Growing The Beard / Toys

  • The first wave of LEGO Hero Factory was met with severe disdain partly because of its Replacement Scrappy status after the cancellation of BIONICLE, and partly because most of the toys were hardly any different than those of that line. The second wave, 2.0, brought about a drastic overhaul of the entire LEGO "Constraction" building formula, with the introduction of a well articulated inner "skeleton", ball joints everywhere, much sturdier ball joint sockets, and a greater room for customization.
  • When BIONICLE first came out, the sets were mainly of the Toa and a handful of animals from in-universe. While McDonalds had kids' meal toys of a few of the Matoran (no less the ones who would become toa later), they were all very basic sets with simple mechanical gimmicks, and in fact were marketed under the Technic brand. The Toa Nuva lookes a lot less odd than the previous Toa Mata, and around that time the other sets started looking a lot less like toysets and more like mechanical creatures. The Metru Nui line was when it really hit its stride, where the toys got better gimmicks.
  • Transformers:
    • The franchise's first LEGO-styled building toys, the Built to Rule line, was a massive failure with just about everyone, with the toys being not only badly built often in both of their modes and badly articulated, but also just plain bad looking (and also offensively Off Model compared to their actual transforming toy counterparts). The second wave was a vast improvement, with the figures actually resembling the intended characters, but sadly, due the first wave under-performing, it only saw a limited release and the line was canceled not much thereafter.
    • Although a success from the start, the early Beast Wars toys were often rather clunky and some of them had to be greatly redesigned to look good on the TV show. Later, the animators started working more closely with the toy designers, producing much more intricate and detailed figures that were almost perfect representations of the cartoon models. Sadly, much of their chrome applications and plastic variants didn't stand the test of time as well as the designs, and the following series, Beast Machines, was a tremendous down-step in Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy, and it was also canceled when it started to get better. Sadly, Beast Machines had a step up in engineering, with intricate, inventive transformations; Beast Wars figures in general were either "stand up and fold out limbs" or "crack open shell and fold entire robot out with dangling animal parts" with a few exceptions.
    • Transformers Energon for the Unicron Trilogy. While the Transformers Armada toys were decently show accurate, they had terrible and sometimes non-existent articulation and sometimes bizarre gimmicks. Energon made sure that the robot's limb joints were necessary to the transformation process, resulting in much more posable toys. Transformers Cybertron improved on this, bringing back unlockable gimmicks while keeping the Energon level of articulation.
    • The Transformers Classics, Universe, and Generations toylines all brought back classic characters and gave them new toys with much better articulation. They also had weapons that could be stored or integrated in vehicle mode, meaning fewer lost parts. While some earlier ones had really fiddly transformationsnote , this got much better as time went on. Early toys either had weird proportions or difficult to play with, while later ones have either improved on the overall appearance or fixed the more involved transformations.
  • The first year of Mixels was met with mild interest, but was touted as "silly" for the most part. It wasn't until its second year of release, with Series 4, that it really took off, using various careers and themes instead of sticking with simple elements and expanding the universe further. The TV series was considered its better point at the same time, with the transition from shorts to specials.

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