Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Wishlist 2022: Transformers

When I first started collecting toys as an adult back in 2007, it was all about those Robots in Disguise. As much as I love Star Wars and Marvel Superheroes , it’s the Transformers that easily take the top spot in my collection. So with that firmly established, let's get started on which Transformers characters I am hoping to see in 2022.

10) Earth Mode Hound

Siege, the first line from the War for Cybertron trilogy featured familiar Generation One characters sporting their pre-Earth Cybertronian designs. And while it was cool, they eventually shifted their focus to more traditional looks for the succeeding Earthrise and Kingdom lines. As a result pretty much all the bots who were released in Siege got retooled and re-released with their Earth alt modes, except one, Hound. Now to be fair, I don’t think it would be a stretch to accept his Siege design as a possible Earth mode, but being the stickler that I am, It’s not quite “geewun” enough for me. So while I can live the Siege Hound, it would be nice to get a more classic retool somewhere down the line.

9) Deluxe Insecticons

Granted it was mostly due to legal reasons, Chopshop, Venom, Ransack and Barrage, collectively known as the Deluxe Insecticons have been one of the most criminally underused Transformer characters ever. Despite having arguably cooler and more menacing designs than the classic Insecticon trio of Shrapnel, Bombshell and Kickback, I cannot recall these deluxe bugs being featured heavily in ANY Transformers media. So please, give me some Deluxe Insecticons. As long as they aren’t too stylized in design, I’ll take CHUG or Masterpiece versions….or both.

8) Masterpiece Whirl and Roadbuster

Unfortunately for these two, Whirl and Roadbuster share the same legal problems as the Deluxe Insecticons. Since Hasbro’s rights to the original designs didn’t cover anything else but the toys themselves, these two could not be featured in any classic Transformers cartoons. Fortunately, since then, Hasbro has found a way to skirt these issues and they have been featured prominently in the comics as key members of the Autobot specialist group, the Wreckers. We already got pretty decent CHUG versions of Whirl and Roadbuster so what I really want are Masterpiece versions of this duo.

7) Masterpiece Jumpstarters

OK by this point I think it’s pretty obvious that a main objective of my wishlist is for me to finally complete the 1985 G1 line of Transformers in masterpiece form. And after the previous entries of Deluxe Insecticons and Autobots, all that we would need to reach my objective are the Jumpstarters Topspin and Twintwist. And as an added bonus, getting these guys also brings us closer to completing a classic Wreckers lineup as well. With their Decepticon “counterparts”, the Battlechargers supposedly coming out this year thanks to X Transbots, hopefully Topspin and Twintwist won’t be far behind.

6) Buzzsaw

The Decepticon tape Buzzsaw has been a real sore point for me these past two year on both the CHUG and Masterpiece front. In 2020 we finally got a decent CHUG version of Soundwave with the Netflix Earthrise exclusive. He also came with Ravage and Laserbeak. Rumble and Ratbat came conveniently in a 2 pack. And Frenzy in a four pack with 3 other minions. Knok and Skar who were repaints/retools of Ratbat and Rumble were excusable since they were minions of Doubledealer who was also released around the same time. But instead of going with the obvious 4th tape, Buzzsaw, Hasbro decided to go with another obscure Decepticon, a repainted Ratbat called Wingthing! Hello! What a wasted opportunity!

On the Masterpiece front, last year Fanstoys gave us an updated “MP” styled Soundwave that came with Rumble. They then released a follow up set with Ravage, Laserbeak and Frenzy. But no Buzzsaw. Look, I’m a simple man, I don’t need all of Soundwave’s minions that were ever released, I just need the original five that were released in 1984. So yeah I really just need Buzzsaw.

Best case scenario is that he will be released in another set with Ratbat or any of the other lesser known minions of Soundwave. Worst case scenario is that he might be included in a Soundblaster repaint release which would suck. So I am hoping for the former scenario.

5) Masterpiece Jolt

Of all the new characters that were slated to appear in the Transformers sequel Revenge of the Fallen, it was Jolt that I gravitated to the most. I don’t know why this “new” Autobot intrigued me so much, but he did. So you can imagine my extreme disappointment when he was barely featured in the movie and was never again used in any succeeding movies (apparently he was killed off in the prequel comics series set right before the events of the third movie).

Anyway despite him basically being an afterthought in the live action movies, I still loved his design and even if it’s not screen accurate I still can’t bring myself to sell off his original toy. He’s one of my favorite characters from the Bayverse. Anyway, Jolt finally got an updated toy in the Studio Series line which is unfortunately a line I don’t collect. So I’m not asking much. While the dream would be for some 3rd party company to create an all new “MPM” styled Jolt (hello Alien Attack or Unique Toys), I’ll even take a slightly tweaked oversized release of the Studio Series version. Just give me Jolt the Volt.

