The Transformers franchise is now 30 years old. It’s my favorite toyline from the 80’s. To celebrate, I’m counting down my favorite Autobots and Decepticons. Let’s start with the Autobots.
(alt. mode: Boombox VA: Buster Jones)
Blaster was the Autobot counterpart of Soundwave. I loved how rebellious he was. The thing that bothered me the most about Blaster is we almost never saw his cassettes, but we saw Soundwave’s all the time.
(alt. mode: Cybertron Car VA: John Moschita) Ever wonder why Blur talked so fast in the cartoons? It’s because he was voiced by John Moschita, a man famous for talking super fast. Don’t believe me? Just watch this Micro Machine commercial.
Arcee was one of the few female Transformers we saw in the cartoon. To this day, the franchise still has few females. It kinda makes you wonder why they created them in the first place.
(alt. mode: Jet airplane VA: Gregg Berger) Jetfire makes this list because he’s the only Autobot who’s a former Decepticon. I thought it was great that the cartoon showed that Transformers could change their allegiances.
(alt mode: Race car VA: Chris Liatta) Wheeljack is the brains of the Autobot team, and I always rooted for the brainy member of the heroes team. He was one of the most entertaining members of the team, mostly because he was the closest thing to a heroic mad scientist I had ever seen.
(Alt. Mode: Volkswagen Beetle VA: Dan Gulvezan) Bumblebee may seem small, but he’s not to be trifled with. What’s even better is in the original cartoon, we had the same guy who voiced Spider-man from Spider-man and His Amazing Friends play Bumblebee.
(alt. mode: Van VA: Peter Cullen) Ironhide is a battle-hardened veteran of the Autobots. I had this toy and my favorite thing about it was separating his back half and revealing his missile launcher.
3. Ultra Magnus
(alt. mode: Car carrier VA: Jack Angel) I liked Ultra Magnus because of how he was portrayed in the movie. He was nervous about the big shoes he had to fill as new leader (until Rodimus proved to be the better one, but we’ll talk about that later) I think anyone would probably be nervous in his position. The toy version was one of the best toys in the line, even if it was one of the most difficult ones to manipulate into robot mode.
(alt mode: Race car VA: Scatman Crothers) Jazz is the most laid-back member of the Autobots. His VA also voiced Hanna Barbera’s classic 70’s superhero, Hong Kong Phooey, and was actually a jazz singer himself.
1. Optimus Prime
(alt. mode: Semi w/tractor-trailer VA: Peter Cullen) Come on, don’t tell me you’re surprised he’s number one. He’s the Autobot leader and the best one they ever had. A true father to his men, who listened to the opinions of others before forming his own and always provided an ear to any who needed them. His toy was similar to Ironhide’s, with a separate attachment for the trailer that revealed a missile launcher and a 6-wheeled vehicle called Roller, which was used for surveillance. When I made up Transformers stories, my Roller talked like R2D2, with bleeps and blips.