A trip down memory lane TF websites from the past

Sabrblade

Continuity Nutcase
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So, recently, I've been doing some major translation work on the Japanese guidebook Beast Wars Universe, and working on its Beast Wars Fandom section led me to search WayBack for this, Ben Yee's original Beast Wars Homepage from way back before BWTF.com became the all-encompassing Transformers website that it is known as today. The book even features a black-and-white screencap of this very webpage.

What's more, the book specifically led me to search for this old site to look even deeper for one of Ben's old articles titled "In Defense of Beast Wars", written during the infamous era of "Trukk not Munky" debates. I wanted to find this article because the book went as far as to include its own Japanese summary of said article, and I felt said summary should be fact-checked for accuracy (it likely is accurate, but I wanna see how accurate and which parts of the article it specifically covers).

This is the page from the book that contains this old fansite content (as well as some BotCon 1998 coverage):

Pq4nNgh.jpg


EDIT: And here's my translation of this summary, to compare it to Ben's original article:
■"IN DEFENCE OF
BEAST WARS: TRANSFORMERS"


When the BW toys were first released, many fans who were familiar with previous vehicle-transforming toys said, "There's no way a toy like this would sell,'' but BW toys have a variety of excellent features, such as the following. First of all, they have an average of nine points of articulation, which is unthinkable for normal American action figures like Spawn, Star Wars, and Batman. Some fans complain about the "quick spring transformation" of the regular size, but this is easy for young children to play with, and the image of quick transformation in battle is exciting for them, and for children who are accustomed to transformation, it is balanced with "multi-step transformation'' in the Deluxe size and above. As for the TV show, the rationale for why Transformers now have biological elements is convincing. There are many works that ignore these aspects, but if these points are ignored, the viewer will not be able to immerse themselves more deeply into the world of the work. Also, many fans feel uncomfortable with the coupling of living organisms and robots, but the fusion of living organisms and robots is a theme that has been frequently pursued in TF, and there have been many Transformers with partial living elements, such as the Headmasters and Pretenders (the overseas version setting). But one question is: "Isn't 300 years after the old series a mere blink of an eye compared to the millions of years of the Transformers' lifespan, and too short a time for drastic changes to take place?" In the 20 years between the first and second seasons of the old series and the movie version, the planet Cybertron was completely taken over by the Decepticons, while the Decepticons were also completely removed from the Earth. The Autobots had built two moonbases on Cybertron and a giant transforming fortress on Earth, and were also joined by new members like Hot Rod. In the one year period between the movie version and the third season, the leaders of both armies changed, and a battle against Unicron, a gigantic TF the size of a planet, took place. Thus, even in the world of TF, various changes can occur in a short period of time, and it is quite possible that changes such as the emergence of the Maximals and Predacons and the loss of Earth's memory can occur over the course of 300 years. As for the opinion of "The world of the toys seems to be a direct continuation of the old series, but isn't it ridiculous that the Transformers would suddenly take on the form of animals when they had previously been in cars and airplanes?" it is quite conceivable that if the Transformers' battles were to take place in nature, as depicted in Kenner's Comic 2-Pack, they would adopt animal forms more suitable for action in nature, just as they had done in their vehicle forms before. However, the reason why their battle was moved to be set in nature is not revealed, but this could be said to leave room for fans to freely imagine and enjoy.
 
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SHIELD Agent 47

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Anonymous X

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Since this thread is about the early internet fandom, I'm putting out a call for assistance in this thread to anyone here who was around back then and active in the 90s Transformers convention scene. Specifically those who were based on the UK.

From 1999 to 2004, there was a Transformers convention held in the UK called Transforce, which was run by Paul Cannon. Each Transforce had an exclusive magazine featuring content created by Simon Furman. Most notably, the short comic "The Last Days of Optimus Prime" and the two-part novella "Alignment". While both of those are easily available to find online, what isn't online is the rest of each magazine's content. There were even interviews with Furman in which he gave behind-the-scenes info regarding his Transformers works from back then.

If anyone here ever acquired any of those old Transforce magazines and still has any of them, please let me know as their content is very much worth archiving in digital scan form.
Argh, only just saw this post.

