YEAR IN REVIEW: Counting down the top 10 toys of 2020 – part three!

And so, here we are… the final countdown! If you’ve not been keeping up with this list so far then be sure to check out part 1 and part 2 before commencing below, as now it’s time to reveal the final three figures on my top ten list of 2020! It’s been an extraordinary year for new product, so the choice was a hard one, but by the end of this article you will know which Transformers-related toy brought me the most joy last year. Have you guessed what it is yet?


TOP TEN FIGURES 2020 (cont.)

#3: FansToys FT-44 Thomas

There are many popular characters from Generation 1 that have yet to be covered in official Masterpiece form, but at least the third party world is doing a great job at giving fans a lot of options to counteract that. However one example that remained a bit of an enigma for many was Astrotrain, which is perhaps unsurprising given how inherently complex the triple-changing design is, but also maddening when you consider that he’s one of the more prominent Decepticons in the original cartoon.

Besides, he’s a robot that turns into a space shuttle AND a train – what’s not to love? Of course there were options such as DX9’s Chigurh, but for many, including myself, that toy was simply too stylised and not quite reminiscent of the character we know from the screen. Thus the spot on my shelf remained open.

Step forward FansToys, who first unveiled their own attempt in early 2019 to much fanfare, and to their credit managed to deliver the final thing to collectors within a fairly swift timeframe! And you know what? It was worth the wait.

I mean, let’s start off by saying that this toy has many of the hallmarks of a FansToys release, both good and bad. Yes, it has a pretty fiddly transformation. Yes, some of the panels are a little bit “squidgey”, rather than snapping together in a slightly more satisfying manner. And yes, your hands will be unexpectedly ‘moisturised’ from all the lube in the inner joints.

But the positives far, far outweigh anything bad I could legitimately say about this toy. In fact, there’s really a lot to celebrate, as if anything FansToys have delivered what I believe will remain the definitive take on the character in Masterpiece-style for some years to come.

Just get a look at the lad, for starters, eh? That’s a dead ringer for the character, and no mistake. Beyond that, it’s a design that could have so easily been a little bit bland, especially as so much of the body is just uniform grey, but somehow FT have really made it work.

And yes, that are small grumbles to be had here and there, but still, I think what has been delivered remains a remarkable achievement. The engineering in this thing is insane, for starters, and it’s incredible to see just how clean and tidy all three modes end up being!

What’s perhaps even more amazing then is that the transformation isn’t actually all that hellish, either! I genuinely expected this to be a toy that I’d never want to convert ever again, but I’ve found myself quite merrily contorting him between all three modes with relative ease. It’s one of those examples where FansToys haven’t actually made it more complicated than it arguably needs to be (though that’s not to say it’s without challenge still).

And of course it’s fabulous to finally see Astrotrain so wonderfully represented on the Decepticon shelf. His absence was keenly felt for so long that it’s almost strange to see him filling in the roster now, but I’m certainly satisfied with the result.

Oh, and I made it nearly this entire write-up without even mentioning that third party name, didn’t I? Tanks for noticing.

Check out the original video on this toy here.


#2: Ocular Max PS-17 Probus

One thing that I love about 3PMP collecting is the satisfaction that comes from assembling a really fantastic team of toys. There are a couple of examples that I could name for you that represent real highlights of the scene for me, in that standing back to appreciate the full ensemble has been such a joy in each case. The Ocular Max Combaticons certainly deserve a mention on that list.

I was a bit late to the party with these lads initially, but my word did they pack a punch once I finally jumped on board. Incursus, Impetus, Fraudo and (to a lesser but still noteworthy degree) Volatus are all excellent in their own right, but it’s certainly seeing the finished picture that makes me most impressed. The combined Assaultus mode may have its flaws, but the individual line-up is pretty phenomenal, to say the least.

That said, there was a definite highlight in the troupe, for me, and that was Probus. It’s no exaggeration to say that this was the figure that convinced me to go in on this set to begin with, as it immediately captured my attention in the first promotional pictures we saw.

