Events: "The Last Knight" Hasbro Google Hangout
Hasbro Google Hangout (June 1, 2017)
On June 1, 2017 Hasbro held a Google Hangout to feature upcoming products from "The Last Knight" toy line. Product images and descriptions had been provided earlier that day but this allowed us to get a better look at the figures and ask questions.
The four panel members from Hasbro were members of the Transformers Brand team including:
- John Frazier - Senior Brand Development + Marketing Manager, Transformers
- Ben Montano - Brand Marketing Director, Transformers
- John Warden - Design Manager, Transformers
- Aristides “Arrow” Membreno - Design Manager, Transformers
Behind the scenes was Sarah Cunningham who made sure the technical side of things in Rhode Island worked out. Managing the entire Hangout was Chris Robins from Rogers & Cowan.
The team was lined up in a row with a shelf behind them filled with "The Last Knight" product. Many of the toys were sitll in package (including the Primus redeco, Premier Drift and Leader Class Megatron!). A line of loose figures would make up a bulk of the presentation. Here's a breakdown of the figures we were shown and some details about them:
Deluxe is a licensed Lamborghini
- There are Hot Rod figures in other scales
- “Fun to introduce a new character into the film franchise” – Ben Montano
- Walmart exclusive
- A Knight of Cybertron
- Deluxe scale
- Lots of rusty deco on him (gold, green to silver)
- Face is very scary, broken down skull face, looks almost like a corpse or zombie
- Shares a body sculpt with Steelbane
- The rust is pearlescent, not flat to give a wash effect
- Exclusive to the “Mission to Cybertron” at Toys R Us
- Combiner made up of five figures
- Torso is a new figure
- Limbs are all Terrorcon sculpts from “Beast Hunters”
- Infernocus appears in the trailer
- Comes with a translucent Quintessa figure
- Exclusive to “Mission to Cybertron” Toys R Us
- Transforms into an Aston Martin DB-11 vehicle
- Cogman is a Headmaster, he has a “Titan Master” style head
- Vehicle mode seats two Titan Masters
- Using files from the films to make the figures more accurate to the movie
- You can remove his head and Cogman’s head can take over the body. Nitro's head does not transform.
- Nitro’s cockpit in vehicle mode accommodates a Titan Master.
- Vehicle mode is a military jet of Hasbro's design. John Warden worked on G.I. Joe for years so that influenced his designs.
- Leader Class
- Described as a Duocon
- Dragon heads are based directly off the film’s CG models
- Dragonicus and Stormreign are bigger than Deluxe, but smaller than Voyager. In a class of their own.
- Trying to give a “tarnished and ancient” look to the figures.
- Transformation is “bananas and complicated” (John)
In each of the “Mission to Cybertron” exclusive items a card is included. One side is a section of a poster. The other takes you to a web site to decode glyphs on the figures.
After the presentation there was a Question & Answer session where each attendee had a chance to ask some prescreened questions. Roughly in order here were the topics covered and notes I took on the responses:
Valvotron: A one off promotion with Valvoline. Other partnerships may pop up around the world to introduce the brand to new fans.
Tiny Turbo Changers: One of the key Diaclone and Microman designers, Kōjin Ōno worked on the Tiny Turbo Changers, giving them a historical and authentic appeal tracing back to the pre-history of "Transformers".
Characters crossing into other media: Drift is the prime example, starting in comic books, going to the movies and then "Robots in Disguise". Blurr is another, having gone from "Rescue Bots" to "Robots in Disguise". This pattern is being kept in mind as "The Last Knight" is released.
Mold Reuse: Hasbro recognizes some fans may not have been able to purchase certain figures from "Age of Extinction", especially younger fans. This gave them an opportunity to make the toys available again while giving them more movie-accurate deco.
Primus/Cybertron Planet: The deco was inspired by the G1 cartoon, where there were shades of blue on the planet surface while energy seemed to glow form the interior. The orange "core" of this figure is meant to reveal Primus' "core power". The Omega Lock feature and electronics are all intact.
Lessons learned over 10 years of making movie figures: One of the huge steps in movie toy development is the use of CAD files from the movie studio on the actual toys themselves to provide a more screen accurate figure. Hasbro also recognizes that hardcore fan support of the brand is critical to its success.
Drift: While the figure does reuse certain parts of the "Age of Extinction" Deluxe it is not the same figure. The vehicle is now a Mercedes (which the team did not know when they began designing the figure) and it transformation has been flipped backwards.
Premier Edition Packaging: The boxes were in part to give the figures a premium look. Boxes were also chosen to allow more space to feature the beautiful character artwork.
Exclusives around the world: The exclusive figures such as Hot Rod and Skullitron will be available around the world. They may not always be at the same retailer as the United States however.
On a final note, Hasbro let us know that the figures are all due for release around August (though some may pop up before then). What we were shown during this Hangout represents the last of the Premier Edition line for "The Last Knight". However Movie toys will continue to be developed as new films are released.