Monday, April 13, 2009

The Transformers 1984 (Hasbro)



The Transformers
Hasbro
1984

Collect vehicles and playsets, or figures? Why not both? That's what you got with the Transformers because, after all, they were more than meets the eyes.

The Transformers, or “Fight! Super Robot Life Form Transformer” if you were in Japan, started in 1984 as both a cartoon in syndication, a comic book series, and a toy line. The series followed the struggle of the Autobots against the evil Decepticons as they fought to save their planet Cybertron for their own factions control. The battle eventually leaves both groups stranded on Earth where the war continues several years later.

Hasbro had the best of both worlds in those days, what with the G.I. Joe series on top of this one. Not only that, but the shows were on back to back, so children across the U.S. couldn't help but be exposed to both. In fact, while they never did in the shows, the two were known to occasionally cross paths in the comic book world.

Transformers was certainly one of the more larger series that launched as far as quantity went. A whopping 28 characters were available upon its initial release. This helped jumpstart children's imaginations as they dueled out their own Autobot versus Decepticon battles in their rooms.

The figures were broken up into three particular groups. There were small, medium and large available. Obvious price variations would occur from this, as well as the overall quality of the figures. The smaller ones didn't maintain the quality that the larger ones did as the attention to detail was never present. While this would get a little better over the years, it wouldn't be by much. However, the larger ones were not without fault, and often times were more fragile, and susceptible to breaking off limbs than the smaller ones.

The following Autobots were released;

Optimus Prime


Bluestreak, Hound
Ironhide, Jazz


Mirage, Prowl
Ratchet, Sideswipe


Sunstreaker, Trailbreaker
Wheeljack


Two variants were produced of the smaller figures. Bumblebee and Cliffjumper were both produced in red and yellow. Between the two Bumblebee figures, the red color one is considered the rarer version. Between the two Cliffjumper figures, the yellow one is the rarer version. It is presumed, but not confirmed that the reason these characters both got different color variants was due to a quality control error by Hasbro who mixed up of which character was which during production.

Fans have come to name the yellow Cliffjumper figure - Bumblejumper, which can cause confusion to new collectors who are not aware that this is actually the variant Cliffjumper figure, and not a whole new figure.

Braun, Bumblebee, Bumblebee (red) Cliffjumper
Cliffjumper (yellow), Gears, Huffer, Windcharger


But, you can't have a bunch of heroes without villains, now can you? The following Decpticons also hit shelves in 1984;

Megatron


Soundwave and Buzzsaw (two pack)


Starscream, Thundercracker
Skywarp


There is a known miscarded version of Frenzy and Laserbeak to be in existence. The miscarded version depicts Frenzy as a red and blue cassette tape, when in fact, this is actually Rumble.

Frenzy and Laserbeak (Miscarded Rumble), Frenzy and Laserbeak
Ravage and Rumble


Each small figure was carded while the medium and large figures came in boxes stuffed with form fitting Styrofoam and/or cardboard. This ended up also making the figures a little more presentable on the shelves, and thus stood out more.

To this day Transformers figures continue to be released in various sets, though the original series officially ended in 1990. What makes this toy line stand out the most is that not only does it still continue on strong, but it's managed to do so long after the cartoon series ended. Even the original line continued on for a few years after the show was officially cancelled.

Whether you love them, hate them, or have no opinion either way, it's clear that Transformers are here to stay.

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2 comments:

  1. Long after I realized the show was cheesy and the toys were funny looking and awkward, the characters are what still hold up. Those memorable voices still hang in my mind even today. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was never interested in these ones. I had only one from transformers named Bumblebee.

    ReplyDelete

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