Category Archives: Hasbro

THE LOST TREASURES OF CYBERTRON – Production Materials from Transformers History PART#1: The Transformers 1986 Movie Storyboards

Transformers the movie_Storyboards_Sequence 001_0002

I love to look up obscure Transformers memorabilia, production documents, cel sheets, comic book art, storyboards and other cool junk.

I’ll never own any of it, these things are out of my price range as a collector, and prices have only gotten more crazy high over the last decade or so.

While it’s great on one level that certain kinds of stuff is out there if you want to hunt for it – on the other hand the way a lot of this material makes its way into collections can be dubious.Transformers the movie_Storyboards_Sequence 001 Unicron planet close up

Production materials find way into the world through unofficial channels – found in a dumpster, stolen by an ex employee, sold on ebay etc.

Sometimes we get a Jim Sorensen, who hunts out obscure material like the Hasbro/Sunbow TF model sheets, and has those model sheets and reference material turned into books for everyone to enjoy. But not many people have that kind of passion, dedication and community spirit.

Transformers the movie_Storyboards_Sequence 001_0001

Other times someone obtains some rare and unique production materials – and it remains in their collection for good and that is the end of it (well until they die, or sell it on ebay I guess). Sometimes it’s a public piece, and people hear about it – other times its a private deal for something *rumored* to even exist at all.


I’m the kind of person that if I had my hands on some obscure reference material such as productions scripts, story boards, cel sheets, sketches, art etc – I would scan and upload them for people to enjoy. Although this sort of stuff can sell for some serious money, to me they have no actual value in dollars. Their true value is in their IDEAS and history of the Transformers brand itself. These are cheap disposable material, easily replicated in digital format. I mean you can’t do that with say a production prototype, I’m really talking about flat words and pictures here. And I’m talking explicitly about pre and production material here, not stolen comic book art or anything like that (that should be returned to its true owner where possible).

Transformers the movie_Storyboards_Sequence unicron1a

The upside with reproductions and facsimiles of production material is that everyone gets to enjoy them, and anyone into the history and lore of Transformers media can then at least use those digital files for writing and reference etc, as well as the aesthetic enjoyment. If no book exists, you could at least in theory print out some things for your own reference.

We will never have a true Transformers Museum, so it’s up to fans to preserve the history of the hobby. HASBRO has often dropped the ball in this regard, when it comes to the history of the brand – they are often clueless or just don’t care (with rare exception when there is a buck to be made) and leave a lot of the preservation to Takara.

blaster blasting at you ravage

The downside of a scan of say a sketch or piece of art, at a high resolution – is that there is a small side industry of pirated materials that are turned into posters, tshirts etc and then sold on places like ebay. Some people make a profit from this sort of thing, often from China or countries where the laws around copyright are different, or ignored for corporate and intellectual property.

blaster blasting at you ravage kick


Recently I was looking at some old ebay and Heritage auctions, including one that was for the movie production storyboards for the Transformers Movie (1986). I was amazed that such a thing had gotten into the hands of someone who was going to sell it.
To me that movie is somewhat sacred. It’s the source of many myths, lies and exaggerations in Transformers lore, the early drafts of the scripts, the various pre and post production changes that fans argue about what happened and why – I love it all.

hot rod fishing

There is a story about these storyboards and the various hands the original has passed through. I find it stupid that Hasbro didn’t keep it themselves (which is part of the story, you can look it up yourself if you like, it’s not what this post is about) – if they had it in their possession they could have been reprinted in a modern facsimile edition. Sure the market would be small, but it could have been print to order, or a limited run etc. And without someone dedicated working there to get a project like that going – it probably would never happen anyway.

prime blast off


But Hasbro are notoriously pretty awful about preserving anything from their Transformers history. Any to be fair most pre-digital materials like storyboards usually go in the dumpster. Most movie materials are considered a disposable part of pre-production. If film makers kept everything, studios would run out of space to store all that crap.

megatron crush you with my bare hands

I’m grateful that the Transformers 1986 Movie Storyboards were found again at all, rather than disappearing forever. But I feel a little sad that this piece of Transformers history was auctioned off like a piece of meat. The final price it sold for is kind of insane when you consider it’s just pieces of beat up black and white paper.

winning bid2 lots 16000

The storyboards and all versions of the script, would make a for an amazing coffee table book. To some fans a black and white book of scribbles, pen notes, script drafts and storyboards would be a bit bland. Sure, I get it. But throw some color images (Intro and Appendix) in there, add in a bit of commentary from people like Jim Sorensen and Chris McFeely and Flint Dille and it would really bring to life material that can be a bit dry. For me though, that shit is super exciting – it’s the ideas and raw material that formed so much of what we love.


