Studio Series 2022 First Look

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Blot

Well-known member
Citizen
I keep coming back to Galvatron because it was such a head scratcher that encompassed all the insane doublethink of that era.

It's 2008, movie stuff is big, and kids don't know what stuffy G1 is. So to make G1 stuff in Universe viable it needs to look and feel like the movie stuff. So alt modes and colours need to be realistic! Galvatron can't be a weird purple space cannon, he needs to be a realistic grey tank!

But also his giant translucent orange cannon barrel can be the grey tank's barrel because...realism...

That toy had so much wrong with it, and I grant the at the time team a mulligan in that some bean counter forced them to downsize it, but even accounting for that the ethos was all wrong.
Early on Hasbro's response was there "too many tank like vehicles at that size" at the time, which made fans blame everything from Dropshot to Onslaught, but it was a Takara Designer in a translated interview that revealed the reason Galvatron got shrunk from Voyager was because there was Animated Shockwave was already a multi-mode gray tank robot.

Translated interview here.
 

RCX

Member
Citizen
Maybe AA's method was born out of a desire (or even a mandate) to do fresh takes/concepts, modernizations, reinterpretations and new additions rather than slavishly redo everything that was done by someone else 20 years before but with today's advancements. Such copying may have even been frowned upon for doing so by Hasbro brass. They had not yet come to understand the power of their legacy (pun intended) designs. I can definitely understand an attempt to put a new spin on something; AA & team would've leaned on the knowledge gleaned from G2: that stuff became stagnant, whereas BW revitalized and reinvented the brand, the Armada was a new take that sold well...they would've wanted to continue in that vein.
 
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LordGigaIce

Well-known member
Citizen
Maybe AA's method was born out of a desire to do fresh takes/concepts, modernizations, reinterpretations and new additions rather than slavishly redo everything that was done by someone else 20 years before but with today's advancements. Such copying may have even been frowned upon for doing so by Hasbro brass. They had not yet come to understand the power of their legacy (pun intended) designs. I can definitely understand an attempt to put a new spin on something; AA & team would've leaned on the knowledge gleaned from G2: that stuff became stagnant, whereas BW revitalized and reinvented the brand...they would've wanted to continue in that vein.
There are a few ways to approach this.
The first is that reinvention and uniqueness and freshness are not inherently good things in and of themselves. The products that you wish to imbue with these aspects need to be good.

You can also get into the fact that, as has been pointed out, a lot of these reinventions of legacy characters lacked fiction to make them relevant to kids. Who's Tank Galvatron or wrong coloured Dinobot or jigsaw SUV Ironhide to kids?
Like...the Hub aired classic G1, and it's widely available on DVD. Meanwhile these "updates" on the shelves weren't exactly accompanying fiction to make kids or adults care.

Finally you have, well, basic preference. I remember as far back as Classic '06 I thought the Seekers were undersized. Then Hasbro just...upsized the mould. And it's all I've ever wanted.
Same for Prime. I love Classics Prime. I think it's a brilliant reinvention of the Optimus design...but I got that ER version- straight G1 stylings and all with a trailer and Matrix- and went "yeah this is all I ever wanted."
I had the same feeling for VW Netflix Bumblebee, and I adore the Classics 'Bee mould.

It's silly to say that reinvention and freshness have no place in this franchise. It does. But at the same time these are figures of characters people- young and old- have a connection to. They want that connection, and because of that faithfully designed figures will always have a place too. It's not a one or the other game.

And I find Archer's tenure mind boggling in retrospect because he and his team seemed to let an ideology get in the way of the simple answers a lot of the time.

(well that and a bunch of the stuff he said wasn't viable ended up being very viable 😛)

I just miss the constant reinventions of the UT and CHUG. Especially when we are guaranteed to get certain characters every year. The designs don't have to be as crazy as say, Cybertron Megatron, but if they were, I would be cool with it.
I'd rather have VW 'Bee then another attempt to reinvent Bumblebee. I'd rather have Legacy Laser Optimus then RTS Laser Optimus 🤷🏻‍♂️
 
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Lobjob

Active member
Citizen
I always looked at the reinventions, classics in particular, as those same characters getting new bodies and new vehicle modes. In universe, they got upgrades. I'm not saying there's no merit to say, VW Bumblebee (it is a big deal. Never thought we'd ever see that and now we have masterpiece and main line retail versions. And of course, I own him) but I figured the new designs were moving the G1 timeline forward, as opposed to a snapshot in time.

