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With the recent release of the new Transformer cartoon series
(and toy line), which has apparently garnered new interest
in the 1980s stalwart robot cartoon, comes some interesting
reissues from both Takara in Japan and Hasbro in North America.
Both reissues are something of note to fans of the original
toy line and collectors alike.
- The Japanese toy company is in the process of re-releasing
the Generation One Transformers line, which originally came
out in 1985. The reissues are exact replicas of the originals
and come with all the original artwork, accessories, stickers
and promotional materials. Figures already available (or about
to come out) include: Starscream, Optimus Prime, Inferno,
Sunstorm, Hauler, Clamp Down, Deep Cover, Sideswipe, Megatron,
Smokescreen, Bluestreak, Tracks, Skids, Jazz, Grapple, Hot
Rod, Ultra Magnus, among many others. Throw in some sets that
come with the minibots (Bumblebee, etc.) and the figure sets
that can be combined to make Bruticus and Defensor and you
may be overwhelmed with everything that's available.
Too be honest, I'm really impressed with the sheer volume
of figures that Takara has already put out. They're obviously
taking the license and running with it. Not to mention the
fact that the whole series is teeming with quality and they
seem to be even digging up Transformers that I don't even
Check out Takara's Japanese
Transformer's site for more information. If you want to
get some of these, you'll need to order them online or find
a really good import shop.
Hasbro - On the other hand, Hasbro is taking a more
conservative method to the reissues. Releasing limited editions
that might be hard to find, their Commemorative Transformers
series only have a few figures per series. The packaging includes
original artwork and comes in a display case for collectors.
The figures are built in plastic, die-cast with rubber wheels
and replicate the originals quite well. In fact, they've been
brought up to current figure safety standards, improving the
overall quality of the figures.
Currently available are (Series One) Optimus Prime, Ultra
Magnus and Rodimus Major; (Series Two) Starscream and Powermaster
Optimus Prime; (Series Three) Silverstreak, Thundercracker,
and Jazz; (Series Four) SkyWarp, Red Alert and Prowl. If this
series takes off sales-wise, maybe it will convince Hasbro
to re-release the whole first generation in a more wide release.
Of course, I don't know if they'll be able to bring Megatron
out (considering he transforms into a handgun) with the changes
in toy regulations since the first series came out.
Fans of the original figures have some work ahead of them
to locate either series, but it's well worth the time. Both
figure lines do a wonderful job at recreating the original
figures. It's a shame that Hasbro hasn't gone as in depth
as Takara has, but with some hunting for online toy retailers,
you should be able to get just about any of the figures. Be
warned though: the imports don't come cheap. Even the Hasbro
figures go for $30 for the regular figures.