Promotional artwork of Scooter, scanned from the back of a Challenge of the GoBots VHS box. It’s pretty awesome, even if the artist did draw him mistransformed in both modes.
The Napkin of Revelation
Aaron Archer’s original outline for the series that would become Transformers: Cybertron, drawn on a napkin (origin uncertain), shown to fans at Hasbro’s booth during the final hours of BotCon 2005. With Aaron’s recent departure from Hasbro, I have decided to reveal these personal photos to the general public for the first time, though one side of the napkin previously showed up in the Transformers Vault guidebook.
You did a lot of good during your time on the brand, Aaron, and you will be missed. I am sorry that our first run-in, at BotCon 2002, consisted of me inadvertently keeping you from the restroom before the start of a panel to ask what the deal with Movor’s name was. Um, my bad.
(800th post. Huzzah.)
Mail-away flyer for the “Air Raiders Survival Kit” from Hasbro’s Air Raiders toyline, featuring the evil Emperor Aerozar and Baron Jolt, a map of Airlandia, extra missiles, and an air-launch glider.
For some reason, “Airlandia” has always struck me as incredibly dumb-sounding, but I think “Aerozar” is neat. Maybe they should’ve named the planet “Aerossia” instead.
Front cover of an Inhumanoids trace and color book, which features some of the worst art I’ve seen in a children’s coloring book. Then again, maybe I’m spoiled by Steve Ditko’s work on Transformers.
Before Hasbro and Mattel bought everybody, companies like Tonka and Matchbox made their own stuff. Today Hasbro owns Tonka, but doesn’t make Tonka trucks - they farm that out to a company called Funrise, which you hardcore Star Wars fans may recognize as the parent company of Code 3, who put out a lot of poster sculpture statues and high-end die-cast vehicles and real-life fire trucks.
Super Naturals was one of two lines that made use of the cheap hologram images you could slap on a Visa card, which happened in the mid 1980s. (It was fantastic stuff, let me tell you.) The other line was Visionaries, but Super Naturals are the ones I remembered the most not because I had any, but because they were around. Kay-Bee had them, but the really weird thing was there was a place called (if memory serves) ABC Cake Decorating Supplies in Phoenix that would take the figures, bag them up, and sell them as cake decorations around 1990. They had typical cake figure decorations, but for some reason they had action figures too. I never found out why. One of the reasons I remember this is that they also had some very old-school Star Wars R2-D2, C-3PO, Darth Vader, and Stormtrooper decorations far past the brand’s expiration date.
I’m quite surprised that this kind of figure hasn’t made a return for kids. The central premise - one or two molds with a sticker or decoration changing the design - is quite popular with designer figures and LEGO minifigures, but this kind of thing just isn’t happening with traditional action figures. It’s a shame, the concept was quite clever and even in the packaging, these things really did feel magical. I should see if that cake store still has any weird toys, assuming they’re still open.
That’d be a fun conversation. “Can I help you today, sir?” “Hunh? Oh, my parents dragged me here when I was 10 and you had some Super Naturals action figures in an unmarked bin of cake topper figurines, do you have anything like that today?”
“Ho, Tanngrisnir! Onward! Onward!”
oh my god
Character bios for Granok and Magnokor, heroic Mutores from Hasbro’s Inhumanoids toyline. On the cartoon, Granok received an entirely new, more crown-like head design, while the “twin” aspect of Pyre and Crygen was played up by them having basically the same character model in different colors.
Like the other Mutore bios, Magnokor’s contains an error: he’s supposed to be Metlar’s arch-foe, a fact borne out by Metlar’s own toy bio.
(What kind of character statistic is “density,” anyway? What kid would want to know how thick per square inch the lord of the stone-men was?)
In response to the asks Walky has been getting, I’ve come up with a short, not remotely complete list of Awesome toy gimmicks. Feel free to add your own:
- Turning into other things (Transformers, gobots, MASK, innumerable others.)
- Coming with a little animal/robot/creature sidekick (bunches…
As a kid, I was enamored with color-changing plastic and paint. I had… either a HotWheels or Matchbox car that changed from red to purple in hot/cold water, and dug the “battle damage” paint of the G.I. Joe Eco Warriors.
I never had any sparking figures, though, and I think my mom took the caps away when I got Thunder Punch He-Man.
Character bios for Redwood the Race and Granite the Race, heroic (yet generic) Mutores from Hasbro’s Inhumanoids toyline. Making trees masters of concealment is… interesting, I guess? The Granites were more developed in the cartoon, and included the quisling politician Granahue and the militant general Granitary, who rocked (ha ha) a Civil War mustache made of solid stone.
The Redwood race bio continues an error that casts them as Metlar’s arch-foes.