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Top 10 Most Difficult Transformers

Transformers have come a long way since the 80s. Back in the glorious days of G1, instructions were never necessary. I usually read them anyway, not because I can’t figure them out, but to make sure I didn’t miss anything. In G1 you could always tell how a figure transforms by looking at pics of all the modes (the six-changers may be the lone exceptions, but I never seen the toys so can’t comment).

As TransFans matured, so has the toys. Certain toy lines in the TF Universe, such as Masterpiece, Binaltech/Alternator, and Revenge of the Fallen, are meant to be difficult, and will test your Transformer IQ to its limits. Some have suggested that an engineering degree is required to transform them. These are the figures that will make you pull your hair out and tempt you to throw the figure at the wall in frustration.

I still remember my TF mishaps from back in 2004, when I first came out of my TF hiatus (not counting a short G2 stint in the summer of 94). Not having touched a TF for 16 years, the first piece I attempted to transform was Alternator Smokescreen. I thought I was a TF badass, and my G1 training would be more than sufficient. No words could capture what a gross underestimation that was. I began to fully appreciate the complexity after I started transforming Smokescreen, and I stood in awe of the TF evolution that had taken place in my 16 yr hiatus. But the whole time I was thinking you must be a rocket scientist to transform one of these. 75+ minutes later, after much blood and sweat and tears, I got him into robot mode. There is a sense of accomplishment that comes from completing the transformation of such a difficult piece.

For this post I’m compiling a list of such Transformers. This list is limited to TFs that I have transformed. I know there are difficult TFs out there that belong on here, such as Armada Unicron and Trans Scanning Optimus Prime, but I have not had the pleasure of these toys so I assume nothing. Also, the difficulty is based on my experience of transforming it the first time. Some of these pieces gets much easier the 2nd time and onwards, but is frustrating enough to make you scream in agony on the 1st attempt.

The following 10 figures are not your daddy’s TFs. Choose to transform them at your own risk.
 

10. Sunstorm (Voyager Class)
Series: Transformers Animated
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Sycophant
Mode in Package: Robot
Known Redecos: TFA Starscream, TFA Skywarp
Difficulty: Easy

Figures from the TF Animated line are usually not at all difficult to transform, and Sunstorm is no exception. But he’s a classic case of bad instructions misleading the transformation process when it would be simpler to figure it out yourself. Going from robot to jet, I had a feeling the arms would go between the legs at the bottom towards the back, VF-1 style. But the instructions never indicated that you should do this. I wasted a good 20 min trying to do it like the instructions, but the arms just kept getting in the way. Then I finally gave up and simply started placing parts at where I think they should go, and lo and behold the jet mode practically formed itself. Once you know what to do, transforming Sunstorm is a breeze. But the bad instructions earns him a spot on this list.
 

9. Ironhide (Voyager Class)
Series: Movie (2007)
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Weapons Specialist
Mode in Package: Truck
Known Redecos: all other versions of Movie or ROTF Voyager Ironhide
Difficulty: Medium

Figures from both Michael Bay films are usually on the difficult side, partly because their designs are so radically different from what TransFans are normally used to. Love or hate the Movie designs, the toys themselves did do good of capturing the Movie look, but this meant some very unorthodox implementations in the transforming mechanism. Movie Ironhide gave me a lot of trouble on my first try because he’s got this funky thing you gotta do with the chest part that didn’t seem all too intuitive. At first I thought it was only me, but then I stumbled upon this thread of TransFans discussing their most difficult TFs. Read thru the thread and you’ll see that Movie Ironhide is mentioned repeatedly. Its good to know I’m not the only one that was confused. I don’t have the figure in front of me as I write this, so I can’t recall exactly why the chest area was so mind-boggling, but once you figure it out its not too bad. But it is frustrating enough for inclusion on this list.
 

8. Cliffjumper
Series: Alternity
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Warrior
Mode in Package: Car
Known Redecos: Alternity Bumblebee
Difficulty: Medium

Alternity Cliffjumper is complex with lots of moving parts, but overall he’s not too bad. The only real issue is in the legs. There’s just so much there and its all compacted into a relatively small area which makes it hard to figure out. The instructions did not help me in this area and I found watching Youtube vids of other people transforming him to be a big help. I gave him a full review some time back. CJ is not the most difficult piece I’ve seen, and I’m betting other pieces in the Alternity line is just as complex if not more so. But he is the most difficult I’ve come across since I started this blog so I put him on here.
 

