As 2017 has wrapped up, it’s time for the annual tradition of the TFW2005 staff getting together and deciding the toy highlights that the year brought us. 2017 was indeed a great year for collectors with a strong Masterpiece line who brought us fantastic figures of characters which many fans have been waiting years to own. Titans Return ruled the year, combining a great toy gimmick with a great selection of fan favorite characters in modern renditions. The Last Knight movie made its way into theaters, as well as making its way to stores shelves, albeit not perfectly. The conclusion of the RID Cartoon also brought the final waves of RID toys, and we even had a nice surprise by the end of the year with Power Of The Primes toys hitting shelves sooner than we expected.
While everything wasn’t exactly perfect (higher prices, quality control issues, as well as a not so ideal distribution for retail toys) it was a difficult task for the staff to choose from such an outstanding variety of molds and characters. Once again the Masterpiece line proved to be the favorite among our staff, with MP-36 Megatron as the crown jewel of the year, and absolute winner among a crowd of great figures.
It seems it is a great year for the evil Decepticons, as TLK Voyager Megatron was second in votes and mentions as runner up, as one of the best molds for not just the movie line, but Transformers in general.
Generations Topspin was another favorite among our staff. As mentioned before, it was difficult to decide among so many options and great molds this year. Seeing the likes of TLK Voyager Nitro, TR Trypticon, Takara Legends Kup and, proving Combiners still rule, UW Baldigus which also got the attention of our team.
So, what do you think about our top picks? Agree? Disagree? You can see the complete list after the jump and then sound off your impressions at the 2005 Boards!
In a year where collectors found their pick ups on Masterpiece and 3P releases, while the main retail movie line was full of repaints and easy-to-transform toys, it was a very nice surprise to find Voyager Megatron. A very nice and detailed robot mode with almost no hollow parts, and the ones that should be visible like the hollow forearms are hidden by the excellent deco and colors. The transformation to fighter mode is very creative and fun, specially the way you form the legs by folding the jet wings. I haven’t spent so much time transforming a Movie figure since ROTF. The jet mode is well integrated and detailed, you really enjoy to display it. In fact, most of the TLK Voyager toys proved to be on top of the line, but Megatron takes my vote all the way, even over the not less impressive Leader class Megatron. Hard to find in Latin America, it was worth all the effort and time to buy it.
Runners up: Unite Warriors Baldigus Giftset (As a Car Robots Fan, an epic gift set),MP-34 Cheetor (excellent finishing on a MP toy), LG Triggerhappy (a great deco for an already great mold), TLK Voyager Optimus Prime (Did better than the Leader Class), MP-36 Megatron (took time, but it was worth the wait for an epic toy), SDCC Primitive Optimus Prime (A Prime in black, what else do you need?)
2017 marks the year that Takara Tomy continues to makes decision that surprised many fans, and the release of a new Masterpiece Megatron that’s redesigned and engineered from the ground up certainly contributed to that. This figure takes Takara’s new cartoon centric direction for the Masterpiece line and ran with it to the finish line. Despite having a few obvious seam lines, this figure’s sculpt, posibility, and optional parts enables it to represent Megatron’s cartoon model to an astonishing degree. Meanwhile Takara’s engineers still managed to turn an on-screen model robot to a slightly oversized realistic firearm. Transformation, while quite complex, is satisfying from start to finish. The inclusion of both loose and fixed pose chain base, further affirms that amount of forethought went into this release. Even with its higher price tag, I still believe this to be a great entry in the Masterpiece lineup because nothing to date has came close to the quality that this figure exudes.
Maybe not the best gun mode, but definitely the best robot mode of G1 Megatron. Takaratomy proved they can do even tough designs and make them cartoon/anime-accurate with a wide range of articulation and features. So happy I picked this up. Anyone want to buy my old MP Megatron?
2017 might go down as one of the best years for Transformers ever. So many fun molds, unique transformations and a gimmick that pulled me in far more than I ever expected. In fact, I purchased 123 individual Transformers this year. Though, the top figure for me was something no one saw coming. Titans Return Grotusque was announced, available to order and arrived to many fans within a 48 hour period. That alone is pretty incredible. Who ever thought the Monsterbots would even see the light of day again?
Taking a figure that I already enjoyed and making an even better figure through remolding really sold me on this guy. Then adding in a second Battle Beast homage was the cherry on top. Fun transformation, incredibly unique look, and a wonderful paint scheme really pushed this winged bear lizard robot man to the top for me.