I did go to all but one of the Transforce events, and probably have some of the material from the conventions somewhere, so I'll search when I next have suitable spare time, although I can't promise anything, and I'd have to check several places. But I'll attempt it, definitely.

(Note that the UK fandom generally doesn't really talk about Transforce these days.)
 

Anonymous X

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Transmasters UK can be a elusive beast. Always was. Outside of tracking down a physical copy from someone, I don't think you'll have much luck, unfortunately, but I'll add a little to your quest.

This archive of Alt.Toy.Transformers has a little bit of discussion about the interview from Simon Furman from Transforce 2000, mentioning how he saw Beast Wars as part of the comic universe, and didn't consider Beast Machines canon.



And another interview with one of the guys who ran Transforce and mentions the Transforce 2000 cover. It's apparently a redone version of Marvel's Transformers UK #1, and similar art was used in some old region 1 DVDs, but I can't find ANY images of the actual Transforce 2000 cover in question.

There's other mentions of Transforce in Transformers At the Moon's archives. You can try your luck there.


EDIT: And I found the cover!
So, at least you should know what you're looking for.


There WAS a exclusive comic and book at Transforce 1999. But, it looks to be all about TMUK proper. Although it does have a interview with...Bench Press? Who? (More on that later)

Transforce 2002's exclusive seems to be Simon Furman's Alignment. Transforce 2001 only had the first part of Alignment, but this was both parts combined. (Transforce 2001 is ALSO where Eugenesis first released)


And Transforce 2004 DEFINITELY had a collection of sorts. The Last Odyssey. Which was a fanfic collection written by a bunch of TMUK mainstays. (Also...a exclusive video game collection of Transformers themed versions of classic arcade games?)
It's not really of much interest to people who aren't familiar with TMUK, but it was probably the last hurrah for the "golden age" of TMUK. And...from the looks of the website, things went wrong, unfortunately for them.
Wondered what happened to Transmasters UK. I think 2004-ish is when they went off my radar. (Perhaps in-fighting? Always a problem with that group.) I did have a lot of their fanzines, like a lot, but unfortunately they all ended up going in the recycling during a life crisis at some point. And there does't seem to be an actual official website with details of the 'zines and fanfics. Possibly a lot has disappeared for good there, sadly.
 

ZakuConvoy

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And there does't seem to be an actual official website with details of the 'zines and fanfics. Possibly a lot has disappeared for good there, sadly.
Well, The Underbase is still around, though a little spotty at times. That's probably as close to a "official" source as we have.


And, technically TMUK is still around. Though, they don't really have any of the "classic" stuff from 1994-2004 on the site. Seems like they mostly want to focus on the newer stuff. Which is...fair enough, if unfortunate for those curious about the past.

And I HAVE found various listings of what was in the "Continued Generation 2" and other zines, from various searches through the Internet Archive. Almost none of the picture links work, anymore. Which basically just makes them annoying teases of what you're missing out on more than anything else.

And those old CDs they were sending out back in the day should still be around, somewhere. There's SOMEONE out there with a collection of some of those old 'zines sitting on a old CD collection in a box, somewhere. Who knows if it still works, given they were probably just self-burnt CDs, but some of that stuff SHOULD still exist.

And I know a lot of people who were actually a part of TMUK don't really want to talk about it and just want to move on. But, there was something special about it. And I would like to see it preserved...somehow...someway. It just feels like a shame for it all to fade away.
 
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Anonymous X

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Well, The Underbase is still around, though a little spotty at times. That's probably as close to a "official" source as we have.


And, technically TMUK is still around. Though, they don't really have any of the "classic" stuff from 1994-2004 on the site. Seems like they mostly want to focus on the newer stuff. Which is...fair enough, if unfortunate for those curious about the past.

And I HAVE found various listings of what was in the "Continued Generation 2" and other zines, from various searches through the Internet Archive. Almost none of the picture links work, anymore. Which basically just makes them annoying teases of what you're missing out on more than anything else.

And those old CDs they were sending out back in the day should still be around, somewhere. There's SOMEONE out there with a collection of some of those old 'zines sitting on a old CD collection in a box, somewhere. Who knows if it still works, given they were probably just self-burnt CDs, but some of that stuff SHOULD still exist.

