Tag Archives: Galvatron

FLORO DERY’S UNIQUE CHARACTERS AND WORLD DESIGN COMES TO LIFE IN TRANSFORMERS THE MOVIE (1986)

Floro Dery is a professional artist and production designer who worked on The Transformers property for Hasbro/Sunbow/Marvel. He is known to have worked on model sheets, backgrounds and original character designs for Transformers The Movie (1986) not based on existing toys. Dery is credited in the final version of the movie for “Original Concept Design”.

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Other notable works include the Spider-Man newspaper strip, animated shows Visionaries (1987), The Transformers (1984), Spider-Man (1994) and The Pirates of Dark Water (1991). Dery is a competent artist and all rounder with skills in traditional comic book art, animation models, storyboards, design and traditional fantasy art in pencil, ink or paint.

spidey sideswipers horse man Floro Dery art 2.jpg

 

Dery created the visual design of the new movie characters. These characters were not based on any existing toys. Instead the characters were designed first, and the toys afterward – the reverse of the usual process when looking at the cartoon series that preceded the movie.

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The Dery designed movie main characters are: Hot Rod, Arcee, Blur, Kup, Wheelie, Springer, Cyclonus, Scourge, Unicron, Wreck-Gar, Sharkticons, Quintessons and of course the new leader of the decepticons Galvatron.

These movie characters share a few common themes and aesthetics.

These Floroformers are more humanoid in appearance, looking more like typical mecha and humans in suits than big boxy square robots. They also use more pastel type colors, rather than the primary flat colors of the usual Generation One crew. The exception was Ultra Magnus – the final movie version based on an existing Diaclone toy, and not on Dery’s designs.

You can read the full article on Floroformers at The TF Theoretician blog. A great read, follow the link just below. Incidentally, this fellow blogger is the Transformers fan who inspired me to start my own Transformers Blog.

Floroformers – it´s a thing!

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NEW WAVE PROBOTS AND ROBOPHOBES

This image (below) from a piece of promotional art has the contrast of the old school square boxy Megatron and Insecticons to the left in the flat dark colors juxtaposed with   Springer and the curvy new wave Floroformers in a skittles rainbow of soft pastel colors. These two features make the characters stand out dramatically from the older Season 1 main characters showing the organic often feminine influence of Dery’s stylized movie robots.

curvy legged floro formers 1

 

SUPER SPACE ROBOT WARS

It’s no secret that Transformers: The Movie draws several  parallels with Star Wars (1977). Apart from the most generic sense being a space fantasy opera – it has in particular:

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*A planet (or moon) sized weapon of ultimate mass destruction 

*A young naive character who refuses the call to be a hero, and later wields an object of power to become a hero and a leader

*A wise mentor figure 

*An experienced hero/rogue who guides our young naive Autobot 

*A female Autobot who literally has Princess Leia’s sidebun hairdo incorporated into her design, and is also an action heroine in her own right 

*An evil shadowy figure who dies and is literally reborn and serves a dark manipulative master

*Comical sidekick characters you either love or hate

“Arcee is the naked mechanical equivalent of Princess Leia of Star Wars” – Floro Dery

For more examples, check out this Japanese movie poster art which looks like a fun homage to a certain other famous movie poster. Also, some versions of the Transformers Movie did away with the opening narration and instead added in a scrolling story pre-amble text in a familiar slow crawl.

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ATOMIC POWERED AUTOMATONS

Compare Dery’s concept design for Ultra Magnus with the actual screen used character based on the Diaclone Powered Convoy toy. We can clearly see the extremes of the organic influenced Floroformer vs the traditional Big Square Boxy Japanese design of the 1970’s and 1980’s typical of super robots and mecha.

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Dery’s Ultra Magnus concept is radically different to the version we got in the finished film. Take a closer look and you’ll see it’s a familiar design that was recycled and used as Orion Pax – the Autobot who would one day become Optimus Prime, ironic considering the original Optimus Prime toy was the base robot for the souped up Powered Convoy that later became the base model for Ultra Magnus.

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In the early retailer preview of the movie, we catch a brief glimpse of Magnus in his original Powered Convoy toy colors. His final form is the more familiar colors we all know and love. Although, the original toy color scheme is one of the best designs ever made in any Transformers toy line in my opinion.

 

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FLOROFORCE ONE

In Dery’s early designs, the characters were even more rounded and cylindrical. More human like figures. The final designs were modified somewhat for the finished film giving some of the characters more squared off angles, and less.. well.. *Flow*. Making them more recognizable as not just robots, but Transformers style robots.

It’s a fair concession that no concept art would appear “as is” in the final film, concepts are for teasing out ideas and possible versions that lead to the final character model, which was ultimately up to Hasbro/Marvel and the core movie production staff who could use, reject or modify any of Dery’s concepts as they saw fit.

