A Transformer TOY Hall of Fame?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Lbsammills51, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. Lbsammills51

    Lbsammills51 Well-Known Member

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    (Please bare with me, this is a long post.)

    A Transformer Toy Hall of Fame…it’s something that crossed my mind last year in the midst of the inaugural HoF inductions and has been on my mind again ahead of this year’s second class of inductees. I’m a big sports fan and have found the debate of who gets in and why fun and entertaining (as long as it’s not taken too seriously…which, unfortunately, isn’t always the case), and have wondered how it would fair when debating the great variety of Transformer toys that we’ve had the opportunity to enjoy for over 25 years. Be it a “wing” that’s part of the current Hall (a la the writers’ or announcers’ wings of various sports halls of fame) or a completely separate, and perhaps by default “unofficial” (no sanctioning by Hasbro), institution from the Hall of Fame at Botcon that celebrates characters and contributors to the franchise, it’s something that could provide a better outlet for celebrating the plastic bundles of joy that have helped build this franchise – the toys themselves.

    As it is presently set up, my only complaint with the current Hall of Fame is that toys are not elected separately from characters and contributors. Though I don’t think you need to collect the toys (or anything else) to be considered a Transformer fan, I associate these toys with the pleasure I derive from this franchise. G1 and RotF Leader Optimus Prime are as symbolic of the franchise for me as the G1 cartoon, Simon Furman, or Peter Cullen. The characters we’ve come to love, (Prime, Megs, Starscream, etc.) and the people behind those characters (voice actors, toy designers, writers, etc.) have found or will eventually find their place…but there’s no separate induction for the toys themselves. Yet there are so many different versions of each character in plastic form (be it from one continuity to another, or different iterations of one version of that character, like the various versions of G1 Starscream) that it seems silly that there is no outlet to recognize them too. I don’t consider inducting toys as important as recognizing the actual people behind Transformers, but at least on par with the fan balloting for characters.

    So why not have a Toy HoF, or Toy wing of that Hall? It would be more fun and bring a wider variety of views than debating which characters should make it by simple math; there are far more toys of Transformers that we are familiar with than there are Transformer characters. Just perusing the Toy forum here, different franchises and different figures bring about a great variety of opinions on their strengths and weaknesses, with those discussions (usually) positive in terms of tone, even when the views of a particular subject aren’t always complimentary.

    Getting back to the sports angle, here’s a format for induction I’ve had rolling around in my head that’s different than the character inductions:

    • 10 toy introductory class – get some of the big names out of way right out of the gate. Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb were in MLB’s inaugural class of players…G1 Optimus Prime and G1 Megatron could be similar pillars to build on, though a large inaugural class also allows for some diversity (Beast Wars Ultra Optimus Primal, RiD Scourge, Armada Unicron, etc.) that are also among the most respected post-G1 toys.
    • Post-introductory class, fan vote from each of the major Transformer websites determines a list of 10 nominees for that year
    • Maximum five, minimum three Transformers are elected each year going forth (maximum can be raised or lowered over time depending on how many viable candidates there are as time goes on)
    • Five-year waiting period for a toy to be “eligible” for the HoF – This gives everyone time to sit back and look at a toy with better perspective than what we might have when it first came out, or only a year or two after it was initially released. Five year period is determined by the calendar year the first version of that character’s toy is released (for example, if a Hasbro Classics/Universe toy came out in 2008 but the Takara Henkei release didn’t come out until 2009, that toy would be considered up for election in 2013 based on the release of the Hasbro version)
    • Each year at Botcon, the senior members/administrators from each of the major Transformer websites (total Braveheart “Unite the clans!” moment…without the subsequent betrayal and bloodshed, of course) gather and together debate the list of nominees, before voting on the final five (or less) – This is modeled after how the NFL writers induct candidates, the Saturday before the Super Bowl (if this were in conjunction with the other HoF enshrinees, this could be done during the afternoon the day of the HoF dinner, with the toys of the successfully elected candidates joining their flesh & blood and fictional HoF compatriots later that night…perhaps, knowing the 10 nominees ahead of time, Hasbro and Takara could prepare some quick video presentation with designers of certain toys that provides a little insight or background into how that toy came about)
    • Debate takes place in a public forum – Unlike the NFL, the debate is public. There shouldn’t be secrecy surrounding who votes for who in sports HoFs, so it shouldn’t occur in a HoF for toys either.
    • 70% majority is needed to get in – It’s toys, so I imagine it shouldn’t be that hard to get five in every year…but voters shouldn’t feel obligated to elect five every year if they can’t come to a consensus on five deserving candidates
    • For at least the first ten years after the inaugural induction, at least one G1/G2 toy and one post G1/G2 toy must be inducted among the minimum of three – Ideally, this should celebrate all Transformer toys, so the first several years shouldn’t devolve into “Which G1 toys are getting in?” because people feel compelled to honor them first because they came first chronologically at the expense of everything else (they’re toys, not people, we don’t have to worry about them dying before they can be inducted)…but at the same time, G1/G2 should be acknowledged every year as the forefathers of “modern day” Transformer toys and not be ignored because many of the originals lack what we are commonplace in newer toys (ball joints, swivel joints, enhanced posability, complex transformations, weapon storage, etc.)
    • When there are differences (minute or obvious), for individual molds that are successfully elected, both the Hasbro and its corresponding Takara release are enshrined together. Subsequent redecoes of that same mold, as long as they are the same character, would also join them. For example, with Classics Cyclonus, I’d want to avoid polling and debates bogging down to which version is better between the Universe, Henkei, and Challenge at Cybertron/Battle in Space versions (or even the eHobby clear release), which could cost the Cyclonus toy votes as people try to decide which is “better,” risking Cyclonus votes canceling each other out and other toys bypassing it. This way, since those are all “Classics Cyclonus,” the lot of them can go in together and the debate can focus more on whether the toy itself is deserving. That said, SG Cyclonus and Gentei Strafe would not join them, since they’re separate characters. I know that different decoes can make one toy quite different from the other, even when the differences are minor, but I’d find it silly if the FamilyMart Crystal RotF Leader Prime or the regular Hasbro RotF Leader Prime didn’t get elected, or had to wait forever, because “Buster Optimus Prime has already been elected, and though those are awesome too, we’ve been there, done that with that mold already.”
     
