Who designed the post-1986 toys/characters?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Suboptimal Optimus, May 15, 2021.

  1. Suboptimal Optimus

    Suboptimal Optimus There Is Such A Thing As Truth

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    I've been writing a lot lately about character design and changes in the design elements of Transformers from era-to-era and subline-to-subline and after writing down about the weirdness of Beast Wars designs and the more retro scifi/raygun look of Floro Dery's Movie designs I've been left wondering: who is it that designed what in the post-Movie era? The various -masters that aren't a reuse of a previous G1 mold don't quite seem to entirely fit the designs of the likes of Rodimus, Galvatron or Springer.

    Now its generally established that season 1/2 Transformers are a flat reuse of Diaclone, Microman and others molds and that the season 3 designs were more of an American-made thing but what about the 1987-onward designs? Were the Headmasters American-designed or did the post-movie era go back to Takara doing the design first? Was it a collab? Did Hasbro commission Japanese designers from then on to make new toy design first rather than animation model first?
     
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  2. Max Rawhide

    Max Rawhide Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' ... uh, never mind

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    Not the most knowledgable on this subject, especially movie and beyond, but my impression was always like this:

    pre-movie: moulds from existing toylines most from Diaclone and Microchange, either already released in these lines or in design/prototype stage

    movie: mainly animation models that had to be turned into actual toys. We know in case of Hot Rod and Rodimus that Takara had a hand in realising these since they initially made the Hot Rod toy bigger than the Rodimus toy, because they liked it better. Takara has also shown an old prototype of Rodimus indicating that they definitely played a part in realising these.

    post-movie: Hasbro designs realised by Takara designers. The Takara-only figures from this era appear to be along the same design concept and contrast to the Diaclone/Micro-Change era, suggesting that they definitely played a part in the -Masters and other figures.
     
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  3. Embee Prime

    Embee Prime Well-Known Member

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    I've always assumed it was Hasbro designs post movie, with Takara gradually moving off in their own direction during '87 & '88. Releasing some exclusives, repaints and Diaclone/Microman leftovers during those two years, and finally having a totally unique line in 1989 with Victory.

    I'd be interested to learn more details on the designers, if anyone has that information? Were they in-house at Hasbro, or contracted out to Takara?
     
  4. lordcryotek

    lordcryotek Watch for waspies

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  5. CZ Hazard

    CZ Hazard Sons of Unicron PTT

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    The two companies have worked in conjunction developing new toys since the 86 line, even on lines which weren't immediately released in all territories like the Eurozone, US exclusive Pretenders, and Japanese exclusive lines like QT or Alternity. There is always some sharing and communication on all projects.
    Source: I've heard both Aaron Archer and Hideaki Yoki state this in person.

    The big exception to this was when Hasbro was licensing products from other companies for US release but that was pre-86 (and led to the interesting history of Sky Lynx).

    Interestingly the Scramble City guys were apparently planned to be their own Takara line unrelated to Microman, Diaclone or Transformers, but sales of Transformers branded products were so strong they used them as filler for the first quarters of 86 pre-Movie and they ended up being mainstays of the line for years.
     
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  6. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    Basically, Hasbro told Takara what gimmick they wanted, and Takara took it from there.
     
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  7. KFGatri

    KFGatri Madman with a Blue Box

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    That's vastly oversimplified, and not really true.
    Only slightly less simplified: on average, Hasbro comes up with the concepts, character designs, etc. while Takara handles the engineering. But they're both an integral part of the process, though. Takara alone comes up with stuff like Transformers Go and the clunky JBW/CR original molds. Hasbro alone comes up with stuff like Titanium. So really, neither side can really do the job right alone.
     
  8. Dragonclaw

    Dragonclaw Comic Ink - Dublin, CA

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    I've always wondered what the possible fiction was for the Brave Police characters who were obviously developed to be Transformers and if there were ever any thoughts of a non Japanese release under the TF banner. Especially Build Tiger and Land Bison who were far enough into TF planning that they Build Tiger has faction logo shaped indents in the mold itself.
     
  9. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    This thread was originally about the post-1986 toys, which my answer was directed at.

    I'm fully aware of the more collaborative design process that started somewhere around "Beast Wars", but it's not relevant to the question at hand.

    Different processes apply at different times. My answer was about the time period this thread is about, nothing else.
     
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  10. KFGatri

    KFGatri Madman with a Blue Box

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    But even then, I think it was more collaborative, rather than just Hasbro asking for a concept and Takara doing the rest.
     
  11. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

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    I'm going from memory based on my interview with George Dunsay back around 2007, and some additional details from him that didn't end up in the published interview. Though Dunsay himself admitted that he was biased insofar as what he would consider a "designer".
     
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  12. Suboptimal Optimus

    Suboptimal Optimus There Is Such A Thing As Truth

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    Yeah I'm mostly curious about the toys from the 'gap' era between The Movie/Season 3 until G2/Beast Wars. Now obviously some designs were Japanese-made for their own show, like Overlord or the new stuff for Victory but the various -masters are in such a grey area I'm really curious who made them first drawing-wise. Like I said I'm fully aware of the collaborative nature of Transformers but that isn't what I wanted to know. Who the hell drew up the design and style of the various -masters and contemporaries? I'm inclined to believe Takara took a more direct approach again because we see an improvement from the derpy-ass Movie/Season 3 designs.
     
  13. Thundercracker Blue

    Thundercracker Blue Well-Known Member

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    This topic interests me greatly.

    Personally, I always found the post-‘86 designs to be more simple and kiddie toy-like than the Diaclone/Microchange stuff. Almost like Tonka toys. As an American kid, these new designs felt decidedly American, whereas the original designs had a more sophisticated, mature, and ultimately exotic feel. The new designs felt childish and gauche. The last figure I bought was Sureshot, and when I held it in hand I felt almost embarrassed to own it.

    For me, Golden Age G1 was about sweet Japanese imports. Late G1 was the equivalent of hair-bands and Hulk Hogan. No subtlety. No mystery. No thanks . . .
     
  14. Prime Noble

    Prime Noble Well-Known Member

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    Primus