GENERATION I FIGURES1984
A world where things are not as they seem... TRANSFORMERS brand history begins this year, as Hasbro releases the very first robot-to-vehicle figures. The first wave of toys introduces the heroic AUTOBOT vehicles, which make their debut as small, easy-to-convert "minicars." Next come the DECEPTICON figures, which have a slightly more difficult conversion. Subsequent figures are larger and more complex, but TRANSFORMERS fans are ready for the challenge!
- The TRANSFORMERS' first animated TV series hits the airwaves! Now kids can get their fix of TRANSFORMERS excitement every weekend. The show quickly becomes one of the most popular kids' shows of the year and eventually expands to a five-day-a-week schedule. Kids everywhere re-cap the action of each episode with their friends at school the next day!
- Kids can read about their favorite action heroes too, when Marvel Comics publishes the very first TRANSFORMERS comic book. Originally intended as a four-issue "mini series," the comic books are so popular that Marvel immediately makes plans for more; the series eventually grows to 80 issues.
- Other figures released this year: the DECEPTICON jets, including the wildly popular STARSCREAM jet; OPTIMUS PRIME, the semi-truck leader of the AUTOBOTS; the MEGATRON robot, leader of the DECEPTICONS; and the DECEPTICON SOUNDWAVE, a robot that converts into a cassette recorder.
By now TRANSFORMERS are one of the hottest toys on the market. For those who haven't jumped on board the bandwagon yet, Hasbro re-releases all the figures from the previous year. Fans look forward to the introduction of several new characters, including the CONSTRUCTICONS construction vehicles, a team of six DECEPTICONS that turn into individual robots and combine to form DEVASTATOR, a larger robot. This is the first of many "merge group" TRANSFORMERS (figures that combine to form a larger one).
- The first mail-order TRANSFORMERS are offered. Fans clip "robot points" from product packaging and fill out a form to order the Omnibots, reinforcement warriors from Cybertron; the S.T.A.R.S. Command Center playset; and the AUTOBOT Warrior emblem watch. Other mail-away offers include the DECEPTICON triple threat, Reflector figure, as well as classic TRANSFORMERS reissue toys.
- Another TRANSFORMERS trend begins with the introduction of the TRIPLE CHANGERS - DECEPTICON figures with three modes of change. Over the years, as the figures become more complex, many TRANSFORMERS feature up to six different modes!
- The Insecticons, robots that turn into (you guessed it!) insects, make their debut, as well as the AUTOBOT JUMPSTARTERS figures. The JUMPSTARTERS feature pull-back motion - pull them back on the floor and let go, and they move forward and change into robots.
- Other figures released this year include the DINOBOTS, dinosaurs that change into robots; some of the most popular characters in this group are GRIMLOCK, SLUDGE and SWOOP dinos. Also hitting store shelves: SHOCKWAVE, the first electronic Transformer with lights and sound.
Hasbro treats kids and collectors to more than 50 new figures. And if that weren't enough, TRANSFORMERS: The Movie hits the big screen and is a huge hit with fans across the country. The movie prompts the release of several new figures, including the RODIMUS PRIME and ULTRA MAGNUS robots.
Several merge groups are released this year, including sets in which one figure becomes the body of a larger robot, with the other figures becoming the arms and legs. The very first AUTOBOT merge group is the AERIALBOTS, figures that can combine to form SUPERION, a larger robot. Also released were the STUNTICONS, COMBATICONS, PREDACONS and PROTECTOBOTS merge groups.
New electronic figures include TRYPTICON, the battle station; SKY LYNX, the space shuttle; and the robot GALVATRON, who, in the movie, takes over command of the DECEPTICON army.
Another banner year for TRANSFORMERS, marked by the introduction of two new lines - TARGETMASTERS and HEADMASTERS. TARGETMASTERS are humanoid creatures who turn into the robot's weapon; HEADMASTERS are vehicle pilots who become the head of the robot. Even better, by joining the head and body of the robot you get a display panel on the robot's chest with its vital stats - speed, strength and intelligence.
The biggest TRANSFORMERS figure ever made is, in fact, a HEADMASTER. FORTRESS MAXIMUS, an awesome two-foot-tall figure can turn into a battle station and an entire city!
