How About An Ultimate Transformers Combiner? Just to Kick Around Some Good Ideas

I think we've all grown used to combiners being a certain way in the Transformers universe. I just wonder, how would people feel about an ultimate combiner?

What do I mean by that? Glad you asked.

One HUGE combined bot...Obviously. But instead of one bot as an arm, one a leg, etc..etc..they make smaller bots where one becomes the forearm and hand, one the upper arm and shoulder. One the hip and upper leg, one lower leg and foot and at least 2 different bots for the body. At least 10 bots in all.

Is that too much engineering to hope for such a thing? Even if they were relatively small and simple individual figures?

This would probably be a great idea for figures the size of Cyberverse (commander) figures. It would only be good if the figures had individual bot and alt modes as well. I think new Transformers projects should look towards more ambitious ideas...this would fit the bill! However a 10 figure combiner most likely wouldn't come cheap or easy. So one would have to wonder how many they can do. Perhaps take a page from PCC where other individual bots in the line can be interchangeable with other parts to give the combined form new powers and abilities.

It might be a dream, but something like this could take combiners to a whole new level.

I'd just love to see more things incorporated into Transformers that lets the kids/collectors get more creative. Different ways to transform bots, different ways to combine them etc. That's what I loved about lines like Energon, even though some of the execution was iffy. The idea is sound.

Hasbro has also liked tinkering with the Lego like sets over the years. KREO obviously being the current effort. Here is an idea for Hasbro to revolutionize the Lego block and Transformers combining as we know it. Make sets where the individual lego blocks can transform into robots. You can have a hoard of tiny robots and then combine them into whatever twisted things you can come up with!

But not just basic blocks, there is no telling how many different kinds of transforming parts they can make. You can build huge robots, perhaps a Metroplex or Fort Max, or create a city bot of your own design...the possibilities could be endless! Best of all, they could be made to interact with virtually ANY Transformers line.

Anyways...just some neat ideas I've always had balled up in my brain. Anyone else have any?

Member Comments...

Last 10 comments - ( Read All Posts )
Geminii - 2011-09-24 @ 10:23 am

Various problems present themselves with large numbers of components to a large figure.

- if there are too many independently-purchasable parts for most kids (or the target demographic) to collect, hardly any will get to assemble the large figure, so it's something of a moot selling point and it's not worth designing the engineering into it in the first place.

- if there are many components but sold in "team" packs, each pack can be expensive - and the large robot requires more than one to be bought.

- if all the components are sold in a single pack, it can be VERY expensive.

- if the components are fairly large compared to the final figure, it's no different to current combiner teams.

- if the components are too small compared to the final figure, it makes it very difficult from an engineering perspective to create effective super-robot joints and features (heads, hands) without said joints/features taking up most of the space in the smaller robots, making their engineering more difficult.

- if the joints are shrunk to avoid the knee-bots (for example) being just giant knees with arms and legs, the giant robot's knees may well end up floppy or difficult to position.

- if the hands/head are made out of vehicle components so they don't have to be hidden in the other modes, they are often not very aesthetic/functional.

- if the hands/head are separate components, they have kibble issues and the question of where to put them when the giant robot is disassembled.

- if the torso is made up of multiple components, there's the issue of getting them all to peg together securely and stay that way under normal play conditions and the mass/stresses of the combined form itself.

- if the various combination parts which link the smaller robots together in the combined form are to be strong enough to operate under normal play conditions, they're generally bulky compared to the size of the robot, and the design has to figure out some way to incorporate them.

- finally, the designs of the individual parts have to be similar enough so that they can combine into a form which doesn't resemble the Elephant Man, yet different enough so that they don't all appear identical in shape, transformation, or appearance.

Finally, while it's not impossible to overcome these problems, even all of them, doing so often involves a fairly heroic engineering effort and long revisions of the design while it's tested. The engineers' time is the parent company's money, and it's quite possible the accountants will be telling the engineering group "The projected ROI on a super-combo robot isn't anywhere near as good as spending that same time on twenty smaller designs which don't need to conform to all these simultaneous restrictions. Go make noncombining toys instead."

jeffafa - 2011-09-17 @ 4:58 pm

So this came up as a random gallery image when I logged in today:

(link)

Not quite an ultimate combiner, but I thought it was cool. Nice job Time Phantom!

jetfire217 - 2011-09-17 @ 3:25 am

I didn't enjoy pcc because the connections and the use of drones. I would like to see a new hasbro combiner with 4 or 5 deluxes.and a voyager_leader corso man. Just a new gesault.instead of making 7 or 8 bad pcc just make atleast 3 classics style big gesaults

madman1366 - 2011-09-16 @ 8:18 pm

I agree with what you say madman1366. :) And IMO Takara have generally been better at understanding and servicing fans/collectors than Hasbro. However I also think that Takara's standards have slipped since their merger with TOMY. :(

It's always a give and take thing. We want more bang for our buck and they want more bucks for the bang. Eventually something gives somewhere.