Like the original laser op from g1 op, or gun megatron, to galvatron and then to tank megs, or whenever a same name character gets a new toy that is drastically different, or even slightly different, than previous versions. I like that tradition.

(Edit: Even within the UT, we got some of the same characters every year, but with each series their looks changed pretty significantly. Just like Beast Wars.)
 

lastmaximal

Administrator
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
I did have something typed up, but it was pretty incoherent and just repeated a lot of what was said, so... I'll just say I'm happy to have lived through both eras, both design ethos are valid and BOTH have notable hits and misses, and I feel a bit spoiled to be getting stuff that's so strongly G1-centric now.

Early on Hasbro's response was there "too many tank like vehicles at that size" at the time, which made fans blame everything from Dropshot to Onslaught, but it was a Takara Designer in a translated interview that revealed the reason Galvatron got shrunk from Voyager was because there was Animated Shockwave was already a multi-mode gray tank robot.

Translated interview here.
Pretty interesting, that. Galvatron getting sized down was a Hasbro thing, and the original Hasbro side design for the Lambros had only heads being different (I do remember the concept art). Silverbolt and Onslaught made standalone instead of combiner torsos, Grimlock being so different, Cheetor's... everything, Powerglide being an Ultra, Astrotrain being a bullet train instead of a locomotive, all Takara choices. So there was a good bit of "let's take a novel path with these" from both shores.
 

CheeseSomersault

New member
Citizen
I personally enjoy more accurate figures for old designs, but I still like getting new characters/designs too! Which is part of the reason why I like the Fossilizers so much.

My ideal scenario would be the WFC/Legacy line continues as it's doing, but the cartoons and associated toy lines would incorporate fresher designs. Kind of the best of both worlds for me. But again, that would just be to make me happy, not something I think the brand really needs.
 

Sabrblade

Continuity Nutcase
Citizen
I kid you guys not, when I first met Aaron Archer face-to-face at BotCon 2012 (introduced to him by the Lukis Bros of Unicron.com), I told him pointblank with wholehearted sincerity and enthusiasm that I would kill for fully-articulated Generations toys of the four main Rescue Bots, and he responded to me by just kinda shrugging off what I said like, "whatever".
 
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Andrusi

Lun!
Citizen
I'm just sick and tired of seeing "stupid dumb Aaron Archer said it was impossible but he was wrong because the great John Warden did it" attached to every random thing regardless of what Archer did or didn't say about it or what was or wasn't different about the situation that made it more possible under Warden, including things that very much did happen under Archer but it just wasn't the way "the fans" wanted (e.g. combiners).
 

LordGigaIce

Well-known member
Citizen
I like that tradition.
I'm not sure it's "tradition" as much as it is "the brand was different." Transformers wasn't engrained in pop culture in 1994 like it is in 2022.

As for the "new bodies moving the timeline forward," I'm a comics fan. An Iron Man fan at that. Costume changes that reflect the time is an idea I'm pretty comfortable with, but it doesn't mean every new design resonates with me. If that makes sense.

Ditto. I mean, I'm not the same person I was in the 80s, why should my Transformers still be wearing 40-year-old fashions?
I mean... I wasn't even alive in 1984 🤷🏻‍♂️

I'm just sick and tired of seeing "stupid dumb Aaron Archer said it was impossible but he was wrong because the great John Warden did it" attached to every random thing regardless of what Archer did or didn't say about it or what was or wasn't different about the situation that made it more possible under Warden, including things that very much did happen under Archer but it just wasn't the way "the fans" wanted (e.g. combiners).
I could dumb down your argument to a childish strawman, but that'd be rude.
 

