Since there have been so many transforming robots, there have been some along the way that are, well, weird. Quite a few have turned into things that it seems pretty impractical for a robot to turn into, and that’s what most of this list is going to be.
#25 – Raideen
Now, I don’t think Raideen’s Godbird mode is really that weird for what it is, but I have to call attention to it for one reason; there was a line of diecast robot toys in Japan in the 70s and 80s called Chogokin, and the Chogokin Raideen was the first transforming toy ever. So just remember, Transformers, Macross, and the rest owe their existence to something that looked like this:
Additionally, while I haven’t seen the anime Brave Raideen, at least in the Super Robot Wars games, this transformation (which looks like a flight mode) is only used for a couple of attacks and never just to fly around in. (Raideen can already fly in humanoid form.)
#24 – Broadside
The first Transformer on this list, and I don’t think anyone will be surprised when I say he won’t be the last.
I know what you’re thinking. “What’s so impractical about that? Jets are probably the single most common transformation overall and the second most common in Transformers, and aside from the size-changing involved an aircraft carrier doesn’t seem like a bad thing to turn into either.” That’s why Broadside just barely makes the list; his alternate modes aren’t impractical in general, just for him in particular. You see, Broadside is afraid of heights, and he gets seasick on water. I’m not sure how a robot even gets seasick, but the only Transformer that does is one of the only ones that turns to a sea vessel, so Broadside had really bad luck when the vehicle modes were passed out.
# 23 – Buzzsaw
No, not the condor/cassette from the original Transformers, though a cassette tape wouldn’t be a bad choice for this list either. I mean Armada Buzzsaw.
Transformers Armada introduced a new kind of Transformer, Mini-Cons. They’re a third neutral faction that got drawn into the war because of their ability to enhance the power of regular Transformers, but for the purpose of this list, the important thing is that they’re small. And yet quite a few of them transform into realistic miniature versions of large vehicles.
Buzzsaw stands out because in his case, he turns into something that such a small version of doesn’t seem to have much purpose. He’s a bucket-wheel excavator, heavy mining equipment. Even the smallest one weighs 50 tons, and most of them are huge, including the largest land vehicle ever made. What’s an excavator the size of a moped supposed to do? Scoop out an ounce at a time?
And on the toy, his bucket-wheel spins the wrong way because someone thought it was a saw.
#22 – Rail Racer
There are quite a few robots that turn into or combine from trains, almost all Japanese. Transformers has no less than 4 combiner teams made out of trains (all originating in Japanese lines, two never being seen anywhere else) as well as Astrotrain, Machine Robo had three (only one of which was used as a GoBot), Power Rangers has had at least 3 train Megazords, Brave Express Might Gaine was a series where the main robot was made of trains, GaoGaiGar has a train component, etc. I’m letting Rail Racer represent the category because he’s more well-known to English speakers than most of the others.
Okay, I like robots that turn into trains. But think about it; a vehicle confined to tracks doesn’t seem very well suited to a warrior or hero, does it? Many of these train engine robots rarely or never actually pull actual trains either.
#21 – The Wreckers
The name “Wreckers” has been used for several entirely different teams in various Transformers media; the one I’m talking about is these guys, from Dark of the Moon.
All three of them are based on specific NASCAR cars. The only place that might actually be a very good disguise might be at a race track, but apparently they’ve just been hanging out at the space center since some time between the first two movies. (Their ship is said to have brought the second wave of Autobots, not the third. Which makes me ask, if they were on Earth during Revenge of the Fallen, why were they held in reserve when The Fallen was trying to blow up the sun?)
Of course they’re not the only Transformers based on specific race cars. But actually, it’s only some of their toys that actually look like NASCAR anyway; in the movie itself, we only see their vehicle modes as this:
And if they’re going to have all that extra armor and weaponry all the time, doesn’t it defeat the whole point of being based on a real car at all?