Action Masters

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Action Masters are a sub-line of the Transformers toy franchise, first released in 1990, with a wave of new releases released in Europe in 1991.[1] It featured Transformers action figures who were unable to transform, but came with transforming partners, weapons or exo-suits.[2] Some of the larger sets came with transforming vehicles or bases.[2] This was the last sub-line release as part of the original Transformers toyline before the launch of Generation 2.[3]

Toy design[edit]

Action Masters were non-transformable 334 inch action figures designed to represent classic and new Transformers characters.[3] Those based on existing characters, were designed to best match their appearance in the popular cartoon series, with the newer characters following the same basis design.[3] Despite the lack of an ability to transform, they had more articulation than many of the Transformers toylines that preceded it, with moveable heads, arms, knees and legs.[3] To compliment the figures, each came with a transformable weapon, or in the case of the larger sets, a transformable vehicle.[3]

The packaging for the carded Action Masters figures departed from the standard style, with the figure placed near the top of the card, rather than the bottom. The rear of the packaging didn't outline what other figures where available in the toyline.[3] The back of the packaging featured a fight scene, along with the figures technical-specification (tech-specs) and a "Power Plan", pointing out special fictional abilities or features in the figure.

European exclusives[edit]

After the initial run of Action Masters, the line ended in the US, however continued for another year in the European market.[3] Six new individual figures were released, each with the figure located on the bottom of the packaging card unlike the previous run.[3] Along with this, the run included recolours of some of the existing Actions Masters vehicle sets with new names to represent other characters.[3] Unlike the US run of Action Masters, some of these figures came with transformable exo-suits or motorised vehicles.[3][4]

The most distinctive difference between the US and European Action Masters line was the release of a special assortment of four Action Masters that could actually transform. These were called "Action Masters Elites".[3]

Fiction[edit]

The background fiction for the toys as to why they became Action Masters stated that in an attempt to replace their dwindling supply of energon, Optimus Prime had come across a super energy known as Nucleon. It had the unseen side-effect of causing any Transformer who took it to lose their ability to transform. Megatron also found out about the Nucleon and stole some for his side. To compensate, both the Autobots and Decepticons developed weapons and vehicles that were able to transform.[5]

In the original Transformers Marvel comic, the Autobots had come across Nucleon on an alien world. Due to the unpredictable side-effects of Nucleon, Optimus Prime prohibited the use of it. Grimlock later flaunted this ban testing it on himself and using it to revive his comrades. While it had the desired effect and made them more powerful, it caused them to lose their ability to transform. In the Generation 2 Transformers comic, those Autobots who had taken Nucleon could once again transform. This contradiction was explained in the 1991 Transformers annual text story "Another Time and Place", which concluded with the discovery of a new batch of Nucleon which restored the transforming ability of those who took it.

List of toys[edit]

Autobots[edit]

Action Masters Jazz and Optimus Prime meet the Hot Rod Patrol

Action Masters (1990)

  • Blaster. Blaster's speciality is communications. He possesses a Flight Pack that can transform into a signal-jamming, electro-scrambler gun.[6]
  • Bumblebee. Bumblebee's function is espionage. He is equipped with a Heli-Pack which can transform into a high-powered air-rifle.[7]
  • Grimlock. Commander of the Dinobots, Grimlock possesses an Anti-Tank Cannon which transforms into a long-range mortar launcher.[8]
  • Inferno. Search and rescue is Inferno's function. He is equipped with a Hydro-Pack, which can convert into a high-pressure cannon which fires any type of liquid substance.[9]
  • Jackpot. A strategist, Jackpot is partnered with Sights, who transforms into a self-propelled photon cannon.[10]
  • Jazz. Serves as part of the Autobots special operations. Jazz is partnered with Turbo Board, who transforms from a rocket-powered skateboard into a destabilizer electromagnetizer gun.[11]
  • Kick-Off. A security expert, Kick-Off is equipped with a Turbo Pack, which transforms into a solar-powered flamethrower.[12]
  • Mainframe. A systems analyst, Mainframe is partnered with Push-Buttom who transforms into a proton rifle.[13]
  • Optimus Prime. Autobot leader, his vehicle, an 18-wheeler, becomes both a jet(cab) and base(trailer). It can also carry several action masters on the trailer itself when in vehicle mode.[14]
  • Overrun. Autobot Air Defense expert, his vehicle, a helicopter, converts to an attack base.[15]
  • Wheeljack. The Autobots' mechanic and resident mad scientist, his vehicle, the Turbo Racer, converts to a jet fighter.[16]

European exclusive Action Masters (1991)

  • Circuit. Circuit serves as a messenger, and drives a race-car, which transformers into an exo-suit armed with a gatling machine gun. The figure itself is a recolour of Action Masters Axer.[17]
  • Power Flash with Road Rocket. An infantry soldier, Power Flash is partnered with Road Rocket, who can combine with him to form an overhead missile launching system.[18] P
  • Rumbler with 4WD All-Terrain Vehicle. Functioning as front-line defense, Rumbler drives a 4 wheel-drive all-terrain vehicle which transforms into exo-suit armour.[19]
  • Sideswipe with Vanguard. An Autobot warrior, Sideswipe has a mobile-armoured partner called Vanguard who transforms from a double barrelled tank into an back-mounted body-suit.[20]
  • Tracks with Basher. Tracks is an Autobot warrior. He is partnered with Basher, an armoured vehicle that combines with Tracks to form an interactive bodysuit with an intelligent weapons system.[21]