Years back Bob Budianksy was at some convention or other and showed some of his original notes. Not computer files, not model sheets, not even full scripts.

Just plain ordinary notes on one dollar worth of paper. People loved it, it got them psyched up.  The material (the paper) was the most mundane thing you can imagine, worthless really. But the IDEAS on that paper… literally priceless if you look at all that has come after the fact.

transformers production notes tech specs outline.jpg

It makes me a little sad that the storyboards are not in some Transformers museum somewhere, as the storyboards are the first version of the movie, they are the (along with the various drafts of the script) the blueprints and the skeleton on which the finished theatrical film was built. I love that film about everything about it.

To me its a significant part of Transformers history and something to be preserved for all fans to enjoy. I don’t like that ONE fan somewhere in the world gets to enjoy it, and hoard it away.

Perhaps some people feel this way about toy prototypes? I don’t care about toy prototypes at all. However a high quality book of photos and commentary about that sort of thing is a book I would buy for sure. So maybe there are fans who say “so what, who gives a flying fuck about some dusty old scripts and storyboards?”


It’s a strange thing in our culture where during the production of a TV show, movie etc, the materials used during production are considered disposable. Only years later with nostalgia, or a fandom that has grown around a certain media property that unexpectedly lasts – do we start craving these things like Gollum in lord of the rings.

Often production materials are found in the garbage. In some cases things from TV shows and movies are literally found in dumpsters and then go on to be sold for thousands of dollars. Props, bits of sets, screen worn clothing – all kinds of stuff. The floating barrels  from JAWS for example. Who could have ever predicted those would be valuable one day? Who would even think to keep them? Well somebody clearly did.

Me and the Useless Air Barrels Steven E. Belanger JAWS screen used
Blogger Stephen Belanger in front of screen used JAWS Barrels

Things are a little different in 2017 – there has never been a bigger after market for props and screen used production materials and related paraphernalia such as licensed high end toys and statues. Corporations have a big side business not just in licensed action figures and toys etc, but in selling off screen used props and materials. They are not just int the movie entertainment game, but the long running I.P. game.

The days of just finding super valuable things in dumpsters for free, are long gone (with rare exceptions) as more and more companies realize how valuable their I.P. is, and how fans are interested not just in the final product, and the story we are being told, but in the pre-production, production and post-production process, the story BEHIND the story, the larger story you get to discover for yourself if you care to. And some rare fans get to own a little piece of movie history, a little piece of magic to marvel at.

Rodimus Prime arises

The proliferation of DVD/BD “extra features” over the last decade or two so has given us so much material that normally goes in the studio vault, the cutting room floor, on into the garbage. We get to see things previously only the director got to see. Discarded idea, things that didn’t work, alternate takes on things that did work.

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Creators never know which of their creations are going to take off and fly, and which are gong to crash and burn. Keeping every scrap, doodle, draft, and aborted stop-start take on an idea would be impractical. But it would also be a shame when the next Bugs Bunny, Batman or Optimus Prime comes along, and we don’t get to see the original art, or see the names they *almost* were called, or how some project that went on to spawn an empire, was nearly canned at the planning stages.

megatron reformatted by unicron

Whether toy box art, comic book original art, plans, documents and all the behind that scenes stuff that preceded The Transformers all adds up to interesting stuff in my book. The few scrappy remains we get to hear about today are mostly folks talking on podcasts, or the odd convention panel bit of trivia. Most of the old stuff is lost to the ravages of time and fallacious memory.

megatron reformatted into galvatron


On the rare occasion we get to see an original document, or part of the creative process – it’s great when everyone gets to see it. For example Jim Shooter’s original treatment / outline for The Transformers fiction. Imagine if that was never transcribed and nobody got to see it. Fortunately any fan that cares to can devour that bit of text anytime they like, thanks to the transcribed text on various sites such the Transforming Seminarian blog – and Jim’s larger picture behind the scenes story told over two enthralling blog posts on his own website.

scourge and his sweeps

Jim Shooter’s Original Transformers Treatment (featured on Transforming Seminarian blog)

The Secret Origin of the TRANSFORMERS – Part 1

The Secret Origin of the TRANSFORMERS – Part 2

(featured on Jim Shooter blog)

Transformers The Movie 86 Storyboards
Transformers The Movie 86 Storyboards

While things like concept art and storyboards are common tools in film pre-production today, with the move to digital media for the majority of these materials  – pre-digital production materials become even more rare and potentially valuable.

