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Several of the toys released this year weren't given individual names, including the re-released Constructicons (who had also lost the parts needed to combine into Devastator, oddly enough). Takara took Hasbro's lead and brought the new universe of living robots to Japan in 1985, where it was a massive success. (And yes, most of the previously-mentioned companies now fall under the Hasbro/TakaraTomy umbrella. Talk about playground bragging rights! Of the other new toys, five are branded as "Dinobots", three are branded as "Omnibots", six are branded as "Constructicons", and seven are branded as "Insecticons"; the Dinobots and the Omnibots are both subgroups of the Autobots, while the Constructicons and the Insecticons are both subgroups of the Decepticons. The rubsigns were also key to another bit of promotion, the mystery-allegiance Mini-Spies that came with the Mini Vehicles this year as bonuses. And while the shells' minimal articulation (having only stiff shoulder swivels) would be fine for much younger children, the inner robots and number of small parts definitely put them outside of that age group. Fortress Maximus and Scorponok became leaders of the Autobot and Decepticon forces respectively. Sure you could get a GoBot or a Mini Vehicle just about any time, but the larger Transformers were something big and special for birthdays or saved-up allowances. A yellow Familia 1500XG minicar dubbed "Bumblejumper" and later known as Bumper was released on Cliffjumper backer cards. Bigger toys had more Points, again adding to the idea that the larger toys were a step above the smaller ones. There are certainly a number of notable early variants, such as the red Tracks, as well as the occasional release of toys otherwise exclusive to Japan, such as GiG's Bruticus and Abominus giftsets or the legendary Galaxy Shuttle, but their scarcity has relegated them to "only for the completist with ample funds" category. Robotic beasts made a splash with the Dinobots and Insecticons. Though even with all that, seven years was a long time for a toy franchise to run. The Mini Vehicles were refreshed by taking the 1984 assortment and extensively retooling them into all-new characters. At the time, Japanese toy manufacturer Takara was showcasing several transforming robot toys from lines such as Diaclone, Micro Change and Mecha. You can kind of guess how well that worked. Factory released the complete series in a single box set for the first time in Region 1. This late entry into China actually goes a long way towards explaining the country's current Transformers mania, and its ever-increasing amount of toys made specifically for that market. They also created a gigantic factory that would become Cybertron. The heads of the Obliterators, Pyro and Clench, were the inspiration for the redesigned Autobot and Decepticon symbols that were used on this year's packaging and later used for Transformers: Generation 2. Mail-away offers were also slowing down, with no new product available from this year on, only older items no longer in stores. Subgroup teams became prevalent. While the European version of the line would continue on with both new product and a glut of "Classics" re-releases, it would be two years before Transformers would come back to US toy shelves, as Generation 2. was in full effect. If you want strange variants of Generation 1 toys, then the short-lived toylines south of the border are the mother lode. Have the Decepticons defeated us once and for all? Transformers continued on despite smaller support and still managed to introduce a plethora of new characters. The packaging too was a step beyond what other lines were doing. This year even saw the first store-exclusive Transformers, as those same four bots were sold without their Pretender shells as "Legends", available only at Kmart (which wasn't the decrepit shell of a retailer it is now). By this time, Transformers was in serious trouble. These bots were developed for animation first then had toys developed based around those designs, a very rare move at the time (and still uncommon today, mostly only the live-action film series works this way). More importantly, this was the first year Hasbro would push a primary over-arching gimmick as a large percentage of the line: the Nebulan "Master" partners. 1984 was a roaring, out-of-the-gate success for Transformers, so 1985's offerings upped the ante, both in numbers and in variety of form. Both figures came in their standard styrafoam insert but the box was a plain brown mailer box. Having run for seven years, the line changed dramatically over its lifetime, going from pre-made items to all-new designs and greater focus on gimmicks beyond simply transforming. This set, dubbed "Transformers- The Complete Series: The Matrix of Leadership Collector's Set" features all 98 remastered episodes along with all new bonus features on 16 DVDs.