4) The Last Knight Barricade

If Jolt is my favorite Bayverse Autobot, Barricade is my favorite Decepticon. And I was really happy that despite him being AWOL in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th live action Transformers movies, he made his glorious return in The Last Knight, complete with an amazing redesigned look. Unfortunately, by this time, Hasbro was basically phoning it in when it came to the movie toys. And while this all new Barricade did get a toy, it was really a dumbed down interpretation.

Now while this Barricade got a knocked off oversized version, it;s just the same lame toy…only bigger. So yeah, just like Jolt, I am hoping that some 3rd party company will step up and give this new look Barricade a proper “MPM” styled toy, so that I can further flesh out Megatron’s crew from The Last Knight.

3) Masterpiece Windcharger

Like most MP collectors who were in it from the early 3rd party days, I am about 99% done with my G1 Seasons 1-2 lineups. Aside from a few missing pieces, I've come to the point where I am just swapping out characters for better and updated versions. But truth be told, I am pretty happy with almost every Transformer in my collection…except one. X-Transbots Boost, their MP version of the minibot Windcharger.

Boost was one of the first 3rd party MPs ever released. And even back then it was considered to be a mess of a toy. To be fair, he’s got both a decent robot and alt mode. But transforming him is a major nightmare. Who would have thought that you could over engineer the transformation of a simple minibot? The only reason why he remains in my collection is that no one else has stepped up to give us a better alternative. Hopefully though, that will change. Fans Toys have already given us a Brawn and Huffer and announced an upcoming Cliffjumper and Gears…so I think it’s safe to say that completing the original 6 minibots is on their radar. Knowing Fans Toys though, given their record and what they still need to release, I think the best we can hope for from them this year is an announcement of a new Windcharger. And that would be just fine with me. Of course if any other company would offer up one earlier, I wouldn’t complain.

2) Fansproject Hardhead

So all the way back in 2012, Fansproject, which was arguably the best 3rd party company at the time, set off to create their version of Headmasters meant to go along with Hasbro’s main line of Transformers. Their initial releases, Chromedome, Brainstorm and Weirdwolf were amazing feats of engineering. Even 10 years later I would argue that these guys have some of the freshest and innovative transforming sequences ever.

Unfortunately, over the years , Fansproject lost their mojo and were slowly overshadowed by other up and coming 3rd party companies. It’s widely believed that the company is no longer in existence with all those who were involved having moved on to other companies.

Anyway before their apparent demise, they managed to release six out of the seven basic Headmasters with only the Autobot Hardhead never seeing the light of day. Concept art and a transformation video shows that they were on the verge of releasing him, but it never happened. So yeah, given that Fansproject is no longer around, this is most certainly a non starter. But well, this is a wishlist right? So if for some random twist of fate, some other company decides to finish what they started, I would definitely love to see a “Fansproject” Hardhead finally come to fruition.

1) Animated Thundercracker

Transformers Animated was a cartoon series that aired back in 2007. And while the extremely stylized character designs were initially negatively met by many fans, the show and style slowly won most of them over. And then came the toys. Hasbro shocked many collectors when they started producing toys that were relatively quite accurate to the hypertoon designs that actually transformed. It was honestly quite groundbreaking, one of my favorite lines that Hasbro ever did in my opinion.

Anyway despite being almost universally loved by fans, the series didn’t go past 3 seasons, and when the show unexpectedly ended, so did the toyline. And it unfortunately ended before Hasbro completed an animated style seeker set. They managed to release Starscream and Skywarp, and were on the verge of releasing a Thundercracker when the line was canceled. They were so close that there are actual pre-release boxed samples out there in existence, a literal “holy grail” for collectors. So this one hurt big time. Aside from the fact that Thundercracker is my favorite Decepticon of all time, I was deprived of the chance of completing yet another fantastic Seeker set for my collection.

So I know this is a major long shot, but I do see a slim possibility of an Animated style Thundercracker being released if Primus would be so kind as to allow it.

On the official side, this year, Hasbro launched their new Legacy line, which is supposed to cover all the different past Transformers franchises. So it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities that given its previous popularity, a few Animated toys could be released under it.

But if Hasbro won’t revisit Animated, there is always the possibility that some 3rd party company will. The original Masterpiece G1 well is pretty much dry so Animated is another unmined niche that they can explore for more releases. While I would settle for a straight up KO of the previously released toys, I would even repurchase an entire new set of newly designed Animated style seekers.

So there you go. While I initially planned to stop here, I’ve decided to do one more wishlist to cover all the other toys I am hoping to see the light of day in 2022.