The Transformers toy line has gone through many storylines, but the upcoming one may be the biggest one yet.
Years ago, the Transformers toy line went through a short phase where both the Autobots and Decepticons added city-sized allies to their forces. For the Autobots it was Fortress Maximus, and for the Decepticons it was the dinosaur, Trypticon. Now known as ‘Titans,’ both of these Transformers are on their way back to the line, with Maximus making his debut at San Diego Comic-Con as an exclusive with a unique paint job.
We spoke with Transformers Design Manager John Warden during San Diego Comic-Con, who shared that an old idea is returning in a new form. What was once known as the ‘Headmasters,’ the concept of a larger robot head turning into a smaller transformer, is back and is now known as “Titan Masters.” There’s also a twist. “Fortress Maximus’ head turns into Cerebros and, in turn, his head turns into the even smaller Emissary,” explained Warden.
From a giant robot to a tiny one, this one has it all.
While Maximus was an SDCC exclusive, he will be released later as part of the main line. Trypticon, which won a fan poll to be included in the product line, will be released in 2017.
Maximus wasn’t the only exclusive Hasbro had on sale this year, and one of the most intriguing by far was the new version of Soundwave that transformed into a tablet. It was originally released in China as an exclusive that transformed into a Xaiomi Mi Pad 2. Warden explained that they decided to do a variation for Comic-Con. I inquired if we might see this added to the main line and he said it was always possible. “The reaction has been, well, phenomenal,” he said. “It wasn’t in the plans, but it’s probably something we’ll consider now.”
Having been a long time fan of the line, I have to say I was impressed with it. I was expecting the back of the alt mode – when it’s in tablet mode – to have a hump to contain all the parts, but it was flat and slim, and one of the most impressive transformations I’ve ever seen in the history of the line.
The final exclusive was the Titan Force 3-pack that included Brainstorm, a translucent Sentinal Prime and Windblade in a paint scheme to match the Fortress Maximus exclusive. This set was based on stories from the IDW Transformers comics and completed the lineup of the exclusives for the year.
As we spoke with Warden about the overall design process that a Transformer goes through, we couldn’t help but ask how the exclusives come about compared to a normal release. “The overall process takes around a year and begins with us sketching the robot and vehicle modes,” Warden explained. “Then we send them over to Takara Tomy where they have transformation experts who figure out how they’ll work.” With this in mind, it sounded like they may already be starting on the exclusives for the 2017 convention. “The lead time is a bit less for them as we like to see what’s happening in the industry and make them relevant to any trends we see happening,” he added. “We have some ideas already, but we won’t make any final decisions quite yet.”
We can’t wait to see what Hasbro has up its sleeve for San Diego Comic-Con 2017 exclusives, but considering this year’s lineup, it isn’t going to be easy to top.