The Transformers franchise has been chugging along for over 35 years, spanning every form of media imaginable. Fans of Optimus Prime and his merry band of mechanoids can enjoy their adventures through numerous cartoons, videogames, movies, and comics, but the one representation that has endured the longest, capturing the hearts of children and collectors worldwide has and always will be the toys themselves. Beginning life as an import of already-existing Japanese toylines from Takara and then mixed together with character biographies written by western writers such as Bob Budiansky, the Transformers franchise soon evolved into an unstoppable toy giant of which there was no true rival. Hasbro was able to spin what had once been fairly basic characters into beloved metal warriors that fought bravely against their enemies, embroiled in a never-ending war.
For a franchise with well over a hundred characters, it should come as no surprise that not every one of the toys was a winner. This list is a showcase of what we believe to be five of the absolute worst Transformers figures to exist. Of course there are far more than five figures worthy of the list, so this is a mere selection, a taste of some of the abominations you can expect.
Transformers: Age of Extinction- Leader Class Optimus Prime
We’ll start things off with the big guy himself, the lovable, infallible leader of the Autobots who believes that freedom is the right of all sentient beings and is always willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good. It’s no surprise that Optimus Prime features the most toys of any Transformers character. It’s no surprise that not all of them are winners either, and 2014’s Leader Class Optimus from the Age of Extinction movie is a real stinker that would look out of place even on the planet of Junk. With a backpack that would make Sam Bridges blush, poor integration of the vehicle sections into the robot mode and (if Amazon reviews are anything to go by) an awkward transformation sequence, there’s not really a lot going for Prime here.
Transformers Armada – Side Swipe
Is it the giant limb extremities that make Sideswipe (oh, sorry I mean Side Swipe) look as if he’s carrying large shopping bags whilst wearing over sized boots? Is it the difficult-to-use features that are poorly explained by the instructions? Does he even have hands and feet? There’s not really much to say about the figure that can’t already be gained by looking at it for more than ten seconds.
Transformers Prime- Deluxe Airachnid
With poor articulation, poor implementation of alt mode features (also known as kibble) and an overall aura of something you’d find at a knock off toy shop whilst on holiday in Spain, Deluxe Airachnid does the villain little justice. The character would later enjoy success as a smaller figure in the Cyberverse line, with better articulation but aside from that she has had little in the way of a larger, good quality figure.
Transformers G1 -Ironhide (and Ratchet)
Hoo, where to even begin with this monstrosity? For starters, Transformers’ Japanese progenitor Diaclone featured vehicles that were piloted by humans rather than being sentient, meaning not every robot needed a head. Ironhide and his repaint (a Transformers staple) Ratchet were unfortunate casualties of the transition and did feature stickers to attach to the windshield to give the illusion of a face, but such a compromise still did little to quell the descent into uncanniness. Is a pale, ghostly face staring at you from a windshield truly something you would prefer to have staring at you from across the room at night? You decide.
Transformers Beast Wars Neo- Break
People love penguins right? Those adorable, flightless bundles of fun that slide around on their bellies to the gaping jaws of hungry leopard seals and orcas. Kids love penguins and kids love Transformers, so the next logical step would of course be to combine the two into a nightmarish abomination of a robot with the mutilated limbs and appendages of the cute cuddly creature strung up across its body. ‘Shellformers’ (Transformers with a transformation sequence involving peeling the alternate mode apart to reveal the robot inside and having the pieces obnoxiously visible on the figure) are already frowned upon by the franchise’s fans, and Break certainly did little to change their minds. I wish there was a Leopard Seal Transformer just to see this monstrosity get devoured.
Sean Hollyman is an avid fan of action figures, videogames and sometimes other things too. When he's not labourously trying to earn platinum trophies for games that he otherwise probably wouldn't care about, Sean can often be found taking photos of his Transformers in embarrassing situations.
Favorite Food: Roast Dinner
Least Favorite Food: ANYTHING with mayonnaise in it