The Cybertronian Enquirer 4.22.07

Welcome to the three year anniversary of the Cybertronian Enquirer! Yes, I know it use to be called the Transformers Trading Post. Yes, I know Lord Elohim did it for awhile before I came along. However, three years have passed since I took the column over from E. I had recently done a couple reviews for E when he said “I want to take a break.” I said “well golly gee, I know TFs pretty damn well and could right a snifty column. The rest is basically history.

It’s been a long, interesting trek. I’ve met a lot of transfans through the net, including Chuck, Chris, Elohim, Tim, Brian, Tory, among others. I’ve defended our honor at Botcon 2006. I’ve written about TF porn. Yeah, good times.

I always try to do something a little “special” for my anniversary issues. One year my buds did Mystery Science Theater with my first column. Then I revisited TF Porn in a full column. This year, Chuck and I go head to head on the TF movie. I’ll be on the pro-movie side and Charles will be on the anti-movie side. See “Fanboy vs. Fanboy” for more details.

I update my header each year too to reflect my toys, what’s currently going on with Transformers, and a little dirtiness for fun. This year Jen helped me design probably the most professional looking header yet. She’s a web designer and has a tad more experience in the field than I do. Hence why my former headers were fairly amateur while this one is just…awesome.

I also have pictures and news to share. Both my Masterpiece Megatrons have shown up. Oh, you read the intro? Yes, MP Megs is officially the greatest toy I ever broke…you’ll see. Wait, I did break Black Zarak too….damn the gold plastic

I know you’ve seen him EVERYWHERE, but I’ll have a few pics of my test shot movie Optimus Prime. I even managed to find Rumble and Ravage up in Ft. Lauderdale. The new Titaniums arrived, but I’m still not impressed. However, Black Hybrid Convoy is pretty cool…

I’ll also skim over the new Collector’s Club comic, which may reveal another Botcon exclusive

So let’s get this anniversary started

Kollector’s Korner

Let’s start big:

That’s a big friggin’ gun. Megatron is a bad ass and how cool is that picture? I took a second that Jen put in the header. There is no doubt that we’ve been waiting 23 years for this guy (since ’84…not my age). I have one wish though: he should have been diecast. The toy is similar to Screamer. He’s made of plastic and somewhat brittle. For example, I already broke him. Let me repeat that: I ALREADY BROKE HIM! You can see my frustration. Take a look

That’s a small picture of Megatron’s back. It’s where the nose of the gun connects to the torso. It slides along a very thin track to move from behind his back to the nose of the gun. I transformed him once and it snapped. Now, if I were ten and hadn’t done this a million times then I might not be this upset. I’m Mr. “Kollector Extraordinaire.” I treat my TFs like new born friggin’ babies and the damn thing still snapped. Word to the wise: don’t transform him. The piece will still hold in either transformation. Doesn’t help the fact he’s still broke…

Ok, so here’s some comparison shots with an without the plug:

Clean as a whistle…

In need of a colonic

And a side shot…

As you can see, it’s not that big a deal. I’m sure I could get it out with the right amount of pressure, but it is in there pretty tight. So what do I think? Well, after you get done marking out and crying over breaking it then you have to really look at the toy. I was amazed at how similar they kept his transformation to his G1 counterpart. It’s not identical, but the movements in the transformation are close. The head is done in a way that still allows for it to be the end of the gun, but look more like Megatron. I don’t know if this pic has come up before, but you can make his head look more like G1 Megs:

We’ll call it his “visor” when we play with him…

My main gripe (besides being a bit brittle) is his damn three hundred pound gun. The figure is very light and the gun is very heavy. That makes it tough for Megs to hold his weapon up. Yes, he’s doing in the pic above (what a cool pic, huh?), but that wasn’t an easy pose. They put the “red laser of doom” sight gimmick into the gun. Cool by all accounts, but takes a bit away from the toy. However, Kremzik (that can’t be the right spelling…) and his weapons are big pluses.

BTW, it just came out that eBay is pulling G1, reissue, and MP Megs due to that whole gun thing. Funny. My guess would be an annal retentive parent had their kid good “look mommy!” Then boom, no more. Oh well, just go to a hundred different sites on the net. The other choice is to just email a Japanese seller and be like “get me that.”

Next up, Voyager TFTM Prime:

Aren’t you supposed to be a homage to G1 Prime?

Says the guy based on G1 Prime. I want your smokestacks…

Size Comparison: do you like it thick and short or tall and slim?

And the head shot…

It’s tough to find pics that haven’t been done on the net. Every TF site and their mother have a ton of these pics up. However, I tried to take a few you hadn’t seen yet.

First let’s check out his guns. Nice detail on the biceps and shoulders

Then there’s his torso. It’s of course reminiscent of every other Prime in history, but his lower torso reflects a bit more of the “organic look.’

The legs are also very detailed. Ladies, no dirty thoughts

Ok, on to his real gun. Here’s where it splits and has a spring loaded action gimmick.

The gun isn’t held by Prime. It attaches to pegs on his arms

And a pic of the gun attached to the peg. Just to note, you can turn his hand so the gun “fits” in his hand

So what do I think? This toy exceeds my expectations. I have fallen in love with these movie toys, but Prime thus far takes the cake. It has a great design which is different than any previous Prime toy. The legs actually flip back alloing his feet to become the top of the cap. Sounds weird, but it explains how the dual wheels are by his hips rather than at the bottom of the leg. The guns/smokestacks can fit on the back of the toy (as seen in the Classics Prime pic), flip over as shoulder cannons, or be held by Prime. I’m not sure what his Automorph feature is. Honestly, that gimmick doesn’t seem to work too well on any of the four movie toys I’ve gotten. Anyway, It has a lot of body detail for a toy this size. It adds to the “organic” feel. It has tons of articulation and…the eye gimmick actually works on this test shot! Nice! That’ll only make sense had you read about the last few.