  2. Lbsammills51

    Lbsammills51 Well-Known Member

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    Among some interesting debates that could come up, that we see almost every week (or day, at times) on the board here would take on a new dimension when a toy’s HoF enshrinement is on the line because of it:

    Quality issues – Does a toy with known QC issues (Universe Prowl’s sticky paint) or toys that aged disastrously (Hasbro’s Transmetal Megatron, or anything with GPS) affect a toy’s candidacy, even when it’s corresponding release (Henkei Prowl, Metals Megatron) are not impaired by those same problems? Is it fair to deny a toy because of something that wasn’t expected when it was created, or fell victim to a poor quality control process as opposed to poor execution of the mold itself?

    Ugly redecoes – Okay, so all of the Classic Cyclonus’ get in in one fell swoop since none of the different paint decoes garnered disgust or frustration that hurt the view of the toy itself…but what about say, (just as an example), Movie Deluxe Brawl and its same-character redecoes? There’s the Allspark Power version, the Deep Desert version…and that hideous “Banana Brawl” Desert Ruins two-pack redeco. If that toy were seriously considered, would that one hideous repaint kill the toy’s candidacy as much as, or more than, the shoulder issue with the first Movie Deluxe Brawl?

    Exclusives – Does a toy with a more (intended) limited release lose votes, not because people refuse to vote for it out of spite, but because people are less familiar with it since they’ve never actually seen one in person? (Admittedly, probably a minor issue, but maybe it comes into play when opinion is formed mostly by a few pics someone’s seen online rather than in-depth knowledge of a toy from having owned it or known someone who has?)

    Complex vs simpler transformations – Is going to the extreme in either category a knock on a specific toy? Is its pain in the ass transformation something that could hurt RotF Leader Prime if it comes down to that and another toy? What about a simplistic transformation like on Classics/Universe Silverbolt (or the Darkwing and Skyjack redecoes, if or when they come up)?

    Playability – This can coincide with complexity vs simplicity, especially when it comes to the Armada/Micron Legends line…minicons and Unicron aside, how will figures from this line be judged compared to others? Does a toy without great posability but is a hell of a lot of fun to mess around with, like Megatron or Galvatron, garner serious consideration?

    Scale – Considering the complaints surrounding toys that are viewed as too small (Animated Lugnut, Movie Voyager Blackout) or too tall (Classics/Universe Powerglide, Beast Machines Nightscream), can its size in relation to other toys of its size class or line be a stumbling block in a toy’s candidacy, or is it ignored and the merits of the toy itself discussed, wholly separate from whatever line it comes from?

    Non-transforming toys – Do some of these merit serious consideration, despite not actually transforming? Is the amazing posability of a Revoltech toy enough to get itself in? What about the G1 Action Masters? Robot Heroes and 3-inch Titaniums? Mighty Muggs?