Goktimus Prime - 2011-09-16 @ 1:42 am

I agree with what you say madman1366. :) And IMO Takara have generally been better at understanding and servicing fans/collectors than Hasbro. However I also think that Takara's standards have slipped since their merger with TOMY. :(

madman1366 - 2011-09-16 @ 1:37 am

I guess for those who haven't been around as long, I should clarify or try to inform you as best I can in a nutshell of what the relationship has been like between the fans and collectors over the years.

Back when I got into collecting, Hasbro really had little to no interest in adult collectors. They thought of us as more of a nuisance than anything else. I really don't think they had a clue at that point of how deep the fandom went. Often times, statements made by Hasbro seemed like they resented adult collectors more than anything. They would always make sure to remind people that their figures were designed for and meant for kids and if the adults didn't like them, then don't buy them. Hasbro wanted to get into younger age brackets as well, especially during Armada and Energon. Cybertron was about the time that Hasbro first began to really show signs that they were paying more attention towards the fandom.

Reissues were the first bone thrown at us. Those started at the end of Armada I believe. However, Hasbro never seemed to really embrace the idea of them even though they did continue for awhile. Next came Alternators and MP. With those Hasbro reiterated that their lines were designed for kids. Sub-lines like Alts and MP figures were exceptions to the rule. They still seemed rather apprehensive about dealing with collectors.

The big break came with Classics. That was the first time they really made a TOY that was appealing towards all manner of TF fans young and old alike. For a sub-line it has done really well too through it's evolution. The movie rolled in shortly after that and the rest to this point is history.

So my point, perhaps it's time more to put that kind of effort forward more in the main lines released. When they took the cues from what the adult collectors wanted to see, they had a great amount of success with them. Even the movie figures have brought a more advanced bit of engineering that we might not have seen otherwise. Collectors have influenced the direction of Hasbro a lot already, but I'm just saying that relationship can still get better.

sweeny todd - 2011-09-14 @ 10:58 pm

There's also the flip side to things where companies like CM's Corp. do the exact OPPOSITE:

Collector items that are designed with no amount of play, stability or endurance, creating very weak pieces for the sake of "accuracy" that are complete ripoffs due to their tendencies to break or get super loose. Those abominations are not worth anywhere near their price points, as they are not designed with any kind of tactile function taken into account making them little more than statues. Their pictures are worth more than they are, simply because those will LAST.

:fire

It frustrates me because the middle ground between "kiddy shit" and "collector's shit" where decent toys exist is so damn tiny, most designs I want in toy form never hit it.

This is one reason I like Transformers, they usually tend to hit that middle ground, even if not as exactly as I would like.

Goktimus Prime - 2011-09-14 @ 7:30 am

There is no guess work involved, Hasbro has said in the past that they would never cater or market any lines towards adult collectors. They have made it very clear that their action figures are all kids first, all the time no matter how many adults like them too. They said if you want something catered towards collectors then check out Takara for that.

What?!??!

I don't even suggest so much that they cater to collectors, but LISTEN more. Collectors are the greatest link between designers and kids. Is it hard to imagine that the exact things collectors LOVE in figures are the same exact things kids love too? Speaking of toys AND cartoons. I've always contended that Hasbro's problem with going after the kids market more was the fact that they kiddied them down TOO much and not even the kids liked it. Kids of action lines/cartoons I don't think appreciate things getting watered down. They'll turn away and go for the video games instead.

+1. All these ridiculous electronic gimmicks, dumbed down Cyber Stompers, non-transforming Rescue Bots etc... it's just insulting to kids. As G1 voice actor Michael McConnohie once said, kids are smarter than adults often give them credit for and HATE being talked down to.

The movies gave us the most mature content ever seen in Transformers and it flourished. Say what you want about kids and the effects of these kinds of movies and what not, but that's a bigger issue for another time. With the realities of the world around us, these movies were small potatoes in terms of having too much for kids to see.

...erm... depends on what you mean by "mature." There was a lot of immature elements in the movies... I personally found the G1 comics and Beast Wars to be the more mature things written for Transformers... Beast Machines was also very mature too (a bit too mature to engage kids actually).

The point is simple. Kids are just tiny collectors. Just because they grow up, doesn't mean what they like in Transformers changes all that much. Only real difference is once growing up having a better vocabulary to properly describe those "improvements" that even the kids wanted to see. As much fun as we had as kids, one thing we ALWAYS did was throw ideas around of how certain figures could be better...playing the "wouldn't it be cool" game so to speak. Hell, I think we did that almost as much as we actually played with the toys.

+1 QFT!

Nobody can look at past Hasbro attempts to put out more collectors oriented products and draw any fair conclusions from it. Why? Because in nearly every case it was something released long before by Takara. When Takara gets 6 months to a years head start on major collectors figures then it's most certainly going to take a bite out of Hasbro's potential to make any big profits from it. It skews any chance of tracking the market interest.

