Ok, now that we've had the "Tigertrack isn't Sunstreaker/Sunstreaker needs a separate mold" discussion again (and I say that in jest, of course), I've been wanting to handle some speculation for the ones I haven't covered. For the ones I have already covered, see here if you're interested:
So, despite what I've already said in the previous posts and thereafter, I'd like to preface everything by saying that I think at this point anything can happen. I think we're in a special time period of the TRANSFORMERS brand where all bets are off and virtually anything can be made. With that being said, I still think there's a way that we can see the things that are simply more likely to happen or not. A part of me feels like this is simply stating the obvious due to the success of the live action movies and the many figures we'd otherwise not have seen made. Also with figures like the Encore Fortress Maximus and even the new Metroplex figures, these are things that the most of us who have been around here for a number of years thought we'd never see. I'd go so far as to give that credit to the Revenge of the Fallen line. That single line gave us toys that otherwise Hasbro would have never had the budget to make.
Fight! Masterpiece Robot Lifeform
I've already covered some of my thoughts of a few of these characters in the previous two posts. Ultra Magnus was pretty evident to most of us, and I also noted that here. I discussed Sprung (Springer) in part two already. As the many wishlists have stated, though, there's a lot of other characters available. The question remains, are they likely? I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but my answer may surprise you with "probably not, for the most part."
The 1986 movie totally changed the landscape of TRANSFORMERS. Optimus Prime/Convoy was killed, Megatron was reformatted, a new cast was introduced while violently shoving the old cast out. It seems to stand to reason that this new cast would be something very special and one enough to resonate largely with fans. I'll be fair, that in many cases they do.
We've already gotten both Hot Rod/Rodimus and the new leader, Rodimus Prime/Rodimus Convoy. TakaraTomy has made not one, but two versions of this toy (albeit one attempting to fix some of the problems of the first only to introduce new ones), and Hasbro has made theirs as well. It would be really easy for TakaraTomy to rerelease this mold for another run. That wouldn't surprise me. It also wouldn't surprise me if we saw a completely new toy as well. Post 1984/85, Rodimus Convoy is arguably one of the most popular characters with the Japanese fanbase. I submit this in conjunction with my next major speculation:
Galvatron. If you've kept up with this thread, Galvatron has been discussed quite a bit for some time now. 2014 (30th anniversary) is right around the corner. In addition, Ultra Magnus is now in the cue. Something I think some fans tend to forget is that Ultra Magnus was originally the one pitted against Galvatron for the new market of toys, as they were simply both "City Commander" in roles on their packaging and Tech Specs. Now, I don't want to make more of that than what it is, but in 1986 they were the two similarly sized toys for that year. See also: TFWiki.net: City Commander
(Epic battle of the "City Commanders"! Megatron is also there at the same time it's so epic!)
(The "City Commanders"! Images courtesy of Transformerland.com)
Despite my "City Commander" rabbit trail, Galvatron is one of the most important characters from the post movie cast. From everything I can see, the stage is set for Galvatron now. The Masterpiece Decepticons since MP-10 now need a leader. I still think we'll see a Megatron redux, but my gut says we'll see Galvatron first. Hasbro can also release this one, as a cannon tank is a much easier sell in the US than a Walther P-38. Honestly, I don't see a good argument this character won't see a Masterpiece release.
So, Rodimus, Ultra Magnus, and Galvatron are nearly 67% covered at this point. What next? Well, let's go down the line:
Bumble - preorder solicited
Obviously here, a few of these seem like this is backing up just a bit, as some of these were made in 1985 for us. However, the US 1984 was released in 1985 in Japan, and so some of the characters that those of us fans in the US remember from 1985 became part of the cast of 1986 for Japanese audiences. We've got Bumble well covered. I think the rest are dependent upon being redecos/retools of the 1984 cast (Wave is a redeco/retool of Gears, for example). Wheelie is quite iconic, as is Adams (and I Want to Believe!). I'm just going to lump the lot of these together and say that if we get their original counterparts, we'll likely see these as well since some of them are an easy thing for TakaraTomy to make. The original molded characters could be funded by these redecos and some of the other things TakaraTomy makes.
Before I go further, I think something needs to be said here: I do think that one thing fans of this line should realize is that the success of future releases can be directly dependent upon what's currently being made. The Alternators/Binaltech line saw sales decline simply because fans get bored of redecos and retools - and understandably so. However, the Alternators Prime mold cost substantially more and the cost was absorbed much by the other redecos/retools that came before. Make no mistake that Lambor has already been retooled once and redecoed twice (G2 Sideswipe is in the pipeline of course). Ratbat is coming with a Soundblaster for this reason as well.