[51]. No, you had to get out there and shop - or use a big printed mail-order catalog like the old Sears "Wish Book". To save production costs in developing separate chassis for multiple toys, many of the G1 Transformers are simply re-painted or re-accessorized clones of one another. Transformers: Generation 1 (also known as Generation One or G1) is a children's toy line that ran from 1984 to 1990, produced by Hasbro and Takara. The copyright and manufacturing information on the back of the packaging was also shortened to remove the no-longer-true statements "Made in Japan", "Made in Taiwan", etc., and omit references to Takara. Smaller figures were packaged with small soft-rubber Decoys of older characters as an extra incentive, but they weren't a fully transformable mini-Transformer. They consist of Beachcomber, Cosmos, Powerglide, Seaspray, and Warpath. Most of the toys' base color schemes came from the original lines, with a few exceptions: Ironhide, Sunstreaker, Skywarp, and Buzzsaw were new decos created whole-cloth by Hasbro. While in its robot form, the toy consists of three separate parts: the main figure, which transforms into the cabin of the truck; an Autobot Headquarters, which transforms into the tractor trailer, serves as a combat deck, and includes a mechanic/artillery robot; and a small scout car named Roller, which launches from the Autobot Headquarters. And then there were all the major sorta-likes, such as Kenner's M.A.S.K. Joe cartoon meeting their demise), leaving only the comics to support the toy line. Megatron is the Decepticon Leader and can transform into three different types of guns; a Walther P38 handgun, a particle beam cannon, and a telescopic laser cannon. Earthlings: THE S.T.A.R.S. The first ever series of Transformers toys features twenty-eight characters in all; eighteen Autobots and ten Decepticons. [26], The three Decepticon planes are Skywarp, Starscream, and Thundercracker. The older cast of not-shipping-any-more-1984-toys was shuffled out, with many characters openly and brutally killed in the film, to make way for all-new toy-characters who would take the forefront, including new faction leaders. Transformers wasn't even the first shape-changing robot toy to US shelves, having been beat to the punch by then-competitor Tonka, who brought over Bandai's Machine Robo toys as GoBots six months prior, plus Takara's own prior attempts to market their toys in the US as Diakron and Kronoform. Marvel Comics UK continuity (1985 to 1992), This page was last edited on 28 November 2020, at 08:55. Toys that were re-licensed or remolded from an existing toyline or animated series. Optimus Prime and Megatron were both offered as a Movie Mail Away. There were a lot more retailers out there, both national and regional, muscling for market share, and virtually all had a sizable toy department. The eruption re-sets the ship's computer, which deploys a probe to study the planet. This culminated in the mighty Fortress Maximus, a towering two-foot-tall Headmaster city-bot, with a hefty $100 price-tag (in 1987 dollars, which is about the same as a $200 Transformer today). While many other lines' mail-aways tended to be just toys that weren't out in stores yet, Transformers from the outset offered toys that they would never sell at normal retail, like the Omnibots. Hasbro generally seemed less keen on remaking the past, focusing their efforts on new lines, but saw the value in trying to get the reissues into fans' hands... even if there had to be compromises for safety reasons. These groups shipped in mixed-allegiance assortments, which would become more and more common going forward. New characters Rodimus Prime and Galvatron replaced Optimus Prime and Megatron in their respective roles. Transformers would not be back on Japanese toy shelves until 1995, when the short-lived G-2 toyline would hit. Home video games were getting even hotter and luring more kids away from toys altogether, especially with the release of the hugely-anticipated Super Nintendo Entertainment System. They have waged civil war for eons on their home planet of Cybertron, a war that had started several million years B.C., before humans even existed on Earth. The manufacturing information was instead applied as a sticker in Chinese on the back of the box. In addition, On October 20, 2009, Shout! However, it was 1991 when the UK line went in its own unique direction. Megatron (Leader Class, 2015) 1.1. [39] Beachcomber, the geologist, transforms into a dune buggy;[40] Cosmos, who serves in reconnaissance and communications, transforms into a flying saucer;[41] Powerglide, a warrior, transforms into an A-10 Thunderbolt II airplane;[42] Seaspray, who serves in naval defense, transforms into a hovercraft;[43] and Warpath, a warrior, transforms into a tank. ), but eventually would move to easily-readable bars. Yes, hot pink and toxic green: the 90s was also the time that the color schemes for new toys overall got brighter and more reliant on pastels (and in some cases, straight-up gloriously awful). Trailbreaker and Hoist are functionally identical to one another. When the toy line was released, it was supported by the Marvel Comics series, an animated television series, and a gamut of other merchandising tie-ins. Ironhide and Ratchet are functionally identical to one another. [24] Laserbeak, who serves in interrogation, also resembles a condor while in robot form and was sold with Frenzy, who is a warrior. [1] It was a line of toy robots that could change into an alternate form (vehicles such as cars and planes, miniature guns or cassettes, animals, and even dinosaurs) by moving parts into other places, and it was the first line of toys produced for the successful Transformers toy and entertainment franchise. Having run for seven years, the line changed dramatically over its lifetime, going from pre-made items to all-new designs and greater focus on gimmicks beyond simply transforming. (There was a whole big thing with Jetfire/Skyfire in the cartoon, follow the link for more on that.) Operating explanation