The Best of 2016

2016 has been one hell of a year for many reasons. For most it has been probably the most depressing and scary year ever with us Brits deciding to leave Europe, the Americans voting to make Trump their next president and the passing of many celebrities and influential people the world over. 

For fans of Transformers however, 2016 may be one of the best years yet for our hobby. The main lines go from strength to strength, the Masterpiece line gave some of its best work, third parties are making much more interesting figures and the fiction keeps on getting better.

In this article I want to look briefly at my top ten figure of 2016.

10 - Legends Blurr

I am being very specific here because I dislike the Hasbro release of Titans Return Blurr but I really like the TakaraTomy version. The difference is the paint job which makes the Hasbro release look plain and bland.

The mold however is pure genius with its wizards sleeves, its flared trousers and 80s power dressing shoulders... Full of fun and well articulated to boot. Success.

9 - Masterpiece Alert anime version

This Masterpiece release divided opinion amongst fans due to it being the old Alert mold in anime colours. I personally like it as I find the grey colour to be far nicer than the original stark white as you can see from the shot below.

But I do understand the reasons why people dislike the release... It did feel like a cash in so that Masterpiece Inferno had a cartoon coloured Alert to hold.

8 - Masterpiece Optimus Primal

I have little connection with Beast Wars as I was well past my Transformers phase when the show was released but I was intrigued by the figure when it was announced and decided it was worth a punt. Not only is it an excellent figure with tons of great engineering but it also looks to be faithful to the show in both modes.

7 - Robots in Disguise Fracture

The RiD line has given us some excellent figures during its lifetime but several in particular stand out as being especially awesome. This year my favourite was Fracture which manages to pull off the tricky feat of being both a great robot and a decent motorcycle.

Many figures have tried this in the past but only a few have been successful. Fracture is probably my favourite motorcycle transformer ever. The Japanese Legends version is my preference as the colour scheme works better than the Hasbro version but either of them are great.

6 - Titans Return Brainstorm

The first figure from the Titans Return line on my list is a fine example of great engineering at an affordable price point. Brainstorm is an excellent representation of the G1 character which manages to improve upon the original use of the mold, Blurr, and still remain faithful to the original.

The colour scheme feels bang on, the Headmaster looks great in both modes and the vehicle mode is not a bad stab at the original given the limitations of mold reuse.

5 - Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime

This character means a lot to me as it was my favourite Optimus Prime when I was young and still one of my favourite G1 figures to this day. The Japanese legends version is an improvement over the Hasbro version but either one is excellent.

The only way it could be better is if the Headmaster was still a Powermaster and could act as the engine again but that's a small niggle with an otherwise great update to a memorable G1 figure.

4 - Masterpiece Ratchet and Ironhide

As a young child with G1 Ratchet and Ironhide in hand and the cartoon in the VHS player I always wondered why the toy and the animation were so different. Back then I would have given anything for cartoon style versions of these characters and this year saw that wish come true.

Sadly people found fault with the mold for various reasons but look again at what they achieved and you realise how close they came to making the perfect representation of the characters. Van and robot both look as close to the cartoon version as we could hope for.

They truly are masterpieces.

3 - Masterpiece Shockwave

After wanting a modern interpretation of Shockwave for so long we finally get one and nearly everyone complains. No surprises there, but for me Masterpiece Shockwave is a thing of beauty. Yes it would have looked nicer with a darker shade of purple and perhaps it could done with slightly beefier legs but other than that it's a frikkin official Masterpiece Shockwave and it's awesome.

That being said I could do without the electronics which I generally do not like in Transformers, but other than that it's a great figure.

2 - Masterpiece Rodimus

It's not often that you get a new Masterpiece figure that feels like a one off, a mold that wasn't designed to be repainted into a dozen different characters and instead we made for one purpose only. When it happens it feels special and for those reasons Rodimus is on my list.

It's near the top because it's also a fine figure in its own right. Although perhaps not quite as amazing as MP-9 to begin with, this figure slowly grows on you until you reach a point where you can't live without it.

1 - Masterpiece Inferno

I never had the G1 figure and have little attachment to the character but the Masterpiece figure is very special indeed. Light in hand but solid and chunky with ratchets in all the right places and several masterpiece moments which highlight why TakaraTomy are the best at what they do.

Inferno is a damn fine figure which looks as good behind my lens as it does in hand. It's so bloody heroic without even trying.

The inclusion of multiple faces and helmets, a couple of cab fronts and other accessories make this a joy to play with. The range of movement also makes Inferno a pleasure to pose. Some figures just want to be photographed and Inferno is one of them.

While I can understand the disappointment some people have with the more anime style of the figure, I don't find it offensive at all and am looking forward to getting more Masterpieces in this style.

2017 has a lot to live up to after 2016s bumper crop of Transformers. So many figures had to be left out of this list which deserved to be on it such as Loud Pedal, Delta Magnus, Despotron and others. It's a testament to how good this year has been that so many got left behind but that's the way top tens go.

Thanks for reading and see you all next year.