Wednesday, 17 July 2019

TRANSFORMERS finally gets a movie-accurate Unicron toy

It's taken thirty-three years, but finally a movie-accurate Transformers toy of Unicron, the Chaos-Bringer, is set for release...if Hasbro can drum up enough interest.

Introduced in Transformers: The Movie (1986) and improbably voiced by Orson Welles (in his last cinematic appearance), Unicron is a planet-sized robot which consumes entire worlds for fuel. Destroyed in the film but brought back numerous times in different continuities, Unicron is one of the most popular characters in the Transformers mythology. In 1988 his backstory was expanded upon by writer Simon Furman to make him a key part of the origin myth for the entire franchise.

A prototype Unicron toy made in the late 1980s for release as part of the original toyline. Rather fortunately, "Beer Belly Unicron" never made it to the shelves.

The only problem with Unicron is that his size, bulk and shape has made it extremely difficult to base actual toys on him...which for a franchise originally built around selling toys is a bit of a problem. A toy was prototyped to tie in with the release of the original movie, but it ended up looking a bit ridiculous and was shelved.

The first Unicron you could actually buy with real Earth money.

In 2003 Unicron finally did get a toy, albeit one based on his considerably more toy-friendly redesign from the Transformers: Armada animated series. This was re-released with a new colour scheme a year later for the sequel series, Transformers: Energon. This toy has subsequently been re-released several times with a colour scheme and different head design to be more reminiscent of the original Unicron design.

Apart from these, there have been a few non-transforming statues of the character, but never before has anyone attempted an actual, original movie-accurate, transforming Unicron toy. Until now.

"I have summoned you here for a purpose."

Takara and Hasbro have joined forces and created a monster of a toy. This new Unicron, released as part of the War for Cybertron range, is 27" tall in robot mode and 30" in diameter, making him comfortably the largest Transformers toy ever created in the entire history of the franchise. He features over 50 points of articulation and comes mounted on a large stand in planet-killer mode (a necessity given that mode's spherical shape). The toy weighs a whopping 19 pounds (8.61kg).

"Destroy the Matrix. And your bank balance."

If this sounds expensive, you would not be wrong. Hasbro are not mass-producing this toy for the mass market. Instead they are seeking funding it through their Hasbro Pulse initiative. To make the toy practical, they require 8,000 backers to pledge $574.99 apiece (that's about £463) by the end of August. Even given the fanaticism of the Transformers collectors' market, that may be a big ask but we'll see how it gets on.

If funded, the toy would be released in 2021.

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