Transformers fans love cartoon accuracy, don’t they? You would certainly think so, given what a shift towards that aesthetic we’ve seen in both mainline and Masterpiece toys over recent years.
Yet there’s a reasonably new trend emerging, perhaps ironically due to so much animation slavishness of late, with a growing number of releases paying homage to the vintage toy equivalents of those same characters! We’ve seen some of this in the high-end part of the market already with the likes of MP-36+ Megatron, but it’s the Generations line which is currently weaponising the idea!
In fact, it’s become so prevalent that we’ve just discussed the topic as part of Triple Takeover in a new ‘minisode’ out today! So to accompany that, here are six epic Generations toy-styled repaints from recent memory… and four more examples that really should happen!
OK, let’s start with perhaps the most obvious example, as it’s this Generations Selects repaint of Kingdom Cyclonus, which currently has everyone talking. Firstly, it’s a significant departure from the toy’s previous appearance, with a noticeably darker purple and lots of interesting G1-toy-styled flourishes. Secondly, it comes with a Targetmaster companion for a spot of added gimmickry!
Yet it’s the attention to detail with the colour scheme and accompanying stickers that have really caught some people’s attention, especially as the blue sections pay particular callback to the earliest release of G1 Cyclonus from 1986 (after which those equivalent sections were switched to purple as a running change). It also appears that the sticker on the roof of the jet mode is the ‘correct’ orientation versus that toy’s original mock-ups, something which the vintage instructions then got wrong at the time (see the article linked in the tweet above for more)! To say this is a bit of a deep cut is an understatement; clearly, someone behind the scenes has been doing their homework, in yet another example of extreme reverence for the franchise’s history.
#9: Should happen – Scorponok
Kingdom Scorponok may not have won absolutely everyone over on release, but there’s little doubt the toy does an excellent job at bringing the Beast Wars character’s cartoon appearance to life. Whilst the alternate form has the animalistic trappings found elsewhere in the Kingdom line, the robot mode is about as close to animation accurate as we’ve seen on an official toy thus far and certainly puts the 1996 original in the shade in that regard. Yet I can’t help but think it would be fun to see a new release of the design done in its predecessor’s distinctive black, red and sparkly blue colour scheme, especially if the original ‘mutant mask’ gimmick was incorporated!
EDIT: It seems there is one on the way, although it hasn’t been officially unveiled yet… serves me right for not paying too much attention to leaked toys!
#8: Mutant Tigatron
This remould (and partial retool) of Kingdom Tigatron shows just how much fun a well-thought-through toy homage can be, as it reimagines the character with a more typical orange tiger colour scheme and gives him a newly-crafted noggin! That’s a nod towards the aforementioned ‘mutant mask’ feature found on the original toy, although arguably, the colour scheme is the more niche nod. There never was an orange Tigatron toy back in the day… but there nearly was, as the 1996 release was initially planned to bear this colour scheme before it was switched to white just before release! An orange prototype has been seen a few times over the years, and there’s even box art with the colouring still intact, showing just how close it came. At least the idea finally made it as part of this ‘Golden Disc Collection’ release.
#7: Should happen – Tarantulas
Legacy Tarantulas has only just been unveiled, but already, he has a lot of collectors cackling with glee! The notorious double agent may have been absent from Kingdom, but this figure appears to have been worth the wait, bringing his 1990s animation presence to life with scarily accurate detail. Now, let’s imagine how much fun it would be to see a toy-styled repaint, shall we? Oh wait, the work’s been done for us…
Photo credit: @BoastfulManfish
Kingdom Blackarachnia was one toy that pretty much everyone was enthusiastic about on release, yet her Buzzworthy Bumblebee “Worlds Collide” multipack repaint really caught the attention! With incredibly vibrant colours, popping paint applications, and an animal print finish that’s rather hard to forget, this kind of toy deco shows why they can be so much fun at times! It takes inspiration from the 1996 figure in a big way, a design that was heavily overhauled for inclusion in the Mainframe cartoon at the time. This look may not be what everyone thinks of when they imagine Blackarachnia, but that’s part of the charm in many ways!
#5: Should happen – Beast Megatron
Of all the new Kingdom designs of classic Beast Wars characters, Megatron hit the mark as far as many collectors were concerned. It also does a great job at bringing his distinctive cartoon presence to life, so much so that you can practically hear that David Kaye baritone in your brain when you look at it. A potential toy-styled re-release wouldn’t need to mix things up too much, but it could still be distinct by going for a lighter shade of purple in the beast mode and a more predominantly black chest and silver bucket head for the robot form. Throw in a mutant mask nod and I reckon people would be up for it.
Terrorsaur prompted plenty of anticipation ahead of his Kingdom release unveiling, although the resulting cartoon-inspired colour scheme was arguably a little plain by many people’s standards. Consisting almost exclusively of red and white, it may have been accurate to the source, but there’s little doubt that the upcoming toyetic redeco is more exciting to look at! The red is nicely saturated, the blue makes for a welcome contrast, and those vibrant green scales are the finishing touch needed. You might say this is the perfect example of how ‘cartoon accuracy’ isn’t always the best answer.
#3: Should happen – Skids
Alright, hear me out. Yes, it’s not like Legacy Skids is a million miles away from looking like the character’s original G1 toy as it is. The Sunbow animation model at the time didn’t mix things up all that much in terms of colours already, and this design did opt to keep the silver thighs and door wing stripe detail more reminiscent of its plastic inspiration. Yet there’s arguably still enough left on the table for a potential toy-inspired redo, especially if they went the whole hog with replicating the sticker detail seen on the vintage specimen, much in the same way they have with Cyclonus above. Imagine shiny striped thighs, mechanical detailing on the lower legs, extra toy-styled guns and maybe even a slightly-remoulded head, and now he’s making his mark.
Let’s get this out of the way right now, shall we? Yes, Legacy Dinobot looks a bit like an uncooked chicken with a hairy chest wearing speedos and thigh warmers. No, you’re not the first person to think it (much less say it!). But put aside the hilarity for one second and acknowledge what an exceptional job at replicating the original 1996 Dinobot toy this repaint does! That remoulded head is fantastic, the choice of blue for the mouth plate is spot on, the paint applications all work well and frankly, the colour choices may be a little poultry-esque, but they work really well besides that! Dare I say I think this actually looks better than the Kingdom release? Now, do a white dino-eye variant if you want to be really niche…
HONOURABLE MENTION: Stunticons
Throwing one last example into the wishlist mix, how much fun could it be to see a toy-inspired set of Legacy Stunticons, eh? Wassat? The original line-up is already expensive enough and you don’t need more temptation? Well, that’s why I gave them ‘honourable mention’ status more than anything, as no doubt an entire set of repaints would be a bit much by most people’s metric, yet I can’t help but feel it could be intriguing all the same. After all, some third parties have done it with their attempts already… you’d just need to find a solution for the ‘car bra’ in combined mode!
Come on, you knew this would be on the list, right? In many ways, this Generations Selects figure (particularly when partnered with Cyclonus) is the ultimate example of why such toy repaints prove so popular! It’s entirely distinct from the classic purple Kingdom Galvatron release, immediately standing out as a result. However, it also plays to a very different sense of nostalgia, packing a punch for those who grew up with the memorable 1986 figure in addition to the excellent Marvel comic of the time. It’s no coincidence that both this and the long-desired toy-themed FansToys Sovereign re-release have been exceptionally well-received in recent months. In any case, this is how you do it!
So that’s our list! What are some of your favourite toy repaints?