2018 may have been and gone, but it has left us with a lot of good memories. From the Power of the Primes line to the Masterpiece series to Siege to the Studio Series and several other releases alongside these lines, there has been something for everyone to enjoy. As traditional, the TFW2005 staff have come together to present to you our favorite toys from the past 12 months. These are our opinions as individuals and do not invalidate any of the other awesome toys released last year – there were plenty of great toys to choose from, after all. We’ve taken our list from when we compiled last year’s list – so latecomers arriving in the final weeks of 2017 were also eligible, since most of us didn’t get them until 2018.
Read on to read what each of the crew felt was their favorite new robot from 2018!
Studio Series line proved to be a fan-favorite this year, and it finally brought us a proper rendition of the first Transformer seen in the first live-action movie while back 2007. I still can’t forget his first appearance, shooting and destroying all around. Exactly what you expect from a great Decepticon. While I grew up with G1, I also like the movie Transformers designs. It’s what I always thought a deadly alien robot should look, something out of this world.
The original Voyager Blackout toy was not bad, but it was based on am early concept art of the character, so it was not movie-accurate and it was small for a Voyager toy. After 11 years of waiting, fans finally could add a real movie-accurate Leader Class Blackout toy. I think a few figures were so expected to be released like this one, but it was worth the wait. Great design with a fairly complex transformation (something I was really missing in massive lines), and a HUGE helicopter mode. I have spent weeks with this toy on my work desk, definitively a figure enjoyable for permanent display.
While the figure has some points that could be improved like the hands/claws, or the fact it’s a Leader class figure only in scale with other Studio Series toys (smaller than old Leader class Movie toys), Blackout shines in any Transformers movie collection. Similar to MP Dinobot case, they both were fan-favorite characters who were wanting for new and better representations, but Blackout gets my vote since it was a refreshing change in what we normally expect in massive-retail lines.
in 2018 there were many surprises in Transformers news on all fronts; toys, movies, cartoon, you name it. However, personally the biggest and best surprise in my memory is the discovery of this duo release in the 2nd wave of Power of the Primes Legends class. On top of that, the competency these figures surpassed many people expectation. Both member of the duocon team gained their individual articulated robot mode, the transformation between modes is fun, and the combined BattleTrap mode succeed greatly as a modern representation of a Transformers gimmick that once thought to be forgotten.
Are there better engineered toy this year? Sure, transforming MP Dinobot has many “wow” moment for me. However, I think BattleTrap brought one of the biggest breath of fresh air to the generations brand of toys, and gave us hope for more on the way.
A screen accurate Orion Pax, a removable matrix, an Optimus that combines with his trailer, and a great transformation. For me this figure has it all. This was my first figure of 2018 and due to the reasons i have just stated it’s stayed my favorite throughout the year. I was super excited to get this mold again as Nemesis Prime with the new head sculpts and the added accessories.
Siege Skytread (aka Flywheels!)
In February I got Battleclash and Roadtrap and they immediately went to the top of my list as Duocon Battletrap and I figured nothing would outdo them. Then Punch Counterpunch happened, followed closely by Siege Flywheels. As a huge fan of Duocons since childhood, as well as them being easy to obtain when I started really collecting in 2001, that was all enhanced almost entirely based on a single page from the Dreamwave run showcasing them as failed triplechanger experiments (I LOVE triplechangers).
During Titans Return, I was hoping against hope that Sky Shadow/Overlord would be retooled into Flywheels, but that’s also something that probably only would’ve happened through the former fan club. However, this new take on Flywheels is EXACTLY what I wanted from a new Duocon. Big chunky, blocky goodness, with a range of poseability and a solid transformation for each vehicle. Colors are spot on, and he’s just wonderful. I’m even hoping we get Flywheels and Battletrap released in new colors as Autobot Duobots, because I just love these molds so much. Now all that’s left is getting out the MTMTE Scavengers for a new display shelf!!!
Takara’s decision to release a toy of Beast Wars Dinobot, one of the most popular and memorable Transformers characters, in the most prestigious Transformers line was ambitious. Masterpiece Dinobot was going to be difficult to be done well, but without question Takara hit a game winner, mic drop, Michael Jordan flu game of a release.
Masterpiece Dinobot took the Masterpiece line in an entirely new direction. This figure was never intended to be just another Masterpiece. This toy took the line from being simply the top of the Transformers brand and thrust it into discussions with the other high end toy collectibles. You can question its high price tag, but Dinobot put Masterpiece Transformers squarely in the discussion to rival Hot Toys, Soul of Chogokin, etc. Masterpiece Dinobot is tops of 2018.
I know I’m late to the game on getting this dude, but I picked up him at TFCon Chicago back in October and I’m absolutely blown away. The transformation is one of the most fun puzzles I’ve ever had the pleasure of figuring out in all my years of collecting, he’s incredibly expressive, his accessories are top-notch, and to quote Tony Bacala, “he poses like a damn figuarts toy”. The only downside is the issue with the silencer scratching the barrel. If that weren’t an issue, the figure would be THE perfect figure for me. Honestly still not far off and I can’t stress enough how much I enjoy transforming him back and forth. If he wasn’t so expensive, I’d get another for gun mode display and a third just to play with and transform constantly. While the choice is clear, it wasn’t easy as SDCC Throne of the Primes Optimus Primal is a close second (and that’s coming from a general Beast Wars hater).
