The Toughest Transformers To Actually Transform

Every day, I look at the Transformers on my toy shelf, and I think two things. First, I'm glad to be in possession of so many amazing toys. Secondly, I'm glad many of them are just sitting there, and don't actually have to be transformed.

Because transforming some of these things can be murder.

This tweet from MCV's Ben Parfitt earlier today got a few of us talking about our experiences with Transformers, both old and new, and after surprisingly little argument at the end of it I've settled on this list of what we've found to be the most difficult, time-consuming and/or delicate transformation job of all time.

Now, before you complain that something's missing, I might have left out some particular doosies by virtue of never actually laying hands upon them. If you have, let me know below.


The first of the fancy die-cast Binaltech (I imported) line I ever played with, and it instantly became one of the most notorious Transformers figures I'd ever seen. I mean, he looks stunning in both forms, but getting him there requires herculean feats of twisting, cramming and praying to God nothing snaps.

The flip you need to perform at his hips, and cramming his head under the hood, were probably the worst.


I was asked to transform this a couple of years ago by a friend's kid. Unlike the other figures on this list, this one's a more massmarket piece, and was actually targeted at children. They figured I was the go-to guy for transformers that were too tough for their son. They were wrong.

I had to sit down with this video to help him out, because that much flipping and mechanical contortion can't be deduced by the naked eye. If you think it's rough seeing a grown man struggle with this thing, imagine you're seven and on the playground.


Really, I could list half the Alternators line here, so infuriating were they, but I'll stick to just two, the second being Grimlock here. Seeing the guy in the video above struggle to transform him into a car isn't funny, it's agonising.


Even the basic figures from the Michael Bay trilogy can be tough, owing to their spindly design and tiny waists, but ROTF Optimus Prime throws "tough" out the window then stomps all over it before putting an orange axe between its eyes. He's intricate, delicate and needs a little muscle.

The fact this video goes for 17 minutes should tell you how difficult it is.


OK, this is the worst. Hands down. Just look at that video. Look at it. Look how much work is required just to get his feet out. I know grown men who are actually unable to transform this figure, and having tried my hand at it once I can totally understand their plight.

Top image: Botch


    The RID ones where hard and some never quite seemed to transform back into vehicle mode properly.

    As for the Alternators series they are usually perfectly scale, so I can appreciate some of the difficulty.

      I have the Alternator Jeep and Porche i think it is. Both look amazing but yeah, quite fiddly to transform.

    I curse the designers who make toys for 5-7 year olds that take me a loooong time to work out myself. and then transform it back 10 minutes later as they want it back as a car... then 10 minutes later as a robot.... *rinse repeat*

    Last edited 06/12/12 7:54 am

    I bought Blackout from the first Michael Bay movie for my brother. He could not figure out how to transform him until he watched a video and discovered that the instructions were missing a kind of important step :P

    Great choices. The only addition I would make would be Sentinel Prime from Dark of the Moon, but I'm probably one of the very few saps who actually bought anything from that toy line...

    YES! I was going to say Alternator Grimlock! Puppylicks has this one, and transforming this bastard is a combination of frustration from figuring it out, and stress from trying to not accidentally snap any of the pieces off.

    I have never had any trouble transforming transformers, both ones I owned and ones friends owned that I never saw instructions for (including a few recently) but these are pretty crazy.

    The Alternity Convoy/Optimus Nissan R35 GTR is a nightmare. Get him to robot form and never transform him ever again.

    But he looks friggin' cool so all is forgiven.

      Holy shit, after watching the MP Megatron video I take it all back. Alternity Convoy is nothing.

    I'd throw in a vote for Ultimate Bumblebee. Even after being well-versed in the steps to change him, it still takes a good five minutes at least to get through the whole thing. No way I would've figured it out without the instructions.

    Classics/Generations/Shattered Glass/War For Cybertron/Fall of Cybertron FTW

    These were those ones that as a kid I would make the transforming noise for like 10 minutes. Or drag it out for that long.

    Any Binaltech, Alternator, Alternity or Masterpiece can go on this list.

    I transform them to robot mode and put them on display in robot mode, because a Transformer on display in car mode is a toy car.

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