If you are new to buying or collecting Transformer toys, it can be a little daunting. I put together a guide on how best to understand the multiple series of transformers toy lines. I’m only going to focus on the toy lines flagship series or lineup to keep this guide easy. They have numerous spin-offs that are fine, but if you are looking for class toys that are more in line with the originals, this guide will cover.
War for Cybertron toy line trilogy
Back in 2018, Hasbro announced a brand new series titled War for Cybertron toy line trilogy. Within this series, they are planning to have three collections or subline imprints, which you will learn about below, within this new series. Initially revealed in mid-2018, the first collection is titled Siege and had 16 characters. You can read more about this collection and view all the characters and classes they released. The first toys from that collection started finding their way to toy shelves in 2019. The next group is called Earthrise and revealed at the beginning of 2020. You can read more about this series and the characters released in this collection. Hasbro hasn’t officially announced the name of the third group in the series. We will post news as soon as we learn more about the next and final chapter in this series.
Now that you have a good understanding of the new series and the collections let’s take a look at the next sub-section of the Transformers toy lines called classes. Seeing all the Transformers on the shelves can be a little daunting. You can find different characters, waves, series, and classes at once, and you might find yourself a bit disoriented by the choices.
Hopefully, this section will clarify any confusion and make it easier to understand the differences between them. That way, you can find the characters you want and spend less time trying to understand all the variations.
What is a series?
A series is the umbrella name that a toy company will give a group of toys to distinguish them from other groups or collections. It’s an easy way to categorize a particular group of toys from one another. These collections can result from a new storyline the toy company wants to pursue, a new movie, or a new animated series. Toy companies have been doing this for years. It’s a way for them to continue a toy line without it getting tired or forgotten.
What is a subline imprint?
This term is something you will find among the harder core collectors. Retailers and toymakers use this term to label groups or collections of the outer series branding. For the new line of Transformers, “War for Cybertron” is the overall branding for the series, and “Siege” and “Earthrise” are the subline imprints. Subline imprints allow toymakers to use new packaging designs or features to re-release the same character or continue a previous series by making it feel new again.
They may also include store exclusives or themes with their unique branding and packaging. An example of this is the Netflix tie-in for this series that is exclusive to Walmart. This exclusive has updated the packaging and features of the same characters from the “War for Cybertron” toy line series.
What is a wave?
In each of the series, toy companies will release new action figures in waves. The toy company determines the number of waves and how many characters they plan to release throughout the series. Each wave can last anywhere from 2-6 months. Starting with wave one toymaker will release a predetermined number of action figures. Once that wave comes to an end, the toymaker will release the next batch of characters in the second wave. They will continue to do this until they release all the waves for that series and start again with the next.
Doing this allows them to keep fans and customers interested in the new series for an extended period. They can control the number of characters and quantity they need to sell to stay profitable. I appreciate this structure because it allows collectors and fans to find and purchase each figure without breaking the bank all at once. It also makes new action figures somewhat episodic, which keeps it fun and interesting for collectors.
What about the different classes?
Classes in the Transformers line of toys represent the size, price, detail, and complexity of the toy. Hasbro has changed the types of classes a few times over the years, and the most recent series has seven main class types. They are Battle Masters, Micromasters, Deluxe, Voyager, Leader, Commander, and Titan. Above is a quick visual guide to show how each class compares to the next.
Each class stating with the Battle Masters class, typically increases with size, detail, and complexity. Each class packaging is standardized and has the same MSRP. The core defining characteristic of a class is the height or size of the figure. The second is the price point for each class. The toymaker can then decide based on the size of the figure and price how complex or how much detail they can give the action figure based on those two parameters.
Not every character gets released in every class. It’s up to the toy company to decide which character gets published in which class. They typically do an excellent job selecting the character you want in the larger, more detailed class. Just be prepared to spend a little extra for the upper classes, they can be spendy.
Before you roll out
I hope this guide helps you understand the new Transformer War for Cybertron toy line by Hasbro. When I first started getting back into Transformers toys, it took a little bit to know why there were so many different options, price points, and sizes. Let me know in the comments below if I missed anything or if you have anything you want to ask or add to the discussion. Have fun out there.