Way more than meets the eye...

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon was a major focus for Hasbro at BotCon 2011, covering several cases and dozens of toys. These ranged from the massive Ultimate Optimus Prime (with trailer that converts into wings and armor) to the new Cyberverse lineup of small figures and mini-playsets.

As a fan of small scale toys I was quite impressed with the Cyberverse offerings. The basic single-carded “Legion” scale figures are plentiful and include major characters as well as cool repaints. The “Commander” scale is slightly larger with more articulation and detail, and here you’ll find many of the Autobot and Decepticon leaders as well as their most powerful troops. Cyberverse Action Sets pair a small figure with a triple-changing accessory, while one of the coolest new toys is the Cyberverse Autobot Ark that transforms from spaceship into a detailed space station.

The main movie lines are made up of MechTech and Human Alliance toys. For the former, Hasbro has moved away from action features in the toys, instead putting them into oversized accessories. From everything they showed this line is going to be a big hit. The toys look great and the MechTech weapons work with them or you can stockpile them for later. This line also has interesting repaints like the Deluxe-sized Cyberfire Bumblebee and Specialist Ratchet. The Voyager scale toys on display included Megatron, Shockwave, regular Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Skyhammer, and Fireburst Optimus Prime, while the massive Leader class was represented by Bumblebee, Ironhide, and Sentinel Prime.

The Human Alliance collection is expanding in both scope and scale. New Basic sets include a human and Transformer companion that has three modes: vehicle, robot, and either power armor, weapon emplacement, or alternate vehicle. The standard Human Alliance boxed sets still include a human and one or two full sized Transformers like Bumblebee with Sam, Skids with Elita-1 and Sergeant Epps, and Roadbuster with Sergeant Recon.

Bringing Transformers to a store near you, Hasbro continues to partner with retailers for cool exclusives across their product lines. Wal-mart will get a Deluxe Optimus Prime, Voyager Optimus Prime with Deluxe Comettor, and a race deco Sideswipe. Coming to Target are multiple Deluxe and Voyager toys with comic books and a Human Alliance NASCAR-themed Leadfoot with Sergeant Detour and Steeljaw (a robot dog!). Toys"R"Us gets the cool “Scan Series” featuring characters like Ironhide and Sideswipe in mid-scan with translucent plastic and scan effects. The Rage over Cybertron set brings back Generations Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Megatron with cool new Cybertronian decos. Kmart too gets in the game with the Human Alliance Autobot Daredevil Squad set with repainted Bumblebee, Backfire, and Sam. Frankly, though, all of that pales in comparison to the newly revealed Amazon exclusive coming later in the year: a re-deco of Unicron with an all-new head and Animated Film colors!

Reveal the Shield continues to bring interesting new designs to the Transformers world with influences from Generation 1 as well as animated series and the current films; these toys run the gamut from diminutive Legends figures up to the full size Voyagers. The latest Generations and Power Core Combiners toys were on hand as well.

While the current television series Transformers: Prime has been on for a while, toys aren’t slated to hit retail until December. Hasbro brought out some special surprises, though, so attendees got to see some of what we’re expecting at the end of the year. On display from the main series were Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream, Bumblebee, and Arcee along with the three human kids. These toys look really good and worth the wait. Kids can also play along with the show with the Bumblebee Ion Cannon, a transforming roleplay toy with lights and sounds.

Speaking of kids, three display cases were devoted to products aimed at youngsters. In the Robo Power collection heavy duty toys include Activators, Go-Bots, Robo Fighters, Revving Robots, Bashbots, Mini Vehicles, Stealth Force, and more! Kids can become their favorite characters with roleplay toys like the Optimus Prime and Bumblebee Cine-Masks, Optimus Prime Cyber Helmet, Optimus Prime Cyber Blaster, the Energon Shock Sword, and various costume accessories. A brand new series of toys for littler ones is “Rescue Bots” with sturdy, easy to transform toys and lots of bright colors.

Finally, Hasbro snuck in two of their Transformers San Diego Comic-Con exclusives, and they’re both pretty amazing, further solidifying the company’s status as packaging trendsetter. From the Prime television show comes Optimus Prime. Inside an outer box is a package shaped just like the Autobot Matrix of Leadership that you can wear around your neck! The figure, almost an afterthought, is nestled in its center. The other exclusive is the enormous Ultimate Optimus Prime packaged in Trailer Mode with a cool clear-domed box. This will be the only version of the toy that comes in that mode (all other versions will be packaged in robot mode)!

-Scott Rubin