Just thought I’d put the word out that RIPT Apparel has some shirt designs that might be relevant to your interests today. These designs feature versions of the lovable Generation 1 Bumblebee and might be great gifts for that little transfan in all of us. They are available for $10 a piece until midnight CST tonight! Check them out now!
Filmed these yesterday in Chicago! More coming soon.
Here are the cars driving away:
Botcon 2013 Machine Wars Optimus Prime custom – The Machine Wars toys you were expecting but didn’t get
Sure, Hubcap is missing his head. I wish I knew who made these, that Machine Wars Optimus is simply awesome.
Edit: It was Cheetimus
Transformers 4 is filming as we speak! Another two year stretch of Transformers madness is upon us, and this time, it seems some interested parties have learned a thing or two. Most of the information about the film has been coming directly from Michael Bay’s website. I applaud this effort, and the photos coming from set have kept much to be determined about the plot points.
With the reveal of the new Bumblebee car, we have apparently exhausted allt he pretty vehicle product shots for this movie. The cast looks to be our biggest yet, with over 10 confirmed new transforming vehicles. Have you met them all yet? If not, feast your eyes on the complete (as of now) robot cast of Transformers 4.
The official Transformers facebook page posted our first look at this year’s Botcon 2013 lithograph print. This features all of the figures included in this year’s set, including Mirage and Electro, the last figures to be seen other than the rainmakers at the time of publication.
It’s cool how the original Machine Wars Seeker molds are used as the army of jets.
Just wanted to let you know. You can also check out this nice pic supplied by the Botcon twitter.
If there’s one thing I simply cannot stand, it’s misinformation and completely false rumors being perpetuated by the masses.
Following a slew of awesome news from the 2013 Tokyo Toy Fair, TFW2005 made a clarification about a statement regarding MP-20. They relayed information that it will be a figure using a license that has been “very hard to obtain.” Of course this knowledge dug up an age-old preposterous myth that Porsche, and more likely the owners of that brand, The Volkswagen Group, refuse to give Takara or Habsro a license for their branded vehicles. The typical accounted reason for this is that they consider The Transformers to be a brand of “war toys” and the company refuses to be associated with anything relating to war due to their ties to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany during WWII.
Excuse me, what?
While it is true that Adolf Hitler did commission Ferdinand Porsche to create the VW Beetle, Bumblebee’s official G1 alternate mode, and that Volkswagen was founded by the Nazi Trade Union in 1937, it’s been near seventy years since anyone has really thought to ruefully connect the now worldwide company to the long gone Nazi party. In fact, the Beetle was the only model of car the company built for years after the war.
The Volkswagen Group has been known to take their auspicious beginnings very seriously, however. Apparently over 15,000 slaves were reported to have been behind the gears at the first Volkswagen factory during the war. Holocaust survivors have been awarded reparations to the tune of over $11 million since 1980 from the company, all voluntarily by The Volkswagen Group.
That license that was “very hard to obtain” for MP20? Turns out it was the Lancia Stratos Turbo 5, also known as Wheeljack in our circles. What made this so hard to obtain!? If this was so hard to obtain, then the Volkswagen license is to going to be ULTRA HARD to obtain, right!? How will they ever succeed!??! Oh wait, MP-21 is Bumblebee…
Let’s pretend for a moment that the rumor is true. Yep: The Volkswagen Group will not allow their post-World-War-2 image and name to be tarnished by allowing their brand to be paired with franchises that further propagate their war-time origins. They have a proud name to withhold and hence they wouldn’t be caught dead partnering with a franchise even closely related to a war theme. Nothing like “Star Wars,” I mean, it even has war in the name!
So I guess Volkswagen might NOT have a problem with war themes being a part of their brand… hmmm curious, isn’t it?
Ok ok ok, but what about the evidence supporting the rumor? There has to be some, right? I mean, rumors don’t just appear out of thin air.
Apparently this post on TFarchive by former Porsche employee Addl is supposed to be some kind of proof of Porche’s wishes to dis-allow war toys, or Transformers especially, to carry the official Porsche license. To think that this person was quickly transferred to the head-of-all-there-is-to-licensing for Porsche to get this answer is a little hard to swallow, at least for me. All I really see here is internet hearsay that is almost a decade old.
During Botcon 2007, Hasbro allowed a rare mass tour through their headquarters to get a good look at how Transformers are made. Many unique pieces were out on display including a peculiar set of alternator-styled figures that no one had seen before. One was a mini-scale alternator, and the other resembled Autobot Jazz as a full-on Porsche boxter. This is the figure that I consider to be the launching-pad for our little rumor. The widely-accepted claim is that Takara was not able to get the license because The Volkswagen Group, which now owns Porsche, would not allow their brands to be associated with war toys. GI Joe as war toys, I can accept. Transformers as war toys? It’s a bit of a stretch, considering how far into the sci-fi fantasy realm it really belongs. This was well before the live-action movies brought Transformers to world-wide attention and as far as most lay-people knew, they were just cars that turned into men.
The Japanese book “The Transformers: Binaltech & TF Collection Complete Guide,” has a lot of juicy information about the creation of the Binaltech and Alternators toyline. I own this book, but alas, I only speak and read English so I cannot personally vouch for any of the data contined within. A lot of photos of the pages can be still seen at an ancient post at TFkenkon.