for the heat sensitive rub signs, as found in the instruction booklets for toys that were new to Series 2, and in brochures that were included with the reissued Series 1 toys[28], Series 2 features reissued versions of all of the toys from Series 1 and also introduced seventy-six new toys. ), ending with several previously-Japanese-exclusive Victory toys. IDW Publishing picked up the rights soon after. Hoo. Re-issues began sporadically at first in 2000, mainly major characters (particularly Optimus Prime, Megatron, Rodimus and Starscream) in recreations of the original packaging, with a few special editions. Hasbro hoped that this would prove stronger from a marketing standpoint than the Autobot/Decepticon distinction from previous years, plus look new and fresh, rather than just another iteration of a now-six-year-old toyline. need your help now! In 1990, the Micromaster concept was embraced wholeheartedly as majority of the toys that year and the next were of that nature. [44], Series 2 features two Autobot Jumpstarters; Topspin and Twin Twist. The basic upshot... Hasbro simply marketed the line better in virtually every regard, and sold kids on the idea that these weren't just robot toys, they were characters... that these plastic doodads were, well, more than meets the eye. The Autobots and Decepticons got some physical distinction in their designs in 1992: the Autobots got hot-pink transparent plastic parts, primarily their optics and windows, while the Decepticons got a bright toxic clear-green transparent parts as well as less-human, more angular faces. [17] Brawn, who serves in demolitions, transforms into a Land Rover Defender 4x4;[18] Bumblebee, who serves in espionage, transforms into a Classic Volkswagen Beetle;[18] Cliffjumper, a warrior, transforms into a Porsche Turbo 924;[19] Gears, who serves as a transport and in reconnaissance, transforms into a 4WD off-road truck;[19] Huffer, the construction engineer, transforms into the cabin of a semi truck;[20] and Windcharger, a warrior, transforms into a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.[20]. [32] Grapple, the architect, transforms into a crane;[33] Hoist, who serves in maintenance, transforms into a Toyota Hi-Lux 4WD tow truck model;[34] Inferno, who serves in search and rescue, transforms into a fire engine;[35] Red Alert, the security director, transforms into a fire chief's Lamborghini Countach;[32] Skids, the theoretician, transforms into a Honda City Turbo;[36] Smokescreen, the diversionary tactician, transforms into a 1979 custom Datsun 280ZX;[37] and Tracks, a warrior, transforms into a 1980 Chevrolet Corvette. Despite running for nigh six years, the Chinese Generation 1 line released only about 100 toys all told. The cartoon was ended with a truncated three-part special, with reruns continuing on in syndication. The two years were actually one single run, story-wise and thematically. [47] Roadbuster, the Ground Assault Commander, transforms into a 4-WD vehicle,[48] and Whirl, who serves in aerial assault, transforms into an Apache Helicopter. Almost all of the first year Autobot cars were nearly identical in appearance to their Diaclone counterparts with the exception of Bluestreak and Ironhide. Marvel Comics held the license during the original run of the toy line. (The Points were, of course, actually worthless, since you also sent in a check for roughly what the toys would normally cost anyway.) For example, several characters appeared that were only exclusive to the Japanese market and Toei Animation continued the animated series with their own storylines. Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter and writer Dennis O'Neil created an overall story, and editor Bob Budiansky was brought in to create names and profiles for the characters. As Bandai was (and is) a direct competitor to Takara, none of these toys were put into the cartoon, which was being ported to Japan. The Generation 2 revival failed to revive, and its vastly more successful replacement Beast Wars was such a radical shift from everything before that going back to the '80s trappings was seen as risky. Kids flocked to this strange new line and its weird new cartoon, leaving Transformers... sorry, there's no helping this... shell-shocked. The line was originally called The Transformers, with "Generation 1" originating as a term coined by fans of the toys when the Transformers: Generation 2 toy line was released in 1992. Takara had been designing a different sort of combining robot team for Diaclone, where the limb-bots were wholly interchangeable. Originated in the ‘80s, with roots in the ‘70s, and major cultural refreshes in every succeeding decade, Transformers have become relevant to … That Transformers made as big a splash as it did and lasted so long before the revivals and reboots is remarkable. While the American toyline was shutting down, Transformers in Europe kept on chugging along. Accessories: 2-part Pretender shell, helmet, left & right wings, left & right "lasers"/tail wings, rifle ; The first new Starscream toy since the original brought the treacherous Air Commander back as a Classic Pretender.He still transforms into a grey, red and blue F-15 fighter jet, though his vehicle mode now borders on the super deformed. Prior to the Hasbro deal, Takara briefly sold Diaclone toys in specialty toy shops in the U.S. under the "Diakron" moniker, while in some parts of Europe, Diaclone enjoyed a small following with a comic book series for that market. New Headmaster and Targetmaster characters were introduced, but the new driving forces for the line were the Pretenders and Powermasters (which featured the return of Optimus Prime). These UK only stories often worked in and around the US stories, offering a different experience. And not the fun kind. In 1986 a feature film was released, generating $5,706,456 in the United States.