I dare say this Voyager version may be better than the Leader class. Why? The Leader looks too gimmicky and bulky in robot mode. However, I haven’t held it or played with it, so I’m just going off the pics. If there’s one movie toy you molest, make it a Prime molestation.

Now for the Alternators. Let’s start with Rumble

I was going for the classic Rumble “bend over and pound ground” pose, but it looks like he’s just pounding out a deuce

He does have the classic guns on his back. Why in the world is he from Hawaii? Ah, the rainbow…pile drivers…I get jokes

Now for Ravage:

That’s a bad Mr. Kitty! (What, it was a great chance for me to pimp my GalvaLioConvoy!)

Like Rumble, Ravage has G1esque weapons

Look at the horrid mascara they gave my Ravage! Yag line of the column

If the Alt line has to die, then this isn’t a bad way to end it. No, I don’t actually think it will end with these two. I can almost guarantee a Frenzy repaint sooner rather than later. They did say these would be the last two at Botcon ’06, but they did say they had plans for a Caddy Megs at one point…which you heard here first MONTHS before they confirmed it at Botcon. Hey, just throwing it out there…

Anyway, Rumble is great except he has no hands. I don’t know…I kind of dig hands on toys. Even the ones with like one hand, one weapon bother me. Personal preference. A legit complaint is that the pile drivers feel hollow and kind of loose. They are spring loaded for maximum playability. I like Ravage. I really do. Oh, you know what’s coming. The hood flips on his back like the hunchback of Crystal City. I turned it upside down, which helps. I think the legs, head, and tail are about as well done as they could be. They did a great job of making it look Jaguar look like a real kitty.Too bad we never got a Soundwave Alt. I have seen a kitbashed Broadband (Japanese Binaltech exclusive that is supposed to be Blaster) that was redecoed with a Galaxy Force/Cybertron Soundwave head. Looked pimp

Now for some randomness. I found the Target exclusive Legends of Cybertron. I know, whoop-de-doo. However, if you’re having trouble finding it then look at the front of the store. I’ve been to two Target where they aren’t by the TF section, but in the front by the checkout lines. There are tons of them with some Star Wars nonsense. The four pack contains Cybertron Megs, Soundwave, Jetfire, and, of course, Prime. I for some reason thought this set was the movie Megs and Optimus and Cybertron Megs and Optimus. Guess that one is coming out later. Anyway, It actually lists the series that each fig is from on the back. I don’t know why, but find that strange, yet intriguing…

I have so many damn Titaniums that I don’t know what to do with them. I’m not opening them, so maybe I’m missing out. War Within Prime soured me on them. Anyway, WW Megs looks great as a robot and shiiiiiiiit on a stick in “tank mode.” They really did a bad job on that. WW Sunstorm should have just been a repaint of Cybertron Screamer (the small one). It’s ok and the vehicle mode isn’t horrid. WW Magnus is just a redeco of Prime. I know it’s going to get old…but I still dig every Optimus becoming Magnus. I guess it’s because when I was little I never understood why Magnus had a white Optimus who came with it. Speaking of G1, the G1 Titanium Magnus intrigues me. It doesn’t look great, but kudos for making a Magnus with a cab that doesn’t have to detach from it’s trailer. I may actually open that one…

TNN Headlines
The news articles and pictures come from multiple sources including, TFW2005, eBay, FantoFan, The All Spark, TFormers, Big Bot, Seibertron, among others. Give these sites a look if you get a chance.

So you want to know about Botcon…

Dirge lookin’ all pimp and shit

Thundercracker in summer pastels

Well, they’re basically what you would expect from the Classics with G1 colors.
They look decent, but the real story seems to be the cover for the Botcon comic that just came out. Check out the hi-res

Let’s examine this for a min:

Ultra Magnus as Classic Prime
Arcee/Elita-1 as Cybertron Thunderblast
Huffer/Pipes as Cybertron Armorhide
Springer as I could only guess Cybertron EVAC
Grimlock as Classics Grimlock
Snarl as….Action Master Snarl?
Random minicons Swoop and whatever the police car is called this week…probably Prowl

Ok first off, let it be known that last year I suggested “remaking the G1 movie toys” as a set. My suggestions were Magnus, Arcee, Blurr, Kup, Springer, Wheelie, etc. However, you sign away your ideas when you put them on the suggestion sheet.

Anyway, Magnus we have. Arcee works, but will be pretty similar to the Japanese Thunderblast release of Minelba/Minerva. I’m reading some people think Armorhide is Huffer, but his color scheme looks closer to Pipes to me. Plus, “time wise” Pipes was around with these characters, not Huffer. We can’t really see Springer, but, unless they decide to steal the Blackout mold, my money is on EVAC. The Snarl kind of throws me off since it doesn’t look like anything recent and doesn’t look like the minicon. So let’s see…Huffer/Pipes as the Primus Package exclusive then Springer and Arcee as one side package you can buy. It would make sense since they were “BF/GF.” Yeah, they boned on the side. However, her headgear is much more reminiscent of Elita-1 than arcee, which kills my point. She might be the Primus Package exclusive with Armorhide and Springer together. Not to discount the minicons since it would be cool to get a few random exclusive little guys.

Who is the other side package? A Megatron redeco of Shockwave. Why? I have a hunch due to the newest TF Club comic. The comic has this really weird few panels with Megs being uber pissed at Shockwave. It would be cool and the color scheme could work.

I would add more about the Newsletter, but it really was pretty lackluster this month.