This is not the first instance of a rumor getting out of hand and being taken as stone-cold fact by the Transformers Fandom. For more than a decade, fans believed that in “Transformers Battlestars: The Return of Convoy” Super Megatron traveled to Earth and killed Galvatron. In reality, the source of the translation was completely faulty but no one had the sense to re-translate or re-read the source material. Instead, Super Megatron was created from Galvatron’s remains.
So what actually is going on between Volkswagen and the Transformers brand?
The fact remains that we never received an officially licensed VW Bumblebee in Alternators or Binaltech. Not long after, there was Alternity Bumblebee, which was a Suzuki Swift Sport. There have been versions slightly resembling the original version of Bumblebee, like the legends class, but still only 3rd party manufacturers have dared to make a legit Beetle version.
Licensing is a tricky business. As a licensee, you are basically entering into a contract with your licensor that has some black & white but many gray-area terms. Without a proven track record, most licensors are not going to give you access to their intellectual property. Hasbro and Takara definitely have lengthy proven track records when it comes to the quality of their products, but even they have had ‘trouble’ acquiring certain licenses. Once we saw that the Lamborghini license was granted for the Countach Masterpiece, getting the Volkwagen license should’ve been a shoe-in. Why? Over the years, The Volkswagen Group has acquired quite a few well-known car brands, including, you guessed it, Lamborghini. So why would The Volkswagen Group allow one of the brands under their wing to be tarnished in the form of a “war machine” Transformer toy? The same reason we are seeing 4 different redecos of the mold: Money.
Licenses are essentially an agreement for one party to ‘rent’ a brand of another party and act as the brand owner under a certain set of limitations for a fee. This fee can be set to any amount and is typically negotiated on an individual basis. The terms of the deal are typically set by the licensor and not the licensee. So it is probable that the number 1 reason, and perhaps the only legitimate reason, why Hasbro or Takara never received the Volkswagen Beetle or Porsche license is due to the fee or the terms being too out their favor. I’m willing to wager that The Volkswagen Group cares a lot more about the money they will make from any particular licensing deal than their precious public image being dragged through the mud. Seriously, there are bigger fish to fry.
There is also the fact that the original Diaclone toys made by Takara were complete knock-offs of the vehicles they represented, created without any consent from the original intellectual property holders. This practice is still evident today with slight retools of famous cars used for Transformers toys. For instance Cybertron Smokescreen is an ever-so-slightly modified version of the Bugatti Veyron, however there may be a sudden stop put to that particular model’s unlicensed use in the ultra-near future!! Perhaps these car companies have been silently keeping tabs on the Transformers over the years, noting in their logs of the possible copyright infringement, which might have not-so-pleasant effects on the licensing costs that were thrown on the table once Takara came knocking for the real licenses for Alternators Bumblebee and Jazz.
There are simply 100′s of reasons why a licensing deal can go sour; none of which involve pretentious chins up against the idea of war toys, but all of which involve dollars, cents, and percentage-per-piece under the licensing agreement. Star Wars did it, and not only that, they affiliated themselves with the bad guys! It’s amazing what magic money can weave…
I may never find absolute evidence about why we haven’t seen a real Volkswagen Bumblebee figure since the franchise began, but hopefully the real truth will come out around the time MP-21 Bumblebee is released to the world. Sooner or later, someone one is going to squash this rumor, and there will be accountable proof of it. This topic will most certainly come up between now and then, and I hope I don’t have to cringe watching a romantic yet most likely falsified hypothesis on Volkswagen’s policies.
So believe what you want but think about it, I mean, REALLY?
Fans have been asking for troop-builders for a while now, but $100+ troop builders? Dang! Sometimes we really get what we deserve!
IDW has been hitting Metroplex HARD and it seems with good reason. Making such an expensive toy comes with risks for the retailers and so Hasbro most likely whispered in their creative outlets’ ears quite loudly that Metroplex needed to be important in the coming years. With the new lore involved with mulitple city-bots from Cybertron’s distant past, it only seems natural that we would get a variety of versions of this monstros-city. If you purchase the Hasbro version, you can get the TakaraTomy version to spice up your city bot graveyard.
The differences are nominal, but to a collector decently contrasting.
- one large red gun
- white face
- white areas on shoulders
- yellow safety paint on ramp door
- black stomach center surrounding red core
- unpainted hips
- white thighs
- unpainted white knees
- unpainted toes
- black ramp
- white missile battery
- gray landing ramps
- two large red guns
- silver painted face
- yellow and red areas on shoulders
- no paint on ramp door
- white stomach center surrounding red core
- black and red painted hips
- gray thighs
- black painted knees
- red painted toes
- white ramp
- red missile battery
- white landing ramps with yellow paint
So the choice is yours. Get the “regular” version, which I consider the Hasbro one, or import the deluxe crazy version from TakaraTomy. If you are troop building this guy, and God help you if you are, then you better get both and that inevitable Metrotitan Decepticon exclusive.
Ok I guess Bay is just trolling us now because this new Optimus Prime has about 5 times the flames on it of the last one. The photograph is cool and it’s nice to see that things are ‘rolling along’ on the set of Transformers 4.
I just get the feeling that this design is so over the top, that this installment of the franchise will be similar to how “Batman Forever” felt after the first two gritty Batman films by Tim Burton.
If you include the other two car designs, there is a whole lotta crazy color going on. Perhaps this time you can get it right and make the Decepticons more than just gray pieces of crap on screen?
Good luck Transformers, good fucking luck. We’ll remember you how you were, and not how you became.