The real value to me is not in any ebay auction of something dusty and forgotten relic for a silly price. The value to me is in the preservation of the material itself, so that it can be seen and understood by other people down the line, who may not even be born yet.

megatron and laserbeak

It’s only an animated film. It’s only a piece of 80’s entertainment about robots smashing shit up to sell toys. It’s only for kids.  It’s only the death of a icon. It’s only the transformation of another icon. It’s only the passing of a mantle and the birth of a new hero. It’s only non-stop rock and roll. It’s only a movie stuffed to the bursting seams with so many exciting ideas and new things. It’s only myth and magic in the modern day.

It’s only a movie, to be forgotten and lost to the ravages of time.



*Picture of the original Transformers Movie Storyboards (pink folder) courtesy of The Space Bridge / Facebook website

*JAWS Barrels image from Stephan Belanger blog

*Ebay Store listing screen cap of Storyboard Acution courtesy of

*For items in The Space Bridge ebay store please visit:


COLLECTORS SPOTLIGHT: Transformers Generation 1 to Masterpiece and Everything in Between with Michael Vella from Sydney


M Vella optimus prime.jpg

Q. Who are you, where are you from and what do you collect?

My name is Michael Vella, I’m from Sydney and I collect pre-TF, G1,
Masterpiece, Generations, RID 2001 and Beast era figures.

m vella collection 1

Q. Do you collect anything other than Transformers?

Not particularly. I have a bit of Powers Rangers stuff, bit of Lego, few
Digimon tamagotchis, but really my passion is Transformers.

Q. How does collecting fit with your lifestyle, family, friends etc?

My family and friends have all accepted my obsession with collecting.


m vella collection 8 modern tf

Q. Do you ever go to conventions, are you involved in any social groups or collector clubs etc?

I don’t go to conventions, but I have been to plenty of Transformer meetups which is something I really enjoy. Having a conversation in real life is so much nicer than behind a computer. I am a member of TCCA and former NSW rep. I also admin a group called
Transformers BST Down Under which is going really well so far.

m vella collection 9 combiners

Q. When did you start collecting, and do you remember your first ever Transformer toys? Was it something you bought yourself, or a gift from family etc?

I had a few Transforming toys beforehand, but I want to say I started really collecting around Beast Machines, and my older brother was showing me episodes of G1 around that time as well which is why I love the older series despite those toys not being on shelves when I was a kid. The Commemorative reissues that came out a couple years later were great for me though. I have very vague recollections of G2 toys, but the first Transformers I remember ever buying were Beast Wars Scarem and Air Hammer.

m vella collection 5 diaclone convoy

Q. Do you have any specific collection goals in your lifetime, or any specific “exit strategy” eg a point where you can see yourself stopping?

I’d love to own a Diaclone PC DX set one day, but I can’t see that happening without winning the lotto. Ha! My biggest goal for right now is getting a Milton Bradley red Tracks. I keep saying after this or that I’ll stop collecting or take a break, but I don’t think it will happen for a long time realistically.

m vella collection 2 starscream

Q. Do you have an all time favourite line of Transformers toys, what makes this line so special for you? And what line do you like the least out of everything we have had so far?

My favourite line is easily G1. I find the aesthetic of those vintage toys so wonderful to look at even though they have the articulation of a brick, but there is just a certain charm about them. It’s hard for me to say what I like the least out of all the different lines as I tend to not buy stuff that doesn’t look appealing. I can say that the Titanium line is the worst I’ve actually gotten into, thankfully I no longer own anything from that line.

m vella collection 10 astro train g1 omega supreme

Q. Favourite Transformer characters and favourite Transformers toys? 

Favourite characters are G1 Bumblebee, G1 Starscream and Beast Wars Blackarachnia. One of my favourite toys is the G1 Bumblebee mold of which I have a few variations, I think it’s well designed for it’s era and fun. My most favourite toy above all is my Diaclone Powered Convoy as that is something I have wanted for a very long time.

m vella collection 3 minibots and prime

Q. Of all the Transformers fiction out there, what is your favourite?

In terms of fiction I have to say Beast Wars is incredibly well written and put together for its time. I do love the G1 toys more than BW toys, but the BW show beats G1 show quite easily.

m vella collection 6 mechabot 1 mp valkyrie

Q. What would you like to see for the foreseeable future of the brand eg more toys, comics, cartoons, films, games, media etc? And what would you like NOT to see for the brand?

