The 2015 Robots in Disguise cartoon is a particular favourite of mine, so much so that I believe it’s criminally underrated in the fandom.
A large part of that is the character work, humour and creativity at the heart of the series, but it’s also hard not to be struck by how fresh and original the general design and aesthetic of the show were too. Even now, some eight years on, it feels like a part of the franchise’s history that wasn’t afraid to step outside the usual playbook when required.
The great news is that RID 2015 is currently getting its foot in the door of the Legacy line, with releases like Strongarm bringing back fan-favourite characters for a fresh audience. There may be a bit of debate about the merits of using the Elita-1 mould as the core of the design, but whatever your take, it’s fab to see it happening all the same.
Naturally, though, it opens the mind to what else might be possible in the not-too-distant future. With so many exceptionally weird and whacky characters in the show, there’s plenty of material to use for inspiration. Of particular note are many of the Decepticon designs, which, more than the Autobots, tend to push the envelope for what might be considered typical Transformers fare.
So today, let’s consider five of them that definitely deserve a Legacy revisit soon!
As the first major antagonist encountered on the show and one of the weirdest overall, there was no way Underbite wouldn’t make this list. Besides, he’s the devourer of Nuon City! Yes, this guy is known for munching metal, which explains the size of the mouth on him. Yet the only thing that arguably matches the size of his appetite is his ego, as he constantly and exhaustively brags about how great he is. To be fair, he’s incredibly intimidating, with his huge size and unparralled might proving a real challenge for even the combined crew of Autobots on more than a few occasions.
Underbite has the potential to be one of the most original Legacy designs of all, transforming from an armoured car vehicle-of-sorts into a distinctly non-humanoid almost-beast-like robot form with a massive toothy beak. Yes, it’s every bit as unusual as it sounds, and yes, every bit as awesome.
Thunderhoof is the ultimate goon. He’s a thug, a mook, a lowlife and a cad. There’s virtually nothing likeable about him, but that’s what makes his presence on the show such genuine good fun whenever he crops up. Well, that and his giant robot-mode antlers, of course! Thunderhoof is essentially a walking litany of unsubtle gangster cliches. Still, as ridiculous as he can so often be, that doesn’t make him any less of a genuine threat to the Autobots at times.
What also makes this guy rather noteworthy is his tractor alternate mode (and yes, the front of the vehicle becomes the antlers!), which would be great fun to see recreated in Legacy form. There’s even a potential repaint built right in, as he briefly changed his colour scheme to a striking lime green as a means of disguise in the episode Prisoner Principles.
Heroes of the revolution never come along quietly, especially when they look like this! One of the more memorable Decepticons from the show in terms of both appearance and attitude, Quillfire is anti-authority of any kind, clashing with pretty much everyone who crosses his path and leaving his distinctive mark as he goes. He considers himself a revolutionary, although that frequently extends to causes that simply don’t need or want his help to begin with. Still, in his mind, he is challenging oppression wherever he sees it, and he sees it everywhere. He might come across as a bit bungling occasionally, but don’t let him turn his back on you, as he’s always ready to fire a barrage of toxin-filled quills whenever under threat.
He transforms into a surprisingly low-profile truck mode, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had with reimagining how Quirllfire might function as a Legacy update, especially if it captured his signature (and titular) quill-firing ability somehow!
C’mon, you knew he’d be on here, no? We’ve made no secret of our general appreciation for all things Bisk on the Triple Takeover podcast, and that’s for good reason. He’s a sleek burnt-orange sports car that turns into a robot with a lobster head and claws. What is not to love about that scenario, I ask you? Besides, he’s so absurd that he’s essentially become the poster boy for how bizarre RID 2015 can become, despite not being in the show as much as you might imagine, given his infamy.
Speaking of Triple Takeover, we recently had the chance to sit down for a chat with Hasbro themselves, and designer Mark Maher revealed himself to be a bit of a Bisk fan too! In fact, of all the entries on this list, it turns out that he may have suggested the idea for a new toy of the character on more than one occasion previously, so does that mean it could actually happen at some point? Stranger things have come to pass, and there’s a blue Thermidor repaint ready to go should they ever decide to make it happen. Let’s hope they’re feeling shellfish.
Bisk may be one of the most outlandish entries here, but Steeljaw is by far and away the most menacing and one of the most essential when it comes to conversations about Decepticons from the series that should be represented. In fact, as the show’s primary antagonist overall, he’s actually one of the more capable and competent bad guy threats from much of Transformers media over the years, largely due to his silver-tongued ability to beguile and surprise his opponents. Though he’s no slouch in the physically intimidating stakes either, the real threat of Steeljaw is his mind, as he can easily sweet-talk you round with his easy-going, affable ways, all the while manipulating you to his own ends. By the time he’s typically revealed his true manner hidden beneath the well-polished exterior, it’s too late – you’re already at his mercy.
That Steeljaw is such a formidable presence in RID 2015 makes his general absence from the rest of the franchise that much more palpable, and it feels only right that he should earn his spot in the Legacy roster before too long. Transforming from an off-road vehicle to a humanoid robotic wolf makes this design a very intriguing prospect for a new figure too!
So that’s our list! Are there any other characters we should consider?