Tag Archives: Autobots

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Autobot Megatron – I never thought I’d see the day! SPOILERS!

autobot-symbol-comics

Nothing strange here!

I’m not usually one that cares about spoilers.  I’ve had so many endings ruined for me that I just quit caring.  My friends get angry because they say I in turn spoil things for them, which I can understand, but in the end it’s only a story.

Today was profound though.  For the first time in an awfully long time, something was spoiled for me in Transformerland and I was just super shocked.  I was even warned!  This revelation was so jarring that I think I actually yelled out when I saw it.  The whole thing came in a promotional image that was revealed by IDW today, which you may see below IF YOU DARE!  Being a promotional image, I’m kind of shocked that they released this during the mid point of the story of Dark Cybertron, but the cat is already out of the bag.

So will our upcoming announced Leader Generations Megatron sport an alternative symbol?  Let’s hope so.  Sure, Prime has been evil plenty of times but one thing I never thought I’d EVER see was Megatron sporting the Autobot symbol.

My guess is that a new paradigm shift will occur with Transformers and for the first time ever, perhaps faction lines will be crossed indefinitely.  Perhaps they will no longer identify as Autobots or Decepticons and just become Cybertronians.  It really has to cross over to the toys for it to have any lasting impact, and here’s hoping that it does.

autobot-megatron-after-the-dark

Is it a spoiler if the company manning the steering wheel shows it?

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Meet all the robot vehicles of Transformers 4

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.

transformers4-Bugatti-Veyron-drift-sucks

Can fan-fiction characters actaully enter the movie-verse? Apparently yes!

transformers-4-autobot-Hound

He ain’t nothin’ like a Hound dog

transformers4-corvette-stingray-slingshot

Supposedly this is an Autobot named Slingshot, but that information is pretty suspect

Transformers-4-G1-Optimus_grimlock

This is probably Grimlock

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Suspected Decepticon Lambo

Pagani-Huayra-Transformers-4-Autobot_decepticon

Another suspected Decepticon Stunticon

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A lot of guesses on this one but all signs are pointing to Stunticons appearing in this film, lead by Motormaster

Optimus-Prime-transformers-4-new

Weirdimus

Transformers-4-Sonic-RS-Rally-Car_1371056612

Hi! I don’t have a name yet! Skidsflap?

Bumblebee-Transformers-vintage-1967-Camaro-SS

Hey guys, I’m the radically redesigned Bumblebee that is so old, I’ms new!

Transformers-4-Bumblebee-New-camaro

Or just fucking kidding, there’s no way I couldn’t be an upcoming commercial vehicle! Nya nya nya!

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Transformers, Porsche, Volkswagen, Nazis, and World War II – The myth that keeps on mything

g1-jazz-porsche-nazibots-bumblebee-volkswagen-beetle-nazi

Now that’s what I call a rubsign!

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?

volkswagen-transformers-war-toys-myth-tfwiki

TFwiki, I love you, but you gotta check your facts this time.

volkswagen-transformers-war-toys-myth-tfwiki-binaltech

Well-publicized“? I’ll get to the bottom of that, or my name isn’t Collecticon!

The Facts

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.

wheeljack_Lancia-Stratos-Turbo-5-alitalia

Presenting Transformers Masterpiece 20 Wheeljack, 1:1 scale!

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…

The Evidence

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.

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One of the first Alternators to be designed, Porsche Jazz, only display at the Botcon 2007 Hasbro tour. Photo by collectiondx

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.

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Porsche Jazz prototype as seen in Binaltech Collection book. Photo by TFkenkon

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.

 

In Closing

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The updated Alternators Bumblebee that never was, le sigh

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.

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The unofficial droid that you’ve been looking for.

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.

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“Let’s go ahead and name them after the cars we ripped them off from!” “Great plan!” – Overheard Takara execs circa 1981

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?