It’s funny how certain character designs seem to speak to you more than others, and so it’s always been with Brawl for me. There’s just something about the look of the robot mode that I love (not to mention the fact that tanks are cool), so I’ve always been excited to see him done in toy form too.

That’s true all the way back to Generation 1, when the original figure from 1986 was a personal favourite of mine (as simple as it was). In terms of 3PMP, I was long satisfied with Unique Toys’ attempt (which actually made it to the #8 spot on my 2017 list), but when I saw what Ocular Max had in the pipeline, I knew I had to check it out.

Needless to say, I was not disappointed. Right from the moment I took Probus out of the box, I knew he was a stunner. That tank mode is so well done, so beautifully recreated, that it was an immediate shoo-in for my affection.

Then it came time to transform him, and it became apparent that Ocular Max had taken every learning, every success that they’d found with the rest of the team, and applied it generously here. Few 3PMP toys can claim to be as legitimately fun to transform as this guy, in my opinion; it’s so simple and smooth yet so effective in its result.

And of course, the robot mode is a knockout, everything I’ve wanted in a Masterpiece-styled Brawn for a long time now. It looks great, vibes with the character really well, is fun to pose and features some excellent accessories. He’s an all-round belter.

Again though, it’s the full team assembled that’s the true highlight here, with all five members somehow being elevated by each other’s presence. They’re the best recreation of the team in modern toy form I’ve seen, no doubt.

Between this lot and the likes of FT Thomas, it’s all starting to come together pretty nicely on the Decepticon front, isn’t it?

Check out the original video and review on this toy here.


SPECIAL MENTION: Transform Element TE-01 OP Leader

Right then, we’re into the home stretch now, with just the best toy of 2020 left to name! Before we get there, here are a few special mentions that really do deserve time and attention, even though they didn’t make it onto the list itself for one reason or another. First up is this absolutely prime effort from third party outfit, Transform Element.

All credit to them, as honestly the idea of giving *another* Masterpiece-styled Optimus a go after the recent MP-44 was not one that I was exactly up for, initially. Yet OP Leader is so good, so much fun to transform (despite still being very complex in many ways) and looks so awesome that he’s definitely won me over.

Ultimately he misses out on this list for one good reason – he was originally released in 2019, so made it to my attention just a bit too late. Otherwise, he would definitely have earned a top spot.

Check out the original video on this toy here.


SPECIAL MENTION: Generations Selects WFC-GS18 Tigertrack

The next special mention is this lovely little lemon lad, who represents the very best of what the War For Cybertron line has to offer, in many ways. It’s a fantastic design to begin with, but when you see that striking yellow paint job in hand, well, it’s hard not to be bowled over.

My recent foray into the world of Generations toys has been fun, even if one or two of the examples I’ve looked after haven’t entirely captivated me, but Tigertrack definitely shines brightly amongst the best of them.

In fact it’s only fair to say that he and Earthrise Optimus Prime, who of course has already featured on this list, are definitely my two favourite examples thus far. Tigertrack always gets the best toys, after all.

Check out the original video and review on this toy here.


SPECIAL MENTION: Ocular Max PS-12 Saltus

Another special mention and another example of an amazing toy that I discovered just a little bit too late! Had I opted to pick up Saltus back in 2019 when he was released, then I have little doubt he would have ranked highly on last year’s list.

The proof of that is surely that he’s yet another character we’ve seen done multiple times over in 3PMP form, yet despite having absolutely no desire to see him done again, this effort has still managed to impress me.

The alternate forms have their faults, but really, the robot mode is just *so good* that he never fails to impress, and certainly does an amazing job at representing Springer in a 1986-themed line-up.

Check out the original video and review on this toy here.


SPECIAL MENTION: Fans Hobby MB-11 God Amor

Fans Hobby have had some ambitious projects of late, with stuff like their Double Evil and more-recent Naval Commander turning heads, not to mention their Lighting Eagle and Machine Eagle retools already making their way onto this list. Yet it wouldn’t feel right to make mention of the sheer scale of aspiration that we see with God Amor.

