These past twelve months proved to be quite the resurgence in this toy collectors life. From the start of 2019 I made a conscious effort to start collecting again, and began building my collection with my favorite toy line, the Transformers.
Picking up a couple of original G1 figures, the collectors bug hit and hit hard, and soon after I began to take notice of Hasbro’s Siege line in the War for Cybertron trilogy. While opinions certainly varied; mostly on whether fans liked the smudge or “battle damage” (for me personally it doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it does other collectors, although I totally get why it would), for the most part Hasbro has released one solid toy after another with anticipation already building for 2020’s Earthrise wave of figures.
The end of a calendar year always presents an opportunity for reflection, so as we wrap up 2019 and one full year of Toy Wizards existence, I’m counting down my top 5 favorite figures from the War for Cybertron Siege line.
Someone has to start at the bottom and kick this list off, but that in no way is meant to diminish how much I enjoy this representation of the Lamborghini Countach re-imagined in a Cybertronian form.
Sideswipe is just gorgeous, from the immaculate head sculpt to his beautiful deep red paint job. And while some Siege figures look like they rolled around in the muck all afternoon, Sideswipe’s battle damage is limited to just his shins. There’s so much about this guy to love. His transformation is super simple, but loads of fun, and while I keep all of my Transformers in their robot modes, Sideswipe looks so good in vehicle mode, it’s hard not to display him in his alternate mode.
My only gripe is that while he; thankfully, comes with his shoulder cannon, a second gun would’ve made him all the better.
For as cool as his counterpart Ironhide was, the slightly re-sculpted Ratchet is even cooler.
A Walgreen’s exclusive that (Toy Wizards Editor-in-Chief, Loryn Stone kindly picked up for this Canuck north of the border), Ratchet never fails to delight me and put a big smile across my face when I look at him on my shelf.
While he does share many similarities with the Ironhide mold, there are enough differences incorporated by Hasbro to really make him shine. One major improvement is the flaps on his shins that become his vehicle mode doors not just popping off at will, as is the case with Ironhide. For me personally, Ironhide hasn’t given me that problem, but I guess I’m the exception to the rule.
The red and white color scheme and overall aesthetic behind Ratchet gives him an amazingly accurate G1 look. The only weak points are both minor and major. Minor being I wish the crest on his head were red instead of black, and major being…that alternate medical bay mode? No sir, I don’t like it.
I’m a major sucker for all three of the Decepticon Seekers, and while I was majorly jazzed to get Skywarp Christmas morning, of the three Thundercracker stands head and shoulders among the trio.
Thundercracker, Starscream and Skywarp have the same amount of battle damage in all the same places, but Thundercracker’s seems to be the least noticeable. It may have something to do with the stunning blue paint application. While Starscream and Skywarp are handsome fellas in their own right, Thundercracker really draws my gaze to my shelf with just how vibrant he is.
I still need to get around to swapping his face plate with Starscream’s, because that smirking visage belongs to one Seeker, and one Seeker only.
The completist in me will get all three of the individual Refraktor’s in their G1 animated series version so I can display them in robot mode. I mentioned earlier that all of my robots stay robots on my shelf, except for this trio making up the Reconnaissance three-pack. You have to hand it to Hasbro for their clever marketing.
While Spectro, Spyglass and Viewfinder are a little on the small side for deluxe class figures, the amount of accessories and the inclusion of Kremzeek really nailed it for me, and justified me slapping down my credit card and adding them to my ever growing shelf space.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and Hasbro exemplifies that like no other using this same mold starting with Prowl and applying it to his Autobot brethren Bluestreak and Smokescreen as well as the Decepticon Barricade.
Hey, I get it, there’s profit to be made so you gotta save wherever you can. Us MOTU fans know that all too well whether it be Sy-Klone equals He-Man in space or Stinkor is just Merman with a fine musk…or not so fine.
I was almost going to place Bluestreak here instead because he’s a sleek and sexy beast, but I went with Smokescreen because to quote Bart Simpson, “look at all the colors, man!”
From the red and blue paint with the swank white trim, to the yellow on his crest there’s no smokescreen; to turn a phrase, evident here. This re-imagined Cybertronian Datsun is looking fine and is ready to hit the town to kick some Decepticon tail. Much like Sideswipe at number five, Smokescreen (and the others in his mold) has a super simple transformation, but it doesn’t take away any of the enjoyment in doing so.
Honorable Mention: G1 Reissue Soundwave
“Soundwave superior, Autobots inferior”.
It’s my list and I’ll cheat if I want to. Sure, this is a celebration of what for me is the five best of the Siege line adorning my toy shelf, but for all of those who know me, and know me well, they can attest that I was chomping at the bit waiting for Soundwave to arrive to the point I was like Bart at Kamp Krusty, clinging onto the last shred of my sanity, proclaiming, “Soundwave is coming, Soundwave is coming”, the mantra of a crazed collector afflicted by the toy sickness.
Never having owned the G1 original from back in the 80’s glory days, it was a happy day indeed, when by chance I scoped out a Walmart the next town over back in late August, found the one Soundwave on their shelf and checked out that bad boy faster than Blurr can tell Rodimus Prime that the Decepticons are attacking. I haven’t come across his two-packs of cassettes…yet, but a good collector never gives up the hunt.
2019 was a great year for Hasbro and the Siege line in the War for Cybertron series, I’m sure like many others we can’t wait for 2020 and the Earthrise line to drain our wallets in a brand new year as well.