    Character tie-ins – Yes, the Toy HoF is meant to be separate from the characters that get in…but they are linked at least somewhat. Great characters can impact how we look at certain toys, and so can lackluster characters. Does a toy that many feel captures a memorable character perfectly get a boost in our eyes, whether we consciously know it or not? What about a toy that is judged to have dropped the ball? Or toys that are far more enjoyable than the on-screen or comic character that is associated with them (cough cough, Drift, cough cough)? What about toys of non-screen characters from the various lines…are we more likely to look past certain imperfections since we don’t have something from a cartoon/film or comic that we unknowingly compare it to, or are we more likely to ignore them since we have nothing memorable onscreen or in print to associate them with?

    Size classes – Is a toy like Battle Blades Optimus Prime end up ignored or belatedly addressed because it stands in the shadow (for some, though perhaps not for others) of RotF Leader Prime? Could dueling toys from different size classes cancel each other out (Battle Blade vs Human Alliance Bumblebee, Animated Activators vs Voyager Starscream)?

    Combiners – This may mostly affect certain obvious G1 toys, but is a combiner toy and its individual components viewed as separate and unrelated when it comes to debate time? Are they too interchangeable for some to view separately (and more likely hurting the view of the individual elements in the process)? Does RiD Omega Prime even get considered separately from RiD Prime and Ultra Magnus? Does any individual G1 combiner toy (an individual Stunticon, Seacon, Protectobot, etc.) have a chance of being elected separately from the combiner it forms (Menasor, Piranacon, Defensor)?

    Unlicensed/third party items – Perhaps the most controversial. If a Toy wing of the HoF is associated with the Hasbro event, than these probably aren’t even considered to avoid awkward moments like FansProject Munitioner or Perfect Effect Ninja joining Cybertron Leader Optimus Prime or Animated Ultra Magnus right in front of Hasbro officials. If it’s separate, or somehow it’s done anyways in concert with the current HoF (unlicensed toy makers have been at Botcon), how do we evaluate these compared to Hasbro/Takara products? Does it take on a DH vs position player argument, or even a “player with steroid issues” vs “player with no steroid issues” argument for baseball? Are the awesomeness of certain products enough to overcome the issues of “it’s not an official Transformer product anyways” and “unlicensed toy makers can skirt the toy laws that Hasbro has to abide by?” What about the unlicensed upgrade kids and their relation to certain Hasbro products (Classics Ultra Magnus, the Energon combiners)…could there be a push to elect a toy in tandem with its upgrade set, and is that fair to a toy that excels without an upgrade of any kind? Does Classics Ultra Magnus or Energon/RotF Bruticus even mentioned as possibilities without counting their upgrades with the actual licensed toy? If we ignore these toys, does that mean we have to ignore a handful of the more memorable Transformer toys of the past few years, and how does that impact this HoF I’m so eager about that I typed up a bloody short essay discussing it in detail?

    Sorry, I know I wrote a novel...but I'm a sports nerd and a Transformer nerd, and the possibility of looking at the toys I buy in a similar manner as the sports I watch every day on TV is something I find as fun and intriguing.
     
  3. Lbsammills51

    Lbsammills51 Well-Known Member

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    Anyone?
     
  4. Dansproject

    Dansproject Drifticon

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    it's a nice idea,but if it went to fan voting,we'd doubtless get all the 'comedy' names getting the votes.
     
  5. Ikkstakk

    Ikkstakk Well-Known Member

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    We're not done reading your posts yet, give us a minute.
     
  6. Thenames9

    Thenames9 D-d-d-d-duel!

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    Perhaps we could have a Toy Hall of Fame exclusively on TFW2005, instead of doing one at BotCon. Split it up into different categories (ie. Best Deluxe, Voyager, Leader etc, or Most Fun toy to play with, Best Posability etc.). Structure it like we do with the current HOF (Nominations, Poll with top 10 then a final poll with 5 nominees). Then have the Winner announced on the Front Page and have a special Cabinet or something dedicated to it.
    And have 2 Auto-Inductees every yer, but start off the first Toy Hall of Fame with 5 Auto-Inductees.
     
  7. Lbsammills51

    Lbsammills51 Well-Known Member

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    That's why I'd want fans voting on the ten nominees to be debated, but the actual 3-5 that get in are decided by senior members from the various Transformer sites. It means toys that get an unexpected fan campaign can still be nominated and considered, but it avoids the process potentially being turned into a joke of debating only nominees with funny names or crappy toys that people find it funny to nominate (Armada Sideswipe, Titanium G.I. Joe Megatron).

