As we move on, it's time to take a look at Generations itself. While Combiner Wars is the theme of the year, this is still a line of individual toys, with highs and lows completely of their own merits which we would be doing a disservice to forget. We've gone through each retail pricepoint and chosen our picks for best and worst of each. Some of the results may not be much of a surprise, though...! Keep reading to see our highlights from the year of Generations, and keep watching for more of our 2015 Year in review!
- Best: Blackjack
It’s been a good year for Legends. One where even the bulk of mold reuses from last year ended up pretty nice. With such a strong showing, it could be difficult to select one as the best of the year. But then Blackjack happened. And what’s most interesting is how Blackjack does nothing new or extraordinary. It simply excels at being normal. It has a decently involved transformation, especially for the size class, goes from solid car to stable robot, and has a very nice array of articulation. None of it comes with any flaws or drawbacks to hurt the figure, making it a rare case of just being truly good. I prefer the original Blackjack release for bringing in a character to Generations who hasn’t had an update before, plus the Rodimus recolor has slightly looser fittings in some places, knocking it down just a tiny bit. But even so, there’s really no choosing wrong with this mold, and it’s one I feel strongly in saying that everyone should have at least one instance of.
- Worst: Warpath
It’s actually difficult to single anything out in Legends as a worst-of this year, because the entire pricepoint has performed really well. While it is without a doubt regrettable that we had to lose partner figures - especially on reuses of molds that already had them - most everything produced for 2015 was at least decent. Warpath, the retool of Megatron originally from late 2013 is the rare exception. While some may like to argue that it "replaces" a perfectly fine Deluxe toy (from 2011, let’s be clear), it’s not this basis that earns it the low mark. No, the simple issue that no effort was made to give the figure the most characteristic visual element: the gun jutting from the chest. A head remold is all well and good, but it’s not what truly defines Warpath. Missing that aspect is a serious error, and sets it apart from the pack. Just not in any good way.
- Best: Rook
Rook has a lot of things going for him. He’s a new character, which is a reasonably rare thing in Generations. He’s a different body type from the bulk of the Combiner Wars Deluxes. And he’s strong in all four modes. Particularly robot mode, where a few extra points of articulation at the shoulders and feet set him above and beyond the standardized Combiner Wars figure format. On top of that, he can use the combiner fist accessories as Hulk Hands. Rook, simply put, stands out - though with his bulk as an arm or leg that may not always be a good thing, taken individually he’s excellent.
- Worst: Ironhide
It was going to be this or Offroad, let’s be honest here. While both have the same basic issues - among them being irksome to transform and making a horrendous arm - Ironhide had slightly diminished tolerances compared to Offroad. Worse, he doesn’t look a bit like Ironhide. Not as a truck and not as a robot. His headsculpt is well executed, but it’s simply not enough to connect him to the G1 character. All of that would be somewhat more forgivable on a better toy, but... it’s Offroad. And being part of a combiner made of characters that you as a collector already own makes Ironhide the least essential figure to come out this year.
- Best: Hot Spot
I won’t lie, Hot Spot’s a pretty weak attempt at a fire truck. It tries to do two or three different things within that framework, and so does none of them particularly well. But I don’t care at all, because hot damn that robot. It’s probably to Hot Spot’s benefit that the transformation majorly consists of straightening the limbs and laying the robot down, because it means it has the least possible impact on the build of the robot. All major joints have great range of movement, the joints are strong enough to support poses, and the backpack ladder, which ought to be a nuisance, actually ends up helping some more extreme poses by acting as a tripod leg and correcting for the back-heaviness that it causes. Hot Spot is poseable, expressive, solid (when you pop that knee in the right way) and it has the bonus of being a combiner torso and questionable truck too.
- Worst: Optimus Prime
Taken as an individual, Optimus Prime is not even all that bad. Most of his styling is a matter of taste, and many have chosen to rationalize his face sculpt and build as his being Season 5 Live-action Bumper Optimus Prime. Even if you can’t get there yourself, he’s decently poseable and turns in to a big, satisfyingly bulky truck. So, it’s an okay toy on its own. But this mold is hands-down the worst of the three combiner torso molds we’ve gotten this year. So, why this specific version for the worst of all? Two reasons: 1) his lack of a dedicated set of combiner limbs makes him the least essential, and 2) Motormaster and Battle Core Optimus Prime both have the reworked hip ratchets that make coping with their combined forms less painful. Those two factors combined are more than enough to leave the first release of Optimus Prime at the back of the pack.
- Best: Ultra Magnus
Ultra Magnus earns some points for being such a surprise. Even when it had been rumored since late 2014 that a Leader Class Ultra Magnus was coming, no one expected such a determinedly IDW-focused version of the character to be the result. Magnus is itself a big, solid figure. It has its flaws, particularly the articulated hands which are good at holding none of the included accessories. But it’s nicely articulated, has a fun transformation that requires just enough memorization of parts alignments to remain challenging, and has one other little feature. Minimus Ambus pushes Magnus over the top. Included as a tiny, sub-Legion transforming figure, it’s a good start to giving Magnus just that little bit more. But then the toy was designed so the torso opens to become a cockpit Minimus Ambus can sit in, with very detailed control panels and displays. And best of all, if Minimus isn’t for you, it’s not vital to the toy at all. Everything works just fine without it. It’s a great way to pay tribute to the comics, and still do the job for people wanting something a little more traditional.
