Transformers have existed nearly 30 years, providing us with cartoons, comics and toys. The Transformers began with the 1980’s Japanese toy lines Microman and Diaclone. Hasbro bought the Diaclone toy line and partnered with Takara Tomy to produce and distribute Transformers. Transformers went through a period of low popularity in the early 2000’s, but were brought to the forefront of action entertainment with Michael Bay’s live action Transformers movie franchise. After the first live action movie was released, Transformers became more popular than ever. With this new popularity, the older Generation One toys have increased in value.
1984 Transformers Jetfire by Hasbro
What it is:
The Transformer known as Jetfire is an airplane that transforms into a robot. Jetfire, as a character, is known for his intellect and dedication to science. He is compassionate and believes he’s the smartest among his fellow Autobots. He is an Autobot, a good guy, but started out as a Decepticon and friends with the evil Starscream. The other Autobots don’t always trust him, because he can be cold and calculating. Here is an interesting side note: this particular toy was also made for Takatoku Toys and sold as the VF-1 Valkyrie. The VF-1 was a fictional mech/fighter jet in a popular Japanese Anime series named “The Super Dimension Fortress Macross”, also known as “Robotech” in the US. You can read more about it here.
“ I don’t believe in destiny ”
How Much it Costs:
The price can vary quite a bit depending on the version for which you are looking. If you are going for “vintage”, like the one in the video, prices can range from $40-$4000. If you are looking for the 1984/85 Jetfire to just play with for fun, I have seen a few Jetfires without the box and missing accessories going for $40-80 on eBay. If you are looking for a mint condition Jetfire sealed, graded by an appraiser, and for display only those are the ones that sell for thousands. There are newer versions and you can go today to Toys R Us to purchase Jetfire for about $40.
Is It Worth It?:
I love the original Generation One Transformers, like this Jetfire. The Generation One Transformers were made of substantial materials and stand up well over time. As you can see from the video, for a 30-year-old toy, it still looks pretty good! It’s cool looking and fun to play with. Unfortunately, it’s a rare 30-year-old toy and I’m so afraid of breaking it. The newer version looks similar; Jetfire is still a plane, but a more modern design. I also believe the newer Transformers I’ve played with were designed better. Even though the new ones are more sophisticated, they are made out of cheaper materials. The 1984 toy is worth owning, but if you want one to play with, I highly recommend just buying the 2014 version. The vintage one makes a pretty awesome display piece that you can look at and play with gently.
Lyric: “Rippin shit up at prime time, I’m Optimus Prime-time material/Imperial wizard of vocabularic havoc, I eat MC’s like cereal!”
DTCers, ROLL OUT! After a bit of a hiatus that I was on for grad school, we’re back at it again, ready to bring you all another ridiculously nerdy lyric that’ll probably make you want to transform into a rapper AND a nerd. Wait, that doesn’t make sense, because in Prince Poetry’s case, they are the same thing, AND I’VE BEEN SAYING IT SINCE DAY ONE!
Organized Konfusion, the dynamic rap duo out of Queens combines the awesome power of Prince Poetry, and DTC hall of famer, Pharoahe Monch. You would think that Pharoahe’s multiple appearances on DTC mean that he’s due for another spotlight, but today the honor goes to his counter part, Prince Poetry! These two individuals have ON (Original Nerd) status, seeing that they’ve been pushing bars since 1987. Need proof? Look no further than their 1994 hit, “Bring It On.”
With Transformers: Age of Extinction currently in theaters, it seems only right that we pay homage to two leaders of their respective packs – Prince Poetry and Optimus Prime. Shall we check the resumés? Prince Poetry a.k.a Prince Po has been rapping since before I was born, and is the founder of Nasty Habits Entertainment. He has four solo albums and EP’s apiece, in addition to the three Organized Konfusion alums. Impressive stats from an underground rapper. Now onto Optimus Prime. Prime is the leader of the Autobots, originates from the planet of Cybertron, sword enemy of the Decepticons, has saved planet Earth several times, while headlining countless cartoon episodes, movies and comic books. If you ask me, they’re pretty much one in the same.
On this DTC track, Prince Po is, without a doubt, letting you know this. Po is at the top of his game, and all the others dragging behind him, either need to figure out how to keep up, or learn how to step off. What he is saying is that if the rap game was planet Earth, and all the other rappers in the world were Autobots, he is pretty much Optimus Prime in comparison. After hearing his verse on this track, it’s kind of hard to refute that statement. Don’t believe me? Check the play on words. “I’m Optimus Prime-time material.” He is Optimus Prime and Prime Time, the nickname of Leon Sandcastle (That joke is funny). This lyrical ability demonstrates a great transformation in itself. Often times, young black men growing up in disadvantaged neighborhoods are seen as useless, and unable to contribute to anything productive in society. Knowing that one in three black men eventually end up in prison, it’s hard to keep the faith. However, Transformers is given the same treatment. To the untrained eye, that hunk of junk truck that’s always sitting in that lot across the street is completely useless. It’s rusted, run down, and it only belongs in a scrapyard somewhere. What if I told you that piece of junk was a Transformer? Does your perspective change? All it takes is one fluid move, and all of the sudden, that uselessness turns into something extraordinary. See, these young black kids growing up trying to be rappers, or even rappers today may seem like pieces of junk to the outside world, but to those who are paying attention, they are greatness. Hip-hop is more than just music to some, it is a way of life, it creates change inside of us that is unstoppable. So, that kid on the corner may seem like a piece of junk now, but who knows when he will transform into something powerful beyond measure.
Basically, Po is nothing short of hall of fame material. When he goes hard on tracks like this one, all the Decepticons suddenly have something to worry about. See, Optimus and hip-hop have many things in common. Probably one of the biggest factors the two share is the their influence on the youth of the 80s and 90s. Growing up in the hood, black community, or any community where hip-hop was a way of life, being an MC’s with dope lyrics was something to strive for. Having a lyrical ability was somethings people admired, it gave you status and an overall sense of purpose despite your upbringing. Growing up in the hood, you are given more opportunities to fail rather than succeed, and it’s much easier to stay up, than to try and climb your way out. Optimus could be viewed in the same light. Despite Optimus being the very last prime, his commitment to his cause and craft never wavered. To the audience, Optimus made it cool to be a good guy. Similar to Captain Planet and G.I. Joe, his courage and willingness to sacrifice everything for what he believed in was admirable. Hip-hop and Optimus are strong, righteous, and dedicated to what matters in life. For Optimus, that meant saving Earth through the way of the sword, maintaining what was honorable and good. Hip-hop does the same thing for planet Earth, only rather than the sword, hip-hop uses the mind and the spirit. Both fight evil, and both create a better way of life, both inspire hope.
Po dropped a transformers reference back in 1994, when hip-hop, nerds, rappers and transformers were all prime indicators of greatness. Knowing that transformers originated as a popular toy line only 10 years earlier, and then expanded into a cartoon television show, and then blew up to what we know it as today, it’s obvious the product hasn’t lost traction. When the toy line dropped, right off the bat, Optimus was the one to have. Little kids on the block were saving up what they have, folding bills in their socks, and begging their parents to go down to the toy store. If you were one of the lucky ones, and actually got that money, or that ride, if you left with anything other than Optimus Prime it just didn’t feel right. If you aren’t Optimus Prime, you might as well be a Decepticon.
FUN FACT: Optimus Prime was created by Denny O’Neil, legendary Batman writer who had a long career alongside artist Neal Adams.