Sabrblade

Continuity Nutcase
Citizen
I mean... I wasn't even alive in 1984 🤷🏻‍♂️
Nor I. Yet, upon first watching the G1 cartoon on VHS and DVD in 2002-2004 (courtesy of Kid Rhino), I wanted toys of the characters I saw in that show that both resembled how they looked in said show and were as articulated as the Beast Wars toys I grew up playing with that got me into Transformers in the first place.

And now, after all these years, we're finally getting those toys.
 

Steevy Maximus

Well-known member
Citizen
What made it all the more annoying is we did have things like Universe Cyclonus, which was just Cyclonus. So the whole 'Must have realistic alt mode and must be as complex as possible because MOVIE' rule wasn't actually a rule. The designs they ruined with that approach were ruined for nothing.
As I recall, they had loosened up their restrictions because he, along with Cheetor, Dinobot, and Hot shot were all made for the abbreviated 25th Anniversary initiative. So I don’t feel it’s fair to call them out for their other reasons because they relaxed them for an anniversary project (which is something we’ve seen repeatedly before and since).


I’m with Andrusi in that I don’t feel it is fair to hold Archer in AS NEGATIVE a light as many cast him in retrospect. He had to shepherd a team that went from just designing transforming robot toys for kids, to being part of the spearhead of a billion dollar franchise. I think it’s easy to wave it off now, but the change Transformers undertook between 2005 and 2010 was pretty extensive and largely new territory for many involved.
I might not have agreed with ALL his design decisions, but I do feel, within the context of the market AT THE TIME, most were fairly reasonable.

And for all the praise John Warden gets for his tenure, all the things “he did that Aaron claimed couldn’t” ALL came with compromises (which seems to have been a factor in Aaron Archer’s exit: the increasing difficulty in finding compromises while working within ever tightening budgets). We got Headmasters…as part of a year long line (and a LOT of retools/repaints). We got Combiners, but as part of two, year long, lines (and a LOT of repaints and part reusable).
Warden oversaw the return of stickers, which was a thing nobody asked for.

Of all things, Aaron Archer’s reason for exiting has become rather prophetic as I’ve seen the actual KIDS toys in the brand (along with most other Hasbro brands, TBH) slide down in quality and execution as the distinction between what is “for kids” and what is “For collectors” becomes an ever widening gulf. Archer had to design singular product lines to appeal to a wide range of consumers, Warden had multiple segmented lines he could play with.
 

Stepwise

Not Crew.
Citizen
As I recall, they had loosened up their restrictions because he, along with Cheetor, Dinobot, and Hot shot were all made for the abbreviated 25th Anniversary initiative. So I don’t feel it’s fair to call them out for their other reasons because they relaxed them for an anniversary project (which is something we’ve seen repeatedly before and since).


I’m with Andrusi in that I don’t feel it is fair to hold Archer in AS NEGATIVE a light as many cast him in retrospect. He had to shepherd a team that went from just designing transforming robot toys for kids, to being part of the spearhead of a billion dollar franchise. I think it’s easy to wave it off now, but the change Transformers undertook between 2005 and 2010 was pretty extensive and largely new territory for many involved.
I might not have agreed with ALL his design decisions, but I do feel, within the context of the market AT THE TIME, most were fairly reasonable.

And for all the praise John Warden gets for his tenure, all the things “he did that Aaron claimed couldn’t” ALL came with compromises (which seems to have been a factor in Aaron Archer’s exit: the increasing difficulty in finding compromises while working within ever tightening budgets). We got Headmasters…as part of a year long line (and a LOT of retools/repaints). We got Combiners, but as part of two, year long, lines (and a LOT of repaints and part reusable).
Warden oversaw the return of stickers, which was a thing nobody asked for.

Of all things, Aaron Archer’s reason for exiting has become rather prophetic as I’ve seen the actual KIDS toys in the brand (along with most other Hasbro brands, TBH) slide down in quality and execution as the distinction between what is “for kids” and what is “For collectors” becomes an ever widening gulf. Archer had to design singular product lines to appeal to a wide range of consumers, Warden had multiple segmented lines he could play with.

Thanks for all of this. After some of the previous posts, I've been wondering "what's the other side," or "where's the middle," because Aaron Archer had to have done something right while he was there.
 

