I can’t make a claim to this observation, but someone noted that kids growing up these days are going to look at the movie Transformers (derisively called “Bayformers” by some critics) the same way that we old timers cherish the G1 Transformers. Talking to some younger fans… this is pretty much true. I remember the preteen son of one of our close friends visiting my house and gushing over (the few) movie Transformers I had, fiddling with Ironhide and being in awe at the auto-transforming legs. And then I mentioned that I used to have more, but I sold them all — including Jazz — and he was a little perplexed. “Jazz? He was great!” And he’s right… but I needed cash and I had to part with him.
As for G1, he saw them as very old fashioned. And I guess I can see his POV. I’m wondering if the stodgy old mold of Optimus Prime looks to him that the boxy toy robots from the 50’s and 60’s that you can see on vintage sites. We’re probably approaching the day when there are going be masterpiece re-issues of movie characters… and yes, they WILL be awesome.
Ironhide was easily an early favorite among collectors, some declaring him to be the best Transformer of the initial wave. Me… I’m kinda surprised to see just how much of a shellformer he is. The entire body is just folded up bits and pieces that serve to hide the entire robot mode underneath. The truck hood kinda forms the shoulder pads and chest, but it’s hard to see them as anything other than big old shells with folded up doors.
It’s hard to pose him properly, too. Head is pretty much obscured by the shoulders. There’s a flimsy flap with a little hinge that tries its best to cover up the really big gap between the neck and chest. The waist generally stays put, but when unfolded it’s this long spindly thing.
But there’s a reason I keep him, and it’s because he is pretty great. That automorph feature on the legs them selves totally redeem the figure. I mean, flipping the feet up and watching the panels align in place really got to my inner child. “Yay!” he squealed. And I dig how the wheels store at the calves. Ironhide is pretty much the only Transformer I want to photograph from the back because of the way those wheels store. They are… MAGNIFIQUE.
Ratchet I got because, dang it, he’s my guy and I need to have at least one version of him. The only cartoon accurate one is way too expensive these days, and I refuse to cave into third party toys. It’s a good thing that I really like this guy. I remember Ratchet being pooh-poohed by collectors for being too simple, but, dang it, that’s one of the reasons I like the guy! His chest is headlights, his legs fold into the car’s back section, and he’s got door wings … which is as old school Transformers as you can get! And unlike a lot of other Bayformers, Ratchet is solid. Just big and blocky and sturdy. Even if I sell off all my remaining Bayformers, Ratchet will remain.
As an added bonus, he looks great in truck mode. Now, generally speaking Ironhide does look better as a truck… but all that shellforming does put me off a little. Ratchet’s truck mode, though… that’s all him, man. The only issue I really have is that his head sorta peeks out from the undercarriage, but whatever, man. He looks great. He doesn’t look like much of an ambulance, but he looks great. I do love that while his controversial lime green colors didn’t get incorporated into Transformers Prime (which appreciatively went totally old school with my main man), the zippy striping remained. I approve.
I mentioned it before in a previous post, but I do love Starscream’s design. I know it put off a lot of old school fans, being that he looks more like a monster rather than the whiny field commander trying futilely to get to the point where he could wear a comically oversized crown. But over three movies, he really grew on me. There was a Youtube video a while back of every transformation in the movies. Someone in the comments rightfully pointed out that Starscream clearly had the best ones. Whether it’s descending from the sky and skidding to the ground, owning other fighter jets in the sky, or meeting up with Megatron at the Grand Canyon, the dude’s sequences were sorta graceful.
And the toy is just really creative. Push the cockpit up, and a big broad chest with circuits appears out of nowhere. It’s seriously the highlight of the transformation, as if his body mass doubles with just one move. Tail fins and wings form all sorts of fun little patterns. Its as if Bay took the “star” portion of Starscream and based the entire look on him. And the headsculpt, while weird to some, is full of personality. Look at those buck teeth and that goofy smile. If you didn’t know any better, he comes off a rascally prankster.
Incidentally, Starscream here has lost pretty much all of his missiles. Another kid from years back had been playing around with him, and I think four of the six missiles disappeared into the ether right then and there. He looks a little naked without them, but I can’t say that it really bothered me. Sans missiles, it looks like he’s rocking two killer Vulcan cannons for hands.
Overall, though, the most important thing is that these three guys are fun to transform. I think that’s why I kept them, really. The more boring ones, including Voyager Class Optimus and Brawl, were packed off in brown boxes to be loved by other collectors. Even Bumblebee got the axe. (Though that was was more due to the fact that a lot cooler versions got released, and I have it on my collector’s list to pick one of those up instead. Maybe I’ll pony up for an “Age Of Extinction” classic Camaro version.)
But these three? Taking them down off the shelves and transforming them back and forth from car to robot made me realize that kid who checked out my collection was onto something. These dudes are really pretty great.