The Collectors’ Club is doing a “Me Grimlock” game. In a nutshell, you email Pete Sinclair and request to get Grimlock. They send him to you and you take him out on the town! Party down with this G1 Classic! Anyway, you take Grimlock to any hot spots in your area and take pics. You send Grimlock back with some cool pics and the peeps over there will make an online journal for him. Corny? Yes. Interactive? Very. I requested him already. What? Miami has some hot spots! Plus, I noted my EuroTrip to try and get him first. Hey, Hungarians love Grimlock too…

Random, but I just found out Germans, British, and Swedish peeps read my column. Any of my Hungarian family read this (the ones from Hungary…not Cali, Florida, Ohio, or NC…). Shoot me an email

Ok, this is so random I had to post it from

A few weeks ago, reported that Ultimate Battle Optimus Prime Vs. Megatron single carded figures were released in Holland. Now our own BB Shockwave has brought us news that the figures have now been released in Hungary. The figures are selling for the price of 3890 HUF. There is no DVD included.

As I have to search for a “Hungarian Exclusive” now. God damn it…If I find these things then Cullen is signing it for sheer spite

Ok…read this…

Faction Feud – The Battle of the Boards

This Transformer trivia game show pits different Transformers web sites against each other in the battle for all Transformers knowledge. Faction Feud was a huge hit at BotCon 2006, so don’t miss out on the chance to compete this year! There are eight slots available for this tournament so sing up ASAP! It will truly be a battle of wits!
How to enter: email with your web site’s URL and the 5 names and screen names of your 5-member team. Deadline to enter: June 1, 2007.

Now, my last team was decent…when we had five people. I’m down to put together another team and WIN this year…if we can find five Transfans who are down. I might be able to count on David Mack and maybe Chris again this year, but no guarantees. My buddy at Botcon, Pablo, was down, but I don’t know how to get in touch with him. Otherwise, I might be willing to whore out my services…I did leave my team to second place last year with a Stoner, a Mexican, a Chicky who knows next to nothing on TFs, and then an interchangeable 5th member.

Optimus Lime is a flavor of Starburst. Sure…

Go to TRU. They have a hundred and fifty TF candies.

Michael Bay is Directly Mountain Dew TF commercials

The Prime semi was at a Burger King in LA shooting a commercial

Optimash Prime

Role Play toys

Bay sure is pimping this thing…

G1 Mark Out Moment: eHobby is making a clear Mirage figure:

So Pretty…

SPX has an auction up for TFTM07 Thundercracker. Yep, redeco of SS already, but it looks like he got a new head.

From Bay’s site:

The unreleased ad (Prime speaks) that was posted on youtube was a test that European were making with the ads. The clip where OP was “speaking,” lets just say that it wasn’t OP or Cullen speaking. It was something the European studios added on their own. In fact, it was a test shot.

That comes into play in Fanboy vs. Fanboy

My Xbox is getting ”Transformed”

There’s a Target exclusive named “Robo-Vision” Optimus Prime. It’s a silver finish Voyager movie Prime with some more flame detail. Check out Seibertron for a gallery and more info. It has some kind of red decoder gimmick a la G1

TFormers has up a ton of images of movie toys. One of particular interest is…

Deluxe Arcee…hot

I’m thrilled that “movie Arcee” isn’t the freakin’ blue repaint of Energon Arcee. I couldn’t take another repaint of her. By the way, the blue little one is a Target exclusive

Is this Screamer? It’s form a Sector Seven “informant”

MP Screamer gets a repaint as MP Skywarp. Yes, mine is already pre-ordered. As Takara follows the Botcon idea. Skywarp…remold for Dirge…

I got the most random call today. Dahveed from Toy Hell and the Transformer Awards ’04 calls me. I hounded him for awhile because, for those of you who remember, Sal and I went to the awards show. We both presented awards and I won the quick change contest. I pre-ordered the video of the event, but never got it. Dahveed called me to let me know it was done and confirm my address. He’s also doing a new contest with Toy Fair looking for the biggest fan. Check out more info Transformers You know damn well I’ll be in that since I missed out on the TF movie one.

Fanboy vs.Fanboy

The format will be like this: Charles gets two questions and I get two questions. Then the other person gets to argue. However, let’s start things out with some nice opening statements.

Mr. K:

I was not a fan of the movie. I cringed when I saw the first concept drawing of a fat Starscream. Needless to say, I didn’t recognize Megatron. I don’t like flames on car. I think that should stay in the 80’s or in Podunk. However, I am a fan of the Transformer toy lines. The Transformers franchise continues to evolve with each and every toy line. It began as a conglomeration of toys from Japan. The toys were blocky with little to no real articulation. Their movements were meant to allow for transformation, not poseability. They broke with the slightest strain and were sometimes hard to replace. Those toys were also cannon; the beginning of what we would know as The Transformers.

A cartoon and comic were created to boost sales. Both are considered cannon, but with a definite fan sway toward the cartoon. I don’t believe this reflect on the comic for being “bad” or “unaccepted,” but rather that the comic was distributed to a wider audience. The same can be said for the UK comic, which to this day few casual fans even know about. The cartoon spawned an animated movie, which lead into the third season of the animated series. This age of Transformers would become the accepted cannon. Everything from this point on would be compared to the previous and held to a very strict standard. It would have to, for soon after the Transformers died.

The Transformers comic ended with issue #80. The cartoon ended by bringing back the hero, Optimus Prime. It briefly returned with remastered G1 episodes, but disappeared shortly there after. The toys ended after the failed “Generation 2” toy line. The future, if one existed, looked bleak for the Transformers.

Hasbro didn’t even attach there name to the Transformers for a short period. The name returned with the “Animorphs” line, which most Transfans don’t even consider true TFs. However, the Animorphs proved to be a stepping stone for the reinvention of the Transformers line: The Beast Wars.