LordGigaIce

Well-known member
Citizen
I’m with Andrusi in that I don’t feel it is fair to hold Archer in AS NEGATIVE a light as many cast him in retrospect.
Negative? Let's be clear about something.
When you take the history of the TF brand under Archer it's clear he accomplished a lot. Even stuff one could say was more Hollywood than Hasbro....the speed to which Archer and his team adapted to the Bayverse designs is incredible. You can see them learning how to make those designs into toys through the first line and they've basically nailed it by RotF.

Aaron Archer was good at his job, a pretty damn good point man for the Transformers brand in the 2000s and early 2010s, and very much deserves a lot of credit.

With that said...

It's clear that his approach is no longer the approach the brand should be taking.
When people say "we're finally getting what we want and what Aaron Archer said couldn't be done" it's more out of excitement that we're at a place where we can get what we've always wanted after being told "No" for so many years.

One can say Archer had a successful tenure and also be happy at the direction things have moved in after his departure. The two are, despite the insistence of some here, not mutually exclusive.

ALL came with compromises (which seems to have been a factor in Aaron Archer’s exit: the increasing difficulty in finding compromises while working within ever tightening budgets). We got Headmasters…as part of a year long line (and a LOT of retools/repaints). We got Combiners, but as part of two, year long, lines (and a LOT of repaints and part reusable).
This is such a weird complaint. Yeah. Warden made these concepts work at retail.

the distinction between what is “for kids” and what is “For collectors” becomes an ever widening gulf. Archer had to design singular product lines to appeal to a wide range of consumers, Warden had multiple segmented lines he could play with.
That's just not true though. If you look at Archer's tenure there was a general
pattern. Mainline releases who were supplemented with Classics/Universe/Generations runs. Archer very much had multiple product lines to operate in, like Warden.

Archer's strengths were most evident in the mainlines. The movies, Animated, HftD, Prime.
It was the CHUG segment that the issues for me, personally, arise. For reasons mentioned.

"I might not have agreed with ALL his design decisions..."

Sorry my guy, but I'm happy I finally have figured in the designs I want 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

Haywire

Collecter of Gobots and Godzilla
Citizen
A lot of Transformers figures I really like came out during Archer's tenure. Likewise, a lot of figures I really liked came out during Warden's.

I probably wouldn't have started collecting Transformers again if it weren't for the RiD and Armada lines. Similarly, I managed to fill out a lot of teams in my collection, such as the Decepticon Targetmasters, that I never thought would be possible in those earlier years. It's interesting to think about how much has changed in the brand over the years, and each era that's represented in my collection has some fond memories attached to it.
 

CoffeeHorse

*sip*
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
I could go on forever about my frustrations with that era, but if you force me to say something positive...

Well if you follow the Repaint Concept Thread you may have noticed that I like 2007 and 2009 movie toys a little bit. Yeah they're full of weird and unnecessary deco decisions that obscure their own details and all but I don't care about that anymore. Studio Series is soulless and gave me new appreciation for what we had. Early movie toys are such a mood.

I didn't enjoy CHUG much but I'll say Classics Bumblebee is a weird home run of a design. I can't pick a favorite deco because it looks great every way they tried it.
 

Blot

Well-known member
Citizen
they're full of weird and unnecessary deco decisions that obscure their own details
I to this day will never understand Hasbro's constant obsession with blotting out Megatron's face with a black paint app on nearly every release, and then leaning in on that for most of his RotF figures too.
 

CoffeeHorse

*sip*
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
Like so many decisions back then, it's incomprehensible. If we asked, the answer would either be "No" or a zig-zagging tale that ultimately blames factors that sound entirely unrelated.

It often sounded like too many cooks in the kitchen too many cooks not even in the same kitchen, each with different concerns, playing the Telephone game. Like a lot of companies, really.
 

LordGigaIce

Well-known member
Citizen
I really love Classics Prime. Well the Henkei version...but still. That mould/design. It's still awesome to me, even if it's showing its age these days. It survived every other CHUG style Optimus release to replace it on my shelf.

That being said when I got ER Prime in hand it was like... this is it.
 
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