In 1984, the first season of The Transformers introduced nearly fifty Transformer characters to audiences around the world, virtually all of which were released as toys — all, that is, save one significant exception.
Skyfire, largest of the original Autobot characters, played a pivotal role in two early episodes and appeared throughout the remainder of the season (as well as the Marvel comics). A Skyfire Transformer, however, was never produced, which may explain why the character disappeared after the first season. Now, however — over two decades later — we finally have a Skyfire toy.
Given the character was designed first, and the toy subsequently based on the animated design (as opposed to the first ninety Transformers released, that were toys to begin with), a great deal of compromise was required in designing the Skyfire toy. The booster-rocket backpack, for instance, is clearly modeled after the Macross Valkyrie design — as is the fuselage — and bears little resemblance to Skyfire’s jetpack.
I may custom-build my own alternative backpack for this toy later on, just to bring it closer to the animated depiction.
In 1986, Transformers: The Movie established a whole new cast of characters, settings, and even lifeforms to the mythology, most notably the biorganic Quintessons.
While almost all the new Autobots, Decepticons, Junkions, and even Sharkticons depicted in the film were represented in toy form, none of the Quintesson designs were released. Now, however — over two decades later — we finally have Quintesson toys.
To the best of my knowledge, these are only available through certain online retailers, or auction sites like eBay (where I got mine). There’s nothing to indicate they’re a legitimately-licensed product, or that “Impossible Toys” has even had contact with Hasbro or Takara regarding rights issues… Indeed, look at their bare-bones Website and you’ll see that Transformers nomenclature like “energon” and “Kremzeek” aren’t even spelled correctly! Still, since no legitimate toys of these characters were ever produced back in the day, I welcome the work of anyone with the resources to mass-produce their custom figures for collectors like myself, especially when they’re done with this level of sophistication and quality. Note the transparent plastic stands are designed to light up, representing the beams of light these creatures travel around on.
They may not be licensed Transformers product, but they suffer from the same problems that plague all legitimate Transformer toys — they’re not to scale with each other. While the Quintesson Judge character seems designed in scale with the classic movie toy line (most notably the Sharkticon), the Scientist was clearly produced at a much larger scale, making it appear about three times larger than it should next to the Judge. Note the relative scales of Quintesson (Judge), human (Spike), and Autobot (Ultra Magnus) as depicted in the original Transformers TV series:
The Quintesson Scientist, by comparison, is not much taller than the human it captures.
Thus, despite all the myriad scales that Transformers toys have been released in to date, the Quintesson Scientist is to scale with… none whatsoever. I guess I’ll have to display him with my Star Wars figures or something.
Toy companies make mistakes like this all the time; dedicated fans, however, ought to know better.
In 1987, the first Bubblegum Crisis animated video was released, depicting a quartet of female vigilantes-for-hire fighting sophisticated androids in a dark future Tokyo.
In a market overwhelmingly dominated by male action heroes and robots as big as buildings, the women protagonists and their form-fitting armored “hardsuits” left a lasting impression on the anime scene. Of particular note were the transformable motorcycles, called “Motoslaves.”
Despite numerous sequels, spin-offs, and a TV series remake, very little Bubblegum Crisis merchandise was ever released, much less transformable toys. (Fan-produced garage kits and unpainted soft-vinyl figures were as close as we got.) Now, however — over two decades later — we finally have a Motoslave toy.
Not only does it make an imposing robot, but it transforms into a kick-ass motorcycle for the figure to ride, too!
Note how closely the sculpt reproduces the animation models designed way back in the ’80s, both in motorcycle and robot modes:
And of course, just as it appears in the animated series, the Motoslave robot also acts as an exoskeleton for the pilot.
See the Priss figure inside?
The animation never really did justice to the brilliance of Shinji Aramaki’s mecha design, and (like the “movie color” Macross SDF-1 I reviewed earlier) it takes a really accurate toy to illustrate the sophistication and elegance of the Motoslave.
An extremely well-illustrated Japanese review of the toy can be found here.
The real question, of course, is why did we have to wait over twenty years for all these wonderful toys to come out?!