Long before Michael Bay took to the big screen with transforming cars, there were the first-generation Transformers – or G1 as the collector pros say. They're well-known by fans young and old, but if you're over the age of 30 you’ll also know the original toys weren’t exactly the highest quality. Then in 2004, toy makers Hasbro and Takara/Tomy got serious and made an awesomely detailed commemorative G1 Masterpiece Optimus Prime to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Transformers animated TV series.
It was so epic that it spawned a complete line of Masterpiece Transformers that are still being released today, and they look amazing. Robot modes have actual articulation and faithfully represent their animated counterparts, something the original toys generally failed miserably at. But the vehicle modes are also good – so good in fact that most are officially licensed manufacturer collectibles.
There are now dozens upon dozens of Masterpiece Transformers available, and as you might expect, they can get rather pricey. With upwards of three released a year, most start near or over $100, but we’ve compiled seven Autobots that stay under that price point so they're a bit easier on the budget. Sure, you could collect straight-up die-cast cars or the latest Hot Wheels, but can any of them pull off the YMCA dance?
Join us for this slideshow and embrace your inner child as we take a close look at these seven sweet Masterpiece Transformers, featured in both alt (vehicle) and robot modes. Don't blame us if you click the links below to start your own collection. Okay, you can blame us a little.