Hasbro / Takara continue to raise the bar with their toy releases. We’re entering a period of collecting where G1, though still King, has competition for fan’s money. Masterpiece Beast Wars figures captured the magic that first hit toy shelves in 1996, perhaps none more than the Supreme Commander Version of Masterpiece Convoy (Optimus Primal). Although the show accurate first release is phenomenal in its own right, this toy version hits all childhood memories with force. In a year where Headmasters (I mean Titanmasters, sorry John Warden) saw their full return and delivered AMAZING toys, this Masterpiece Convoy (Optimus Primal) stands out. It’s a sign of branching out from G1, stunning toys beyond vehicles, and that our Fandom encompasses all tastes and interests. This is why Masterpiece Convoy (Optimus Primal) – Supreme Commander Version gets my top nod this year.
Titans Return Sky Shadow with Ominus
Titans Return has quickly become the core component of my collection, with Sky Shadow at the heart of that core. Sky Shadow is one hell of a figure. The jet mode is sleek and sexy, (slexy? hmm, perhaps I should leave the word play to Thew) and the tank section is pretty bad-ass too, only gripe is that the turret can’t rotate. The robot mode is imposing and has a good range of movement. I may be in the minority for this but I prefer the Sky Shadow to the Overlord use of the mold. Shadow just wears it better. I enjoy interacting with Sky Shadow and I love transforming him. I really wished I could have nominated all of Titans Return as almost the entirety of the line was a slam dunk.
To sum up: Great aesthetics, ease of transformation, and pretty well articulated, which I do believe are all the hallmarks of a well designed Transformer toy.
I would like to give a shout out to two other figures that didn’t make it to my top picks: RiD2015 Soundwave and Stormshot. Both of these are great molds and fun toys to play with, the first few waves of RiD2015 may have not been that impressive, but the following waves did give us some great toys.
I do look forward to 2018 with Power of the Primes and other future goodies!
Runners up: Titans Return Broadside with Blunderbuss, Titans Return Megatron with Doomshot, Titans Return Blitzwing with Hazard, Titans Return Octone with Murk, Titans Return Misfire with Aimless (He’s not pink, he’s lightish red!)
In all honesty, this might as well be a three-way tie between Megatron, Nitro, and Scorn, but Megatron just barely wins it because of his lack of kibble. These three are by far some of the most fun movie figures I’ve purchased in a LONG time. At first I thought they were going to be impulses that were fun at first but will collect dust until they’re eventually sold, but all three blew me away. Transformation-wise, Megatron and Scorn can’t be beat. Megatron’s transformation is fun and fairly fluid, and Scorn’s is one of the best in my collection. Honestly the only downside to these figures is that they outshine the rest of my movie collection and Scorn came misassembled, otherwise I couldn’t be happier. All three have great poseability and are very imposing, another thing that gets me hooked on certain figures, making them feel even truer to the models onscreen. If you have issues with kibble however, Nitro may not be the best of the three, and Scorn has a little as well, whereas Megatron has virtually nothing to worry about in terms of kibble and even has weapon storage in both modes that doesn’t at all blemish either one. Bottom line: If you have to buy one figure from the TLK toy line, make it voyager Megatron.
Picking favorites this year felt difficult. Not because we had a handful of all-time great figures pair with some stinkers, but because it felt like nearly every figure I picked up this past year was a dead solid 8 or 9 on 10 point scale. Ultimately I settled on pandering to my nostalgia (<cough>signature<cough>) with Titans Return Slugslinger.
I really enjoyed Slugslinger as a child for no discernible reason beyond the thought that jets with two cockpits were cool (truth!) and a love of that later-80’s cyan blue. He just exuded “cool” for me with those red sunglasses-like optics. Titans Return Slugslinger provides a nice homage to the character, largely keeping the shape and transformation original while updating to modern articulation standards. My main disappointments with him are the lack of a packed in targetmaster, and the inexplicable inclusion of the cartoon face given his toy accurate colors. However, these are not deal-breakers for me and really nice tampographs in lieu of the current miserable foil stickers help put him over the top.
I wasn’t expecting much out of a new Topspin, but this guy blew me away. I think one of my favorite aspects of the figure is his sheer chunkiness. Hefty, like an old fashioned Deluxe. Add that to a very clever Transformation scheme and everything that’s been released since has had a tough act to follow. Even his brother, Twin Twist, couldn’t live up to how well executed Topspin was. Believe the hype!
The first time I ever saw Transformers back in the 80’s, Sunstreaker and Sideswipe had me smitten. I thought those two where the coolest bots out of all the Autobots. I dreamed of having them as a kid and now we finally have them in Masterpiece form with the release of Sunstreaker. The secondary alt mode is engineering magic and a wonderful option to have. It was a fantastic end to the year with his release.
