BOX ART BREAKDOWN: Looking back at all the action from the 1988 #TFBoxArtChampionship

We just recently came to the end of another exciting chapter in the ongoing #TFBoxArtChampionship, with the 1988 league now completed! The fifth competition was the longest-running so far, starting all the way back in early November, when we kicked off by running down the various contenders who would be taking part. Well, now we’re back to take a look at the action and unveil some vital statistics about how each challenger performed.

The 1988 league was special for many reasons. Not only did it feature the largest cast of characters of any competition so far (63 in total, up from an already-increased 55 last year), but it was also the first competition to be played-out across multiple social media platforms. Whereas the ’84-’87 leagues took place exclusively on Twitter, for 1988 the action was correlated across Instagram and Facebook too (which proved to be quite a bit of work!). That also meant that the number of votes cast was significantly larger on average than previous years, with the new record being over 1.3k voting in the 1988 grand final.

Let’s get into the detail!


1988 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. 1988 saw such a large number of characters that this first round took place over a whopping 31 battles. All but one of the 1988 cast was featured (with Squawktalk being randomly selected for “bye” status and therefore kicking off in round 2). Despite the overall standard being exceptionally high it’s fair to say that a number of them were easily dismissed with chaps like Override, Raindance or Fizzle barely making an impression and even the arguably nicer pieces like Skalor, Quake or Crankcase failing to hold their own versus some of the superior artwork on display. They gave a strong showing and earned a lot of accolades in the comments, but a number of Pretenders were also knocked out early on in round 1, although there were a few close calls along the way. Hosehead, Gunrunner, Finback and Chainclaw were all knocked out with a narrow 49% loss, meaning they could potentially have gone much further if just a few votes had swung the other way!


1988 Round 2

By the time of round 2 we were already getting a sense for which characters were proving popular, with contenders like Piranacon, Optimus Prime, Doubledealer, Dreadwind and Getaway absolutely trouncing the biggest losers here. What’s really surprising is just how well-received characters like Snaptrap were in the comments despite their poor showing, but that’s the way fate deals the cards sometimes. Squawktalk made his one-and-done appearance in round 2, whilst some fan favourite characters such as Nightbeat just couldn’t bring the goods to make it through to the third round (yet again proving that despite a character’s perceived popularity in fiction, it’s the art that counts!).


1988 Round 3

Round 3 saw most of the remaining Pretenders getting wiped out, despite them having put in a strong start earlier in the competition. A lot of the wins were becoming more decisive by this stage too, with the same characters time and again marching to victory. For my money, the biggest surprise here was Siren being defeated by Slamdance!


1985 Round 4

We all thought the Pretenders might go the distance, but it was not to be. Four rounds done and the final two were kicked out, leaving the most obvious four challengers remaining…


1988 Semi-Finals / Grand Final

By this point, these three contenders had dominated every match-up they’d taken part in, so it was interesting to see how they fared against each other in the semi-finals. Getaway gave a strong go of it with an impressive 483 votes but proved no real competition against Piranacon. Doubledealer racked up a brief record number of losing votes with 523 people wanting him to win over Optimus Prime, before the Autobot leader then broke that record himself by losing out himself in the grand final despite 607 votes in his favour! That meant there could be only one left…


1988 Champion

Yes, with a slight 54% of the vote Piranacon claimed a place in the #TFBoxArtChampionship hall of fame. The big fish man is definitely a worthy champion, as that artwork is something to admire.

Here’s how the finished 1988 championship looked.

That means that Piranacon joins the four previous winners in the #TFBoxArtChampionship Hall of Fame!


So there you have it. We hope you’ve enjoyed this walk through the 1988 #TFBoxArtChampionship and that you’ll be back in the near future when we’ll most definitely be taking a look at the 1989 action… we can’t wait!


About Sixo

Transformers photographer & blogger from the UK with quite a well-known carpet. Collects both vintage G1/G2 and Masterpiece/3P.


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