Were fans tired of the blocky figures? Of the same characters over and over? Of no new direction in the TF line(s)? It might have been a combination of all these and others. Regardless, Kenner decided to take the TF series in a different direction. The figures would now be animals. The toys would be have sleek, rounded exteriors that, not only resembled animals like the G1 Predacons and Dinobots, but were animals. The robots no longer resembled the blocky characters of G1. They were equipped with ball joints to prevent breaking and were now more organic or, dare I say, “human looking.” They possessed muscular structure; calves, forearms, pectorals, waists, etc. The figures themselves were a far cry from G1. This turned off many transfans including myself. However, the toys were soon followed by a CGI show. The show was groundbreaking on several fronts. The first is the previously mentioned CGI. The second, and more important to some degree, was how the show was written. It was written for young adults/adults.

Then came the Beast Machines. Now, granted, I am one of the few who found the story to be the most intriguing of any TF story. None the less, this was a very adult themed, dark telling of the Transformers. It blurred the lines between good and evil. The toys were similar to the Beast Wars, but now contained vehicles on the evil side. These vehicles were another far cry from G1. They were articulated like the Beast Wars and weren’t made from building blocks. Instead, the designers were able to blend the two. The vehicles looked like vehicles, but the robots still held more of a organic characteristic.

Now for the rest of the story. Technically, this is where the other cartoons went out of G1 continuity. RiD was brought over from Japan as filler between Beast Machines and Armada. The cartoons tanked the standard that the Beast Wars had previously set. The dialogue became arbitrary while the cartoon was clipped together from Japanese animation. However, the toys hit the extreme of “hybrid.” The robot modes looked organic with smaller arms, legs, and torsos detailed with human definition. The vehicles were made to perfection on the Autobot side. The Decepticons were taken mainly from the Beast Wars and G2 with a new mold Megatron.

Then came the Armada/Energon/Cybertron trilogy. It was rumored that at one point this would be a continuation of G1. The cartoon was first made in Japan and sent to America, so it suffered the same problems as RiD. Now, while the cartoon was difficult to watch and contradicted itself on a daily basis, the toy line continued to evolve. The toy went to a bit more of a blockier feel, but kept the some of the same traits made popular in Beast Wars. The figures were now made with ball joints and most had more organic looking parts. The arms, legs, and torso lost a lot of the human definition, but still remained closer to human proportions. Even now, the “Classics” line has kept these same traits as the figures evolved through time.

What’s the point of my history lesson? The fact is that the Transformers lines and characters have changed many times over the years. How many new molds and looks have we seen for Megatron? How many of them have actually looked like G1 Megatron? Every TF line is based off of G1 cannon. You don’t believe me? Every line has a Megatron and Optimus to begin with. Every line incorporates characters from G1. Each line has some human characters for children to relate to (most at least…). The main thing to remember about every line is that it is based off of G1. However, it will never be G1.

There was a public out cry when the X-Men were put into black leather outfits. There was a public out cry when Spiderman had organic web-shooters, when Mary Jane fell off the bridge instead of Gwen, and even for the Spiderman costume. Those two movies are now regarded by most fans and non-fans alike as the best comic adapted movies. They spawned two sequels a piece and made millions upon millions of dollars.

My point is this: G1 was a 1980’s toy commercial. It was great and will be held in high regard to all of us “hardcore transfans” until the end of time. We will always use it as the standard bearer of what the Transformers should be. However, we should never discount the new. The Beast Wars were the extreme of the Transformer evolution. That extreme may be the only reason Transformers are still alive today. It took reinventing the TF line to make it grow and flourish enough to garner a live action movie. Bay is now doing the same thing to bring the TF line to the masses. He has reinvented the TF line while still making it based on G1. Optimus, Megatron, Starscream, Ironhide, Jazz, Ratchet, and Bumblebee are true to G1 form. No, Bumblebee isn’t a VW bug and Prime isn’t a flat nose semi, but they are based off the G1 characters. Who is Spike’s best friend? Bumblebee. Who is the medic? Ratchet. Who is the “cool” transformer? Jazz. Who is Megatron’s right hand man? Starscream.

The lines have evolved through the ages. We’ve seen many variants of Megatron. We’ve seen many takes on Optimus. This is no different that any other new TF line. It just happens to have a live action movie as its commercial for you to buy the toy. Always remember the movie is based of G1; it isn’t meant to be G1. Nothing will ever be G1 because G1 is in the history books. We will always use this line and its cannon as our example of what the Transformers line should be, but we can not hope that each line will duplicate our memories. G1 is dead. Long live The Transformers.

King of the Fanboys

Instead of a long drawn out statement I will paraphrase the greatest American President. On July 5th 2007 will you be better off then you were on July 3rd?

And then our questions…

By agreeing to the designs, and keeping in mind the blurb I posted last week, is Hasbro hedging their bets and putting to much faith in their core fan-base remaining loyal to the brand after the movie is done?

Mr. K:

Hedging? If fans stayed loyal through some of the other nonsense we’ve been through, then they’ll stay loyal for another take on the TF origin. You don’t believe me? Animorphs. What the hell was that? That was also at a point and time when there seemed to be little hope of a “real” return for any TF line (between G2 and Beast Wars). Fans still held out hope. Then came the Beast Wars. Transformers that turn into animals? What bullshit. Transfans balked at the idea of the Beast Wars, but they held on. They even started to like the Beast Wars. Granted, some people like Charles who haven’t given it a chance may disagree, but they were great toys with a phenomenal cartoon. This was followed by Beast Machines, which is a love or hate situation. The toys were not great and the story was a vast contrast to anything done in the past. The fans held on. Then came RiD, which was another take on the G1 continuity (or an alternate reality…you get my point). The toys were different and the cartoon sucked. Transfans held faith. Now we’re at the Armada/Energon/Cybertron trilogy. The toys are decent and the cartoons are occasionally decent, but have little continuity and horrid dubbing. Then the nostalgia pop. The Classics line is hard to hate, but it still fits into my point.

