"Back by popular demand"... As the Transformers neared their twentieth anniversary, Japanese toy company Takara and American Hasbro agreed to something the fan community had been craving for a long time: re-releasing the original 1980s Transformers toys, commonly known among collectors as "Generation 1", ever since Transformers Generation 2 had come and gone shortly after the line's demise. (In Japan, Takara has branded the line simply as "Transformers Collection".)

The companies' stated goal is to re-release as many of the boxed Generation One toys as possible. There is no vault where the molds used to create these toys are stored, and some will be impossible to re-create this way. But many can and have been found, and are being repackaged with the same accessories and stickers, the original character box art and nearly the same package art.* The boxes themselves are redesigned with a cardboard flap covering a transparent window showing the toy in vehicle mode and all accessories -- convenient for collectors to either store or display.

    * It may be worth noting that despite the availablility of the molds, Generation One Megatron will not be re-released in the United States because of current laws prohibiting the sale of realistic toy guns. Hasbro's statement has been that to comply with U.S. laws, Megatron would have to be recolored in bright neon colors in part or whole, and doing so would ruin the toy's appearance for collectors. Megatron has been re-released by Takara in Japan, however. Ashley Pomeroy adds that it even fires little plastic pellets.

Whenever possible, the figures' original names have been preserved, but in some cases the trademark on them has been lost over time. In some cases, this has led to new names -- "Rodimus Major" instead of "Hot Rod", for instance -- but in most Hasbro simply prepended the word "Autobot" onto the figure's name to make a new, trademarkable title. (Today Hasbro regularly reuses the names of its best-known Transformers in its new toy lines, in part to prevent this sort of thing.)

The Generation One toys were sold exclusively through the Toys "R" Us website and stores in the United States. They have been released in groups of two or three, with (generally speaking) the most popular figures being released first. Prices for Generation One toys are a bit steep, about 50-100% higher than other comparable Transformers, since these are being sold as collector's items instead of children's toys.


2002

Series 1
Optimus Prime
Ultra Magnus
Rodimus Major (Hot Rod)
Series 2
Powermaster Optimus Prime
Starscream

2003

Series 3
Autobot Jazz
Silverstreak (Bluestreak)
Thundercracker
Series 4
Prowl
Red Alert
Skywarp
Series 5
Autobot Tracks
Inferno
Hoist

2004

Series 6
Smokescreen
Autobot Grapple
Series 7
Rodimus Prime
Dirge
Series 8
Side Swipe
Autobot Skids
Ricochet* with Targetmaster Nightstick
Astrotrain

* Ricochet is a black repaint of G1 Jazz, originally released by Takara in Japan in 1987 under the name "Stepper".

See also Transformers Tech Specs for a list of the original 1980s toys and Transformers Alternators for Takara/Hasbro's updated versions of the classic G1 characters.

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