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Transformers Ani-con 2008 Hong Kong Autobot & Decepticon box sets – TFTM holy grail

Transformers hong kong decepticon giftset

My precious!!!!!

Last year I was on a wild goose chase through the annals of TFW trying to hunt down a very rare and obscure set of boxsets from China – The Transformers Movie Ani-con 2008 Autobot and Decepticon Premium boxset. These were a very short release and each boxset featured a nice spread of figures from the first Transformers Movie. Most of the figures inside were premium versions of the Hasbro releases including Leader Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Jazz, Ironhide, and the standard Ratchet release. The Decepticons included all premium versions of Megatron, Starscream, Blackout, Barricade, and the regular release of Brawl. None of the figures in these sets were extremely notable, it was instead the uniqueness of the packaging which drew my eye.

Transformers Hong Kong Movie 1 giftsets

Cool foil-stamped and embossed packages

I found someone on the TFW2005 boards offering to sell the Decepticon set and I freaked out. It was one of those situations where no one immediately knew what the set was and if I swooped in quick enough, I may snag these gems at a lower-than-expected price point. My ambition got the better of me though after I struck a deal and swiftly paid the seller via Paypal gift, never to receive the packages.

Transformers Movie boxset packaging

They are beautiful as a set!

Long story short, I got screwed out of a good chunk of money, one of my worst losses in Transformers collecting history. Moral of that story? Be more cautious when you find very rare items you think may never find again – there’s always another chance.

My second chance came as a complete surprise when my good friend Deceptigtar surprised me out of the blue with a brand spankin’ new Autobot boxset!!

Transformers Autobot Giftset from Movie 1

Best friend ever!!!!!!!!

One of the more notable things about this set is the nicely embossed outer shell and the gift certificate featuring artwork by none other than PAT LEE?? Yes, post Dreamwave, Pat Lee was comissioned for some artwork specifically for this certificate of authenticity. What’s also strange is that it features the OLD head of Movie Megatron. A bizarre sight indeed.

Transformers Movie giftset certificate of authenticity drawn by Pat Lee

All kinds of crazy

Although Deceptigtar wrangled in both of the boxsets, he is of course keeping the Decepticon one. This just means that I shall live to fight another day and continue my search for the Decepticon version. That item is literally the last piece of my Movie 1 collection I need before I have it all, barring Lucky Draws. Trust me, that shit takes up a LOT of space…

Transformers decepticon movie boxset interior

Decepticons forever!

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Further Transformers pinball details – 4 different versions

Transformers Pinball game details

4, count'em, 4 versions of this pinball game

Wow!  We hit the mother load!

Here are some further details on the game:

You can definitely see the Autobots vs. Decepticons elements alluded to in the Transformers teaser video. It has a center Optimus Prime toy shot (like we speculated) surrounded by five other lit shots. The center playfield features six Autobots and six Decepticons for (presumably) modes depending on your side. The cabinet art is refreshingly Shia Lebeouf free — choosing instead to feature only Optimus and Megatron on the backglass with the sideart showing (insert echo shout) Transformers… in… space (Autobots shown on the right but the Decepticons are on the left side)!

Playfield elements include a Megatron vehicle form with rapid fire multiball and illuminated eyes, Optimus Prime elevating ramp, Bumblebee captive ball target, Decepticon laser-cut steel ramp, Ironhide character ramp, Devastator pop bumpers, All Spark Cube eject hole, Autobot/Decepticon spinning target, Cybertron zenith orbit shot, and “roll out!” ramps. The LE edition seems to have some differences which include a Megatron robot form, Starscream figure, shaker motor, illuminated bottom arch, transparent windows in ball guides, LED general illumination, and will be limited to 500 editions.

There also appears to be four, count ‘em four, versions of this game. There’s the Pro edition and Limited Edition, but there will also be a Autobot (crimson) and Decepticon (violet) Limited Collector’s Edition for each. These Collector’s Editions will feature full cabinet trim in the versions color, unique backglass (of either Autobot or Decepticon), playfield-mounted Optimus/Megatron plate, Gomez signature under hard coat, unique designer edition “Vector Sigma Data Track” QR codes and will be limited to 99 game each.

