It's long been a tradition among manufacturers of action figures to include with the figure some sort of card, describing the character's fictional profession and personality in order to give them an added sense of realism. In the Transformers toy line, these cards were called "tech specs". Each one included a color cartoon of the Transformer, his allegiance and specialty, a quick rundown of his personality, and a series of rankings for strength, speed, intelligence, etc. on a scale of 1 to 10 (which, on careful inspection, would sometimes appear to contradict the personality writeup).

Throughout the on-again, off-again lifespan of the Transformers toy line, the tech specs have remained a presence on the boxes and cards that the toys were sold in. Any serious and diligent Transformers collector carefully clipped and saved the tech specs for every toy they received, and on slow winter weekends they could make for good reading. They are typically worth a few bucks if sold on eBay in good condition, either with or without the figure in question.

It's worth noting that while the Transformers comics from Marvel followed the characters' tech specs religiously when depicting them in stories, the cartoon was generally more liberal with them. What you saw on the screen was not necessarily what was written on the card.


1984 Series

Autobots

Minicars
Brawn - Bumblebee - Cliffjumper - Gears - Huffer - Windcharger
Cars
Bluestreak - Hound - Ironhide - Jazz - Mirage - Prowl - Ratchet
Sideswipe - Sunstreaker - Trailbreaker - Wheeljack
Leader
Optimus Prime

Decepticons

Cassettes
Buzzsaw - Frenzy - Laserbeak - Ravage - Rumble
Jets
Skywarp - Starscream - Thundercracker
Communicator
Soundwave
Leader
Megatron

 

1985 Series

Autobots

Minicars
Beachcomber - Cosmos - Powerglide - Seaspray - Warpath
Jumpstarters
Topspin - Twin Twist
Cars
Grapple - Hoist - Inferno - Red Alert - Skids - Smokescreen - Tracks
Dinobots
Grimlock - Slag - Sludge - Snarl - Swoop
Deluxe Vehicles
Roadbuster - Whirl
Communicator
Blaster
Defense Base
Omega Supreme
Scientist
Perceptor
Air Guardian
Jetfire

Decepticons

Constructicons
Bonecrusher - Hook - Long Haul - Mixmaster - Scavenger - Scrapper - Devastator
Insecticons
Bombshell - Kickback - Shrapnel
Triple Changers
Astrotrain - Blitzwing
Deluxe Insecticons
Barrage - Chop Shop - Ransack - Venom
Jets
Dirge - Ramjet - Thrust
Military Commander
Shockwave

 

1986 Series

Autobots

Minicars
Hubcap - Outback - Pipes - Swerve - Tailgate - Wheelie
Cars
Blurr - Hot Rod - Kup
Aerialbots
Air Raid - Fireflight - Silverbolt - Skydive - Slingshot - Superion
Protectobots
Blades - First Aid - Groove - Hot Spot - Streetwise - Defensor
Cassettes
Eject - Ramhorn - Rewind - Steeljaw
Triple Changers
Broadside - Sandstorm - Springer
Heroes
Rodimus Prime - Wreck-Gar
Space Shuttle
Sky Lynx
Autobot City
Metroplex
City Commander
Ultra Magnus

Decepticons

Cassettes
Ratbat
Jets
Cyclonus - Scourge
Stunticons
Breakdown - Dead End - Drag Strip - Motormaster - Wildrider - Menasor
Combaticons
Blast Off - Brawl - Onslaught - Swindle - Vortex - Bruticus
Predacons
Divebomb - Headstrong - Rampage - Razorclaw - Tantrum - Predaking
Triple Changers
Octane
Battlechargers
Runabout - Runamuck
Sharkticon
Gnaw
City Commander
Galvatron
Camera
Reflector
Decepticon City
Trypticon

 

1987 Series

Autobots

Throttlebots
Chase - Freeway - Goldbug - Rollbar - Searchlight - Wideload
Clones
Cloudraker - Fastlane
Doublespy
Punch-Counterpunch
Technobots
Afterburner - Lightspeed - Nosecone - Scattershot - Strafe - Computron
Monsterbots
Doublecross - Grotusque - Repugnus
Targetmasters
Blurr - Crosshairs - Hot Rod - Kup - Pointblank - Sureshot
Headmasters
Brainstorm - Chromedome - Hardhead - Highbrow
Headmaster City
Fortress Maximus

Decepticons

Cassettes
Overkill - Slugfest
Duocons
Battletrap - Flywheels
Clones
Pounce - Wingspan
Terrorcons
Blot - Cutthroat - Hun-grrr - Rippersnapper - Sinnertwin - Abominus
Six Changer
Sixshot
Targetmasters
Cyclonus - Misfire - Scourge - Slugslinger - Triggerhappy
Headmasters
Mindwipe - Skullcruncher - Weirdwolf
Headmaster Horrorcons
Apeface - Snapdragon
Headmaster City
Scorponok

 

1988 Series

Autobots

Sparkabots
Fizzle - Guzzle - Sizzle
Triggerbots
Backstreet - Dogfight - Override
Cassettes
Grand Slam - Raindance
Small Targetmasters
Landfill - Quickmix - Scoop
Small Headmasters
Hosehead - Nightbeat - Siren
Powermasters
Getaway - Joyride - Slapdash
Pretenders
Cloudburst - Groundbreaker - Landmine - Sky High - Splashdown - Waverider
Pretender Beasts
Catilla - Chainclaw
Pretender Vehicles
Gunrunner
Powermaster Leader
Optimus Prime
Six Changer
Quickswitch

Decepticons

Firecons
Cindersaur - Flamefeather - Sparkstalker
Seacons
Nautilator - Overbite - Seawing - Skalor - Snaptrap - Tentakil - Piranacon
Triggercons
Crankcase - Ruckus - Windsweeper
Cassettes
Beastbox - Squawktalk
Small Targetmasters
Needlenose - Quake - Spinister
Small Headmasters
Fangry - Horri-bull - Squeezeplay
Powermasters
Darkwing - Dreadwind
Powermaster Mercenary
Doubledealer
Pretenders
Bomb-burst - Bugly - Finback - Iguanus - Skullgrin - Submarauder
Pretender Beasts
Carnivac - Snarler
Pretender Vehicles
Roadgrabber


Beginning in 1988, the Transformers toy line deteriorated rapidly. The Pretenders were the last real innovation added to the toy line, and they were expanded somewhat in 1989, but in that year the Transformers were overwhelmed with an obsession with "Micromasters", tiny four-to-a-package Transformers that tried to piggyback on the success of the recently-released Micro Machines. This lack of variety and creativity, coupled with the absence of the Transformers comics or any Transformers cartoon in either America or Japan, led to rapidly declining sales. The glory days were gone, done, finis.

Hasbro never forgot the success of the Transformers toys in principle, however. The "Generation 1" toys, as they came to be called, had two more years before they stopped in 1990. 1993 saw the arrival of Generation 2 toys, about half of which were simply brightly recolored versions of popular Generation 1 Transformers. They persevered for three years before the Beast Wars arrived in 1996, with a completely new theme, all-new toys (even if the names weren't all new), and an all-CGI animated show on television to help promote it.

I leave it to other noders to complete the remaining tech specs, if they so desire, or to begin a new metanode of tech specs for later Transformers toy lines. Barring individual updates as I discover more information, I will consider this project finished.

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