Is Masterpiece Dinobot perfect? Nope, the raptor mode in particular suffers from a bit of jank, though admittedly much less than previous attempts. However, the overall package is undoubtedly a new high water mark for the masterpiece line. The transformation is intuitive enough to avoid instruction usage, and the robot mode is easily in the top tier of most screen accurate transformers ever produced. The engineering and paint apps easily justify the wallet-busting price point. Holding a breathtaking representation of an iconic character like Dinobot doesn’t come cheap, but it’s easily worth the price of admission.
I’ve dwindled my collection to primarily focus on Classics/Generations figure. Even though we’ve seen a metric turd-load (that’s an increment of measurement, not a jab at quality) of Optimus Primes over the years, I’ve only ever had one representation of Optimus on display, Classics Voyager Optimus Prime. But this year, the king has been dethroned and Siege Optimus Prime has claimed his crown. This figure is insanely fun to transform and articulated to boot. In my opinion, he’s the best representation of the character for my collection.
2018 has been a year that reintroduced us to many Transformer characters I never thought would be produced. Some characters had modern updates like Beachcomber, the Dinobots, and Terrorcons. We also got characters from out of nowhere like Battletrap, Blackwing and Dreadwind, Volcanicus, and the female Autobots. Punch/Counterpunch takes first place for me this year. This updated G1 figure has a sleek sports car mode and he looks great in both robot modes too. While I would have preferred he had a head swap feature (something like BW Waspinator for example) it is true to the toy so I can overlook it. At least you can hide his faction symbols in robot mode. The transformation is simple, fun, and I like how the car unfolds into a sort of flight mode (Siege Tracks?) when you first transform it. The only real downside to the figure is that Punch’s shoulder articulation is hampered a bit by the car parts (Counterpunch’s shoulders are fine) and the lack of proper feet can limit his posability. I give him a rank of 95 out of 100.
There were so many awesome figures released this year, it was hard to nail one specific figure down.
In fact, I almost forgot that Barricade was given the MP treatment this year due to all of the other great figures.
Barricade was my favorite movie character. The scene where Sam meets him for the first time is probably my most favorite moment in all of the Bay films. He looks deadly, and positively evil, capturing his on screen presence nicely.
This was a tough decision between this and Prime. Ultimately this won out because I’ve been waiting for an Ultra Magnus toy like this since I was a kid. I loved how the original had a cab robot that could combine with its trailer. While that was never shown in the cartoon, it was always a unique aspect I appreciated from the toy.
Through the years I’ve gotten City Commander, LG Magnus and various other Ultra Magni. This is the one that has what I’ve wanted all along without having to resort to 3p add ons.
Yes it’s smaller but to judge by size alone would be missing the bigger picture. Oh and of course all of us would love to pay less than this. However the cost went to better build quality over the Prime Wars trilogy figures. This figure is not as hollow. It’s got density to it that one wouldn’t expect for an armored up voyager. It’s got a wealth of sculpted intricate detail that sticks out in person in a good way.
The cab robot has callbacks to G1 Prime that I didn’t expect like the arm triangles. It has a transforming waist joint that I didn’t expect(the waist in cab bot and combined mode is different; swivels 180 degrees for either mode). The backpack transformation and transformation altogether is more involved than I thought(as in it’s not as simple as you’d think going by the alt mode).
The trailer transformation is easy as is combination. You can combine all the extra guns and missiles onto the main gun. It does not weigh the arm down.
Ultimately I understand why people want this to be bigger and cost less. Who doesn’t? However I am satisfied as is. For POTP you got a deluxe figure and armored it up to be a leader figure. This was hit or miss(I thought it was executed best on Optimal Optimus, worst on Rodimus). For Siege Magnus, you get a voyager figure and armor it up to something akin to the older ultra class figures, not just in size, but in build quality. More pinned joints, more layered color molded parts molded separately rather than 1 piece painted in multiple colors(very rarely did we see this in the Prime Wars trilogy but for Siege this now seems standard) and paint schemes that may have benefitted from brand unification.
I also like how it has 5mm compatible hands. My LG Magnus has a hard time holding the guns(resorted to sticky squares to get around that).
If you preferred an all in one Magnus, you already got it with Combiner Wars Magnus. Us fans who wanted a cab robot and trailer armor Magnus sat through those years feeling left out. Maybe some didn’t want City Commander. Maybe some didn’t want to get the Perfect Effect upgrade cab robot.
Thankfully for us cab robot Magnus fans, some designers at Hasbro and Takara finally gave us what we wanted. Hopefully we get an MP Ultra Magnus 2.0 with a cab that can transform into a robot too.
MP-39 gave me the same feels as Inferno previously. From the moment I picked it up, it just felt right. The transformation is intuitive. The paint and plastic is nearly perfect. The articulation is top shelf. He’s a great addition to any MP collection.