[2]. As the number of Combiner teams had been reduced, the Headmasters and Targetmasters were introduced. Most every toy (and cereal) mail-away offer asked you to clip out the UPC bar-codes as "proof of purchase" when sending away, but Transformers instead asked for the "Robot Points" clipped from the packaging back. Laserbeak and Buzzsaw are functionally identical to one another. The Little Sticker in the Corner: The Truth about Early-1990's Chinese G1 Transformers Toys,, The term "Generation 1" is a piece of ascended. Takara was the first to get the reissue ball rolling, and generally took the lead in re-releasing classic "Generation 1" molds over the course of several years. The 1991 and 1992 toys also found their way to Asian and Australian stores. And the market responded... timidly at first, as the markets do, but over time, more and more of the classic series was brought back in one form or another. The UK line first started branching away from the US line in 1990 with the re-releases of several early toys under the "Classics" banner. Rub the label-Watch the robot face appear! The 1985 toyline introduced the idea of special subgroup teams like the Dinobots, Constructicons and Insecticons. After the featured film, Megatron was reformed as Galvatron, and Optimus Prime was replaced for the majority of the third season by Rodimus Prime, only to return at the end. [29][30] Although in a broad sense, forty-three of these new toys are Autobots, and thirty-one of them are Decepticons, the branding for the toy line became much more specific during this series, as various subgroups began to be introduced. The computer learns that the planet is inhabited, and in order to survive first contact the computer both repairs the disabled Transformers and re-configures them with physical forms based on vehicles and machines of human origin. And with a new slew of imitators popping up, Hasbro pushed a new little bit of status-symbol into the line, giving every toy released in '85 —including the re-released '84 toys— a heat-sensitive rubsign. Where previous years tended to be a bit scattered with its transformation types, the Headmasters and Targetmasters presented a more unified theme across both factions and multiple price-points. Rodimus Prime remembers the Transformers greatest battle on Earth. The Transformers (also now known as "Generation 1" or "G1" for short, though the line was never branded as such) started as a joint venture between Hasbro of America and Takara of Japan. The subgrouping idea was changed as characters were now limited to Pretender and Micromaster groups. Joe and the massive USS Flagg playset.). But in August 1989, Hasbro International started cranking out classic Transformers at Chinese factories, which were shipped throughout China, as well as Taiwan and South Korea (with additional stickers applied to the packaging for those markets). [citation needed], Other characters were taken from different toy lines of other companies (see Re-licenses). Uniquely, the 1991 range in Japan consisted of only Autobot characters. The setup for Transformers is two factions of sentient alien robots: the heroic Autobots and the villainous Decepticons. Many of these lines are technically multi-franchise ensembles, but the majority of their output is of updated Generation 1 bots. As such, only thirty-five of these new toys are standard Autobots and only eighteen of them are standard Decepticons. Although the popularity of Transformers has waned in these two countries as well, they still managed to make some output in the interim between 1990 and 1993, before the launch of the next series, Transformers: Generation 2. Though the previous year saw Bumblebee return as "Goldbug", this large-scale toy of a returning character heralded a shift in Hasbro's strategy, which would get even stronger next year. Grapple and Inferno are functionally identical to one another. The line started very parallel with Hasbro's offerings, but over time the two companies pursued some pretty different visions for the brand. In March 2009, Shout! After four years and slowly-declining sales, the push to make Transformers live up to its new tagline ("More... Much More Than Meets the Eye!") ), then introducing several redecoed previously-Takara-exclusive molds, mainly from the 1989 ("Victory") line-up. Neat! Hahahahahahahhahahah haaaaaa hahahahahhahahaha hahaahahaaaaaaaahahahaaaaa. In 1983, Hasbro representatives were sent to Tokyo Toy Show, a toy expo in Japan, in search of prospective toys that they could import to the North American market. These plans would come to life in Transformers as the "Scramble City" style combiners (though that branding was only used in Takara's line; Hasbro called them the "Special Teams" in Europe, and... nothing special in the US). Well... To be honest, Transformers didn't do much that was really "new" outside of its central transformation gimmick, and that was one it shared with multiple competitors. A few classic characters were revamped as Pretenders. Season 2, Volume 2 was released on January 12, 2010. Hooooh boy.

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