Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Platinum Edition Blitzwing and Astrotrain (2015)

Platinum Bliztwing and Astrotrain ArtAlthough the technology to produce toys has evolved in incredible ways over the 35-plus years of the Transformers franchise (so far!), there's still a demand for the occasional reissue of the original molds from the 1980s. Usually, I've treated such reissues more or less the same as I would have treated the original toys, but this set is a special case.

First, a word about the Platinum Edition series is in order. Starting in 2013, the line offered repaints of older toys with packaging designed to appeal more to collectors than to the children that most Transformers toys are intended for (and the price tag usually reflected this, as well). While Platinum Edition was hardly exclusive to Generation One-era molds (especially at first), it made sense to include such molds in the line, as it would enable Hasbro to charge prices more in line with the costs that such older molds still required to make production feasible.

Blitzwing and Astrotrain Air ModesMany of the Generation One molds used for Platinum Edition were essentially unchanged from their original releases (or, at least, any deco changes were comparatively minor). This was decidedly not the case with the "Decepticon Triple Changers" pack that included Blitzwing and Astrotrain. While I don't have an original Blitzwing to compare to, I already mentioned when I did a feature on the original Astrotrain how different this particular release was, and I still don't really know why this decision was made. (In case it's not obvious, Blitzwing is the toy on the left in these pictures, while Astrotrain is on the right.)

Blitzwing and Astrotrain Land Modes
Astrotrain's deco, in particular, is especially bizarre. Blitzwing fared much better, and I could actually have believed this was his original color scheme if I didn't know better. The TFWiki suggests the possibility that Blitzwing's colors are an intentional homage to the Duocon Flywheels, and that Astrotrain's colors homage an obscure Japanese character named Machtackle, but no one's able to prove anything. Either way, these recolors are far more extensive than those seen in any other Generation One molds used within the Platinum Edition line. The color differences are so extreme that, when Fun Publications was still in control of the Official Transformers Collectors' Club, they created new characters for these specific toys. Thus, Blitzwing becomes Fever Dream, and Astrotrain becomes Star Dasher.

Blitzwing and Astrotrain Robot Modes
Fever Dream and Star Dasher were basically cameo characters in a few club stories, and it's questionable whether the names or concepts will ever be seen again, but other club-originated characters have since been used for toys at retail, so anything's possible. Even if we never see Fever Dream nor Star Dasher again, I find it even more doubtful that Blitzwing and Astrotrain will ever be depicted in these colors again, so if you want to think of these toys as the club characters instead, there's plenty of reason to do so.

But, again, anything's possible....

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