Welcome to 2021 folks! 2020 has come to a close (thank Primus) and the TFW2005 team is sharing it’s top picks for Transformers toys from the past year. While COVID-19 affected our lives and hobby through most of the year – a lot of great toys dropped. The War for Cybertron Trilogy continued with Earthrise, Masterpiece continued forward with Anime and Beast offerings, ThreeZero popped some great DLX figures, Cyberverse carried on for the kids, and more. One thing that stands out reading over our choices – there was no single winner. Titan Scorponok got the most mentions overall, but the first choice was wide ranging among the team. I think this shows how balanced the brand was this year and the quality that was available in all sub-lines and size classes. Everyone could find something they wanted in 2020.
So as we start off our journey in 2021 with Kingdom, Studio Series 86 and whatever else comes our way – check our choices and thoughts for the best of 2020 after the break. Feel free to sound off on the 2005 Boards to let us know what your personal favorites were too!
2020 was a very light year for me in terms of new releases, with most of my attention going to picking up older figures I’d missed out on. However, continuing the SS Constructions was too hard to resist. Scrapper is easily my favorite of the bunch, turning a very brief ROTF cameo and some concept art into an excellent, well-articulated, and fully realized figure. I appreciate his unique silhouette, combining chunky, industrial legs with more lithe arms that each end in a heavy-duty weapon. The yellow is vibrant and attractive on a Movie Decepticon, and the transformation is interesting and complex without being a pain. Some may consider the inaccurate loader mode a minus, but it doesn’t bother me, especially considering the figure pulls off all three modes so well as it is. Even if you don’t want to build Devastator, this one at least is worth a purchase.
While it was sure a complicated and challenging year, we had plenty of great Transformers releases with War For Cybertron on top of news and comments this year. It was hard to choose a winner here, but this Spoiler Pack was great in many ways. The inevitable Nemesis Prime/Black Convoy redeco came in the form of the Siege mold and packed with more accessories than a vacuum machine.
While most of the new weapons were reused from the POTP Nemesis Prime figure, the great amount of connectors in the Siege Optimus mold give you tons of alternatives for display. The Earthrise trailer combined with the Siege truck is a very nice combo which looks better than you may have expected thanks to the new dark colors. I haven’t had much fun with a figure in a long time! The new deco is a great alternative for those who couldn’t get the Takara Tomy Siege Nemesis exclusive which it’s pretty expensive in the aftermarket today and it came with just a new sword.
This year has been one for the books. Not books we’d want to re-read, but at least a few pages stuck out as bright spots.
Each time I look at Super Megatron on the shelf I just can’t believe it exists. Even though it’s built on the Titans Return Galvatron frame, the retooling is so extensive that this truly is a new figure. And what a figure! Everything about this feels premium, and easily takes the top spot for me.
This was a tough choice to pick just one. That makes it a GOOD year when I have like 9 that I think that could be the top dog. I picked Sunstreaker because he spends the most time as a fiddle desk bot. With the exception of a missing gun/hand missile and slight paint/plastic variations, I just love him. Perfect melding of classic style with modern elements. If this coming year is as good as this year (It’s already lookin gooooood), we’re going to have a fun time.
I’ve always thought the Sunstreaker mold was one of the best MP’s in terms of durability, complexity, and fun factor for a transformation. Takara bringing back the original Diaclone homage to this figure made me curious into reading up on the history of this figure. It really is an important one for both the Transformers and Diaclone toy lines. Having the license plate reading CL-01 helped seal the deal that this was a must figure to have. Wonderful and amazing articulation as the original Sunstreaker figure. Getting this for 20% off the price as a birthday discount from the Takara Tomy Mall let me have my cake and eat it.
Combining has always been my favorite gimmick of Transformers. I was thrilled to see Takara tackle the last of the Scramble City Combiners. I may be in the minority but it was nice to get King Poseidon in waves so I had time to enjoy each figure individually. Takara also doing the obvious repaint, God Neptune was just the cherry on top for Transformers this year.
Apologies to all my fellow members on staff for getting their top selections wrong this year – just goes to prove 2020 truly is a whopper of a year. Earthrise Scorponok finally gave an updated and amazing new figure for the classic G1 Scorponok. If the only complaints are “aw the claw is purple and not gray” and “boo Fasttrack is a separate release”, then Earthrise Scorponok has already been crowned Top Transformer of 2020. But in all seriousness – a perfect combination of homage to the original toy as well as head-nods to the Headmasters animated series and Marvel Comics depictions has made every single Scorponok fan happy. Thank you Hasbro and Takaratomy. Now paint it black.
