Transformers Posts

Newly Added to hobbyDB – Transformers, FunkoWeen and Vintage Star Wars

hobbyDB

The Force was strong with hobbyDB this week, with hundreds of new items arriving in the database from Funko’s annual FunkoWeen reveals to vintage Kenner Return of the Jedi action figures.

Among the new items is Pop! Red Miller, the first Funko exclusive from good hobbyDB friend Legion M. Read more about the exclusive here. A special shout-out also goes out to hobbyDB Squad member Alpha23 for adding more than 440 Speedeez diecast models to the database!

We share some of our favorites from the week. See all of the latest new additions to the guide by following this link.

FunkoWeen

Pop! Mandy – Evil Red Miller

Funko

 

Pop! Dia de Los DC – Batman

DC Comics Funko

 

Kenner – Return of the Jedi 1983

Kenner Star Wars

Kenner Star Wars Return of the Jedi

 

Speedeez

Accelerators

Speedeez

 

Aston Martin DB7

Speedeez

 

Hard Rock Café Pins

1st City Scene Guitar Bottle Opener Magnet

Hard Rock Cafe

 

Steampunk Bear 1

Hard Rock Café

 

Hot Wheels

Lamborghini Reventon

Hot Wheels

 

Ain’t Fare (Ryu Asada)

Hot Wheels

 

Super7 ReAction Figures – Transformers

Megatron (MC-12 Gun Robo P-389)

Super7 ReAction Figures

Super7 ReAction Figures

Are you a diehard when it comes to any of these franchises or beyond? Share your expertise with us by becoming a member of the hobbyDB Volunteer Squad. Our intergalactic team of curators and contributors adds items, prices points and more. If this sounds like your kind of people, join the hundred of volunteers by messaging us support@hobbyDB.com and we’ll get you set up!

Marx, Sindy & “Greenlighting” Transformers….

Charlie Rosner started an ad agency with Harvey Herman in the early 80s which had a lot of unexpected results and here he is sharing some of interest to the hobbyDB readership.  Here are his Musings.

One of our very first clients was called Dumbee Combex Marx (DCM). It was an offshoot of the old Marx Toys, famous for wonderful tin toys back in the 30 and 40s. It was a publicly traded British company, and they opened a US office, to launch a 12” high fashion doll called Sindy. Harvey got the assignment, and asked me to help, while I was working at Lord Geller Federico. The launch of Sindy was a huge success, which was all down to Harvey positioning Sindy as the wholesome alternative to Mattel’s Barbie. I just helped out a bit with the copy and art directing.

DCM had initially asked Harvey to start an in-house ad agency, but instead he had wanted to start an independent agency, and invited me to become his partner. At that time, toys was one of only a few categories (liquor and “feminine” products being two others) which at the time were highly regulated by the broadcast industry’s self-regulatory body – the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) – Big Brother incarnate! The NAB published an entire book of regulations about what toy commercials were permitted to do, and what they were prohibited from doing. It was over 200 pages long, and so restrictive as to be beyond imagination. When an agency won a toy account they were paid 20% commission, instead of the usual 15%, because they had to hire a law firm to battle with the NAB.

Another genius thing Harvey did was to call up the board of the NAB and tell them we wanted to visit. No one ever wanted to meet with NAB, but we went over and Harvey said “OK, we’re not going to be enemies. Putting aside your insane rules for a moment (like never being able to use the word ”the” in a commercial because an impressionable seven-year-old might misconstrue it for a claim of superiority – which was verboten) just tell us what you care about, and we’ll work just fine together.”

They did, and we did. And we became famous for getting commercials approved by the NAB other agencies never could. I used to get calls from other agencies, asking what our secret was!

DCM, based in Stamford (where 35 years later I still have a business ) had us doing all of their commercials, and with all of the toy ideas they thought they might want to advertise on TV, the last step was to show it to us. If we thought we could make a commercial the NAB would OK, they’d make the toy. Otherwise….

We eventually handled quite a number of toy companies in the US, and one of the overseas companies was the mammoth Bandai, of Japan. They also relied on us to tell them if we thought a toy could be advertised on TV in the US. Bandai had an immensely popular line of toys called Godaiken invented by Nobuyuki Okude. They were robots that ranged from about 5” high to over seven feet tall giants. And each had this very cool thing where they could transform from a robot into a vehicle. We named them Machine Men, did a fun little commercial, and Bandai sold tens of thousands. When they decided to make the first movie, they renamed them “Transformers.”

