Despite it being a non-movie year, it has been a big one for Hasbro’s Transformers franchise. Originally launched in the U.S. in 1984, the Transformers have gone through countless evolutions, reinventions, reimaginings, and rebirths, but for fans and collectors of all ages, there’s just something about the original Generation One (G1) era that reigns supreme.
Following a recent batch of vintage G1 reissues, the Transformers design team at Takara TOMY and Hasbro created a pair of new figures that masterfully pair elements of classic styling with a modern range.
Their official names and designations are a mouthful — the Transformers Generations War for Cybertron: Siege 35th Anniversary Special Edition Classic Animation Optimus Prime and Megatron — but the figures are simple and elegant.
At first glance, in robot mode, the leaders of the Autobots and Decepticons are instantly recognizable depictions of how they appeared in 1984. Upon closer inspection, the unique cel-shaded deco is what really sets these figures apart by giving them a cartoon-like look that recalls The Transformers animated series that aired in syndication from 1984-1987.
The 7-inch action figures each come battle-ready, packed with accessories. Optimus Prime includes his W-M3 RF Ion Blaster and W-50 Dual-Mech Energon Strikeshield, and Megatron comes armed with his D50-R35 Fusion Cannon and HPR Telescopic Laserstrike Launcher.
The biggest difference between modern Transformers and their G1 counterparts is the actual transforming, both in how many steps it takes and the alt modes that each robot assumes. Optimus Prime transforms in 27 steps into a “Cybertronian alt mode” that’s no doubt inspired by his Earthly Freightliner FL86 look but presented with design cues that are more “alien” in nature.
Megatron transforms in 17 steps to become a Cybertronian tank — a common form for the character in recent decades. The original G1 Megatron transformed into a somewhat alarmingly realistic replica of a Walther P-38 pistol, and that’s neither exactly safe nor tasteful these days. Thus, we get a fairly standard-looking tank with enough of the alien mechanics to make it appear to be from Cyberton.
A worthy addition to any Transformers collection, the Classic Animation Optimus Prime and Megatron hit that fine balance between being great for long-time collectors while also serving as the perfect (and affordable) entry point for new fans. That means they’re perfect to be played with as a new generation of kids discovers what it means to be “more than meets the eye.”