After all, the prospect of a Masterpiece-scaled God Ginrai is not one to be sniffed at, is it? And perhaps predictably, it’s this very combined mode epic that overshadows the actual God Armor figure itself, in many ways! Still, there’s a lot to like here overall, with Fans Hobby continuing to bring an unprecedented amount of play value to their idiosyncratic designs.

It’s the sight of the big lad himself that earns the special mention here though. It’s one of those memorable moments in this hobby when you just have to step back and say, “wow”.

Check out the original review on this toy here.

And now we come to my favourite toy from 2020…

#1: Hasbro Earthrise WFC-E25 Scorponok

If you didn’t see this one coming then you maybe haven’t seen my unboxing video of this toy from the middle of last year. The unadulterated joy that came from opening a package like this is hard to forget, and surely not hard to understand, either. After all, Earthrise Scorponok is a true behemoth – the kind of ‘event’ release that really only happens every so often, and definitely captures everyone’s attention when it does. Including mine, in this case.

Yet it’s not just the size of this guy that makes him worthy of the top spot this year. Scorponok is also an incredible amount of fun thanks to many nifty features and quite a few clever tricks along the way. It’s an impressive toy on account of more than just its stature, needless to say.

After all, he’s a handsome beast, isn’t he? There’s something about the inherent design of the character than never fails to make me smile, and this is one of the best recreations of him that I’ve seen in toy form, without doubt.

I think it’s helped along on several fronts. Firstly, there’s a huge amount of nostalgia for the excellent original toy involved here. The 1986 release is a personal favourite of mine to this day, and something about the Earthrise update just feels like a bit of a love letter to that design, somehow.

Secondly, the look of the robot mode is exactly what I have wanted from a modern Scorponok toy for some time. It captures all of the presence and styling of how he was brilliantly depicted in the Generation 1 Marvel comic, which again remains very close to my heart.

Thirdly, it makes sense of the character design in toy form, in a lot of ways. Elements such as how his claw arms articulate have never been done better than they have here, the result of which is all-too-easy to put to good use.

And yes, then there’s the size, obviously. Big toys are always fun to see, and Scorp is one of the biggest, after all!

In fact, he’s so big that he essentially dominates much of the rest of your collection, whether that’s his intended home in Generations, or even as part of a Masterpiece-styled roster.

For my money, he works exceptionally well with MP figures, and arguably just as much as the mainline stuff. I’ve had a couple of people quibble the size of him comparative to other toys, but it’s not something I’m worried about. He’s big enough to still be fun, but small enough to sort of feel like an admittedly-still-oversized attempt at his Marvel portrayal. Close enough, anyway.

Ultimately what Scorponok represents for me is purely and simply that sense of having a great time with an amazing toy. There have been other designs that I’ve marvelled at this year where maybe the engineering on offer is more impressive or whatever, but none of them can touch this guy when it comes to the enjoyment factor overall.

I think at least part of that was compounded for me in showing Scorponok to my son. The sheer look of amazement of his face was really something, and whilst it was no doubt mostly due to the size in his case, it’s still a wonderful moment that I continue to treasure.

I’m now very much looking forward to the impending DNA Design upgrade kit for Scorponok, as it should just about cap off every minor element I think is missing or needs amending on the toy as is, but none of that is to say that it isn’t already very impressive.

Ultimately, it’s the best modern Scorponok toy, bar none, and makes a fitting accompaniment to the original figure that inspires its design. It’s also a true wonder to see alongside many of the 3PMP renditions of Headmaster-era toys available.

If I’m being honest then Earthrise Scorponok was always going to be a foregone conclusion for the top spot. I often have an idea of which toy it might be in any given year, but in this case there aren’t many other toys that can claim to make such a sizeable impression!

That puts Scorponok in a very prestigious line-up with previous ‘toys of the year’, all of which continue to be highlights of my collection to this day. I’ve no doubt his legacy will be just the same.

Check out the original video on this toy here.

Check out all previous “year in review” articles here.


So, that’s my list! Do you agree with my choices? Thanks for reading and have a great rest of 2021!


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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