As time falls ever further behind us and we welcome the start of a new decade, it is time, once again, for the staff of TFW2005 to share their top picks from the year 2019.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, figures from the phenomenal War For Cybertron: Siege toyline have a strong showing in top place for many lists (nineteen times!), with Commander Class Jetfire standing out as the most frequent top pick (seven times) or placing as a runner up (eight times).
Continuing its own annual tradition, the long-lived Masterpiece line makes its presence felt in a majority of our lists (fourteen), albeit predominantly as runners up, with some special mentions for MP-43 Beast Wars Megatron (yeeesssss), and the latest incarnation of Optimus Prime, MP-44 Convoy 3.0.
The Studio Series line also proved highly popular for the team, with fifteen of us opting to nominate a range of figures either as top picks, or in runner up lists.
This exercise really emphasizes just how lucky we are, as a community, to have such an impressive variety of Transformers available to us. Here’s hoping that we continue to see this through 2020 and beyond.
We don’t want to spoil too much, so you’re now invited to jump on in and see what the team had to say. We’d also love to see what your own lists look like – please take some time to let us know.
(+1 to Shockwave81 with the words)
When I sat down and tried to figure out what my favorite of 2019 was, I realized I’d gotten less than ten figures this year that actually came out during it. My focus was mostly on filling in gaps in my collection with older figures.
Ratchet, though, is a new figure that fills a long-time gap for me, and many other fans. A lot of us consider Universe Ratchet the last “real” version of this character, and the Siege rendition is a definite upgrade. He wears the mold much better than Ironhide, even without considering the retooled parts. The sculpting is fantastic, as are the accessories, and overall it’s a very striking, clean figure essential for a Generations collection. It embodies the new direction HasTak have been heading in recently and I doubt a new Ratchet will beat it anytime soon.
Big Bronze Rim
…and to think I almost passed on this figure. After having acquired TE01 Prime, I didn’t think I needed another Optimus Prime with a toon aesthetic. Something told me though that if I didn’t get this figure I would regret it. And I’m so glad that I did. This is far and away the best Optimus Prime figure we’ve ever gotten. It literally looks like it stepped out of the cartoon. The articulation is fantastic, the finish on him is amazing and he looks the part next to the other masterpiece figures with a toon aesthetic. While the price on him is a bit tough to swallow even through Amazon Japan, I definitely think this figure is worth it and a must for anyone with a Transformers Masterpiece collection or a Prime collection, especially if you appreciate the toon aesthetic. This figure just tapped into so much nostalgia and really made me feel like a kid again opening the Optimus Prime that I received as a child. Other great figures this year were MP 47 Hound and MP 46 Blackarachnia, and while I don’t love them as much as Prime, they are solid honorable mentions and I am extremely happy to have them in my collection.
2019 was the Siege year. A collection with a perfect mix between G1 flavor and modern design, with a great touch of good toy engineering. Siege meant a silent reboot of the CHUG collection for many fans. What else can you ask for? Well, a proper Titan Class figure to play with the rest of your figures. Omega Supreme is not only a big toy, he features a fun and entertaining transformation with a solid base mode and a stable robot mode, total integration with the rest of the figures, and tons of fire effects that will be great to take fantastic pictures. It took time to get our proper modern official figure of a fan-favorite character, but it was worth the wait. Omega Supreme shines in any Siege collection, but not only by his size, he packs all what made Siege the line of the year for me.
Runners up: Studio Series SS-38 Optimus Prime-Bumblebee Movie (great details and robot mode), Masterpiece MP-43 Beast Wars Megatron (Yeeeeeees!), Siege Soundwave (maybe the best G1 representation after the MP figure), SDCC Optimus Prime Ecto-35 (best mix of fandom nostalgia ever), Transformers Botbots (funniest collection ever, ideal to share with family and friends)
This was a really light Takara year for me and I tend to collect only in the G1 MP scale line exclusively. The one that I got that really impressed me though was MP-45 Bumblebee. Maybe it was because it got so much flak for the feet and backpack that I wasn’t expecting much from it, or just overall had low expectations for it. Out of the box, it’s a really nice rendition of Bumblebee and the things that most people have issue with are so literally small, it’s hard for me to be upset with them. When something is on our screens here and zoomed in 200% it’s easy to obsess about the small details but when you get it in hand, it’s not that big of an issue. I think he was too expensive for what it was overall, but the product itself is really good none the less. Yes backpack and feet could have been better designed but again, for me, it’s really not that big a deal.
