I am beginning to think that if I wait long enough, all my wildest collecting dreams will eventually come true, no matter how out there they seem.
After all, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard discussions about re-releasing the classic ’80s Transformers toys but with a makeover to give them more modern standards of articulation. It’s been the stuff of imagination since way back in the day, as unlikely as it ever seemed like it would come to pass. Well, until today.
Yes, it looks like that’s precisely what we’re about to receive, as these blurry leaked images of a fully articulated and poseable G1 Optimus Prime will attest! We should clarify this hasn’t yet to be officially announced so it’s worth taking it with a significant grain of salt… but it’s also very hard not to be immediately excited for the prospect!
Assuming it is real, it’s a fairly close approximation of the vintage design, albeit with some noticeable upgrades and tweaks beyond poseable joints. It’s hard to tell, but the head may have also gone through a redesign, and it appears as though the hands are now integrated into the transformation as well. Still, this is the exact thing that many fans have clamoured for over the decades and has already been met with a huge amount of fervour online!
There’s also no word yet on what ‘Missing Link’ is all about, but given the Japanese text refers to a ‘series’, it’s entirely possible that this is more than just a one-and-done figure and potentially even the first in an ongoing revision of classic G1 designs (perhaps timed for the franchise’s 40th anniversary in 2024).
With all that in mind, let’s look at which other vintage toys people are already wishlishting… no matter how unlikely it may all yet be!
The 1985 Dinobots are not only some of the most popular G1 Transformers from the era but also among the more sought-after specimens in modern collecting. That’s for good reason, considering they’ve never been reissued or re-used outside of Generation 2 and the gold box Classics releases in the early-to-mid-nineties. It’s been long rumoured that the moulds have been lost or damaged, but whatever the case, the reality is that these gorgeous original designs have been lost to time (well, apart from the various knock-offs you encounter along the way). Given the characters they represent are also some of the most beloved from fiction, it’s a no-brainer these would therefore be the perfect candidates for a modern do-over in a more articulated fashion. Plus, just think of all the potential repaints you could get from them!
Now before you sink into your chair and let out a guttural groan at the mere prospect of yet another round of endless G1 jets, take a second to consider that this could actually be something quite creative and fun to see. Sure, the vintage Seeker mould is already hugely familiar to anyone with even a passing knowledge of G1, and yes, we’re on our third re-use of it in the modern Retro line as we speak. Yet this would also need to be one of the most overhauled designs to make it work within the same parameters as the Optimus Prime tease we’ve seen. Aside from shoulder rotation, there is zero articulation currently present on the toy, not to mention the number of bits that need to be removed and replaced during transformation. I agree we’ve been Seekered to death by now, but this could be very different.
Minibot reissues used to be almost ten-a-penny-racer, and although we did get a few of them in the more recent Walmart era, there are at least a few names on the roster that remain decidedly absent (yes, I’m talking about my beloved Cliffjumper again). All of that could be solved with an articulated makeover for these loveable little lads, reimagining the simple designs from the ground up to give them poseable limbs and the like. Imagine something with all the play factor of a larger toy that can fit in your pocket and look as cute as a button. Now we’re cooking!
#7: Movie bots
The 1986 animated movie remains for many the absolute zenith of Transformers fiction even to this day, so it’s no surprise the corresponding toys are also among the more desirable when it comes to vintage G1. Hot Rod may be a regular on the reissue circuit already, but names like Kup, Blurr, Cyclonus, Scourge and Galvatron are all ones that many collectors would love to see re-released in whatever capacity, and a souped-up poseable line of toys seems like the perfect way to go! Oh, and of course, we’ll still take a Hot Rod whilst you’re at it!
Moving further into latter-day G1, the Headmasters represent one of the era’s more timeless and enduring gimmicks, even providing the inspiration for whole waves of modern lines such as Titans Return. The classic toys are also breathtaking to behold, though sadly, they and the likes of the Targetmasters and Powermasters have never come up for re-release or reissue of any kind! We have yet to determine if an articulated G1 line might ever move beyond the likes of the early roster of characters, but if it did, these would be prime candidates for the treatment.
Hear me out. I’ve said this a few times before, but honestly, I don’t believe any attempt to reinterpret or homage to the Pretenders has ever been as successful as that original crop of toys. Sure, the smaller Legacy versions do a great job of bringing these characters back to life. Still, in sacrificing the inherent gimmick of robots inside outer shells, they lose something in the process, at least in my opinion. Now imagine a faithful re-release of the 1988-9 designs but with added articulation, and c’mon, tell me I’m not onto something here. Perhaps we don’t need a reinvention of the wheel after all; we just need the classic design tweaked and perfected.
I’m at the stage where honestly, I don’t even know how feasible some of these suggestions are or how they would work, but whatever, we’re down the rabbit hole here, and the wishlist is just getting longer and longer! So let’s say it – fully articulated combiners would be incredible. Defensor, Superion, Bruticus, Menasor, Computron, Abominus, Piranacon… even non-Scramble City designs such as Devastator or Predaking. Just do them all, however it happens.
OK, coming slightly back in the realm of realism for a spell, if a) Optimus is real and b) we get more toys besides, then it feels likely that at least a few of the OG carbots would be ripe for the prospect. So many of these toys have never been seen since the gold box Classics era and would surely be the stuff of dreams for fans looking to pick up the likes of Sunstreaker, Wheeljack, Bluestreak and the rest. Given their real-world car alternate modes, there is always the question of licensing, but considering that Masterpiece has been steadily ticking these off for years now, one has to hope it wouldn’t be too much of an impediment. Again, there are also plenty of potential repaints if this is a route Takara heads down!
#2: Classic Decepticons
As soon as we glimpsed the blurry Prime pics, I saw a handful of fans immediately imagining what it would be like if Takara made a Megatron to match it. Sure, that might sound like a pipe dream considering the alternate mode at play, but it also wouldn’t be the first time the Japanese manufacturer has reinterpreted since a thing in more recent times. I know I’d be fascinated to see how they could reinterpret the 1984 figure to be more articulated, but even beyond that, consider the likes of Soundwave or Shockwave to stand alongside him. You know you’d be into it.
#1: Unreleased toys
Unicron photo credit: seibertron.com
Alright, look, I said we were wishlisting, didn’t I? Well, at least one conversation I was part of following the Prime reveal escalated fairly swiftly from “Imagine if they did a Megatron” to “Or what about a Unicron!” so I’m certainly not the only one thinking it. Yes, I will take any and every opportunity to say how astonishing it would be to see the likes of both the planet eater and Arcee’s classic unreleased toy designs brought back to life somehow, and perhaps this possible articulated G1 line could be just the place for that. After all, it’s the 40th anniversary, so go big or go home. And there’s nothing bigger than Unicron!
So that’s our list! Which of these ideas excites you the most?