I saw Tracks, Meister, Hound, Dead End, Silverstreak, etc. all in person.
They all rock! Tracks and Meister (especially Meister) are incredible!
The quality is there.
I spoke with the head designer that works on these. He said Alternators are the easiest to do: the cars come ready-made. They just have to figure out how to get them to transform.
Decepticons: non-combining Stunticons and Combaticons are fair game.
Licensing for "Evil Decepticons" might be more difficult because of the Alternators being based on real company products. JediTricks was right.
However, for Decepticons, companies that are having public relations troubles might ante up for the royalties. A "Starscream that transforms into Martha Stewart is being considered."
They laughed but liked my idea of oil rigging platforms, the Exxon Valdez, a rainforest slasher, etc. and the idea of teaching kids values with the products and the autobots saving the Earth's environment. They doubt they could get licensing if they were up front with companies and told "Caterpillar" or "Exxon" that they were making Evil Decepticons out of their products though. It's not being ruled out though.
They'd like to do an "annivesary" scale alternator for Starscream. They would pursue McDonnel-Douglas F-15 licensing rights for it though.
Megatron as a gun CAN be done, but there is a huge amount of legal work that must be filed and won before it would happen. Hasbro doesn't see it as worth the money. The gun would not be scale to Autobots and then transform to a similar scale for the robot mode. That's impossible.
Andy, fomerly the head of the SW Team, is behind Transformers today.