Be that as it may, he’s a great version of ‘Bee and looks really good in my minibot display with the rest of the crew. The paint is sharp on mine with no real issues and he just makes me hear Bumblebee from the show every time I look at it. I has a lot of character and expression and I’m glad I got him.
Runners up: Since I hadn’t committed to any other TT products this year, I will say the new MP-44.
Prime looked impressive in pictures but that’s as far as I can go since I don’t own and didn’t desire to get one.
This toy was exciting to see in terms of 2 things. First, seeing that really thoughtful design cues that the designers put in like the “door” in the backpack and the peg slots that’s revealed when you open the figure’s hand. Second, new price point / size class opens up possibilities of future figures that will be released that might not be possible without the new price point. It’s also pretty amazing that a figure so faithful to the original character design is being released in the main retail line but not in the Masterpiece series. This trend has change my perspective on which direction I should take with my collecting.
Between Siege Commander Class Jetfire and MP-44, I had to pick MP-44 as my top pick. It was a hard choice because ever since I saw Skyfire in the original G1 cartoons, it was a toy I had always wanted. I wasn’t too disappointed when it was a copy of the Macross VF-1S with fast packs in a different color than what the actual Macross versions came in back then. But with MP-44, it literally looked like it stepped out of the screen and onto my display. Sure it has knee issues, but the playability, poseability, and overall aesthetics of this figure is what edged it over Siege Jetfire for me. Ordering it from Amazon Japan definitely helped ease the Death Star blow to the wallet for me as it was cheaper there. It helped me to make a display for it to include the G1 re-issue from Walmart, and MP-10 in both Hasbro and Takara versions. The fact that MP-44 came with the jetpack he used, along with the alternate Starscream head, man…this really brings it all back.
This was tough as 90% of the Siege line has been aces. If I take onto account which toys get taken down and transformed/posed and how frequent, Siege Optimus destroys the competition. With a neat transformation and very good poseability, this guy is frequently protecting my desk from all sorts of Decepticons, Sith, Peppa Pig, Bubble Guppies, you name it. He’s NOT perfect, but he’s close. The upcoming Earthrise “Leader” class Optimus Prime might just dethrone him.
Runners up: Studio Series SS-38 Optimus Prime-Bumblebee Movie, Siege: War for Cybertron – Apeface, Siege: War for Cybertron – Springer, Siege: War for Cybertron – Shockwave, Studio Series SS-51 Soundwave
My figure didn’t have any QC issues at all. The plastic was thin yet sturdy enough to withstand handling and once I got used to the hard waist piece snapping in, I wasn’t afraid to mess around with this guy. He’s the first MP in a long time that has some of the best paint I have ever seen yet hasn’t paint chipped through any usage. I hope Takara continues to release great quality MP’s like MP-43. I bought 2 more because he’s become one of my favorite masterpieces of all time.Wheeljack was a very close second due to the awesome paint and fun transformation, but MP-43 just barely won out.
It was a three way tie between Ultra Magnus, Optimus Prime, and the Seeker mold. All 3 has spent about equal time on my desk this last year. I went through their conversions once more to try to find a winner. As I was attaching Magnus’ armor I remember how I’ve been wanting a white Prime to armor up for well over a decade. This figure well knocked it out of the park for me. He really captures the essence of the 1986 character and despite the bulk he is well articulated. I only hope we will get a Delta Magnus repaint in the near future.
This was a great year for Transformers. Like… really great. 15 figures made my top list over the course of 2019 (I keep track on a list on my phone all year long). While Weaponizers opened up an entirely new realm of playability for me, ultimately it was the triple changers that won the year. Apeface and Springer are great toys… but more specifically, Astrotrain took the top spot. I know we just got a take on him a few years ago, and while that was a fun toy, it’s not nearly as representative of the G1 toy as I wanted.
