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The Unofficial Guide To Vintage Transformers Book Review


“The Unofficial Guide To Vintage Transformers” is a nice trip down memory lane.

When it comes to toy lines of any era, “Transformers” is still one of the most iconic. Not only did it offer up something that most other toys did not with the fact that it could be two toys in one, but it was also an appealing sci-fi franchise with giant robots (who doesn’t like that?). To this day, the brand continues to endure with new toy lines, animated series and, of course, feature films and it’s not hard to see why. With all of that said, this book isn’t about the present and future, it’s about the past. More specifically, it’s about the 1980’s through 1990’s toy lines.

After acknowledgments and a small intro about “Transformers” and this updated edition, author J.E. Alvarez does a year by year breakdown of TF toy lines starting with its birth in the US in 1984 with the Generation 1 (AKA G1) line. Each year features a written piece, a checklist of figures releases, photos of boxes and loosed figures, as well as written blurbs accompanying the pictures that contain character identifications and factoids. From there on out, readers can pour over hundreds (if not a thousand plus) of images of everything from G1, G2, Beast Wars and Machine Wars figures as well as forgotten and little known lines like Transformers Pretenders, Action Masters and Transformers Go-Bots that I didn’t even know existed. Naturally, all of the favorite characters from Optimus Prime to Starscream are featured throughout in various forms. The book concludes with photographs of other merchandise such as collector cases, cereal, puzzles, party supplies, bed sheets (which I had as a kid), soundtracks, comics and more.

Whether you’re a casual or hardcore “Transformers” fan, this nostalgic book has something for everyone. Not only does it provide interesting history about the toy line (such as how it was originally based on the Japanese toy lines Diaclone and Micro Change), but it also shows how the brand evolved over the years in terms of style, packaging, character changes, etc. On top of that, you just get to see so many rare images of toy releases from other countries as well as rare promo items (like the Jazz figure in the short-lived Cracker Jacks Cereal). To me, that was the most enjoyable aspect of the book.

If I had to knock the book at all, I would say that the picture quality isn’t the greatest. It doesn’t exactly look professional most of the time and many of the pictures look rather dark. Still, it’s a minor quibble given how much content the book provides.

January 6, 2018 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , , ,

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