Hasbro Transformers 2003 Presentation

Hasbro Inc. held a first ever event at its headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island for collector media. The event was aimed at giving the fans a first hand look at new Hasbro products that will be coming out for 2003. The event kicked off with an introduction from Hasbro welcoming the attendees to the event and giving thanks to fan community for all their hard work and support. The introduction was followed by slide presentations made by the brand managers of each of the product groups. Michelle Fields, Director of boy’s toys marketing, was on hand to take us through the Transformers portion of the program. The following is a report on the presentation given on March 12, 2003.

Michelle began the presentation with an overview of the 2003 spring and fall product releases. A chart was shown spanning the year with the introduction of Armada and the G1 Commemorative Series (CS) in the spring and the expansion into the three lines for the Fall; Armada, G1 and the new Transformers Universe. The presentation then went on to cover each of the three lines starting with Armada.

Transformers Amrada - The Unicron Battles

We began by reviewing the initial product launch of the Transformers Armada TV show and toy line in June of 2002. Michelle highlighted the great ratings and product sales they have since 2002. The next slide moved on to focus more on the Armada cartoon series followed by a viewing of a short promotional video made of clips from the many Armada cartoons. After viewing the promo, Michelle announced the addition of thirteen new Armada episodes in the new season that will be called the "The Unicron Battles" that will begin airing August 2003 on the Cartoon Network.

Following the cartoon news, the Transformers.com web site was discussed noting that they have enjoyed a wonderful response to it and that are always looking for more ways to provide information that will be of value to the fans.

Next, the topic moved on to the Transformers armada toys coming in 2003. There was the announcement of new Mini-con teams, the addition of the Overload and Tidal Wave figures to the line and the new vehicle combination capabilities they offer with other Gigacon-sized figures and Super Base Prime.

Armada Unicron

Its safe to say the centerpiece of Armada is Unicron. Which may explain why a good portion of the presentation was dedicated covering to the toy and the character. Michelle began by introducing Unicron as the second largest Transformers figure ever made, stating he is second in size only to Fortress Maximus. The figure stands at roughly sixteen (16) inches tall with lots and lots of features. She also made note that the figure is the most articulated figure that Hasbro has ever made other facts. His Mini-con named "Dead-End," is not only a robot, but also doubles as Unicron's gunner cannon that mounts on his front side in planet mode. Unicron also has several Mini-con traps. He has light up eyes. He has a hand that can crush Mini-cons (in the cartoon, not the toy, I will assume). In planet mode, Unicron has the facilities to hold 27 Mini-cons at once. The figure was intentionally made as a homage to The Transformers: The Movie character stating that Hasbro cannot bring back Orson Wells but they can bring us Unicron. For me, it was quite touching. I've been a long-time fan of Orson Wells' work, Unicron aside.

Armada Leader Combos

Following the Unicron overview, the new presentation focused on the new combiner capacities introduced with the new Overload and Tidal wave figures and the other Armada toys: Jetfire, Super Base Prime and Megaton. The first slide illustrated the combination abilities between Overload, Super Base Optimus Prime and Jetfire. Images were shown of the three figures combined in robot and vehicle modes. The following slides provided similar combination abilities between Tidal Wave and the Megatron / Galvatron figures with an image shown of them combined in RObot mode. Very cool stuff!

Transformers Universe

Right behind the Armada segment, the presentation dived right into the new Transformers Universe series. The line is being offered as a series of cool redeco characters from the past that are now coming together to battle in the same universe. The toys will be sold under the umbrella brand, "Transformers Universe." One of the intentions of the line is to offer toys from the past so kids can complete their collections as well as introduce them to other great shows they don't know about like G2, Beast Wars, Beast Machines and Robots in Disguise shows from the past. The full line will be shown as this Summer's conventions. Hasbro is excited about the line and will be distributing the toys through popular retail stores. There are plans to package the Universe series toys with a promo CD-ROM that may include an episode of armada, show theme music, and an exclusive comic by Dreamwave productions. The toys should be available in July 2003. The other, and most significant, aim of the Transformers Universe is to make it the foundation for the BotCon comics story line, introducing the characters from the toy line in the comic and vice versa. For me, this was a very positive sign that the BotCon and Hasbro alliance is really kicking into gear in a big way.

G1 Commemorative Series

Next was the spotlight on the G1 Commemorative Series. This year Hasbro is coming out in force with 10 original G1 re-issues. The arrangement with making the toys available as Toys R Us exclusives will continue. There were several new toys announced as part of series in the presentation including new about Red Alert for Series IV (4) as well as Hoist, Skids and Inferno that will be offered as the figures for series V (5). Michelle also informed us that Hasbro will be making a 20th anniversary re-issue that will be available in 2004.

Transformers Licensing

The final part of the presentation gave us a brief overview of the licensing products Hasbro has lined for the Transformers property for this and last. The following information was covered:

  • Palisades toys will be releasing four new Transformers G1 statues based on Dreamwave artwork. Slated for 2003 Holiday release.

  • Hard Hero will be developing nine busts and the three statues for release this year.

  • Great sales on the Trasnformers Bobbleheads and lunch boxes by NECA.

  • Infogrames will be doing a CGI based game for Armada on the PS/2 platform that is slated for a 2004 release.

The presentation wrapped up with a viewing of two of the new Transformers Armada commercials in rotation now. One was a commercial for Supercons Blurr and Sideways. The other was the commercial featuring Jetfire and Super Base Optimus Prime.

Overall this is a very impressive product roll out. Hasbro's ambitions for the Transformers toy line was clearly on display at this event with more than 40 transformers products on show its hard to believe there isn't something for every kind of Transformers fan. The quantity and variety is a real testament not just to Hasbro's dedication to this line, but to their passion behind it. And, I am willing to bet the Transformers product team over at Hasbro still have a few surprises in store for us this year. Stay tuned it can only get better. ;)

Transformers 2003 Presentation Slides

Check out the slides from the actual Transformers 2003 products presenatation below for more images, illustrations and information that was covered at the event.

Click on the PREV and NEXT links to see more images

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