(when I first posted these, I did one a day. I'm not going to bother to edit the text. Just FYI)
After seeing HeroicDecepticons posts and beautiful group shots, we got to talking a little and I decided to do the entire run of the G1 and G2 toys in their US packages. I know most of the seasoned collectors already know which toys came out in each year, but I thought this would be a cool opportunity to showcase the entire year and let people see every toy all in one shot.
So, since it’s the end of the 30th anniversary of the brand and December, lets go for a 12 days of christmas motif. I’ll post one year a day for 11 days (should be 10, but I managed to stretch it out to 11. Sorry I couldn’t get a 12th out of it for a full “12 days”)
Lets start out with with the original guys, the 1984 run. This is where it all started and all the classics are here. Prime, Megs, Soundwave, all the jets and cars we all remember and love. Nice diaclone inspired (or copied) artwork, hearty di-cast metal and those shitty american non-launching rocket launchers! As you can all see, the decepticons were VASTLY out-numberd when they first crashed on earth. Luckily, Hasbro would work on that with the ‘85 run.
Growing up, I never had a Megatron. I did have a Prime (just the toy and trailer, no weapons or fists or anything). But I do remember the first time I got to hold a Megatron. I must have been 6 or 7 and a friend’s brother had one. I was so excited to get to transform it! It would be at least 8 years till I actually owned my first Megs…...so that was a long time coming!
Today, we get the 1985 run. Again, almost all these toys were imported from various japanese lines. Still, we kept the nice di-cast feel from the original line. This was also the introduction of the fan favorite DINOBOTS!!!!! I only had Grimlock and Sludge as a kid, so when I first got all 5 of them, it was a good day for me. While not my favorite sub-series (we’ll get to them in a couple days) the dinobots have got quite a lot of love over the years.
This was also the year that we got out first combiner. He too was a Diaclone import (strange that his diaclone nemesis Raiden wouldn't get an american release……..and even Japan had to wait a few years to get him!) but he’s also the ONLY combiner where each bot could only go in one spot. Every other combiner could at least switch legs and or arms. (except Lio Kaiser, I forgot about him. But we never got him in the US.....so.........eh)
(I hate to rat myself out, but I realised after I took the pics that the cassettes are supposed to go in the 1986 pic. Eventually I might re-take the shots, but I don’t feel like spending another 3 hours to take them now!!!)
Devastator was always one of my favorites from this year. Growing up, I had 4 of the 6 constructicons and NO weapons. So I could never actually form Devastator as a child. But the nice thing about the constructicons, each of the 6 toys was a pretty self sufficient toy. Still, having a complete one as a kid would have been nice.
Today is kind of a “bonus round” if you will (or the shots I took to draw this out to 11 days) Not quite a full year, but something I still wanted to cover. Mail away toys! Now, not ALL the mailaway toys (mainly since I don’t have a complete sealed set of the retail shelf releases to show) but just the ones that were ONLY available with your robot points. As you know, this is a very small round up. Having the plain white boxes and the clear plastic bags were not the best way to package these guys (plain white box, yea…….sadly that happened). Much like everything else so far, these are all diaclone inspired. Except Time Warrior……...even though not a true TOY…….he was a brand new mold. Also, just to point out yes time warrior and Reflector are out of the box. But I thought two plain white boxes were kind of a bland shot.
Other mailaway toys included; Sunstreaker, Ratchet, Wheeljack, Thundercracker, Warpath, Cosmos and Cliffjumper. All the exact same toys as the normal retail shelf releases. Also "movie" versions of Prime and Megatron (same exact toys, but they came in a plain brown box). Also, Cookie Crisp had their own version of Jazz, which was the same toy but he didn't have the "martanii" sticker on his side. There was also S.T.A.R.S, the transformer base. I did take some pics of megs, wheeljack and jazz, since those are the only "retail shelf" versions that I have in mailaway form.
I got my Reflector at the San Diego comic con WAY back in the day for $90. I remember that since the seller was a complete and utter ASS! I must have been like 15 or so. I’ve never been someone to haggle on price. If I want it, I buy it. If it’s too much, I’ll pass on it. That being said, I don’t know what I had done to piss off the seller…….but after I bought the reflector and was starting to walk away, I heard the guy tell someone else “god I hate transformer collectors”. I turned around and said “excuse me?!?” Now I don’t know to this day if I had done something to piss this guy off or what, but he just turned red and stared at me. I asked if I had done something wrong and he just continued to stand there stuttering at me. After a few uncomfortable seconds I stormed off, but never in my life have I felt so insulted for no reason at all. I’ve never told that story before………...
We have now reached 1986. The first time Hasbro actually had to get down and dirty and design their own toys………….and design they did. Starting with metal and rubber and then transitioning most of those parts to plastic, most of the toys in this run received a running change in production material. Even the cassettes (who again, are in the 1985 photo) changed from stickers to paint and from silver to gold weapons!!! Collecting all the variations from this year will cost you a LOT of time and money!
We got only one diaclone toy this year (magnus). Everything else was brand new! Lots of new combiners this year too! Also, with the live action movie hitting the screen, most of our old favorites were killed off (both on screen and in the comic) to make way for the new regime.
