Towards the end of 1995, news hit that the vehicular Transformers we'd been
getting would be replaced by animal-form toys. Needless to say, this
generated much consternation...as has every significant change in the line
before and since. Hasbro kept with more or less real organic animals for
several years, and I divided the line into four waves of my own
determination. Others would divide them other ways, and they're welcome to.
Here are the reviews of the toys from the four waves that constitute
"Classic" Beast Wars.
Leader Two-Pack: The first Beast Wars toys to
come out a two-pack of crocodile Megatron and bat Optimus Primal.
Deluxes - Cheetor, Tarantulas, Dinobot and
Waspinator: This batch introduced the idea of mutant heads, which
thankfully was later dropped. Cheetor was short-packed, and later attempts
to rectify this shipped him with different color eyes, making the problem
worse as Cheetor was the first BW toy to be scalped.
There were no larger toys in the first wave, as Hasbro was testing the
Deluxes - Rhinox and Wolfang: These were mixed in
cases with the better-selling Wave 1 Deluxes, but for a long time Rhinox was
a major pegwarmer.
Megas - Polar Claw and Scorponok: Beast Wars was
selling well enough that Hasbro experimented with a larger size in Wave 2.
Unfortunately, the Mega size seems to have been cursed...a large proportion
of Mega scale toys were kinda lame.
McDonald's Toys: Beast Wars was also successful
enough to merit a McDonald's toy tie-in. While kinda pathetic, they were
pretty good for dollar toys.
Mega - Inferno: Inferno was the only Mega in this
wave, but he shipped initially along with the Wave 2 Megas. Eventually he
shipped on his own, and years later you can still find him at some stores.
They really overshipped this toy, leading to ant colonies on the store
Ultras - Optimus Primal and Megatron: The leaders
finally got non-puny toys, as Hasbro stretched up into the new Ultra class.
It would be several years before they tried making toys bigger than Ultras.
Loaded with gimmicks and gadgets, these toys showed that the Ultra scale was
a good one.
Microverse - Orcanoch and Arachnid: Hasbro briefly tried to compete with
Micromachines with a series of its own micro-sized playsets. Once the idea
failed, it was easy to find these guys on clearance. It was years before
they all vanished from clearance shelves.
Deluxes - Grimlock, K-9 and Retrax: Grimlock was a
recolor as well as a reused name, K-9 was a remold of Wolfang (not just a
recolor)...oddly, Retrax was a major pegwarmer, despite being the only
completely new mold in this wave of Deluxes. Maybe people just didn't like
Megas - B'Boom and Transquito: An attempt was made to
make the Megas into triple-changers (Inferno's propellorized butt was sorta
halfway to this), presaging the Transmetals.
Ultras - Magnaboss and Tripredacus: The first combiners of Beast Wars, and so far
the last in the U.S., although by the end of 2000 the repackaged Magmatron
will give us another combiner.
Video-Pack Recolors: As part of the marketing effort
for the second season of Beast Wars on TV, videos of the first two episodes
were released with recolored Airazor and Razorclaw toys.