7. Optimus Prime (MP-04)
Series: Masterpiece
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Leader
Mode in Package: Robot
Known Redecos: MP Optimus Prime (MP-01), MP Ultra Magnus (MP-02), US versions of Masterpiece Optimus Prime, MP Nemesis Prime (upcoming)
Difficulty: Medium

MP Optimus Prime is really not that difficult. I’ve done one round trip (from robot to truck and back) and I really didn’t see any issues, and I feel I can do it from memory if I need to. But he’s on here purely because of the complexity of the figure in terms of the number of steps you have to do to transform him. This is not a figure you can transform fast (at least not for me), because there is so much involved. In essence, not hard to do, but a lot to do. MP-04 is the best Optimus Prime figure ever made hands down, and I expected nothing less from a Shoji Kawamori piece. If you’re a TransFan and you have not transformed him, shame on you.
 

6. Galvatron (Deluxe Class)
Series: Classics
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Decepticon Leader
Mode in Package: Tank
Known Redecos: None
Difficulty: Hard

OK, now we’re getting into figures where things can get really frustrating. Galvatron is the only deluxe figure I put on this list, and that’s saying something. There are other deluxe figures that have challenged me (ROTF Sideswipe, Classics Tankor), but Galvatron takes the cake. He is by far the most complex deluxe figure I have ever seen in terms of number of moving parts and steps required to transform. Hasbro really crammed a lot into a $10 figure, and in this case I really can’t say if that’s a good or bad thing. My theory is that Galvatron was originally designed to be a Voyager class figure (which explains the pieces and the complexity), but for whatever reason Hasbro decided to make him deluxe. Adding to the difficulty is that a lot of pieces are designed to come off to prevent you from breaking them. If you are transforming him for the first time, I guarantee some parts will cast off (and I don’t mean in the good way like anime figures).
 

5. Optimus Prime (THS-02)
Series: Hybrid
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Leader
Mode in Package: Robot
Known Redecos: Hybrid Nemesis Prime (THS-02B)
Difficulty: Hard

Hybrid G1 Optimus Prime can be thought of as a miniature version of the MP-04. But when you take one of the largest figures in the TF universe and shrink it down to one of the smallest, all while keeping much of the same complexity, the figure becomes frustrating. Hybrid Prime is not even 4 inches tall. Trying to transform such an intricately small piece would test the hands of even the most dexterous. My hands are small by guy standards, and I had a difficult time with Hybrid Prime. The overall mechanism on the Hybrid is dumbed down a little from the MP-04, but the complexity is still too much for a figure of this size. On the toy there are also these pieces covering Prime’s hands that love to fall off. To add insult to injury, Hybrid Prime’s truck mode looks unflattering at best. It kinda leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you realize you spent a good amount of time and energy to produce an alt mode that many have described as box on wheels. I did one round trip of this figure (robot to truck and back) and I’ve had enough. I will probably never transform this piece again, unless someone pays me.
 

4. Smokescreen (Alternator #1)
Series: Binaltech/Alternator
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Diversionary Tactician
Mode in Package: Car
Known Redecos: Alternator Silverstreak (#4), Alternator Ricochet (#20), Binaltech Smokescreens (both BT-01, both BT-07), Binaltech Streak (BT-03), Binaltech Asterisk Alert (BTA-01), Binaltech Bluestreak (BT-19)
Difficulty: Hard

As already outlined in the intro above, Alternator Smokescreen is difficult enough to bring a grown man to his knees. I first attempted this on the Alternator version, but the Binaltech versions transform exactly the same (I got both BT-07s). Smokescreen looks good in both modes so the transformation is well worth it. I’ve done 3 or 4 round trips now, and it does get a little easier with each attempt, but he’s still quite a challenge. Smokescreen kicked off the Binaltech/Alternator line, and even after a dozen or so molds later (and all of them challenging), he still remains one of the most difficult.
 

