The "Transformers" is a popular science fiction franchise that started in the 1980s. What began as a line of toys in Japan turned into a successful international cartoon and comic-book series. These sentient beings known as Autobots are in an all-out war against their enemies the Decepticons. Eventually, that war would come to Earth where the successful “Transformers” movies would take place.
"Transformers" have remained a relevant pop-culture franchise since their inception. You can still find their toys on shelves today. Funko POP! has even created a collection of "Transformers" vinyl figures that represent the past and present of this robotic franchise. The best "Transformers" Funko POP! is the Retro Optimus Prime, which shows the Autobots leader in its vintage style.
If you’re looking for even more options, check out this list of Best Transformers Toys.
When “mecha” toys (the term in Japanese focuses on giant, human-piloted robots) made their way to America, Marvel Comics partnered with Hasbro to create storylines for the characters. The storyline for the original generation of "Transformers" describes them as having crash-landed on Earth. Once they landed here, they needed a disguise. So, they did what they do best: transform into another object. Each character chose a car or other vehicle to occupy which allowed them to travel around our planet freely.
The two main characters in the story of the "Transformers" are Optimus Prime and Megatron. The former is the head of the Autobots, who are considered the good guys. Megatron is the leader of the Decepticons, who are inherently evil. Alongside each faction you’ll find side characters that offer different skills and expertise to their group. Bumblebee is a popular Autobot-turned-Camaro who starred alongside Shia Lebeouf in the “Transformers” film franchise. There are also Starscream and Shockwave, two Decepticon soldiers who fight alongside Megatron.
Funko POP! released a huge collection of retro toys that will take any adult back to the good old days of the 1980s and 1990s. Each of these vinyl figures shows a character from a cartoon, board game or movie from those all-too-nostalgia-soaked years of pop culture. You can also find all of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joes and Masters of the Universe characters. There are also retro game characters like Mr. Potato Head, a game piece from Sorry, a Play-Doh container and a Barrel of Monkeys.
No respectable "Transformers" Funko POP! collection would be complete without the one and only Optimus Prime. As the leader of the Autobots, his morally upstanding presence will only increase the quality of your other toys. Also, there’s not a more recognizable Transformer face than Optimus Prime’s. His iconic silver face and blue helmet, along with the bright red semi-truck face on his chest, make Optimus Prime a fan favorite. The only choice you need to make is whether to go with the retro version or the modern-day version.
There are several different levels of rarity when it comes to Funko POP! figures. You’ll notice on the packaging that there are stickers above the name of the character. They’ll say things like “Funko Shop Exclusive,” “Convention Exclusive” or “Glow in the Dark.” "Transformers" figures will either feature the “Limited Edition” or “Special Edition” stickers. Their line of Retro Toys are considered “Special Editions,” which are U.S. and international retailer exclusives. If you want something of even higher quality, look for the Transformers Shockwave character, which has a “2021 Summer Convention Limited Edition” sticker.
Speaking of rarity, finding alternative characters will increase the value and quality of your Funko POP! "Transformers" collection. Bumblebee and Optimus Prime and by far the most commonly found characters from the series. Their vinyl figures are found everywhere. But if you want something a little more exclusive, look to alternate characters like Shockwave. Not only was this character exclusive to the Funko POP! 2021 Summer Convention, but the character itself is lesser known than the others. There are also figures of Shockwave, Tracks and Grimlock, which are considered alternate characters.
"Transformers" Funko POP! figures cost between $13 and $90.
A. All standard Funko POP! toys are 3.75 inches tall. This goes for the line of "Transformers" figures, as well. Optimus Prime, Shockwave, Starscream and others all stand just under 4 inches tall to match the other Funko POP! toys.
A. Yes! Funko POP! has a "Transformers" line of vinyl figure keychains. These are known as Pocket POP! Keychains, and they feature micro versions of the retro "Transformers" figure, standing about 2 inches tall and coming with a metal chain and sturdy keyring.
Funko Pop Retro Toys: Optimus Prime
What you need to know: This vintage-looking Optimus Prime Funko POP! harkens back to the first-ever figure from 1984.
What you’ll love: Fans of the old-school “Transformers” TV show will appreciate this retro toy. What’s even more unique is that in this version you get an extra-large head on Optimus Prime, while the original toy’s head was very small. There are even two Transformers logos on each arm of the figure, which were also present on the original figure from the 1980s.
What you should consider: This model will look different from the current iteration of Optimus Prime from the “Transformers” films.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Funko Pop Retro Toys: Starscream
What you need to know: Fans of the dark side of the 1984 “Transformers” TV show will appreciate this retro Starscream vinyl figure.
What you’ll love: Starscream was the second in command for the Decepticons next to their leader Megatron. His retro look is very apparent with a light blue, red and yellow color scheme that screams 1984. Starscream also comes with an attached weapon in his right hand.
What you should consider: The Starscream of today looks much different than the vintage character.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jordan Beliles writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.