What order would you rate the G1 years in Toywise?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by ZacWilliam, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. ZacWilliam

    ZacWilliam Well-Known Member

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    So, what order would you put the 7 years of G1 in, toy-wise, from most favorite year of toys to least favorite?

    I'm sure this has been asked before, but something I was discussing made me really consider my own order. I was a little surprised at my rankings.


    Most Favoritest Ever:

    1) 1985 - This didn't surprise me. This has always been my favorite year of TF toys. As a kid, it's the year that took me from liking the toys to being a fan for life. The original Dinobots, Jumpstarters, Cosmos, Jetfire, Blaster, Perceptor, the Insecticons, Deluxe Autobots and Insecticons, and most of all OMEGA SUPREME. So many of my favorite toys (and characters) of all time came this year it's impossible for me to not just label the whole group my favorite year of TF toys ever.

    2) 1987 - This did surprise me. There were just so many great concepts and characters released this year. Yes I was lucky enough to own Fort Max as a kid, but Scorponok, Technobots, Terrorcons, Monsterbots, Clones, Punch-Counterpunch, Sixshot, Headmasters, Hororcons, Duocons... This year was just so huge in numbers and so full of such a great variety of concepts. This really was the absolute peak and height of the G1 line IMO and it doesn't get nearly enough love.

    3) 1984 - Ok I love these guys. I do. Loved the toys as a kid and they're THE absolute classics, so I was a little surprised to be rating them Third. They are absolute Icons of my childhood, but the limited numbers of them, when compaired to the 85 and 87 offerings, I think is what placed them here. I will love them as the greats always, but the sheer scope of the two years above just places them a little above.

    4) 1986 - This surprised me also by being low. I love a bunch of stuff here. Metroplex, Trypticon. The first four Scramble-style teams are ABSOLUTE classics. Love the Movie cast and Autobot Cassettes and all of them. Yet, it's not quite as glorious in my mind as 85 was before it. I very nearly put the next one above them and I can't quite say why.

    5) 1988 - This one hurts me a little by being this low because I love the large Pretenders and Powermasters (especially OP), and the small Headmasters (Nightbeat!) a lot and I want to give them more love than this. But I can't quite rate this year's slightly contracted offerings higher than the four years above. I really wanted to make this #4 but all the classic characters in 86 JUST barely changed my mind...

    6) 1989 - I have some favorites from this year. Small Pretenders, Monster Pretenders, Off-Road Patrol, but the line offerings were noticably smaller this year and it makes me a bit sad to think about it. The line was slowing down. :( 

    7) 1990 - No, I don't hate Action Masters. Love them actually. Especially the new characters And some of the second run Micromasters were neat too. It grates me a bit to put this year last cause Action Master hate is so cliche and unwarented. Still I think if I learned anything from making this list it's that really, I love ALL the years of G1. :) 


    -ZacWilliam, this was only slightly less impossible for me than rating your favorite children...
     
  2. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP AKA Beve Stuscemi

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    They're so mixed for me, but I'd honestly rate the later years higher because, well, I liked the gimmicky guys.
     
  3. Nachtsider

    Nachtsider Banned

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    The 1987-1989 period was my 'golden age'. This was when all my favourite characters graced the toyshelves with superb figures. Everything else pales in comparison.
     
  4. rxlthunder

    rxlthunder Banned

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    Favoritest?
     
  5. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

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    Toywise? This is pretty easy for me. From best to worst:

    1987
    1988
    1986
    1984
    1985
    1989
    1990
    1991
    1992

    '90-'92 are just on the list as a courtesy, imo. Those years are barely worth mentioning.

    And '84 & '85 are pretty close together. Almost a tie.
     
  6. ZacWilliam

    ZacWilliam Well-Known Member

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    "Most Favoritest"

    Ever.


    -ZacWilliam, didn't think that needed a smiley. ;) 
     
  7. spiritprime

    spiritprime Dudes, I'm a girl!

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    I wouldn't know really. I wasn't born in the 'golden age' time...
     
  8. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

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    You don't have to have been alive to rank the toys.

    I wasn't alive during the Golden Age of comics, but I can still easily tell which Golden Age comics I like and which I don't.
     
