Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys

Saturday, June 27th, 2015 1:09AM CDT

Categories: Site Articles, Editorials, Top Lists
Posted by: william-james88   Views: 54,140

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

Top 5 best Shellformers

Shellformers get a bad rap among the community due to the loads of panels which end up clumsily gathered around the robot mode. However, they can also make for very interesting and effective transformations by helping conceal the robot element. They help add the "disguise" part of "robots in disguise" and it is a treat to see the lengths designers will go to make the shell work in robot mode. The last list was about how they could go terribly wrong, so this week we look at how a good toy can come from this design approach.

5.Transformers Generations Sky-Byte

This toy has flaws, sure (the Hasbro deco doesn’t help), but no one complains about its shell. This is a shellformer done right by using the shell to help disguise the robot and enhance the alt mode while not distracting from the robot in robot mode. It gets the top 5 spot by being a great improvement in terms of the shell over its original toy. What used to look like an amazon canopy in the back is now reduced to two small wings that can be rearranged any way that suits you making it customizable kibble. And if you add that sweet Takara deco, then that's just the icing on the cake (chocolate icing with bits of Reese and Toblerone crumbled across it).

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys

4. Transformers Dark of the Moon Sentinel Prime

Leader Sentinel Prime makes it on this list simply because we know how horribly wrong this could have gone if poorly executed. Unlike the voyager class figure, which relies on a fake kibble chest and does nothing with the shell, the Leader version owns up to his shellformer self and wears his shell with pride and dignity. Firstly, the front of the firetruck folds away inside his chest cavity and the window front contorts to create a stylish chest. The top of the firetruck splits into several panels to circle the figure and create an intergalactic cape which does not look like just the the roof of a firetruck. It adds to the complexity of the figure, and makes this one of the most arduous transformations you will ever undertake. That complex transformation shows how much the designers and engineers wanted to integrate the shell and use it to embellish the robot mode instead of detracting from it.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys

3. Transformers Beast Wars Neo Big Convoy

Probably one of the biggest example of a shellformer. Yet, you can’t help yourself but marvel at the awe that is Big Convoy. This is one of the most interesting forms Prime/Convoy has ever taken. The sculpt is filled to the brim with the most amount of minute details I have ever seen (to this day). The details are asymmetrical all over the place (chest, arms, thighs, shoulder-pad missile holes) yet it all looks uniform at the same time. And he is the first Convoy to ever have a removable matrix! This amazed fellow reviewer Ben Yee so much that he was a bit let down with Fire Convoy (another amazing toy) not having one. This is a fun toy to transform and despite all that kibble, he is super poseable. The fact that he is totally covered up enhances the transformation process by uncovering one of the most imposing robot modes from the beast era and the most detailed sculpt ever made. This is what shellformers are all about, having two incredible modes that look nothing alike and uncovering different colours and aesthetics without being lazy in design. This guy knows he is a shell former and does so with great pride. Most of the shell becomes a gigantic gun, freeing up the robot mode, and the rest is worn like the total Nordic badass he is.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys

2. Transformers Beast Wars Megatron and Transformers Classics Megatron

Both of these deserve the number two spot because they are there for the same reason. The use of the shell in both of these is genius. They both have great alt mode integration in the form of arms and feet that stick out but the shell surrounds the contortioned robot in a way to give the complete illusion that everything is cohesive and all part of the very same object. In both cases, you can’t tell where the shell starts and ends until further scrutiny. In both cases, the shell goes onto the robot’s back giving the mode a more regal appearance. These are shellformers done right. They also happen to both be Megatrons. Yessss

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys

1. Transformers Prime: Robots In Disguise Vehicon

This is a shellformer, think about that for a second. Isn’t that pretty amazing? The shellformer without the shell gets the easy number 1 pick. No shell was ever managed and stored this effectively and I doubt we'll be seeing anything like this again for a long time.

