Generation 2 is still seen by many as the awkward teenage years of the Transformers franchise, which is a shame as there’s actually tons to admire about the line! Sure, it had it’s weird moments and it’s definitely a perfect example of the reckless extremities of 1990s’ style, but look a little deeper and there’s a ton of great fun to be had, too.
It’s also a terrific source of unproduced material, with loads of toy designs that never made it to final retail and were all left on the shelf at various stages. So today we’re taking a look at some of those concepts that sadly never materialised, but all of which had artwork produced. Feast your eyes…
You can find plenty more wonderful artwork like this in the fantastic Transformers Legacy book.
Sideswipe is one of the poster boys of the Generation 2 line, having been repainted into a rather spiffing black colour scheme that’s even been given a Masterpiece homage in the decades since. Yet there was very nearly a second version brought to life which, let’s be fair, would have been a further departure from his classic G1 look by quite some distance! That yellow is eye-searing enough all on its own, but couple it with the blue, the faded paint at the rear and the orange sunset detailing and this lad is pure synthy brilliance. What a shame it never came to be.
Speaking of bold colour schemes, here’s Mirage! Yep, the lad whose most famous trait is turning invisible was really slated to look like this at one point, and boy, I honestly think it’s magnificent. The pink and green is such a daring colour palette and feels entirely distinct from any other Transformers toy of the time, but the crocodile detailing is really another level too. I would do unspeakable things for a reissue version of the original Mirage toy in these colours.
Jazz is always hot stuff, but that’s never been more true than when he literally looks like he’s on fire! This one seriously reminds me of the chromed gold Jazz e-HOBBY-exclusive reissue from 2002, but I have a feeling it would have been even more gaudy had it actually come to pass. Sadly we’ll just have to imagine it, won’t we?
One of several unproduced G2 designs that’s recently picked up some notoriety on account of a Generations Selects homage, Sandstorm would have been a truly welcome addition to the surprisingly minimal Seekers ranks during the ’90s. The robot mode is tanned to perfection but it’s the jet form that really slaps, particularly as it comes complete with one of those little snarling faces you see on the front of planes sometimes. Cute. Anyway, this one actually made it to the prototype stage, as has been uncovered in the years since.
Also on the Seeker front, here’s this handsome devil, who we know from recently-uncovered artwork files was considered with a name now made famous by the 2007 live action film. Prior to this there’s even been a prototype of the toy doing the rounds, so it was clearly quite far along in production, and definitely would have made a fine addition to the line-up.
#9: Black Starscream
The final Seeker is seemingly a black Starscream and is also looking mighty swish. What’s interesting about this artwork is that it has the original G1 missiles included, and with no accompanying prototype in sight, it’s possible that it’s simply an earlier concept on Blackout, although that’s not been confirmed at present. We may never know if it was intended to be a separate character, another take on Starscream, or just simply part of the design process for the toy above, but whatever the case, it’s fun to speculate.
OK, this one’s a bit of a cheat, I admit, because the first of the now-infamous G2 Stunticons did see a release in the end, just not at retail. Yes, Breakdown eventually made it to life as a Botcon-exclusive in 1994, although with only 300 actually being made. It’s a crying shame that he’s the only one of the set to ever come to fruition in any way but damn, at least he’s rocking that classic Decepticon colour palette for all its worth.
#7: Drag Strip
If Breakdown dials the colours up a bit, Drag Strip goes the other way, trading in his signature G1 yellow for a moody black makeover instead. It really suits him too, especially with the cool blue noggin and yellow chest detailing.
Taking Drag Strip’s place as “the yellow Stunticon” is Wildrider, who’s most certainly more eye-catching here than with his traditional grey look from the original toy. I’m also loving the red face and blue arms, and with extra detailing on the car mode too, I really think this one could have been a winner.
#5: Dead End
Dead End is arguably the least impactful change of all the Stunticons, going from deep red and black to bright red and blue, but still, it’s a welcome shift and he does a good job at adding to the already-rich colour scheme of the combined team.
Now, the one that really makes me sit up and say “yes, please” is Motormaster. Don’t get me wrong, I get on well enough with the original black and grey, but the idea of a malevolent lavender, turquoise and baby blue truck barrelling down the highway to cause mayhem is one that I can’t shake off. Why, oh why did this not happen?
OK, time for the real stuff now. Are you ready? Too late, here’s tiger Grimlock! You may think this design needs more explanation than that but I’m here to say that no, it doesn’t. It just is what it is and it’s a crying shame that it was never made a reality. There’s been more artwork of this design released over the years, although sadly it’s a scheme that not even subsequent Grimlock toys have dared to try out for a spin so far. Maybe one day, eh?
So, most will know that three of the five original Dinobots were released during G2 (all in three colours, no less!) but the missing two lads were at least pondered for it. Sludge here would have been realised in a striking red and blue style for starters. Would he have had an additional colour scheme like the others? Likely, but I guess we may never know what it would have been.
And finally there’s Sludge’s teammate, because if there’s one thing you can be sad about in life, it’s that we never got to see a G2 reissue of the original Swoop toy in green, no? There’s still never been confirmation as to why these two never saw the light of day, although the rumours generally conclude that the moulds for the toys were damaged somehow. That’s just speculation mind, but still this one sadly seems to be a concept confined to the ages.
So that’s our list. Have your eyes recovered yet?