  9. mrgalvaprime

    mrgalvaprime #BanTJ

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    This. I agree with all the comments (except those involving owning any because:
    a) 2000's kid
    b) no where near enough money to even think about getting any g1 toys)
     
  10. CZ Hazard

    CZ Hazard Sons of Unicron PTT

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    85 - was just the best year.
    84 - had some amazing molds, most of them were still available in '85 which is why I give the 1st place to 85
    86 - Scramble City!!! Typticon, 'Plex and the "special teams" as we knew them in the UK. Amazing, formative stuff. Even the new leaders got us excited. Some duffers in the line, Wreck Gar / Roddy didn't drag it down too much.
    87 - Headmasters were pretty cool. Scorpy and Fort Max, two more combiners,clones, target masters. Molds were increasingly simplistic though.
    88 - Some good concepts, Powermaster Prime was a big deal as a kid. Loadsa gimmicks, Seacons, Darkwing / Dreadwind, new cassettes, mini headmasters...none could make up for the PRetenders and the beginning of the end.
    '89 - While the concept of Micromasters was pretty cool, and we had Thunderwing and Monstructor, this year was slim pickings and rife with crappy Pretender gimmicks. In Japan, they got some lovely stuff though, starting the West / East divide.
    '90 - Just bad. No real Transformersin sight, just micro masters and Action masters. Even Japan only had a handful of real TF's.
    '91 - only really counts in Europe and Japan, and even though only barely.
     
  11. Ultra Lagmus

    Ultra Lagmus Well-Known Member

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    Good Topic

    Favorite to least:

    1.) 1987. Though this is a *weird* year (so is GI Joe- Crystal Ball, Raptor, Big Boa, Golobulus, Croc Master, Chuckles, the Buzz Boar, Pogo Pod, etc). Maybe it was LSD at Hasbro HQ, maybe it was ergot, but whatever it was, it fueled some bizarre ideas (Headmasters) and some great creativity. They really went to town looking for variations on the transformation concept. We get Headmasters (which are retro to the Takara robots/vehicles that had pilots in their cockpits. Seriously, look at Hardhead and a few others. They look like those kinds of toys) and their triple-changer subset the Horrorcons, Targetmasters, Clones (similar robot modes but different alternate modes), Duocon (1 figure splits into 2 vehicles), the Double-Spy (2 robot modes, 1 vehicle mode), Monsterbots, and a Hexa-Changer (pinnacle of Transformer engineering). I love the creativity of this year, and several of the figures have interesting color combos. If they had a full season cartoon to showcase all these figures and give them characters, this might more widely be seen as the best year of Transformers.

    Also, 1987 figures show solid quality and construction. Quality wise, they cannot be discerned from 1986, however 1988 can be discerned from 1987 on back! There's also some of the largest G1 figures ever- Fortress Maximus & Scorponok. Of course, they were an example of the toy boom which went bust in 1987 (not a bubble, but cooled off after a super-surge from 1983-86). These were actually examples of the kind of excess you find at the peaks of bubbles (see also the USS Flagg, Defiant Space Shuttle Complex). Scorponok is also a cool figure and despite being the silver medal super-sized Transformer (to Fortress Maximus' gold medal), based on price alone ($27~32), you know more Scorponoks were under Christmas trees than Fortress Maximuses (~$90). The figure has some design issues (helmet shell where Cerebros would be, missing the middle figure in the nesting doll [i.e. Spike/Cerebros/Fortress Maximus]), but it's a giant freaking scorpion with Decepticon colors! And its got a cool name.

    On the weak side are the Throttlebots (little diversity besides color, quite blah) and the lack of Soundblaster (why stop carrying the master cassette figure? Black & red looked like quite a cool redeco). Duocons were the new Jumpstarters.

    And this year TF still managed to be on the top 10 list for toys by sales. I've seen only fragmentary records (anyone have access to archives of the old Toy & Whatever Parade monthly listings?), but one datapoint from the Fall still had TF on the top 10. It looks like the NES devoured Transformers' sales market (video games led to toys getting younger demographically, the older end being lobbed off. Look at GI Joe 1991 on vs. 1988 on back), but the timing is important. NES was growing very strong from Aug-Dec 1987 and in its rise, TF still held a strong spot. Transformers dropped over a cliff at the start of 1988.

