When the live-action Transformers film was pushed back from November 2006 to July 2007, Hasbro needed to create a filler line to bridge the newly created gap in their product offerings. That bridge was a revisitation of the original Generation 1 characters, dubbed Classics.
Although no original animation or full-length comic fiction was planned for the line by Hasbro, the Fun Publications Official Transformers Fan Club Magazine comic chose to utilize the Classics as the basis of their 2007 story-arc and set them in a continuation of the old Marvel Generation 1 Marvel Comics universe, a splinter timeline from this universe that includes everything up until the end of the original Marvel run, but excludes the events of both the concurrent Marvel UK material and the Generation 2 book that followed, taking things in a new direction instead. Even after the magazine comic moved on to a different focus Fun Publication has continued to utilize the Classic setting and characters in other stories.
- Optimus Prime vs Megatron: The Ultimate Battle (versus 2-pack w/DVD)
- Ultra Magnus vs Skywarp: Battle for Autobot City (versus 2-pack, Target exclusive)
- Constructicon Devastator (Wal-Mart exclusive giftset)
- Optimus Prime (20th Anniversary redeco with talking base)
- Soundwave with Laserbeak and Battle Ravage (Generation 1 reissue; uses the Soundblaster version of the mold, which had a remolded door that can hold two cassettes.)
- Masterpiece Starscream (G1-colored redeco)
What counts as Classics?
The Classics toyline is a little tricky to define because some of the items which one would think belong to it—the Magnus/Skywarp two-pack, for instance, which redecoes two Classics figures—do not actually say "Classic" anywhere on their packaging. Even the toys that are definitely "real" Classics toys only have the word on one panel of their packaging as a prefix to their size class ("Classic Deluxe" or "Classic Voyager").
For simplicity, Teletraan I: The Transformers Wiki is considering all toys that come in the Classics-style packaging to be Classics toys, even if they do not self-identify as such. Those toys include:
- Prime vs. Megatron Ultimate Battle set
- Magnus vs. Skywarp Battle for Autobot City set
- 20th Anniversary Prime redeco
- Mini-Cons (the Mini-Con sets have been referred to as Classics toys on Hasbro's website, but not on the packaging)
- Toys "R" Us exclusive reissue Soundwave
- Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus (2008)
- Jetfire and Grimlock (2008)
- Masterpiece Starscream Hasbro release
Though response to the figures was very positive, the Classics franchise was created as a limited line to fill the shelves between Cybertron and the movie. With the Movie toyline and the Transformers Animated series scheduled to follow it, the fate of the Classics line was uncertain.
The BotCon 2007 exclusives capitalized on the popularity of the Classics universe, but even that was not to be the end of things. Hasbro revealed at Botcon 2007 that a new incarnation of Transformers Universe was in the works for Fall 2008 and would operate as a blanket line for their non-Animated product, including a new line glossed as Classics 2.0.
Henkei! Henkei! Transformers
Henkei! Henkei! Transformers is the name of the Japanese version of the Classics toyline. Like the Beast Wars Returns toyline before it, this line will feature several redecoes of existing figures to make them look more like the original character models than their American counterparts. For example, Megatron is silver and black instead of neon green and gray, Starscream and Grimlock will be colored closer to their show models, Convoy/Prime and Bumble/Bumblebee have less white paint, and Astrotrain has a more show-inspired deco of dark gray and purple instead of white and violet. In addition to these tweaks, every toy has various areas cast in chrome, seemingly for no other reason than to create a line-wide commonality.
Unlike the U.S. version of this line, the Henkei line comes with a mini-manga featuring Convoy, Bumble, Grimlock, Megatron, and Starscream. This short story starts off in the 21st Century with Megatron attacking Tokyo, planning to steal its energy and enslave the humans. Then the Cybertrons arrive to stop the Destrons, saying they will always find the Destrons and stop them thanks to the humans' information lines. Starscream is taken out by Bumble and Grimlock, while Megatron fights Convoy. The Destrons then retreat and the humans thank the Cybertrons. But the battle has only begun...
- C-01 Convoy (Voyager Optimus Prime)
- C-02 Bumble (Deluxe Bumblebee)
- C-03 Grimlock (Deluxe Grimlock)
- C-04 Rijie (Deluxe Mirage)
- C-05 Hot Rodimus (Deluxe Rodimus/"Hot Rod")
- Skyglide (Toys "R" Us promotional exclusive Mini-Con)
- D-01 Megatron (Voyager Megatron)
- D-02 Starscream (Deluxe Starscream)
- D-03 Astrotrain (Deluxe Astrotrain)
Originally referred to as Classics 2.0 during the Hasbro preview panel, Hasbro announced bringing back Classics as part of a new Universe line, because of high fan support and to pick up the torch of realistic Earth vehicle designs from the ending Movie line. Hasbro said they were focusing primarily on characters who had realistic Earth alt-modes, were not represented in other current lines, and had high repaint potential. Concept art of Sunstreaker and Sideswipe was shown (same base mold with different heads and alternate chest transformations and weapons). Art of an updated Decepticon triple-changer Octane was also shown.
Early in January 2008, Hasbro revealed the new character molds and later revealed several redecos of Cybertron toys at Toyfair 2008 in Febuary: