his hand. Meaning that unlike many other Shockwaves we got recently, you can give him either two hands or have one be a gun hand. So yeah, he has a lot more to offer. Oh yeah, he also comes with a leg to build Maccadam, but that's a bonus I will write about in another article.
In terms of complexity, objectively he has a lot of steps. He has more steps than the new Studio Series deluxe Soundwave (is also bigger, more articulated, and has more accessories) for instance, if anyone cares about value comparisons between two new toys that cost the same. But the conversion is nothing special. Not only because it's a very straightforward transformation due to how obvious the limb placement is, but also because it's the same transformation we got for the warrior Shockwave. It's more refined, of course, like now you completely replace robot hands with spider tank feet (adding 4 steps to the transformation per arm), but it's still the same brush strokes arriving at a similar alt mode.
Speaking of the alt mode, while the deco is way better than the previous toys we got for this designs (and I do like the front spider feet), I think the warrior looks better. The big cannon is more central while it's too far back on this deluxe. It makes the tank look more on the long side rather than being a more symmetrical X shape. Even though they go more out of their way to make the alt mode different than the robot mode, even so much as adding extra antenna for the tank face to differentiate it from the robot mode chest, the fact that the cannon is smaller makes it look more like the robot on all fours.
Speaking of the cannon, which also fits over the hand, the clear tube connected to it is rather rigid. So it isn't easy to pose. It will revert to whichever pose has it in a relaxed position. This really hurts poseability in robot mode since the gun arm will not keep a bent elbow due to the wire being rigid. Speaking of accessories, his effect parts are compatible with 3mm and 5 mm ports so you can use them for Siege figures too.
You can remove the tube and gun arm for robot mode and it still looks great. The deco helps a lot of course, and he has all the articulation you'd want, but my favourite part is the backpack. Not only can it serve as a place to post his cool gun when hes not using it, but the G1 callback is great. Especially the sculpted circle at the base of it.
In the end, he looks great, feels great and has some really nice accessories. Not a fan of the alt mode, but that is par for the course with Shockwave toys and I knew what I signed up for. He's worth a Siege deluxe price point, more so than I feel the Siege leader is worth his price point, so take that as you will. And now I will leave you with some size comparisons to other deluxe toys.
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