    I'm glad 1987 has finally been given the respect it deserved. Earlier in the TF community, it was only 1985 & 1985, with 1986 being split in terms of being supported or condemned. 1987 was considered almost non-existent like 1988-1990.


    It was tough to decide the next two. They feel very close, balancing out despite different strengths & weaknesses.



    2.) 1986. Its greatest strength was it had standardized figure design. Yeah yeah, death of die-cast metal, but the TF line's greatest weakness was it was an awkward mishmash of different lines. Having run out of figures to draw from (except for Ultra Magnus, Sky Lynx), everything had to be new and could be standardized. This year made some very interesting looking figures (Scourge, Wreck-Gar, Kup) and colors (various blues, oranges, greens). And it gave us the coolest Winnebago ever! I was disappointed when 2006 came around and there weren't flame decaled winnebagos on the highways. The year was also quite diverse in developing the different subgroups (concepts):
    - Triple Changers, though they tended to be not as cool as the 1985 pair.
    - Combiner teams. Huge improvement over the Constructicons. Standardized design (AKA Scramble City) is great. I love what they do here. 1 pair are reversals (aircraft-based Autobots, car-based Decepticons), 1 pair reinforce traditional roles (military vehicles for Decepticons, civil protection vehicles for Autobots [researched what Hot Shot could be based on, found some quite interesting things]). All 4 teams are much stronger than the Constructicons in coolness and variety of vehicles offered for a cheap price compared to most figures though Protectobots were hurt by being re-iterations (Hot Spot) or being out the same year as those vehicles came out (Groove/motorcycle, Blades/helicopter).
    - Predacons. Awkward as a combiner, but they are cool in color & motif. At least they could combine *and* were a little cheaper than the Dinobots.
    - Finally Autobot cassettes.

    Several figures had interesting designs. Besides facial hair (Scourge, Wreck-Gar) or wrinkles (Kup), we had interesting designs for vehicles/robot mode. Wreck-Gar was a cool motorcycle, Scourge was a hovercraft, Galvatron was an interesting cannon (though ultimately inferior to the classic cartoon design. The royal purple was stronger than the tones of gray), Rodimus Prime the space winnebago (only with Spike instead of Barf). Ultra Magnus was a car carrier and when nude, he was a lily white Optimus Prime (kids loved this- we got stealthily the white-plated hate plague-resistant variant Optimus Prime from "The Return of Optimus Prime"), we finally got a classic white space shuttle (Sky Lynx). I love some of the subtle designs- Kup's color looking like a classic 1950s color (and kids then associated the '50s with their grandparents and their parents as kids) and Wreck-Gar rocking a classic '70s color, which would be looking quite dated by the mid '80s. And there was Motormaster, the classic evil Optimus.

    Gnaw was interesting, if a bit unconventional (in its weirdness, fits with 1987). But on the weak side were the bland mini-cons (mostly duller redecos), mostly duller Triple Changers (meh Springer vehicle modes, WTF Broadside). And replacing the shelfwarmer Jumpstarters are the shelfwarmer Battlechargers. Trypticon was cool, if a bit pricy, Metroplex was affordable, but quite boxy. And this year's greatest crime, it gave us Wheelie. Look at the figure, look at his art- bookie's sunvisor, giant mitts, awkward orange body. Yikes! Make it bigger and you have one of the most monstrous Terrorcons.



    3.) 1985. It produced a wide slate and started to diversify the TF line. 1985 gave us combiner teams, triple changers, and several interesting vehicles & characters. The mini-cons are quite cool (Warpath is a bit awkward in design). And there are fewer palette swaps/recolors vs. 1984.

    The Insecticons were interesting, though their designs were a little weird (empty cockpits for what?). The Triple Changers were awesome, Astrotrain was full of win (robot + space shuttle + train), Blitzwing was a solid Decepticon (land + air-based vehicles). The Constructicons offered cool vehicles and a solid theme, though the 6 regular sized figures came off as less cool than 1 big + 4 small (Scramble City). Shockwave was interesting and the color scheme looks better than his Radio Shack counterpart (Astro Magnum). The standard figures had more variety (tow truck, fire engine, crane vehicle, etc) and better design (no Ironhide) though some of the designs were out there (Tracks, Smokescreen compared to Jazz & Mirage). The Dinobots were one of those things you had to be there for. Dinosaurs were cool before robots were but remained cool thru Jurassic Park. Dinobot (BW) was the last vestige of that era. Video killed the radio star, internet killed the dinosaur fad. Or maybe Barney made them instantly uncool.