If Harvey and I hadn’t casually said sure, we can make a commercial the NAB would approve, no Transformers.

How Transformers Took The World By Storm

Even if you never owned a Transformers action figure, you most certainly knew of the robots in disguise who were more than meets the eye.

optimus prime comicoptimus prime figureProduced jointly by American toy company Hasbro and Japanese toy company Takara, Transformers is one of the most enduring franchises in pop culture to this day. Originally debuting in 1984, the multimedia brand captured the imagination of children around the world with its innovative toyline and action-packed animated TV Show. Though the series admittedly lost steam by the early 2000s, it would be Michael Bay’s live-action Transformers reboot that rekindled the public’s memories of the Autobots and Decepticons. Even if reviews for the recent Transformers movies have been mixed, their continuing success at the box office made us ask the most important question: how exactly did Optimus Prime and his fellow Transformers become such beloved characters to so many of us?

Like many great toys throughout history, Transformers were an indirect evolution of action figures that weren’t originally a part of the franchise. In the early 1980s, Takara innovated toys within the Japanese market with the Micromen and Diaclone series, which boasted both humanoid cyborgs and robots that could transform into vehicles. This caught the eye of Hasbro, who had in fact used Micromen technology to create their wildly successful G.I. Joe characters. Looking to follow up with another blockbuster toyline, Hasbro bought the rights to the Diaclone figures and formed a partnership with Takara along the way. With comic writers Jim Shooter and Dennis O’Neil utilizing their Marvel lineage to create the characters and world of Transformers, the franchise was destined to take off like a rocket.

optimus prime cartoonIt should come as no surprise that Transformers wound up with much greater international appeal than G.I. Joe. Yet regardless of comparisons, the direct partnership between Hasbro and Takara allowed American and Japanese audiences to be distinctly catered to while ultimately enjoying the same brand. In fact, the story of the animated canon actually diverted from the American version in Japan at certain points.

Optimus_Prime_vinylEven the United Kingdom had its own expansion of the Transformers canon, featuring the female Autobot Arcee and a 300+ issue comic book series. This unique development cycle allowed the series to grow organically wherever it was shown, and no audience would ever feel as if they were enjoying a “foreign” product.

Yet more importantly, it was the Transformers themselves that launched the brand into its superstar status. Action figures were far from new in the 1980s, but the interactivity of the Transformers figures was virtually unheard of for their time. After all, robots who could actually be bent and morphed into trucks and automobiles were a borderline spectacle compared to their competitors on the market. This gave Transformers an instant allure and brand recognition on their own merits, and we’re sure kids enjoyed getting two toys for the price of one. There has arguably never been a toyline like Transformers in this respect, even if many unofficial knockoffs have popped up over the years.

optimus prime truckCasual fans of Transformers likely hold the fondest memories of the Generation 1 era of the series, which lasted from 1984 to 1993. However, even if the brand fell off its peak of popularity, the franchise still enjoyed continued development well into the 2000s. In 1996, Beast Wars: Transformers introduced new characters while putting a unique spin on the series, and 2001’s Unicron Trilogy brought back 80s style animation with a modernized polish.

Of course, as we mentioned above, it was Michael Bay’s 2007 Transformers movie that brought the franchise back to its pop-culture dominance nearly 15 years after the conclusion of Generation 1. Even if Transformers enjoyed a healthy lifespan throughout the years, fans who originally enjoyed the series in the 80s had their nostalgia newly awakened by seeing the Autobots appear on the big screen after so many years. If nothing else, the movies served as a bridge between younger and older generations through a shared love of the robots in disguise.

optimus prime movieToday, Transformers continues to enjoy international success. The toyline is as strong today as it has ever been, and collectors have amassed personalized collections across all the different iterations of the Autobots and Decepticons. Whether you like Transformers for it’s Generation 1 series or prefer the lesser-known era in the early 2000s, there’s never been a better time to be a fan of the franchise. Just remember to avoid heated arguments about whether Optimus Prime can beat up other robotic characters from the 80s, as those debates are intensely more than meets the eye.