COUNTDOWN: 10 unreleased G1 Transformers toys that still need to be seen!

As the years have rolled on, more and more information has come to light about various toys that were conceived or even partly-developed for the Transformers lines of days gone by, and unsurprisingly one of the biggest sources of new discoveries has been the original Generation 1 portion of the franchise. In fact there are still new discoveries being made even today, as it seems there was a treasure trove of potential toys that never saw the light of day. Well now we’re counting down just 10 of those examples in no particular order!

 

#10: Unicron

Image c/o: seibertron.com

OK, so most people who have an interest in Transformers might know that there was a prototype toy of Unicron made back in the day, right? It was a joint effort between Hasbro and Takara and would have been released to coincide with the character’s legendary debut in the 1986 animated movie, as you’d expect. Oh, and yes, it really transformed, even if neither mode ended up looking particularly flattering!

Image c/o: seibertron.com

This prototype was about 1 foot tall, meaning that it would have been dwarfed by the following year’s Fortress Maximus release, though it was still considered an ambitious project and would have featured a voice chip with clips of Orson Welles amongst several other gimmicks. This toy finally saw the light of day for BotCon 1996 and has been featured at other conventions since, making it one of the more well-known unproduced pieces of Transformers history. What you may not know is that it was actually the second prototype developed of the character…

Image c/o: The Spacebridge

The original prototype was a sole Takara effort and clearly features a very different colour scheme (as well as a different orientation of the planetary ring in alt’ mode), which is no real surprise as the character of Unicron went through many stages of design during the production of the 1986 movie. Whilst the general shape and proportions of the robot mode are similar to the later prototype above, the transformation and planet mode appear to be very different indeed!

Image c/o: The Spacebridge

Not much is known about this original prototype as it’s only ever been seen in scanned pictures, but it is known to have come with a small moon that transformed into a gun, which also activated light and sound gimmicks in the main toy itself. This original attempt also appears to be significantly smaller than the subsequent effort. Ultimately the project was canned in favour of the larger design in partnership with Hasbro, which in turned was apparently shelved because it was feared to be too costly. Go figure.

 

#9: Arcee

Along with Unicron, it’s a well-known fact that an Arcee toy was original conceived for inclusion in the 1986 line-up, but ultimately never made it beyond the prototype stage as far as we know. This hand-sculpted non-transforming prototype was based off an early version of the character’s animation model for the movie, hence the different look and colour scheme. Sadly it seems as though there was some resistance to producing a female Transformers toy at the time, so perhaps this explains it. The prototype has been documented in a lot of official publications since, however.

There was also concept artwork for a Headmaster version of Arcee made at some stage, which presumably has a link to her appearance in the Sunbow cartoon adventure, The Rebirth. Revealed in the pages of the Transformers Generations book, this artwork clearly shows that Arcee was conceived as a repaint of G1 Chromedome (which would have been quite unusual at the time, as repaints of this kind were virtually unheard of during Generation 1), although it’s unknown to what extent the robot mode would have varied. It’s an interesting idea but one that would sadly never materialise.

 

#8: Triple Changer Megatrons

Image c/o: TFWiki

Ranking as one of the more unusual ideas to have emerged from the depths of unproduced Generation 1, this concept artwork was eventually revealed in a Laserdisc booklet and appears to document a triple-changing toy that would have turned into both Megatron *and* Skywarp as well as a weird hybrid jet form. It’s… bizarre to say the least, but would have certainly been interesting!

Image c/o: TFWiki

Another similar concept reveals the idea of a second triple changer Megatron toy, this time turning into a Galvatron mode too (which makes more sense!). The alternate mode in this case would have been a gun with a weird-looking scope. The Galvatron form is notable for featuring the gun-mode handle as his arms, but also for a rather nifty crown. Neat!

 

#7: New Rodimus

Another Transformers Generations reveal, this one shows us that there was a second Rodimus Prime toy conceived during Generation 1, considered for release as part of the Return of Convoy line after 1991 and turning into a fire engine. Although it was never to be, it would along with a number of Takara-produced ideas end up being redeveloped for use as part of their Brave toyline later on, going on to be the significantly-overhauled base design for the figure known as Duke Fire. Interestingly, “New Rodimus” did make a fictional appearance during IDW’s Regeneration One #93, where he’s briefly glimpsed by Hot Rod as part of a vision of alternate versions of himself from other universes.

