COUNTDOWN: 1986 movie – the best transformations (part 1)

It may be over three-and-a-half decades old now but many fans (old and new alike) still turn to the 1986 Transformers movie as one of the benchmarks of the franchise, even today! Whilst a lot of it is down to the action, the visuals and *that* thumping soundtrack, there’s also one other element that never fails to delight – the transformations!

In fact, the film is so stuffed with amazing scenes of robots transforming that today we’ve scoured its near-ninety-minute runtime for the very best examples and then ranked them in order of excitement! Let’s burn rubber…



Kicking off our list is Blaster blastin’ at ya from Autobot City as the good-guy communications expert shifts into his boombox mode to send out a distress signal to Optimus Prime. True, the way the legs seem to slide through the sides of the chair is a massive flub but still, this guy knows how to make turning into a rectangle look cool.



Here we have Springer showing how it’s done in a mid-battlefield moment, as even if there’s a savage horde of Decepticons bearing down on you, you can always make time for a bit of gratuitous camera-pandering, right?



Here’s Megatron with one of the very first conversions of the whole film but almost certainly the most impressive by this early point. He had of course performed such a manoeuvre many times over during the cartoon’s first two seasons, although never with such deadly consequences – an instrument of destruction indeed.



As if that wasn’t enough, the Decepticon leader gets a new body and a new attitude to boot, showcasing how he’s finally fed up with Starscream’s manipulative meddling. If this is a hint then I don’t want to see what an outright confirmation would look like.



This is perhaps expectedly the first of many Hot Rod-related gifs on the list (hey, he is the main character, after all!) although here Kup gets to share the spotlight too! The lads get vehicled-up real nice before defying physics on the rocks as they head off to Autobot City, all in the name of a good rubber-burnin’. 



Blaster lets his cassettes loose for the first time ever in a scene I distinctly remember receiving a table-thumping round of raucous cheers when this film was once shown during a packed-out school lunchtime viewing back in the day. Sic em they did. 



Cyclonus is pretty much the embodiment of bad guy cool, isn’t he? He has barely more than a couple of lines of dialogue during this whole caper and yet somehow whenever he’s on the screen, his presence is palpable. Oh, and he’s a total show-off with transformations too, as evidenced by this rather unnecessary bit of mid-air contorting.



Hot Rod again and here he is showing a best-in-class run, shoot and transform montage that few characters could pull off with quite such conviction. The dazzling highbeam light show is just the cherry on top.



Credit to the film for allowing Kup to have so many hero moments like this, as it’s rare for the “cranky ageing guy” character to be so unreservedly cool! Seriously, the old-timer not only saves Hot Rod’s bacon but does it like a total boss.



How exactly does Hot Rod transform? The answer is highly confounding and even more so if you actually study the various sequences of it happening throughout the film. Here we have a rather bizarre but undeniably awesome rear arm flip operation which in no way resembles anything else he attempts at any other point but really, who cares when it looks as good as this? 



The transformation itself isn’t the most remarkable, but it’s the fact they’re doing it after smashing a whole army of Sharkticons out of the way and then randomly stopping for a brief celebratory interlude that makes it. And they didn’t even bend a fender.



Closing out the first half is this dual effort as Hot Rod takes on Galvatron in the belly of the beast and they both showcase precisely how a fight between two Transformers should look – ruthless, loud, explosive and plenty of creative mid-battle transformations. Top drawer.


Be sure to check out part 2


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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