The Transformers: Generation One Commemorative Series is the verbose official title of a line of reissue toys sold exclusively through Toys R Us, beginning in 2002. The reissues represented a smattering of early Generation One toys, largely focusing in toys from 1984 and 1985. While the menu largely followed the concurrent Transformers Collection reissues in Japan, there were several differences.
Because the toys could not be neatly divided into modern size classes, they were instead grouped by the wave of their release, bearing their wave number as a roman numeral on the package, such as “Series VII”. Each such wave only included two or three figures. Many of the toys were Autobot Cars or Decepticon Jets, putting them at similar price points, but several larger toys were also sold in their own case assortments.
The toys themselves were largely the same as their Generation One releases, but not identical. Some of the reissued toys have only subtle differences, while some are immediately recognizable as being Commemorative Series issues. The most noticeable change was the length of missiles and projectiles included with the figures. Toy safety laws in the US mandate a length of 72mm for firing projectiles. Almost all of the original toys placated safety laws with weak or nonexistent springs, and remained shorter than the modern length. Commemorative reissues, however, extend all the missiles to 72mm, sometimes to comical effect. Similarly, the protruding smokestacks of the semi truck characters were shortened drastically to avoid liability as eye-gouging hazards. The last major series-wide change was the lack of chrome on many accessories to control production costs. The reissued characters came with unadorned black plastic guns and missiles where there had originally been vacuum-metalizing.
Like so many other Transformers series, Commemorative Series ended with a whimper, leaving planned releases either sparsely distributed, distributed late, or not sold at all. For example, Sideswipe was only sold in non-US Hasbro markets, only to be released in the US a year later through discount stores at a clearance price. Several popular characters that were conspicuous in their absence were reissued as part of the later Classics and Universe 2 lines, or as event exclusives.