It’s #FanFirstFriday over at Hasbro Pulse and this week was a double whammy of Transformers reveals at 11amET and G.I. Joe (in their first 3F) at 12:30pmET. The showings — for both brands — were a mixed bag, many of which were spoiled ahead of the reveals. What did we see and what do we think? Let’s go brand-by-brand and take a look.
MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
First up was the Transformers team, whose biggest reveal was buried in advance of the event by some leaks earlier this week. I’m talking about the new Wal-Mart exclusive (at least for now) R.E.D. line. This is a new assortment of 6-inch, non-transformable, kibble free, media accurate Transformers action figures. Highly posable and highly accessorized, these figures would have been a great idea… 10-20 years ago. I, myself, specifically yearned for a line like this in an age where our G1 toys paled in articulated comparison to the likes of Marvel Legends and G.I. Joes.
Inspired by the Action Masters sub-line, I imagined a non-transforming assortment of Cybertronian action figures strictly meant to pose in ways their aptly named predecessors couldn’t. But then we got T-Formers toys like Alternators, Masterpiece, CHUG, and now Siege, all offering ever-improving transformable versions of the Bots and Cons we love so well. And that doesn’t even take into account the Furai models offered by Flame Toys, who like the R.E.D. line sacrifice transformation for extreme articulation. No, while these new figures look G.O.O.D., they feel redundant. I’m sure they’ll sell, just not to me.
Editor’s Note: Jason, this is one hell of a write-up. But how did you not mention arguably the best reveal of the day? I don’t even collect Transformers (this side of the nascent Furai Action line you just mentioned), and I just HAD to have the Earthrise Leader Alternate Universe Optimus Prime a.k.a. Sleep Mode a.k.a Dead Prime! “Do not grieve. Soon I shall be one with the matrix.” A classic animated-movie figure with extreme detail who’s set to make an impact on a Netflix Transformers series — War For Cybertron — that none of us can wait for? DONE. You can still, surprisingly, pre-order this #1 best action figure seller on Amazon right here. Do carry on.
Over and above this new line, Hasbro announced three new Selects figures in the form of Tigertrack (a Sideswipe repaint), Rotorstorm (a Spinnister repaint), and Centurion Drone (a weaponizer Brunt repaint). The first two are a total snoozefest for anyone not obsessed with obscure paint variations, but the third figure offers something interesting that sets it apart: an accessory pack! Yes, now you can pimp out your Siege figures with the accessories they should have come with in the first place, including Sideswipe’s jet pack, Ironhide’s drill gun, and Optimus’s Ion blaster.
But wait — he said in his best Billy Mays voice — there’s more! Roller makes an appearance here along with the energy axe and mace from the climactic battle between Prime and Megatron in More than Meets the Eye. There’s two energon cubes, scale alt mode versions of Shockwave, Soundwave, Megatron, and Re(frak/flec)tor, and a truly tiny Optimus Prime figure said to be in scale to the upcoming HasLab Unicron (despite Prime and Unicron never facing off in G1 continuity). Truly, it is an embarrassment of riches well worth the $30 price tag. Now give me a second set with Megatron’s energy sword, laser pistol, and stalactite from Transformers ’86!
Transformers Reveal = 3.5/5 Bibles (half-bible bump for giving fans a “Death of Optimus Prime” figure for their shelves)
On the G.I. Joe Classified side of things, there’s more pimpin’ going on, but this time in the form of Profit Director (aka Pimp Daddy) Destro. This ridiculous rendition of the arms dealer looks amazing with his included fur stole, sunglasses, and — in an homage to the episode of the same name — money to burn! Destro’s announcement comes alongside the official release of Cobra Commander in both shades of blue (with the lighter “Royal” color scheme a Pulse exclusive), thereby satisfactorily rectifying the NTWRK debacle of last week.
The other figures announced were Gung Ho, looking good despite some odd design choices, and the highly anticipated Red Ninja. Originally a repaint of Storm Shadow in the 3 3/4 line, this version of the Red Ninja is super stylized and accessorized with all of the bonus weapons that came with Hasbro Pulse’s Exclusive Snake Eyes figure.
And speaking of Mr. Shadow? The final reveal of the day was an Amazon exclusive Arctic Mission Storm Shadow in an update to his black and white Ninja Force costume. It is an odd choice leading with Tommy Arashikage as a Joe instead of in his more iconic Cobra iteration, but the figure looks too good to quibble about. Interesting to note that with just two waves announced so far, the new Classified line already has 3 variant figures released/in the works, with a fourth in the form of classic Storm Shadow a safe assumption for the next wave of figures.
G.I. Joe Reveal = 4.75/5 Bibles (half-bible bump for making things right with the fans on the CoCo fiasco)
It was a weird day with mostly highs and some lows. The Joe team definitely had the bigger bang and likely brought in bigger bucks with some wild reveals and the line’s first troop builder among them, but Trans-fans are sure to have dropped some coin on today’s releases as well.
You can pre-order everything — if still available! — at Hasbro Pulse and other fan channel/major retailers right now.