I just got into collecting Transformers this year, and good god has this hobby felt like something I had been missing my whole life. I even went to a convention about these things (the aptly named Transformer Con) and now I am pleased to present to you my top 15 favorite Transformers I wound up getting throughout the year.
15. Beast Wars Optimal Optimus
Ok, story behind this guy; when I was a kid I saw the commercial for this and I fell in love. This giant transforming monkey-bot that has like FOUR modes and can be a dude with a double barreled cannon for his chest, was just awesome. So I asked for him for my birthday that year and when my birthday came my parents had lovingly got me the wrong one. It was a toy I already had and I just couldn’t bring myself to correct them on it, so I went without him… that is, until this year when I got this guy for super cheap and complete with all his junk. It felt like plugging a childhood gap that was always kind of lurking there.
14. G2 Dreadwind and Darkwing
These guys were a two-pack that I had when I was really, really young. I never quite figured out how to transform them, but nonetheless continued to have fun with them. My original toys were lost to ages with so-many ninja turtles, so when I finally got these guys back in my hands after time had taken them away, it really felt good. As great as it is to get something you wanted when you were a kid, there is a whole other joy about getting back something you miss.
13. Transformers Prime Silas Breakdown
This figure is truly great. Seriously, it is an utter shame he was a Japan exclusive. Silas goes from being this big black truck to this roided out robot. Plus, I really enjoyed the hell out of the character given he is voiced by Clancy Brown. Honestly, this figure would be much higher on the list if it wasn’t for the fact that when I bought him he was missing a piece of his hood. So as much as I like him he sort of leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
12. Revenge of the Fallen Bludgeon
I don’t have any stories for this guy. He is just a tank that turns into an undead samurai robot with a skull for a face. I don’t think I need to make a better case than that. I had the Megatron version of this first, and he was ok, but something about having this guy in hand just made it all click, and I was in love. I carried him around to game night and he chilled out on my desk for months. I have no idea why he is great, he just is.
11. Dark of the Moon Megatron / Age of Extinction Voyager Optimus Prime
This may sound weird since these guys came from separate movies, but it really feels like they belong together. First of all, Prime is a fantastic figure that goes from a super movie accurate bot to a call back of his G1 toy. As for Megatron, he just looks like DEATH all shrouded in a cloak with these weird devil tree appendages and a gaping wound face. Then, he turns into this, like, Dark Side version of movie Optimus with this screw-off cow catcher in the front and carrying an oil tank. He looks sick, and the cool thing is that the giant shot gun that comes with Optimus can actually peg into Megatron’s hand so you can have him wield his stupid space shot gun like he did in the movie. It’s great!
10. Generations Springer
This is a toy I could honestly say everybody should own. I mean it’s one of the best Hasbro ever made. It’s a triple-changer that looks utterly beautiful in all three of its modes and is incredibly poseable. Plus, I bought him when I was having a crap day after finding him just warming a shelf at Walmart with a bunch of other guys I never imagined I would find in the wild. And this was when I first started collecting, so you can imagine how great it was to need all those guys and find them all on clearance like it was meant to be. Seriously, it’s on this list out of sheer quality and just go buy one I don’t care who is reading this DO IT he is like twenty bucks!
9. Masterpiece-10 Optimus Prime
Ok, this was sort of the beginning of the end of normal life for me. This was the guy I bought when I knew I was down the rabbit hole too deep, though I don’t regret it because he is a great piece. He comes with a trailer and a whole bunch of TV show extras. He looks incredible, and transforms like a literal dream. Seriously, this is where I am really going to nerd out because this is the best version of Prime ever put to plastic. This was the toy that made me go, “Oh yea, I’m in this for the long haul.” It was an expensive figure, but he just feels so great and the amount of fun I had with him made him more than worth it. There are a few issues with his arms and legs that kept him from ranking higher on this list, but none of that takes away from the satisfaction of looking at this toy and saying… That is Optimus Prime.
Ok, kind of cheating here again, but I couldn’t put one on the list and not the other. I don’t think the harbinger of the apocalypse, planet forming robot of Unicron needs be told how awesome he is. He is a giant robot, voiced by the late great Orson Wells, who eats planets (Umm, Unicron ate the planets, not Orson Wells – NonPro). He’s big and intimidating and has a ton of fun little gimmicks to him. But then you got Primus, who is essentially the planet of the Transformers. He actually turns into a globe with cities and towers on him. Then, all those places begin to break apart as you rip countries in twain with a gimmicky planet key in order to turn him into this giant robot made out of a freakin place that people are supposed to live on. Buying these two was fantastic, like buying the Odin and Fenrir of the Transformers world.
