If you’re a longtime fan of JustUs Geeks, or you know me personally, you know that I am a HUGE fan of Transformers. My wife once remarked that I would buy a dog turd in a plastic box if it had a Decepticon symbol on it. And….she’s right. I probably would. But, no matter how much I love Transformers, now matter how much I would love to have each and every figure ever made, even I have to admit that there are some stinkers amongst the gems. Figures so bad, that no matter how you try to slice it, there is nothing redeemable. Figures that, for lack of a better term, were the turds with Decepticon symbols on them that people bought anyway. I stand before you guilty, having owned some of these figures myself. Some of these figures, or their sublines, were responsible for some of the worst received Transformers lines, and in the case of one, spelled the doom of Transformers in the United States for a time. So, without further ado, I present to you the 5 worst Transformers of all time!
5. Flamefeather (G1)
Near the end of the Generation 1 toyline, which was made up of characters featured in the animated movie and third season, plus those that existed past the run of the cartoon (Headmasters, I’m looking at you), most of the figures didn’t just transform, they also had a gimmick. Heads that changed into humans, guns that changed into humans, flip out weapons, pull back action……and sparking. Yes, the tried and true go to gimmick of toys of the 80’s, sparking figures were indeed popular for a time. The sparks were created by a button or wheel that caused two pieces to be rubbed together and, with friction, sparks were emitted. The problem with this gimmick is that it takes up a lot of room. Not a big problem for larger figures, but when the figures get this small….
Your toy ends up resembling a box with stumps. Flamefeather was fun for about 5 minutes. Until you realized the harsh truth that he was pretty lame and you could’ve gotten a minicar instead.
4. Shattered Glass Anything
The Shattered Glass storyline is every Transformer fanboys dream, or nightmare, depending on who you talk to. Either way, when the concept was introduced at Botcon 2008, the fandom went wild and we just can’t seem to get rid of it. The idea is simple: The Autobots are evil, the Decepticons are good. The changes don’t stop with factions, either, as many familiar characters got redeco-ed (or grew facial hair) to match their new personalities.
The problem with this is that many of the characters simply became caricatures of what it means to be evil or good. The other, larger problem is it allowed abominations like the Thundercracker redeco above to be produced, simply because fanboys worship at the feet of anything Shattered Glass. Seriously, the above figure was based on a European only release of Thundercracker in the Action Master line, and because Shattered Glass exists, we get Crayolatron himself as a Botcon exclusive. While Thundercracker is probably the most offensive redeco in the line, the very fact that he exists is testimony to what I said earlier: some people will buy anything as long as it has an Autobot or Decepticon symbol on it.
3. Hot Shot (Armada)
Behold, Armada Hot Shot! What horrible sins have we wrought throughout the ages to cause Hasbro to unleash this beast upon us? Seriously, just look at him. Hot Shot is the ultimate example of what happens when a gimmick is prized above the aesthetic of the character. Because Hot Shot had to interact with the play pattern of the Transformers: Armada line (which saw small partner robots call Minicons interacting with the larger figures to reveal features), the figure suffered overall due to the room needed to house his giant axle bazooka that flipped out when you plugged his Minicon Jolt into a port on his butt.
Yep, a Minicon port on his butt. Unfortunate.
Also notable in almost all the early Armada figures were the lack of care in painting faction symbols, which lead to large blobs of red or purple, and an overabundance of day glo colors. Sure, the character was pretty cool, but I just can’t get past the toy, or most of the Armada line, for that matter.
2. Sideswipe (Armada)
See, like I said, I can’t get past most of the Armada stuff, but, as bad as Hot Shot was, he was not the worst toy in the line. That dubious honor goes to our friend Sideswipe here. As I look at this picture again, I honestly don’t know what’s worse: the oversized, Popeye style forearms, the large, saddlebagesque flaps hanging from his hips, or the goofy, “generic bot in the background expression” on his face. Not only is this one of the most repulsive robot toys of all time, Sideswipe’s Minicon partner shares the honor of being the worst Minicon of the line; a motorcycle that stores in the car and flips out during transformation, but is so pencil thin in robot mode that he can’t stand. Plus, he has a wheel for an arm. What could anyone, even a robot, do with a wheel for an arm?
You know that the kicker is? Sideswipe saw multiple release in two varying shades of purple, packed in with other figures as an acknowledgement of the shame of owning this toy. And, even though he was a Decepticon, we still had a greater reason to hate him than his evil inclinations.
1. Action Masters (G1)
Boy, I would’ve liked to have been in the boardroom that day. What day am I talking about? Oh, just the day that the people that make Transformers decided that they didn’t need to transform anymore. I know, I know, you think I’m crazy. Surely this never happened, right? WRONG. Near the end of the 80’s with Transformers popularity waning in light of the new threat of video games (seriously, every toymaker was having problems competing with Nintendo), Hasbro saw fit to drive the final nail in the coffin by making Action Masters. They took the beloved characters of the Tranformers franchise, made G.I. Joe style figures out of them, and packaged them with Transforming weapons or playsets. I don’t know what’s more offensive about the idea, that Transformers no longer transformed, or that some suit assumed that I’d much rather transform Megatron’s tank base instead of Megatron himself.
Even in all this craziness, the fact that Transformers no longer did their job wasn’t the craziest part. No, the full on insanity belonged to the new characters that were introduced, like Banzai-tron, Rollout, and Kick-Out, plus the botched attempts at reviving old characters, like good old Omega Supreme up there….*ahem* I mean, Omega Spreem, who was only released in Europe, and as you can see, transformed. Turns out that near the end of the Action Master line, Hasbro realized that people actually DID want their Transformers to transform, and just made transforming Action Masters.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this walk through the Hall of Shame with me. Keep your browser pointed right here at JustUs Geeks for more Transformers and toy related news, hopefully with much better designed figures than we have seen here.