The Superion gift set holds a special place in my heart. YEARS ago, my mom went to a garage sale and found me a box of old old old Star Wars trading cards for $2. I pulled out 5 complete sets (which I sold about 10 years later for a couple hundred bucks since I didn’t collect Star Wars anymore at that point) and still had quite a few extras. I took all those extras to my local toy shop to trade. The owner gave me $50 in trade value for those doubles and this superion gift set was $50. So that was a very nice trade for me :) Also, this was the first complete superion I ever owned.
Today, 1987 and my FAVORITE line of G1. Gone completely were metal parts and everyone was plastic now. Also, we are introduced the to the “partner” gimmick. headmasters and targetmasters were born! Along with the largest Tf ever (until the new Metroplex beat him by a couple inches) Fortress Maximus!
What makes this my favorite line you might ask? It’s the headmasters. The concept of a human (or nebulan) partner in my mind is awesome (and the play value for me as a kid was the best). It’s also like getting two toys in one. In addition, the headmasters are the most poseable of all the “masters”. While they would get a completely different mythology in Japan, here in the US they were all humanoid merged with machines.
My fun story from this year involves Fort Max. That boxed Fort Max is the one my good friend and I played with as kids. He got Fort Max and I got Scorponok. My Scorp had no weapons except for his shield (since he was a garage sale find) but Fort Max was bought by my friends mom brand new for him. Years later once he outgrew TF’s (yea, it happens) he sold/gave/traded me everything he still had, including the Fort Max (which became my first). Years after that, we were digging in his attic……..off in the corner was the Fort Max box with about 6 years of dust on it. His mom had kept the box in the attic!!!! Aside from the dust, it was in about the same condition it was the day it was taken off the shelf. No other boxed Fort Max could ever replace this one for the sentimental value he holds.
Sadly, this was the last year we saw our beloved characters on the small screen. the 3 part “Rebirth” was the end of their animated adventures. The Transformers would continue their war in comic form for a few more years, but this year was the beginning of the end I’m sad to say.
Enter 1988, the year of “everything smaller” and pretenders. As much as I like the smaller targetmasters and headmasters, they don’t compare to the originals. The pretenders might look cool when all decked out with their weapons, but still not exactly a highlight of the brand. More like combining G.I.Joe and transformers into one toy! But, you have to give Hasbro credit for trying. We did get some excellent toys in the powermasters this year! That and a combiner with a “targetmaster” feature was kind of a cool touch.
One of my friends (same one who had the Fort Max) got Dreadwind one day. We both LOVED that toy. So much my mom went out to buy me one (about this time is when my parents actually started buying me new toys instead of garage sale stuff). Small problem, when she gave it to me it was Darkwing! I was still grateful, but sad it wasn’t the one I wanted (and she could tell). BUT THEN I turned the box over and saw that OUR TOYS COULD COMBINE?!?!?!? It was the greatest day ever the next time we got together and our two toys become one. Those two toys actually brought our friendship closer. Only when we hung out together could our toys make that super cool combined jet. Pretty nice stuff for a child :)
Today, 1989 marked almost the end for G1 here in the US. The pretender game was stepped up a notch to include an actual TOY and not just a stick robot. We got fan favorites Blugeon and Thunderwing this year. Who, if not for the comic……….would NOT be worth so much these days. But, they are both high up on my list for that reason, so I really can’t say anything negative about that!
Trying something else completely new, we got MICROMASTERS! Now, I remember people hating these little guys. But I loved em! Even back in the day. I don’t think micromasters got fully recognized until Armada and the Mini-cons were introduced. But back when Micro-Machines were still on the shelves…………..these little guys were an AWESOME idea!!!
I remember getting the battle patrol when I had my tonsils take out. I wouldn’t give them up, even as the doctors were giving me the knock out gas……….I held onto those little guys and tried to show the doctors how they transformed and how cool they were! My parents knew that giving me a new TF was the only way I would be calm enough to sit still in the doctors office while they knocked me out. I was actually given them in the waiting room! And those little guys were waiting for me on the table when I woke up.
Sadly, 1990 marked the end of G1 in the US. We got only a small slew of micromasters and the controversial Action Masters. As you can tell from the pic, Actionmasters were never my thing and I don’t even consider them true “transformers”. Therefore, I don’t have any. So, this is not a “true” yearbook photo, but in my mind it is.
The actiomasters themselves were not horrible toys. The artwork is some of the best and the look of the toys was pretty spot on with the animation and comic books. But, the whole idea of a “transformer” is something and can change. An actionmaster is a basically a robot G.I.Joe figure that comes with a small targetmaster. I’m sorry, but that’s not a Transformer in my book. Still cool toys, but I consider them a completely separate set of “transformers”.
Anyway, the micromasters this year continued to look awesome and we got a decent amount of them. Even had 3 that came with accessories!!!!!
My story this year is the pretender classics. I never actually saw any of them in their pretender form on store shelves. Then one day I went to K-Mart and saw Jazz and Bumblebee carded just hanging there (this was well after TF’s were done and not being sold in stores anymore) I thought they were awesome and mom and dad bought em for me (never had either of the originals). Wasn’t till a couple years later I learned that they came with pretender shells first. Also strange that the carded versions switched their weapons for some reason.