And I know a lot of people who were actually a part of TMUK don't really want to talk about it and just want to move on. But, there was something special about it. And I would like to see it preserved...somehow...someway. It just feels like a shame for it all to fade away.
Oh true, it was pretty amazing to be aware of it during its glory days, so much constant creativity, and such passion for the Transformers mythos.

I’ll see if I have any of the CDRs, and if they still work if they do. However, I definitely have some TMUK text fanfics as HTML files on my Mac, so I could upload them as a zip file somewhere (or email them to anyone for preservation purposes – just don’t let any of them know!).
 

Sabrblade

Continuity Nutcase
Citizen
You guys wanna see a doozy of a relic from the early fandom years? This old ATT thread from 2003 is just bonkers:


It starts with a wacky theory that Planet Cybertron is actually Planet Earth. But as the thread continues, it goes completely off the rails as other people proceed to debate G1/BW continuity by pulling information from many disparate sources like the early BotCon Beast Era fiction or the Japanese G1 fiction as if all of these were actually in one continuity with each other together. 🤯o_O😵🥴

And the really sad thing is, had I been online back then, I very likely would have been one of those continuity nuts debating right there along with them, thinking the same of the BotCon and Japanese fiction. 😓
 

CoffeeHorse

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Where could they have gotten that idea?

I just found the Beast Wars page of Fox Kids's old website, and boy is its description of the show WEIRD! It reads like an old machine translation!

Imagine a long time ago, somewhere in the universe, far from the sun that would later create Earth, an essence came into existence that would birth a race of living robots known as The Transformer®. These robot tribes inhabited the planet Cybertron, a prehistoric Earth. Millenniums have passed and the descendants of world-destroying Transformers known as the Predacons have stolen the ancient artifact, which maps the location of a distant planet, rich with energy. These crystals will provide the Predacons with enough strength to complete their terrifying galactic quest - to conquer Cybertron. Our heroes, the Maximals, have followed the Predacons to Energon to protect Cybertron and the universe from all tyranny.

Oh.
 

NovaSaber

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I remember that. Both a less detailed version of that specific theory, and the weird trend of trying to make a unified continuity that mashed together stuff from every continuity (even though it could only work by also leaving out parts of every continuity).
 

Sabrblade

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I remember that. Both a less detailed version of that specific theory, and the weird trend of trying to make a unified continuity that mashed together stuff from every continuity (even though it could only work by also leaving out parts of every continuity).
I think the idea at the time was to create one master continuity for the cartoons and their related tie-in media. People seemed to understand that Marvel was its own beast, and so didn't try to merge all of it with the cartoons completely. Some elements from the comics were included, but only because Beast Wars and its related media made references to those specific elements. It was really only when RID 2001 and Armada started up that people found it too difficult to merge all the cartoons together anymore (though, there were still some theories lingering, but it all mostly died down by the time of Energon).
 

NovaSaber

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There was definitely at least one popular(?) fan timeline floating around while Beast Machines was new that merged events from Japanese cartoon and UK comic continuities (while also ignoring or recontextualizing large parts of each).
 

Sabrblade

Continuity Nutcase
Citizen
There was definitely at least one popular(?) fan timeline floating around while Beast Machines was new that merged events from Japanese cartoon and UK comic continuities (while also ignoring or recontextualizing large parts of each).
Okay, now, finding that sounds like something that this thread was made for.
 

Sabrblade

Continuity Nutcase
Citizen
Well, I found something completely different; probably the only remaining evidence for a toyline that never happened (the pictures are gone; I'm pretty sure it was all concept art and no physical prototypes):
Your posting this over at the TFWiki Discord led to another user doing some further investigating, which has yielded positive results in the same interview being found hosted elsewhere, complete with all of the images still intact!

 

Donocropolis

Olde-Timey Member
Staff member
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Oh man, that's some good nostalgia. I ran into Heroes of Cybertron Thundercracker randomly at a Kroger while grocery shopping. I hadn't bought any Transformers or anything since I was a kid, but picked him up on a whim. I had so much fun fiddling with it while watching television that I made a point of picking up others. Soon I was looking them up on the internet to try to find out what all was out there and where to look, which led me to see the first online pictures of Alternators Smokescreen. From there on I was hooked, and 20 years (and more dollars than I'd care to admit) later, I'm still firmly entrenched in the hobby.
 


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