It won’t come as a shock to anyone, but I’m a huge repaint fan.
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.
Having recently showcased examples from the Unicron Trilogy, CHUG, Beast Wars and RID 2001, now it’s time to turn our attention back to where it all began with Generation 1. All that said, here are another 5 gorgeous repaints for your consideration!
#5: Platinum Edition Blitzwing (2015)
There have been tons of examples of bizarre G1 repaints popping up in expected places over the years, but I don’t think anyone quite anticipated anything like this happening in 2015. Whilst most of the Platinum Edition re-releases were more straight-up versions of the original toys, albeit with the odd tweak here and there, the triple-changing two-pack containing all-new colour schemes for Blitzwing and Astrotrain was something altogether different. Where the notorious multi-mode Decepticon is typically tan, purple and yellow, now he’s decked out in a strange brown and red combo, which, honestly, is slightly inexplicable, and not least because no one knows the logic behind it. Is it a quasi-homage to the 1988 Duocon Flywheels, which shares a similar pair of tank and jet alternate forms? That’s the purveying logic adopted by many fans, but there’s nothing concrete to confirm this is actually the case! Either way, it’s a surprising twist on an already well-familiar toy and proves worth a look as a result.
#4: Universe Autobot Whirl (2003)
If Platinum Edition dared to break the mould with the occasional repaint shocker, 2003’s Universe roster set up an entire assembly line of the things. Similar examples could easily dominate these lists, but for now, let’s consider ‘Autobot Whirl’, which takes the 1991 Turbomaster Rotorstorm mould in a bizarre new direction. Despite the toy being so awkwardly titled due to trademark issues at the time (Can’t get the name? Stick in a faction-denoted qualifier!), it bears little resemblance to the classic 1985 Whirl in any regard beyond packing a helicopter alternate form. Like Bliztwing, that makes this unusual dark blue, tan, brown and burnt red colour scheme a mystery, although it at least produces a highly distinctive result on an already beloved mould, and now with added Mini-Cons to boot! In truth, it could never really compete against the giddy highs of the original baby blue and hot pink outing, and there are at least a few choices here (how could they not paint any part of the translucent plastic canopy?) which also drop it down a fair bit below the 1997 Machine Wars version by my estimation. Still, who cares if you’re third place in a three-horse race when the base toy is such a thoroughbred to begin with, eh? This is one of my all-time favourite G1 designs, so I’ll take it in whatever colours it comes, thank you very much.
#3: Salt-Man X & Salt-Man Z (1985)
Two for the price of one now, but to be fair, it’s hard to separate this pair of one-step ‘bots, given how synonymous they are. Beginning life in Takara’s Diaclone line, they were ported over to become the Jumpstarters Topspin and Twin Twist for Hasbro’s Transformers roster with entirely new blue and white colour schemes. However, the fun most definitely did not stop there. Hasbro, in turn, licensed out the production and distribution of various moulds in Brazil to a company known as Estrela (who further licensed it to another outfit, Antex, to do the same in Argentina), the results of which were some undeniably colourful alternatives to classic and well-known toys, with the sci-fi-themed duo very much at the heart of it all. Now re-titled as Salt-Man X & Z (after the Spanish word “saltar”, meaning “to jump”), these two were available in more colour schemes than what you see here. However, whichever palette you opt for, it serves up a welcome alternative option and a real curio besides.
#2: New Year Special Convoy – Action Master (2002)
The classic 1984 Optimus Prime toy has been reissued more times than I’ve had hot dinners. OK, probably not, but it’s happened a lot over the years, and certainly more than any other design of the most iconic Autobot leader. What made 2002’s so-called ‘New Year Special’ release a bit, well… special is fairly obvious up close, with attractive blue-tined windows and cartoon-accurate eyes for starters. Yet there’s more than meets the eye in this box, as the powers that be threw in another old-school take on everyone’s favourite robo-dad by sprucing up the long-forgotten and oft-overlooked Hasbro Action Master figure from 1990. Wait, Action Masters? Puttup! Didn’t they tank the franchise? Well, no, and besides all that, they make for rather nifty little collectables all these years later! Plus, this is currently the only official re-release of any of the vintage moulds in another format after the fact, so even putting the snazzy new animate-styled colour scheme to one side, there’s something to appreciate about that.
#1: Zone Sky Hyper (1990)
First things first, Sky Hyper here is two separate repaints in one package, although interestingly, neither of them is a repaint of the original figure known as Sky Hopper from Hasbro’s 1989 catalogue. In that case, the name went to the Micromaster companion, whereas the accompanying converting helicopter base was unidentified. Takara flipped the script for their version a year later, with the repainted larger vehicle now taking headline billing on the box, albeit now alongside an entirely new companion, the imposingly named Deadwheeler. The little chap is himself a repaint of Free Wheeler from 1989’s Autobot Race Car Patrol, and I have no hesitation in saying it’s quite the upgrade, looking all irresistible in a sleek red and black combo. As for Sky Hyper, it was long the stuff of Japanese franchise legend for me, the kind of thing that felt forever mesmerising but always out of reach. Having it in the collection now has let me appreciate just what a beauty it is, especially because of that bone-white plastic, standing out as a true gem of the era.
So that’s our list! What are some of your favourite G1 repaints?