This was a difficult choice for me this year as there were many excellent figures released in 2017 and my number one choice dethroned my number two figure by the razor-thinnest™ of margins. That said, my pick for best toy of 2017 is Nitro Zeus from the Last Knight movie. It doesn’t matter if you hated or loved the movie, this figure is pretty darn good. The jet looks sleek, fast, and does a pretty good job hiding the robot bits—even when looking at it from the sides. Underneath is a different story, but there are very few airplane alt-modes that look good from below (the robot bits need to go somewhere otherwise the robot mode would be too flimsy). In robot mode, he looks like a scrappy fighter that is happy blasting you with his arm-mounted Gatling gun on his left arm or ramming the nose of his plane on his other arm down your throat. Aesthetically, he does a good job resembling his on-screen self in the Bay movies, but his look isn’t as radical as most of the other Bayformers. Plus he comes with a bonus Titan Master port and a removable (but not transformable head) so he can easily fit into a spot on one’s collection by swapping in a new Titan master head. Personally, I think he looks good with Clobber or Thunderwing. But what really sold me on this guy is his bonkers transformation. You separate the legs from the waist and flip his right leg forward (like he’s doing a robot can-can dance) and swing the right shoulder all the way down to where his waist was to become the nose of the plane. Then you lift the head and pull it forward and move his left shoulder assembly to where the head was. Then when you get to the two massive boxy thrusters on his back, you brilliantly unfold them to become the become his wings. I applaud the unconventional way the designers at TakTom solved this figure’s transformation from robot to plane and back. The only really disappointing thing about this figure is his bland color scheme. He has some really nice sculpted details hidden in his boring black and gray plastics that really could have made this figure pop more with added paint apps. At least you can transform Nitro Zeus back and forth without worrying about damaging the paint—which is why my first runner-up, a figure that clearly blows this figure away in sculpt, engineering, and mere shelf presence comes in at number two. I like to transform my figures and I don’t want to worry each time that I do that I am negatively affecting either the structural integrity or aesthetic appearance of the figure with each transformation that I do. In the end, I had to make a decision as to my number one choice for 2017 and it came down to two really strong figures that both had interesting and innovative transformations, both look great in either alt or robot modes, but it really came down to having to wonder with each transformation if this time was going to be the time that I damage it. I prefer the peace of mind knowing that this isn’t an issue with Nitro Zeus.
MP-36 Megatron was THIS CLOSE to being my favorite of 2017. But Megatron doesn’t light up, nor is he decked-out in glorious G2 colors. This Toys R Us exclusive combines two things I love: The Cybertron/Galaxy Force line and the beautiful chaos of Generation 2 decos. That and this toy is still pretty darn fun. Yeah, I chose an overpriced repaint as my top pick of the year. Move along.
One word describes this release;
MP-36 Megatron 2.0 was a long awaited release. I remember wanting this since Prime 2.0 was revealed more than 5 years ago. Megatron was well worth the wait. In the time since, it has outshined Prime in poseability. The optional parts are fun. The faces have so much character. The transformation is an engineering achievement. It isn’t as difficult as many say, it’s just time consuming. Overall MP-36 is so good I wish Takara would make a new Prime just to match it. Not to say that MP10 is bad, it’s just …this time around,
DECEPTICONS SUPERIOR, AUTOBOTS…INFERIOR!
The irony being that of all figures, Megatron to me, looks more heroic than MP10 Prime. MP36 captures the Sunbow, evil He-man, glorious tyrannical leader look. The optional laughing face is fitting, Megatron had the last laugh!
I’m pretty sure that Robots in Disguise Combiner Force Warrior Class Bludgeon is the underdog of Staff Picks this year, but hear me out. Being a non-Generations collector wasn’t really easy for me in 2017. There weren’t many toys which I thought as ‘Must Haves’. Then came Bludgeon. I missed out on his iteration for Revenge Of The Fallen, and therefore was itching to get my hands on a decently priced toy. My hopes lit up when I saw Warrior Blastwave which came before. The very moment Blastwave was revealed, it was not too hard to determine that Hasbro is teasing us with an inevitable Bludgeon release. Posability is not too bad and he looks quite like ROTF Bludgeon despite that fact that the mold is a heavy retool of RID Warrior/Clash of the Transformers Megatronus. The colors are nice and striking; it wasn’t hard for me to spot him from far away. All of the above reasons made me sad not to see him on the show. This Metallikato master would have been a formidable opponent to Drift. Still not convinced? Check out our gallery to see how cool he is.
Takara finally did the impossible. Engineering, poseability, screen accuracy, all in one figure. He’s not perfect(that back!), but he’s pretty close.