- Worst: Armada Megatron
There’s not a lot of Leader to choose from, and in terms of design it’s almost impossible to call any of them bad. So we had to go to a slightly more superficial level, and look at deco. Armada Megatron as a modern reimagined toy is an interesting concept. If given an entirely new mold that truly tried to capture the magic of the original version, I think it could be a strong contender for a best of ranking. But when done as a head swap redeco of a G1 Megatron, things start to get troubled. The Hasbro release wasn’t able to apply enough paint in the right ways to make Armada Megatron visually distinct from its wave-mate. In practice it looked like G1 Megatron wearing a cheap Halloween costume. This was proven to some extent by the Tokyo Toy Show exclusive release which had a more involved deco which was used to alter the perceived shapes of the figure and better bring across the intended likeness. Maybe if they had gone with Armada Galvatron instead..?
- 2016-01-13 @ 5:56 am
Hi everybody. Thanks so much for all your responses! We've loved hearing from you and seeing all the different answers everybody had to their top picks for the last year. As of now the entry period for the giveaway is closed, and only replies prior to this post will qualify to win one of the prizes. We're going to start going through the entries and make our selections which will be announced live during the broadcast of Radio Free Cybertron on January 13, which you can watch embedded on the front page here at TFormers, or at tfradio.net/live. Afterward we'll be contacting the winners via private message here on the forum to arrange for delivery of the prizes.
Thanks again to everyone who contributed, and we hope we'll continue to see you around the forums!
Best Official Toy (Hasbro): Leader Class Ultra Magnus. ??????1/2 out of 4 stars. Extremely impressive transformation for a non-masterpiece figure.
Best Masterpiece Toy: MP-18B Bluestreak. ???????? Waited most of my life for this and got the perfect Transformer.
Best Unofficial (third party) Toy: MTRM-01 Cupola. ??????1/2. Always wanted a Chromedome with working elbows and knees,
Best Official Toy (Hasbro) - CarZap w/G.B. Blackrock Kreon (my screen name on *most* TF forums is G.B. Blackrock, so I kind of *have* to say that!)Best Masterpiece Toy - Blue Bluestreak (at last, it exists!)Best Toy Reveal - Nuremberg Toy Fair 2015, CW Devastator obscured by bald man
Best Official Toy (H): CW Superion
Best Official Toy (TakTom): UW Devastator
Best Masterpiece Toy: Star Saber
Best Unffocial Toy: Maketoys Cupola
Best Storyline: Sins of the Wreckers
est Official Toy (Hasbro) - CW Rook
Best Official Toy (TakaraTomy) TFA Supreme Optimus Prime
Best Masterpiece Toy- MP Wheeljack
Best Unofficial (third party) Toy- MMC Sphinx
Best Comic Issue Or Storyline- Last Stand of The Wreckers
Best News Item (any category) Masterpiece Beast Wars Optimus Primal
Best Toy Reveal- Titan Return Fort Max
- 2016-01-11 @ 3:59 am
Best Official Toy (Hasbro):
CW Devastator: I really, really didn't expect to like Devy so much. I bought him expecting disappointment, however was met with great articulation, cool bot and altmodes and a magnificent combiner.
Best Official Toy (Takara/Tomy):
I must admit that Tak has made some awesom stuff this year, but one that caught my attention was the Blackarachnia toy. It's just too nice to see a screen accurate version of the character being produced.
Best Toy Reveal:
The entire load of reveals we got in 2015 was fantastic, but the Leader Class Blaster from Titans Return just blew me away, I never expected to see a Blaster that now only would turn into a boom-box, but also have a cool gimmick like headmasters and also be compatible with the new spy tablet figures.
Best Toy Reveal: Magnus, since I was in shock to see the IDW body with Minimus Ambus!
Best Hasbro toy: Combiner Wars Bruticus, because I like all the Combaticons separate and combined, but I cannot wait for the Unyte Warriors still!
Best Takara Toy: Legends Ultra Magnus. I would've put Magnus as my favorite Hasbro toy, but then the first three of my favorite things would've been Magnus... So I put Magnus as Takara's best toy since it had a superior paint job in my opinion.
Best Masterpiece Figure: Blue Bluestreak! He's blue and the Masterpiece Prowl mold... Need I say more?
Best Official Toy (Hasbro) Leader Class ThundercrackerBest Official Toy (TakaraTomy) Legends LG15 Nightbird ShadowBest Masterpiece Toy Masterpiece Blue BluestreakBest Unofficial (third party) Toy GundogBest Comic Issue Or Storyline Sins of the WreckersBest News Item (any category) Choosing who is next Omega, trypticon or scorpyBest Toy Reveal Titans Wars Fortress Maximus
Best Official Toy (Hasbro)
Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus
Best Official Toy (TakaraTomy)
Unite Warriors Groove
Best Masterpiece Toy
Best official toy (Hasbro) - Bombshell
Best MP toy (Takara) - Mp Star Saber
Best official toy (Takara) - Unite Wars Devastator