Introductory: The *Definitive* Sunbow Scale Chart

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by tekering, Jul 7, 2013.

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  1. tekering

    tekering Missing a member

    Aug 20, 2010
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    The Land of the Rising Sun
    (Note that this is an image-heavy thread. Just be patient while your browser uploads all of the images. ~Superquad7)

    There were plenty of scale charts produced by Sunbow for The Transformers TV series and feature film, and most can be found online -- albeit in extremely low-resolution form, scanned from old photocopies or photographed under less-than-ideal conditions. It was my intention to reproduce this data in much greater detail, and in a single comprehensive image for ease of reference. Here is the result of my efforts, involving several hours of meticulous scanning, resizing, and clean-up:


    Link to the full 7K resolution image (warning, it's massive!)

    First, a sort of pre-emptive FAQ:

    1. How can you claim your own work to be "definitive?"

    I have done no secondary research, second-guessing relative scales based on animation footage or other sources; I have merely reproduced the characters exactly as they appeared in all the available reference charts. Therefore, this work is above reproach, and not open to fan interpretation.

    2. How can you call this "definitive," when [my favorite G1 character] is missing?

    As it was my intention to reproduce the original scale charts, only characters depicted in archive materials are presented here. None of the Season 2 combiner teams, for instance, appear on any of the available scale charts, and a large portion of the Season 3 cast is absent.

    3. How come [my favorite G1 character] appears to be a different scale in [my favorite G1 episode]?

    Given episodes were being produced for syndication by at least four different studios simultaneously, inconsistencies are bound to crop up from episode to episode (or indeed, within the same episode, with poorly-drawn animation becoming more and more common as the series progressed). The reason these charts were produced to begin with was as a means of avoiding such problems, but there's not much you can do when a studio like AKOM is responsible for the bulk of your animation.


    4. Why have you included modern Hasbro labels for toy size classes?

    Why not? I designated a specific color for each reference line for clarity, and figured the lines ought to be labeled as well. You can judge your Classics, Universe, Generations, or Masterpiece figures accordingly.

    5. Do I have your permission to use this image elsewhere?

    I don't have the authority to tell you what to do with this work; this is not based on any calculations I have done, nor is any of the artwork mine to use. If anyone deserves credit, it's Flory Dery (who did most of the character design artwork) and Jim Sorenson (who gathered and published as much archive material as he could manage).

    I should also acknowledge Cobalt Agent's contribution, having gathered most of the existing scans into a single post a few years back.

    If this thread belongs in a different section of the forum, my apologies; I wasn't quite sure what to do with it.

    Great work, Bountyan. Let me help you fill those holes:

    Weirdwolf's Headmaster is named Monzo.
    Chromedome's Headmaster is named Stylor.
    Cerebros' Headmaster is Spike Witwicky.
    Spike's father (top left) is called Sparkplug.

    Oh, and you've got Grapple and Inferno reversed.

    Wow, great to see my work has been so well-received. I figured there'd be a demand for it, but not this much! :D 

    They are inside Omega Supreme several times, too...

    ...and Jetfire...

    ...and Astrotrain...

    Hell, they even manage to fit in Huffer!


    Clearly, alt. mode scales are totally irrelevant to this discussion.

    As you pointed out with the Season 2 Omega Supreme chart, the cut-and-pasted Optimus is clearly too large; I rejected the inconsistently-scaled Rodimus next to Predaking for the same reason.

    More importantly, the next-largest object should always be the primary basis for assessing scale, as it's the most effective way of confirming accuracy. Ignoring Predaking's height and focusing solely on the tiny Rodimus would not only increase the margin of error, but result in an even smaller Metroplex than what the chart represents (and indeed, how he and Trypticon are depicted in the animation).

    I'm extremely happy to have your feedback, however, as someone who's been down this path before and knows how difficult it is to stay objective. The temptation to rely on visual evidence from specific episodes, statistics from secondary sources, and other supporting data (though ultimately irrelevant) is great... but I have striven to maintain complete objectivity.

    That's because he wasn't consistently depicted that way... presumably because the toy turned out to be smaller than his pals.

    It does make it easier to justify a Voyager-class Springer on your Classics shelf, though.

    Sure, Remy... in my free time, when I have nothing to do.
    By the way, your galleries are legendary. Did you ever reach the big 500?

    At Masterpiece scale (consistent since MP-10), Trypticon would stand about seven feet tall. You'd probably need an Olympic weight-lifting team to transform him.


    Well-spotted, my friend. The character models published in the Ark (presumably provided by Sunbow) were of such poor quality that I substituted the Japanese models for most of the Headmasters.

    Ah, but making suppositions like "I think they should be..." and "they seem too big" is exactly the subjective quagmire that leads to this:
    That's why I've attempted to stay completely objective, and stuck only to the officially-published scales.

    Furthermore, if asked to choose between The Headmasters (a 35-episode series produced by Toei Animation) or "The Rebirth" (a three-episode serial produced by AKOM), The Headmasters will always come out on top. It led G1 through a Japanese renaissance that continued for years, whereas "The Rebirth" led Hasbro to pull the plug entirely. Japanese fans got over a hundred more G1 episodes -- more than were ever produced in the US to begin with -- and a greatly-expanded mythology that included Pretenders, Brainmasters, and Godmasters. American fans got a year of re-runs and Tommy Kennedy.

    This is why, like most Japanese fans, I ignore "The Rebirth" entirely.

    Damn, you're right. I probably should omit the Headmaster characters entirely, then... since I can't change the thread title.

    My apologies; being a Transformers fan named Remy, I assumed you must be TFKenkon. I have a bad habit of jumping to conclusions like that.

    You must be that Headmaster mouse from Ratatouille, then.

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  2. Bountyan

    Bountyan Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2008
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    Here you go. There are two near the bottom that I don't know.

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  3. Cobalt Agent

    Cobalt Agent My dick kills dinosaurs

    Feb 2, 2005
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    I applaud Tekering's efforts here.

    If I may ask, though, considering the discrepancy in size for combiners in the scale charts themselves, would it not be better to scale Trypticon and Metroplex from Rodimus Prime than Predaking? I point out here - - that Devastator and Omega Supreme are incorrect in season 2, being smaller than Devastator in season 1. Likewise Predaking in the above scan in too small, being only about 2x Rodimus' height. In my chart linked above I scale from the commander/leader character and not the combiner. Either Rodimus is huge or the combiner is small and I went with small combiner.

    My theory is that for whatever reason combiners had two sizes used in animated media - the cartoon and the commercials. The full size which you used correctly, as does the Season 1 chart and the Headmasters chart, which is about 2.5X leader height. And smaller than 2X leader size, often in commercials. The smaller size could also be for initial combination (I doubt animators wanted to draw parts growing during combination). Predaking is actually shown growing a few seconds after the Predacons already combined in the episode Chaos. Idk, it can't all make sense I suppose.

    I'll send you a pm.

    That's fair. I don't think Sunbow had anything to do with Headmasters though. And that's my concern honestly/reason for mentioning it. I think Sunbow itself was only involved with the western/Marvel portion of the franchise. So if you're going by The Headmasters' scale, it'd be wrong to call it the definitive Sunbow scale rather than merely the definitive Japanese scale thread. Rebirth and Headmasters are very different as you point out, so I bring up that inconsistency as for why, I think, the Headmasters scale for nebulans shouldn't be used in a topic about Sunbow scale which would accurately show Rebirth scale as it's the US side. I was only thinking about the actual topic title. Officially yes that's the only scale chart we have for those characters as no Rebirth charts have been made to my knowledge.


    Also, I got bored, so.


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