COLLECTING THOUGHTS: What might happen now we’re finally about to see a licensed Porsche Transformers toy?

There are precious few guarantees in life, including death, taxes, and cats and dogs not living together. Oh, and there never being a licensed Porsche Transformers toy.

Yes, as sure as eggs are eggs and trucks are not monkeys, the car manufacturer will not allow the production of an officially-sanctioned ‘robots in disguise’ figure modelled after their product because, as is all too keenly regurgitated at the mere mention of the topic, they don’t like “war toys”, right?

And yet, what’s this? In the last week, we’ve seen the Porsche social media accounts sharing teasers for the upcoming Rise of the Beasts film, featuring a modified Transformers logo with their shield emblem in the title. That’s already a significant softening of attitude from a company that swore their brand would never sit alongside the toy line, no?

Well, I’ll do you one better. Yesterday, the unimaginable happened. After almost four decades, images of the first-ever licensed Porsche Transformers toy finally dropped. Say hello to Studio Series Mirage!

Wait, Mirage? Isn’t he supposed to be a Formula 1 racer, and Jazz is the Porsche? Well, yes, traditionally, that is the case (at least if you go back to the early days!), but times move on, and ultimately these characters get reinterpreted with every bit of new media that comes our way. You either embrace the fact that Transformers has been a constantly evolving franchise since its inception or… you don’t, I guess?

In any case, the character’s name is really not the most critical aspect of all this. If anything, it’s a major distraction from what an event a fully-licensed Porsche Transformers toy finally actually existing is! I wrote an initial article some eighteen months ago delving into more detail on the background of this and the history between the two brands, but suffice it to say, Porsche not wanting to work with Transformers has been the stuff of franchise legend for the longest time now. The stalemate has become ingrained in the fandom consciousness, as evidenced by what a social media darling that snippet about ‘war toys’ remains (seriously, check the replies to the Porsche tweet!).

For those not in the know, it all refers back to a hugely publicised response from Porsche when Hasbro & Takara had developed a prototype of Jazz for the Binaltech & Alternators line, as they had wanted to use the character’s classic Porsche 986 model and even produced an initial prototype to that effect. Sadly, Porsche denied that, declaring, “Transformers are not worthy (of) carrying the Porsche trademark. They are war machines and the toyline in no way represents the lifestyle and ideas which Porsche represents.

That may seem harsh in retrospect, but as I mentioned in the original article, it makes more sense considering the company’s sensitivity about its roots (with founder Ferdinand Porsche having been a member of the Nazi party).

Yet here’s the thing. Just like the robots, things change. People change. Time moves on, and with that, attitudes come and go. What was the company’s stance over twenty years ago is evidently no longer the case today. We don’t know exactly the reasons or logic behind it all, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. The key thing is it’s finally happening!

As exciting as the upcoming Studio Series release is, what’s arguably even more tantalising is the door that it potentially opens further down the line. Social media has wasted no time in speculating what it might mean for the future and the officially licensed toys that may soon become a reality now the car manufacturer is on board.

Image credit: 善解人意变速箱

The most obvious is surely Masterpiece Cliffjumper, which we’ve known about for coming up on two years now, and is a design that has itself already created plenty of speculation about the state of play between Transformers and Porsche. Though it’s yet to be officially revealed or even confirmed by TakaraTomy, there have been a plethora of leaked images online, showing it to be a reasonably extensive retool of MP-45 Bumblebee and, crucially, representing the character’s Porsche 924 Turbo alternate mode.

Image credit: animetal

There’s already been plenty of conversation about this one, with some fans suggesting perhaps it would eschew Masterpiece tradition and sidestep the need for a licence because of the ‘chibified’ nature of the car mode, a design choice which is itself a nod towards the original Cliffjumper toy’s Micro Change roots (and, as a result, a representation of how the character was portrayed in the classic Transformers cartoon). However, given MP-45 boasted the same vehicular aesthetic and still featured a Volkswagen licence, that always seemed like an unlikely scenario.

Image credit: 念旧uu

Though I have no real basis for it, I’d assume that maybe now we’ve had official confirmation of an agreement to work together between the two brands, it might only be a short matter of time before Masterpiece Cliffjumper is announced at long last, and all with that all-too-desirable emblem on the box. However, it’s doubtful that the Minibot alone will sate collector appetites.

Yes, I am referring to what many consider the white whale of the Masterpiece Transformers line: a potential MP Jazz. Since the days of MP-12 Lambor and beyond, fans have been preying to whatever deity they hold dear that such a thing might be made a reality one day, despite any and all odds to the contrary. There have been numerous third-party attempts at such a toy, but it’s fair to say that many collectors will only be satisfied by such a result in official form and with the Porsche stamp of approval. Could we be about to see just that?

For all we know, TakaraTomy has been diligently working on such an idea for years now, all in the hope of that licensing agreement finally being signed. As we’ve established, they already attempted it with Binaltech two decades ago, and given the new status quo, it stands to reason they haven’t just sat back and accepted ‘no’ for an answer all this time. Might it be that a Masterpiece Jazz design is already in the works? It certainly wouldn’t be a surprise for such a key and fan-favourite character.

Alternatively, it might be further away than we hope, potentially leaving the door open for another Masterpiece Porsche to pave the way should a project like Rise of the Beasts MPM Mirage come to pass. With a Studio Series reveal already under the belt, it seems likely we can expect mainline toys and possibly even a high-end design too, all of which would be welcome to see.

Beyond that, who knows what other delights might come to pass now that we finally have a sense of synergy between the two brands. There are plenty of other Porscheformers besides just Cliffjumper, Jazz and RotB Mirage, so maybe we’ll see some of that catalogue more keenly represented in the future now, too. The possibilities really do feel quite endless at this point.

Anyway, the first Porsche Transformers toy is here, at long last. Although it may not have the identity that some in the fandom so keenly wanted it to, it brings with it a sense of hope that at least some of our long-term dreams might be about to happen. And really, isn’t that worth celebrating?

TTFN

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About Sixo

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

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