Let’s just start this off, we all know 2020 sucked for a multitude of reasons, (Heavy!) but what didn’t suck were the robots we got this year! Before narrowing down my final list, I had an overwhelming 25 top figures for the year. Generations Selects gave us some great figures, EarthRise followed up the solid Siege line and random exclusives filled gaps in great ways, like me finally getting a God Neptune.
However, if you know me, you know I love Back To The Future. It might be my favorite trilogy ever, and I watch it ever year without fail. To get a DeLorean Transformer just hit me in the best way possible. I fiddled with him so much this year that he just had to be my top figure for 2020.
Despite being a remold, he feels completely his own. The little touches to make him the flying DeLorean are also so wonderful. Even the way the box opens, in a similar fashion to the trailer in the movie, is just a magnificent touch that didn’t need to be done, but one i appreciate so much. As a slight downside, and it is minor IMO, the Mr. Fusion falls off when you breathe near the toy. The only thing truly missing now is a remold of Siege Astrotrain as Doc Brown’s time machine to complete my life. Come on Hasbro, you slackers!
This is one of the best official mainline Megatron figures we’ve ever gotten. I wish I bought two! I love the various mode combinations you can achieve, and I dig the TLK/Dark Nova faceplate. Scales well with a variety of lines/continuities, and paint apps are crisp overall. It’s worth noting that this is the closest we’ll get to owning Animated Marauder Megatron, who was based off this design; it’s akin to having a “Generations style” Animated Megatron in a way—win-win! The tank mode is decent, while the jet mode is awesome. I’d have liked if he were larger and had more remolding in the legs and feet, but he is still a stunning figure with good shelf presence. There were a lot of stellar official TFs this year, but as a Megatron fan, gotta rep my guy. Hopefully Hasbro and Takara revisit Super Megatron more in the future, be it artwork accurate or more creative interpretations. Absolutely worth the purchase.
This was insanely tough for me to pick. So many fun figures this year in all size classes and from all lines, but Scorponok wins it for me. He’s the only titan I thoroughly enjoy playing with and feel I can play with. Of course any 2 foot tall transformer is going to be a bit of a hassle to transform, but Scorponok feels the least so out of all of them. Both modes are boatloads of fun and very imposing, and the giant claws make setting up fight scenes with smaller robots that much more satisfying. It’s a bummer he didn’t come with a gun, but that’s why we have upgrade kits I guess. Despite everything else, 2020 was by far one of the best years in terms of figure quality in my opinion and Scorponok is no exception.
2020 was a phenomenal year for Transformers. Even though prices are up and figure sizes are down a bit, I feel a case could be made that we’re now on par with the previous high water mark in 2011-2012. Like Siege in 2019, Earthrise delivered hit after hit in 2020. Picking a single winner was extremely difficult. Hasbro delivered a near-perfect retail Optimus Prime with a new and brilliant take on the transformation. Soundwave improved on the Siege figure in nearly every way, most importantly in an improved fit and finish. Doubledealer updated a childhood favorite to near perfection, Dirge was a great rendition of my favorite seeker, Nemesis Prime made the Siege mold look good, and the Titan class Scorponok provided a modern take on a G1 figure I only very recently acquired.
All that being said, I’m going to give some love to the Siege/Earthrise Astrotrain figure. I’ll admit, I bought this figure by mistake. I was going to wait for a while to get the Leader class Optimus Prime, but I got caught up in that figures hype cycle in the early part of the year when they were difficult to find. I decided to play roulette at Best Buy where you buy a size class online and hope it’s the figure you want. I ended up with Astrotrain instead, and very quickly became enamored with my purchase. It’s not perfect and it does pad out the size class with some stuff you don’t really need. However, it’s a figure I just couldn’t put down. I flipped between all three modes repeatedly and never really settled on one that I preferred over the other two. It hits that sweet spot for me between being complex enough to feel like you’re doing something, while being simple enough that you don’t need to spend 45 minutes and watch videos to transform. It was just fun, which is ultimately why I selected it was my figure of the year.
