The 7 Worst G1 Transformers (and Their Best Variants) [UPDATED]


Real talk: Transformers were (and for some of us still are)where it’s at as far as action figures are concerned. It’s like two toys in one, with an awesome engineering conundrum between states.

Even-more-real-talk: Some of the original G1 (a term we may be using a little loosely) figures suck pretty bad. Part of the reason is because of the original Japanese toyline blah blah blah I want a car that’s a goddamn robot and it needs to look cool as balls! As we know, cool is measured it balls (in the metric system at least) so let me guide you around the less-than-spectacular G1 line and point you toward the coolest goddamn versions of your old favorites. And I want to give a big shout-out to the crew at for letting me use the amazing photos they have on their site. Thanks guys!

7. Wheeljack

Thumbnail image for 1.wheeljack01.jpg

G1. Oh man, this hurts me. Wheeljack is where it’s at for me, and the Lancia Stratos is also another place where it is at, as recognized by My Theorem of The Duality of It (peer reviewed), but even I have to admit that, though his car mode is acceptable, the robot mode is not. As evidenced by this photo, he kinda looks like a robot ape with steel bars welded to his feet to keep him from moving. This may be our last, best hope of restraining apes before the prophesized Ape Uprising of Apes Uprising, but it sure as hell doesn’t help me pose my boy Wheeljack in a position other than “Fuck-off straight.”

Best Alternate Version


Wheeljack has some great alternates, but I love this one simply because of how close it is to the original. The Castrol colors are there, along with the similar form, but the articulation and movement is spectacular, making this version poseable as a porn star and twice as sexy. The only downside is he doesn’t have anywhere near as much head-caving metal as the original, so fighting your brother’s toys, and then your brother, isn’t as feasible. Still though, for posing, it’s one of my favorites. Not as good a reason for liking it as head injuries, but still…


6. Kup


The old-schoolingest Autobot in existence, Kup’s figure looks like it was designed by the finest engineers Og, Ogg, and Oggg Cave-Engineering had to offer. Some might say it’s an insult to the old campaigner; others may not give a fuck because hey, it’s Kup. He’s supposedly a Cybertronian vehicle, I truly think Kup’s old job was “shit-hauler,” because it was the job that got him away from the others the most: “Optimus, you can’t rely on that whiz-bang stuff! Bah! Back in my day, we didn’t have…”
“Yo Kup, don’t you have some shit to haul?”
“… Fuck you, Blaster.”

Best Alternate Version


Wassup, Kup? When did you get clean and cool, bro? This variant is just… it’s streamlined, it looks great, it’s functional, and it could probably carry the old G1 Kup straight to the garbage tip. It’s not a super-creative form, but G1 Kup needed all the cred he could get, as well as a cool-looking cure for his “I’m old and ornery! Ha!” routine.

5. Megatron
G1. Okay, let’s talk about Clownshoes himself, the guy who is an actual gun, but cruelly has the worst aim of anyone, anywhere, ever. Megatron has killed less people than space has, and is still a giant pussy despite being the most phallic thing in the TF universe. Speaking of phalluses…


Wooooooooooooow. Wow. Just… wow. Did they not forsee schoolyards overflowing with kids screaming “Timmy brought Dickatron! Yo, fight my Optimus, Timmy! Take that, Megacock!”
Best Variant:


This is much cooler, with the kinda Gundam-ish look and the not-a-giant-penis-looking-dealy sticking out. I don’t think I’d be afraid of this Megatron any more than the old one, but hell, I’d probably be more inclined to hang out with him and talk smack about the Autobots.

4. Galvatron
G1. We’re not counting Galvatron as a variant of Megatron, and if you don’t like it, please pound on your keyboard some more.

Galvatron is kind of a dick, which is okay because it’s his job. Formerly the dickish clownshoes mofo Megatron mentioned previously, the massive dick Unicron asked him if he would like greater dick powers, and Megatron, in all his dickishness, said yes. Like a dick. Anyway, his original figure isn’t the worst on the list, but it’s just so… underwhelming. He’s supposed to be like the evolved form of Megatron, but he looks more like the evolved form of an incredibly phallic cement mixer, which kinda carries over from what he was. Man, it’s just… are they trying to tell us something? About dicks? Is there a dick message we’re just not getting? Are action figures really the best way to send dick-messages? Help me out here, guys.