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys

Transformers News: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys

Honourable mentions: I was hard pressed to not be able to include Beast Wars Cybershark as he is another great example of a shellformer done right, however it results in a restrictive alt mode and both Megatrons are similar toys but more accomplished. Also, I didn’t want to include more than one shark on this list.
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Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703633)
Posted by Treetop Maximus on June 27th, 2015 @ 1:27am CDT
That Vehicon looks pretty cool. I still want the FE, though, even though everyone says buy the RID. The RID line was tiny as all hell, even by modern standards.
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703639)
Posted by Carnivius_Prime on June 27th, 2015 @ 1:39am CDT
Eh I dunno. I'll agree with Sentinel cos that's a great figure. Sky-Byte I'm listing on eBay this week after one day of purchase cos I really don't like him. I never liked that Big Convoy because of the shell (particularly on the legs, ugh).

BHeast Wars Megatron never appealed cos I just find it silly how he limits dexterity of a proper right hand by having his entire beast mode head there instead (same thing that annoys be greatly about the Cybertron Snarl I repainted as Carnivac years ago but Snarl still is the 'best' wolf transformer figure so far which is kinda depressing).

Classics Megatron is a fun figure but I took the 'wings' off the back cos I thought they looked awful. He looks a lot better without even if you gotta clip them back on around him when in gun mode (but the gun mode is terrible anyways. Oh it's a very nice looking neeerf gun but come on). Although that's all moot now since Generations Leader Megatron far outclasses him in regards to G1 Meg figures.

I still rate Crosshairs as a great 'shellformer' if classified as one cos of the way it becomes his duster coat which is awesome.
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703641)
Posted by Zeedust on June 27th, 2015 @ 1:41am CDT
Out of curiosity, is there a reason Generations Rattrap (and/or Generations Rhinox if he counts as a shellformer) didn't rate honorable mention?
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703648)
Posted by -Kanrabat- on June 27th, 2015 @ 2:27am CDT
I made a similar thread months ago and many of these picks were there.

However, I personally think AoE Leader Optimus Prime, and especially the Takara retool, should be there as #6. Appart the "rack" on his back, Optimus wear his shell proudly like a knight armor.
And that "back rack" is no worst than tes countless TFs who just throw their car mode roof there.

Image
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703650)
Posted by -Kanrabat- on June 27th, 2015 @ 2:30am CDT
Treetop Maximus wrote:That Vehicon looks pretty cool. I still want the FE, though, even though everyone says buy the RID. The RID line was tiny as all hell, even by modern standards.


Compared to the RID one, the FE vehicon look bad and is a biotch to transform. Stay away and just buy the engeneering marvel that is the RID version.
I know because I actually have both.
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703652)
Posted by Jeen0808 on June 27th, 2015 @ 2:40am CDT
Robots in Disguise Side Burn, anyone? Such a great little fellow.
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703657)
Posted by Va'al on June 27th, 2015 @ 3:28am CDT
Nemesis Primal wrote:Out of curiosity, is there a reason Generations Rattrap (and/or Generations Rhinox if he counts as a shellformer) didn't rate honorable mention?



Ooooh good points good points. Those two, Rhinox in particular, are wonderful toys that keep intact the features of Beast Wars - see Big Convoy - while still looking amazingly flush.

Image

...despite there being a whole rhino on one's back.

Image
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703665)
Posted by prjkt on June 27th, 2015 @ 5:46am CDT
I agree wholeheartedly with the Vehicon. So much so that I am trying to get every version of said mould, and am almost there. Just waiting for the TAV Ground a Vehicon General to be released now
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703670)
Posted by Down_Shift on June 27th, 2015 @ 6:56am CDT
I don't consider Generations Sky Byte or RID Vehicon shell-formers at all. There are plenty of actual candidates to replace them.
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703672)
Posted by Rated X on June 27th, 2015 @ 7:31am CDT
Wasnt "shellformers" covered already in the last top 5 ? Maybe a more fitting title for this particular group of 5 would be "shelf warmers". :lol:
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703681)
Posted by Desslok2201 on June 27th, 2015 @ 8:51am CDT
The repaint of Big Convoy is still my favorite Nemesis Prime to date. I love the use of the shell in that robot mode, particularly the blood tipped tusks. If you ever do a top 5 of Nemesis Prime/Black Convoy iterations, it'd be a crime not to have that on there
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703685)
Posted by william-james88 on June 27th, 2015 @ 9:11am CDT
Nemesis Primal wrote:Out of curiosity, is there a reason Generations Rattrap (and/or Generations Rhinox if he counts as a shellformer) didn't rate honorable mention?