I mentioned Blaster previously, and I think the Cassettbots are a reasonable speculative bet as well. A Twincast redeco is very likely as well.
Dinobots - I've already discussed these, but this was also pre-movie 4 news. I still don't think these are likely, but if these guys are to have their Masterpieces, the time is NOW.
(Age of the Masterpieces?)
We've already been teased about Bruticus, and virtuously in the same breath as Ultra Magnus. Now, I'm not going to say that Bruticus is a sure thing now, but it's obvious that things aren't off the table. As with the Dinobots, I think that if the Stunticons are featured in AoE/TF-4, their time is now as well. These could pave the way for Superion and Defensor both. Predaking is a different animal (Zing!), but doesn't share the Scramble City technology the others do. Predaking's release would depend on the funding of the other Scramble City combiners first, if not all of them. After these, we'd only have Computron and Abominus left. I mean, sure, we have Piranacon and Monstructor, but I dont' see those happening. More on those guys later, though. If gestalts don't get made, I wouldn't be surprised. It takes a LOT to make a gestalt, especially ones of this size. Moreover, it takes a different marking approach to these, as many of the individual characters aren't as memorable (**cough, cough** the Airbots/Aerialbots **cough, cough**). The counterargument is the 3rd party combiners. I'm really at 50/50 here with the gestalts.
A part of me thinks that if we see Rodimus revisited, we may get Chear/Kappu/Kup and Blurr. I just don't think their odds are too likely. In fact, I think that Arcee could be more likely given she's a bit more iconic and different. I think the fact that the character is a female has an appeal some of the others don't. That's as far as I'm going there with that point, too. I also think Wreck-Gar falls in line behind Chear/Kappu/Kup and Blurr.
Cassettrons - Ratbat is already in the pipeline. I really think Overkill, Slugfest, and the two combiner Cassettbots/Cassettrons are a bit too obscure and even unnecessary at this point. In other words, I think we're done.
Coneheads - Woo boy, this one. Igear and rumors of TakaraTomy trying to "squash" these have certainly been around for some time now. A part of me thinks at this point, TakaraTomy just wants to move on to new territory. I can certainly see these happening, but they'd depend on each other to sell for the most part. Either we see these relatively in tandem with each other or not at all. Other than that, I think these have been discussed to death.
Metroplex and Trypicon - I think the closest we'll ever get to these two is the Metroplex that's been released this year. I don't think we'll see Trypicon, in the Masterpiece line or otherwise. People are already looking to Costco for a cheaper option for Metroplex. Metroplex cost a lot for Hasbro to produce, and I don't think we'll see another like it for a long time, if ever. Sorry folks.
(This is probably your "Masterpiece" Metroplex. It's probably good enough anyways, unless you want one as big as an actual house. See also: My Metroplex display cabinet; metroplex/shelving unit)
Battlechargers - I don't see these as popular enough to stand on their own. Things like these guys is where lines like Generations and even the Transformers Collector's Club work best.
Sharkticons - One can probably only dream, right?
Scourge - The strength of this guy would be troop building. Personally, I just don't see the 1986 class being this strong with TakaraTomy to support this one. It can happen, but I just don't see it with other, more prominent characters to make. Like . . . .
Cyclonus - Ah, I beg your forgiveness, as the tease from Scourge there isn't probably the best lead in here. Also, if you've made it this far reading, congratulations as it's probably taken you much less time to read than for me to write it all up. Anyways, given Cyclonus' rivalry with Ultra Magnus and his recent depiction in the IDW books (how much does comic book's influence even play into TakaraTomy's decisions here? Let's just ask G2 Sideswipe for that.) make him at least a better candidate than Scourge. I'd say that besides Galvatron, he's probably one of the most iconic Decepticons from 1986.
So there you have it. My thoughts on 1986. Time will tell how right or wrong I am, I suppose. Also, I really think all of this is subservient to TakaraTomy putting that Ark cast out for us. Oh well, until all are one!
Many thanks to all of the great work the guys at TFWiki.net do! Be sure to visit their site here: TFWiki.net: the Transformers Wiki - the unofficial Transformers knowledge database! Also, many thanks to Matt and Transformerland.com for his images! Be sure to check out his site here (and if you place an order, be sure to tell TFLand that "Allen Greenwood" sent ya!): Transformerland.com. Also, be sure to journey to my TRANSFORMERS home, TFW2005.COM, and my continued thanks to my "co-workers" who tolerate my musings!