Welcome to Hoist’s Top Ten Transformers series! In these articles, I will be showing off the top ten transformers figures from my collection. The top ten from each toy line will be chosen and the series will culminate in an overall top ten.
Transformers: Animated (TFA) was chosen by fans of my Facebook page to be the first list presented. TFA was a cartoon series and toyline that was active from 2008 – 2010 and featured a very unique animation and toy design style. This was one of the first toylines to be very faithful to the animation of the cartoon.
I didn’t start collection Transformers until well after TFA was underway. In fact, I caught it right at the tail end of the line so I don’t have the whole cast to choose from so many of the favorites from this line will be absent from my list. Since I have a total of eleven figures from this line, I decided to throw them all in the list.
Snarl is one of the three Dinobots in TFA. Even though the triceratops has been traditionally called Slag, this guy got the name Snarl usually used for the stegosaurus. I think this marks the first time that we learned that we would never again have a character named Slag due to that being a derogatory term in some parts of the world. This was even addressed in one of the later episodes when the Constructicon Scrapper had Snarl as a pet (no seriously) and said that he wanted to call the guy Slag, but that he seemed offended by it.
Oh yeah, the figure! He’s a short stocky little dude, but he carries a big club! There isn’t much in the way of articulation and the dino-head doesn’t sit as nicely on the robot mode chest as I’d like.
He’s a nice little figure, but this is a tough list to score well on!
You love him or you hate him – there’s just no in-between with Bumblebee! True to the general theme of the line, Bee is a faithful representation of the cartoon character. He even includes flip out stingers and has a couple of plug-in rockets like he had in a couple of episodes.
He loses points for his chest being fake kibble, but sometimes, to get the right look, I understand why it’s done – animators can do pretty much anything they want, but the toy designers have to live and design in the real world. He also has practically no arm articulation other than bending at the elbow and rotating at the shoulder. However, there is just enough room to angle his arms to have them come together to connect his stinger halves. Despite that lack of arm articulation, his legs and head do provide quite a lot of options to get Bee in some nice poses.
9. Atomic Lugnut
Lugnut is everyone’s favorite suck-up, but no one would say it to his face for fear of being on the receiving end of one of his punches! The figure is a voyager class figure and the plane mode certainly shows the size that one would expect. However, once he transforms to his robot mode, he stands shorter than many of the Deluxe class figures. He makes up for his short stature with some impressively broad shoulders.
He is a very top heavy figure due to those massive shoulders and some spindly little legs so there aren’t a lot of posing options with him. That and his head doesn’t move at all other than to flip into his body for transformation.
Bulkhead is a fairly recent acquisition for me and I’m happy I got him because he is a really nice figure. It’s very interesting how similar this figure is to Lugnut’s since those two were sort of rivals during the show. Like Lugnut, Bulkhead is a voyager class figure and has a pretty massive vehicle mode, but transforms into a short, stocky robot. The stocky part really suits him, but when he’s shorter than Bumblebee, there’s a little problem with his height.
There isn’t much posing possible with his legs since they are so short, but they do contain the expected articulation points. His arms, however, don’t lack for possibility. In fact, his claw fingers are potable and his left arm even fires his tethered wrecking ball!
Grimlock is another new addition to the collection. I had to track him down since I heard so many good things about this figure. His Tyrannosaurus Rex mode is really nice – as long as you don’t look at him from underneath. Like a lot of figures with beast modes, he’s not particularly posable in dino mode although he does have a chomping jaw gimmick.
His robot mode is nearly perfect. The only thing that bothers me are his arms. His forearms have a funky bend in them due to their use in his dino mode, but it just looks weird in robot mode.
The arms do have a redeeming quality – the gimmick where the flames on his sword pop out when his right wrist is turned while holding the sword.
Wreck-Gar is such a fun character and his figure is no different. The only drawback to this figure (and it’s a big one, unfortunately) is his backpack. To get the show accuracy, pretty much the whole figure folds up and hides in the garbage truck shell. Then that just hangs off his back and is pretty darn heavy. So, even though he’s got great articulation, he’s limited in the poses that he can hold because of his backpack. Then again, the fact that he has that backpack is show accurate too.
Ironhide only appeared for a few episodes and wasn’t a main character, but true to form, he shared a body type with Ratchet. Ironhide never made it to Earth, so his figure is of his Cybertronian form. The vehicle mode is still an orange SUV-ish type of vehicle, but instead of wheels, he drives around on the tips of four treads. They aren’t functional treads on the figure, but they do have little wheels for any vroom-vroom moments.
The robot mode is highly posable – One of the best articulated figures around. About the only thing missing is a waist swivel, but that’s just picking nits.
He also gets bonus points for thus far being the only G1-ish Ironhide in my collection.
It doesn’t matter what continuity it is, Jazz is one of the coolest cats around! TFA is no different. He’s a wonderful homage to his G1 namesake what with being a laid-back, white sports car who’s highly intrigued by Earth culture. He even has his trademark visor!
Since he is a “ninja-bot”, it’s fitting that he has a high amount of possibility due to incredible articulation. The articulation sticklers will be pleased to know that he even has a waist swivel! Even his accessories – his exhaust pipes turn into nunchucks – fit his portrayal as a Master of Circuit-Su, one of Cybertron’s ancient martial arts.
3. Oil Slick
While he wasn’t featured in the cartoon except for a small part in one episode, Oil Slick managed to get one pretty fantastic figure. He is apparently a chemist that develops weapons, such as cosmic rust, so it makes sense for him to have his head in a bubble, likely as a precaution so he doesn’t expose himself to his nefarious creations.
Figure-wise, his head-in-a-bubble looks great, but does limit his head movement to simply side-to-side. Other than that his articulation is top notch. He comes with two barrels that he carries in his four-wheeled motorcycle alt mode and one of them opens up and has the two parts attached by a chain as a sort of bolas weapon which can be held menacingly by his claw hands.
Showing that he has a little style, his motorcycle mode sports a ram’s skull which ends up on his left shoulder. This is definitely a guy to stay away from!
2. Optimus Prime (Cybertron Mode)
Sure, Optimus Prime was the leader of the ragtag group of space bridge mechanics and was the main character in the show, but that’s not what got him this high on the list. The figure is just that good. Figures don’t get much more show accurate than this. On top of that, he can be put in pretty much any pose since he has all the articulation you can think of and is very well balanced.
His vehicle mode is a nice homage back to his G1 days in that it is a flat-nosed truck as opposed to the long-nose truck used in the live action movie that came out the year prior to TFA premiering. It’s like the designers of the show knew they had to keep that mode to keep the fans happy. They did still give him a mouth instead of a faceplate in most cases except for battle, but honestly, he looks weird with the faceplate in this series.
Anyway, I love the figure and I love his character who is more Orion Pax than Optimus Prime in the show.
1. Rodimus Minor
He only appeared in one episode for a minute or so before being unceremoniously killed by cosmic rust. Even so, Rodimus managed to secure one of the best figures of the TFA line and, arguably, the best official figure of Hot Rod/Rodimus in any line (Masterpiece not included because, c’mon, it’s called “Masterpiece” for a reason).
His vehicle mode is spot on to the original and his robot mode is as well, albeit reimagined in the style of TFA. He has great articulation even so far as to include ball jointed ankles!
I’m not a big fan of the double-bow weapon for him, especially since it has trouble staying put in vehicle mode, but it is certainly a unique weapon that isn’t wielded by too many other characters.