Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Beast Wars II Thrust (1998)

While the advent of the Beast Wars line in 1996 signaled a radical change for the Transformers franchise away from mechanical forms to organic animal alternate modes, expansions to the concept felt free to go back to existing molds from the pre-Beast era. Thus, the Beast Wars II line in Japan, which started in 1998 and helped buy time between seasons of their translation of the American Beast Wars cartoon, created toys such as Dirge using a mold created for Generation Two (but which didn't come out until the Machine Wars line, even in the US). Thrust followed suit by using the other jet mold from that series.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Generations Thunderwing (2010)

When offering an update to a classic Transformers character, there is always a bit of give-and-take in determining just how faithful one should be to the original toy. After all, some of the realities of the original design were determined by technological limitations that have since been overcome, allowing designers to offer toys with far greater articulation and/or fidelity to fictional character models that were never restrained by such real-world limitations. In addition, some characters attained popularity through their fictional appearances that they almost certainly would never have achieved on the basis of their original toy alone. Should strict fidelity to an inferior toy be maintained when creating an homage to such a character? These kinds of questions were almost certainly considered when creating the Generations Thunderwing toy.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Fall of Cybertron Wreckers (2013) Part 3: Whirl, plus TCC Fisitron (2014) and Ruination (again!)

Like the Combaticon toys they shared molds with, five Fall of Cybertron Wrecker toys were released at retail. However, the following year, the Transformers Collectors' Club released a sixth member as part of their Figure Subscription Service, so this entry features Whirl, the last of the retail-released Wreckers (on the left of these images), alongside Fisitron, the TCC addition (on the right, based on an obscure character originally named Ironfist, featured among the Wreckers in the IDW comics and renamed anagrammatically for trademark reasons).

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Fall of Cybertron Wreckers (2013) Part 2: Topspin and Twin Twist (plus Ruination)

Last time, I featured the Fall of Cybertron versions of "the Wreckers," by featuring the toys of Impactor and Roadbuster. Let's continue this time by featuring Topspin (seen in these photos on the left) and Twin Twist (seen on the right).

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Fall of Cybertron Wreckers (2013) Part 1: Impactor and Roadbuster

Throughout the history of the Transformers franchise, there are a handful of special gimmicks (beyond just the ability to transform) that keep coming back again and again. Arguably one of the most popular such gimmicks has been the combiner robot, where three or more individual robots join together to form one, even larger robot (technically, there are two-robot combiners, but I've never heard the term "combiner" used in this way, so I'm going to define the term for the purposes of this discussion). In 2012, a video game called Fall of Cybertron was released, and Hasbro released several toys under the Generations sub-line, based on designs used within the game (this phenomenon is not unique to this game, but it's actually fairly uncommon). Fall of Cybertron rather heavily featured the Combaticons, a classic Generation One combiner team re-imagined in Cybertronian forms, and Hasbro released toys of these designs.

This entry is not about the Combaticons.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Downshift (1985)

Over ten years ago, I did features on Overdrive and Camshaft, the two Omnibots I owned at the time. Omnibots, for those who may not recall, were "double change" Autobots who were available only by mail-order by sending in "robot points" found on retail Transformers. Only recently did I find the third Omnibot, Downshift, available at a reasonable price and pick it up. Now that I have finally completed my collection of G1 Omnibots, it is only right that I do a feature on Downshift here, as well.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Smashdown (2019)

For nearly a decade now, the Generations lines of Transformers toys have more or less explicitly focused on homages to Generation One (the plural suggesting a more expansive view notwithstanding). That doesn't mean that the occasional homage to another part of the Transformers franchise never sneaks in, but these occasions are definitely more the exception than the rule these days. Even more noteworthy, however, are the occasions when a Transformers toy is an entirely new character. Smashdown, from this year's War for Cybertron: Siege line, is such a novelty.
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