This month, we’re trying something new on The Iris. We’re gonna take some toys for a spin. And not just any toys, we’re taking a look at a selection of Hasbro’s new Transformers: Studio Series line. Are these the robots in disguise you remember from your childhood? Hit the jump to find out.
The Studio Series presents a more premium-tier line of Transformers that are more focused on the older crew of kids from the 70’s and 80’s. While this Studio Series line focuses solely on the characters and designs from the Michael Bay-helmed film series, the builds and transformations are some of the very best we’ve seen in at least the last four years.
The Transformers Studio Series bring back the toys of our younger years, mixing the series old school looks, with (mostly) well-made plastics, thought provoking and head scratching builds and of course the new stuff as well, with their movie star designs and the more famous familiar characters from the film series that’s now 10- years old and counting.
The toys which arrived in Australia this month started their run with an initial 7 figurines (we got 6 to play with) and they are Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Starscream, Ratchet, Crowbar & Stinger. Gridlock leads the final first released batch, but we sadly didn’t get a chance to see him in action yet.
Not having played with a Transformers toy in many years, it took quite some strain on the brain to get my head around the transforming. My 6-year old and 11-year old sons were over excited to help me open them and set them up and seeing them all in their Autobot or Decepticon form was great. We pulled out the Included set piece standee for them to stand on with their movie scene backgrounds and took some photos and they look fantastic, especially from a movie collectors point of view.
But, sadly the excitement wore off a little for the boys as we tried using the inserted instruction booklets to transform them into their vehicles. I was soon left to my own devices as the kids gave up and it became adult time at The Hunter household. The instructions are awful, there is no way around saying it any other way. They’re black and white photos and a very deep red or purple highlighting the piece to transform next and the size of the pictures just make it so difficult to see through the dark print-outs. Basically, it’s like an Ikea build plan gone wrong. My suggestion moving forward would be to have actual photos of each step or bigger and more colourful print-outs, it’s not like Hasbro are working on the cheap here. Have an official app to save on paper print outs? However, Optimus Prime alone, being 34 Moves to Transform, it might be difficult to fit it all in the small box if it was a print-out.
Instructions aside, when I finally figured it out, I transformed the figures a few times in and out of their transformations and it became extremely fun to show the boys, to which my 6-year old got his head around quicker than my older son. Some people are born to transform and others aren’t. It took me back to playing with my Rubix cube when I was younger and my very vague memories of having my own Transformers back in 1987 (I was only 5).
Without going through all the details of each transformation I’ll just lay the quick stats below:
Optimus Prime – 34 moves to transform.
Starscream – 26 moves to transform.
Bumblebee – 22 moves to transform.
Ratchet – 18 moves to transform.
Stinger – 21 moves to transform.
Crowbar – 20 moves to transform.
Out of all these figures I found that Starscream and Optimus to be the very best of the series. Despite the ridiculous amount of transforming it took for Optimus Prime, his detailing and overall style and pose-ability stood-out above all others. Starscream is by far the easiest to transform and the detail in his jetfighter is just incredible, I had the most fun transforming him above all others and the only downside with Starscream is that his Jetfighter transformation doesn’t fit on the included standee display.
The most disappointing of the lot would sadly have to be Bumblebee! He looks really cool once he’s in car form, but the number of pieces that would fall off just at an easy tap or two of my fingers was ridiculous. Some of the hinges used to twist and turn his transformation could have done with some form of metal pins to stop them from falling out. Not sure why they chose this method of construction for him but being one of the film series favourites I expected a lot more.
Crowbar was another more annoying transformation, but it wasn’t down to the complications of the change it was due to the extremely tough and wire dreadlocks the character has and the amount of effort it took to tuck it all away when transforming into a vehicle.
I’m not going to lie, I loved the entire line I was given here, it brought me back to being a giddy little child all over again and even though I found some epic frustrations with some of their transformations, it was more at myself and not at the design or construction of the figures, just my inability to get my head around something I haven’t done since I was 5!
If you’re a fan of any of the Transformers and especially the look of them in the film series (even though I am not a huge fan of the series past the 2nd film) and want a piece of cinema history, these awesome high-quality figures are the way to go. Keep in mind these are not the usual generic versions you find for the young ones, these are designed for a much older audience in mind. The box says 8+ and I would agree firmly on that one due to the difficulty spike of some of the transformations.
Overall, I can’t wait to get my hands on Grimlock and see how the rest of the series pans out over the next year of releases. My 6-year old boy now wants me to rush out and find Grimlock when it’s released, so you already have an extra fan. It’s been an absolute ball having fun with Hasbro this Easter and a pleasure to try something new and exciting to write about.
Transformers Studio Series begin releasing NOW in Australia and are available from all major toy retailers.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
Highlights: Excellent detail, Movie Quality Collectables, awesome packaging.
Lowlights: Small pieces that fall off could have been designed better, Some very difficult transformations for all audiences.
Price: $39 – $69 AUD RRP
Review conducted using six Transformers: Studio Series action figures provided by the manufacturer.