With the third Transformers movie transforming multiplexes across the country into money-printing machines, I thought that now would be a good time to look back at a five of the early Transformers robots that demonstrated just how fun and imaginative these toys could be. Even without the cartoons, video games and movies that have been produced throughout the years to boost the popularity of the Transformers, many of these toys are quite amazing in their own right and provided countless hours of fun for kids.
The main reason why I selected this particular bunch to transforming 'bot toys for recognition is that all of them are almost the same scale as my personal robot toys of choice: the Zoids and their various spin off toy lines. This is also the reason why I'm referring to these particular toys as "playsets": Due to their size and features, these Transformers robots were both action figures on their own and provided playset-like backgrounds for other smaller figures. Read on ...
Even though Optimus Prime was released in the US as an Autobot in the Transformers line, this toy still retained some vestigial details from its first run in Japan as part of the Diaclones line. In the Diaclones line, some of the robots came with smaller pilot figures (pilot figures that were similar in size to those in the Zoids line) that could fit inside of the transforming robots. In fact, many of the Transformers toys that originated in the Diaclones line featured cockpits and seats that would fit the Diaclone pilots, even though the pilot figures were not included as part of the Transformers toys. In the case of Optimus Prime, his trailer would open to reveal a command base that had a jeep and movable laser turret with cockpit--remaining features from when the toy was sold in Japan as "Battle Convoy".
When Ultra Magnus first appeared in the Transformers line (a.k.a. Powered Convoy in the Diaclones line), he wasn't that much different than the Optimus Prime toy. What did set Ultra Magnus apart, though, was his trailer. The trailer could either be transformed into battle armor for the robot figure (as seen above), or it could serve as a means of transporting other robots into or away from battle.
Here's how battle-damaged Transformers are transported to
Crazy Eddie's Used Autobot Dealership, which is located
off of Route 42 next to Willie's Fun Arcade.
Omega Supreme was a ground-breaking Transformers toy for its time. It wasn't just a vehicle that transformed into robot; it was an entire rocket base that transformed into a huge robot. It also came with a battery-powered motor, which would allow the tank to "patrol and defend" the rocket in rocket base mode and to walk as a robot after it was transformed. Essentially, Omega Supreme was the rare Transformer toy that could roll as a vehicle and walk as a robot.
It seemed that as the Transformers line continued, they ran out of things into which they could transform. Eventually, the robots transformed into cities and bases. In the case of the battery-powered Trypticon, he could transform into a Decepticon city, a battle fortress, and a giant, walking robot Tyrannosaurus Rex. Sure, the Autobots had their own transforming cities, but none of them transformed into walking dinosaurs. It was also pretty cool that the Trypticon figure bore a passing resemblance to the equally mobile Gojulas figure from the Zoids line, although Gojulas could never have his own zip code.
Scorponok was another one of the transforming cities that had three different modes, much like Trypticon. However, between transforming from a city to a humanoid robot, Scorponok could also transform into a giant robot scorpion that featured a laser tail and pinching claws. A city, a robot, and a giant scorpion--what else could a giant robot fan ask for?