Finally a suitable foil for Fortress Maximus. I always disliked how G1 Skorponok lacked a Cerebros type Headmaster figure that transformed into the head of the robot, but was instead just a headmaster face in a giant armored suit. I also didn’t like that the G1 toy was substantially smaller than the G1 Fortress Maximus toy. That aside I think Hasbro and TakaraTomy did a fine job updating the figure to fix this disparity. To be fair, the battle mode does suffer a bit with the scrawny tail tip. Plus the lack of articulation in the scorpion legs is a bit disappointing. Base mode is base mode—a figure lying down with ramps all over it. It’s ok but I think the base modes are pretty weak in all of the Titan Class figures. But the figure really shines for me in robot mode. First is the Lord Zarak figure that transforms into Skorponok’s head. I love this figure. It looks good, has a creative, yet elegantly simple transformation, and poses well. I wish there was better incorporation of the orange antennas than just plugging them into his back though. For me, the titan sized figure looks amazing. The head sculpt is nicely detailed. The figure has nice proportions and the joints seem durable and you can get some nice poses from him. This figure hit all the right marks for me and fittingly is my top pick for figure of 2020.
More Diaclone homages please and thank you! Also this pack being a street racer and Johnny Law is like a “Fast and the Furious” action scene ready to be recreated on your coffee table.
This was a figure I was looking forward to immediately after the initial rumors started to sound more concrete. I have always liked the design of the original Doubledealer. Sure we got a fully articulated Doubledealer in the Thrilling 30 line. However I hate PVC(used on the radome) and this new Doubledealer matches the original look a lot more, albeit bulkier.
Aside from the transformation for the lower legs in vulture mode being a little tricky to align properly and the detachable wing backpack getting in the way sometimes, this is a very fun figure to handle to me. The transformation is mostly intuitive. I’m glad we finally got a modernized take on G1 Doubledealer. Also fun to creatively attach Slitherfang on the shoulders as Doubledealer’s pet cobra while the shoulder autobot symbols are flipped down. Would you trust this guy?
Getting Doubledealer turned out to be an exercise in frustration on account of Target’s notorious streetdating mess starting in 2019. Just as SIEGE voyagers and Studio Series leaders had arrived in December 2018 only to be streetdated/blocked at the register in summer 2019, Doubledealer followed suit in being blocked on release(despite Earthrise leaders having been sold on shelf at Target since December 2019). When this was pointed out to Target managers and employees, none of us could figure out why they were blocked. Sadly, this continued on later that year, Cobra Island anybody?
As luck would have it, I ended up getting my Doubledealer at Walmart when I least expected it. For Earthrise, to me it seemed like outside of the Datsuns, any figure that was of a returning character from SIEGE left something to be desired. However, where Earthrise shined brightest to me, was with new figures of characters that hadn’t been in SIEGE. So with that, it was hard to choose because I liked most of them.
Being a fan of BW, and “Big Cat” in particular, I was over the moon when Tigatron was revealed. As the old saying goes, “he’s so nice I bought him twice.”
Finally getting him in-hand was one of those grail moments as far as the MP line goes, and I’m very grateful to TT for bringing him into the world.
As with many others, I had a hard time choosing one this year. I didn’t even buy much, but when I look at the five figures on my list they all hold a special place in my heart. Ranging from pure nostalgia to purely absurd to a sub-line I’ve hoped for since I was a small child, it’s been a wild year for Transformers fans and collectors.
In the end, it was that pure nostalgia with just the right mix of display quality and plain fun that helped make my decision. Earthrise Sky Lynx hits all the right notes for me. He’s beautiful on a shelf, on a desk, both at the same time even! Sky Lynx brings memories of his G1 version, one of very few G1 figures I had as a child, and grandiose aspirations of being an astronaut. I’ve drifted off in daydreams twice, just in the bit of time it took putting this together thinking about the adventures we went on, and the ones we dreamed about going on. I truly love this figure.
I’ve been wanting a Titan class Scorponok since the size class was first announced, and while I was disappointed that my favorite of the classic citybots had to go last, in the end I’m glad it did, as it definitely benefitted from the experience of the previous Titans. Solidly built, well painted without any stickering to handle, accurate in all modes, and finally a double Headmaster like his Autobot rival. The toy makes me feel like being a kid and getting to hold my friend’s G1 Scorponok… until he took it away without letting me play with it. Minor childhood trauma may be causing me to play favorites, but for 2020 it was the toy purchase I was the happiest about.
This was a hard year to pick a single winner. I chose Soundwave because it nailed what I am looking for in modern Generations figures – nostalgia, very faithful rendition of character, clean lines in both modes, good articulation. That being said, I think the winner this year should just be the War for Cybertron Trilogy. Siege extensions, Earthrise, and I was lucky enough to handle Kingdom too. Combining it all has given us a really solid G1 display, something I had hoped (official) Masterpiece would do for the last 20 years, and has not. Bottom line, WFC is the winner for me.