Non-vehicle mode TFs

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by G.B. Blackrock, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. G.B. Blackrock

    G.B. Blackrock Autobot Ally

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    Non-vehicle (yet mechanical) mode TFs

    Was looking at my G1 Reflector this morning, and it occured to me that we really haven't had any non-vehicle TFs in the longest time.

    The most recent one, to my memory, was Armada Laserbeak, which admittedly was one of the worst shelfwarmers of the entire line. However, that seemed to have more to do with the garish colors and higher-than-deluxe price than the fact that it didn't turn into some kind of vehicle, IMO.

    (I should also be clear here that I'm not talking about any other "role-play" toys, which don't actually transform. I'm just talking about characters who transform from one mode to another. I'm also not talking about animal alt-modes, although calling an animal a "vehicle" is not really accurate.)

    There seems to be plenty of interest in these toys when it comes to reissues. The tape decks and cassettes have been heavily requested for years. And I've gotten the impression that quite a few folks would buy a toy version of the Autobot traffic signal in Cyberton, were such a toy ever made (although I acknowledge that this would probably only reach a niche audience at best).

    So, does anyone have any theories as to why Hasbro hasn't done more non-vehicular TFs in such a long time? Or, better yet, does anyone actually have real insight into Hasbro's thoughts? (For these questions, feel free to substitute Takara for Hasbro)
     
  2. Backscatter

    Backscatter Autobot Brainmaster TFW2005 Supporter

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    Non-vehicular TFs? When I first saw this thread I thought this would be a Beast discussion. :confused2  Maybe Has/Tak has not felt the need to produce too many non-vehicular TFs because there's still some being released by eHobby, Insecticons, Blaster/Twin Cast etc. Anyway, maybe studies have shown that non-vehicular TFs may not sell as well. Either way, I'm not too concerned about it. :( 
     
  3. G.B. Blackrock

    G.B. Blackrock Autobot Ally

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    My fault. I edited a couple of lines after realizing this potential problem, but didn't think to edit the subject line. I've attempted to rectify that error, but it's too late now....

    But basically, I was thinking about how, when the line started, non-vehicular mechanical alt-modes were considered normal (even making up more than half of the original Decepticon line-up!). Nowadays, we don't see them at all. I miss that....
     
  4. Rumble02

    Rumble02 Radicon of Obliticons

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    I think its because the alternate mode would not be able to physically funtion very much where as cars and beasts having moving parts in both modes and some of the tf's like signal lancer cant move at all in alternate mode, but then again it wouldnt be a disguise if a traffic light could move
     
  5. G.B. Blackrock

    G.B. Blackrock Autobot Ally

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    The lack of "playability" in an alt mode could well be part of Hasbro's reasoning. Just being a "disguise" may not cut it as well now as it could in the 1980s.

    But I imagine that one could do (say) a WORKING radio (the parts needed to make a radio work are TINY) or (more ambitiously) a CD player (I'd be fine with a tape player, but who buys tapes anymore?) without too much problem.

    But that's just me.... I'm not really even asking that they put in all the electronincs....
     
  6. Rumble02

    Rumble02 Radicon of Obliticons

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    I just dont think they should have brought soundwave back as a plane. It just doesnt fit you know. Makes me sad.He could have turned into some kind of sound cannon or something like that. it they want to bring back a character, keep him similar to how he was. DONT GET ME WRONG THE TOY ROCKS
     
  7. ckhtiger

    ckhtiger old skool fool

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    I'm sure a lot of our memory of not vehicular transformers comes from the first two years of G1, where hasbro was using the plethora of diaclone molds, which had just about everything--tape players, guns, microscopes, locks, cameras, etc. but once 86 and the movie rolled around they were designing their own molds, and at that point, I don't believe we ever saw any of the "utility" type alt modes again. while they were neat, we probably never will again.
     
  8. Sol Fury

    Sol Fury The British Butcher Administrator News Staff

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    We'll see at least one, if G1 Revisited delivers on the promise of a gun mode Megatron. And since the line seems to be revisiting other classics, then maybe a few of those others will have their last hurrah.
     
  9. G.B. Blackrock

    G.B. Blackrock Autobot Ally

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    I'd thought of that (that even G1 didn't have "utility" modes, as you put it, after 1986), but didn't think to mention it.

    In any event, while that speaks to the rarity of the concept, I don't think that, in itself, makes the idea unviable. If Hasbro had handled Armada Laserbeak differently (not forcing a gun mode on it that required the awful colors, for one thing), we might well be seeing more "utility" TFs now....
     