The Transformer lines have seen drastic changes over the years. You’re going to see competition pass you by if you remain stagnate with any business. Transformers are no different. Technology advances and allows us to make better toys, different toys that are going to appeal to new generations. Transformers need to challenge young minds. The transformation, the battle, the overall story has to be believable while remaining entertaining. We’ve seen it since G1. The lines will change. The story will change. The fans will remain the same. If there’s one thing true of any fanboy, myself included, we may bitch, we may complain, but in the end we will buy the toy, watch the cartoon, and then take our kids to the next movie.

I would also like to point out that many of the extreme pessimists have come around for this movie. Look at the main guy from Cybertron. He was such a huge hater that the guy posted many columns on how he thought Bay was on crack and Megatron sucked. However, after going to one of the test screenings and seeing it in action, he’s come around to the film. Now, I’m not saying he wouldn’t prefer some changes, but he’s come along way from his original columns. We have to see how it plays on camera. I have to say that from what I’ve seen so far…I’m pretty damn impressed.

Yet, this question of course leads to another question: Are these “moviebots” similar enough to Transformers, or did Michael Bay change them too much? Let’s begin with the G1 design. The toys were borderline horrid. Wait, before you scream…breath so you can listen. They may have been cutting edge back in the day, but todays standards are a lot different. We can’t simply look back to those days and go “ok let’s remake G1 exactly how it was 23 years ago.” That doesn’t make any sense. Plus, the blocky texture would have made for a somewhat “fake” live action movie. No one wants the original Fantastic Four movie, the original Captain America movie, the original Flash movie, or the original Nick Fury movie with David Hasslehoff. Well, except maybe Sal. Do we want our movie to succeed or do we want to make this a straight to DVD flick they show at Botcon? We want something to look “real” on camera. Now think about this…the Transformers are supposed to be living organisms from another planet. They are made of metal, but alive. Ok, no think of anything else that is alive…or organic. Bay wanted to make organic robotic creatures. He came up with something not a far cry from RiD. Now, is it G1? No, but it is based off those characters. Not the robots, but the characters and vehicle modes. The organic nature may not float your boat. It’s different. However, it’s the next step in the evolution of the Transformers.

King of the Fanboys

Mike you ignorant SLUT! You really can’t compare the G1 toys to those of today and then to the movie line. First one has to realize that when an adult fan that grew up on G1 pictures Optimus Prime in their mind 9 times out of 10 they are imagining the cartoon character not the toy. That is an important point to note since that is whom this movie is really geared towards. Yes the toys were blocky and in most cases looked nothing like their cartoon counter parts but one must remember unlike the future TF lines the toys weren’t created off of the cartoon; the cartoon was created off of the toys. Hasbro has gone on the record as saying they would have preferred the toys to be more cartoon accurate. Hasbro and Takara/Tomy have the ability now to make toys that are 100% accurate to the cartoons and could have, in my opinion, done a better job at replicating Bay’s designs or even better creating some of their own.

At least that’s how I felt before I read the statement that I posted in the last CE. To paraphrase Hasbro went for designs that were drastically different from the “Classic” looks as to protect any long-term royalties from Paramount. Basically had they designed Optimus Prime as a flat nosed semi every time Hasbro released a Prime figure that looked like that or close to it Hasbro would have had to kick a nickel to Paramount. The way it is now Hasbro can continue their reissue line, which they have gone on record as saying they would, with concern of loosing any profit. Hedging their bets? You bet and it makes me feel a lot better about things since I am more certain that these “Transformers” and I use that term loosely will not become the new standard. Now do I think Hasbro will loose some customers over this? Yes, but not many. Basically only the most die hard of G1 purists; those are the ones who feel no mater what that his movie should have been a strict retelling of G1 and weren’t planning on going to the movie to begin with. You can pick these fans out as they are usually carrying a sign that reads “Bay raped my childhood.”

Are you happy with the final designs looking organic and nothing like the original G1 bots, even though this is supposed to be a G1 based movie?

King of the Fanboys

The Transformers have a surprisingly long history of organic looking robots starting with Beast Wars. Organic looking Transformers lack a certain roughness to them and often have a feminine feel to them; RID Sideburns anyone? Robots don’t breathe and they don’t bleed they shouldn’t look like something that does. In some of the movie posters I swear I see flesh under Megatrons helmet and that’s just wrong. If this was a movie geared toward a younger audience then I would understand the softer designs but this is geared toward males in their late 20’s and early 30’s who probably have not seen any of the more recent Transformer series and will find these new looks shocking.

There is a well-defined historical look to the Transformers, which I feel represents the brand more than say rub symbols or catchy slogans. While the toys were often blocky and stiff the cartoon incarnations were anything but, they exuded a type of power and confidence that I find lacking in the movie designs. A child of the 80’s can see a line drawing of two robots one a Transformer the other a Go-Bot and be able to tell the two apart. I don’t feel that is the case with the movie designs. Optimus Prime has a faceplate with no mouth, ALL THE TIME. One complaint I’ve heard over the years and again with the movie is that it is a challenge to draw Optimus Prime because you can’t show emotion with him. Let me say something to all the “Professional” artists and designers especially those who worked on the movie who have had or have problems with Prime not having a mouth: FIND ANOTHER JOB! Let me make this clear to you, if you can’t have Prime show emotion without drawing a big frown on his face that is a failing on your part and not a fault in the design of the character. Megatron is a Walther P38 or a Tank; either way he as a large cannon on his arm and a WELL DEFINED AND RECONIZABLE FACE! I swear the day before I saw the leaked images of movie Megs I passed something close to him during my morning constitutional. I could go through all the characters like this but I think you see my point; Bumblebee doesn’t need to be a Volkswagen Beetle but he damn sure needs not a face but HIS face. What really gets me is that Bay and company strung us along with the promise of improved designs and more familiar looks; that never happened did it? I would be 100% behind this movie if the powers that be would do one thing; come clean and admit that they lied about the designs of the movie. That they lied about this being based on G1 and only said that to gain the trust and support of older fans. Once they do that I’ll support this movie and their crappy robot designs. Now whine and moan about how wrong I am Mike.

