I love repaints.
I know not everyone agrees, but there’s a genuine thrill from seeing a familiar toy design given a stunning makeover and a brand-new lick of paint. So today, let’s look at some of the best Transformers examples from over the years, especially those which surpassed the original takes in one way or another.
We’re zeroing in on the ‘mid’ years of the franchise, so everything from late nineties Beast Wars to the Classics era of the 2000s, with a few outliers here and there. On with the show!
#20: Legends Magna Convoy (2017)
The Classics Optimus Prime mould has been seen in many different colour schemes since its first outing in 2006, but who knew the best was still to come with this beauty dropping eleven years later? Released as an e-HOBBY exclusive, Magna Convoy takes the idea of the blue cab from the Diaclone Powered Convoy design and runs with it, cementing this as a must-see repaint for fans of this timeliness design. Oh, and it even comes with extra accessories, including a shiny sword, so what’s not to love?
#19: Beast Machines Primal Prime (2000)
I admit that I snorted at the very idea of this toy back in the day. An Optimus Prime-themed red and blue repaint of the legendary Beast Wars Optimal Optimus design? Who on Earth needs that? Honestly, it felt like a totally random idea. Fast-forward two decades or so, I can see I was very wrong. The arrogance of youth! For you see, not only is this thing truly breathtaking in every sense, but it actually *surpasses* its predecessor to be the superior colour scheme. The dual chrome colours are just too good!
#18: Henkei! Smokescreen (2009)
Universe Smokescreen is a great toy, but Hasbro’s original colour palette for the 2008 release could have gone better. It mainly looked like the character in question, but there was something uninspired about the results, with a lot of the matt plastic looking rather drab. Step forward TakaraTomy with their Henkei! overhaul and suddenly this toy is zinging hard, with metallic chrome red bring and baby blue highlights bringing the goods. Beautiful!
#17: Superlink Galvatron General (2005)
The various releases of Megatron for Hasbro’s Energon and Takara’s Superlink lines are interesting, not least because both companies opted for different toy designs! They both have their merits, although the smaller Japanese effort is certainly quite stunning, particularly the 2005 ‘Galvatron General’ purple repaint. The design already ably captures the look and feel of G1 Galvatron from 1986, but this version pushes it further by aping the character’s original cartoon colour scheme. Both these toys are worth a look, but in my opinion, the purple one notches it.
#16: Universe Razorclaw (2003)
I know I take the opportunity to talk about this toy whenever I can, but *seriously* now, look at it! I always loved the original Beast Wars Tigerhawk design, but the bare white plastic finish felt very undercooked and failed to show the stunning moulded detail in any perceptible way. It ultimately felt entirely washed out, as exemplified by this incredible Universe makeover, which brings out the best the toy has to offer. The toy may not be from the Beast era itself, but there’s a reason Razorclaw has become so desirable in the years since.
#15: Superlink Black Rodimus Convoy (2004)
The Energon Rodimus design has become a fan-favourite over the years, and for good reason. It’s great fun and boasts a unique transformation, but it’s also a legendary new design of a classic character from a time when we didn’t really get much of that. The mould has been released in other colours since, but for my money, the absolute best is the Japanese Lucky Draw from 2004. Black repaints don’t come more phwoar than this!
#14: Car Robots Gelshark (2000)
Car Robots was a real shake-up following the Beast era of Transformers, although one thing Takara did exceptionally well was make new use of some of the Transmetal 2 designs from the latter year of Beast Wars. Chief amongst those is Gelshark, released a year later as Sky-Byte in Hasbro’s Robots in Disguise line, which takes the asymmetric brilliance of Cybershark and maximises it into one of the most stunning mainline toys I’ve ever seen in Transformers. No hyperbole, I swear, this thing’s paint job puts a lot of Masterpiece toys to shame, and as such, has become the definitive take on the toy.
#13: Beast Wars Returns Silverbolt (2005)
Beast Machines is a divisive year of Transformers toys, but even its most hardened supporters will typically admit that the Basic class Silverbolt design wasn’t its finest example. As it turns out, the inexplicable vibrant yellow, orange and blue colour scheme really wasn’t helping matters, as shown by this Takara take for their Beast Wars Returns line five years later. Casting Silerbolt in a much more cartoon accurate pink and purple makes all the difference, and whilst it’s still a bizarre outing for the former bird-dog, there’s no denying it’s the best of the two by a landslide.
#12: Universe Optimus Prime (2003)
Car Robots Fire Convoy is one of the all-time legendary Transformers toys and one of the most memorable Optimus Prime designs ever. It’s still frequently mentioned by fans as one of the greats after two decades, with many hoping for a new version of the design at some point, too. The original has been repainted more than a few times, yet I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible 2003 Universe yellow version here! The fire truck mode is more staggering than ever, and the robot mode cannot help but catch your eye on the shelf. It was mainly overlooked on release, but it’s since gone on to become ultra-desirable, which tells you everything you need to know. Splendid stuff.
#11: Robotmasters Gigant Bomb (2004)
Hailing from Generation 2 originally, it’s hard to choose an ultimate favourite of the Dreadwing design. Since used in Takara’s Beast Wars II and Hasbro’s Robots in Disguise, the Robotmasters version makes a good case for being the top dog here, especially given how striking the additional paint applications are in hand. Ultimately, it’s the lilac on areas such as the head, ankles and feet that really tips this one over the edge, making him quite literally the bomb.
Be sure to join us for part 2 soon!