While I’m unable to attend SDCC this week, my amazing toy-obsessed colleague, Will James (aka Billy the Brick) is on the ground and Instagraming Hasbro previews like there’s no tomorrow! Between his awesome shots of Hasbro’s next Transformers toy line: Power of the Primes, the official Hasbro renders, and some nerdy research, we’ve got a lot to talk about concerning the upcoming 2017-2018 toy line.
Leader Class Rodimus Prime
As much as I would love to point out that Hasbro is following their secret gameplan from Titans Return, and moving on to the lineup in the 1988 toy catalog, Rodimus Prime is the spoiler (with a spoiler). The last time he was seen in a classic toy catalog was 1986. Still, you don’t have to appreciate the classics to absolutely flip over this Leader-class figure from the upcoming toy line.
At its core, Rodimus Prime is a deluxe-sized figure whose trailer transforms into his armor. What he does not have is a Titan Master noggin (nixing the idea that the Chaos on Velocitron set figure would be reused). Instead, Rodimus has a Matrix, one of 13 total Matrixes that each Prime carries. All Matrix pieces do, however, sport Titan Master ports (which means you can recreate your favorite cover of IDW’s Transfomers: Lost Light) and will each reflect their unique Prime’s style. In addition to the deluxe-class-to-leader-class gimmick, the Power of the Primes line introduces “Prime Masters.”
Liege Maximo and Skullgrin Decoy Armor
So what’s a “Prime Master?” They’re similar to the Titan Masters of the Titans Return line, but without heads on their backs – now they all sport symbols of one of the Primes (maybe they are the Primes…feel free to correct me on this) and interact with all classes of figures.
The first Prime Master Hasbro revealed is Liege Maximo. He comes with fantastic “decoy armor” based on the classic Transformers Pretender, Skullgrin. Each Prime Master’s armor transforms into weapons that slot into leader-class figures. Skullgrin becomes a gnarly clawed melee weapon, for example. The Pretenders were always some of my favorite designs, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else Hasbro has queued up (fan-favorite Bludgeon was teased at the Hasbro Transformers panel).
Just a titch up from this size class is legends-class Beachcomber. A fantastic throwback to the minibots of yor, he’s big enough to fit a Prime Master driver. These have been fun to collect in Titans Return and I’m glad to see the minibots live on in another toy line.
Voyager Starscream and Deluxe Jazz
Also revealed today was a deluxe-sized Jazz who’s awkward proportions remind me mostly of the 1989 Pretender Classics Jazz figure. Intentional or not, the influence is undeniable. The figure is based on a Combiner Wars mold, so he has the ports necessary if you want to, ahem, jazz up your Autobot combiners (I’ll see myself out).
The first wave of voyager-class toys will include a gorgeously chunky Starscream. There has been a bit of head scratching as to why Starscream looks like a ‘roided out beach-bro in this iteration; but based on his jet mode, I have pretty good idea what’s going on. The fins on either side of the cockpit are not consistent with Starscream’s design at all…but they are consistent with Generation 1 despot Thunderwing! “Pre-molding” figures became the standard in Titans Return. Take, for instance, the triple-changer Optimus and Megatron figures that became Octone and Blitzwing. If ol’ Screamer doesn’t turn out to be a pre-mold for Thunderwing, I’ll be shocked.
Dreadwind and Blackwing
In the “fun but totally unexpected” camp, the combining jet duo Dreadwind and Blackwing (he used to be Darkwing before a certain cartoon duck took the name) will also be part of Power of the Primes. They’re deluxe-sized figures that combine to form an enormous jet called Dreadwing. We don’t have pictures yet of the combined form; but just take a look at how eye-burningly bright this deco is: that’s something only a G1 fan can love.
I love that Hasbro seems to be throwing all of their gimmicks into the mix in this latest line. Maybe it’s because the designers have more agency. Maybe it’s because the fans have been asking for more; but the variety represented is sure to satisfy every Transformers fan.
Stay tuned to GeekDad this weekend as we dig through all the SDCC 2017 reveals! And follow Will James on Instagram for up-to-the-minute coverage.