    The biggest downside is there were some epic gouges from what I've seen of the prices for figures. The Dinobots were quite overpriced (robot dinosaurs! in the '80s, they could set the price, and toss in the shiny factor), so were the Constructicons vs. later combiner teams. Insecticons were overpriced too. The Deluxe Insecticons were kind of awkward to have- 2 versions on shelves (of course, the Deluxe were the originals, the Insecticons Takara's knockoffs). And I'm disappointed, while I hate overcommercialization and product tie-ins, the lack of an Omega Supreme 5 lb burrito at Taco Bell, is the biggest travesty this side of the product tie-in. Where was a product like that with the current TF movies? The symbolism is quite fitting (and Col. Sanders fit more at the Battle of Naboo than Jar-Jar did). Oh, and Sludge apparently doesn't exist (there is no brontosaurus) and Slag is but a baby... perhaps.

    I still wonder, why was Blaster released without cassettes?



    4.) 1984. The weakest year of the great years of G1. As these are the toys, the issues are with the figures. Ironhide & Ratchet should've been retooled. They were the last to sell due to their extremely awkward designs. Then the Decepticon Jets have some kibble issues with transformation. Also, compared to later years, it's a bit dull because it mainly presents just the basic figures, not exploring the transformation concept much, but there is Soundwave and the cassettes. Still, despite the figures being unpolished (repackaged, recolored Takara figures), they had very strong appeal and enamored that first wave of kids with the concept of robots transforming into vehicles, cool robots. The cartoon certainly helped (sales soared in Sept 1984 after being quiet since its May launch), though people often overlook the fact that yeah yeah toy commercial 'controversy', the toys were great. TF won because of the transformation concept, being robots, decent to great designed figures, and having personality. GI Joe won because of swivel arm grip (high articulation) and personality. He-Man won because of the personality of the figures (it became a hit well before the cartoon premiered). Thundercats was a great cartoon, but the toys sold like crap, showing that cartoons did not necessarily boost sales and some toys became huge hits without cartoons (MUSCLE, TMNT [had a 5 episode mini-series 6 months before the toys came out, toys became a hit a few months before the regular series debuted]). She-Ra was a popular cartoon, but the toys had tepid sales, likewise Jem (because they were too 'controversial' for their time). Some of those same Transformers were on the shelves under dull names and bland packaging the year before. What changed between 1983 & 1984 is what made Transformers a huge hit. 1984 may seem a bit plain vs. 1985-1987, but the year was very strong in its own right.

    But, 1984, the very year the Transformers community was created, would have the seeds of its division planted: red/blue-purple Frenzy, blue-purple/red Rumble. FIRRIB, FIBRIR. The community would never be the same again.



    5.) 1988. This year breaks from the past. The lack of quality is noticeable. Some figures look like knockoffs of Hasbro/Takara TFs. Compare Quickswitch to Sixshot. And then there is the Pretenders. Outside a large, He-Man-esque Shell, inside a small, inferior Transformer that looked even cheaper than some of the Powermasters. In some ways, the Pretenders' TFs were like the toys you got inside gumball machines (gashapons). Only a few figures looked like they could blend into other years- the Seacons, Powermaster Decepticons, Cassettes. And the concept of Pretenders ran contrary to the whole theme of a disguise. How is a giant hideous monster or a towering giant human a disguise? It clearly wasn't thought out well. And Powermasters are kind of creepy. Living engines make the Transformers robot vampires. And it seems like a very stupid idea, like they were scratching their heads for something like Head/Targetmasters. Oh, and the little figures become virtual painted bricks. At least 1987's had some articulation. This year Hasbro got cheap. Some figures look like a Tonka take on Transformers.

    This year 1987's figures were still sold alongside 1988's figures. GI Joe made the switch in 1991 to single year only. Transformers shifted in 1989. I wonder, did the 1987 figures outsell the 1988 figures in 1988? Was Hasbro trying to force kids to buy the newer, crappier figures? There is a stark quality gap between 1987 & 1988.