I wasnt sure if he counted either so I left him out for others to mention in the comments, as you did :) And I have a problem with Rattrap, mainly how obvious his robot legs are in beast mode (I didnt expect this from a 2014 toy):

Image
Transformers Generations Rattrap Gallery

I also dont like the plastic they used on him.

Down_Shift wrote:I don't consider Generations Sky Byte or RID Vehicon shell-formers at all. There are plenty of actual candidates to replace them.


The whole point of these lists is to incite conversation and inspire other to suggest their version of the list, so please suggest us who you'd replace them with to represent the best that this engineering pattern has to offer.

Rated X wrote:Wasnt "shellformers" covered already in the last top 5 ? Maybe a more fitting title for this particular group of 5 would be "shelf warmers". :lol:


Come on man, I know you can read. Last time was top 5 worst, this week is top 5 best. This was never about which toy best merits the shellformer monicker but ranking the examples of how it can be well done or poorly executed.

Desslok2201 wrote:The repaint of Big Convoy is still my favorite Nemesis Prime to date. I love the use of the shell in that robot mode, particularly the blood tipped tusks. If you ever do a top 5 of Nemesis Prime/Black Convoy iterations, it'd be a crime not to have that on there


HOLY SH!T, blood tipped tusks?! Thats awesome! Wasnt thinking of top 5 best nemesis primes (since I dont collecto those) but that is a super interesting list! Wait, would that even beat MP 10 nemesis?
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703694)
Posted by Noideaforaname on June 27th, 2015 @ 10:19am CDT
Great list, but my top choice will forever be Terragator for actually using all his shell parts:
Image
Image
It's amazing how few Transformers actually use their kibble as a shield.
Image


RotF Mixmaster also gets my vote for very much the same reasons.
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703697)
Posted by RK_Striker_JK_5 on June 27th, 2015 @ 10:51am CDT
A good list, and glad to see Classics 2006 Megatron given his due. :D
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703714)
Posted by Emerje on June 27th, 2015 @ 11:47am CDT
During the last list I mentioned Rhinox was one of the best shellformers and people told me he didn't count as one, which I completely disagree with.

Rhinox would have been my number 5 because it's Sky Shark I don't count as a shellformer. A little bit of kibble on his back doesn't really count as a shell. The original was a shellformer, but the new one is just a regular Transformer with as much shell to it as a G1 car. One portion of his "shell" is his legs, the other portion is his arms, what's left is the wings on his back which don't exactly enclose the figure like the original figure's shell did.

It's also not a very good figure. This guy was probably my biggest disappointment in the last, oh, 5 years or so. His shoulders sit too far behind his head, his right elbow only bends inward (and barely at that), his lower legs are just fronts with no backs, and (at least on mine) the missile doesn't fire. I do give them credit for trying to turn a notorious shellformer (which I actually did like) into a non-shellformer, but I don't think it was a success at all. So yeah, it fails for me on this list on two fronts: Not a shellformer and not a good figure.

Of course, as they say, you're mile may vary (and clearly does).

Emerje
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703716)
Posted by Rated X on June 27th, 2015 @ 11:49am CDT
william-james88 wrote:
Rated X wrote:Wasnt "shellformers" covered already in the last top 5 ? Maybe a more fitting title for this particular group of 5 would be "shelf warmers". :lol:[/quotequote="Nemesis Primal"]Out of curiosity, is there a reason Generations Rattrap (and/or Generations Rhinox if he counts as a shellformer) didn't rate honorable mention?


I wasnt sure if he counted either so I left him out for others to mention in the comments, as you did :) And I have a problem with Rattrap, mainly how obvious his robot legs are in beast mode (I didnt expect this from a 2014 toy):

Image
Transformers Generations Rattrap Gallery

I also dont like the plastic they used on him.