Best Alternate Version
This variant is what Transformers: The Movie Galvatron should have been: All space-y and badass. The color scheme isn’t the greatest, but damn, he looks like he came from the future to hoe some Autobot ass.


He bristles with guns, which is like a prerequisite for bad guys, and he’s probably gonna create hell and havoc for whomever he hates (alliteration bonus!)… provided he can learn how to, y’know, shoot a frickin’ laser in a straight line.

[update, 12:29 p.m.] CORRECTION: The author apologizes for mistaking the Galvatron for a Megatron. This is not a small mistake, and appropriate measures have been taken, chiefly that the author has been forced to watch Transformers 4 on repeat for a week, A Clockwork Orange-style, as well as sincerely apologizing for not knowing what the hell he’s talking about.

3. Rodimus Prime
Rodimus really got the short end of the stick: First, he becomes a Prime, then he gets demoted, then he becomes a shitty, shitty action figure.


His vehicle mode isn’t too awful, but boy does his robot form look like ass. Thank the Primes above that we have what it takes to craft decent toys now, without the “It’s just for kids” attitude that must have permeated Hasbro back in the day. I mean, Rodimus wasn’t the only one paying the price for being stupid, impulsive, and reckless; collectors had to cough up, too.

Best Alternate Version


Honestly, this is another example of us getting the figure we should have had originally a little later in the game. I know that there weren’t adults-with-cash-but-kids-at-heart knocking the doors down to pay for the originals like there are today, but it’s just a shame that the three people who can’t get enough Rodimus Prime in their lives had to wait a while, presumably while hugging their home-made plush Judd Nelson dolls and singing “Don’t you, forget about me… the way the world forgot about you, Judd…”
Anyway, robot Rodimus is awesome here, and the vehicle version is also top-notch.


2. Flamefeather

Good God in heaven… this will be a short entry, partly because I don’t even know of a Flamefeather alternate, but mostly because what can you say about… whatever the fuck this is?


Come on, man. That’s just plastic that someone found and made a mold of as a joke. That’s the first thing Jesus forgives every day to show humanity he can forgive anything. If you gave that thing to the most unloved kid in an orphanage for Christmas, he’d wonder how he fucked up so bad he couldn’t even get coal. It’s an abomination for the ages.

1. Ratchet/Ironhide

You wouldn’t have to search the Internet for more than thirty seconds to find out the reasons why these guys are the way they are, namely, without freakin’ heads.



They’re also identical, but the big, huge, $64,000 question is… What goddamn kid wants to play with a goddamn van??? There’s cop cars, Lambos, Ferraris, fuckin’ jet-fighters, but we all know there was some kid who was all “Man, I want that van, but they have no heads…” And we all know that kid is a serial killer right now, still grateful for the idea to combine a corpse-removing vehicle with decapitation.

Best Variant/s

There are some good variants for these guys, but this new Ratchet is pretty sweet, mostly because he seriously looks like he’s about to play HB for some Cybertronian football team; he’s big and broad, and while that may not be a massive feature of the character previously, I think it’s about time he got a baddass version.


And I’m fond of this one for Ironhide most of all, because it’s kinda worthy of the name “Ironhide.” It’s pretty rad, with some futuristic features that save us from van-dom.


Also, it kinda looks like it would go well with your Ghost in the Shell stuff.
Aaaaaand I can hear you writing the fanfic already.

Previously by Jamie Dennis-Jackson:
6 Licensed PS1 Titles That Somehow Didn’t Suck

The 7 Most Overlooked Neo Geo Arcade Games

The 6 Best Videogames Starring the Aliens from Alien

7 Geek Prejudices You Should Have Dropped by Now

9 Beloved Classic Arcade Games Revisited (and How We Can Learn From Them)