  10. Pidgeot018

    Pidgeot018 Pokécon

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    I think one big reason that role-playing or "utility" alt. modes have died down is that compared to 20 years ago, everything's become a lot more smaller and streamlined, and for example, a CD player and CD's themselves don't have the size or shape that lends them to hide a blocky robot form. Of course, those aren't cutting edge anymore, but the same holds true for a tiny MP3 player. They're not really able to hide much and besides, I don't think the size-changing deal has been used for a while.

    Also, from what I understand, Armada Lazerbeak was a bit of a shelf-warmer.
     
  11. Chaos Incarnate

    Chaos Incarnate Not just a name.

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    It would be cool and probably viable if they made it a third mode. I mean, think of this: I go to a toy store, and the in-thing nowadays is these R/C cars that have radios and MP3 players built into them. Think if the movie Soundblaster was a Voyager sized figure that turned into a car, MP3 player, and a robot. In the car mode you could have your music playing through the figure's speakers, and in the player mode you could play through speakers or plug in headphones. Now, it would in no way replace someone's iPod, but it would be a well appreciated gimmick, and with a 32 MB storage, it would have enough space to be a nice, functional add-on, but not enough to add a big amount to the production cost.
     
  12. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Villain

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    I'm waiting for the two or three people that go in threads like this and scream "OMG A TAPEDECK IS SO STUPID ITS NOT TO SCALE!!!!!!!!".

    Anyway, Takara tried a Gameboy robot in Microman in 1999 I think. It didn't turn out too well, mostly because they have a policy of using slim super-articulated limbs(like car robots). That could have discouraged trying any more of them.
     
  13. ckhtiger

    ckhtiger old skool fool

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    yeah, if only they had made laserbeak look like this, maybe he wouldn't have been such a shelfwarmer.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. G.B. Blackrock

    G.B. Blackrock Autobot Ally

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    I've already noted this several times, and given a few reasons why I don't think that the reason for this had anything to do with the fact of it's not being a vehicle.

    And great repaint (photoshop?) chktiger! (Or is that actually the Takara version? I recall the Takara version didn't look so bad, but I don't recall it looking quite like that. tfu.info didn't help me here....)
     
  15. Pimpimus Prime

    Pimpimus Prime (┌∩┐(◣_◢)┌∩┐) TFW2005 Supporter

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    Mexi-Con and I were talking about this today at Lunch. Considering how affordable the technology is now, it would be cool to have a transforming MP3 player that actually worked. Heck, if you wanted to go the Soundwave route.. have transforming memory cards. Transforming cell phone? How about a video camera (one that doesn't suck like Laserbeak)? I think both kids and collectors would buy this stuff up in a heartbeat. It's better than the lame ass swords and guns Hasbro has been pushing.
     
  16. Hiro Prime

    Hiro Prime Cybertronian Guru Veteran

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    Hasbro should use the Alt line concept and look to other sorces for TF's.

    A Sony PSP would work for both Blaster and Soundwave as they could come with UMD's that transformed into the Classic Cassettes.

    Reflector would work as a digital camera.

    Perceptor as a space telescope.

    And I'm not just trying to present G1 characters, new ones could be made too.
     
  17. ckhtiger

    ckhtiger old skool fool

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    no photoshop there, he sits on my shelf like that :)  I hand painted him, since I saw potential in the mold.
     
  18. Chaos Muffin

    Chaos Muffin Misadventure Veteran

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    Hoping for a MP (MP3 playing) Soundwave in the future.
    Soundwave rocks anyform, but his root is in the player. If he were anything else back then, Id probably would'nt such a big fan of him now. Even non Transfans of today remember him the most because he was so cool.
    A tape player with transforming tapes is too neat and unique for a jet mode to duplicate something like that. We have plenty of jets already. In G1 he was revolutionary. His new mold does'nt really bring anything new to the table. It's still a nice fig though and a great homage to what he used to be.
    I always wished the G1 characters would keep their alt modes. Megatron as a tank is fine, but if it's a G1 Megatron homage then yea, Id rather they stick with the gun.
    Since GF Soundwave was such a great homage to the original, would've rather him turn into some sort of player.
    Now I have a little black battery thingy that looks like a barrel for Laserbeak.

    Still, much respect for Hasbro & Takara for thinking of us old schoolers
     

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