Muscle cars, VW bugs, Peterbilt trucks…if you didn’t know any better, you’d think these could be reworks of the original Transformers from 1984. Then you look a little closer and start converting them to bot form and you’ll see these aren’t your grandparent’s robots in disguise.
Based on the Transformers: Bumblebee movie coming out this December, the new Energon Igniters feature simpler transformations, but are still highly detailed toys of the characters we’ll (maybe?) see in the film.
The styling is a little blocky, but these are toys aimed at a younger audience that actually wants to play with their Transformers. They don’t need 45 step transformations that result in perfect representations of what they see on screen. They want something that they can switch quickly between modes and that have added play potential, with power-up engines that unlock special features.
Energon Igniters Speed – $5.99
The smallest of the Energon Igniters, the 3-inch Speed series transforms between modes in 7 steps or less. Unlike previous small movie figures, this series has a lot of detailing and articulation. The bots don’t end up looking like carved blocks of plastic. They could use a few more paint apps, but that’s to be expected at this price point. They even interact with cores sold with the larger figures (though “interact” in this case seems to mean “tow behind”).
What I find more interesting is who’s in this wave. Not only is there Hot Rod and Barricade in ’80s muscle car form, but Optimus Prime in his red G1 Peterbilt truck form (just with movie Optimus’ head! Maybe Bumblebee will explain the origin of his “rip off everyone’s face” fetish). Two versions of Bumblebee round out the wave, his traditional movie-verse Camaro and G1 VW Bug.
Energon Igniters Power – $9.99
The 5-inch Power series is a little more complex (4-9 steps) and a little more spoilery, because it’s the first hint we’ve gotten that Megatron might be a part of the Transformers: Bumblebee movie. Sporting a similar form to previous versions, his alt mode is a 4-track Cybertronian tank (with the usual very conspicuous face…funny how a lazy toy design decision from the first movie has now become cannon). The Power series also has the only Dropkick Energon Igniters toy. You can use the cores sold with the Power Plus and Nitro toys to unlock special features. Camaro ‘Bee and Hot Rod round out this series.
Energon Igniters Power Plus – $12.99
The Power Plus series are similar to the Power series, except these come with the core that unlocks extra features. The Bumblebee figures in this series are nearly the same as the Power series versions (Camaro ‘Bee’s Power Plus figure has his unmasked head), so if you’re going to get them, and you want the cores, go with these versions. If you want Optimus Prime at this size, though, you’ll have to go with this version.
Energon Igniters Nitro – $19.99
Main event time! Nitro figures are more like your traditional Generations/Power of the Primes deluxe bots. Standing at 7-inches, they feature increased detail, additional paint applications and all come with a core to unlock additional features. In addition to Barricade, Optimus Prime, and VW Bumblebee (this one’s my favorite of the entire line), the Nitro series will also have a Camaro ‘Bee.
When Can I Get Them?
If you’re going to be at SDCC later this week, you can see the prototypes in person. They’ll hit retail before the movie drops this December (think October/November) at your favorite retail store and on HasbroToyShop.com.