3. Brawl (Leader Class)
Series: Movie (2007)
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Ground Assault
Mode in Package: Robot
Known Redecos: Movie Deep Desert Brawl
Difficulty: Super Hard

Of all the TFs I opened, Movie Leader Class Brawl gets the proud distinction as my least transformed Transformer. I got him around late 2007, and to this day I have not even made one round trip transformation of this figure. I got him from robot to tank, twice. Let me explain. I bought him at TRU. He comes in robot mode, and after I got him to tank mode, I realized there’s a peg that came broken (this is unlike Samurai Prowl, where I broke the peg). So I returned him and bought another at Amazon, where I transformed him again from robot to tank. So yeah, I did this twice, but never from tank back to robot. He’s stayed in that tank mode for 2+ years now. The reason I haven’t even tried is because he’s so damn difficult. The first time it was hard, and the 2nd time it didn’t feel much easier, so I just left him in the alt mode. But that tank is pretty good looking, and he’s got some cool lights and sounds, so definitely worth the effort to transform him.
 

2. Optimus Prime (Leader Class)
Series: ROTF
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Autobot Leader
Mode in Package: Robot
Known Redecos: None so far, some upcoming in 2010
Difficulty: Super Hard

There’s hard, and then there’s HARD. ROTF Leader Class Optimus Prime is not for the faint of heart. This is an updated figure over the 2007 Movie version. While the 2007 version was already very good, the ROTF version improves on it by leaps and bounds by being much more movie accurate in both transformation and appearance. However, this figure will test your skills as a TransFan. Keep in mind that ROTF Prime was made to be a toy, and not a collector’s piece, yet I put him at #2 on this list which means I feel he is more difficult than most MPs and Binaltechs. I applaud any TransFan who can do this piece without looking at the instructions. Not only are there a gazillion steps, each step must be performed in the right order or you wind up backtracking and undoing steps you’ve done to account for stuff you didn’t do. And once you know what to do, actually doing them is no easy task. There are so many pieces on this thing that if they’re not combined in perfect harmony, they don’t combine. I know all this sounds tough, but you feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment when you get him into that equally awesome-looking truck. If you are attempting this, just know that all the pieces on this figure are designed to come together, and with enough time and patience you will get there. I’ve done 3 or 4 round trips of this now, and each time it is still a challenge, but going from truck back to robot is not half as bad. On the box it says age 5 and up, and I’m sure there are some genius TF kids out there, but I sincerely believe this is not for the typical 5 yr old.
 

1. Megatron (MP-05)
Series: Masterpiece
Allegiance: Decepticon
Function: Decepticon Leader
Mode in Package: Robot
Known Redecos: None
Difficulty: Excruciatingly Hard

Masterpiece Megatron. These words alone evoke pain and fear from all TransFans, much like Megatron’s name evokes the same feeling from Cybertronians all over the galaxy. Ask any TransFan worth his Energon to name the most difficult TF ever, and 4 times out of 5 MP Meg will be the answer. The complexity of this piece is unquestioned. Like the MP-04, there’s a lot to do. But unlike MP Prime, many of the steps required to transform him is not by any means easy. MP Meg is designed to be a collector’s piece and it shows in the construction. He is more delicate when compared to TFs of the “toy” variety, but at the same time, he’s got some parts and pieces where some force is required to budge them from their place. So on one hand you need to apply pressure to transform him, but on the other you need to be careful that you don’t break such an expensive piece. MP Meg is the only TF where my hands actually began to hurt midway thru, because of the tight pieces and the sharp angles. Transformation from gun back to robot is equally as hard as robot to gun. To this day I have only done one round trip, and I’m hoping it will be easier on future attempts now that I’ve loosened up the pieces somewhat. SEANxLONG of TF Youtube fame has described this piece as “excruciating”, so he’s selling (or has sold) his. While I do agree with the adjective, I question his choice of selling it because MP Meg is the symbol of the ultimate Transformer challenge. To have this in your collection and to say you’ve transformed it and survived is proof that you belong among the elite of TransFans. Many brave souls were lost in their attempt to transform Masterpiece Megatron. The process may be harmful to pregnant women and small children. Consult your physician before attempting.
 

