I may have mentioned this, 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, RID 2001, Animated and even Generation 1, we then turned our attention to one of the most notorious bits of Transformers history – yep, it’s Beast Machines! Well, now we’re back for more… Simply put, here are five gorgeous repaints for your consideration!
#5: Beast Wars Returns Obsidian (2005)
It’s almost tempting (but far, far too easy) to fill a list of striking Beast Machines repaints with the Takara Beast Wars Returns efforts from long after the Hasbro take on the line was done and dusted. Most of the toys were significantly overhauled in palette and paint, bringing them distinctly further in line with their Mainframe animation depictions (in colour, at least). I’ve mentioned Obsidian as a true shining gem of that line before, but it bears repeating, especially given how undeniably spectacular this version is to behold and how much it improves on the bright green original from the 2000 roster. If nothing else, it’s all about those neon rotors! This one tends to carry a high ticket asking price, which is more understandable when you remember it was made in minimal quantities, but it’s still worth ensuring you don’t overpay for it!
#4: Robots in Disguise Mirage GT (2002)
Robots in Disguise is another plentiful source of Beast Machines recolours (and, indeed, every other line from Transformers history at that time!), and you need no better evidence than the 2002 3-pack of Basic Vehicon moulds all overhauled with new paint jobs. We’ve already looked at Scavenger last time, but fellow Autobot Mirage GT is just as worthwhile, even if the changes to the original release are less drastic in this case. Where 2000’s Mirage was largely black with translucent blue highlights and yellow arms and thighs, this fella is largely yellow with translucent blue highlights and black arms and thighs. Oh, and some red bits, too, now! Totally different. Still, it works well enough despite his legs being assembled the wrong way round for this version…
#3: Beast Wars Returns Megahead Megatron (2005)
Yes, it’s another Beast Wars Returns repaint, and yes, it’s yet another version of that infamous ‘Megabolt’ design! It may be a real oddity of the time, but there’s no denying they cranked out some interesting versions along the way. Even better, there’s no GPS to worry about here, with this last use of the mould also being my favourite of the three. After all, look at those hot pink spider legs, why don’t you? Otherwise, the changes are fairly moderate from the original but still make a huge difference in elevating this version overall. The purples are extra vibrant, the blues are richer and less flat, the block red has been replaced by hues more in keeping with the rest of the palette, and it all adds up to a toy that cannot help but capture your attention when on display. If you were only going to get one, this is it.
#2: Expanded Universe Cyclonus (2002)
Sometimes, you come across a repaint idea so inherently brilliant you simply cannot help but love the execution of it, and so it is with this oft-overlooked take on Cyclonus. The Ultra class Beast Machines Jetstorm mould is a quirky thing at its core, but overall, it’s the more cartoon-accurate spin on the character and certainly has a commanding presence on a shelf. The original Hasbro figure is notorious for its flaking chrome, which was fortunately corrected for the even better-looking Beast Wars Returns (I know, I know) 2005 release. Yet this 2002 Botcon exclusive got there first, overhauling the mould with a new sultry but shiny purple finish. Interestingly, it keeps the translucent red from Jetstorm, meaning it still feels weirdly thematic somehow, yet astonishingly different. An essential entry in the pantheon of epic Cyclonus toys.
SPECIAL MENTION: Encore Returns Convoy (2018)
Although the toy itself is inherently ridiculous (seriously, he has his gorilla bum positioned behind his head like a little travel pillow!), we absolutely need to talk about the Takara Encore reissue of 2002’s massive Supreme class Air Attack Optimus Primal here. The classic release may have been a real oddity of the time, existing as one of the most obvious unused Beast-era hand-me-downs in the Robots in Disguise line, but it still had its merits. Sadly, it was plagued with GPS, meaning that even if you wanted to test out the many built-in action features, you’d likely break the toy in the process. The reissue fixed all that and brought the design closer to the cartoon, making it the definitive release for this mould overall (yes, even versus that red and blue one).
#1: Expanded Universe CatSCAN (2002)
Yes, folks, we’re doing not one but *two* Botcon exclusives for this list! I’m not even sorry because neither of them is hard to come by, and besides, they’re both pretty unique! That’s especially true in the case of the absurdly but awesomely named CatSCAN, which takes the fantastic 2001 Night Slash Cheetor design and gives it a weird new white and red colour scheme (with some epic packaging to boot). It’s about as different from the original as repaints can get, even boasting glow-in-the-dark paint (which a cursory glance at TFWiki tells me is the only example in the franchise’s history so far!). It doesn’t all quite work, with the grey face looking a little bizarre up close, but still, I always admire it when the powers that be try something different, and in this sense, CatSCAN remains a success.
So that’s our list! What are some of your favourite Beast Machines repaints?