As part of this hobby, I often like to discover and learn more about unproduced Transformers toys from over the years. Although to be honest, I have no idea why sometimes!
After all, as wonderful as some of the discarded ideas are to observe, there’s often an equal feeling of disappointment or even bewilderment about how they could have been left on the table at the time. Many unused concepts are just so good that it almost hurts to consider that they will never come to be!
OK, maybe I’m being a little hyperbolic, but even then, just look at the following unproduced Transformers toys and tell me they don’t deserve a second chance at some point, no? What I wouldn’t do to get any of these made one day…
Photo credit: TFWiki
“But Sixo”, you might say, “didn’t we get a Broadside toy back in 1986?” And you’d be right, we did indeed! However, as has been well-publicised for anyone with internet access over the last three decades or so (or who owned a Transformers catalogue before this), that toy looked precisely nothing like the original prototype that rather unsubtly made its way into so much of the promotional material from the time. Whereas the retail version was predominantly grey and red with a signature mouth-plated face, the pre-production figure featured a strong shade of baby blue and an entirely separate sculpt. This discrepancy, in turn, created all kinds of confusion back in the day, with both Marvel comic and Sunbow cartoon using the prototype when designing the character’s look for fiction (and the animation eventually sneaking in a second look much closer to the finished version of the toy, with zero explanation as to why Broadside suddenly looked so different!). It means that as much as I’ve always enjoyed the G1 figure as it was released (yes, I said it!), this original take remains ultra-desirable to me, to the point where I would love them both in my collection! What’s especially intriguing is that as more hi-def photography of the prototype has landed, it’s become clear that it was rather unsurprisingly a mock-up featuring cannibalised parts from other toys of the time – most notably a painted G1 Sharpnel head, in this case. Still, if Haslab ever decided to start pumping unproduced vintage prototypes of this kind specifically to appeal to the niche needs of folks like me (I know how unlikely it is, don’t worry), then this would be near the top of the wants list.
Like Broadside, the G1 Quickswitch toy from 1988 is often unfairly maligned by a small but vocal group of naysayers despite being, in this writer’s humble opinion, a truly underappreciated crown jewel of the era. Sure, it may not be as flashy as its larger prior-year predecessor, Sixshot, but there’s still plenty of joy in click-clacking it through its many modes on your way to that surprisingly articulated robot form. It was a joy to discover the arguably even more stylish Japanese repaint, known as Sixknight, especially considering how few such reused moulds there were at the time. Still, if anything, that just whet the appetite for more! Well, imagine my reaction when I learned about the non-produced concept above, which came to light in the fabulous book Legacy: The Art of Transformers Packaging. Yes, it’s Quickswitch, but now in a super sultry Decepticon colour scheme! Even better, he has a ridiculously clever and supremely punny name – Killswitch! Why was this never made real?
This colour scheme was later repurposed as a character with an equally incredible moniker – ‘Hexadeathimal’ – in a Transformers Collectors’ Club storyline, although sadly, there is still no toy in sight. It’s incredible to think that we’re going to leave names like that on the sidelines, right?
#3: Armada Laserbeak
It’s funny how times and tastes evolve. I freely admit that when I first clapped eyes on Armada Laserbeak over twenty years ago, it felt so far away from the kind of thing I wanted from Transformers at the time. Yet here I am all these years later, having finally picked up my first copy at this year’s TFNation, and I couldn’t be more delighted with him! I’ve been looking to grab a copy for a while, but it was in a recent Triple Takeover discussion that the desire truly crept up, especially after we chatted about the unused prototype colour scheme shown above. Sure, the final toy is just adorable in its vibrant orange and blue hues, but there’s no denying the original plan is simply too good for words, and I suspect it may have won over many hardcore fans at the time of release, too. It won’t surprise anyone to say that, of course, it was changed because of fears about the gun mode being produced in too ‘realistic’ a colour scheme, but still, one can’t help but pine for what could have been.
Although Broadside above may have been one of the more standout examples of pre-production figures making their way into the catalogues of the ’80s, the truth is that the marketing of the time was rife with them; they just weren’t always so easy to spot at first glance. Many of the toys looked very different prior to their eventual release on shop shelves, although, as in this case, they were then ‘disguised’ as best as possible to try and make them look like the product we would actually be buying. So, when you finally see the real non-altered colours of the 1986 Trypticon prototype, you realise just how magnificent it truly is and how wildly it varied from the final figure. Bright aquamarine, deep blue, hot purply pinks! It’s so over the top that it’s nothing shy of outright fabulous and certainly packs a pop more colour than the finished specimen we all know so well. Given that the vintage Trypticon was reissued as recently as 2015, it’s not entirely out of the question that we might eventually see a repainted take on it coming to life, in which case there may still be hope! Maybe.
Our final entry (for today, at least!) is this undeniable stunner that was a proposed 1987 recolour of G1 Scorponok for release under licence by GiG in Italy. To say that it’s an incredible overhaul of an already beloved iconic toy is an understatement of the highest order, to the point where I find it genuinely quite crushing that it never came to be! At least in the case of the Scorponok design, we did get a retool in the Japanese-exclusive Black Zarak, but knowing that a third use was considered and even almost produced at the time is revelatory somehow, and the colours are so drastically different to either of the realised releases that it would have been undoubtedly worth it. The orange, the blue, the green – it’s all so sickeningly garish that it shouldn’t work in the least, and yet somehow, it combines to form what I think might be one of the most desirable unproduced Transformers repaints of all time. That it was never made is surely the greatest sting in the tale.
So that’s our list! Would you have liked to have seen some of these come to pass?