Toy Fair 2017 was this past weekend and the Transformers reveals kept a lore junkie like me glued to my phone all day Saturday. Titans Return has already been a treasure trove of obscure characters from all corners of the franchise and I wondered just what Hasbro would dig up next. I anticipated a few figures that were revealed, but on the balance, I was blown away.
The exclusive box sets were the biggest surprises of the day for me. The Siege on Cybertron set, exclusive to Big Bad Toy Store (BBTS to those of us addicted to plastic crack) is practically all repaints; but in the best way possible. We have Magnus Prime (which you might recognize from my Powermaster Prime post) who’s a redeco of the retooled Takara release of Super Ginrai. Keeping with the Japanese theme, there’s Metalhawk (a shiny redeco of Triggerhappy) who was a character from the Japanese G1 Masterforce cartoon (and Starscream’s best buddy in IDW’s Robots in Disguise). On the Decepticon side you have Tidal Wave, a bruiser of a figure who first showed up in the 2002 Transformers: Armada series and shares a mold here with Broadside. There’s Pounce, who is new to the line and a deep cut from G1. He was one of two clones who look identical in bot form, but transform differently (hopefully a Wingspan toy is planned for the main line). Then we have Thunderwing, whose character has been one of the greatest enemies of all Transformers since his introduction in the original comics. Here, he’s a head. A wonderfully sculpted head! But only a head. I’m a bit disappointed by that.
Retail price hasn’t been announced on the box yet; but I would expect this to run between $100–$150. Retail price for the size classes breaks down like this: one Leader class toy at $50, one Voyager-sized toy at $25, one Deluxe at $17, a Legends class at $10, and a Titan Master at around $3 (since he doesn’t have the added mini-vehicle/weapon that the other Titan Masters get at retail), plus a mark-up for box design and an “exclusivity tax.” It will be hard to resist for most Transformers fans, seeing as this will be the only way to get some rather sage nods at Transformers history.
The same can be said for the Chaos on Velocitron box set that will be exclusive to Toys ‘R’ Us. This will be the only way fans can get Laser Optimus Prime (a redeco of the current triple-changer Optimus Prime, based on his Generation 2 toy from the ’90s, complete with tanker decals), Nautica (fan favorite from the IDW comics, based on Blurr), Quickswitch (the Autobot’s answer to Six Shot in G1 – appropriately redecoed from said Titans Return figure), Fastlane (another clone who’s using the same bot mode as Pounce! I love it!), and Titan Master Rodimus.
While there are no Decepticons in this set, it will be well worth hunting down. Laser Optimus is so perfect, it makes me want to break out my board shorts and Ray Bans. Quickswitch, as well, is a great nostalgic nod to an oft-forgotten G1 toy. And we always need more fembots like Nautica (besides, her character in More than Meet the Eye is fantastic)! Plus, if they ever release Cloudraker to go with Fastlane…well, you’ve got to have the set, right?
On the smaller side of things, the $10 Legends class figures will bring back a G1 favorite, Seaspray, with an impressively engineered toy. One thing I’ve really enjoyed about the Legends class is that the designers didn’t skimp on complexity of sculpt or design when they easily could have. Roadburn will also be a part of the fall Legends figures. He was supposed to be the Throttlebot Chase (again, from G1) but was changed at the last minute so as to avoid confusion with Chase from Rescue Bots.
The $17 Deluxe class gets a lot of love with a wave of figures that will be insta-buy (assuming I can find them). Krok is based on a non-transforming Action Master from the very end of G1 (with that black, yellow, and purple deco, you can just feel the early ’90s ooze off of him). Windblade, on the other hand, is one of the newest characters in the Transformers lexicon, created as the first fan-built figure back in 2014 and quickly propagated throughout comics, games, and cartoons. After all, who doesn’t want a kick-butt Kabuki/Samurai/VTOL on their side?
The other figures in the Deluxe wave make me so nostalgic, I can practically hear the revving of little gears in my old Jumpstarter toys as I’d rev them up after Saturday morning cartoons. I’d let them loose, hoping that Topspin or Twintwist would actually land on their feet this time when I let them go and they “auto-transformed.” Topspin is out right now, but will be joined in the fall by his spark-brother, Twintwist. The fully articulated figures might not jump anymore, but they’ll be a lot better at staying on their feet.
It’s amusing that we get not one but two Optimus Prime figures from a mold that was obviously intended to be Octane… sorry, “Octone”… naming rights issues. But the tanker truck/cargo plane G1 Decepticon triple changer was always in the works for this $25 Voyager-class figure. Joining him will be the other “we released this as someone with more name recognition first but we always intended him to be this character,” Blitzwing – derived from the out-now triple changer Megatron.
Wrapping up the Toy Fair 2017 reveals is my favorite redeco of the entire Titans Return line. Overlord is a $50 Leader-class repaint of the out-soon Sky Shadow. And while Sky Shadow does have a respectable amount of Japanese Transformers history behind him, Overlord has him beat. Not only was he a European and Japanese exclusive toy in G1, his character has been brought forward as one of the most heinous villains ever to snuff out a bot’s spark in Last Stand of the Wreckers and then again as the literal monster in the basement in IDW’s More Than Meets the Eye. He’s insane, he’s huge, and his figure is similar to Titans Return Trypticon, in that it takes everything that was amazing about the original toy and reworks it as a modern masterpiece.
There were even more Titans Return reveals from Hasbro at Toy Fair – Quake (a Decepticon redeco of Chromedome), Ramhorn (who’s not a datapad like the other Blaster companions, but an unproduced Japanese Headmaster… deep cuts, people), and a re-release of Cosmos were all shown as well. Every Transformers fan that complained the toy shelves were clogged with nothing but Bumblebee and Optimus can rejoice. Hasbro has listened and is determined to give you every possible character you can think of – and a few that you’ll never see coming. Keep your eyes on the shelves this fall!