Wednesday, October 17, 2018

BotCon 2016 Reflector

It is well-known in the Transformers fandom that Hasbro likes to get as much use out of each new mold they create as possible. This not only means that molds are redecoed and retooled as different characters, but that Hasbro, in fact, plans some of the different characters into the molds even as they are being created. This is sometimes done on a "just in case" basis, without a firm commitment to releasing this pre-planned character as a toy, and absent the occasional clue (an "incorrect" head being used in line art for instructions, for example), those of us who do not work within the industry itself often never know what toys had been so considered, but which were never actually produced.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Combiner Wars Shockwave (2016)

It is well-understood by now that the current team at Hasbro really enjoys paying homage to characters from the early days of Transformers history. The recently-completed "Prime Wars" trilogy was chock-full of classic characters, many of whom were given the most faithful updates to their original "Generation One" selves ever seen to-date. While this was definitely a welcome development (at least to me), I have no doubt that it also posed some challenges.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Fun with Kreons

Doing something a bit different this time around. I took these pictures several years ago, thinking to do a feature on Kreons for the blog, but I found that I never really had much to say about them, and before too long, the "Kreon moment" had passed (I'm told you can still buy them some places, but I still think it's safe to say that the glory days of the Kreon are behind us). Instead, I offer these pictures here without additional comment. A look into Hasbro's attempt to do "LEGO" (in all but name) with Transformers.*

*Special appearances by Super Mario Bros. characters from the K'NEX line and Barriss Offee from the LEGO Star Wars line.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Timelines Depth Charge (2013)

When creating exclusives for the official Transformer Club or for BotCon, the perennial challenge to longtime clubrunner Fun Publications was to create characters that would be of interest to fans, while acknowledging the limitations imposed by using existing molds and having only a limited budget to do remolds (usually in the form of remolded heads). This meant coming up with as many figures that didn't need remolded heads as possible. Needless to say, some of these attempts worked out better than others. In my own opinion, Timelines Depth Charge is an idea that shouldn't have worked, yet amazingly, it does!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Crosshairs (1987)

By the year 1987, Hasbro* found themselves faced with a problem. Transformers was now a hugely successful toyline, which Hasbro was very keen to continue, but they had exhausted the supply of pre-existing molds and designs they inherited from Takara (via pre-Transformers toylines) and other toy companies. If the Transformers were to continue, Hasbro needed to create all-new designs. To be fair to Hasbro, these concerns did not start in 1987. Hasbro had increasingly been transitioning from pre-existing concepts to new ones over the previous couple of years. Indeed, most (but not quite all) of the new characters from the 1986 animated Transformers: The Movie featured all-new designs. 1987 was simply the first year when all new Transformers featured designs created specifically for the Transformers line.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

X-Transbots Stax (2014)

Today happens to be my birthday. I can be a hard person to buy presents for (not that I expect many at my age). People know that I love Transformers, for example, but fear buying me any Transformers toys out of a (very reasonable!) fear that I will already have gotten that toy for myself. On at least a couple of occasions (including birthdays and Christmas), my brother has managed to circumvent this problem by getting me a third-party toy. He knows that, while I really don't object to third-party toys as some fans do, I tend not to follow them all that closely, increasing the odds that a purchase will not be one that I've already made for myself. Stax was one such gift.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Race Mini-Con Team (2002)

The Armada line's focus on Mini-Cons was, by some measures, a step backward for the Transformers franchise. Larger figures that had been getting increasingly complicated had to be made simpler to accommodate the special features and gimmicks the Mini-Cons would unlock. This was by no means a bad thing, as it returned a "fun factor" to the toys, making them more accessible to children (the target audience, after all!), and as a result, Armada was considered very successful.
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