We have it good as Transformers collectors currently, we have it very good. The flagship Takara Tomy Masterpiece line has sped up and started to put out new figures at a respectable rate. Takara Tomy’s Transformers Legends, Unite Warriors, together with Hasbro’s Generstions, Combiner Wars and soon Titans Return are giving collectors updated toys of characters once thought impossible, proper updates of G1 combiners, Headmasters and recognised TF personalities.
Between Hasbro, Takara Tomy and 3rd Party companies, characters from the IDW comics are also seeing impressive representation allowing collectors to fill out desired line-ups. However good we have it now, there are still gaps that need filling on collection shelves for those who desire a complete run, crew roster or team depending on what they collect and enjoy.
With Generations/Classics/CW/TR, many previously gaping holes in collections were addressed by Hasbro and Takara Tomy’s pointed effort to bring combiners to the fore. Aerialbots, Stunticons, Combaticons, Protectobots, G2 versions of some of those, Constructicons on an epic scale…things that seemed inconceivable a few years ago started to happen. There’s a great image doing the rounds at the moment showing the degree to which Combiner Wars have utilised repaints and slight remoulds to fill out the ranks, and while some of them have involved odd choices, on the whole this has led to widespread contentment in the Generations-loving fandom.
There are still gaps, though, and after quizzing the Twitter regulars it seems Hasbro and Takara Tomy still have quite a bit of work to do in order to satiate the Generations crowd. Keep in mind that FOC releases and original Classics releases are not considered by some to fit with the more recent or current Generations gang, and you have names like Dinobots, Seacons, Brawn, Broadside, Shockwave, Wreckers, Misfire, Triggerhappy, Slugslinger, Pointblank and the Targetmasters, Highbrow, Omnibots, Reflector, Predacons and Terrorcons still to be done or updated.
With Misfire’s popularity in IDW’s More Than Meets The Eye pages, surely a re-imagining of the gorgeous bright pink nutcase can’t be too far away? Slugslinger just showed up briefly in Transformers ex-RID as well, so with Skullcruncher and Hardhead getting very swish looking toys in Titans Return next year, I’d love to see the Autobot and Decepticon Targetmasters, as well as all remaining Headmasters, updated for this scale and aesthetic.
If you don’t count Fall of Cybertron (and actually I do), then Soundwave and Shockwave are two extremely key Decepticons that could use an update. Does a Titans Return Blaster guarantee a TR Soundwave repaint at some point? I couldn’t really rule it out, but a larger Generations-style Shockwave would certainly be welcome. Maybe at some point in the future when IDW have had a chance to bring him back from oblivion.
Third Party companies tackling MTMTE/Wreckers characters like Cynicus and Spartan above, as well as the upcoming MMC Anachus, Kultur, Carnifex, Commotus and MakeToys Rear End etc will fill more and more gaps. MTMTE fans will be looking forward to some kind of representation for Rung, Nautica, Pharma and co to further pad out the comic collection. I know I am.
When it comes to discussing – and getting heated over – noticeable gaps in toy lines, Masterpiece Transformers and Masterpiece-style 3rd Party figures tend to take the lead now. Takara Tomy have stepped on the gas and announced/released Tracks, Thundercracker, Ramjet (and inevitably Thrust and Dirge), Ironhide, Ratchet, Hot Rodimus and Laserwave – and companies like MakeToys, Ocular Max, Voodoo Robots, FansToys and XTransbots have been putting out/announcing toys like Gundog, Sphinx, Salus, Animus, Wrestle, Hellfire, Grenadier, Willis, Sovereign, Andras etc (you’re just going to have to lookup who those names correspond to).
Despite all of that, the conversations about the whereabouts of Masterpiece Transformers Jazz, Megatron V2, Galvatron, Sunstreaker, Trailbreaker, Cliffjumper, Hound, Mirage and the like are never ending. Some collectors will actively seek out 3rd party products to fill the gaps, I know I have and very recently too but only when the toy looked like a winner in its own right. But others will hang on for official releases that they now have confidence in seeing one day, thanks in part to the accelerated release schedule.
In terms of reissues, the gaps are a little larger (since Generation 1 was so wide-reaching) but there doesn’t seem to be as much discussion of the missing G1 figures these days. Desire for reissue Artfire, Overlord, Grand Maximus, Victory Saber, Wheeljack, Sunstreaker, Dinobots, Cyclonus, Scourge, Deszaras, Liokaiser and co seems to be at an all time low, or at least it does to me. Even if that is the case generally, the Platinum reissue Trypticon was certainly popular enough, although maybe not at Toys R Us UK prices. I would certainly like to see desire for reissues to ignite again and pressure to be put on the powers that be to continue giving us moulds that have not seen reissues to date.
It has often been said that it would not benefit companies like Hasbro and Takara Tomy to give collectors everything they want, to fill all the remaining gaps in their collection. Collectors are always threatening to call it a day when they finally have X, Y or Z for their Classics, Masterpiece or even mixed displays. If that day should come for a majority of collectors, those who make good on their promise to retire from active buying and collecting would make a significant difference to the collector-specific market that Takara Tomy are seen to rely on for certain product lines.
Then again, maybe the gaps we perceive are entirely down to us as individuals and how we define what a gap is. I’ll let Dan Ghile close this one out:
“Classics doesn’t count as its constantly building, and based on nothing but varying degrees of nostalgia. It’s only as G1 accurate as you decide it is, and the ‘gaps’ exist in the individual’s collection goals. I feel the same way about Masterpiece. Unless the Masterpiece line recreates every Transformers toy ever it will be ‘incomplete’ in some way. And would also become utterly pointless. It’s already started to eat its own tail as MP-10 is a MP of MP-1, as is MP-11“.
All the best