Transformers: Generation 2 was the first Transformers toy revamp, relaunching the line in 1993, two years after the last of the original Transformers figures were off the shelves in the United States. Beginning with recolored versions of Generation One toys, it soon consisted entirely of new molds made for the line.
Generation 2 saw more-or-less simultaneous release in the US and European markets, but Japan would not start the line (or even have any Transformers product at all on shelves, for that matter) until 1995.
Initially, the line featured re-releases of several "Generation One" toys with new accessories and tweaked decos, alongside several molds that had been recently released as part of the European-market line, many of which would be re-released in Europe under the Generation 2 banner. Because of this early product, it is sometimes inaccurately and unfairly remembered by fans as consisting solely of garishly recolored Generation One toys.
As the line continued, however, numerous new molds and play features were introduced. Among them were the Go-Bots (Hot Wheels-styled figures with simpler transformations and "precision" wheels), the Rotor Force (which featured firing plastic rotor weapons), the Laser Rods and Laser Cycles (which featured light-up LED weaponry), and the Cyberjets (realistic fighter planes with complex transformations.) These last groups also featured unprecedented posability.
Multiple new versions of Optimus Prime and Megatron were also released: though Optimus' original toy saw re-release with tweaked deco and new accessories, Megatron received the first all-new mold of the line early on as a colossal tank, as making him a handgun no longer seemed feasible. Both characters would receive multiple toys over the course of the line, in the form of both new molds and redecoes of previous characters' toys. Late in the line's run, Hasbro would use the same general tactic, applying numerous Generation One characters to toy redecoes in the hopes of stirring up nostalgic interest.
Decline and cancelation
The series debuted to lackluster sales, despite featuring fan-favorites like the Dinobots and Constructicons. Some fans blamed color selections, but it seems far more likely that it was simply a case of bad timing combined with too much product "your older brother has in the attic". Kids still weren't into robots that turned into cars at the time, it seems, and the "older nostalgic" market (which can rarely sustain a major toy brand at nationwide retail even today) was outright microscopic at the time. Being up against the still-popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles brand and the ever-growing popularity of home video game consoles certainly didn't help. The toyline also was not supported by a new cartoon, relying instead on repackaged G1 episodes.
Generation 2 was ended after about two and a half years, with several new products trapped in development limbo. A handful saw release in the European market (namely the Power Masters), but most of those canceled new molds stayed unreleased for years. Furthermore, Hasbro had acquired Kenner, and the decision was made to shift the boys'-toy production to Kenner. With the Transformers franchise facing extinction, Kenner took the brand in a different direction to hopefully revitalize the seemingly-tired concept... Beast Wars.
Note: The following list is ordered by year, then country (USA, Japan, or Europe). Toys appearing exclusively in one region will be listed only in that region. Toys from the USA are worldwide, unless otherwise stated.
Combine to form Devastator
Combine to form Superion.
(The Protectobots were to be released but was ultimately shelved with the 1st 4 being exclusive)
(Hot Spot is the harder one to find like Motormaster)
Combine to form Bruticus
(There were plans to release re-decoes of the Stunticons but only the "limbs" were released)
(But Motormaster was never released officialy)
- Double Clutch
- High Beam
- Optimus Prime
A Generation 2 exists within the fictional Unicron Trilogy universe, as a toyline! According to the online Cyber Key Code bio for the Cybertron Decepticon, Shortround, he is an avid toy collector whose prize pieces are Generation 2 Defensor and Menasor. However, it is not specified whether or not these items are actually Transformers toys like their real world counterparts.