Despite being a non-movie year, it’s been a big one for Hasbro’s Transformers franchise. Originally launched in the U.S. in 1984, the Transformers have gone through countless evolutions, reinventions, reimaginings, and rebirths, but for fans and collectors of all ages, there’s just something about the original Generation One (G1) era that reigns supreme.
Following a recent batch of vintage G1 reissues (most of which were sold as Walmart exclusives) the Transformers design team, from Takara TOMY, and Hasbro created a pair of new figures that masterfully pair elements of classic styling with a modern range.
Their official names and designations are a mouthful — the Transformers Generations War for Cybertron: Siege 35th Anniversary Special Edition Classic Animation Optimus Prime and Megatron — but the figures are simple and elegant.
At first glance, in robot mode, the leaders of the Autobots and Decepticons are instantly recognizable depictions of how they appeared in 1984. Upon closer inspection, the unique cel-shaded deco is what really sets these figures apart by giving them a cartoon-like look that recalls The Transformers animated series that aired in syndication from 1984-1987.
The 7-inch action figures each come battle-ready and packed with accessories. Optimus Prime includes his W-M3 RF Ion Blaster and W-50 Dual-Mech Energon Strikeshield, and Megatron comes armed with his D50-R35 Fusion Cannon and HPR Telescopic Laserstrike Launcher.
The biggest difference between modern Transformers and their G1 counterparts is the actual transforming, both in how many steps it takes and the alt modes that each robot assumes. Optimus Prime transforms in 27 steps into a “Cybertronian alt mode” that’s no doubt inspired by his Earthly Freightliner FL86 look but presented with design cues that are more “alien” in nature.
Megatron transforms in 17 steps to become a Cybertronian tank — a common form for the character in recent decades. The original G1 Megatron transformed into a somewhat alarmingly realistic replica of a Walther P-38 pistol, and that’s neither exactly safe nor tasteful these days. Thus, we get a fairly standard-looking tank with enough of the alien mechanics to make it appear to be from Cyberton.
From a packaging standpoint, Hasbro continues to do well with the War for Cybertron line, and these are no exception. In-box collectors will appreciate the bold window boxes, presented with sharp lines and clean artwork representing the 35th anniversary of the line. Dates are important, and fans will find embossed representations of 1984 and 2019 in multiple places on each box.
Both Optimus Prime and Megatron can be found at Walmart stores in the U.S. They’d look fantastic next to the mighty Unicron that more than 8,500 Transformers fans backed via the Hasbro Pulse HasLab platform this fall.
Photos: Hasbro, the Pop Insider