Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Whhhy? - Transformers Action Masters

The Transformers toyline was one of the best things to come out of the '80s. Transformers were like action figures and Hot Wheels rolled into one. The ability to convert from one form to another gave them far deeper playability, and made them fairly unique in the toy world. So how did Hasbro carry the franchise into the next decade? They made it so they couldn't transform.


That's right, the Action Masters line of Transformers introduced in 1990 saw many of the familiar Autobots and Decepticons molded into 3 3/4" figures incapable of transforming. Hell, they could barely move. Imagine an even chunkier G.I. Joe with robot features minus 7 out of the 14 moving joints. But how does that still make them Transformers you say? Because even though they had lost the ability to transform (according to the commercial, "exchanged" for increased ability), they could still make little shit that transformed.
For example, Grimlock came with a tank tread Segway that transformed into ... a gun. And Jazz came with a skateboard that transformed into ... a gun. And Devastator (who was also only 3 3/4" tall) came with a scorpion that transformed into ... a gun. Wait a minute, this reminds me of another Transformers toyline: Targetmasters, where robot sidekicks transformed into guns. But wait, even in the Targetmasters line the main figure could transform from a robot to a vehicle and back. I could keep on going down the line: Snarl and his little dinosaur buddy (so even though he can't transform into a dinosaur anymore, they can make an even smaller dinosaur that can still transform ... into a gun?), Blaster and his glider pack, Shockwave and his pet thing, Soundwave and his bird thing (not Buzzsaw or Laserbeak), Sideswipe and his tank tread thing, Tracks and his tank tread thing, Bombshell and his backpack thing, Bumblebee and his backpack thing ... the list goes on. And I'll bet you can't guess what their shit turns into. Okay, I lied, I know that you know exactly what they'll transform into.

On top of that, they somehow made vehicles that transformed into more powerful vehicles that they could ride in. Because, you know, you just can't roll in your super tank 24/7 cuz that shit's just too strong for the rest of the world yo, so you just drop the level and roll in the normal tank like you need to tone that shit down, know what I'm sayin'? Because why would Starscream want to be able to transform into an F-15 Eagle when he could be stuck as a robot piloting his own jet? Transform into a jet ... fit into a jet. Tough decision.

So in what couldn't have been a smarter idea in a toyline whose very name indicates their unique functionality, I ask, why Transformers Action Masters? Whhhy?!

1 comment:

  1. I think I'd rather play with the Action Masters. I could never transform any of the original Transformers. Might have been because I only got to play with the broken ones. That and it's easier to transform stuff when it all transforms into the same thing...a gun.