Just ONCE, for the sake of curiosity, I'd like to see HASBRO release a masterpiece figure with no word of if or when Takara ever would. See how those suckers fly! Might provide Hasbro with quite the eye opener to see what could happen if they were first to the market with some more advanced type figures. Again though, Hasbro doesn't need to market it for adults...simply the 12-13+ group. Considering I don't think kids really start to "get" TF's (I mean from an understanding pov) until after they are 10 anyway, that wouldn't really cut anyone out.

And if Hasbro insists on keeping on trying to hook the younger kids, then I think they simply need to start creating more separate younger kids lines instead of trying to heard them into the one main line. That simply hasn't worked well. You would think success would translate to more creative freedom, yet for some reason Hasbro seems to fight against taking that road and generally keeps working within their rather small box.

All excellent points. Although I personally quite like Transformer toys that are designed to appeal to both kids and adults alike, e.g. Classics/Universe/Generations/Reveal The Shield.

A well made toy that's intended for kids will appeal to adults too. Look at Car Robot/RiD... those figures were intended for kids, but adult collectors loved them. If they make toys which are 'dumbed down,' then adults get turned off because it doesn't engage them as adults, and kids get turned off too because they feel that the toy is "talking down" to them, and fails to engage them as children! (being a child isn't the same as being retarded!! As you said, they're basically just still-developing adults!)

madman1366 - 2011-09-12 @ 3:48 pm

There is no guess work involved, Hasbro has said in the past that they would never cater or market any lines towards adult collectors. They have made it very clear that their action figures are all kids first, all the time no matter how many adults like them too. They said if you want something catered towards collectors then check out Takara for that.

I don't even suggest so much that they cater to collectors, but LISTEN more. Collectors are the greatest link between designers and kids. Is it hard to imagine that the exact things collectors LOVE in figures are the same exact things kids love too? Speaking of toys AND cartoons. I've always contended that Hasbro's problem with going after the kids market more was the fact that they kiddied them down TOO much and not even the kids liked it. Kids of action lines/cartoons I don't think appreciate things getting watered down. They'll turn away and go for the video games instead.

The movies gave us the most mature content ever seen in Transformers and it flourished. Say what you want about kids and the effects of these kinds of movies and what not, but that's a bigger issue for another time. With the realities of the world around us, these movies were small potatoes in terms of having too much for kids to see.

The point is simple. Kids are just tiny collectors. Just because they grow up, doesn't mean what they like in Transformers changes all that much. Only real difference is once growing up having a better vocabulary to properly describe those "improvements" that even the kids wanted to see. As much fun as we had as kids, one thing we ALWAYS did was throw ideas around of how certain figures could be better...playing the "wouldn't it be cool" game so to speak. Hell, I think we did that almost as much as we actually played with the toys.

Nobody can look at past Hasbro attempts to put out more collectors oriented products and draw any fair conclusions from it. Why? Because in nearly every case it was something released long before by Takara. When Takara gets 6 months to a years head start on major collectors figures then it's most certainly going to take a bite out of Hasbro's potential to make any big profits from it. It skews any chance of tracking the market interest.

Just ONCE, for the sake of curiosity, I'd like to see HASBRO release a masterpiece figure with no word of if or when Takara ever would. See how those suckers fly! Might provide Hasbro with quite the eye opener to see what could happen if they were first to the market with some more advanced type figures. Again though, Hasbro doesn't need to market it for adults...simply the 12-13+ group. Considering I don't think kids really start to "get" TF's (I mean from an understanding pov) until after they are 10 anyway, that wouldn't really cut anyone out.

And if Hasbro insists on keeping on trying to hook the younger kids, then I think they simply need to start creating more separate younger kids lines instead of trying to heard them into the one main line. That simply hasn't worked well. You would think success would translate to more creative freedom, yet for some reason Hasbro seems to fight against taking that road and generally keeps working within their rather small box.

Then again, it's probably the large gains from Star Wars and Transformers lines that keep some of their smaller, less profitable products on the shelves.

Goktimus Prime - 2011-09-12 @ 6:30 am

I was noticing on the package of a Batman figure the other day that said "ADULT COLLECTORS" where the age recommendation is. I guess another question, WHAT IF Hasbro put out a voyager class combiner with a similar tag...or for ages 13+ just because Hasbro HATES the idea of collectors only lines?

I think there is some truth in what you say about Hasbro not being keen on collector-only lines actually.

A very visible example of this is with some of Hasbro's G1 reissues. In Japan, the G1 reissues are marketed at collectors, as are other mature age collector lines like Binaltech, Binaltech Asterisk, Alternity, KISS Play, Device Label, Sport Label, Music Label, Masterpiece etc. That's why on the back or bottom of their boxes are the words "For Ages 15 and Up." Hasbro refuses to do this. They insist on marketing all their toys to children; even if collectors are considered too, they certainly won't exclude children for the sake of collectors.

This is why Japanese reissues will have short missiles with full powered missile launchers, because their marketing excludes kids (and therefore exempts them from child safety laws). Hasbro won't do this, which is why their reissues have either:

+ Stupid ugly looking over-sized missiles, or...

+ Normal looking missiles but the launch mechanism has been removed.

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