So there you have it.  The creme de la creme versions will be the individual Autobot or Decepticon versions limited to 99 each.  Guess which one I’m getting?  Thanks for the tip Blue Boost!!

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First images of Transformers pinball from Stern!!!!!! O_O

Transformers pinball machine from Stern

GLORIOUS!

At long last, we are FINALLY seeing what appears to be the first shots of the upcoming Transformers Pinball game!!!  Woo hoo! It’s unclear if this is a finished production piece, sample, or computer render.  It certainly looks real to me! See the original post here.

Transformers Pinball playfield

Optimus Prime, Megatron, and... who is that climbing the building to the right?

It looks like the theme is a combination of the three films.  The art on the side is missing Jazz, but features the other core Autobots and even the Twins.  My guess is that the other side features some Decepticons.  Dark of the Moon Megatron is featured on the score board area as well.  Hard to say if the Optimus Prime toy featured in the machine is a revamped Hasbro toy or a brand new creation by Stern.  More forthcoming!

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Transformers Rescue Bots – Optimus Prime for children!

Transformers Rescue Bots logo

Wow! Real characters

According to a post at TFW2005.com, Hasbro has announced a new series geared towards kids: Transformers Rescue Bots. The playskool kids Transformers are finally getting their own fiction and mainstream characters assigned to them, as indicated by this logo featuring some familiar faces like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. It looks like this will be an Autobot-only series, which is a first in the franchise. Check out the post to see more renders of potential toys for the line.

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Transformers Autobot infographic

Comicsalliance has posted a rather strange image. In ‘infographic’ styling, they have create a giant who’s who of the Autobots and their original cars. The infographic is riddled with mistakes, citing G1 Optimus Prime as a long-nose semi. Come on guys, really? Obviously not made by detail-oriented super fans, this graphic remains at least a little entertainging.

See the original post here.

Autobot info graphic

Thanks for the info dudes, I guess!

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Awesome autoskull t-shirt from RIPT Apparel TODAY ONLY!

Autoskull t-shirt from RIPT Apparel cool

Where's the Deceptiskull?

Check out RIPT Apparel today some a killer cool t-shirt design from artist Jason Tracewell.  You can check out Jason’s artwork here.  As always, the tee shirt design is only $10, well $12 for fatties but what can you do?  That’s a lot of extra cloth!

Also, if tees aren’t you thing, they have back printed hoodies from American Apparel for $38 as well.  Check it out and don’t be left at Botcon without one!

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Infestation Nation – The Autobots dance Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”

Autobots dance Michael Jackon's Triller

And not a single 'f' was given that day

I have to share one of the funnest and well-animated videos I’ve seen in a long time, especially as it relates to Transformers. Someone in Japan apparently decided to successfully mimic Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” with a team of elite Autobots bustin’ a move. It is seriously awesome and made my otherwise crappy week. See the video below, it’s even in HD! (Link to video)

Here are the credits from the video.  Of note is the “Alan Smithy” name, which is a common surname for people that want to be disassociated with a film or video project!  Too bad, because this is an awesome production!  I can’t even imagine why someone would not want full credit for this.

Autobots dance michael Jackson's Thriller credits

Credits as seen in the video

Some details about the video:

  • IDW’s Transformers universe is present with Drift and Perceptor’s eye-piece
  • Ultra Magnus is beside himself!  Armored and an unarmored version are present
  • Rodimus is in the lead of the dance, with Optimus as just a back-up dancer!
  • Armada Seekers and G1 seekers appear in the video

So yeah, check it out, it’s worth a watch and it currently has less than 1000 views…  FIRST!

Transformers Autobots dance the Thriller on youtube

This will be 1,000,000+ views by the end of January