I was an unapologetic Transformers collector.
The bots covered an entire wall. The collection made people take a step back when they caught sight of it. My wife was the frequent recipient of the “Oh, you poor thing” look. Comparisons to “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” were made. Often.
I lead with this, only because Hasbro made some Transformers announcements at SDCC that made me step back and say “Seriously? You’re going that nerdy?”
First revelation came when they announced they’d be expanding their “Totally-not-LEGO” line of building toys, Kre-O (…sigh), to include blind-bagged Kreon figures (just like the blind-bagged minifigs from that OTHER BUILDING COMPANY THAT THEY’RE TOTALLY NOT COPYING, M’KAY?). That, in and of itself, is not shocking. The Kreons are arguably the best things about the sets (which are decidedly fiddly, can’t stand under their own weight, and blow apart into their component pieces whenever you touch them). No, what’s shocking is that they went deep, deep into the vault for its initial line-up and included characters like Bludgeon. The TL;DR version of that link is this: he’s a robot ninja who’s best idea for hiding his robot form was to put it in a shell that looks like a Skeleton Samurai. Now don’t get me wrong, Bludgeon was tons of fun in the G1 comics and I had the original toy at some point; but he’s the very definition of a fan wank character.
Revelation the second came when Hasbro announced they’d be releasing the Wreckers. The TL;DR on them is…there isn’t one. Settle in. Back in the G1 comics, Hasbro had a problem. The comic was there to highlight the toys that the cartoon didn’t feature; but some of these toys were completely ignored in the cartoon, were hard to find, or were just deeply obscure right out of the box. Marvel’s solution? Round up the random Japanese intellectual property acquisitions (like Mugen) and mail-in coupon giveaways (like the Jumpstarters), pair them with a well-known character (Ultra Magnus), and then set them loose on the Decepticons like a chainsaw. They died frequently, caused an insane amount of carnage, and have become one of the favorite sub-teams among fans as we’ve all matured and grown tired of the same old “Bumblebee gets himself trapped…again” plots. The roster has changed several times as the Transformers comic property has changed hands, but currently it features several of the “founding” members (including Roadbuster who will always hold a place in my heart as the toy I snapped in half on Christmas morning, practically before I got him out of the box) and is led by a character that appeared for maybe one issue in the UK-version of the G1 comics (which ran for another year after the US title folded) and has never had a toy, ever. And they’re a combiner (they were not a combiner in the comics)! That’s also an homage to a different combiner in a toy line from five years ago! These aren’t just fan-wank toys, they’re full on TF Nerdbait.
All of this, plus the promise that we won’t see another Bumblebee toy for at least a year? It’s settled, the nerds have gotten the keys to the kingdom at Hasbro corporate.