This guide is designed for the Transformer fan looking at collecting the newer lines of toys. Yes, we all agree they'll never be as good as the Ravage / Rumble two pack, or lining up your fleet of seeker jets, but they're still worth a look...
Who will be interested in Energon toys?
Energon toys will appeal to the older Transformer collector, as many toys are “updates” of the classic characters we grew up with. To name a few, the homages include: Optimus Prime, Ravage, Grimlock, Swoop, Shockwave, Starscream, Hot Rod, and the Constructicons, Combaticons and Aerialbots.
Where does Energon “fit in” to the other Transformer toy lines?
Energon is a separate “universe” or “continuity” to both that of Generation 1, Beast Wars and Beast Machines, and Robots In Disguise. It is a sequel to the Armada toy / story line, and is followed by the Cybertron line (at least in the non – Japanese storyline).
How much can I expect to pay for Energon figures?
The beauty of collecting Energon in 2006 is that it is a very recent toy line and as such does not yet command collector prices. For mint loose figures you shouldn’t have to spend more than 50% of the initial retail price (and typically, a great deal less). For Mint On Sealed Card figures, you shouldn’t have to go past full retail, but with patience, again you’ll find lots of bargains.
I only want the “crème de la crème”. Which should I buy?
If I had to recommend a figure or two from each size category, I’d suggest:
SLEDGE: The Constructicon Combiner is an excellent, realistic bulldozer, with an intricate but fun transformation. His robot mode is pose-able and well proportioned. Also comes with a two pronged sword for random acts of violence.
SKYBLAST: This wily Autobot is a visual homage to Skyfire, the cartoon version of the toy Generation 1 fans knew as Jetfire. Wielding a large energon spear and transforming into a futuristic jet, he’s loads of fun.
RODIMUS: Taking visual cues from both Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime of Generation 1, RODIMUS is a truck with grunt, featuring the familiar gold flames on red body deco. The robot mode goes to the trouble of creating a fake hood for a chest and he has large, manga like boots.
“ENERGON” STARSCREAM: The repaint of the initial release of this figure sees STARSCREAM repainted in his Generation 1 colours. His jet is a sleek updating of his Gen 1 counterpart, and the robot mode is pose-able and a great centerpiece for any Decepticon collection.
SHOCKBLAST: The spiritual cousin to Generation 1’s Shockwave. SHOCKBLAST was quite obviously designed firstly as a homage to Shockwave's robot mode. He bears the same purple, has a cannon where one hand should be and sports the famous “Cyclops” head. While his transformations really feel like “tacked on” modes that the designers were able to fold their robot into, this detracts nothing from this awesome toy. A nice little aside though, is the “fan mode” which turns SHOCKBLAST into a pseudo-ray gun, like his Gen 1 predecessor.
SCORPONOK: The bad boy and would be leader of the Decepticons. With an intricately detailed mold, and realistic mechanical parts such as pistons, SCORPONOK is in my opinion the toy to have in Energon. He transforms into a construction vehicle that looks like a scorpion, creating a fantastic effect.
OPTIMUS PRIME: Regularly called “Fatimus” by the fans, early pics of this figure suggested Optimus had finally found a way to get his trailer through a McDonalds drive-through. His pudgy torso was actually designed to “powerlink” with four non-transforming vehicles, which would form his arms and legs. The solid (and differing) colours of these limbs would again lead to a fan outcry that Optimus was too “Power Rangers.” However, I found both his “tubby” and “Power Ranger” modes to actually be very good. They fit well with the aesthetic of the toy line. Of course, if you’re still not sold, pick yourself up a Wing Sabre, who also combines with Prime to give him new limbs. Works a treat.
UNICRON: No collection is complete without the chaos bringer. There’s nothing much to say about UNICRON – get him! The orange version is from Armada and the black from Energon, however technically both versions were released in Energon boxes so the choice is yours. I have the black which is awesome.
Hope this has been helpful to someone out there!