European exclusive Action Masters Elites (1991)

  • Omega Spreem. Functioning as a defense base, Omega Spreem can transform into a laser tank with rotating cannon unit.[22]
  • Windmill . Windmill serves as air defense, being able to transform into a high-impact, counter-strike helicopter.[23]

Decepticons[edit]

Action Masters (1990)

  • Axer with Off-Road Cycle. Axer is a bounty hunter. His off-road cycle transforms into a dual photon cannon battle station.[24]
  • Banzai-Tron with Razor-Sharp. Banzai-Tron is a martial arts warrior. His partner Razor-Sharp transforms from a crab to a semi-automatic rifle.[25]
  • Devastator with Scorpulator. Devastator is a Decepticon warrior, with his partner Scorpulator transforming from a scorpion into an acid spray gun.[26]
  • Gutcruncher with Stratotronic Jet. Gutcruncher provides air-to-ground support for the Decepticons. His Stratotronic Jet can transform into a battle-station, and can also includes a surveillance drone and one-man battle tank.[27]
  • Krok with Gatoraider. Krok is a Decepticon foot soldier. His partner Gatoraider transforms from an alligator into a concussion cannon.[28]
  • Megatron with Neutron-Fusion Tank. Megatron is the leader of the Decepticons. His Neutron-Fusion Tank transforms into ground-to-air, wire-guided missile launcher, and search and destroy jet drone.[29]
  • Shockwave with Fistfight. Shockwave's serves as the Decepticons military operations commander. He is partnered with a droid called Fistfight who transforms into a lightning rifle.[30]
  • Soundwave with Wingthing. Soundwave's function is communications. His partner Wingthing transforms into a concussion cannon.[31]
  • Starscream with Turbo Jet. Starscream's role is ground-assault, with his Turbo Jet transforming into an air-powered battle chariot.[32]
  • Treadshot with Catgut. Treadshot is a gunslinger. His partner Catgut transforms from a four-legged beast into fusion-powered particle blaster with pulse demagnetiser attachment.[33]

European exclusive Action Masters (1991)

  • Bombshell with Needler. Bombshells speciality is psychological warfare, his partner Needler transforms from a stag-beetle into an exo-suit.[34]
  • Charger with Fire Beast. Charger's function is that of flame-thrower. His partner Fire Beast transforms from a single-horned creature into an exo-suit.[35]
  • Slicer. Slicer is a "massive assault specialist", who possesses an assault vehicle which transforms into exo-suit armour. Slicer is a repaint of Acton Masters Wheeljack.[36]
  • Take-Off with Screech. Take-Off's role is aerial recon. His winged partner Screech transforms into an exo-suit, allowing Take-Off to fly.[37]
  • Thundercracker. A warrior, Thundercracker pilots a plane which transforms into exo-suit armour. The Thundercracker figure itself is a repaint of Action Masters Starscream.[38]

European exclusive Action Masters Elites (1991)

  • Double Punch. Double Punch's function is that of a desert vanguard, and can transform into a dual-clawed robotic scorpion.[39]
  • Turbo Master. An aerial marauder, Turbo Master transforms into a dual propeller vertical take-off plane.[40] Not to be confused with the Transformers toy sub-line known as the Turbomasters.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bellemo, Mark (2007). Transformers: Identification and Price Guide. Krause Publications. p. 244. ISBN 0-89689-445-2. 
  2. ^ a b Transformer Action Figure.net
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Master Collector - Action Masters
  4. ^ *Furman, Simon (2004). Transformers: The Ultimate Guide. DK Publishing Inc. p. 60. ISBN 1-4053-0461-8. 
  5. ^ Schroeder's Collectible Toys: Antique to Modern Guide by Sharon Huxford & Bob Huxford
  6. ^ TFU - Blaster
  7. ^ TFU - Bumblebee
  8. ^ TFU - Grimlock
  9. ^ TFU - Inferno
  10. ^ TFU - Jackpot
  11. ^ TFU - Jazz
  12. ^ TFU - Kick-Off
  13. ^ TFU - Mainframe
  14. ^ TFU- Optimus Prime
  15. ^ TFU- Overrun
  16. ^ TFU- Wheeljack
  17. ^ TFU - Circuit
  18. ^ TFU - Power Flash
  19. ^ TFU - Rumbler
  20. ^ TFU - Sideswipe
  21. ^ TFU - Tracks
  22. ^ TFU - Omega Spreem
  23. ^ TFU - Windmill
  24. ^ TFU - Axer
  25. ^ TFU - Banzai-Tron
  26. ^ TFU - Devastator
  27. ^ TFU - Gutcruncher
  28. ^ TFU - Krok
  29. ^ TFU - Megatron
  30. ^ TFU - Shockwave
  31. ^ TFU - Soundwave
  32. ^ TFU - Starscream
  33. ^ TFU - Treadshot
  34. ^ TFU - Bombshell
  35. ^ TFU - Charger
  36. ^ TFU - Slicer
  37. ^ TFU - Take-Off
  38. ^ TFU - Thundercracker
  39. ^ TFU - Double-Punch
  40. ^ TFU - Turbo Master