However with Siege, now I feel we have what could potentially be the best Astrotrain we’ll ever get, outside of maybe the Masterpiece line. But even with that eventual possibility, for the price, we have a beautiful representation of one of my all-time favorite characters.
I love his height with other Decepticons from the last year and the weapons armory/coal cart he carries is an additional bit of playability that I thoroughly enjoy. I’ve had mine in Space Shuttle launch platform for about a week, just because it looks so cool. I seriously can’t say enough about how cool this latest incarnation of everyone’s favorite Space Choo Choo! is…
Just go buy one…
Studio Series 49 Bumblebee
I didn’t buy that many Transformers this year. And the ones I did buy are primarily Studio Series. AND my top choice isn’t even catalogued yet haha. Regardless, my pick is SS-49 Bumblebee. I know there are hundreds of Bumblebee figures, but this figure is wonderful. The accuracy in such a small form factor is just astounding. It’s quite literally a tiny MPM. It’s not 100% perfect, but it’s close. His battle mask looks badass, the weapon integrates well, and the articulation is good. It’s just the definitive deluxe movie Bumblebee I’ve always wanted.
Admittedly, if I had received my ThreeA DLX Optimus Prime before Staff Picks began, that would be my top choice. That figure is in a league of its own and is poised to be one of the top figures in my entire action figure collection period. But since BBTS likely won’t ship mine until January, that’ll have to be a top pick for 2020
Runners up: Studio Series 54 Megatron (2007), Studio Series 32 Optimus Prime (2007), Flame Toys Furai model kit IDW Optimus Prime
This was a very hard decision to make. Between Studio Series and WFC Siege, this year has been an outstanding year for retail figures. Before I dive into Refraktor, I wanna say that every figure on my list is immensely fun in its own right and each of them deserve the highest of praise. The same goes for many who did not make this list. I honestly cannot think of a single bad purchase I’ve made this year and I only wish I had room for all of them; but when it comes to the top spot, there can be only one…or three.
Refraktor blew my mind to say the least. I could figure the spaceship modes out just fine, and those alone are a pretty nice touch. In practice such a mode is typically an afterthought despite being the advertised alt mode while the “wink-wink-nudge-nudge” mode was clearly at the front of Hasbro’s mind. This doesn’t feel like it’s the case as even this third mode feels fleshed out and I could tell that they took their time with it much like a normal toy. Another thing I thoroughly enjoyed about the mold was the amount of customization available. With the guns, shields, and apertures, coupled with the Generations line’s large number of pegs and ports, I made all sorts of weird creations when I first opened my trio and sat down to play. I happened to be hanging out with friends at the time who aren’t into Transformers, and even they had a blast letting their imaginations run wild. This is mostly what won me over, the fun I had with the mold and seeing my friends enjoy it. Finally, the camera mode. When I was trying to figure out how to achieve it, I didn’t use any instructions, reviews, or pictures (cause I’m a big boy!) and just went for it. It took me a while because I was just overthinking everything. After setting the figures down and coming back to them, things started to click and I was stunned at how simple but effective and brilliant the transformation was. After that I made the figurative and literal connection on their combination and was a bit awestruck when it all finally came together. Not only does the figure absolutely nail the look of Reflector, but it nails the feel of the team in both robot and camera modes and has me excited for this direction the Generations line is headed in.
Two trends with the Transformers brand converged this year that had a sizable impact on my list this year. First, is the move of the Masterpiece line to dramatically more complicated designs in order to create cartoon accurate robot and alt-modes. While my previous picks have included a great number of Masterpiece figures, this year does not as although I dig the cartoon aesthetic, *they just aren’t fun to transform*.
Secondly. mainline “generations” figures have become “even more G1!”. Even more than Masterpiece, these feel like you’re on a never-ending treadmill of incremental upgrades. As a result of not having the space or time to dedicate to collecting all iterations or constantly cycling through minor improvements, I’ve adopted a “must be a significant upgrade” policy when it comes to acquiring new figures for my “classics” G1 collection. All that being said, Siege was a fantastic Generations line that had some figures I couldn’t pass up.
