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 Post subject: Transformers Classics-Henkei-Universe-Generations (CHUG)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:40 am 
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Okay, so I've been reading this mini-series from IDW starring the one Autobot I always overlooked as a kid, (since his toy looked nothing like the dude) I'm talking about Ironhide. I went and bought the Universe versions of Ironhide and Ratchet off the Bay, then got Prowl, Smokescreen, and Galvatron through HTS.

So I'm being pulled back in. My problem is, which of the endless Transformers lines feature the best articulated and most cartoon accurate G1 figures? I'll drop you some names: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Wheeljack, Jazz, Hound, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Mirage, Grimlock, Trailbreaker, Hoist, Inferno, Red Alert, Grapple, Skids, Tracks, Perceptor, Blaster, Megatron, Shockwave, Soundwave, Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Dirge, Thrust, and Ramjet.

To make things easier, is there a web site dedicated to cataloging Transformers the way YoJoe does with the Joes and Rebelscum handles Star Wars?

Also, are the TRU G1 reissues still hard to find and/or pricey? And have Takara/Tomy reissued the first three sets of mini-bots in boxed sets yet?

Thanks for the assist, guys. As you can see, I have a lot of catching up to do here!


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 Post subject: Re: Going Back To Cybertron
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:39 am 
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In general, the toys that most resemble what you want are going to be under the Classics and Universe brands. (Note that there were two different "Universe" lines; one was mostly a bunch of random repaints, the second was a continuation of Classics). The newest line of this type is called Generations and should be showing up soon. (There's also the just plain "Transformers" line coming out any time now, which has a lot of movie-based stuff but will also have a good, big Seaspray that wouldn't be out of place with more classic-style toys.)

Recommendations for the characters you asked about:
Optimus Prime -- The Classics one is a good bet -- not entirely "cartoon-accurate" but quite good. I'm talking about the one at the "Voyager" ($20ish) price point -- there was also a smaller one that came in a 2-pack with Megatron that looked more G1-like in robot mode but had a horrible truck mode.

Bumblebee -- Classics all the way. Not a VW beetle, but a very nice rendition of the character.

Wheeljack -- Probably the closest you'd get is actually the character Downshift from the Energon line a few years back; he's very obviously supposed to be Wheeljack (it's just that they'd already used the name for somebody else in the Armada line, who didn't look anything like WJ.)

Jazz -- Hasn't really been a good one. The closest thing might be the repaint of Movie Jazz into G1 colors (a Target exclusive).

Hound, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker -- Universe for all of them. Sunstreaker actually uses the same mold as Sideswipe, but they cleverly transform two different ways so they don't look like straight-up redecos.

Mirage, Grimlock -- also Classics. Grimlock ain't the best, but it's probably as close as you can get right now. Mirage takes liberties with the G1 design but looks cool.

Trailbreaker, Skids, Tracks -- Haven't been any good versions of these in recent times. (Well, Skids and Tracks showed up in the 1:24 scale Alternators line, but that's not going to fit in with the other toys you're getting.)

Perceptor was recently re-released as a TRU exclusive, in the same assortment as an Insecticons 3-pack, so you may have some luck there.

Hoist -- The closest thing is a movie-style Hoist in a TRU-exclusive (I think?) 2-pack.

Inferno -- There was one in the Universe line -- doesn't quite have the same look as G1, though (he actually looks kind of like Optimus to me) and might be hard to find. (Careful searching for this guy on eBay, there was also an Inferno in the first Universe line which was a different thing.)

Grapple -- Nothing recently, but an upcoming "Grapple" has turned up in Wal-Mart computer and some have theorized he'll be a redeco of Universe Inferno.

Blaster -- There was a Universe one, but he was a repaint of Cybertron Soundwave, who turned into a stealth jet kind of thing. Not that great.

Megatron -- The Classics one is pretty good. The Japenese ("Henkei") version of the mold had more G1-like colors if you're looking for that.

Shockwave -- Energon had a character called Shockblast who was okay but not great.

Soundwave -- The Classics line had a reissue of the G1 toy (slightly modified). In Japan, there was something called Music Label Soundwave, which looked pretty decent and was an actual mp3 player.

Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Dirge, Thrust, and Ramjet -- Starscream and Ramjet had individual releases in the Classics line, and Skywarp was in a Target-exclusive 2-pack with Ultra Magnus. Thrust is coming soon in the Generations line, with Dirge to follow a bit later. Seems safe to assume Thundercracker will come along at some point as well. (They were all available in Japan, and also as a Botcon-exclusive set, but good luck finding that at a decent price.)