If you have successfully transformed any of the pieces (or their redecos) listed above, pat yourself on the back and take a bow. You are among TransFans that never give up and never say die. Lesser fans would have threw up their hands in defeat, but you persisted til the end. Leave no Transformer un-transformed!

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I want to remind all TransFans that, when the going gets tough, there is only one thing to do: Transform and Roll Out!

Comments

comments

Categories: Top Ten
  1. March 18th, 2010 at 09:54 | #1

    Nice post! I like all your robots.

  2. March 18th, 2010 at 17:50 | #2

    MP Megs is rightfully #1. I have transformed him maybe 6 times roundtrip and he’s still difficult. Yet, I survived maybe due to my being stubborn. Alternity prime is also difficult. Probably more than CJ. Brawl I’m digging out to finally transform into robot mode. Like you I transformed him into a tank and never looked back. I think it’s about time I do and maybe you should too.

  3. March 18th, 2010 at 20:46 | #3

    thx Annie. check out my TF List if you haven’t already.

    Gemini let me know after you get Brawl back into bot mode. I’m wondering if the transformation is just as complex in reverse. 6 round trips with MP Meg… that might be a record 🙂

  4. March 18th, 2010 at 22:45 | #4

    I transformed Brawl after lunch and it wasn’t hard at all. It took me maybe 8 mins to finish w/o instructions. Looks like it’s easier from tank to robot or maybe I’m just that good. Yup, 6 times with MP Megs. 2 of those were after I got the 3rd party silencer and handle parts.

  5. March 19th, 2010 at 06:44 | #5

    I dug out my Brawl and yep, definitely easier from tank to robot. took me about the same time. I forgot what a great figure he is.

  6. Trevor
    January 8th, 2011 at 20:28 | #6

    You forgot Alternators Grimlock and Energon Slugslinger.

  7. prawisucia
    January 8th, 2011 at 20:51 | #7

    I agree with MP-5 being #1 hardest TF to transform. But that doesn’t make me stop transforming Megatron. I’ve already transformed him several times, and I want some more.

  8. January 10th, 2011 at 02:37 | #8

    thx for the comments

    @Trevor – Sadly, I don’t have any figures from the Energon line, but Youtube reviews does seem to indicate Slugslinger is very difficult. I didn’t think Alternator Grimlock/Wheeljack was that bad. I didn’t have any problems.

    @prawisucia – I should also dig out my MP-5 and transform him some more. You are a true TransFan for keeping yours. 🙂

  9. May 28th, 2011 at 10:26 | #9

    This film is very interesting. I have repeatedly watched. This movie is a movie that can inspire

  10. July 13th, 2011 at 14:17 | #10

    I agree & I add to the list the last incredible models added to my collection: Rodimus Prime (MP-09), beautiful, amazing but very difficult to adjust the pieces. I got it for $ 200 on eBay, 3 times transform and then back in his box to avoid damaging 🙁

  11. July 13th, 2011 at 16:42 | #11

    hi Michael. Yes I would definitely add MP Rodimus Prime. This was written in March 2010 so if I was to compile a list now it would look very different. Maybe its time for an update 🙂 Hasbro has released so many new TFs since then.

  12. carry
    October 10th, 2011 at 04:52 | #12

    could you re make a new list with mp9 in it , i find it hard to transform

  13. October 10th, 2011 at 16:34 | #13

    hi carry. Yep this list is totally outdated. I plan to make a new one. MP-09 will be on there for sure! 🙂

  14. smurficon
    November 12th, 2013 at 20:18 | #14

    Galvatron isn’t hard. It’s a matter of aligning the panels and tabbing them in. He’s just annoying and looks too small for a Decepticon leader.

  15. James
    January 31st, 2014 at 01:06 | #15

    I think this list deserves an update! There have been a few in the past four years that make my hair fall out…

  16. Danyon Beal
    July 16th, 2015 at 06:34 | #16

    #3 literally just took my roommate and I 3 hours to transform it to only robot. Might leave it

  1. August 20th, 2012 at 04:34 | #1

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