Thursday, 11 January 2018


 - mantis nine nines
The brown headed cowbird has a very successful breeding strategy. It lets other birds do the hard work. Momma cowbird lays her egg in the nests of other species, where it hatches alongside the eggs of the native bird. When it hatches, the baby cowbird is nurtured and fed alongside its adopted brethren, growing strong and continuing the cowbird lineage, even if it thinks it's a titmouse or finch.

Momma's widdle baby...

So what the hell am I talking about? Does it seem my mind has finally collapsed? Let me connect the dots to the cowbirds of the Transformers franchise. These are the designs which snuck into G1 and have been with us ever since, contributing little to the greater mythos but continuing to find life long after their source toyline has vanished without a trace.

My favorite examples are the duo of Whirl and Roadbuster. In 2014 I was able to buy updated versions of toys from a show (Special Armored Battalion Dorvack) which was such a miserable failure it helped kill a toy company. 

Generations Roadbuster and Whirl photo courtesy of Ben Watson 

Even third party companies have produced figures of these two. Why? Not because either has been an iconic character over the years (with apologies to fans of the comics due to their limited pop culture impact) only because they were stamped with that magic "Transformers" logo 30 years ago.

FansProject Revolver photo courtesy of Vigadeath

Another of my favorites (and one of the most bizarre transforming toys of all time) is Sky Lynx. Originating from the same company (Toybox) as Omega Supreme, Sky Lynx has achieved a longevity far beyond anything a spaceship/cat/dragon with no humanoid mode could expect. Yet there he was in a fresh new version on mass retail shelves in 2016. Incredible!

Combiner Wars SkyLynx photos courtesy of Ben Watson

An honorable mention goes out to Shockwave. His origin at one-hit-wonder company Toyco is amazing considering how many incarnations he has had at this point, but he was given character and exposure early and often so thus lacks the anonymity that defines a cowbird. It's all about slipping under the radar...

Photo from ebay

So what do you think? Are there any I missed? Hit me up on twitter or post below and let me know what your favorite cowbirds are.

Until next time, thanks for keeping it #refined

Contact Dan on Twitter @mantisninenines 

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