The Top 5 Greatest Transformers Toys
Because Michael Bay doesn’t believe in limits, the fourth all-action-all-the-time installment in the Transformers franchise—Age of Extinction—will be hitting theaters nationwide June 27th. Some of us might be feeling the franchise fatigue, but it hasn’t diminished our love for the classic source material—especially the toys. The Transformers have been invading store shelves for thirty years, and we’ve narrowed down our top five faves that defined a generation.
5) Optimus Prime
The Transformers toy line burst onto the scene all the way back in 1984, introducing children—and some adult toy enthusiasts—to a new level of play and design. Leading the pack of the initial assortment was the must-have Autobot leader, Optimus Prime. Essentially two toys in one, Optimus came packaged with a changeable trailer, turning into a combat deck complete with a smaller six-wheeled vehicle named Roller. It was even capable of holding smaller Transformers in their vehicle modes! A toy that’s both an action figure and a playset? Heck yes!
There’s one thing that can be said about Transformers toys: The line never, relatively speaking, stagnated, offering something innovative and fun each year. By 1985, the franchise had planted its roots and solidified itself as a pop culture phenomenon. Living up to the reputation, Hasbro—the company behind The Transformers—released the first of many mind-blowing gestalts in the form of the Constructicons (and their composite form, Devastator). Available individually and as a rare gift set, the Hot Wheels-sized construction vehicles had their own individual robot modes in addition to combining to form Devastator. There would be other combiners down the road, but none matched the complexity and memorability of the Constructicons.
3) The Dinobots
The Dinobots were another product of the groundbreaking 1985 series of Transformers toys. It’s not like Hasbro had to do much to grab the attention of its target audience. Aside from their profit-generating appearance in the animated series, dinosaurs who are robots that transform into robot warriors was a concept that pretty much sold itself (likely the same rationale kids employed to convince their parents to buy them). Of the five that were available, Swoop (the Pteranodon) was made in somewhat limited numbers, making him in particular quite the find for collectors.
Appearing in the first wave of toys including heavy-hitters like Optimus Prime, Megatron, and Starscream, it's almost hard to imagine that Soundwave—whose alternate form was that of a run-of-the-mill tape recorder—is the one fans remember most fondly, if not the most of all. Sold alongside transformable cassette tapes (non-functional, mind you), it stands to reason why Soundwave was so appealing—and re-released on numerous occasions throughout the ‘80s. But, as if he wasn’t already cool enough, the Japanese version of Soundwave came packaged with headphones and a clear case to store one of his cassette minions in!
1) Fortress Maximus
The veritable Holy Grail of Transformers toys, Fortress Maximus was, when fully transformed, two feet tall of plastic majesty, carrying with it a plethora of accessories that were toys in their own right. In the years following Fort Max’s release, the toyline began to plateau before eventually fading into a shadow of its former glory. All things considered, the big guy was Hasbro’s largest and greatest effort, an achievement to be proud of. Today, anyone looking for a vintage Fort Max in package will see their wallet enter a world of hurt, as the toy sells for upwards of $2000!
Will you be seeing Transformers: Age of Extinction?