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In addition to designing the new characters for the Transformer movie, Floro Dery also came up with most of the visual settings and locations for the movie. Dery was tasked with concept designs such as backgrounds, buildings, settings and worlds such as Lithone, Quintessa, The Decepticon Hall of Heroes and the kaleidoscopic maze of terror that is Unicron’s Interior. Many of Dery’s designs were used in the final film and others were rejected or recycled elsewhere into the post movie Season 3 of The Transformers.

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Unicron interior, Quintessa, Lithone and the Planet of Junk

Other contributions to the film from Dery included designs such as the Sharkticons and Quintessons along with their world, the robot fish and giant robo-octopus that battle and nearly kill Kup and Hot Rod. Dery’s contributions to the production can really not be understated. On the one hand, he did a contract job and was paid for very specific things based on what the staff asked for, on the other hand he went above and beyond creating worlds and the visuals for new characters that have since become iconic and memorable to fans in their own right.

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THE WAR IS OVER

The surviving characters (and some who never appeared at all) in the movie from the G1 TV show were integrated into a new line up for Season 3 along with the new Dery designed movie characters bringing us back to a sense of the more familiar.

Not only did Season 3 showcase many of our old pre-movie favorites, but several characters who supposedly died in the movie turn up in random episodes of Season 3, either as themselves (animation/ continuity errors) or as reused character background models in different colors.

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This post movie mixed crew would also go on to feature briefly in Japanese series The Headmasters before that show branched off into its own sidestory about the battles between Headmasters Fortress Maximus and Scorponok/Zarak.

Headmasters ran with its own continuity and took characters from the movie, Season 3  and toylines of the time such as Chromedome and Hardhead into a melange of exciting new possibilities.

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STOP, THIEF! NO WELCOME-WAGON “HELLO STRANGER WITH THAT NEW COFFEE FLAVOR FOR YOU!”

Other notable Floro Dery contributions to Transformers Generation One include the Fembots and Alpha Trion in The Search for Alpha Trion and Autobot bounty hunter Devcon in The Gambler. The basic design and alt mode of Devcon would be reworked into Scourge/Sweeps (mentioned by Dery in one of his few interviews) and also of note is the pointy antenna on his head that would be featured on Blurr.

fembots and alpha trion

After being forgotten about for many years (the fembots appeared in only a single episode out of 98 episodes, sometimes left out of syndication) the Cybertronian  Fembots have finally had some mainline toys made including Chromia, Novastar, Elita-1 and more. These toys, unlike the old movie toys are full of the Dery Curves, or Floroformer look.

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SMOOTH MOVES

Scourge is perhaps the ultimate Floroformer. He has smooth curves to him in both robot and alt mode. He has feminine curves and pointy witch-like toes/boots and his animal claws/nails would later strangely have the look of nail polish added in to his final model.

Despite his intentionally alien nature Scourge still bears Dery’s distinctive organic influenced design or “Flow”. Compare Blur’s square old school mecha arms and legs with hard squared off edges to Scourge’s human like arms and legs with animal like claws/talons as fingertips.

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Scourge’s final model would be beefed up to more macho proportions from his earlier waif like feminine appearance – but still retain the basic feminine Floroformer look. His boot toes now looking less like Euro-fashion ladies boots and more like a menacing bladed weapon to go with his claws.

The pink nail polish highlight draws attention to these areas while giving a nice subtle color contrast to the wall of soft blues and greys.

Scourge wings now spread wide like Dracula and he stands defiantly, a strong and masculine pose in contrast to Dery’s picture on the left where is hunched over, gaunt, looking downward with his wings closer in like a meek bird about to feed on seeds. Scourge’s alt mode remains basically unchanged as it fit with the motif the writers asked for, that of futuristic cars and spacecraft, most of which comes across with the look of nineteen fifties American concept sports cars or typical European sci-fi fantasy art.

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ROUND AND ROUNDER

While a large scale endeavor such as an animated film is a Herculean group effort – the impression given from various production staff and Floro Dery himself in interviews is that he worked on his concepts and designs solo, doing whatever he pleased – some of it wildly different to the end results in the film, and very different than what the production specifically asked for.

Dery has openly admitted to having big ideas of things he wanted to include. Many of those ideas didn’t match the writers intent, but other ideas did so with enough material produced – the producers could pick through which Deryism’s matched their vision and reject what didn’t follow the intention of the overall production.

It’s the artist job to dream big, and the editor/producers job to cut away the unessential.

 

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As stunning and intricate as the giant hand like Autobot City with fingers stretching upward and it’s Attack Mode is, the design was rejected and instead the stock standard Fortress Outpost with kibble bits design that was approved. This basic New York city looking design was then recycled endlessly in Season 3 as well as The Headmasters (where you can sometimes see Metroplex cheekily parked out the back, or nearby).