As a result of all of this, my top pick for 2019 is Titan Class Omega Supreme. He’s the best overall Titan class figure Hasbro has done to date and a significant upgrade to Year of the Snake Omega Supreme. My kids are always interested in checking out my new figures, and none were as intriguing to my son as Omega Supreme. He asked countless times to play with Omega, and requested that I transform him between modes multiple times. The trick with the rocket transformation was a mind-blowing surprise, he’s a pleasure to transform, the plastic quality feels great, and he’s incredibly stable in both modes. Here’s to hoping Scorponok is done as well in 2020!
According to the other staff members, I’m officially missing out on Omega Supreme and need to pick him up. My top spot went to Soundwave from Siege. This is a solid Soundwave figure that pulls off everything you want a Soundwave toy to do. Walking apartment complex of death with awesome “Micromaster” hooligan tenants? Check. Super incognito Cybertronian lamp (or whatever) mode? Check. Vehicular mode for getting around? Check. Tape deck mode? Sure, you can fake it! Also, this mold is not to be overlooked as it could provide a basis for a classic tape mode/Earth version in the future. He looks great next to the other Decepticon Voyagers. Music Label had ruled the roost of my Classics/Generations display for a decade. But now? Music Label inferior. Siege Soundwave Superior.
Although Hasbro had already given us an awesome Leader class Jetfire in the Generations Thrilling 30 line by homaging its G1 toy origins, WFC Siege Jetfire is a love letter to the actual character design for Skyfire that appeared in the original Sunbow cartoon show. Big and blocky in all his beautiful cartoon glory in both robot and Cybertronian jet modes, they even gave us his armor and helmet upgrades for additional playability. A definite fan favorite of mine that holds a commanding presence on any toy shelf!
Runners up: Masterpiece MP-44 Convoy ver. 3.0, Studio Series Jetwing Prime, MP-47 Hound, Studio Series DOTM Megatron with Igor, Transformers Collaborative Edition Ectotron (GameStop Exclusive), Siege Refraktor, Siege Omega Supreme
The top spot was a close call between Jetfire and Siege Shockwave as both are very well designed figures, but Jetfire wins out due to the superior parts integration when fully armed up. Shockwave looks like he just has random robot parts hanging off of him. Jetfire looks great in both vehicle and robot mode and has enough G1 cartoon nostalgia to take the number one spot for me this year.
The official Skyfire I have been waiting for since 1985.
I love everything about this figure. I wish I could go back to 1985 me, and show..um…me what I had to look forward to.
Fun to flip back and forth between modes, and even more fun to woosh around my house, especially when my son is playing with his toys.
Skyfire will swoop in, guns blazing…Its bonkers!
After a few starts and stops Hasbro has finally nailed the Titan Class. Big and sturdy with a transformation that’s fun but not stupid complicated, Omega Supreme: triumphant.
The 35th anniversary brought forth a lot of fun figures to buy this year. One thing I never, ever expected, was a cartoon accurate Skyfire. I remember watching G1 reruns and wanting a Skyfire toy that looked like the cartoon. Yet I never thought we would get one this close. I figured Classics and the T30 Jetfires were it for Hasbro.
So glad I was wrong! Also, instead of going full on animation accurate, Hasbro and Takara instead chose to place the wings lower in jet mode. It’s a subtle change on paper but makes a substantial visual difference to me. It looks more aggressive, at home fighting it’s way to and from a transport zone rather than looking like a huge, winged target. Love the interaction it has with other figures and especially the backwards compatibility with Titan/Prime Masters. This is a love letter to G1 Skyfire fans. Oh and that swiveling faction symbol is awesome too!
This is the Jetfire I’ve wanted ever since I first saw him on screen. A hulking, visually striking, and inexpensive presentation of the character to add to my collection, with various display options right out of the box. I find his transformation to be a fluid affair with nothing overly cumbersome nor delicate to get in the way – this makes it a joy to mess around with the big guy, in either mode, whenever the mood strikes.