Down_Shift wrote:I don't consider Generations Sky Byte or RID Vehicon shell-formers at all. There are plenty of actual candidates to replace them.


The whole point of these lists is to incite conversation and inspire other to suggest their version of the list, so please suggest us who you'd replace them with to represent the best that this engineering pattern has to offer.]


Come on man, I know you can read. Last time was top 5 worst, this week is top 5 best. This was never about which toy best merits the shellformer monicker but ranking the examples of how it can be well done or poorly executed.[/quote]

I would be inclined to think that when a figure is as intricate as these 5 you picked, theyre not considered a "shellformer". To me personally a "shellformer" is more of a derogatory term for a robot that wears 80% of his alt mode on his back as a backpack. These figures you picked dont fit that definition. If we go by the logic youre using virtually all CHUG autobot cars would be shellformers because the hood, roof, and doors form a sort of "shell" over robot parts. Actually shell forming in the 90s was the nail in the coffin for "bricks" which is a good thing. It just takes a good engineer to incorporate the right amount of shell-forming and brick-forming into one figure so that it isnt too much of either extreme. I would call these figures you picked "complex" rather than calling them shellformers. Thats just my opinion.
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703743)
Posted by Desslok2201 on June 27th, 2015 @ 1:47pm CDT
william-james88 wrote:
Desslok2201 wrote:The repaint of Big Convoy is still my favorite Nemesis Prime to date. I love the use of the shell in that robot mode, particularly the blood tipped tusks. If you ever do a top 5 of Nemesis Prime/Black Convoy iterations, it'd be a crime not to have that on there


HOLY SH!T, blood tipped tusks?! Thats awesome! Wasnt thinking of top 5 best nemesis primes (since I dont collecto those) but that is a super interesting list! Wait, would that even beat MP 10 nemesis?

I own both of them, and that Black Mammoth Nemesis Prime is way more intimidating, particularly in robot mode. He kicks ass.
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703750)
Posted by JelZe GoldRabbit on June 27th, 2015 @ 2:30pm CDT
william-james88 wrote:
Desslok2201 wrote:The repaint of Big Convoy is still my favorite Nemesis Prime to date. I love the use of the shell in that robot mode, particularly the blood tipped tusks. If you ever do a top 5 of Nemesis Prime/Black Convoy iterations, it'd be a crime not to have that on there


HOLY SH!T, blood tipped tusks?! Thats awesome! Wasnt thinking of top 5 best nemesis primes (since I dont collecto those) but that is a super interesting list! Wait, would that even beat MP 10 nemesis?


Any figure with simulated blood tops the awesome list :)

And I'm totally game for a Nemesis Prime list. But... would it have to include RiD Scourge and Black Lio Convoy? Is any Black Prime fair game, regardless of symbol?

Two figures would pose a problem though: United Black Optimus Prime (still G1 Prime, but undercover) and Alternity Convoy Super Black (repurposed as a redeemed Universe 2003 Nemesis Prime).
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703753)
Posted by william-james88 on June 27th, 2015 @ 2:56pm CDT
JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:
Any figure with simulated blood tops the awesome list :)

And I'm totally game for a Nemesis Prime list. But... would it have to include RiD Scourge and Black Lio Convoy? Is any Black Prime fair game, regardless of symbol?

Two figures would pose a problem though: United Black Optimus Prime (still G1 Prime, but undercover) and Alternity Convoy Super Black (repurposed as a redeemed Universe 2003 Nemesis Prime).


Well if that list ever gets written, it wont be by me due to my limited knowledge on these. If any fan or staff wants to write it in the style that these lists are written , please send me a PM. As for what to do with more complicated toys, as long as you explain it its fine (either in the intro or honourable mentions). Also, from experience, a list is more fun if you stick to the more mainstream stuff, unless the list is about rare and less known toys and decos. Because like that, more people can get involved with the discussion :)
Re: Top 5 Best Shellformers Transformers Toys (1703763)
Posted by thanos13omega on June 27th, 2015 @ 4:42pm CDT
Unicron, primus, grimlock, and could you consider g1 ultra magnus?

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