In case you’ve missed it over the last month or two, I’ve joined forces with Transformers reviewers, TFSquareOne & Toybox Soapbox to form a podcast! I know, I know, how cliché and all that, but we’re actually having a lot of fun with it and the response so far has been really positive, so if you haven’t already then do check out it out at www.tripletakeover.com when you have the time!
Anyway, during a recent episode we were discussing 1984 Transformers toys, and the idea came up to reimagine some newer Transformers characters in classic G1 toy form, i.e. using the vintage toys to represent well-known faces who were never part of the original series to begin with. Many of them have since been ‘inserted’ into G1 lore in one way or another, but for today’s purpose we’re solely thinking about which classic toys could be retooled in some way to best do them justice. We threw around a couple of names during the podcast ourselves, but here are a few more for your consideration…
So really, this is the one that inspired the conversation to begin with, because of course it’s been done by the legendary Guido Guidi already! If you’ve not seen his marvellous artwork above, it began the idea of newer characters being reinterpreted in G1 form in many ways, and is now so well-known that it has of course inspired a version of the Barricade character resembling this in the official Transformers line, as part of Siege. It also clearly sets the template that not all of the names on this list need to be reimagined so slavishly to their normal appearance! Anyway, clearly G1 Prowl is an inspired choice for the job, and I for one would love nothing more than to see this colour scheme decked out on the original toy some day!
Yep, another Guido Guidi masterpiece above (although from here on, we’re on our own with this topic!), and another inspired choice by turning the popular bounty hunter, Lockdown, into a dark version of Sunstreaker. We’ve seen Sunny’s bod used for evil purposes before as part of the Binaltech line, but this works especially well and is another colour scheme I’d be eager to see done on the original toy.
Of all the characters introduced to the franchise since the G1 era ended (well, for the first time anyway!), I think Bulkhead must surely rank as one of the most popular. He’s featured in several different iterations of fiction now, and is arguably recognisable enough to be considered a sort-of mainstay in many ways. As his name suggests, you’d need a toy with a fair bit of bulk going on to properly do him justice, so what better than a green take on the Trailbreaker mould? This one could be really spectacular, in my opinion.
Originally introduced as part of the Robots in Disguise 2001 line (and its Japanese Car Robots equivalent), Sky-Byte became the breakout character of that cartoon in many ways. He’s since reappeared in Cyberverse, but if you were going to reimagine him for Generation 1 then surely there’s only one real choice – it would have to be the very sharky Gnaw, wouldn’t it? Could be quite the thing, too. After all, just imagine that toy in blue, white and gold!
The original take on Drift has become synonymous with Generation 1 since his introduction as part of the IDW comics back in 2008, but as for which G1 toy could be best-used to represent him, I would say Springer. It’s true that the car mode would need a bit of rethinking maybe, but he’s certainly got the robot mode look going on, not to mention the sword potential! I have seen fan artwork of this one already, so clearly it’s not just in my head, either.
#9: Drift (RID 2015)
Of course, there has been more than one Drift since then. Multiple Drifts, if you will. The Robots in Disguise 2015 cartoon had a bit of a new take on the character, for one thing, giving him a brand new orange and red colour scheme and quite a different look overall. It’s by no means an exact match, but I can’t help thinking the original Tracks toy could be put to good use here, and would no doubt look fab in those colours to boot!
#8: Side Burn
In a perfect world, Side Burn would be getting a lot more love in Transformers beyond his showing as part of the original Robots in Disguise line. That toy remains one of the most memorable for how tricky it seemed at the time (even if by modern standards it’s actually a comparatively simple affair!), but surely there’s only one candidate for which toy would best serve him as part of a G1 line-up, and that’s Hot Rod. True, he lacks the asymmetric charm of Side Burn, but the flamed bonnet is a no-brainer and besides, who wouldn’t want to see the original Hot Rod toy in blue, eh?
#7: Hot Shot
OK, this one’s tricky. I guess in some ways, Hot Rod would have been the obvious choice for Hot Shot too (especially with the Powerlinx version of the Armada toy being modelled after the G1 character’s colour scheme and all). Yet with Side Burn already occupying that option I’m going to make an alternate suggestion of Windcharger. Yes, it’s a little leftfield, but the toy does already exist in yellow (as part of the Antex line-up during the 1980s) and looks pretty magnificent sporting those colours.
One of my personal favourite characters from the 2015 RID cartoon, and one that definitely deserves a lot more love in other areas of the franchise overall, Strongarm has a very distinct look that I think could be done justice by the original Skids toy. The Honda City Turbo alternate form may not be quite the powerhouse that you typically see Strongarm turning into, but it would look quite nifty with a law enforcement theme all the same, and the robot mode has enough of the right look to it to work, in my opinion.
#4/5: Skid-Z & Towline
I’m lumping these two in together purely on account of their original toys being so synonymous with one another. Having debuted as part of Machine Wars originally (despite the designs being of Generation 2 origin), they were then given rather colour makeovers as part of Car Robots / RID 2001, as well as memorable interpretations in the accompanying cartoon. For me, these two are a no-brainer though. The obvious candidates are Hoist and Mirage, quite clearly.
Come on, you knew she’d be on this list eventually, right? Windblade has become one of the more well-known and lasting characters to be inserted into Transformers lore outside of the original G1 cast, and her signature VTOL wings are surely a shoo-in for the original Thrust mould, no? True, that toy is red already, but I still think this would be very interesting to see. Oh, and it’s another use for the Seeker mould, I suppose.
#2: Tidal Wave
Few characters inspire as much reaction as Tidal Wave. The behemoth has been delighting audiences since first appearing as part of Transformers Armada, which a lot of fans still clamouring for him to be given the modern Titan Class treatment today. As far as G1 toys are concerned though, there’s really only one choice, and that’s Broadside. The Autobot triple changer has the necessary battleship mode to do him justice, and whilst the toy itself may not be the tallest, it has all the right proportions at least! Plus the third jet mode could even be a clever nod to Tidal Wave’s Minicon partner, Ramjet, no?
And finally we come to one of the most nefarious characters to come out of RID 2015. The Decepticon, Steeljaw makes an immediate first impression with his silver tongue, but he’s also sporting a very unusual design with some bizarre proportions. Who better to be the base for a new G1 design than the original Wheeljack toy, then? After all, just look at where some of the finer details on Steeljaw’s character model end up and now just imagine how great it could look on that 1984 Lancia design. This is one I’m convinced could work!
So that’s our list. Are there any others you can think of?