Just for fun, since they were all out (and since there aren’t TOO many of them). There’s the entire run shot of the micromasters as well.
Now, we skip ahead a few years to 1993. Transformers was given a short lived re-boot. For barely-teens like me, this provided an opportunity to buy some of the classics we had missed. Personally, this was the first time I was able to get a brand new and complete Devastator! So G2 holds a very special place in my heart. Dare I say it…….I like G2 the same (if maybe MORE) then G1?!?!?!?
Most of the first run were simply re-paints of 84 and 85 toys, but we did get a few brand new molds! Still managed to keep the G1 feel to them too. But those plastic blister packs………..oh god! They still look horrible to this day! It’s nice that they can stand on their own (unlike all the carded stuff) but still. Ugh…………
The G2 constructicons were some of the first TF’s I bought with my own money (allowance money, but still my money). I remember going to the store one day and seeing the yellow constructicons on the shelf. I was so excited I asked the employee go in the back to find me a complete set (not all 6 of them were on the shelf). First thing I did when I got home……..FORMED DEVASTATOR!!!! (for the first time) It was an amazing day.
There are plenty G2 toys I bought 2nd hand, but I would say at least a 3rd of my entire G2 set I’m the one and only owner of. Everything that’s “carded” in this pic I got new off the shelf, along with a 2nd set that I opened. The 2nds and 3rd I bought years later second-hand. And yes, that Orange Dev set I bought brand new from K B Toys back in the day too. I remember seeing them and being confused as all hell. “Why are they Orange now?!?!?!” but, got em anyway.
Since I didn't want to cram all the variants into one pic, the dinobots and constructicons got their own. :)
1994, Hasbro did pretty good this year. Re-releases of a couple older combiners (too bad we didn’t get the others slated for release) and a small handful of new molds. You might notice the G2 Breakdown in the yearbook shot. While a rare toy, he was still released at retail. Granted you had to go to Botcon or the FX convention to get one…….but he was actually “released”.
Laser Rods were a very nice attempt at articulation. using the G.I.Joe rubber band idea, we were able to get some decent articulation out of these guys. Too bad Electro and Slingshot were made out of 100% gold plastic though!!!! But in Dreadwind, Hasbro got it RIGHT. Ball joints made Smokescrean the first super poseable TF toy ever. He still holds up pretty well by even today's standards!
I bought the Prime and the Black Rotor versions of Ransack and Powerdive 2nd hand, but all the rest are straight off the store shelf!
Finding the sealed black rotor versions of Ransack and Powerdive took me FOREVER. I found Powerdive years ago, but could never find Ransack. It was like there were none for sale on the planet! It wasn’t till Botcon 2012 that I finally got him. Hidden deep in someones booth was a ton of G2 stuff…...and there was that elusive little guy, for only $40 too!!! I grabbed him and wasn’t about to let go even if my life depended on it! I had been searching for one for over 10 years!!!! ---------after writing this, I just went on ebay to browse. There’s one sitting there for about $70. WHERE WAS THIS WHEN I WAS LOOKING?!?!?! I would have bought that in a second. Luckily I pointed it out to a friend and he nabbed it-------------------
1995, the last year that I will be covering. Not much happened this year, but some of what we got would pave the way for years to come. Again, same argument here from yesterday. ATB Megatron was actually “released”. It might have only been in a couple of stores in one state, but he did see the light of retail. So he joins the yearbook photo. I did NOT get him new off the shelf. I wish I paid that little for him!!!!
Gobots! Yep, the transformers rivals from the 80’s had been assimilated into super easy, tiny cars. Now, nothing against gobots……….but these guys were even easier to transform then their namesakes!!!! And that’s saying something. With how many times these guys have been re-issued, Hasbro must have made a FORTUNE off the idea. I bought the 2nd set new off the shelf, somehow I missed the first run……..so I had to buy most of them 2nd hand. I remember not being a fan of them back in the day either, so I only bought 1 set to leave sealed. Thanksfully they were cheap when I needed to buy more.
CYBERJETS!!!! The most poseable transformers to ever be released (at this point) and their joints would set the bar for the future. All of beast wars would incorporate the ball and joint idea and it even lasts to this very day. They might be small and not very sought after but these three molds (and Smokescreen) changed the way we play. That and after reading all the Bio’s, Holligans personality seems the closeted to me (if I were a robot) so he’s always held a very special place in my heart. Even got one on my desk!
That Laser Prime has to be the nicest one on the planet (at least, that’s what my 14 year old self was hoping for). When I bought that guy, I got the best one off the shelf, sealed him in plastic and put him up in the top of my closet (behind everything else) and he sat there till I moved 13 years later. At which point I finally took the plastic off and displayed him with everything else. Too bad he isn’t worth what I thought he would be, cause that one would grade at a 90 I’m sure!!! :) Well, that and I don’t grade anything……….
There you have it. The first 10 years of our favorite toys. Hope everyone enjoyed the pics and stories!