    The thing I don't like about an "awards show" type format for a HoF is that it's better suited to an annual format handed on to the previous year's releases rather than a setup that's meant to honor the best of alltime. If TFW or other sites wanted to band together and hand out year-end awards a la Oscar, that's fine and also rather interesting (I like the year-end threads where people discuss their favorite and least-favorite releases due to the variety of responses and noticing which toys really hit people the right way) but I wouldn't use it for a Hall of Fame. I wouldn't want a Transformer Toy HoF to be structured by "best Voyager" or "best Scout" since toy size classes can (and have, somewhat) change over time.
     
  8. Ikkstakk

    Ikkstakk Well-Known Member

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    Okay, here are my serious thoughts on your idea.

    I like the basic idea, and this is the main reason. For me, the toys are central to the popularity of the concept, and deserve to be honored.

    This was the only one of your points I had a slight issue with, and the bolded part is the reason why. The whole point of a Toy Hall of Fame is to honor the toy, the characters already have a Hall of Fame. I'd be more inclined to consider a significant remold a separate toy (say, for example, Classics Ramjet vs. Classics Starscream), than I would a simple redeco to represent a different character. The mold itself is unchanged, and the mold is really what we'd be recognizing.

    I wouldn't immediately disqualify a toy for these issues, mainly because the issues aren't universal. At the time I sold my Universe Prowl, his paint was not sticky, and my Transmetal Megatron is still intact. The fact that a corresponding release didn't have these issues at all is even more reason not to remove a toy from consideration.

    ...Don't bother me. As long as there's one decent deco, any ugly version doesn't detract from the mold, in my opinion. The Movie Deluxe Brawl's shoulder issue you mentioned would be a more serious limiting factor, but if it was fixed on subsequent releases, that mitigates things. In honoring a toy, I think the best version of said toy should take center stage, whether that version is the initial release or a later redeco.

    Are there any unique-mold exclusives? I'm having trouble coming up with any. Maybe a better question is, are there any rare/difficult to obtain molds that are fantastic enough to be considered Hall of Fame material?

    I can't separate transformation from the toy itself. ROTF Leader Prime looks amazing in both modes, so the fact that it's a "pain in the ass" to transform can't be counted against it. A simpler transformation would have resulted in a less impressive toy. As for Universe Silverbolt, I think his simplistic transformation works for him just as ROTF Prime's complex transformation works for him. I like both toys equally, but I appreciate them for different reasons. Silverbolt offers me some great nostalgia for the simplicity of G1, which is appropriate as he's a G1 homage. I wouldn't want him to be more complex, and I wouldn't want Prime to be simpler.

    Short answer: yes. Longer answer: I do consider posability to be a more important marker of a more well-designed toy, but that's just an opinion and I'm sure there are people who feel exactly opposite. A hierarchy of contributing factors cannot be imposed, because different things are important to different people. (And I personally preferred Armada Starscream over Armada Megatron.)

    I think it could be a stumbling block, but it shouldn't be. In the end, a toy should stand or fall on its own merits, not on its relation to its peers. This gets back to putting too much focus on what character the toy is representing and not enough focus on the mold itself. I'd have preferred a smaller Powerglide toy, as I think it would have been a better homage, but I enjoy the toy we got. Maybe, to limit the pitfalls during debate, toys should be referred to (for example) not as "Universe Powerglide/Stormcloud," but as "Universe A-10 Thunderbolt"?

    Good, worthy question. On the one hand, they're Transformers but they don't transform. On the other hand, they're toys, this is a toy Hall of Fame, and the Revoltechs in particular are really fun to play with and pose. This might be the case where separating the toy from the character is truly impossible. I can't ever see a situation where other non-transforming Transformers would even be nominated, except for the G1 Action Masters, and in their case they do have transforming accessories.

    Hmm... *Insert other deep-thinking sound effects* That's a tough one. I for one found the Drift toy to be among the best toys of 2010, regardless of how I feel about Drift as a character. The fact that the mold was adroitly retooled into Blurr speaks even more supportingly of the toy design: the apparent ease of switching out of the swords for the guns and ending up with a toy that feels almost completely new is what I mean.

    Again, it's too much emphasis on what character the toy is representing. If Battle Blades Prime is a great toy, it should get just as much consideration as Leader Prime. If, say, Leader Prime is nominated, it shouldn't disqualify Voyager Prime from being nominated right alongside it, as we're honoring the toys, not the characters. Another situation where referring to the mold by its alt mode ("Human Alliance Camaro" et. al.) might be beneficial to the debate.