 

#6: Double Pretenders

Image c/o: TFWiki

Generation 1 saw releases of different Pretender concepts from 1988 through to 1990, so perhaps it’s not surprising to see that Hasbro considered other ideas on top of those that actually made it to retail. One of those was a pair of so-called Double Pretenders, including a spider monster and a gorilla, which had shells around the same size as the original 1988 shell design but featured two inner robots. Prototypes of these two have been revealed through numerous sources over the years, and appear to have been produced in two different colour schemes. The inner robots themselves would have merged to form a larger combined mode, but presumably would have been quite small by themselves. Given that the shells open in a very similar fashion to the 1990 Pretender Monsters, it seems possible that the robots may have been of equivalent design or stature as well, and potentially even considered for release around that same time. Either way, these are some really fascinating concepts, so it’s a real shame they were never to be! The gorilla would go on to be the inspiration for the newly-moulded 2015 Botcon-exclusive toy, Oilmaster, however!

 

#5: Dropshot

Image c/o: TFWiki

Dropshot is a triple changer that was evidently developed for the early part of G1, likely to be released alongside the ones we already know about despite him seemingly being a bit on the smaller side. He turns into both a jet and a horse, making for quite the unique combination of modes! Ultimately this is one pony that never made it out of the stable, but the design was later immortalised in the Dreamwave Armada comics, where he was finally given the name, Dropshot as well. Why it wasn’t “Horsejet” I’ll never know.

 

#4: TRU Megatron

Image c/o: The Spacebridge

A lot of fans will remember The Commemorative Series which initially ran from 2002 to 2004 and reissued a number of classic Generation 1 moulds to a generally warm reception. Well, it turns out that Hasbro also had plans to bring back the original Megatron toy as part of that line, as the photos here attest to! It was planned as a Toys”R”Us exclusive and has a notably wacky colour scheme of orange and metallic blue in order to ensure that it was obviously not a real gun – something that had become of greater concern since the toys original release in the mid-’80s.

Image c/o: The Spacebridge

Eventually the project was shelved, apparently on account of the design still looking too much like a real gun in spite of the vibrant colours on display, which is a bit of a shame as it feels almost like a bizarre Generation 2 version of the original design, if anything!

 

#3: Chromed Seekers

Image c/o: The Spacebridge

As well as the bizarre Megatron attempt, Hasbro evidently considered other ideas for bringing back old Generation 1 moulds in blinding colours schemes… well, apart from the ones that actually saw release, I mean! Another notable effort was these chromed versions of the original Seeker mould, which were developed by Takara for Hasbro to offer to retailers as potential competition prizes.

Image c/o: The Spacebridge

It’s clear from the Starscream version coming with the mini-gun-mode Megatron accessory that these figures must have been planned for after the TFC release in 2003, but sadly they never came to pass. Although this mould has seen heavy re-use over the years, I have to admit that I’d still love to have seen these versions happen!

Be sure to check out The Spacebridge for these and many more examples of rare and unreleased G1 toys!

 

#2: Headcannon

Image c/o: toyarchive.com

This guy originally hails from Takatoku Toys’ Special Armored Battalion Dorvack line, alongside the toys that would eventually become Roadbuster and Whirl. That company went bankrupt before being purchased by Bandai, who subsequently licensed a number of their new designs to Hasbro for release under Transformers across European markets (also including the Deluxe Insecticons and Jetfire). Whilst both Roadbuster and Whirl went on to be released as “Deluxe Vehicles” this lad was left behind, although there is scant evidence to suggest that he was at least considered, as a Hasbro briefing binder from the time mentions a “tank” being included in the assortment.

Image c/o: toyarchive.com

It’s not known why this toy wasn’t taken to release but given the bizarre robot form on offer perhaps it was just felt that it didn’t really fit with what Hasbro where trying to achieve. The design would go on to find new life elsewhere however, being released as “Tanker” under Select’s Convertors line. The character was eventually given the moniker of “Headcannon” by the Ask Vector Prime Facebook page.

 

#1: Hyperdrive

Image c/o: TFWiki

If like me you were a fan of the European-exclusive Turbomaster & Predator toys growing up, then you may recall a gimmick which requires you to attach one of the smaller Predator jets to big bad lad, Skyquake so that you can look through an eyepiece and view a slide inside a visor. One of those slides features a robot of undetermined identity, but who looks extremely cool and quite fierce! Like a lot of kids I think I always assumed it was Optimus Prime back in the day but it turns out that there is another explanation… his toy was just never made! You see it turns out that there was a design for another Turbomaster toy named Hyperdrive, who would have been the ultimate draw in that line by being larger than both Skyquake and Thunderclash (who in turn would’ve effectively been demoted in place of his new commander!). Sadly no such toy was ever made, with the concept artwork above being as far as the design ever got and Hyperdrive’s sole existence being inside that visor gimmick forevermore… what a shame!

 

So that’s our list! But there are plenty more obscure and unreleased toys out there so if you enjoyed this one then there could definitely be a sequel…

TTFN

About Sixo

Transformers photographer & blogger from the UK with quite a well-known carpet. Collects both vintage G1/G2 and Masterpiece/3P.

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