The Action Master Disaster

In the last year (1990) of the original Transformers toy line, Hasbro brought forth the Action Masters a line of Transformers who do not transform. The intent here seems to be not only trying new things but to get into the ever popular smaller action figure craze that the line owes it’s existence to in the first place. The toys were seen as a disaster by many fans as this was the end of the toy line in the then current form in North America and so the gimmick is seen to be the death of the toys. At first there was outrage and anger over the chunks of plastic but after some time there was mixed emotions over it with some fans not acknowledging them as true transformers and some collectors hotly pursue these “vintage” rarities. Botcon 04 even had a unofficial Action Master of G2 Breakdown as it’s only exclusive due to them not having the licensing for Transformers at the time. This toy was made from bootleg Sideswipe parts. If you like the line or hate it, collect it or want to burn it, one thing can be said that it is not only a part of TF history, has made them money, is still going in the secondary market, proved what not to do in the line and what to do again. That last part might confuse you and you are wondering what I am talking about. Until then there were very few reissues of popular characters, Powermaster Optimus Prime, Bumblebee into Goldbug and the Classic Pretenders were the only exceptions. This event sparked demand for popular characters to be brought back and G2 was born (although not as popular as G1, this is a whole other story for another time) 

So let us get into the toys shall we…. These guys attach (using small peg and holes) to their included accessory packs that can transform from some sort of conveyance into a weapon or they come with a partner that can transform into a weapon. A lot of the original names used here have carried over to other toy lines.



  • Grimlock with Anti-tank cannon (a chariot like cannon)

  • Jazz with Turbo Board (a skateboard)

  • Rad with Lionizer (a robotic lion partner)

  • Rollout with Glitch (a robot like thing gun platform)

  • Bumblebee with Heli-pack (a helicopter jet pack)

  • Blaster with Flight Pack (jet pack) “Action Master Blaster is not to be confused with the Madmax character of the same name”

  • Jackpot with Sights (a bird partner)

  • Mainframe with Push-Button (an 80’s robot akin to Wall-e)

  • Inferno with Hydro-Pack (a water gun backpack, his hand gun could attach to it, making it unique in the line)

  • Snarl with Tyrannitron (a robotic T-Rex) “Snarl hated his dinobot mode was fairly happy as an actionmaster…. glad someone was happy in all this”

  • Skyfall with Top-Heavy (a robotic rhino)

  • Kick-Off with Turbo-Pack (a jet pack)

  • Prowl with Turbo Cycle (a motorcycle that turns into a gun platform)

  • Over-Run with Attack Copter (a helicopter that turns into a gun platform)

  • Wheeljack with Turbo Racer  (a two seat sports car that turns into an odd looking aircraft) “he can take a buddy for a spin, unlucky for him there were no female action masters or he could go on a date”

  • Sprocket with Attack Cruiser (a two seat jeep turns into a helicopter)

  • Optimus Prime with Armored Convoy (a large long nosed tractor trailer cab that turns into a one seat jet and the trailer turns into a battle station) “this is the first and only time Hasbro has used the name convoy along side Optimus” This toy was recolored and released along side G1 Optimus Japanese exclusive “New Year” reissue.


  • Soundwave with Wingthing (a bat, he has since been turned into cassette, in this case a repaint of Ratbat and was in included in the encore addition of Soundwave)

  • Treadshot with Catgut (a panther) “Treadshot appears to be a partial homage to the Takara Microchange MC-11 Gun Robo S&W Magnum 44 although his bullet chamber is in the wrong direction”

  • Devastator with Scorpulator (a scorpion) “Poor Devi, lost his transformation and now he is stuck with all six constructicon voices in his head”

  • Krok with Gatoraider (an alligator) “who ever dreamed up with the name must have had too much gatorade for to come up with this crock of…. oh nevermind!”

  • Shockwave with Fistfight (a robot)

  • Banzai-Tron with Razor-Sharp (a crab)

  • Axer with Off-Road Cycle (a motorcycle with sidecar that turns into a gun emplacement) “a second figure can stand in the sidecar”

  • Starscream with Turbo Jet (a jet that turns into a gun emplacement) “the jet has three wheels so kids could push it around”

  • Megatron with Neutro-Fusion Tank (a tank that turns into a  base / gun emplacement with a flight pod that is the turret)

  • Gutcruncher with Stratotronic Jet (a jet that turns into a missile platform)

1991 (Europe)


  • Powerflash with Road Rocket (a tank that turns into a back pack or a helmet)*”An original character”*

  • Sideswipe with Vanguard (a tank that turns into a back pack or a helmet)

  • Tracks with Basher (a tank that turns into a back pack or a helmet) 

  • Circuit with Supersonic Racing Car (a vehicle that turns into an Exo-suit) *”A redeco of Action Master Axer”*

  • Rumbler with 4WD All-Terrain Vehicle (a vehicle that turns into an Exo-suit) *”a redeco of Sprocket”*

  • Omega Spreem (part of the Elite sub-line he can transform by bending over, in this case a tank, the front part of it is his robot’s gun) “if you did not figure it out, he is Omega Supreme, one possible explanation is a tranlation quirk that taking his original name and converting it Japanese and then back to english you get the Omega Spreem but google translate is no help…”

  • Windmill (part of the Elite sub-line he can transform strangely, in this case a helicopter)


  • Bombshell with Needler (a scarab that turns into a back pack or a helmet) 

  • Charger with Fire Beast (a rhino that turns into a back pack or a helmet) *”An original character”*

  • Take-Off with Screech (a bird that turns into a back pack or helmet) “looks more like a flying shark then a bird” *”An original character”*

  • Thundercracker with Solo Mission Jet Plane (a vehicle that turns into an Exo-suit) “TC got an ugly paint job this time around, think Eeaster colors of Pink, Blue, Green and Purple with some Gold in there…” *”A redeco of Action Master Starscream”*

  • Slicer with 4WD Assault Vehicle (a vehicle that turns into an Exo-suit) *”A redeco of Action Master Wheeljack”*

  • Double Punch (part of the Elite sub-line he can transform by laying down and arranging his limbs, in this case a scorpion) “His body resembles a Japanese character Black Zarak who is based on Scorpinok but his color scheme reminds me of the Seacons”

  • Turbo Master (part of the Elite sub-line he can transform by laying down, his two swords become wings, in this case a duo-prop winged helicopter)

Well there you have it, hope you enjoyed it better then the kids did when these came out, see you next time!

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