Monday, March 11, 2019

TFCON 2019 Wishlist

What? Another wishlist? New York Toy Fair has come and gone and just like that, another major toy event is just around the corner. TFcon is currently the largest fan run Transformers convention. It originally was held in Canada but has grown so much that it now holds two annual conventions, one in Canada and the other in the US. And because it is not an officially licensed Transformers convention, for the past few years, TFcon has become the major announcement site for many toy companies that specialize in something near and dear to my heart....3rd party Transformers.

Because there are so many 3rd party companies out there releasing so much product every year, it’s quite a surprise that there still are certain robots in disguise that haven’t gotten a proper modern/masterpiece update. So I’ll get right to the point, here is my wishlist for new “Transformers” I hope to be announced at TFcon which will be held on March 15-17, 2019.

Jumpstarters & Battlechargers

I’ll just lump these guys together. In the original toyline, the selling point for these 2 duos were that they could “automatically” transform by themselves with some spring loaded pull back mechanism. While on paper this sounded amazing, in execution it meant that what we got were pretty basic looking and simplistic toys and rather forgettable, which is probably one of the reasons why we haven’t gotten any decent “masterpiece” versions of these guys...ever.

While Jumpstarters Topspin & Twin Twist have gotten some decent recognition as members of the original lineup of the Wreckers, Battlechargers Runabout and Runamuck have pretty much been used more often than not as cannon fodder when any Decepticons needed to be blown up in a story. It’s about time these guys get some more recognition. Especially the Battlechargers which are essentially the same robot with different colors..and easy 2 for 1 deal for any 3rd Party company to take on.

Throttlebots

As toys, these guys were basically mini Battlechargers with the same pull back action but minus the actual spring up transformation gimmick. To be honest while I never had them as a kid, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call them pretty crappy toys. But for some odd reason, as characters I sorta dug them. OK maybe not as individual characters but more as a team of color coordinated minibots. 3rd party company Toy World actually made modern versions of these guys a few years ago even going so far as to give them the ability to combine into a bigger robot which was a cool idea. Ultimately though, they didn’t really fit well with the masterpiece look in my opinion, I found them to be too big and chunky. For me they will always be “minibots” so I’d love to see another 3rd party company take another crack at them sizing them up to match more with the likes of Bumblebee & Cliffjumper.

Sky Lynx

Sky Lynx is one of the few unique and memorable characters from the original cartoon that still lacks a masterpiece upgrade. True, Mastermind Creations literally just released their “Magna Inventa” which was a Sky Lynx, but even they don’t seem to designate it as a “masterpiece styled” toy by releasing it under their “Reformatted” subline, which was based more on the stylized IDW comics look. While I guess you could use him in a masterpiece display, I actually did see this guy in person and although he did have a good size (it wouldn’t hurt to have him bigger though), he really did look a little “cheaper” than your typical MP Transformers.

A few years ago, another company, Gigapower actually teased an upcoming version of Sky Lynx, but at this point, they’re still slowly finishing their dinobot team. But with that *almost* done, hopefully we could see an update on their Sky Lynx :)


Deluxe Autobots & Insecticons

Just like Jetfire/Skyfire, the original toys of Roadbuster, Whirl and the deluxe insecticons were based off products from another Japanese toy company Takatoku which eventually went bankrupt and sold its designs to Bandai, who was a direct competitor to Takara. As a result, these designs couldn’t be used in the US cartoon as is. While Sunbow went to pains to redesign Jetfire into Skyfire, I guess they couldn’t be bothered with the rest since quite frankly, they already had enough characters to work with. If it weren’t for the comics, these guys probably would’ve been completely forgotten.

While both Roadbuster & Whirl have since gotten quite popular as members of the Wreckers, the Deluxe insecticons have fared less having been overshadowed by the more “basic” Insecticons, Bombshell, Shrapnel & Kickback. I’d like to see these deluxe insecticons get more recognition since ultimately I found them to be more visually interesting, intimidating and unique robots.

Omnibots

These guys were special mailaway toys back in the 80’s, meaning they were not available in retail stores. If you wanted them, you had to order them direct from Hasbro, with the use of “robot points” you acquired from the Transformers you got through retail. The Omnibots were interesting because aside from being robots that could transform to cars, they also each had a third “battle mode”, so they kinda were like the first ever triple changers. While Omnibots Camshaft and Downshift were relatively forgettable, I was a fan of Overdrive who transformed into a Ferrari, which was a favorite of mine as a kid.

Blitzwing/Astrotrain

It really boggles my mind that as of 2019 we still don’t have decent MP versions of these two Decepticon triple changers. There are multiple 3rd party options for these guys out there, but none of them are very good in my opinion. Fans Toys released prototypes of Blitzwing years ago, but have since supposedly gone back to the drawing board with him. Hopefully they’ll finally show something more advanced this time and maybe a much rumored Astrotrain as well :)

Protectobots/Defensor

Of all the main combiner teams, I feel that the Protectobots & Defensor get the least love. I guess it’s not so cool to be based on rescue vehicles as compared to jets, race cars and military vehicles. Ok I know that this is starting to be a recurring theme and making me sound like a spoiled collector, but while we already have 3rd party company Generation Toy finishing up their version of Defensor, it’s not quite right for me, again looking more at home with the IDW comic aesthetic. Bruticus & Superion already have fantastic G1/cartoon versions by Zeta Toys. And we have at least 2 different versions of Menasor scheduled to be completed this year by X-Transbots and DX9. We definitely need an honest to goodness “GEEEEEEE WUUUUUUN” Defensor…..STAT!



Sharkticon Gnaw

Ok so we’ve already got two fairly serviceable 3rd party versions of these guys, but they came out years ago (well before I started full blown collecting 3rd party Transformers) and are now quite difficult to find. Plus they both look rather dated by today’s standards (I swear I’m not sour graping). We need new Sharkticons. And with X-Transbots seemingly delving into Quintesson territory in the very near future, this seems to be a no brainer.

Fansproject Hardhead

Back in 2012, 3rd party company Fansproject was at the top of their game, they started their Function-X subline which was to be their venture into Transformers headmasters. Fast Forward 7 years and while Fansproject are now pretty much on life support, they did manage to release 6 of the 7 original Autobot and Decepticon Headmasters. Given how so much time has passed, a lot would say it would be pointless give us the last one, which is the Autobot Hardhead, but I for one am a fan of this line and would very much like to see it be completed. Fansproject released some of the coolest and innovative toys in this subline that still hold up really well today. They actually seemed to have designed a prototype already but that was years ago…..hopefully it hasn’t been forgotten.



And so there you have it. It’s a new year and we’ve got new robots heading our way. Hopefully we’ll see a lot of the ones I wrote about this weekend :)
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