Mr. K

I’m finding it humorous that Chuck needs to attack me to make his points. Chuck, it’s not that I’m going to “whine and moan” that you’re wrong because frankly you’re not wrong. However, your stance is so far fanboy that you can’t accept change of any type to the series. I’m going to try not to be redundant in my points, but there is some overlap. Let’s start by addressing Chuck’s concerns and then I’ll review my stance. First, Chuck states that most organic looking toys are somewhat feminine. Sideburns I will completely agree too. Not only that, I’ll give you that RiD was a bit extreme on the organic look. Now, this may be a personal preference issue with Chuck (besides the fact he might be coming out of the closet…), but there are tons of examples of masculine looking figures and few feminine looking ones. In Beast wars you have Primal, Megatron, Dinobot, the entire collection of Dinobots, Rhinox, Waspinator, K-9, Power Hug, Bonecrusher, and the list goes on and on. RiD Prime and Magnus were very masculine looking as well as X-Brawn. Prowl was such a likeable design that it warranted around six hundred redcos of the figure.

As for Megatron, we all would have loved for a figure and face that at least came a bit closer to our evil lord and savior. I was appalled at the initial designs for Megatron along with everyone else. My only hope was the rumor of this being a “pre-Earth” design. That didn’t turn out to be the case. As for the alt mode, I agree Megatron’s most accepted modes are a gun and a tank. However, we’ve recently seen him take on a space ship alt mode for multiple series. Plus, they made him into the god damn Batmobile in Cybertron. That was a pretty heinous act in and of itself. Plus, we already know why he can’t be a gun. As for a tank, I think that just worked better for other characters than for Megatron.

As for who it is geared to, you’re way off the bat. Go to TRU right now and look at all the kid friendly bullshit lining the aisles. We have (and are soon to have) candies, role playing toys, “Real Gear,” and then an entire line of figures. Chris, my friend at TRU, gave me an estimate on the percentage of overall TF says that are bought by collectors. It’s around 10%. You can believe it or not, but considering the source I’m going to go with people who count on these numbers for a living. However, it does burn me that Hasbro doesn’t see the gold mine that I’ve provided them with. Regardless, the movie is aimed at a wide range of fans. It is aimed at the 25-30 year olds who use to watch the show as a kid. It’s aimed for them to bring their kids along too. It is aimed at the 18-25 year olds who watched Beast Wars, Beast Machines, and RiD. It is aimed at the 10-18 year olds who watched Armada, Energon, and Cybertron. It’s also aimed at a whole new generation that doesn’t even know what Generation 1 is. You, and a lot of fanboys, want it to be aimed at you. It’s not and you can’t have yellow suits or mechanical webslingers either.

Chuck makes the statement that TFs have a historical look. They did have a historical look back in the eighties. Right now you could stick two TFs side by side and sometimes not know what line they’re from or if they are both even Transformers. Beast Wars, RiD, and even the AEC Trilogy (as it will no forever be known) has figures that are not “representative” of the 80’s blocky look. As for Prime, I got two words for you: Batman Begins. Do you remember the scene where Bats has the guy upside down on the rooftop? Did you see how hard Christian Bail had to over exaggerate his emotions because he didn’t have access to half his face in the bat suit? It’s the same concept. You’re right that emotion can be conveyed through other methods. However, when you have ten minutes of screen time with your main character then you have to try and convey as much as possible in a short time period. Besides, Primal established the fact that the face plate was battle armor and could be retractable. I will agree though that I wish all of the characters looked at least a bit more like their G1 namesakes. Prime is probably the closest, but the rest are a far cry from what we remember.

I would be 100% behind this movie if the powers that be would do one thing; come clean and admit that they lied about the designs of the movie. That they lied about this being based on G1 and only said that to gain the trust and support of older fans. Once they do that I’ll support this movie and their crappy robot designs.

Chuck…c’mon. Have you ever really looked up the “true story” when they say “based on a true story?” The movie designers, writers, directors, and producers take as many liberties as they like with the final movie. The movie is based on G1. You even admitted that to me here:

Well Mike after 6 hours trying to find the column You’re right, they said based on.

The based on part is this: big robots that transform, come from the planet Cybertron, are Autobots and Decepticons, have leaders named Optimus Prime and Megatron, have a second in command character for the Decepticons named Starscream who transforms into a jet, have Autobots named Ironhide, Ratchet, Bumblebee, and Jazz, they have a character based off Spike and even his dad, Sparkplug, and Bumblebee befriends Spike and they become best buds. That’s a lot more “based off of” than other adaptations I’ve seen (Spidey 1, 2, and probably 3, Fantastic Four, X-Men 1, 2, and 3, Ghost Rider…we can keep going…). Plus, it’s just as the other TF cartoons have been “based off G1 characters”, so too is the movie. Unfortunately for you Chuck, the movie isn’t directed at the older fan base. Those are just the people who go to Botcon and watch the movie for $25 a pop

And to finish up, I have grown to not only like the organic looking figures, but have really begun to enjoy the look. I think it was the toys that put me over the edge on really enjoying the characters. Their look and feel are a great way to blend the “living” and “robots” together into new designs. The rest I’m rest I’m sure you can read in another one of my rants

Are having voice actors who are part of the Transformers brand important to the movie? Are they even desired anymore?