    But hey, 1988, what a year. It gave us Nautilator, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Super Mario Bros 2, Zelda II, Castlevania II, and many other great games, Excalibur, Spider-Man vs. Venom, Archangel, the GI Joe figures Storm Shadow (v2) & Blizzard, and blue koolaid (ohhhhh yeah!). But yeah... it started the decline for G1 (people forget that the dark age embodied most by Gen 2 actually started in late G1. There's a reason people don't rave about Pretenders, Micro Masters & Action Masters) and cartoon-dom was in decline from the heights of the mid '80s. TF & GI Joe all in reruns, Thundercats still putting out new seasons though (don't believe the 65-65 myth. It's 65-5+20-20-20).


    6.) 1989. Micro Masters. A line is done when it goes from setting the trend to following the trend. Here, it was imitating Micro Machines, which were quite popular at the time. And this year was all Pretenders & Micro Masters. Blah! The decline in quality was noticeable and this year virtually all figures from previous years were pulled off the shelves (only Powermaster Optimus Prime, Pretenders, and maybe the cassettes remained). Looking at this year, it's clear Transformers was deep into decline.


    7.) 1990. Is there any doubt? "Transform"ers, less than meets the eye. Action Masters were the ultimate jump the shark moment, running directly contrary to what the Transformers were and what made them popular. Now they became just any other action figure. And more Micro Masters. At the time, many stores even mid-year took TF off the shelves and put it in special clearance sections. The line was effectively kaput part-way into 1990.
     
  12. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    1984 encapsulates the magic of Transformers. No other year and no other incarnation of Transformers has the same effect for me. 1985 comes close, but that's mainly because it just feels like an extension of 1984 (and in many ways, it really is).

    G1 1984-1990 each has something special for me, but 1984 is just tops for me. I rarely pick favorites of things, but this is something that I feel strongly about.
     
  13. G1Prowl

    G1Prowl Prick, apparently

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    All equally rated a 10, until Action Masters, then it became a 2
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2012
  14. Backpack

    Backpack G1 forever.

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    For me series 1 and 2 (84-85) are pretty much equal and my favorite lines.

    After that though each year goes down a little.... except for '88. I loved that line, Pretenders/Powermasters/Seacons/Targetmasters/Micromasters/PM Optimus Prime! It was all just so awsome (even if the execution was a bit off).

    I actually very much look forward to compleating my vintage 84-85 collection, so I can get started on the '88 line and the Japanese Victory line.

    But, I loved them all..... even Actionmasters..... which I have a nice little collection of.
     
  15. RKillian

    RKillian http://www.rktoyandhobby.com

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    Chronological order for me...pretty much every toyline I get hooked on goes starts out really strong and goes downhill from there. I like Action Masters a little more now than I did in 1990 but I still don't think G1 ever really recovered from the movie.
     
  16. Foster

    Foster Super Mod

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    I can not do it. Wow. I think "eh, 1988 was weak for me" and then I remember God Ginrai, Dreadwing and Overlord. I think "hm, 1986 was a little thin" and then I'm attacked by twenty Scramble City bots.

    You know, 1989 was a low poi-LIOKAISER! MAYHEM ATTACK SQUAD! VICTORY SABER!

    I'm stumped.
     
  17. ABrown

    ABrown Well-Known Member

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    The 1986 line will always be my favorite. For one, that was the year that I really became a Transformers fan. Two, they're definitely my favorite characters from the original cartoon. And three, I think they're just my favorite toy line regardless. My Ultra Magnus toy is without question the toy that I was most excited in my life to get. I had waited months for that toy, and I got him as a present from my grandparents for my kindergarden graduation. I also remember that I had gotten Galvatron for Christmas about five months earlier.
     
  18. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

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    Chronological until 86...the year that plastic pooped and again in 88...figures were too weird for me. After 89 or 90 I was out until late 90s.
     
  19. wildfly

    wildfly Right notes. Wrong order.

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    By each successive year, from 1984 on. The first year was more compact, more focused, every toy in the line was at least interesting, and fit the Robots in Disguise theme.

    As early as 1985 it was already obvious they were starting to deviate... a few toys that were pretty weak, and not very well disguised either.
     
  20. Ruination04

    Ruination04 8 Years Old Since 1984!

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    1985
    1984
    1986
    1987
    1988
    1989
    1990
     

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