Transformers The Guide to Collecting 3rd Party Transformers


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Third party Transformers are not officially licensed figures, and as such, it isn’t particularly easy to navigate the numerous companies, sellers, and releases. I’m hoping this will help.

What are 3rd Party Transformers?

These are figures produced by companies with no official ties to Hasbro or Takara. Because of this, they are not bound to the same cost and safety standards applied to the official lines. Most of these companies were founded by fans seeking to create pieces to fill gaps in collections, produce upgrade kits for official figures, or even produce homages that differ from any of the official designs.

Who are the companies?

This is not a full list, and I will update as time goes by.

Fanstoys - Fanstoys produces Masterpiece-style figures, and are often held up as one of the best 3rd party companies. They use plenty of diecast, feature complex-yet-astonishing transformations, (seriously, watch a video review of Roadking to see true folding magic) and G1 aesthetics. There are some downsides. They tend to use paint that can chip fairly easily. Some recent figures have had quality control issues. They take a long time to produce figures and take advantage of their popularity to bury competing figures by releasing renders shortly after the competition does. However, their figures sell out quickly and have some of the best resale value.

Mastermind Creations - They have two main lines right now. Their Reformatted line features IDW designs, and those are very solid figures that fit in with many Hasbro Generations figures. Some figures become quite rare and valuable. Their other line is Ocular Max, a G1 Ox Studio inspired line. While that line had a rocky start, recent figures, particularly their Arcee, have really upped their reputation for quality.

XTransbots - Originally a line of poor-quality Masterpiece style figures, this company has made major improvements recently. Their Stunticons are arguably the best of all the Stunticon options. They keep getting better.

Keith’s Fantasy Club (KFC) - The same person owns KFC and XTransbots, so the projects are similar. However, this one produced a lot of upgrade kits for official Masterpiece figures, which sell well.

Iron Factory - This company produces high-quality Legends-class (small) figures. They are IDW- inspired, and have a well-earned reputation for quality. They aren’t cheap, but they’re good.

Magic Square - This company produces larger, G1 Legends figures. There are few complaints about their products.

Mech Fans Toys - Ths is a weird one. They’ve produced knock-offs, original designs, and operate under a number of different names. Their products are comparatively affordable, and their KOs make improvements over the originals.

FansProject - They’re basically dead, but you can still find their figures pretty easily. They are meant to fit in with generations figures, and the quality varies, mostly because they were one of the first companies to produce 3rd party figures.

Maketoys - Supposedly, they are what Fansproject became. Recently thought dead, they’ve come back with some impressive Masterpiece-style figures with their Jazz and Conehead Seekers. They also produce the Cross Dimensions line, which doesn’t follow any official designs. These figures have some of the best articulation found in any transforming figure, and very nice designs.

TFC Toys - They’ve gotten much better over time, producing unique takes on the Seacons, a Rolling Thunder Optimus, and launching a unique style of Terrorcons. Their older stuff is nothing to write home about.

Zeta Toys - Founded by disgruntled designers of the now-nearly-defunct Toyworld, they’ve created Masterpiece-scale Aerialbots and Combaticons. These tend to be affordable and the combiners are show accurate. However, the individual bots are not very show accurate. But few complain when the 20+ inch combiner mode is so stable and imposing.

Planet X - They specialize in producing figures based on the War for Cybertron/Fall of Cybertron games. Some figures, like their Grimlock, are gems. Some have deep flaws and are prone to breaks due to using clear plastic in joints. They supposedly have pretty good customer service and replace broken parts.

DX9 - They aren’t as active now, for reasons I will address later. They’ve made multiple Masterpiece-style figures, and their Omega Supreme is one of the best versions out there.

Badcube - Another Masterpiece maker, they’ve just about disappeared, but they made quality figures. Some are hard to come by now.

Newage - This is where DX9 went, producing a line of extra-small Legends figures that are very, very G1 accurate. It’s amazing how they engineered such complexity into such a small figure. They are pricy, though.

Perfect Effect - They specialize in upgrade kits, but have produced some amazing original figures. Their version of the IDW Fortress Maximus is not only a fantastic figure, it’s actually compatible with the original Fortress Maximus from the Generation 1 toys.

Fans Hobby - Originally producing chunky versions of lesser known characters like the Autobot Monstercons, they’ve started producing more G1 accurate figures. If you like big showstoppers, this company provides that. They don’t come cheap, though.

Toyworld - No one really knows what they’re really up to, but appear to be starting a line of Bayverse figures. They did produce Constructor, and rerelease variants again, and again, and again...

These aren’t all of the 3rd party companies, but they are some of the most well-known ones.

Next Update - Part 2 - Where to buy 3rd party figures.