Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Beast Wars II Powerhug (1998)

While it is true that animal forms have been a part of the Transformers franchise since the very beginning, the transition to the Beast era is marked by a move away from strictly mechanical approximations of animals to more organic forms. A focus exclusively on animals (as was the case when the Beast era began) also meant a wider variety of fauna being represented. It is hard to imagine a Transformer based on a pill bug (called a "roly-poly" when I was growing up) having come out during the "Generation One" era, but by the Beast era, such a mode was by no means unusual.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Smallest Transforming Transformers Bumblebee (2003)

Bumblebee was consistently described and depicted as one of the smallest of the original 1984 Autobots. This, of course, ignored the fact that other Minibots were essentially the same size (especially Cliffjumper, whose mold was so frequently confused with Bumblebee's back then that, as often as not, new Cliffjumper toys are often just straight repaints of Bumblebee toys), and as later explicitly-small Transformers like the Micromasters were introduced, it became a less important aspect of Bumblebee's character as time passed. When the "Smallest Transforming Transformers" Bumblebee toy came out in 2003, it may be seen as a return to Bumblebee's roots, although in fact the other toys in this line were, again, roughly the same size.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

G.I. Joe featuring Ninja Force and Transformers box set (2017)

While I often mention Fun Publications as the group that used to run the official Transformers Collectors' Club (as well as BotCon) until Hasbro decided to go in a different direction at the end of 2016, Fun Publications had also been running the official G.I. Joe club and convention for several years at time they picked up the Transformers license in 2005. In fact, it was their success with G.I. Joe that led Hasbro to offer Fun Publications the Transformers license in the first place, and Fun Publications continued to hold the G.I. Joe license even after the Transformers club and convention closed up shop, with the Joe license ending only this past year, and final "going out of business" sales ending only this past week. Running clubs for both franchises offered Fun Publications the opportunity to do a few "crossover" exclusives, of which this box set is arguably the most ambitious (although, ironically, it didn't actually ship until after the Transformers club had ended just the month before).

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Powerglide (1985)

When the Transformers line was being first planned out in the early 1980s, and the decision was made to feature two factions of characters in a battle of good vs. evil, attention was given to choosing alternative modes that made it possible to quickly determine one faction from the other, even if one didn't actually know who the character was or couldn't find the character's faction symbol. Thus, the early Autobots were all ground-based vehicles (cars and trucks), while the early Decepticons were weapons, communications devices, or aerial vehicles. It didn't take long for these lines to blur, and by just the second year of the franchise, we already get our first airplane Autobot: Powerglide.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Cybertron Unicron (2006)

In the days leading up to the recent San Diego Comic-Con, Hasbro announced the first Transformers-related project via HasLab, their crowdfunding platform. If at least 8,000 pre-orders are made before the end of August, at $575 (plus tax) each, Hasbro will create a new version of Unicron. As befitting the legendary planet-eater, this would be the largest Transformer ever created. While this prospect has been met by great excitement within the fandom, the question of whether or not there is sufficient support for such an ambitious project has not yet been answered as of the time of this writing. It does, however, give me an opportunity to highlight the Unicron toy at the other end of the pricing spectrum. A time when Unicron didn't turn into a planet, or even a part of one. A time when Unicron was forced to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other Transformers. The time of the Deluxe-class Unicron that came out as part of the Cybertron toyline in 2006.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing - Cosmos & Payload (2013) plus BONUS - Astrostar v. 2

Ten years ago, I celebrated the then-40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in two ways: with this post discussing the moon landing itself, and with this post featuring the then-two existing forms of the Autobot Cosmos. Now, it's the 50th anniversary of that historic event approaching. I don't have much new to say about the moon landing itself, (except perhaps to note that my prediction about the three astronauts that participated in that mission has proven sadly accurate with the passing of Neil Armstrong in 2012), but another Cosmos figure has been made in the intervening years, and this seems like a great opportunity to feature it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Timelines Slipstream (2013)

Since the earliest days of the Transformers franchise, new characters were created simply by repainting a mold created for one character into new colors. The original Starscream was arguably the poster-child for this process, being used also for Thundercracker and Skywarp within that first 1984 set of toys. This reality became the basis for a gag many years later, during the Transformers Animated cartoon, in which Starscream created clones of himself to assist in his quest to defeat both the Autobots and assume command of the Decepticons from Megatron. Unlike "traditional" clones, Starscream's clones were by no means identical. Although they shared a body-form, each was depicted in a different color scheme (usually an homage to one of Starscream's mold-mates from Generation One), and each exhibited an exaggerated single aspect of Starscream's own personality. One was a compulsive liar, and one was a coward, just to use two examples. One, who would come to be known as "Slipstream" (but only outside of the Animated cartoon itself, as the clones were never named within it) was female, and pointedly told Starscream not to ask what aspect of his personality she represented.
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