BOX ART BREAKDOWN: The #TFBoxArtChampionship 1988 league is here + looking back at 1987

OK, this is it – the #TFBoxArtChampionship is finally back, with the 1988 contest launching later today!

In preparation we’re going to be running down all the contenders before unveiling the league brackets, but first we’re taking a look back at the 1987 championship. If you haven’t already then be sure to check out the first part and the second part of this series before continuing below!


1987 Round 1

As we go through each round, we’ve listed the characters that were kicked out through being defeated by another contender and ranked them by how many votes they clocked up. In 1987 the standard proved to be generally so high that there were some pretty exceptional examples meeting defeat in that first wave, including the likes of Sureshot, Pointblank (who was surely robbed) and Weirdwolf. Meanwhile it seemed as though the Throttlebots had (unfairly) inherited the Curse of the Minibots as they couldn’t catch a break no matter who they were facing. Perhaps unsurprisingly the Targetmaster versions of the 1986 characters (including the likes of Cyclonus and Kup) just couldn’t measure up, having been mostly unpopular even in their own year!


1987 Round 2

By the time of round 2 we were already getting a sense for the characters that were starting to dominate the proceedings, with artwork like Apeface or Punch/ Counterpunch proving somewhat unbeatable. I’d like to say that examples such as Brainstorm and Chromedome could have fared better against different opponents, but it’s not how this competition was destined to go! Meanwhile the Throttlebots were finally obliterated in this round and Hardhead vs Blot created one of the biggest support campaigns for a Terrorcon you ever did see.


1987 Round 3

By round 3 it was fair to say that there wasn’t really any poor artwork left to kick out, so the stakes were definitely getting pretty high! Despite a strong showing the remaining Technobots and Targetmasters met their match, whilst Pounce & Wingspan pulled a surprise victory against Overkill! Oh, and Sixshot getting booted out in round 3 was definitely to the upset of a few people!


1987 Round 4

Round 4 confirmed what we kinda already knew by revealing the four eventual semi-finalists to be the most popular choices overall. Pounce & Wingspan again put in a very strong showing against Hun-Gurrr and Fort Max tried his absolute best against Apeface, but it was not to be.


1987 Semi-Finals / Grand Final

Evidently people really love robots with dragon heads for their appendages, but it still wasn’t enough to see Doublecross and Hun-Gurrr through to the grand final! I think in this last battle I genuinely had no idea who was going to win, but in the end there could be only one… or is it two?


1987 Champion

Yes, with 62% of the vote, Punch/ Counterpunch won the 1987 grand final and claimed a place in the #TFBoxArtChampionship hall of fame. Definitely a worthy winner!

Here’s how the finished 1987 championship looked.


So now we’re all caught up! So without further ado let’s crack on and take a look at the challengers for the 1988 crown!

We’ll be showcasing each contender by subgroup but of course, when it comes to the competition none of that matters – there’s no loyalty in box art battles!


The ones with the little engines! We think that there’s at least a couple of strong contenders in this rabble, including the likes of Getaway, Dreadwind and Doubledealer. Ultimately though, it’s hard not to peg the big kahuna himself, Optimus Prime, as a possible champion this year. It’s not just that he’s a well-known character, but that art is really something! Let’s see how it goes.



Some really lovely stuff to be seen with the 1988 Headmasters too. We reckon Nightbeat and Siren could stand a decent chance of going far, but this is anyone’s game.



I think one thing the box art battles have shown is that even lesser known characters can get a decent shake if they have great artwork, so watch out for the likes of Quickmix and Landfill! Chaps like Spinister are also really love and may get a boost from IDW fans.



OK, this year’s big unknown – how will Pretenders fare in the box art league? Our reckoning? We think they’ll do pretty well, as there’s some absolutely jaw-dropping art on display here. The question is more who it will be from this lot to go far.


Pretenders Beasts & Vehicles

But let’s not forget about the rather wonderful Pretender Beasts, all of whom are pretty handsome! Could it be that one of them has the eye of the tiger?


Triggerbots & Triggercons

The Triggerbots & Cons have some big artillery but honestly, we’re not sure if they have the strongest showing this year in terms of box art. We could well be wrong but we’re not putting any bets down here – although I will say that Crankcase is very nice!


Sparkabots & Sparkacons

With some strong lines and nice shading it might be that the Sparkabots and Firecons fare better than anyone would predict – only time will tell!



OK, we’re calling it – the Seacons are going to make a splash this year! Tortured pun aside, you can expect these guys to do well in the ’88 league, and especially that stunning Piranacon artwork.



Previous contenders like Overkill, Pounce & Wingspan have shown that there’s a place for beast robot modes to do well in these battles, so let’s see how these cassette chaps get on!


Six Changer

Oh, and let’s not forget ol’ Quickswitch shall we? I mean, he ain’t gonna win it, but he’s still a fine lad.


So, there we have it – the full list of 1988 contenders! Believe it or not at 63 characters this is the BIGGEST year so far (up from 55 last year), so it should prove very interesting. As always, the seeding has been randomly assigned using an online tournament generator (no favouritism here!), but we’ve managed to work the maths out to minimise the number of “byes” going straight into round 2 – this time it’s just one with Squawktalk.

Start placing your bets as the first battle goes live later today! This time we’re mixing it up by also posting polls on Facebook as well as Twitter, so it’ll be a real surprise who’s won each time.

So there you have it! We hope you’ve enjoyed this walk through the final part of our box art league and that you’ll be back to follow the action on both Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #TFBoxArtChampionship.


About Sixo

Transformers collector from the UK, collecting vintage G1/G2, CR/RID, UT & Masterpiece/3P. Find me at or on YouTube at


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