More than years after they took America by storm, the Transformers Toy line seems to be stronger than ever, bolstered by a big-budget Hollywood movie, and toys that just keep coming. What better time for a brand new Transformers price and, far more importantly, an identification guide. The Transformers Identification and Price Guide comes from Krause Publications, a renowned leader in collectibles books.
Thankfully the author, Mark Bellomo doesn't skip over the very rich history of the Transformers BEFORE they made it to American soil. His introduction covers Takara's Diaclone and Microman lines and Hasbro's eventual purchase of the license to that line, and the backstory that was created by Marvel Comics. The guide runs in chronological order, beginning with series 1 in 1984. Each Transformer is show in both vehicle/robot mode in very crisp photography. The book reprints all of the information off the toy's original techspecs including name, function, motto, biography, and techspec ability ratings. Next is a paragraph or two about each figure that gives facts about the toy and the character, and various minutiae about things like joint and sticker wear, collectibility, etc., The book also lists each accessory that comes with the figure which is one of the most important aspects of the book. Finally, three prices are given for each toy: Loose and complete, Mint in box, and mint in sealed box/Mint on Card. Kudos for that although a price for loose figures without accessories would have been welcomed.
In addition to the pictures of the toy in its various forms, all of the figures accessories are also pictured. I cannot stress how important picturing the accessories is. While I am fairly knowledgeable about Transformers, I cannot just look at most accessories and tell you whom they belong to. Often coming across odd lots of weapons at garage sales and flea markets, the book is invaluable in matching the part to the figure.
Credit again to Bellomo for also explaining long and complicated history behind Jetfire as well as giving the famous Jet two full pages of coverage including photos in robot mode, jet mode, jet mode without armor, and Gerwalk mode, as well as a picture of the figure mint in the box and even close-ups of wing variations. The mail-away figures such as the Omnibots, Powerdashers, Reflector, etc., are also covered. Each of the various Gestalts (Devastator, Superion, etc,) are also pictured, as is one of my favorite Transformers, Sixshot, in all six of his modes.
The book is 254 pages long and doesn't waste an inch of space. It's well written and well researched with gorgeous photography throughout the book. Is it perfect? Well, not quite...I honestly think the prices for MISB/MISP figures is a bit low, based on what I've seen these toys go for at places such as eBay. Also, I would have loved to see Generation Two toys included. The G2 line is regularly overlooked which is unfortunate since there were some very nice toys included in the line. Finally, I would have loved to have seen some coverage of the Japanese variants such as Twincast and Soundblaster, but ok, I guess that might be wising for a bit too much.
There haven't been many books put out about the Transformers toy line but this one is easily the best and most detailed. Indispensable for Transformers collectors!
REVIEWED BY TIM JANSON