Much like Evasion Optimus, this mold hits all the right marks for me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having this guy on my desk. Price, play-ability, design, and finish are all spot on. I feel like he bridges the gap between movie and G1 even further. Though I didn’t go all in on the Siege or Studio Series lines, as a collector it feels like we’re at a very high point in terms of product. I can’t recall a time where so many obscure characters had figures, and certainly not of such quality.
Transformers Collaborative Edition Ectotron (GameStop Exclusive); Siege Barricade; Studio Series Jetfire; 4/8 Studio Series RotF Devastator
I always find this part hard since as a rule I simply have “toys I like”, “toys I really like” and “why did I buy this thing”? But a few things that get to my heart are:
- obscure characters (because I already have an optimum amount of Prime and a hive full of Bumblebee)
- Fun transformations (no frustrating, panel and tab heavy guys please)
- Good personality
- All around fun
A lot of the Siege line ticked these boxes, since as a whole the line was full of fun toys with solid transformations and sculpts brimming with personality. One set of guys in particular that did it for me were the Powerdashers. I absolutely love these guys. The Weaponizers they are retools of were fantastic to begin with, but add in some great headsculpts and some equally great decos and you’re on to a winning combination. Plus they are wonderfully obscure choices for characters to give updates to – which scores them major points in my book. Zetar is my favourite of the three right now, but his two brethren are equally excellent and as a set, they look absolutely fantastic.
Earthrise Omnibots for 2020, please and thank you?
(PS I was tempted to give this to Astrotrain, but as he only just arrived I’m wary of giving the “new hotness” the top spot. But he is also incredible as a toy)
Certainly, I am a fan of a great many things (Transformers, of course being one), but I tend to enjoy my things very separated. Transformers go over here, G.I.Joes go over here, RoboCop stuff over here…you get the idea. Sure, over the years, we’ve all seen the fan art mashups of our favorite ‘80s properties. Those never appealed a whole lot to me.
Then Hasbro releases two figures that totally changes this for me: MP-10G Optimus Prime and Ectotron.
Optimus Prime himself is a bit of a sacred icon to me, and something not to be messed with [much]. The idea of painting him up in any way other than his traditional reds and blues really goes against what I hold dear to that character, really. Yet, the way Hasbro went about this rendition of Optimus totally enthralls me. The color palette for Optimus as a Ghostbuster looks really striking, and the addition of the proton pack is super cool. The idea of painting the Combat Deck into a Containment Chamber is just brilliant. The package design dubbing as a role play proton pack really puts the icing on the cake, too.
I really can’t think of MP-10G Optimus without thinking of Ectotron, either. These two feel very much like a complete set for me. I’m actually surprised they weren’t released as a set, even if not initially. In fact, the very reason I purchased MP-10G was how much Ectotron enchanted me. Again, I never really wanted an Ecto-1 as a Transformer…yet, the way this was done really pulled me in. The G1 style package is a smart move to capture the full nostalgic experience; the Ecto-1 alt mode is very nicely done and really captures what makes both Transformers and another property like Ghostbusters special. The proton packs being virtually the same accessory really ties Ectotron and Optimus together as a Ghostbuster team!
I really can’t say enough good things about these two figures, and wouldn’t have imagined these two being in my top picks prior to having them, let alone winning the top spot. Especially with the year we’ve had with official releases (I’m actually going to have to make a list of backlog figures to get from this year, as Siege has been a very stellar line!). I’ve always wanted a set of “More than Meets the Eye” Tetrajets, and the Powerdashers from Siege are all three so excellent; we have not only a Convoy that looks like he stepped out of the television screen, but also a Hound! But here we are in a bizarre twist of reality for me where I have all of these things, but it’s something that I didn’t expect to win me over as much as it did. It’s a crossover of transforming robots and bustin’ ghosts. Lemmie tell ya somethin’: bustin’ makes me feel good!