7. Combiner Wars Generations Devastator
I love this thing. First off its Devastator who like devastates you know? Anybody with a passing interest in this hobby knows of the giant green dude made up of a bunch of other dudes. Out of all the toys I bought this year this one was the one I waited on with excitement building like I was freakin 12. It was so surreal to be back in the mind set of waiting for a toy, but at the same time being an adult and having paid for it with your own money without really an occasion to celebrate. Although I guess you could say Devastator is his own reason to celebrate. Still something about this guy brought back a feeling of nostalgia without being from my past.
6. Generations Metroplex
I convinced myself I was never going to own this was a huge guy, who turns into a playset the sheer size of which made him too unwieldy for a sane person to want anyway. But then something strange happened. I passed by him NEW in box at a convention I was working at. I asked about the price. I inwardly screamed at how cheap it was and then talked the guy even lower so that I paid less than what he was worth retail. You know what they say, there is just something about cityformers. I made room for him.
5. Revenge of the Fallen Leader Optimus Prime
Remember how I said that number 9 was the best Optimus ever put to plastic? Well, that is still true, because this is movie Optimus, and this figure is at its core more about fun and less about being an epic statement at how awesome Transformers are. He goes from a big truck to an almost completely movie accurate robot with giant flip out swords. It’s the cheesiness of it and simplicity of him that draws me. He reminds me of Devastator, but he is far more practical and goofy. Plus I also got this guy dirt cheap. As I passed by the same vendor over and over at a con, I would ask about his price and each time it got lower and lower until finally it was low enough that I could actually afford him. No regrets, he is a great toy.
4. G1 Soundwave
Ok, story time again. When I was much much younger I would go over to my Aunt’s house to visit with my father’s side of the family. I was still in single digits at this point and to occupy the kids at these little family get-togethers, my aunt would bring out this box full of old G1 Transformers. Everybody else would grab their cars and tanks, but I would always pick up a big blue guy that turned into a tape player and his little cassette minions. This toy has some of my earliest childhood memories attached to it, even though I never actually owned it. So when I got the figure itself in my hand, I find it hard to describe the feeling I got; it wasn’t just nostalgia, it was being right back in that moment when my hand reached out to touch the toy as a child. It was so trippy an experience, I would not trade it away for anything.
3. Animated Shockwave
It may seem weird to go from one huge emotional moment to this random toy I have no attachments with, but despite never having seen the show this guy came from, he embodies every last thing I love about Transformers. This guy has two interesting vehicle modes, sure, but the coolest thing about him was the transformation from being an Autobot to a Decepticon. And just looking at the mass shifting around and how the two robots look in their end results, is amazing. The transformation effect of this toy proved to me that this was an art, that engineering these guys took skill and talent. This was the toy that showed me there was more here than just action figures and old memories, there were puzzles to figure out and painstaking work to appreciate. I wanted him since the moment I started collecting, and it took me a while, but eventually I got him and it felt like fate.
2. Transformers Prime Soundwave
So, I’m at Magfest and having a great time. I have been watching this show, Transformers Prime, that my friend Mel sat me down for a marathon of, when I come across my favorite character from that show in toy form. Soundwave is just kicking it on a table with some guy peddling a few figures. None of the others I know, and cannot even remember them now. I focus in on buying this ONE figure. The guy says ten, I say five and we agree on seven. I love this little guy because of his character and because he’s a great figure, but more so because this is where it all started. I had a lot of fun that weekend. Hung out with friends and internet celebrities, played tons of games, met a personal hero of mine, started selling games for the first time, made out with a very attractive woman at a bar, but even considering all that, buying this guy at that table was the highlight of the weekend.
1. Masterpiece Soundwave
Have you guys noticed I like Soundwave yet? Remember all that praise I gushed over about that Masterpiece Optimus Prime? Well, add all that onto a guy I actually care about, attach to him all the nostalgia of the G1 guy I loved as a kid, and toss in all the great engineering of that Shockwave I mentioned earlier in the list, then give him FIVE of his cassette dudes that have all of that same love and engineering, and make him a highlight out of a bad weekend. My mother was going through her surgery for breast cancer that weekend and two wonderful friends who took me out also helped me to find this guy. He put a smile on my face when very few things could have, and is the absolute centerpiece of my collection. He is my favorite thing I was able to buy this year and he will probably be my favorite one forever. Last year has been a trip and like I have said before I wouldn’t trade any of it away.