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Transformers G1 Figures
The original line of toys, later dubbed G1 (Generation 1) figures ran from 1984 to 1990 when it ended due to severe changes in the storylines of the TV show and the toy lines.
In 1993 Hasbro decided to re-release the Transformer line calling it Generation 2 figures, and thus the original line became known as G1.
The inaugural series of the Transformers G1 Figures was released in 1984 and introduced the heroic Autobots, who made their debut as small, easy-to-convert "minicars." The second wave introduced their arch rivals the DECEPTICON who had slightly more difficult conversions.
Also introduced during their inaugural year were the Decepticon jets, including the wildly popular Starscream jet, Optimus Prime the leader of the Autobots as the semi-truck, Megatron the leader of the Decepticons and the Decepticon Soundwave, who converted into a cassette recorder.
Transformers G1 Figures - 1985
After a hugely successful year Transformers were one of the hottest toys on the market.
In 1985 Hasbro re-released all the figures from the previous year as well as introducing several new characters including the Constructicons, a team of six construction vehicles that turned into individual robots and combined to form the huge Devastator robot.
This was the first of many "merge group" Transformers (figures that combine to form a larger one).
Hasbro also introduced their first mail-order Transformers figures. Collectors and fans had to clip "robot points" from product packaging to send-away for the Omnibots, reinforcement warriors from Cybertron which included the S.T.A.R.S. Command Center play-set; and the Autobot Warrior emblem watch.
Other mail-away offers included the Decipticon triple threat, Reflector figure, as well as classic Transformers reissue toys.
Another new concept introduced was the triple changer Decepticons which had THREE modes of change. As the Transformers have evolved and become more complex over the years many new Transformers feature up to six different modes of transformation!
The Insecticons, robots that turn into insects, also made their debut in 1985 as well as the Autobot Jumpstarter figures which featured pull-back motion.
Other figures released during 1985 included the Dinobots, dinosaurs that change into robots; including the popular Grimlock, Sludge and Swoop dinos.
Another first was the introduction of Shockwave, the first electronic Transformer with lights and sound.
Transformers G1 Figures - 1986
In 1986 the long anticipated and eagerly awaited The Transformers: The Movie was released. This animated feature wasn't quite the blockbuster that Hasbro had hoped it would be but it marked a change in direction for the series.
It was also in 1986 that Hasbro starting using original designs for many of the lines characters as they had used the last of the Microman and Diaclone molds.
The release of Transformers: TheMovie,, which was a huge success, prompted the release of more than 50 figures, including several new figures, e.g. the Rodimus Prime and Ultra Magnus robots.
Several more merge groups were also released including sets in which one figure became the body of a larger robot and other figures becoming the arms and legs.
The very first Autobot merge group figures was released featuring Aerialbots, figures that combined to form Superion, a larger robot. Other "merge groups" released included the Stunticons, Combaticons, Predacons and Protectobots.
New electronic figures released included Trypticon, the battle station; Sky Lynx, the space shuttle; and the robot Galvatron who, in the movie, took over command of the Decepticon army.
Transformers G1 Figures - 1987
1987 saw the introduction of two new lines, the Targetmasters and Headmasters.
The Targetmasters were humanoid robots who transformed into the robots weapons and the Headmasters were vehicle pilots who became the head of the robot. By joining the head and body together you got a display panel on the robot's chest with its vital stats - speed, strength and intelligence.
The biggest Transformers figure ever made was a Headmaster, Fortress Maximus, who was an awesome two-foot-tall battle station figure that could turn into an entire city!
Also released this year were the Monsterbots, monsters which emitted sparks when you pushed a button; and Sixshot, who was the first Transformers figure with six modes of change!
Transformers G1 Figures - 1988
This year saw a new twist on the Targetmasters / Headmasters theme introduced with the arrival of the Powermasters, these were robots whose humanoid cohorts became their engine in vehicle mode.
Then there were the Pretenders, figures with organic outer "shells" that hid their robot inside. Their shells could be human (Autobots) or monsters (Decepticons) and later with the arrival of Pretender Beasts, all the robots are contained within the shell of large animals.
Transformers G1 Figures - 1989
In 1989 Hasbro took the Transformers figures back to their roots with the Micromasters.
The Micromasters were miniature Transformers and featured Micromaster Patrols, Micromasters Transports and Micromaster Stations, which were play-sets specifically designed for the Micromasters line, each of these play-sets could be interlinked to create an awesome Micromasters city.
1989 also saw the triumphant return of Grimlock, Jazz, Bumblebee and Starscream figures in the Pretenders Classic series, but overall their were much fewer figures released than previous years.
Transformers G1 Figures - 1990
A whole new line of Transformers figures called Action Masters was released in 1990. These were articulated figures based on Transformers characters both old and new, including Optimus Prime who has brought back as an experimental form of energy called Nucleon.
Nucleon had the ability to super-fuel his troops with incredible powers but the Decepticons stole this resource and their battle raged anew.
However this new energy source makes the Transformers unable to change and instead this power is given to their weapons and assistant drones.
More of the highly collectible and popular Micromaster figures are also released during 1990, including the first Micromasters Combiners, an interconnecting series of micro-vehicles.
But all good things must come to an end, and so it is with the first generation of Transformers figures; 1990 is their last year of production.
Hasbro Transformers Generation 2 Figures 1992-1995
After a two year absence the Transformers blast back on to toy shop shelves with Hasbro's re-launched Transformers Generation II figures. Hasbro's original concept for this line was to re-introduce the original toys using the same moulds with slight alterations such as a change in color and different weapons, but there are plenty of new characters as well.
These new re-imagined figures also introduced some new special features, e.g. the new Optimus Prime came with electronic sounds and phrases, the small Autobot Cars and Decepticon Jets had engines that served as weapons in robot mode and color-changing cars that did just that, they changed colour when dipped in water!
The Transformers figures weren't the only ones to make a return either as both a new TV show hit the airwaves and a "prequel crossover" comic book was released, which spanned Issues 138 to 142, of the G.I. Joe comic.
After this the Transformers G2 made the jump to its own comic with a new 12-issue comic book series , hoping to emulate the success of the original G1 Transformers.
One of the year's highlights for collectors and fans was the release of a Laser Optimus Pime figure, a large figure with light-up weapons and air-powered rocket launchers.
The Transformers: Generation 2 storyline was the first gut-level, serious storyline where characters were killed quickly, unapologetically and often.
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Transformers Generation 1 Figures (Hasbro) Checklist
Released in 1984
Released in 1985
Series 2 - Deluxe
Released in 1986
Released in 1987
Punch / Counterpunch
Released in 1987
Released in 1989
Air Strike Patrol
Off Road Patrol
Race Car Patrol
Sports Car Patrol
Released in 1990
Hot Rod Patrol
Monster Trucks Patrol
Race Track Patrol
Transformers - Generation 2 (Hasbro) Figure Checklist
Released in 1993
Released in 1994
Released in 1995
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Colin Dorman 2008 mcfarlanes-figures.com