For web sites: www.tfu.info has lots of toy archives, and tfwiki.net is a great all-around info resource. I don't know a whole lot about the reissues so I can't help much there -- but I think the modern toys are much better than the 80s stuff anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: Going Back To Cybertron
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:56 am 
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I swapped out all my G1 Transformer cars for their Universe counterparts. I like how the Universe figures look up against the later stuff in the G1 line; Pretenders, Powermasters, etc. I'd really like to see Universe versions of Trailbreaker, Jazz, and the other early G1 cars and trucks.

Lt. Clutch if you're looking for a great version of Optimus Prime, I would highly recommend the Powermaster version from 1988. The vehicle mode is spectacular and his robot mode is awesome! The articulation isn't great, but the figure looks great alongside the Universe ones.

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 Post subject: Re: Going Back To Cybertron
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:35 pm 
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@kweazey: Thanks for making this your first post and welcome to the forums. I'm printing out your list because it's a bonanza of info which I greatly appreciate. Can't believe we're getting a larger Seaspray as he was always a favorite of mine. I'm going to search my local TRUs stores to see if there are any Perceptors left. I used to have him as a kid and loved the figure.

@Frequency: Thanks, bro. I also used to have Powermaster Op. Got him for Christmas of '88, I believe. I'll try to pick up the TRUs reissue from a few years back since you just reminded me of him. What a great toy, indeed. 8)

The Universe line appears to have turned out far superior versions of the G1 originals. That's why I bought Ironhide and Ratchet on eBay the other day. They now actually have legs and most importantly, their heads! LOL. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Going Back To Cybertron
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:44 pm 
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Yeah I had to wait over twenty years to get a Ratchet and Ironhide with heads! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Going Back To Cybertron
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:55 am 
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Whoa, hold on. There is no other more perfect G1 representation of Optimus Prime than the Masterpiece version produced by Takara. Hasbro imported it but made some alterations like short smoke stacks and battle damage. You could go for either depending on how much you want to pay and whether or not those changes matter to you but there is no greater Optimus Prime toy. You can still find the version packaged with his trailer on several sites.

I would also recommend the Takara Masterpiece Anime Starscream (the've made a couple versions), and Hasbro Universe Masterpiece Skywarp for seekers. The Takara version of anime Starscream doesn't have as much "dirt" on it as the version that was released in Walmart. Takara has made a Thundercracker and it's nice but it's not perfectly "anime." You can't go wrong with Masterpiece Grimlock either. Hasbro is releasing a version through Toys R Us on July 1st which I actually think might be better than the Takara version.

Takara also made a Masterpiece Megatron but I'd only recommend it for the hardcore. It's a little spindly and fragile. The weakest of the Masterpiece line, if you ask me, and the most disappointing. It just doesn't jive together like the others for whatever reason.

You might also want to look at Henkei which is merely the US Universe and Classics in Japan. They often feature more G1-esque paint and details, as well as chrome parts. Where Hasbro has produced versions that are either updated (or better in their view) or representative of the G1 toy as in the case of Cyclonus, Takara has focused on versions that are very true to the cartoon version, generally.

The closest thing to YoJoe.com for Transformers is http://www.tfu.info. The pictures aren't as pretty and it isn't executed as flawlessly but it's still the best out there for a repository or Transformer toys.

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 Post subject: Re: Going Back To Cybertron
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:15 pm 
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Thanks for the valuable intel, Uncle! I'm printing this list out as well. Much appreciated!

I am hoping to get the Masterpiece Optimus at some point before he reaches Fortress Maximus pricing/rarity levels, but I'm not sure which version to shoot for after reading that the U.S. and Japanese Ops each differ from the other. I think there was some issue regarding his mouth?

I'm interested in the Masterpiece Megatron mainly if he looks better in robot mode than the G1 Megs did. Heck, any Masterpiece TF has to be worth it even though they're all pricey. The new Ark playset/diorama that BBTS has in stock looks pretty sweet as well. 8)

Hadn't heard of the Henkei offerings up to now so I will be Googling those up. Sounds like good stuff!


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 Post subject: Re: Going Back To Cybertron
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:03 am 
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Concerning Masterpiece Optimus, here's the breakdown:

Takara MP-01 Convoy: This was the first release back in 03/04. Only the robot toy. It's been reissued once. Long stacks, no battle damage, clean. The very first production run is outstanding but the second reissue did have some QC issues now and then similar to those experienced by MP-04. There is no way to differentiate between the two production runs so you'd basically have to quiz the owner as to when he bought it. All in all, may not be a big deal though.

Takara MP-04 Convoy Complete Edition: This version comes with the trailer and I think it's on its third reissue. Still readily available but not necessarily cheap. Every example I've owned has had some QC issues with the robot toy. Scuffs, sloppy paint, and the most common being the chest doors don't quite lock. Of course, I say this and others on the Transformer boards will say their's is fine. A lot depends on how picky you might be. But having a perfect first run MP-01 Prime, I know what perfect looks and feels like (at least 3 times over through the years). The trailer is great but no Roller. Takara has never made him. A number of 3rd party fan companies have made versions though.

