In case I’ve never mentioned it (I have, many times), I’m a major fan of weird & wonderful repaints.
There’s just something about seeing an already familiar toy design rehashed in a bold new colour scheme that really gets the motor running. There’s often no better way to fully appreciate a particular mould than to admire it with a different look.
With that in mind, we’re turning our attention to the Unicron Trilogy today and choosing some of the absolute best examples from the era. Simply put, here are five terrific UT repaints for your consideration.
#5: Energon Dreadwing (2004)
Dreadwing is a repaint of Mirage, who, thanks to the corresponding cartoon, was often considered a new take on fan-favourite Armada character, Tidal Wave. Unencumbered by such considerations, here you can fully admire the toy design for all its worth with a brand new paint job, which is almost inexplicable in terms of colour choice. I think ‘baby blue’ is the best description I can offer, except I’m almost certain that’s not quite right either, considering there’s a light but distinct green-ish tinge added to the mix, too. Genuinely, I haven’t seen another Transformers toy cast in quite the same hue, and it looks all the better for the popping purple and gold highlights, too. Mirage was already gorgeous, but this guy absolutely makes his own mark.
#4: Armada Skywarp (2003)
It’s criminal to think of any Seeker mould not being trotted out in at least the classic triumvirate of Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp colours (here’s looking at you, TF: Animated!), so it was a blessing when Armada finished the assignment and gave us the ol’ purple and black. Sure, it happened right at the tail end of the line, but it was worth being patient for, not least because of the reasonably extensive retooling thrown into the mix. Skywarp here has a new head, knee turbines and additional cannons, which all help to make the design feel distinct. Even better? It has one of the best colour schemes in all of Transformers. The best things come to those who wait, as they say.
#3: Superlink Black Rodimus Convoy (2004)
Some repaint ideas are just *so good* that it’s beyond shocking to consider they were only ever used once. Step forward this beauty, which takes the familiar Energon Rodimus red and turns it on its head. With a sultry black body, zinging flames and striking gold highlights, it’s hard not to be immediately struck by just how drop-dead gorgeous this Takara effort it truly is. Black Rodimus Convoy was a TV Magazine exclusive and limited to just 3,000 pieces, but what truly makes him special is surely his good looks. What a shame the colour scheme idea never stuck around!
#2: Cybertron Dark Scorponok (2005)
Although this toy design had already been used for 2004’s Energon line-up, there was still plenty of inspiration left for making it sing for all its worth. Rarely has a Transformers toy design received so many ultra-successful re-uses, although that’s not to say we can’t stop and appreciate each on their own merit. In this case, take a gander at the mega-hotness that is Cybertron Dark Scorponok. Yep, that paint job is a quasi-homage to G1 Black Zarak, although this repaint is ironically the least fragile of them all, in this case, with retooled shoulders specifically to prevent breakage. Even better, it has further modifications to the tail, allowing the stinger to be activated using the Cybertron line’s Cyber Planet Key mechanism and meaning this figure is the only example of the entire Unicron Trilogy that can work with each series’ respective gimmick (also including Armada’s Mini-Cons and Energon Stars). Oh, and did I mention it’s beautiful? Because, oh mama.
#1: Galaxy Force Master Galvatron (2005)
We’ve been extraordinarily well-served with Megatron toys over the years. Contrary to Optimus Prime being perpetually represented as a truck, there’s inherent creativity in how the franchise’s most notable bad guy has been portrayed, all born out of the need for an alternative to a gun mode. The Unicron Trilogy is a perfect example of this, with ol’ Megs turning into a tank, a jet and a Batmobile-styled race car within a three-year span, despite the designs all feeling appropriate for the character somehow. Cybertron’s quirky racer design took things further with its bold but unusual orange, purple and blue-green colour scheme, which makes the more traditionally-styled silver and black repaint a uniquely nostalgic thrill. Even better, it’s coated with an ultra-resistant hard-wearing paint similar to that used on mobile phones, so its sparkly charm can be enjoyed without worry. This is about as striking as it gets.
So that’s our list! What are some of your favourite Unicron Trilogy repaints?