I was out of circulation for a few months earlier in the year, so I didn’t get to have as much fun with some releases as I’d liked. Case in point, Megatron. I’d fiddled with him back when I got him, then had to get on with real world things. However, that brief experience stuck with me, and when I finally got to revisit Megatron a while later, I enjoyed him even more than the first time.
Let’s run through the things that make Megatron awesome:
1. His wide range of accessories.
2. Completely nailing the look of the character from Generation 1.
3. Those alternate faces, especially his smile.
4. The poseability. Second to none, this figure is gloriously bendy.
In my mind, Megatron has set a new standard for poseability and appearance in the Masterpiece series. He’s not perfect – but he is still far away the best rendition of Generation 1 Megatron to have ever had an official release. He’s just such a joy to pose and recreate the look of all his cartoon appearances with.
This was a hard pick for me, as I love Masterpiece Megatron and Masterpiece Grapple nearly as much as Masterpiece Artfire here. Titans Return Trypticon is an awesome figure as well in its own right. However, when things are this tight, even the tiniest of things can be the deciding factor. Trypticon had several wide-spread problems right out of the package; Masterpiece Megatron has paint rubbing issues with the transformation in areas.
With those relatively minor things aside, nostalgia can be a strange thing in its own right. Heck, you’re probably reading this in some shape or form because of nostalgia. I go back to when I got back into Transformers around 1999 and I was discovering things beyond US Generation One. One such treasure was the Japanese-only Artfire toy. Along with Stepper (an enigma in its own right), Artfire was one of those toys that I thought was extremely cool, but out of my reach. Even the Commemorative Series reissues saw Stepper making it stateside as “Ricochet”, but Artfire never made it into my hands.
The Inferno mold is super-cool as is, but the two-toned colors and the tampographs make Artfire something different. This figure just has a certain presence and even magic, if you will, that can only be witnessed in hand, as photos really don’t do it justice. The added Targetmaster figure is excellent, too, and totally rounds out this package. There’s really something about this figure that’s difficult to put into words; I was caught off-guard with this figure, totally not expecting this kind of reaction to it. There’s just something about this extra figure that has a special kind of magic for me that’s more than the sum of its parts. Perhaps it’s nostalgia. Perhaps it’s an already cool figure made anew as a cool redeco. Perhaps it’s finally having an Artfire in my collection. Perhaps it’s all of these reasons.
Expectation plays a lot into how I react to a toy. When I spend $200+ for MP-36 Megatron, I expect it to be fantastic. When I spend $18 on a standard deluxe, I don’t expect to get a toy as fun as Topspin. The figure looks and feels big and solid for his price point, with minimal kibble and great articulation for the size. The vehicle is a fantastic reimagining of the original boxy space fighter, now looking like something I’d fly in an old NES shooter game. The transformation was my favorite by far this year with multiple clever tricks and all feeling very intuitive. Even his accessory weapon is one of the line’s best designs. The toy’s design actually works so well that Twin Twist, who by nature should be exactly the same, doesn’t feel as good as Topspin does. Easily my biggest surprise of the year.
Hands down best figure to drop this year (IMO), and really in many years. Yes it’s a little choppy but it’s MP scaled, articulated like a Revoltech, and looks like Megatron should in both modes. Plus it hits all the right nostalgia notes. As I become more picky with what I pick up, this one delivered exactly what I was looking for.
While I was looking forward to seeing how the Evolution gimmick would turn out, I was also hoping that Rodimus would be the one to hit it out of the park. And, well, it’s time for another Orion Pax to make my TFW Staff Pick of the year. The Evolution Optimus set has a weak truck cab and unfortunately unpainted grey Prime fists. Other than that, the package is a powerhouse that nails so much of what I had hoped for in this play-pattern, from a cool and engaging deluxe figure to a Brave-style gattai transformation, topped off with an Optimus Prime whose standing silhouette is simply incredible for something that’s wrapped around such a gimmick in a modern mainline series. This guy punched at a wave 3 level in a wave 1 assortment, and was a surprise ending to a solid year of Transformers collecting that stole the show at the very last minute.
MP-36 Megatron (What a gobsmacking gorgeous achievement of a transformation)
Voyager TLK Megatron (Finally, a movie Megatron toy that looks and feels fantastic)
Titans Return Trypticon (Taking lessons learned from Metro and Max, a Titan-class Citybot who is finally fun and stable to play with in every mode)
Deluxe TLK Cogman (Where Nitro Zeus was an event, Deluxe Cogman was secretly the pinnacle photo finish of both The Last Knight AND Titans Return)
MP-39 Sunstreaker (What a gobsmacking gorgeous achievement of a transformation…on a car! That’s more affordable! And maybe could come out domestically in North America!)