Transformers had a huge year in 2013 with so many great releases coming from both Takara and Hasbro, not to mention the wealth of third-party product that also took a sledgehammer to our collective wallets. But among all the wonderful Masterpiece figures, the IDW Generations figures, and all the third-party combiners, one figure in particular stood out to me from the larger mass of awesome transforming robots: Generations Rhinox.
Rhinox is my figure of the year for a couple reasons. First, the figure itself is an engineering wonder in that it successfully gives us a show-accurate ‘bot mode AND a beast mode that actually looks like a legit rhino. It’s clear that a lot of love and care went into this design, and that is something that is going to earn Hasbro a place in my cool book forever. Beast Wars characters often feel like forgotten relics of the ’90s and have received precious little attention in recent years, and what bones Hasbro has thrown Beast Wars fans have been … slightly less than inspiring (Universe Cheetor? Yuck). So to see a Beast Wars character get the high level of attention and care we all know Hasbro is capable of is just awesome.
Secondly, this is a figure that was way, way overdue, so to finally be able to add a good Rhinox to the Beast Wars collection is cause enough to celebrate in itself. Seriously, just looking at this figure on my shelf makes me so happy. I mean, some major figures came out this year — Masterpiece Soundwave and Prowl, just to name two — but no other figure gets the ol’ emotions revving like this one does. Beast Wars, as a unique subset of the larger Transformers universe, often gets unfairly ignored or pushed to the side, so Beast Wars fans tend to embrace the show and its characters with a fierce loyalty, so, again, to get something as good as this Rhinox after all these years almost feels like a giant high-five from Hasbro to the fans. And with a new Waspinator on the pegs as we speak and a new Rattrap coming in 2014, this is a great time to be a Beast Wars fan.
The original Rhinox figure was one of those perpetual placeholders that we kept in the hopes that one day a more fully realized Rhinox would appear. Well, that day has finally come, and the Maximals can finally be joined by a true representation of one of their most interesting and most loved members. Rhinox rounds out the season one Axalon crew nicely, and he is nothing but a joy to have in the collection.
Lots of great figures came out this year, but choosing Rhinox here as my pick for the best of 2013 was not a difficult choice for me to make. It’s going to be tough for anything coming in 2014 to top this guy, but I can’t wait to see what’s in store.