This answer may be odd as I feel we aren’t getting enough G1 Masterpeices quick enough, but in terms of Generations I am starting to want something a bit different than the same G1 characters over and over. After POTP finishes I would like to give Generations collecting a break unless they heavily focus on other eras like BW or RID 2001.

m vella collection 7 RID 2001

Q. Any unique, rare or special items in your collection?

Yeah I have a few rarities. At the moment I’m focusing on Prime variants
and I collect pre-TF as mentioned previously. I’d say my rarest figures
are Diaclone blue Fairlady and G2 Breakdown.

m vella collection 4 max g2 stunticon


rid ruination




LET ME OFF AT THE TOP! Transformers, Ninja Turtles and RON BURGUNDY!

For the last three years or so I’ve focused on collecting Transformers.

Over the last six months I’ve re-focused on collecting some various TMNT toys and figures as well as a select few TF toys.

And my focus is changing again in 2018, away from just toys back to video games, books and other media such as comics (in collected editions).

I might even just finish reading the most stylish autobiography in existence of a fictional TV Anchorman – Mr Ron Burgundy – with help from little Ron – the classiest and sweariest man doll in existence (yes it speaks voice clips from the movies).

The Anchorman doll was a surprise gift from my Mrs one year, he comes with cloth clothing in a Barbie style large box and says many offensive phrases including the infamous “smelly pirate hooker” line. It is one of my favourite toys of all time.

People have often commented when they see him mixing it up with Optimus and other Transformers in pictures shared online “Is that an Anchorman toy?”

Yes…….yes it is San Diego!


There are several reasons for this move away from Transformers toys.

1. I’m out of space, and have storage tubs out the wazoo – not so much a joke as an unfortunate medical condition. I don’t see the point of continuing to collect anything new that just goes straight into a storage tub with no hope of being displayed. I might as well just flush hundred dollar bills down the toilet with a  mad Joker grin on my face.

2. I’ve bought/traded for/acquired the majority of Transformers toys from all of the various lines that I really wanted to get when I started out. Loose G1 Metroplex and Scorponok? Check. CW Combiners, check? Various Unicron Trilogy and pre-cheaped out plastic TF’s, check!

There are more essential Transformers yet to collect – G1 overlord, Power of the Primes Terrorcons, Dinobots and Predacons, a few more 3P Bots – but I’ll likely buy small amounts of new and classic Transformers stretched out over several more years – such as the fantastic Transformers Animated line of toys.

And I’ll wait until I have a display space available for them, rather than forever have not enough shelves and be shoving everything hastily into storage tubs so I can actually move and walk through this room, rather than be surrounded by 5 foot high piles of boxes that threaten to topple me over and end my collecting ways.

Some people’s puzzle box nightmares are hellish, my nightmare is ordinary boxes piled to the ceiling of un-displayed collectibles.. It makes me feel too many box related emotions.


I’m still collecting Transformers comics in trade form, and have a nice space for them so need not fear the dreaded overcrowded syndrome. The Hachette collection will finally give me the full run of 80’s Marvel TFUS and TFUK in nice hardbound volumes.

Admittedly I’ve hastily shoveled some other crap in there too, but it’s just temporary until I segregate the other comics and stuff.

And I still continue to watch the various TF shows, and will have plenty more articles relating to transformers media old, new and Cybertron blue appearing on this blog for the foreseeable future.

I may do some capsule comments and photos of my existing Transformers collection.
Something I did not care to do when I started this blog – preferring to focus on original content, rather than “hey, here’s a fucking bland picture of a toy you can see on literally dozens of other websites”.

So expect hopefully Not Fucking Bland pictures of toys, and more non-reviews. I’m more interested in the media and characters the toys represent than how much fucking plastic they used at the crap factory to make it.

I’ve enjoyed doing brief photos and comments on the Ninja Turtle stuff I’ve collected in recent months, so perhaps will do the same with Transformers, focusing on a toy or two at a time. It will give me a reason to look back over every toy I’ve collected. Still a good few Mega Bloks sets to assemble and talk about. They are quite amazing, I’ve recently acquired the Mega Bloks Technodrome, and it’s a real beast of a toy that I have yet to assemble.


I’m not done with 3P Transformers yet, my most recent one was the Fans Hobby version of Powermaster Prime, who manages to look a lot more like his old design sketches that preceded his G1 PMP toy.

Fans Hobby Powermaster Prime below is gigantonormously HUGE!

I had to make up a new word just to describe him. He’s basically the size of Armada Unicron, and very heavy with a lot of strong robust plastic used in his parts.
He truly feels like the first Powermaster Optimus toy to live up to the “POWER” part of the name, he just embodies this colossal titan like look, he’s a tank on legs really. A Japanese super-robot powered up to his final form in the grand tradition.