Mr. K:

At one point I believed they were. It was during the time this was “G1” in my mind. I mean, how cool would it have been to have reunited Cullen, Welker, Susan Blu, Wally Burr, Jack Angel, Gregg Berger, Michael Bell, Michael Chain, Dan Gilvezan, Scatman Crothers, Corey Burton, Marlene Aragon, Arlene Banas, Jared Barclay, Charlie Adler, Roger Behr, Arthur Burghardt, Roger C. Carmel, Phillip Clarke, Rege Cordic, Bud Davis, Walker Edmiston, Paul Eiding, Laurie Faso, Ron Gans, Brad Garrett, Dick Gautier, Ed Gilbert, Michael Horton….

I may have just proved my point. Granted, the first few names after Cullen and Welker may set off a light bulb, but after that I’m stumped. The only reason I know those names is because I’m a guru dork and have been to Botcons with them. In terms of name recognition, I don’t think anyone would recognize the fact that you put Corey Burton in the movie versus putting in Johnny Haymer (the G1 voices of Brawl and Vortex). That brings me to the fact that if we as transfans don’t know these names then the general public will have no idea. Now, I know we would love for this movie to be aimed at just us, but it’s not. It’s aimed at the masses. No one is going to know who the stars of the movie are if we put Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, and Corey Burton on the top of the movie poster. Granted, you’ll get the “nostalgia pop” when someone tells them it’s the original voices. Is that what is going to make them go see the flick? No, it’s the overall nostalgia mark out people are having for a live action TF movie.

Now, I know your next argument: “Well, we may not know the names, but we know the voices!” Yeah, not anymore. The voices you remember as a child and one these old smokers can whip out today are pretty damn different. I never thought of that until I read that argument…then listened to Cullen at a Botcon. Oh, you can still tells it’s Prime’s voice, but it sounds like he got kicked a few times, aged a hundred thousand years, and had a larynx operation. Ok, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but my point is the voices aren’t going to sound identical to G1 even with the original actors. Plus, the voice modulation that they are doing makes every character sound a little closer to Soundwave than to a “normal” voice. There is one preview with Prime speaking out and now a clip of Screamer has appeared from Sector Seven. Those voices had some heavy duty work done to them. I didn’t even recognize the clip of Cullen as Cullen. Just to be fair, there is the possibility that wasn’t Cullen though. It may have been recorded just to get the clip out. Regardless, the voice was messed with pretty heavily. (Note: Bay just revealed that it was not Cullen)

This question leads into the “Should they have movie actors instead of cartoon voice actors for the movie?” I have to say yes to it. Let’s begin with the argument that a “voice actor” would do a better job than a normal actor. Normal actors are capable. Look at some of the great CGI cartoons that have come out. Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and Cars all had big name actors doing the voice overs and it worked out great. However, I truly believe it has to be the right actors. Would I have preferred Welker to Hugo for Megatron? Yes, but that’s in my little fanboy dementia. Do I like Hugo as Megatron? I definitely think it could work. “Agent Smith” is almost a perfect character for Hugo to base Megatron on. He’s a supremacist who doesn’t like being controlled. The mass public has accepted Hugo/Smith as a bad ass (He knows Kung Fu!), so it wouldn’t be a stretch to make him evil again. I make this point because to me, it wouldn’t be believable to have Jerry Seinfeld be Megatron. He’s a funny guy. Megatron is a bad ass. Hugo is a bad ass. It works. The same goes for Will Smith as Jazz. I think it would be a great homage to Scatman Crothers to have a black man the caliber of Will Smith take over. Plus, will Smith has some of the same characteristics that make him a believable Jazz. He’s proven he can be “cool” and witty, but he’s also kicked a lot of Alien ass over the years.

I don’t believe that having the original voice actors is an intricate part of this film. I would only agree with that if this movie was taken verbatim from the “G1 cannon.” As we’ve seen, it is more of a “retelling” similar to Heroes, Classics, Armada, etc. Are they still wanted? I think Cullen and Welker will always be “Megatron and Optimus.” Those two names, or even the recognition of their voice, bring out the fanboy in all of us. However, are they “needed” to make this movie great? No. Is collecting the entire original cast needed to ensure the film’s success? I think not. Some of the voices may still be based of their G1 Likeness. Starscream’s sure sounds like it is. So in terms of desire, the fanboys will always dream of a G1 reunion. However, is it important to the movie? No. Big Fuckin’ Robots are what will bring in the masses. Not the return of Corey Burton.

King of the Fanboys

It breaks my heart to do this but I have to agree with Mike since I can’t imagine the classic voices coming out of something that looks like it was passed this morning. If the movie fails, which I think it will, Peter Cullen will have the taint of the movie on him for the rest of his career. Instead of an honor being the voice of Optimus Prime will be a joke. I can almost see the “South Park” or “Family Guy” parody now. I was pulling for Frank Welker to be chosen as the voice of Megatron; that was until I realized that Movie Megs looked like female genitalia. From that point on I really hoped they went with anyone but Welker, and thankfully they did. I do disagree with Mike about his feelings on the original voice cast. Obviously their names wouldn’t be featured on the poster let alone above the title, but I feel would do a better job then some A-list actor since they’ve been with the characters more. Had Shockwave been a part of the movie, even if he looked like a bearded clam, I would want Corey Burton doing his voice since his is the most recognizable especially when you consider that Shockwave was one of the G1 Characters not to carry over through the years. By the way, all the posters and commercials would have to do is mention that the movie features the original voice cast and people would come.

Should the movie have been geared to the established base thus guaranteeing an audience or do you like the way it is now geared towards a wider audience?

King of the Fanboys

I’ve always held the belief that it is better from a business stand point to make a movie that 2 people would want to see twice than a movie that 3 people would only want to see once. By doing it the first way you’re already guaranteed an extra sale and thus more money. I’m not even touching DVD sales and rentals. Unfortunately most people in the movie business believe in the later theory and thus make films that, while sometimes good, often lack any real substance. What I find funny is that there are films throughout history that prove my theory right; Halloween, The Blair Witch Project, and more recently Rocky Balboa. Now Mike will argue that the largest segment of the Transformer fan base are youngsters that may not have any knowledge of G1 let alone any sentimental attachment to that era. While I believe that to be true I also believe that a movie based solely in the G1 universe, maybe even one of the original ‘toon storylines, would make more money in the long run due to people like me going to see it 2 or 3 times. I’d really hate to see this movie end up like “Serenity” where 6 years later and it hasn’t even made a quarter of its budget back yet.