I liked Skyfire as a kid. Not Jetfire, Hasbro’s adopted Macross toy, but the huge Autobot with the round shoulders and solid backpack. From how powerful he was to the faction switch and stopping the Decepticons with his last gasp of energy (until Wheeljack remembered they could just dig him up). Since then I’ve had to have toys that were “close enough”, always leaning to the original toy, until Siege finally delivered what I had been waiting on. The design is perfect, the size is satisfying to pose and transform, and even taking photos of him against three Refraktors was really fun to get to do. Genuinely started thinking we’d never get the cartoon look as a toy, and very happy to be wrong.
The big guy finally gets his Titan. Been waiting for this since Metroplex, as Omega was my choice big guy as a kid. Holding until now wound up being a good thing. Engineering, styling and focus on G1 subtle details has all improved. Siege peaked with those things, and Omega shines as the crown jewel in the center.
Special shout to the 3A/Zero DLX, BW Masterpiece, and WFC: Siege lines overall. All were excellent this year.
2019 was a resounding year for Transformers. We got some amazing figures across all the lines. Cyberverse, the so called kid line, has a fun Ratchet figure and a sizable Sharkticon. Studio Series came out with an amazing Optimus Prime from the Bumblebee movie and the beginnings of the most intricate combiner ever created. And Siege has hit home run after home run. We got one of the most spectacular figures in Jetfire in both design and engineering. There is an accurate Ultra Magnus with a call back to the 2001 Robots in Disguiseseries. We have a show accurate Reflector (Refraktor) with single modes and a combined camera mode. And who would have ever thought we would have been able to own official Rainmakers or new power dashers? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But my toy of the year is something a lot of people have probably already forgotten about. It’s a figure created from a crossover between 2 nostalgic properties and just hits all the right spots for what I think a adult should get for collecting action figures.
Ectotron is a heavy retooling of the Onslaught/Inferno mold from Combiner Wars from a few years back. But looking at it, you would think it was a brand new figure from scratch. Over the last few years, Hasbro has gotten very good at reusing the “skeletons” of previous figures to make into new characters. This perhaps was the most ambitious and interesting one. The Ecto-1 car is one hundred percent accurate to the original car. Sitting on a shelf, you cannot tell that it’s a Transformer unless you get close to inspect it. The transformation is nothing spectacular but it works well. It is neither simplistic nor overly complicated. It’s just a good, clean change between modes. When in robot mode, you can see the fun the designers had coming up with this. Obviously he is a giant robot that fits in with the rest of his Cybertronian allies. But the nods to the Ghostbustersare heavily prevalent as well. From his proton pack weapon, his goggle style headgear, and even his jumpsuit-esque name badge, the little touches hit the mark creating a fun blend of 2 dominant 1980s properties.
And to top everything off, Hasbro went above and beyond on the packaging. The figure comes in a replica style generation 1 window box complete with the original Transformers logo on the above flap, the battle scene on the back side, tech spec, transformation sequence on the top of the box, and even a generation 1 style rendering on the character in robot mode. And just for that added Ghostbuster touch, Ectotron even comes with a small green translucent Slimer.
So in a year where Jetfire, Spinister, Bumblebee movie Optimus and others are rightfully making top toy lists, don’t forget the early 2019 figure that hits all the right spots.
Narrowing down 2019 into my top favorite figure was surprisingly easy. Sure, the year was loaded with some awesome official releases, including Masterpieces of my favorite Beast Wars characters ever and two massive and amazing updates to some of my favorite G1 heavy hitters.In the end, surprising to no one that knows me, my number one 2019 release is the only…logical choice, leading me by clarity of thought before rashness of action.
I’ve been a lifelong fan of Shockwave, with my fascination for the character starting with Marvel issue #4. Issue #5’s iconic cover art cemented the amoral logician as my all time favorite Transformer, and it’s been a wonderful ride ever since.The release of MP-29 gave me the perfect cartoon Shockwave, but even so, the Marvel version was always my Shockwave. Enter the Siege Leaderclass figure. This perfectly combines all the characteristics that drew me to the character in a wonderfully sized, beautifully detailed and awesome mainline figure. It’s all there, plus some bonus pieces for fun.
Overall, THIS is my Shockwave.