- Also released this year: MONSTERBOTS, monsters which emit sparks when you push a button; and Sixshot, the first TRANSFORMERS figure with six modes of change!
- The final season of the U.S. "Generation 1" animated series, The Rebirth, airs in the fall as a three-part story detailing the adventures of the HEADMASTERS and TARGETMASTERS. The epic ends with the banishment of the DECEPTICONS and a new golden age of Cybertron.
This year welcomes even more fresh ideas from the TRANSFORMERS line. A twist on the TARGETMASTERS/HEADMASTERS theme arrives with POWERMASTERS - robots whose humanoid cohorts become their engine in vehicle mode. Another big hit is the PRETENDERS - figures with organic outer "shells" that hide the robot inside. The shells can be human (AUTOBOTS) or monsters (DECEPTICONS). With the arrival of PRETENDER BEASTS, all the robots are contained within the shell of large animals.
When you've got a toy this big, sometimes you've got to - think small. That's what Hasbro does this year with the introduction of the MICROMASTERS line of miniature TRANSFORMERS. First out of the gate are MICROMASTERS PATROLS, followed by MICROMASTERS TRANSPORTS and MICROMASTERS STATIONS, playsets designed specifically for this line. In keeping with the extremely collectible MICROMASTERS characters, each playset can be linked via a system of ramps to create and customize an incredible MICROMASTERS city!
Also released this year are PRETENDERS Classics, featuring the triumphant return of GRIMLOCK, JAZZ, BUMBLEBEE and STARSCREAM figures. Overall, however, fewer figures are released than in previous years.
A whole new line called ACTION MASTERS makes its appearance - these are articulated action figures based on TRANSFORMERS characters both old and new. OPTIMUS PRIME has brought back an experimental form of energy called Nucleon to super-fuel his troops with incredible powers. The DECEPTICONS steal this resource and the battle rages anew. But this energy source comes with a price - it makes the TRANSFORMERS robots unable to change! That power is given instead to their weapons and assistant drones.
More MICROMASTER figures are released, including MICROMASTERS COMBINERS, an interconnecting series of micro-vehicles.
But all good things must come to an end, and so it is with the first generation of TRANSFORMERS figures; 1990 is their last year of production.
GENERATION 2 FIGURES1992-1995
They're back! After two years, TRANSFORMERS re-emerge with Generation II figures. While some of these figures are re-releases of older figures with new paint jobs, there are plenty of new characters as well. And some special features, too: the new OPTIMUS PRIME comes with electronic sounds and phrases; the small AUTOBOT Cars and DECEPTICON Jets come with engines that serve as weapons in robot mode; and Color-Changing Cars do just that - they change color when you dip them in water!
The animated TV show, complete with computerized enhancements, returns to the airwaves and creates excitement for the next generation of figures. Also hitting the stores is a new 12-issue comic book series, in which the AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS team up to fight a hoard of Cybertronian villains, as well as a mysterious galactic entity bent on absorbing everything in its path!
Also released: Laser OPTIMUS PRIME, a large figure with light-up weapons and air-powered rocket launchers.
Talk about a comeback! TRANSFORMERS is riding high again with the introduction of the BEAST WARS line. The idea is that the TRANSFORMERS are stranded back in the past - on Earth. Back then, the story goes, Earth was full of Energon, a substance that causes the TRANSFORMERS to overload their circuits. To avoid this, they have to assume beast forms. In this incarnation, the MAXIMALS (descendants of the AUTOBOTS) battle the PREDACONS (descendants of the DECEPTICONS). The heroic OPTIMUS PRIMAL, a gorilla, leads his crew against MEGATRON, a tyrannosaurus rex who eventually evolves into a terrifying dragon! With the help of an awesome new animated TV series, the BEAST WARS are an instant smash hit!
A milestone in TRANSFORMERS history is marked in 1996 with the debut of the BLACKARACHNIA figure, the first mass-produced female Transformer!
In 1998, the BEAST WARS line gets a twist with the introduction of the FUZORS and TRANSMETALS figures. FUZORS are robots whose beast modes are a combination of two different animals. The story behind the TRANSMETALS is that the TRANSFORMERS develop metal superstructures after an energy wave hits Earth.