The design sketch has Roller transforming into a headmaster. The Fans Hobby version does not do this, but has the Ginrai style transforming chest grill/engine. Other than that, the Fans Hobby version is very faithful to the old design sketch with its incredibly chunky proportions.

Later versions of PMP art for packaging, advertising and the Marvel Comics used the typical toy based art. A shame as it would have been cool to see the above version of Optimus PMP in the Marvel Comics or cartoon instead of the awkward looking illustrated robot we got below.

With my  self-imposed selective restrictions on Transformers toy buying, I’ve been picking up more 80’s and 90’s themed toys . TMNT, Thundercats, Care Bears, Disney Afternoons animation and other stuff.

The contractually obliged picture of gaming related paraphenalia.

A lot of the other stuff I’ve been getting into has a certain TOON aesthetic to it. The Disney Afternoons Uncle Scrooge has to be one of the nicest looking toys I’ve bought in years. It’s small and its cheap, and it’s just stunningly beautiful.

Modern Transformers are fun to mess around with, but often severely lacking aesthetically. If you want premium paint and details, you have to basically buy MP or 3P MP. It’s nice with some of the toys below to get great looking toys that pose well and go together for fun displays – without breaking the bank.

The NECA comic-con set from 2017 themed around the old cartoon is just a jaw dropping big old box of awesome.

Sure the box art is dodgy as fuck, (did somebody break Shredder’s legs…?) but it’s what is inside the damn  box that counts!

Breaking out those lovely lovely detailed NECA TMNT toys was one of the best “toy moments” for me in several years. To finally have a toon style Shredder, and some absolutely brilliant looking pizza loving toon style turtles put the biggest smile of the year on my face.

The other toys that gave me the most joy recently were the big NECA 1990 live action movie based toys. The ones based on the Henson Workshop puppets with Golden Harvest ass-kicking martial artists pulling off crazy flips and jumpkicks – giving us not just silly puppets, but the most realistic looking version of the Ninja Turtles in existence.

Collecting all four of those pricey giant super heavy turtles was something I did not think would happen. I sold old video games, got one as a present for Christmas from the Mrs, and was JUST able to afford all four over several months. Those party loving dudes along with the Disney figures below (Chip and Dale, Darkwing, Scrooge, Baloo) reminded me of what I love about collecting toys. It’s the characters more than any gimmick or slick paint scheme that matter to me.

It’s the lore and the stories, their world, their values and what those characters mean to me in my daily life and to others around the world. Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Mikey, Darkwing Duck – you can’t go wrong with those characters man!

So for upcoming Transformers content, I have several long winded articles about various Transformers fiction that I’ve worked on for over six months, some as long as twelve months – that are long overdue to appear on this blog due to the usual time / work / offline life commitments.

I have two big articles on Megatron coming up, such as the one above, and another one on Marvel Comics / cartoon Megatron and another article on WTF! happened to post-movie Galvatron in S3 of Transformers, when he went from being THIS GUY…

to THIS guy….


S3 Galvatron joins the search party that is going out to look for….himself

If you want the short version of my Galvatron article, here it is in 3 images. But the actual article will have ideas, theories and other bullshit that I totally make up and attempt to justify.

Hmmm what else….
Some more silly lists about fun / odd stuff in the classic Marvel Comics run of Transformers by Budianksy and Furman. An article on Giant City Bots, more articles of me watching complete runs of various Transformers show (Hint: Masterforce, Robots in Disguise 2002, Beast Wars), and an  article on the art of The Notorious Floro Dery.

Also coming along in the near future: an article on Why Starscream can’t seem to Stay Dead, an article on Primus and Unicron (including their convoluted contradictory origins and influences). And some more Q&A’s with various fans / collectors that I very much look forward to reading as well as posting here.

What you won’t be seeing is Bayhem Movie related articles, (unless I talk about a toy). Speaking of the cartoon devil, in a recent explosion fueled announcement, Mikey did reveal the source of all his good ideas…


…If you’ll excuse me I have scotch to drink and a NEWS-TEAM to ASSEMBLE! 😜

This post was brought to you by “Ab-Crunch Motion” and “Lazer Swordology”. If you would like to buy the home version of “Ab Crunch Motion” send $22 Cyber-Bucks to Fuck Off City c/o Cybertron.

NOTE: This version was updated due to un-changeable formatting issues in wordpress of the previous version. I’ll leave the old version up for a while, and then delete it in a month or so, otherwise the folks following the old link will get a “broken link” instead of the blog.