Mr. K

This is one I thought you would have fought harder for Chuck. You must have been getting tired. I see your point, but whole heartedly disagree with it. That fact remains that no matter how bad this movie could be, the fanboy, cape wearing “I hate the movie designs,” will see the movie a minimum of one time just to see what they think. Then they’ll BLOG about it and their friends will want to see what the hype is about. Then they’ll take their friends, pay $10 to get back in, and although bitching the whole time, will see it again. And again. And again. Then they will by the DVD if only to have it in their collections, which, by the way, is where a lot more of movie income is being seen these days. Botcon is testament that we’ll see a TON of people who I guarantee bitched about the movie, and may still be bitching, bought a ticket to go see it. Then they’ll do what I’m doing when I get back to Miami: I’m taking all my friends to see it together. As for your examples of movies, Halloween works. The rest don’t. Blair Witch gained as much money as it did for two reasons. The first is because they did a brilliant marketing campaign that lead people to this day to believe it was real. The bitch was on Leno. Second, it had little to no cost (relatively speaking) because of the way it was created. Rocky Balboa? I think you need to check your numbers on that one. It’ll be in the $9.99 bin so fast your head will spin.

You made half my argument for me and then agreed to it. Dude, it’s like cigarettes: hook ‘em while they’re young. You will go see it two or three times Chuck. Even if not, you’ll see it once and buy the DVD. It took a penny to make that DVD (after initial costs you money hungry vultures!) How much of that mark up do you think is going in Bay’s pocket? Chuck, and Capers, it’s like he ripped it out of your wallets and, after fondling it, burned it to warm his personal Jacuzzi. I just had to use the imagery to piss Chuck off.

Plus, the movie isn’t made for you or the 10% of us older folks who play with kids toys. It’s made for the kids who play with kids toys. Hence no G1 cartoon stories. Plus, go back and watch them. The cartoons aren’t bad, but they lack continuity all the way up to series three. Don’t argue, I’ve explained the lack of continuity to you a hundred times. Don’t make up fan boy reasoning to explain them. You do get your wish though. The movie is pretty close to G1 in the fact it’s there to sell toys.

We have to remember that this movie thing is a business. It’s not for the artistic integrity of the TF line. They don’t think of how they can ensure they make the fan base happy. They think how can we ensure we market to a massive demographic spanning at least two generations and how do we get them to bring their friends. The wider audience insures two things: Fanboys and plus one. The fanboys will go regardless. I’d best a MP Megs that the Botcon venue sells out. Then you have to grab other peoples attention. The big “booms” do that for some idiots. The name recognition of “Transformers” will do it for others. The masses drag others along for the ride, but those others include their kids. The kids grow up, see the next three TF movies, and buy all the toys. What else could you ask for?

K’s Konundrum

Q: What Decepticon leader was almost made into a video camera?

A: Megatron. The name was probably pretty easy, but have you seen those pics? Weird shit. Here’s what Alex Bickmore had to say:

This is a concept piece put togther by Hasbro. They took a G2 Megatron tank and added pieces on as they desired. This piece is a cost effient mock up piece that is created, and then displayed to a board as a possible toy idea. This chop shop idea is oftenly used and has been in the toy industry for many years. It is unknown if this piece was intended to go any further in the process than it is displayed here.
This mock up prototype has been placed under speculation and question by many Transformer fans. These fans though did not know where it originated from (Hasbro Employee’s), as well any idea of the process or role it took in the creation of the Generation 2 toy line. They took one look, saw it was a kit bash, and accused it of being fake without any knowledge.

I’d post pics, but go check out his site instead.

This Week’s Q: What other voice acting has Hugo Weaving performed?

Pimp my Mechanical Sentient Being

Ok, so our Archives got smashed in the switch to V.3. However, they still exist with different locations. I’ll start a few each week to savor the history of Inside Pulse

My babies:
Kaye’s Kollection
Kaye’s Kollection 2

Masterpiece Nemesis

InsidePULSE’s Botcon Spectacular

The Inside Pulse on…Transformers Alternators

Inside Pulse On…Transformers Cybertron; Speed Planet.

Alessandro “Rikkomba” Riccombeni: Cybertron Wingsaber, Cybertron Menasor,
Galaxy Force Soundblaster

And in closing arguments…

From Chuck:

“Hey all, hope everything is going good for you guys this week. As I mentioned a few weeks back we are looking to do a special column right before Bot-Con based on the weird and wacky world of conventions. Basically all I need is you worst/humorous/strangest stories about whatever mishaps you’ve ever experienced at a convention. Names can be changed to protect the innocent, or guilty.”

Random note, but Jen made a website Kevin O’Connell and occasionally updates it. No clue who that is? Check the link. It’s the guy doing sound for TF the movie. Anyway, IMDB says “completed.” Not yet. Kevin told Jen he was working on it as we speak. I would imagine it’s the finishing touches, but it was kind of cool to get a little inside info.

I’m spent. I hope you guys enjoy and here’s to another year of the CE.

Your Transformable Lord and Savior,

Transformers Kollector Extraordinaire. Mike originally wrote a weekly article called the Cybertronian Enquirer for Inside Pulse, but now does special events such as SDCC, Botcon, and other conventions. Mike has one of the largest Transformers collections ranging from G1 to Power of the Primes including Japanese, European, 3rd Party, prototypes (G2 Stunticons!), and Lucky draws.