Welcome back to the Underbase!
Whenever a new Transformers series is started, Hasbro, Takara-Tomy and all their designers start thinking long term but, inevitably, every line must end. Items that were planned sometimes get scrapped due to cost, lack of retail support, a new direction for the brand, or a dozen other reasons. Over the next few weeks, I'll be looking at all the Transformers toys that were left on the drawing board. Where to start? How about at the beginning.....
Two of the most infamous unreleased Transformers came from "Transformers the Movie. A toy was proposed for everyone's favorite femmebot, Arcee. Some may say it was fortunate that the first Arcee toy was never produced as it hardly did her justice. A second Arcee figure made it to the drawing board some time later, a repaint of Headmaster Chromedome, but it never left the initial design stage.
The absolute grand-daddy of all Transformers prototypes has to be the chaos-bringer himself, Unicron. A massive prototype was made that has been shown at Botcon. Cost probably led to the toy not being released to the general public. Takara also made a sample that went one step further and added an electronic moon that would rotate around Unicron's planet mode. Takara would tease Transfans one more time when another version of Unicron turned up as a prototype during the Beast Wars Neo line until the first actual Unicron figure was released during the Armada line in 2003.
As G1 was winding down several new concepts were tried to keep the line fresh. Unproduced samples of these sub-groups have surfaced over the years.
A new concept for the Pretenders were the Double Pretenders which would have seen two robots in the Pretender shells. Samples have been seen of a gorilla warrior and a spider-like creature.
The Micromasters almost got their own command center which would have transformed into a carrying case. Something similar was released by Tonka for their Go-Bots line, but this Transformer version never made it into production.
Action Masters, the sub-group everyone loves to hate ("Transformers that don't transform? That's stupid!") also had more figures planned. Here's an example of a vehicle that would have turned into armor for an Action Master figure, as well as another proposed transforming vehicle.
One of the most bizarre Transformers concepts were the Generators. These figures would have a blob-like organic center surrounded by a transforming shell. Looks like these may have been inspired by both the concept of the Trans-Organics from the G1 cartoon as well as Krang from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I don't know how well they would have gone over with fans, but I'm guessing they would have been one of the most reviled Transformers concepts ever.
Much of the facts and images from this post come from Super Toy Archive, a great site to read about the history of modern action figures.
That's it for now, see you in a few!