TFW's Top Transformers of 2011
It's time once again for TFW's annual tradition! Every year our staff sound off on their favorite toy releases from the last year, and why stop a good thing now? Last year was a busy year for new Transformers toys, with new Classics, an Animated Botcon, a whole new Movie toy line and lots more - over 200 new toys released in total, even more if you decide to count third party releases.
With the likes of the Botcon 2011 Stunticons Set, Generations and Dark of the Moon to choose from, what were the TFW2005 staff's favorites? Read on and find out - then hit that discuss button and share your own favorites!
TFW Super Moderator & Scary Sig Killer
Nice update to a classic character and adding in the bonus of a gun that looks like his Targetmaster weapon without looking horrendously oversized.
Also great for troop building.
Botcon 2011 Animated Exclusives, DotM Space Case, Generations Sergeant Kup, Maketoys Battle Tanker & United Laser Optimus Prime, United Stepper
TFW Super Moderator & Beardmaster
Timelines G2 Ramjet
I'm a lover of all things retro, and this was a perfectly executed throwback in my opinion. Ramjet makes an excellent companion to the 2010 Botcon set which I just adored. I LOVE the garish G2 paint schemes, and love that they added this piece to our new G2 collections. The excellent packaging was a nice way to top off a pretty solid club exclusive, and my favorite one to date.
Botcon Fisitron, Generations Wheeljack, Botcon Autotroopers, Generations Warpath
United Laser Optimus Prime
This figure is what made me understand why all the children of the 80's love the heritage lines Hasbro puts out so much. Laser Prime was the definitive Optimus for me as a kid, and I could not have asked for a better representation of what Transformers meant to me growing up. An occasional figure done up in Generation 2 colors is always a nice treat, but getting a brand new mold was totally unexpected.
Timelines G2 Ramjet, DotM Space Case, Cyberverse Hatchet, DotM Walmart Sideswipe
TFW Super Moderator
I'd have to go with Generations Wheeljack. As the first Transformer we see in the 1984 cartoon, he served to introduce the Autobots to a generation of us old-school fans. Finally, the inventor extraordinaire gets a spectacular modern update in his iconic, Italian flag-inspired deco with his race car alt mode, filling a major hole in this G1 fan's collection!
Reveal the Shield Windcharger, United Stepper, Timelines G2 Ramjet, Generations Warpath
Generations Sergeant Kup
This is an excellent update to the flinty old G1 warrior who talks of tall tales about petrorabbits. Kup looks like a stylized pickup that you may actually see on the road here in 2011, yet is faithful to the original with his laser "musket" which really looks like an old time musket. The weapon can be held in a variety of ways and really adds character to the figure. Adding the special head mod with or without the cygar is icing on the cake, but on its own it’s a special figure.
Generations Wheeljack, United Wreck-Gar, United Jazz
[email protected] Podcast Presenter
Reveal the Shield Lugnut
One of the best "classics" style interpretations to date, fan-favorite Lugnut got transitioned near perfectly from the Animated aesthetic to a more contemporary one. Using the Voyager size-class to its full potential, his transformation was complex, and the way his wings converted to bulky arms was genius. To top it off, he was packed full of fan-wanky references, from his spring-loaded P.O.K.E., to molded detailing of micro-missile launchers hidden in his wings. This was truly a figure made by Lugnut fans, for Lugnut fans.
The Other Bestest
Prime Starscream, Botcon Drag Strip, Generations Scourge, DotM Megatron
WTF @ TFW Podcast Presenter
Warpath represents everything I like in a Transformer. Its transformation is very clean, nothing getting complicated for the sake of being complicated. The articulation is fine for its size and its design isn't hampered by an intrusive gimmick. And in both modes it looks fantastic, with a vehicle that looks solid and a kibble-free robot mode that's very solid and substantial. This is a really hard choice because many of the same traits I equate to Prime Starscream, but Warpath wins out because in both modes, he feels like he's worth the retail price. The fact that Starscream does things just as well, though, really has me anticipating 2012's lineup.
Prime Starscream, Reveal the Shield Lugnut, DotM Cyberfire Bumblebee, DotM Megatron
TFW News Staff
Reveal The Shield Perceptor
Growing up, I never, ever, really cared about this character. At least, not until IDW got their hands on him and turned him into a Science Sniper. Perceptor's appearance in All Hail Megatron and Last Stand of The Wreckers made me care about this character. I drove to three Targets once rumors in the area started floating around that he was out. I couldn't wait to pick him up and arm him with Generations Blurr's weapons! The addition of chrome (something usually only Takara does) was a nice surprise as well.
