Event: 'Twas the night before... 2014
'Twas the Night Before... Hasbro Event (2014)
- Photos from the "'Twas the night before..." event
- KREO Album (Official Photos)
- Angry Birds Album (Official Photos)
- Robots in Disguise Album (Official Photos)
- Generations Album (Official Photos)
Several years ago Hasbro decided instead of having a massive floor display at New York Comic-Con they would hold their own smaller event the "night before" (hence the name). The tradition continued this year with a beautiful event space that featured small bites to eat and a bar with beer and drinks aplenty. Throughout the room were freebies (free copies of "Age of Extinction", whaaaat?!) and displays showing product coming in the new year. Surprisingly Transformers made an incredible showing this year featuring not one, not two but four Transformers product segments and that's if you don't count the Construct-Bots and Hero Mashers that were available as give aways!
I know you folks are eager for the lowdown on each line so here goes:
Robots in Disguise
In a very smart move, Hasbro has refocused the "7-12" kids line to include a simplified "Magic" segment featuring Legion Class (yay!) figures and One Step Changer style figures. Then a step up from that segment are more traditional Transformers featuring transformations that average about 8 steps or so. This will form the core of the line along with the "3 Step Changers" that will take the place of the Voyager Class figures.
The "Magic" segment of One Step Changers looked fun and they rely more on traditional mechanics (twisting, turning, folding) than the spring loaded "Age of Extinction" One Step Changers. The "Titans" kind of mystify me as I never thought they would sell well, but apparently there is a strong market for them so there you go. What really drew my eye was the awesome return of the Cyberverse Legion Class! The Cyberverse figures looked great. Nicely detailed, not too many design compromises and they looked like their TV show counterparts. There was at least one "repeat" of a design: Sideswipe who uses the same mechanics as "Age of Extinction" One Step Changer Drift.
The segment of "Robots in Disguise" for older kids (but still kid-centric, not collector-centric) really impressed me. It's like a combination of "Prime" and "Animated" aesthetics. Now your mileage will vary depending on how much you like either of those, but the designs worked for me. I'm terribly excited for Strongarm since she represents a very non-traditional take on a female Autobot and Steeljaw looked awesome in all his robot-beastiness. The "3 Step Changers" including Grimlock are not my preference for a "Voyager Class" sized figure but I get what they're trying to do, bridge the gap between the One Steps and "Generations". The designs are simple compared to a "Generations" figure, but that's the whole point. They're creating a line that bridges the gap between "One Step Magic" and "Generations" and I think it's a great idea.
While the molds shown were not new, what was new was the look at Optimus Prime and Motormaster in package. The black color is beautiful and recalls the premium look of the "Star Wars" Black Series packaging. Both Prime and Motormaster look appropriately bulky and some of the proportion issues that the early photos seemed ot illustrate were not apparent when looking up close. Somehow they both looked a bit "ape" like in early photos, but in person the proportions worked. Yes they're bulky, but they're serving as the bodies of Combiners with Deluxe joints so I'm okay with that. In an interesting note, Optimus Prime's combined form with other Transformers will be known as "Ultra Prime". It is also worth noting that Optimus Prime and Motormaster only share the same leg and forearm pieces, everything else in robot mode appears to be differently sculpted pieces.
Looking up close at the Aerialbots, there appears to be an effort to duplicate the details/stickers form their G1 toy counterparts while the robot mode decos seemed more focused on reflecting their G1 animation models, which is a really nice and interesting balance. Also note: everything at the Generations table was not final product so what you get in stores may differ a bit.
By the way, if you're thinking "Hey, that Thundercracker looks awfully familiar" it's because he's a very significant retool and redeco of Jetfire!
In keeping with tradition, KREO is broken out into several sub-segments. There are the "Robots in Disguise" KREO figures which feature a large (non-transforming) KREO vehicle or beast based on characters from the show. Each large vehicle or beast includes KREONs and a "capture pod" which looks kind of like a Stasis Pod. There were a couple characters I didn't recognize such as an Arachnid Decepticon. No telling if it'll be on the show or not.
Another segment of KREO featured something fans have been wanting for a while now: KREO sets featuring toys that transform instead of having to be disassembled and reassembled into each form. This looks like a very classic oriented set with a G1 looking Optimus Prime and Grimlock. The Megatron looks like a G2/Movie hybrid. The Soundwave amusingly enough is based on his "Cybertron" appearance with Ravage, Rumble and Frenzy! I'm very excited about this segment since it's what I think the line should've been from the beginning.
Finally there are single figures including Custom KREONs and blind bags. They were mixed in with KREONs from other lines so I'm not quite sure how these assortments will work out.
I confess I'm no "Angry Birds" expert, but what I will say is these guys are terribly cute. A lot of attention has been paid to G1 aspects of these characters. I noted Galvatron looked much more like the G1 toy than the cartoon. I also appreciated nods to G1 like the Soundwave redeco being Soundblaster. It appears this line will be pretty expansive featuring everything from a playset (with exclusive Optimus and Megatron figures) to Telepods. The figures are much smaller than I expected, perhaps about 2/3 the size of a Bot Shot!
The rest of the event was super fun! There was a set up for shooting targets with Nerf guns, a "photo op" with Rocket Racoon (oh and the other Guardians of the Galaxy too). The surprise was a 3D scanner that was scanning everyone's faces to be put on a Marvel action figure! Unfortunately they had to cut the line before I could get on it but I thought it was super cool they were doing this at the event. There were also plenty of seats for people to sit and upload pictures, drink, eat and relax. Overall this was a really nicely put together event. BWTF extends its thanks to Hasbro and the kind folks at Hunter PR for inviting this humble site to such a fun event!