There's also the Ultra Magnus repaint which has been recently reissued, an exclusive "Nemesis" Prime repaint, and the upcoming Sleep Mode repaint which is Prime as a corpse, basically. Ha!

Hasbro has released the mold 2 or 3 times. I haven't kept track of all of the releases. There's the Anniversary edition and the toy is pretty much the same only with some battle damage on his torso and arms, and short stacks. Best to my knowledge, there's never been any changes to the head or mouth. I've never had one so I can't be sure. I didn't pay as close attention to the Hasbro releases. There was another release that came with a DVD but the colors were off. It looked more orange-y, I think, and had additonal yellow paint on the head. If you go with Hasbro, and can take the alterations, try get your hands on the first version with the battle damage.

I forgot to answer your reissue questions. Takara has reissued the minibots to varying degrees. There was the "bookstyle" reissue around 2002, which is very expensive now, with a Bumblebee with a cartoon head, Gears, Cosmos, Huffer, Warpath, Powerglide and I forget who else. Very nice. They've also released another set in the more recent Encore line which again had Bumblebee and some of the 86 minibots like Pipes and Outback. I don't think they've done another set. They've never done a few of those original mini-bots like Cliffjumper. Don't know why. Maybe the molds were lost.

I don't think most of the TRU reissues are pricey but remember that they were altered to varying degrees, while Takara reissues stayed true to the original toys for the most part. Hasbro offerings often had elongated missiles, no springs in the launchers, and no chrome. I'm pretty familiar with the reissue offerings so just ask if there's one you're curious about.

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Last edited by UncleMarsellus on Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Going Back To Cybertron
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:10 am 
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Don't you guys realize that I'm collecting too much stuff as it is!! Now you've gotten me all wound up about Transformers, waxing nostalgic and whatnot. So now I'm gonna have to start yet another collection from scratch! Damn you all to hell!! :lol: :lol: :P

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 Post subject: Re: Going Back To Cybertron
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:18 am 
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Clutch, you won't be disappointed with the Masterwork Prime. It's the center of my transformers collection. Just don't plan on transforming him too much; it's REALLY complex!

The Binaltech (can't remember what they were called here) did a great job with some of the classic bots, especially Hound and Jazz. I have Prime leading a bunch of them into battle!

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 Post subject: Re: Going Back To Cybertron
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:21 am 
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@Uncle: Thanks, bro! You're a lifesaver. I'm gonna shoot for Takara MP-01 Convoy if I can or maybe the Complete Edition and get Roller on his own. Sleep Mode Prime is just wrong. LOL. It's gonna bring back sad memories to all those kids who ran off crying from cinemas back in 1986. :cry:

Dang, I should have bought the minibot set with the '85 characters like Cosmos and Powerglide since it looks like I might have to kick myself now. BBTS still has the newest set with the '86 repaints and the price is right. Too bad about Cliffjumper and the other original minibots, though.

I just won the TRUs Skids reissue and have open bids on a few of the other '84/'85 cars. I'm fine with minor changes unless the molds themselves were greatly altered by Hasbro. Either way, the only car I owned from this era was Smokescreen, so I wouldn't notice the changes.

What REALLY bugs me is reading that the molds for Wheeljack and Mirage were either sold or destroyed, which means no reissues. Wheeljack and Mirage are two of my favorite Autobots ever and I never had them as a kid. What's the status on the others? I heard something regarding Trailbreaker since Hoist did make it. What about Hound and the Twins? I love those three as well but have never owned them.

I'm thinking of bidding on the reissues for '84 Optimus Prime and the '88 Powermaster version. Any major changes there?

Thanks again, man. :)

@alcinde: I knew someone else would grab the "bug" from reading this thread. Welcome to the club, dude! :lol:

@Shelly: I'm checking out the Binaltech stuff for sure if they have upgraded versions of Hound and Jazz available. My ultimate goal is to own both original and modern/tribute figures of most all the early TFs circa 1984-1988.


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 Post subject: Re: Going Back To Cybertron
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:40 am 
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Lt. Clutch wrote:
I just won the TRUs Skids reissue and have open bids on a few of the other '84/'85 cars. I'm fine with minor changes unless the molds themselves were greatly altered by Hasbro. Either way, the only car I owned from this era was Smokescreen, so I wouldn't notice the changes.


Except for Optimus and Ultra Magnus which were given short stacks, and the accessories of others I described, the rest of the toys were largely unchanged. The only one that did differ a bit, and for the better, was Jazz. The Takara reissue was just like the original toy in that the rear windshield/leg panels weren't even with the hood in car mode, and the legs were floppy. Hasbro decided to fix it for the US release and tightened the legs. Other than that, all the same, I believe.