Cyberverse Blackout, United Lugnut, Fansproject Insecticons, Generations Sergeant Kup
The Goddamn Protoman
Masterpiece Rodimus Convoy (Takara Version 2)
Watching Rodimus toys throughout the years evolve and take what is learned from the last to make the next better. Masterpiece Rodimus is the magnum opus of that journey.
DotM Megatron, Prime Starscream, Cyberverse Autobot Ark, Generations Sky Shadow
TFW Super Moderator "Spell it with an E not an O"
Botcon 2011 Stunticon Exclusive Set
Any time there's more Animated figures released is a good time for me. To hear that this year's exclusives were based on Animated gave me all the incentive in the world to fly across the country. The set was very well executed and displays beautifully with the rest of my Animated collection. The slight remolds and complete redecos of the figures fit perfectly with the theme of the Stunticons. The comic was one of the more entertaining ones I've read of the TF canon in a while. My only wish of the set would be that Motor Master was based on the Animated Wreck-Gar mold instead of the voyager Optimus Prime.
Botcon 2011 Animated Souvenirs, Timelines Animated Cheetor, Generations Warpath, Generations Wheeljack
News Reporter & TFWe Writer
Generations Warpath is not only the Generations/Reveal The Shield toy that best represents the progress of the line for me, but he's also the toy that feels like the perfection point of its line. The transformation hits that sweet spot of difficult and fun, and despite nitpicky gripes about the articulation on the toy, this had to have been my favorite purchase of 2011, and I dare say that he is my Transformers toy of the year.
Generations Scourge, DotM Megatron, Human Alliance Basic Tailpipe, Reveal The Shield Lugnut
TFW Moderator & Artist, As the Fandom Turns
Dark of the Moon Leader Ironhide
As a movie Ironhide fan, this is the toy I've waited three movies for. He's armed to the teeth in both robot and pickup mode, including a big cannon in his rock-hard abs. Leader Ironhide is so awesome that he brought a knife to this gunfight. He even has a missile launcher in his leg! I wish I had a missile launcher in my leg...
PCC Heavytread, SDCC 2011 Sky Striker Starscream, MP-10 Convoy Version 2.0, Timelines G2 Ramjet
TFW Super Moderator & TFWe Writer
Dark of the Moon Striker Optimus Prime
I'm certain there were many older fans like myself who wanted a leader Optimus from the Dark Of The Moon line, one that had some of the stuff he used in battle. When initially announced, Striker Optimus was somewhat of a mystery; how different would he be from previous releases?
Not too long before release, more images were released, showing a more movie accurate palette, and of course, the guns and shield. The guns and shield were inadvertently revealed early in the year via a small glimpse of the packaging at a Hobby Show. It would be months before we saw more.
In lieu of using more paint apps, TakaraTomy molded Striker Optimus in darker colors. This was the intent of the designer, to evoke how Prime looked onscreen. This was also successfully done with the Walmart exclusive Battle Blades Prime earlier this year. It's a way around not using silver paint, yet not resulting in a cheap look(often associated with parts molded in light grey).
What we ended up with, is a very fun Optimus toy that doesn't really need paint touchup. Once next to ROTF leader Optimus, the difference is clear; the former looks cheap. Striker Optimus on the other hand, looks refined. This is the first Mechtech leader Optimus figure, and the guns can be used separately, and combined. Or you can attach them to the shield for a gauntlet with guns.
The swords ought to have come with it, and are the icing on the cake. While Jetwing Optimus was rather bare, Striker Optimus has a strikingly different deco. Or rather, strikingly better deco. There is incentive to buying both as Striker comes with different weapons, and in robot mode, is not compatible with Jetwing.
It's pretty hard to top the original ROTF Leader Optimus. Striker Optimus builds upon the greatness of that mold, and makes it even better. Definitely an Optimus figure worth getting and possibly the definitive movie Optimus figure(at the moment).
