It seems that wishes have been granted and prayers have been answered, as Hasbro are finally adding Double Spy Punch-Counterpunch and Monsterbot Repugnus to the ranks of Prime Trilogy Transformers, bringing even more of the post-Movie vintage era Transformers cast to the Combiner Wars, Titans Return and Power of the Primes stable. These two beauties seem to be part of the same series of exclusives as the Blast Off Hasbro offered, based on the formerly-exclusive TakaraTomy Unite Warriors mould. TakaraTomy are also pulling an interesting move and releasing the green Armada Unicron as part of the Encore reissue line. There is certainly no shortage of stuff to collect right now, with official releases catering for movie fans, G1 fans, Generations fans, Masterpiece G1, Masterpiece Beast Wars and Masterpiece Movie fans alike. What a time to be a Transformers collector.
I have been sharing a lot of G1 photography on social media recently, and it has included some quite obscure toys and characters. Quite often when I do this, I get similar responses across the board, such as “This toy really needs an update!”, “Why didn’t we get this in Titans Return?”, “We need an MP of this” or “I hope a 3P does this soon!”. Punch-Counterpunch was a recent example of this, and given quite how much of the 1987 product line of Headmasters, Targetmasters, Sixchangers, Combiners and more were re-visited during Titans Return, he was noticeable by his absence. Even more so considering what an absolutely stunning, well-executed toy and gimmick the vintage P-CP is.
To the rescue! Revealed in early July, we had the Power of the Primes Punch-Counterpunch introduced to what I hope was much celebration. While the mould for the toy is new and features some of P-CP’s best vintage features like the visor flip and 2 sets of arms, there does seem to be some familiarity to the car mode. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were elements of Combiner Wars Dead End in there somewhere. This magnificent beast, complete with special box art and packaging, comes with a Prime Master called “Prima Prime”. I suspect it will be something initially available through the Hasbro Toy Shop website, Amazon or possibly through stores or an event like SDCC, but at the time of writing the details were not 100% clear.
Titans Return gave us Monsterbots, all of them, but not all in deluxe class scale. Repugnus was an admittedly delightful Titan Master, but Grotusque and Doublecross (“Twinferno”) got the full deluxe class treatment and were superb toys. The original Monsterbots were extraordinarily distinct in their appearance and very cohesive as a team of three. Repugnus is immediately identifiable on account of his gigantic bug head, green eyes and grey mandibles. Grotusque was made available through the Hasbro Toy Store and then trickled into other outlets, while Twinferno was easily available as part of wave 3 of Titans Return. While the new toys obviously didn’t have the safety-mocking sparking features of the vintage toys, there was some disappointment that TR finished its run without a proper deluxe class Repugnus to round off the often neglected Monsterbot team.
And here he is! Deluxe class Repugnus, special edition packaging and release just like P-CP and Grotusque before him. The packaging says “Dastard and Repugnus”, so I guess he’s got a Titan Master to go with the Prime Master “Solus Prime” he’s also packaged with. It remains to be seen whether or not the Titan Master is again an homage to a Battle Beast, as was the case for Twinferno and Grotusque. The mould is heavily based on Twinferno’s mould, so all three share the same base mould, not unlike the Decepticon Targetmaster jets. On looks alone I’d say this was the weakest looking of the Prime Wars Trilogy Monsterbots, but it’s fantastic to see Hasbro finally offer this figure to collectors in deluxe class size. One expects that he, like P-CP, will be offered online through either HTS, Amazon or the like before making any appearance – if at all – at mass retail.
Finally, for something rather unexpected, the upcoming TakaraTomy Transformers Encore “Unicron – Micron Combine Color Version”. TakTom have certainly sprung a few unexpected releases with Encore of late, with God Fire Convoy and Air Attack Optimus Primal, especially as the sub-line had previously only been associated with Generation 1 reissues. They are clearly moving on with Encore, including Car Robots/Robots In Disguise toys, and now, Armada. To quote TFW2005’s news page for this Unicron: “This release is the Transformers Encore – Unicron – Micron Combine Color Version and pays homage to the Green Unicron (or “Unicron of Light”) based on an energy Unicron formed by the Mini-Cons who grappled with the real Unicron over Cybertron in the final episodes of Transformers Armada. This deco also is similar to the Lucky Draw Micron Legend Unicron released in Japan that many fans thought they would never have the opportunity to own due to its rarity.”
This incredibly striking figure was originally limited to 10 pieces as a lucky draw campaign in Japan. While that too was mostly green, it also had significant grey sections on the toy, so this new mostly-clear release is similar, but immediately distinguishable from the highly rare prize version. While this is a more show-accurate depiction of the “Unicron of Light”, there will be concerns about pricing based on how much TakTom wanted for the Encore God Fire Convoy, although whatever they’re asking will be more palatable than what the lucky draw edition would sell for nowadays.
While fans of Armada and Unicron will undoubtedly be looking to plug that green planet-shaped gap in their collection with this Encore release, I suspect the greater proportion of collectors will be lusting after Punch-Counterpunch and Repugnus. I know that if were personally still collecting Generations figures, I would have lost my mind over P-CP and Repugnus, especially as many suspect the P-CP mould will give way to Autobot Targetmaster releases such as Pointblank somewhere down the line.
We really have been very well looked-after by Hasbro and co when it comes to mainline releases over the last few years, but I do hope the toys themselves will not present too much of a headache for collectors to obtain.
All the best