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!
Be sure to check out part 1 in case you missed it!
#10: Robots in Disguise X-Brawn, Sideburn & Prowl (2001)
The original trio of Car Robots brothers remains a highlight of Takara’s 2000 toy line, having gone down in legend for bringing traditional vehicle modes back to Transformers in a big way! However, it’s the Super trio that really pushes my buttons, giving each character a hot new makeover and arguably proving more eye-catching overall. The Hasbro re-releases a year later kept things similar bar a few minor alterations and the addition of Autobot logos, but the effect was much the same. It’s impossible to ignore the hot red of Super Sideburn, not to mention the super retro stylings of Prowl. Yet it’s arguably X-Brawn who undergoes the most significant change of all here, looking lovely in livery as he is. Superb all round.
#9: Encore Big Convoy (2019)
It used to be that TakaraTomy’s Encore line was exclusively Generation 1 in nature, but that all changed when it suddenly started focusing on Beast-era toys and beyond. One of the most exciting new takes from this shift in direction is 2019’s Big Convoy, originally from the Beast Wars Neo roster. With a fresh and distinctly more cartoon-accurate paint job, the Maximal commander looks more striking than ever, with the stark white and vibrant colours really making the mould sing. Even better, this guy fits perfectly next to Masterpiece Optimus Primal and Lio Convoy, completing the trio of Japanese Beast leaders in one form or another.
#8: Energon SWAT Prowl (2004)
The original 2004 Energon Prowl toy is no slouch and already looks mighty fine with its blue police-themed racer alt’ mode. Still, despite it being a tough call, I feel this SWAT-styled 2-pack re-release from the same year just about edges it. The white and black body really helps to make some of the other colours pop beyond belief, and the extra orange highlights are a welcome addition. Plus, he looks simply incredible when combined with this teammate, Checkpoint!
#7: Beast Wars II Magnaboss (1998)
In the days before they opted for a synergised approach, It used to be an old adage that many fans would opt for the Takara version over the Hasbro release of any given toy. Yet joking aside, there are some individual examples where it’s hard to legitimately say that the Japanese take isn’t superior, and Magnaboss is undoubtedly one of those. The 1997 figure was already handsome enough, yet it looks exceptionally plain next to its Beast Wars II follow-up from the year after! Takara went to town and added all manner of additional paint applications, most notably on the legs and chest, before completely recolouring the face to give it more character. Result.
#6: United Hot Rod (2011)
There have been many repaints (and retools!) of the Classics Hot Rod design over the years, but I’d be hard-pressed to tell you that the United version from 2011 isn’t a highlight of those. If you’re looking at the photo above, I don’t need to make too much more of a case to convince you of its merits, as that candy-esque translucent blue and green body is breathtakingly good, especially up close. The whole thing is designed to mimic the glow from the Matrix of Leadership as seen in the 1986 Transformers movie, but whatever the inspiration, this one is more than enough to light our darkest hour.
#5: Beast Machines T-Wrecks (2000)
Yes, I will take any and every opportunity to mention how much I enjoy T-Wrecks, and no, I make no apology for it. After all, the original Beast Wars Megatron toy is already one for the ages, with a simple but solid design that I would happily put forward as one of the best T Rex Transformers toys on record. Yet as great as it is, I’d take this bizarre reddish brown and dark blue revisit over the original’s light purple hue any day. The robot mode gets even better despite an unorthodox colour scheme that shouldn’t work, truth be told! Somehow it all comes together, with a set of neon green eyes being the perfect finishing touch.
#4: Universe Megazarak (2004)
From one ex-Megatron to another! I’ve loved the Armada Megatron design since it was first released in 2002, but something about this OTFCC repaint from two years later has particularly fascinated me. Partly that’s down to the toy’s origins as a ‘Generation 3’ reinvention of the original Megatron character, but mostly because it’s simply stunning beyond belief. Again, it’s an extraordinary colour scheme in many respects, particularly that electric blue! Yet it all mixes beautifully and makes this a convention-exclusive worthy of your time. Mega.
#3: Takara Beast Wars Tigatron (1997)
The original Tigatron toy was a watershed in my early collecting. You see, the Kenner 1996 release was, let’s be fair, a little disappointing, given that it opted to give the snow-white character we knew from the cartoon a distinctly creamy finish. Thus, young Sixo made his first foray into international purchasing and picked up the far superior Takara makeover from the year after, which looked every bit superior by going for a crisp, clean look instead. That the recent reissue follows the Japanese route is a true relief indeed!
#2: Car Robots Black Convoy (2000)
Despite a newer take having only recently landed in the Generations line, the original Generation 2 Laser Optimus Prime design from 1995 remains an absolute classic, boasting an unmatched level of playability and gimmicks. Yet as impressive as the original was, it was bettered five years later when Takara brought it back for the Car Robots line and gave it a sultry black makeover. This wasn’t the first ever ‘Black Convoy’ as such, but it was arguably the one that set the template for everything that was to come in the decades after it, and some would say it has never been bettered. True, it may not have the G2 toy’s electronics, and yes, the upside ‘Combatron’ faction symbol was a cheat to avoid Takara having to retool the discs found in the trailer, but no matter. One look at that sick light piping and you know you’re in for a treat.
#1: Beast Wars Returns Obsidian (2005)
Beast Machines toys were never famed for their adherence to screen accuracy, as evidenced by Hasbro’s 2000 release of Obsidian and its bright green and orange colour scheme. Still, the design itself is solid, despite being a little on the small side for the character, although it wasn’t truly perfected until five years later with the Japanese Beast Wars Return re-do. True, it’s still not 100% slavish to the screen, but regardless, this thing is hard not to look at and admire. Obliterate!
So that’s our list! What are some of your favourite repaints?