Prime Arcee, Human Alliance Basic Tailpipe, Reveal The Shield G2 Optimus Prime, Reveal The Shield Lugnut
TFW Admin, Newsie & Content Guy
Transformers Prime Optimus Prime
Dethroning Grimlock from his usual top spot on my most-liked from the last couple of years is the defining Optimus Prime from Transformers Prime. What makes him appeal to me so much? He's quite possibly the ideal Transformer - heroic stature, excellent, clean uncluttered look, very poseable and show accurate, with a fun and interesting transformation. He's an excellent toy in all areas with no real significant drawbacks - he's far and away one of the best Optimus Prime toys ever designed, and possibly the best Transformers made yet.
Prime Bulkhead, Timelines G2 Ramjet, Reveal the Shield Lugnut, Generations Warpath
TFW Moderator & Radicon
Unicron with Kranix (Amazon exclusive)
Way back during the Armada days, I remember suffering through some really horrible, Playschoolish toy designs yet anticipating the Unicron figure. While I've always thought it's an awesome figure, it still had some qualities lacking for my desire to have my nostalgia completed. The TakaraTomy 2010 Unicron helped with a new head sculpt, but I didn't quite like the color scheme of it (it seems a little too flat for my tastes).
The Amazon exclusive really takes this mold and makes it literally shine. The figure really gleams with awesome, and I really feel that my desire to relive my Transformers: the Movie nostalgia is finally complete. The Kranix rename of the "Dead End" figure is a nice nod, and the figure makes more sense that I originally thought. The whole package looks really great. Getting it out of the shipping box is quite the experience, and I felt like I was holding a gem - this is about as close as reliving my G1 days as a kid that I can get with modern toys.
Even when the figure was released, it was a collector's frenzy, much akin to the SDCC Alternators Nemesis Prime fiasco. Even while still active, this figure was commanding more than the SRP tag. This is truly a desirable figure for the enthusiast and the collector alike, and I suspect that such demand will only increase as time marches on.
Botcon Autotroopers, Generations Warpath, DotM Walmart Sideswipe, DotM Megatron
TFW Content & Photo Staff
My pick for the best toy 2011 is United Lugnut. Lugnut became a fan favorite in Animated, and like Lockdown in the previous year he made a dramatic return. His new, movieverse inspired look was fantastic. While we could see the good old Lugnut still there, this new body gave him such menace, let alone great articulations and fun gimmicks. No one does "all hail Megatron" better than United Lugnut! (United WFC Megatron looks great with him. Noble, yet evil leader with his faithful beast.)
United Laser Optimus Prime, DotM Skyhammer, DotM Crankcase (for the dreads and the middle fingers), Prime Arcee
TFW Photo Staff
The character we've ALL wanted to see get the classics-verse treatment was finally released to us. We saw pictures at Botcon, and the crown response was overwhelmingly positive. It caused the whole room to erupt into applause. When it arrived, the mold made fans swoon, although the lack of paint applications and the dirty-white turned some off. Now, we await Japan's offerings, and when we see the comparison of the Generations and United, some are blown away by the differences. I certainly was. The compliment to one of the best mold's in Transformers History was a great paint job, with accents in the right places, and no out-of-place Chrome applications. The clean lines of the figure, the wonderful look and the transformation formed one of Transformer's most iconic characters into a "perfect" updated toy.
Reveal the Shield Perceptor, Reveal the Shield Lugnut, DotM Leader Ironhide, DotM Barricade
TFW Photo Staff
E-Hobby United Scourge
While there's much debate over who Unicron transformed into Cyclonus, my favorite of 2011 is E-Hobby United Scourge. As a big fan of the seeker, G1, and crystal figures, I love the new mold created for Scourge. It has a great sculpt and poseability with easy transformation. He displays nicely on your shelf, and if shined through the light, the clear plastic shines beautifully.
E-Hobby United Cyclonus, Generations Warpath, Timelines G2 Ramjet, Generations Junkheap
TFW Moderator & News Staff
Reveal The Shield Wreck-Gar
This wise-crackin', fast talkin' Junkion got a much deserved upgrade that kept true to the original form whilst receiving a sleek modern look! Little touches like being able to ride the vehicle mode along with receiving three repaints/remolds (United Wreck-Gar, United Scrap Heap and Generations Junkheap) for massive troopbuilding-bility makes this the top toy of the year for me!
DotM Jetwing Optimus Prime, DotM Leader Ironhide, Timelines Side Burn
Credit to Sol Fury, TFW2005.com
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