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Transformers 35th Anniversary Set Review

June 3, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Bumblebee Optimus Prime Transformers

2019 marks the 35th anniversary of the Transformers franchise. In celebration of the franchise’s birthday, the folks at Hasbro were nice enough to provide 411mania with a special set of merchandise showcasing the entire Transformers action figure and product line. The set included a sample of all the different Transformers toy lines including Transformers Generations War for Cybertron: Siege, toys based on the Transformers Cyberverse series, the kid-friendly Transformers BotBots line, and the Transformers Studio Series based on the live-action movies, specifically the 2018 Bumblebee.

I’m a longtime Transformers fan of the figures, comics, and animated shows, not so much the live-action films. However, I’ve consistently stuck with the brand for the better part of over two decades. I always enjoy seeing how the brand gets revamped, even during the Beast Wars days. I’m also very excited by the latest iteration of the Generations line with Siege, bringing us to the first section of this review.

Transformers Generations War for Cybertron: Siege

First up in the set is my personal favorite series, the War for Cybertron: Siege line. This is basically the latest iteration of the Transformers Generations figures or what basically started as the “Classics” series way back in 2006.

I love this series. Basically, it’s a mash-up of that longtime generations or classics style while also taking some clear inspiration from the Fall of Cybertron and War for Cybertron games from a while back that were developed by High Moon Studios. My only caveat for this series that I’m not totally clear on the timeline for this series. I know an animated TV series based on these figures is in the works that could clarify this. But I’m not clear if this is meant to be a prequel to the original animated series or a pre-Cybertronians on Earth story, or if this is after the Cybertronians have been to Earth similar to some of the IDW comics.

The anniversary set is packed with a WFCS235 Soundwave. This is a brand new Voyager Soundwave figure. His alt-mode is very G1-esque. I think what I like the most about the WFC series is the paint applications. I think Hasbro really stepped up their game with the paint jobs for these figures, giving them a bit more detail and trying some new things we haven’t seen before. At first, I was a bit hesitant on the battle damage paint apps and weathering details, but I think it turned out very well for this product line.

Like with most Transformers figures, the joints are tight, the plastic is nice, and the figure is totally solid. My general experience has shown that most Transformers toys by Hasbro have very exceptional quality control. Voyager Soundwave has a good amount of accessories that are faithful to the classic G1 Soundwave. He’s got his shoulder blaster and his handheld blaster as well.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I’m not crazy about Soundwave’s alt-mode. Unfortunately, he can’t transform into some type of stereo mode. It’s like this Cybertronian vehicle or jet instead. It’s a little nondescript. The Cybertronian spacecraft mode is OK, but I would’ve liked if they could’ve worked a third alternate stereo type mode in.

But who is Soundwave without his cassette spy patrol, Ravage and Laserbeak? Major ups to Hasbro because they also included the Ravage and Laserbeak Spy Patrol two-pack for this anniversary box. Now, this is not my favorite figure versions of these characters. I like the cassette transformations. Either one can be placed in the chest compartment for Soundwave. Laserbeak can be pegged into his arm for some nice poses, and that looks great. I think the WFC Laserbeak turned out a bit better. Ravage is bit too spindly for my tastes. I do like the two-pack though mainly for Laserbeak since it helps complete the look.

Transformers Studio Series

Also included in the set is the Studio Series 38 Movie Optimus Prime based on his look in the Bumblebee film. Being frank, I generally always hated the designs for the Transformer characters in the Michael Bay films. I thought their design aesthetic looked like garbage. I always found them overly busy and ugly. Travis Knight gave their designs a major overhaul for the latest film. Not only that, he proved something that hues closer to the iconic G1 style can work in live-action.

Case in point, the new live-action movie version of Optimus Prime, now available in figure form. Now, while there are still things I would change, this is definitely many steps in the right direction for the live-action designs. It’s proof that making the Cybertronians more evocative of the G1 style and aesthetic can work on film. That’s something Michael Bay and his defenders already denied.

Now, I like the figure in robot mode. It’s got a lot of nice detail and paint apps. The alt-mode transformation is a bit too busy for my tastes. There’s a bit too much engineering and little parts required for the transformation for my tastes. The front cap part for the flatbed cab of the alt-mode looks good, but the trailer hitch part just looks empty with a lot of open space. So, the back end looks rather weak.

I can see the appeal for the Studio Series for the movie fans. It’s a nice figure and faithful to the movie design, but for a Transformers line, I will still pick Generations, War for Cybertron, or the Takara Tomy Masterpiece series every day of the week based on preference. I think the Studio Series is a good variation for the line for fans who want the higher-end movie-inspired figures. They definitely have quality sculpts and paint applications.

Overall though, this is a very nice figure and representation of the latest live-action iteration of Optimus Prime. I’m glad I finally got the chance to own it.

Transformers: Bumblebee Movie Energon Igniter Nitro Series Bumblebee

The product box also featured a new Bumblebee figure inspired by the live-action movie. This is the Energon Igniter Nitro series. This is a movie-themed series that’s also clearly aimed at the younger set of fans. They have simple transformations. They are packaged in open-faced boxes, and they have the Energon Igniter gimmick.

Basically, each figure comes with an Energon core they can insert into the figure to launch them. They have less articulation. This might be a good buy for parents who want to get their kids some movie-inspired toys but with simpler conversions and more kid-friendly gimmicks.

Transformers Cyberverse

Personally, the Cyberverse toys are not really my cup of tea. I think they are a good series to skew a little younger. This is more of a gateway line for younger fans and collectors. The anniversary box came with Ultimate Class Grimlock and Ultra Class Optimus Prime figures.

If you’re a fan of the Cyberverse animated series, these are fine. They are faithful to the show. The transformations are fairly simple. They don’t really come with a lot in the way of loose parts of accessories. The paint jobs are fairly simple. They have little action figures that younger kids might find appealing.

My preference is a more realistic style. The designs for these toys are a little more exaggerated due to the CG animated style of the show. That said, they are toned done from the animated style of Transformers Animated, Transformers Prime and Transformers: Robots in Disguise.

Now, one thing I do like about the Cyberverse toys is that they are big and chunky. The figures are sturdy and have some heft to them. Also, while I’m usually not big on action features or gimmicks, the Ultimate Class Optimus Prime has a cool action feature where his front cab can open and reveal a spinning Matrix of Leadership, which is kind of neat.

I would recommend the Cyberverse toys and cartoons to parents who might have young kids who are getting into Transformers, but you want to hold them off on Generations, the movies, or Masterpiece for a while. This is like something in between Rescue Bots and Generations basically.

Transformers BotBots

Finally, there are some Series 2 Transformers BotBots toys packed in the anniversary box, including one blind bag and one 5-pack. You can also check out our full overview of BotBots Series 2 RIGHT HERE. BotBots is like the comedic, miniature offshoot of the Transformers series. The gist of it is that Energon strikes a shopping mall and brings all the inanimate objects to life and turns them into new Transformers called BotBots.

Overall, I think BotBots is a line of neat little figures. I like them because they are evocative of the classic McDonald’s Changeables toys. I especially like the food ones like Brototato.

Another great thing about the box is that it came with a decodable message that unlocks a new issue for the IDW Transformers comic series at the official Transformers website. Thanks for Hasbro for providing us this special set of products.

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Transformers, Jeffrey Harris