A lot of transforming robots turn into things that are impractical and/or just weird.
# 20 – Dairugger XV or Vehicle Voltron
Most combining robots are made out of either three or five components, though two, four, and six are not unheard of. But more than six is pretty rare. Dairugger XV, better known to English speakers as the second Voltron, is made out of a whopping 15 vehicles, which seems a little excessive. 15 pilots and their vehicles have to be in one place to form the super robot? You’d think they might have a lot more trouble getting together than smaller teams. Though technically I guess they’d still have a complete robot without that plane on the chest.
Did I say 15 vehicles? Actually only about half of them really look like vehicles; the rest are things like “fist on wheels” or “box on treads”.
#19 – Meteor Robo
Now we’re getting into more obscure territory. Takara’s biggest toyline in the 1970’s and early 80’s was Microman, which originally centered around figures about 3 3/4″ tall. But that doesn’t mean they were 1/18 scale like most figures of that size; no, they were 1/1 scale. So, when Microman got involved in the transforming trend, the new segment of the line, Microchange, consisted mostly of toys where one mode was a normal object like a cassette player, a watch, or a microscope. Mostly. But Metal Man, Metal Leo, and Metal Hawk just transform into…metallic spheres? Based on the name of the group, maybe it was supposed to be a meteor, but it doesn’t look like one and I’m not sure that’s any better than a disco ball anyway.
A lot of Microchange toys were made into Transformers in the first two years of the line, but these three weren’t. However, they were used in Transformers much later, in Japan only. First as the “Egg Beasts” in Beast Wars II, and then as the Sparkbots in Kiss Players.
#18 – Megatron
And speaking of Transformers that started as Microchange toys, we have the original Decepticon leader himself. He wants to conquer the universe, he leads a (small) army of robots, he has to regularly deal with a traitor who turns to an F-15, and he’s got a big cannon on his arm. So what impressive vehicle does he turn into?
Nope, no vehicle. He’s a handgun. He shrinks down to a gun smaller than the one he has on his arm all the time in robot mode. And while he has occasionally shown the ability to fire himself in mid-air, most of the time it seems he has to be wielded by someone else. The leader of the Decepticons turns into a weapon for someone else.
And surprisingly often that someone else is Starscream, the one who’s always trying to betray Megatron the rest of the time.
#17 – Nuggit
Tonka was having enough success with GoBots that they decided to make a second transforming toyline. While the GoBots transformed into vehicles, the new line would transform into…rocks. Rock Lords was an entire toyline where everyone was a rock. Technically they were “Powerful Living Rocks” and not a robot toyline, but there was the robot character Nuggit.
As weird as it sounds, “turns into a rock” must have seemed less dumb in the 1980’s, because Masters of the Universe’s attempt at including transforming figures was also to have two guys who turn into rocks, with the creative names Rokkon and Stonedar.
#16 – Injector
Beast Wars, the Transformers show/line where everyone was an animal, had a subline called Fuzors, where everyone was a cross between two animals. Some of these, like Silverbolt the wolf/eagle and Terragator the turtle/alligator, were cool and made enough sense. Quickstrike was a little weird since he was a scorpion with a cobra for a tail, but still, having a snake for a tail could come in handy. (Literally, because in robot mode he had that snake head for a hand.)
Then, there’s this guy…
Half hornet, half lionfish, all ugly. He’s not fused nearly as well as a lot of the others; he’s simply a fish head on an insect body. And since it was shown that the Maximals and Predacons have to breathe, he’s got another problem.
You see, fish breathe by taking water in through their gills. Insects breathe air through little holes in their skin, and can’t hold their breathe underwater. So the silly picture enters my head, of Injector flying upside down with his head underwater.
And technically, there’s another guy who looks almost exactly like this, the strangely named Rartorata from BW Neo. Apparently Unicron got lazy when making the Blendtrons, and just based their leader on the ugliest Transformer ever.