Welcome to the Powet Top 5, where we explore the top (and bottom) 5 items we think are relevant to any of a variety of topics that span the imagination. Sit back, read, and respond.

This year, Botcon will revisit the KB Exclusive Machine Wars subline in the 2013 Botcon set – Machines of War! In this Top 5, we’ll explore what makes Machine Wars so meaningful for fans, and why it’s deserving of celebration. So pick a new color scheme, take off your faceplate, and get ready for the Machine Wars!  

Heroic Autobots and Evil Decepticons

In a world of live-action movies featuring Optimus Prime and Bumblebee and the Classics line, it might seem a bit silly to be excited about the presence of vehicular transformers. You have to remember though, that this was 1997, and the original factions had been missing for a full 2 years. We were knee-deep in the Beast Era – Megatron was a dinosaur, and Autobots and Decepticons had given way to Maximals and Predacons. While Beast Wars was (and is) truly awesome, seeing cars, trucks, and jets on the shelves again was a great moment for many of us – even if it was only just for a moment.

Unreleased in the USA

In 1997, importing toys wasn’t an easy task, and that’s assuming you even knew what to look for. A few years before this, Europe received a ton of product that was never released in the US, and due to the nature of foreign exclusives in the infancy of the internet, these toys became almost legendary. For the average fan, Machine Wars was the first chance to obtain these rare pieces – toys like Rotorstorm and Skyquake were rechristened as classic G1 characters like Sandstorm and Starscream, giving us a taste of what we had until now been missing out on.

Potentially more exciting than the large toys were the Basics. While the Megas and Ultras were redecoed imports, the smaller toys were made from previously unreleased molds originally designed during the final hours of Generation 2. Cancelled with the rest of the line, it’s possible these toys may have never seen the light of day at all if not for their release during Machine Wars.

A new splash of paint

The best part about pressing these molds into services was that it made them available for future redeco potential. It took a few years, but we got some incredible alternate decos and characters for these toys, with some getting more than one! From Beast Wars, to Robots in Disguise, to Universe and more, chances are you can find at least one color scheme for each war machine that you love. It doesn’t hurt that the toys are already pretty fun! Personally, the Robots in Disguise two-packs are some of my favorite Transformers releases period. Thanks Machine Wars!

Who is this Megaplex guy, anyway?

While the majority of Machine Wars consisted of classic Generation 1 characters, two stand out as the first new Autobot and Decepticon characters introduced since the end of G2 – Hubcap and Megaplex. While Hubcap may be a name reuse, the character is most definitively not the original. His profile is a stark contrast to his namesake’s, portraying a creepy ‘bot who drags Decepticon corpses home to use for target practice. Megaplex was born out of the need to use each mold twice, and rather than handwave the very-clearly-Megatron design, Hasbro embraced it. Megaplex introduced the idea that Megatron had a decoy constructed to confuse would-be Autobot attackers. This concept proved immensely popular, leading eHobby to release an exclusive G1 version of the character 6 years later. That’s staying power!

Beyond your wildest imagination

Machine Wars wasn’t around for very long, but it inspired a ton of speculation and discussion. Without even so much as a packaging blurb, the Machine Wars story was shrouded in mystery. The few glimpses of the story we got came through the tech specs included with each character. These bios provided small hints of character development, such as Prowl’s new job of Security Director or Thundercracker’s newfound belief in the Decepticon cause. G2 symbols on the packaging imply a Post-G2 setting, but for a long time that was all we knew. Years later, we got a single piece of official Machine Wars art, showing Starscream triumphantly brandishing Galvatron’s cannon against on a Golden Age Cybertron. Machine Wars may not have had much story, but for me that be it’s defining characteristic. It’s mystery is inviting. It gives you just enough to reel you in, and then gives you a world that is yours to define. What’s not to love about that?

Do you love Machine Wars too? Do you hate it? What do you hope for in the 2013 Botcon set? Tell us why in the comments!