2018 was a terrific year for collectors and fans. Legendary Optimus Prime took a great mold and nearly perfected it. Abominus gave us updated versions of some of my favorite G1 figures. Predaking is just stunning, size and deco wise. Many of the Studio Series figures delivered what movie collectors have been waiting for since 2007. And PotP Optimus/Nemesis is an absolute gem of a toy. I’ve yet to purchase any of the Siege line, but I have no doubt they would/will end up on this list next year.
Runners up: Legendary Optimus Prime (This almost took the top spot); PotP Abominus; PotP Battletrap; SS-08 Blackout; SS-07 Grimlock; SS-10 Jazz; PotP Predaking; PotP Punch/Counterpunch; PotP Optimus Prime/Nemesis Prime
Power of the Primes has given us many awesome toys this year as has the wider Generations / Legends lineup (shoutouts to my runners up Abominus, Skytread and Greatshot who’ve all been in the running at some point as well as those who narrowly missed my top five like Punch Counterpunch and Battletrap). It takes a special kind of figure to win me, and Nemesis Prime is that kind of special.
First of all, he does what any good repaint does and improves on the original deco. There’s something about the Optimus Prime design that looks awesome in black. Second, there are the retooled heads for Nemesis himself and for Pax which sell this as a different character, and the Nemesis headsculpt in particular does a great job of giving the figure a distinct feel from its original tooling. Last and best of all, there is the boatload of extra weapons that this one comes with, all of which reference a past Nemesis Prime / Scourge – and they give the figure a more heavily armed look that sells him as a war machine. Even without these extra weapons, you’ve still got a great and fun figure with a rocking deco.
What makes it my toy of the year is the simple fact I keep going back to it and playing about with it. In fact, I had so much fun with it that I decided to go back and get the Optimus version too, after previously deciding to pass on that one. You know a toy is special when it makes you want other versions of it.
Masterpiece MP-39 Sunstreaker came at the cut off of the year, and even though Masterpiece MP-37 Artfire still would have trumped it, 2018 was another year. This year saw very few G1 releases of Masterpiece figures in comparison to previous years, but one announcement excited me more than any other. As a hardcore G1 fan at heart who loves everything about it plus the rich history, I’m thrilled that TakaraTomy have decided to release some redecos of Masterpiece figures in Diaclone colors. This not only celebrates the rich history and heritage of TRANSFORMERS as a brand, but it allows someone like myself who very much loves Diaclone but can’t afford to collect the vintage pre-Transformers lines.
Enter Masterpiece Cordon. Many may have blown this release off, but ever since we received news of this figure, my anticipation exponentially grew. Receiving this figure as a Christmas gift certainly did not disappoint in any way. Not only is this figure a redeco of one of the strongest Masterpiece releases, but it’s an amazing figure in its own right. This figure is visually striking, and no photos I’ve seen do this figure justice; simply having it in hand is a completely different experience. It’s simply a jaw-droppingly gorgeous figure. Additionally, I love police cars, and this one is one of the coolest in my collection. It is really cool of TakaraTomy to create a totally unique figure here out of a character/figure that is originally so unique and iconic. Much like my choice for Masterpiece Artfire the year before, Cordon simply has a presence as a collection piece that holds its own and then some.
Finally Beast Wars Dinobot gets a toy worthy of his epicness 20+ years later. Big, gets both modes on point, all the extra bells and whistles, cartoon accurate. Just a perfect piece.
Flame Toys KuroKaraKuri Tarn
The Chemical Attack design team are one of the entities in the toy world that I will gleefully fanboy over, and to see them cross paths with Transformers in an official capacity through Flame Toys’ KuroKaraKuri line has been a joy. Drift was very cool, but their rendition of Tarn is the full realization of what I was hoping for. A powerfully engineered action figure of satisfying size, weight, paint-finish, and sculpt. Next-level articulation with interlinked mechanisms and a torso that almost transforms from position to position when the abdominal joint is put to use. And as a cherry on top, an official and licensed figure of Tarn. There were many solid official Transformers releases this year, but I have to give the highlight to an officially licensed piece that crosses two of my favourite flavours as a collector.
When looking over all the excellent figures that have come out over the past year, it was tough to make a decision. There were truly some outstanding figures that have hit shelves in 2018. Studio Series Blackout is one of the most amazing figures ever created. POTP Optimus not only looks spot on as Prime but has some remarkable engineering. We even got a long awaited Dinobot Combiner. But this lowly toy that no one is talking about is my pick.
Dropkick is not flashy. He’s not a prolific character. But he is the toy that surprised me the most this year. I did not expect anything from this figure. He looked nice and so far Studio Series was impressing me enough that i figured I would take a chance. And I am glad I did. The engineering on this guy is remarkable. To turn a regularly proportioned robot into a helicopter took a lot of breaking and stretching and flipping of parts. But they do so in such a manner that its almost art.
Judging from the amount of this guy I see on shelves, no one is taking a shot at this guy and that is disappointing. I think once in hand, a lot of people will like him and see more of what the Studio Series line has to offer.