A few small start-up companies have been making some professional grade add-on accessories for actual Transformers, mostly from the "TF:Classics" line, over the past few years. Recently one of these companies, Fansproject, created two additional limbs for the modern Bruticus combiner. These limbs are basically in and of themselves new "Transformers". I was excited to see a small company go the extra mile to improve an existing transformers design.
Well now Fansproject is stepping out on their own with three new offerings this calendar year that are basically "Transformers" or "Perfect Transformation Robots". I haven't been this excited about insect Transformers since the Deluxe Insecticons from Generation 1. Just as Generation 1 was an amalgam of toys from different toylines from Japan, I think now is as good a time as any for some upstart companies to offer their own transforming robots in toylines inspired by, but separate from, Hasbro's Transformers.
The three newest offerings are inspired directly by the first three Insecticons in Generation One. The first to be released will be "ThunderShred", a modern redo of the classic Shrapnel. He is currently available for pre-order at www.bigbadtoystore.com for $47.99, which although seemingly 4 times the price a mass market toy would cost, it isn't too far off from a convention exclusive offering price. I feel the price is fair given the company is nowhere as big as the big boys like Hasbro. Although if this company continues to be successful, I hope the prices will become more fair with larger production runs.
I can't do this toy justice in words, so here is a bit from his pre-order text: "Thundershred – A wounded outer space warrior, was converted and recovered. Also learned Ninja jutsu and able to control over the power of “air” in godai. Having the ability to transform into a stag beetle. Carrying 4 sickles which can compose into a manji shaken, and a set of gauntlets attach with 4 blades (* they can be stored on the back of shoulders). Multiplex combinations to switch different forms of weaponry. High quality and superior posability as always."