Lt. Clutch wrote:
What REALLY bugs me is reading that the molds for Wheeljack and Mirage were either sold or destroyed, which means no reissues. Wheeljack and Mirage are two of my favorite Autobots ever and I never had them as a kid. What's the status on the others? I heard something regarding Trailbreaker since Hoist did make it. What about Hound and the Twins? I love those three as well but have never owned them.


Trailbreaker was reissued in the last year in the Encore line from Takara. One thing about the Encore line is a number of details that used to be stickers originally, are now tampographed. I'll get to that more later. You might or might not mind but it's good to know.

In addition to the lost or destroyed mold, Wheeljack also had licensing issues with all the decals on him and maybe even the car itself. There was a knock-off Mirage that is very good by all accounts but I don't know if you'd want it anyway. Hound was reissued in the 2002/2003 book-style reissues from Takara. I haven't checked prices lately but I think it's his only reissue. Might be tough to get. I don't know. Sideswipe has been reissued a couple of times (or 3--don't remember if he got an Encore), Sunstreaker has never been reissued.

Lt. Clutch wrote:
I'm thinking of bidding on the reissues for '84 Optimus Prime and the '88 Powermaster version. Any major changes there?


I think both the Hasbro and Takara reissues of Powermaster Prime are the same. They're both based on the Japanese version which had blue retractable fists in the super-robot mode. The original US release of the toy had a solid red block of plastic for the arms. They also both include God Bomber which was only available in Japan originally.

As for '84 Prime, Takara has reissued him 4 times I think. There was a straight reissue in the very early 2000's, then a New Years edition which is crazy awesome as it came with a Matrix, his Action Master, and was given blue windows and blue eyes to match the cartoon. It's actually the one I have. Then there was a book-style reissue that came with his melee weapon and finally a recent Encore reissue which featured tampographed details like the Autobot symbols as opposed to decals as they should traditionally be. Of course, there's the Hasbro reissue which I've already described. All of the Takara reissues, except for the recent Encore, go for high prices these days. The first two reissues are almost impossible to find now.

Lt. Clutch wrote:
@Shelly: I'm checking out the Binaltech stuff for sure if they have upgraded versions of Hound and Jazz available. My ultimate goal is to own both original and modern/tribute figures of most all the early TFs circa 1984-1988.


The best modern upgrade of a G1 in Binaltech for me is Tracks. It's perfect. Very much like the original toy in design and Reprolabels makes a great decal set for it to complete the G1 homage. I wish I hadn't sold mine years ago. Hound is also pretty good. I like Jazz and he too looks great with his own Reprolabels decal set as long as you can get around that he's a Mazda instead of a Porsche. Remember the primary difference between Binaltech and Alternators is that Binaltech figures were made with die-cast metal; Alternators were entirely plastic.

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 Post subject: Re: Going Back To Cybertron
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:41 pm 
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You're in Miami, right? I lived there for a few months in 1984 but collectible toy stores weren't around yet since Transformers had just made their domestic debut.

Do you shop for Takara stuff in your area or go the e-tailer route? I gotta look for Trailbreaker and Sideswipe while they're still easy to find. And yeah, Hound is going to be tougher if he's from 2002/2003.

I'm fine with tampographs since stickers wear out with age. I would get the Mirage knock-off if he looks close enough to the original but I know next to nothing about these except that they're not legit and can be pricier, correct?

The Japanese Powermaster Prime sounds awesome. I've never even seen God Bomber. I would definitely go for the New Year's Prime if they included stuff like the Matrix and his Action Master, plus the blue eyes and windows. Perfect. But it sounds like I might have to get the Encore or Hasbro versions instead. Dang!

Both Binaltech and Alternators sound great to me. Tracks is a must, especially given that a Phoenix symbol upgrade is available. I'll be getting Hound and Jazz as well. Afterwards, I'll probably be filing for Chapter 8. LOL. Thanks for all the great info, Uncle. 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Going Back To Cybertron
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:16 pm 
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The Masterworks are great, but the Alternators are pretty darn impressive and probably won't cost nearly as much. Only problem is, there are very few Decepticons (they did do Swindle, however.

I'd check out the Walmarts for the Masterwork Skywarp, in some places, it's down to $30. I could try and hook you up if you'd like. BTW I wouldn't worry about scale; planes should be bigger than cars, right? :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Going Back To Cybertron
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:58 pm 
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Can't argue with that logic. It always bothered me that the minibots were smaller than the cars until I read about Hasbro mixing various Japanese lines together.

I honestly don't know where to start at retail, but if you find anything on sale I would appreciate the assist. :)


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