A MAXIMAL's work is never done! In 2000, the BEAST MACHINES line of figures opens a new chapter in TRANSFORMERS history. Having won the BEAST WARS, the MAXIMALS robots return to the Cybertron of the future; but upon their arrival, they're attacked by the VEHICONS, MEGATRON's vehicle army, which has enslaved their home planet. The VEHICONS hit the store shelves along with many more Maximal figures in new, sleekly styled configurations.
The MAXIMALS' heroic struggle to free their planet continues into the following year with the release of BEAST MACHINES Battle for the Spark, a line of figures whose action features are activated by pressing a spark crystal. The 24-episode Battle for the Spark series concludes in spectacular fashion, with a duel between OPTIMUS PRIMAL and MEGATRON.
ROBOTS IN DISGUISE2001-2002
But of course, the struggle between good and evil never ends, and this classic conflict continues with the return of the AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS! A new animated series returns the action to Earth in the near future; MEGATRON and his evil cohorts arrive with only one goal in mind - destruction! But hidden in the guise of vehicles is a powerful force of goodness determined to defeat the DECEPTICONS and protect the planet - the heroic AUTOBOTS!
The ROBOTS IN DISGUISE line also marks the return of the recognizable vehicle to robot mode change that made the TRANSFORMERS brand so popular in the '80's. This TRANSFORMERS fantasy adds to the possibility that any car on the road, car transport on the highway or fire truck in the station could be a real robot in disguise. The wildly popular line includes COMBINERS, figures that combine together to form larger robots. The figures come in several different themes, including military, construction and trains.
Some of the figures released this year include MEGATRON, with 6 modes; AUTOBOT brothers SIDE BURN, PROWL and X-BRAWN; Military, Construction and Train COMBINERS; and the awesome electronic OPTIMUS PRIME Fire Truck and ULTRA MAGNUS Car Transport, which combine to form OMEGA PRIME, a massive robot!
TRANSFORMERS may be back to basics, but there's always something new in store, too! A new 52-episode animated series debuts and puts a new twist on the age-old AUTOBOT/DECEPTICON conflict: the discovery of a mysterious lost race of TRANSFORMERS - the MINI-CON robots. These smaller robots, when partnered with larger TRANSFORMERS, give them increased powers and skills. Whoever controls the MINI-CON warriors will be virtually invincible - and both the AUTOBOTS and DECEPTICONS are determined to capture this robotic race!
Following the lead of the TV series, the TRANSFORMERS ARMADA figures debut this fall. Each figure comes with its own MINI-CON, which unlocks secret battle features when attached to the larger robot!
- Some of the figures released this year include the STREET ACTION MINI-CON TEAM; HOT SHOT, the heroic AUTOBOT sports car, with MINI-CON helicopter JOLT; STARSCREAM, the DECEPTICON jet, with MINI-CON race car SWINDLE; and an awesome MEGATRON tank that can carry up to 10 MINI-CON figures!
- Also available: OPTIMUS PRIME! He's back as a semi-truck - but unlike any you've ever seen before! When the cab of the truck is changed into a robot, the trailer automatically opens up into a MINI-CON super base station, complete with lights, sounds, projectiles, launching ramps and gun stations for MINI-CON figures! Create Super OPTIMUS PRIME - change the robot into an upper body form and the base station raises up to become legs all by itself! Combine the 2 parts together to make Super OPTIMUS PRIME, one of the biggest and baddest robots ever!
- For the die-hard collector fans out there, Hasbro has plans to re-issue some of the most popular toys from the Generation 1 collection as exclusives at Toys R Us. Plans are in the works to re-issue the G1 OPTIMUS PRIME semi-truck, the G1 ULTRA MAGNUS car carrier and the G1 RODIMUS MAJOR sportscar, or the robot formerly known as Hot Rod. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for a few more G1's in the near future. You just never know what will hit the stores next!
- But wait, there's more! Dreamwave Comics releases a new wave of Generation I comics, as well as a TRANSFORMERS ARMADA series. Clearly, the TRANSFORMERS brand is just as popular today as it was the first year it was released!