SDCC 14 Hasbro Transformers Panel Coverage

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The Hasbro Transformers panel for San Diego Comic Con International 2014 began Thursday the 23rd promptly at 11am. The dais included Hasbro’s director of marketing Jerry Jivoin, senior manager Sarah Carroll, and product designer Sean Isabella.

Sarah started the panel off with Rescue Bots, focusing on Dinobots this year, a bit of a tie in with the movies.

Other kid-focused items include Hero Mashers, Battle Masters (the puppet-like Rock’em Sock’em Robots-type toy), KreO Battle changers (the first KreO sets that convert without being taken apart, 75-85 pieces each set, this November, Optimus, Grimlock, Starscream, and Bumblebee), Angry Birds Transformers which is coming out this fall (with 2 ways to play: Telepods figures that actually transform and beam into the game, and Jenga Race & Crash), the movie line kid toys like Stomp and Chomp Grimlock – an item Jerry says challenges every other toy company out there for Toy of the Year, but he admits he might be biased, and Construct Bots.

Generations showed off everything for 2014 already, so reveals for 2015 will come later in the panel.

Exclusives include Target’s Silver Knight Optimus Leader Class;
Target Collector Pack with exclusive Silver Knight Optimus figure;
Kmart gets a Platinum Edition voyager-class 2-pack of Optimus and Grimlock with lots of vac-metalization;
TRU gets a re-release of Masterpiece Grimlock;
TRU also gets new release Masterpiece Prowl and Sunstorm, which closes out store exclusives.

The Thrilling 30 for the brand’s 30th anniversary, deluxes include Hall of Fame-winner Arcee, a figure long time coming.

Remarking on the SDCC-exclusive G1-style Age of Extinction Dinobots with 4 of the 5 original characters, Sean brought up that they’ve heard the need for the 5th and Amazon will get Slude-themed voyager-class Slog towards the end of the year, lots of chrome for lots of questions.

Also the SDCC Knights of Cybertron set has the first Transformers with a wig, and a great tie-in with the set is a custom guitar with Knights of Cybertron artwork being given away at this convention, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett will be on hand in the Hasbro booth on Saturday to help give the awesome axe away to a lucky fan. They’re also giving out a CD sampler of music that’s been a part of the Transformers world.

The big news was the Generations 2015 sneak peek. The 2015 theme had a video to ring in the theme: COMBINER WARS! A Transformers Designer Desk video shows Hasbro reimagining the past for today’s audience. They knew they had to be the next-level, beyond merely deluxe so into Voyager as well. They had to be sturdy and poseable, so the torso will be a Voyager-class figure and the limbs are interchangeable, the shoulders slide out vertically and click into place.

The Combiner Wars also will be an all-new story theme across the IDW generation of comics. John Barber, Transformers editor at IDW, presented an image by Ramondelli of Menasor and Superion. Seeing the toys influence the comics and vice-versa is very exciting. Comics will be packed in with deluxes, the first wave has the existing IDW story of the origin of Superion from the Robots in Disguise line, but later waves will be part of the all-new comics storyline built with Hasbro.

The combiner system will be modular and will have 6 Aerialbots combining to form Superion, interchange howerver you want, and the 6th characters are Legends figures that transform to become weapons or armor or other attachments that add to the main bot to complete the system.

January is the first wave, Powerglide is shown from wave 1 and he becomes a blaster weapon. Legends wave 1 also has Thundercracker, Windcharger, and Bombshell; and all Legends figures come with a DNA Artwork game collector card.

Deluxe wave 1 has individual Aerialbots Firefly, Skydive, and Alpha Bravo, as well as the Stunticon, Dragstrip.

Wave 2 deluxe has Air Raid as the last Aerialbot deluxe, and Stunticons Dead End, Breakdown, and Offroad. And all Deluxes come with a comic sporting an exclusive cover.

Voyager class gets the collector card as well, and includes Silverbolt – the center of Superion – and Optimus Prime, who will also be a part of the combiner system, it’s not strictly from history but they feel it’s cool (ed note: this explains why it suggests Energon Optimus, another combiner, but with non-transforming limbs)

Voyager wave 2 is Motormaster, the center of Menasor, and it’s a retool of Optimus.

There’s more to come, and the theme of the whole year is Combiner Wars so more combiners throughout 2015.

Afterwards, Hasbro brought up Mike Vogel and Jeff Kline from Hasbro Studios to talk about the new Transformers: Robots in Disguise cartoon. A sneak peek video was followed up with confirmation of it being in continuity with TF:Prime though not immediately following that story. The same core production team that worked on Prime works on RID, a rare thing, shows the love of the material. Polygon Studios started over with a 2D look that merges with 3D, goes new places visually. This new show will be more expressive, more characters, more humor, and more fun adventure. It’ll start airing in early 2015.

A sneak peek of the new show’s toys showed off One Step Changers with Sideswipe, and Underbite (a Decepticon beast)

TF:RID also gets a sneak peek at Legion with Strongarm, a female Autobot police truck who is part of the show’s core cast; and Optimus, who was seen in the teaser video as more of a spectre than a true character.

TF:RID gets a new size called Warriors, which looks to be taking over for Deluxe, and the sneak peek is Bumblebee.

And that’s it for the Hasbro Transformers panel at San Diego Comic Con 2014.