    Chuckled a bit at this. The G1 combiners are all such bricks, with the arguable exception of Hun-Grr, that I wouldn't expect to see enough support for any of them to qualify for a nomination. As for Omega Prime, Menasor, Piranacon, etc., I'd classify them as features of the component toys rather than as individual toys themselves, and therefore ineligible for nomination.

    ...Well, that was a gut reaction. Let me give it a bit more thought. I can see a situation where someone might really love Omega Prime and want to see him in the Hall of Fame. He is a toy, after all, he meets all of the major criteria (playability and posability, chiefly). In that case, a nomination and successful induction would therefore include Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus; those toys could never be nominated by themselves, as they would already be in. Nominating Piranacon on the basis of his Targetmaster playability is by definition a nomination for all six Seacons collectively. Personally it would leave a bad taste in my mouth, knowing that the brickish Seacons were in a toy Hall of Fame... maybe it would never come to that. RiD Optimus, by contrast, is a terrific toy, and were he to get in under the Omega Prime umbrella, I'd be fine with that.

    Okay, now we're going to get political. Now we're going to make a distinction between transforming toys and Transformers. Since this would be a TRANSFORMERS (the brand) Toy Hall of Fame, I would consider anything unlicensed or third party to be categorically ineligible. Were this just a transforming toy Hall of Fame, then sure, they could get in... but then so could Robotech, Animorphs, or innumerable other transforming toys throughout the ages.

    And now I'll apologize for my novel. But I was flippant with you before, so I felt I owed you due consideration.
     
  9. x BlackMagnus x

    x BlackMagnus x Is not impressed

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    :lolol 



    Ok, so how long before we get Erector brought up?
     
  10. Thenames9

    Thenames9 D-d-d-d-duel!

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    Just now.
     
  11. x BlackMagnus x

    x BlackMagnus x Is not impressed

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    That's the joke!
     
  12. Thenames9

    Thenames9 D-d-d-d-duel!

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    *Facepalm*
     
  13. x BlackMagnus x

    x BlackMagnus x Is not impressed

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    :lol  Oh how I do love TFW
     
  14. Lbsammills51

    Lbsammills51 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your reply, and for your extended thoughts on it. It didn't bother me if you felt you were "flip" earlier on your first reply; I realized I may've sounded like a whiny poster wondering why someone isn't patting their head about their "great" idea already, but I didn't want the thread to get lost amid all of the Windcharger/Warpath angst and excitement of that day, plus a few other threads that should've been placed within preexisting threads...

    Anyways, regarding your response:

    I see your point on honoring the mold itself, meaning it's subsequent redecoes (even when meant as different characters) should be included...I know it felt like one of the more arbitrary points of my proposal, but I was working off of the different feeling I get buying a Thundercracker toy vs buying the Starscream toy it's usually redecoed from. BUT, honoring the mold itself does make sense and is one area I can tweak it.

    As for your views on the various points of discussion that could come up for each mold...thank you for your well-thought out stances on each. On some of those, you and I are of the same opinion, and on others we diverge slightly...but that's something that I think can make the debate fun as long as people don't take their disagreements personally if this proposal actually gained life (though that's always a possibility when debating anything), since people evaluate toys differently and I find it interesting to see how that variety of opinion would impact something like a HoF. It seems odd to me that the toys aren't included with characters and live people in the HoF (imagine electing the toys and live people but leaving out the characters instead, or ignoring live people and not acknowledging the contributions of people like Frank Welker, Sue Blu, and Andrew Wildman). I felt strongly about this idea and viewed my initial posts as a concept proposal (why it's so damn long) versus a simple "Me: Hey let's add toys to the HoF!" post, followed by a bunch of "Yeah(s)!," and then it's forgotten and nothing comes of it. I actually want to do something about this. I've seriously thought about drafting the proposal and forwarding it to administrators of the various websites to see if they're interested at all and if they could get any feedback from Hasbro...I just didn't want to do it if my thread is ignored and bombard them with a novel-sized idea from a perfect stranger that makes them think I'm some crazed fan who won't let this idea go after the thread here went ignored. :D  I feel more strongly about this and want to feel productive about something related to this fandom for once beyond starting another "Where's my Windcharger, Hasbro!" thread or "Why can't we get (toy/redeco/reissue/unlicensed thing) from (Hasbro/Takara/unlicensed company)?" that basically regurgitates what the last thread of a similar vein said.

    Heheheh. Yeah if this proposal actually happened, I've already figured it's possible-to-likely that the Erector toy will make it at least through fan polling to the ten nominee list.
     

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