EXCITING TRANSFORMERS (with Video!)
“EXCITING TRANSFORMERS (with Video!)”
Article and A/V: Might Gaine
Most hardcore G1 fans know the “Scramble City” story through the original animated video and the stop motion video. But in fact there’s a promotional Scramble City video that predates both of those–it is called “Exciting Transformers”. The video tells an abridged Scramble City storyline through a hodgepodge of recycled animation, early concept art, and storyboards from a then-upcoming toy commercial.
Watch the Youtube video below to check out our English-subtitled version of EXCITING TRANSFORMERS!
Might Gaine’s comments
Exciting Transformers is a rare glimpse into concept art and preproduction materials that Takara used in late 1985 as it prepared to launch their Scramble City subline. The Scramble City storyline is much more bare bones at this point as well, missing the other two combiners, the introduction of Ultra Magnus, and the rivalry between Metroplex and Trypticon. Also missing is any mention of “Scramble Power” (the ability to swap limbs), which would become a key gimmick of the Scramble City subline.
But for me, the highlight of Exciting Transformers is all the amazing pre-production art. Let’s take a look!
There are several early concept drawings of Metroplex in the video. Although the black and white copies of the art have been published elsewhere, these three color versions of the images are only available in the Exciting Transformers video.
Note the many small details that did not make the final cut: a parking sign, a crane arm, several small radar dishes, and so on. Metroplex’s legs changed significantly as well–they were originally conceived as being very thin and transforming differently, creating a neat asymmetrical look in city mode. Also, note the small wings near the shoulders–a subtle reminder of his Diaclone roots. These early drawings of Metroplex went on to influence the first TV Magazine artwork of Metroplex as well as the design for one of Kabaya’s Metroplex decoys.
Superion and Menasor
Lastly, there’s Superion and Menasor. Most of the illustrations for them are actually storyboards for the Superion/Menasor toy commercial!
As a special treat, I’m going to end this article with a couple cool related images, namely more pre-production Superion images courtesy of TheSpacebridge. It’s even clearer in these images how the designers were initially trying to stay away from extraneous combiner parts.
That’s it for Exciting Transformers! Well, sort of. There are actually two more Exciting Transformers videos! One is called “Exciting Transformers 1986” and the other is “Exciting Transformers Summer 1986”. Unfortunately, they’re not packed with pre-production art like this one, but they are still a neat peek into Takara promotional marketing. Let us know if you’re interested in seeing them, and we might translate those as well!
Hydra, for translating the video
walruslaw, for providing the Superion/Menasor commercial footage
BermudaMohawk, fangwing, lonergamer8 and Powered Convoy, for helping me research the Metroplex artwork.
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