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THE END OF EVERYTHING

The biggest spectacle in Transformers The Movie (other than the death of most of our beloved characters) was Unicron. Inspired by Marvel’s Galactus and the Death Star, with a little bit of the devil thrown in, and you get Unicron – the giant planet (or moon) sized Chaos Bringer, destroyer of worlds.

While his visual design is original – that of a giant robot devil – his role and function is almost identical to Galactus. Unicron travels the galaxy devouring worlds with his cosmically powered Herald. The final Unicron design retains the claws and horns of Dery’s organic influences, but is definitely a more male strong looking character without some of the sexier feminine design motifs of Galvatron or Scourge.

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Whether Unicron destroys everything out of boredom or purely to feed his enormous energy needs we never find out. Unicron’s motivations in the movie are almost non-existent. He simply exists, he is implicitly evil (or a force of robo-nature) and our heroes must find a way to end his imminent threat to all life.

Also borrowed right out of the old Marvel/Fantastic Four playbook is that Unicron – like Galactus – has the power to make heralds. Beings who are mind-controlled to do his bidding and receive a portion of his own power, and take on a new form in the process after making a choice of their own free will to become a herald. Thus Galvatron and the Silver Surfer share this tangential relationship of being transformed into powered up forms courtesy of their master.

silver surfer and galvatron
Perhaps I shall audition for BOTH roles Michael

If it seems like anybody is getting ripped off here, relax – don’t forget it was the old east coast LA based Marvel Productions that worked on the original Transformers TV show.

Many of the writers and people associated with the show were old ham’s – Marvel comic book and animation writers, and people that knew classic stories like Lee and Kirby’s Fantastic Four quite well and worked on other shows too like G.I. Joe, Robocop, X-Men, Biker Mice, Muppet Babies etc.

Marvel US and UK (the publishing arms or Marvel) also did the ongoing Transformers comic books of the 1980’s while their LA studio handled animation contracts and the licensing of movie and TV properties into comic books for the New York and London based operations.

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ALL EXPLOSIONS ALL THE TIME

For reasons unexplained Unicrons only weakness is The Matrix, not unlike Superman and Kryptonite. In earlier revisions of the movie plot Cybertron was also going to transform into a giant-ass planet former as Unicron’s equal and opposite.

Yes, friends, and now destroy Unicron, kill the grand poohbah, eliminate even the toughest stains

In the older redacted story, Optimus Prime was to travel to the heart of Cybertron and use the Matrix as a key to transform Cybertron into its robot mode to fight unicron.

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This plot element was dropped, leaving Hot Rod to simply open the matrix inside Unicron causing him to spontaneously explode for no good reason in a rather anti-climactic ending after the build up of the first two thirds of the film.

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A sidenote here is that Dery envisioned the design of The Matrix as like a thermonuclear bomb, thus explaining it’s atom-like core. However that’s not really part of the script or story, also in theory it should have blown up everybody inside Unicron too with its plasma energy explosion – but for whatever reason conveniently only affects Unicron.

hot rod matrix unicron explosion transformers movie

To be fair in the classic Fantastic Four Galactus storyline the heroes faced a similar world ending threat and the Silver Surfer tells the F4 leader Reed Richards of the “Ultimate Nullifier” – an overpowered plot MacGuffin weapon that Galactus *conveniently* keeps laying around where it can be easily stolen and used to beat him.

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A nonsense technological device or mystical artifact that can conveniently dispatch a stories unbeatable villain was nothing new then or now in popular fiction.

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Still at least if the writers, producers and artists of Transformers The Movie (1986) borrowed liberally from other sources they were genuinely good sources to borrow from such as Lee and Kirby’s Fantastic Four (1966) and George Lucas’ Star Wars (1977).

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With Unicron going ‘KER-SPLODE at the end of the film, we are left reeling in the aftermath with our new cast of heroes, the Floroformers who would go on to star in toy aisles across the nation sales and be featured in Season 3, leaving kids who loved the Season One and Two cast with endless nightmares wondering “What did I just see?”.

In the final moments, our heroes rejoice having beaten Unicron and have smiles upon their faces typical of the end credits freeze frame of eighties television – a moment that is at odds with the grim and serious tone of everything that happened before that moment in the film so far. Our new cast, the Floroformers are here to stay and the tone is set for them to be integrated into Season 3 of the ongoing Transformers TV show.

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Coming up in this TRANSFORMERS 1986 MOVIE blog series I’ll be taking a look at some of the key sequences of the film, delve further into Dery’s unique world and background design and dispel (or add to) some rumors and misinformation about the films production that persist to this day.

Such as the tangled connections between Autobot City, Metroplex and Fortress Maximus. For the record, Metroplex never appeared in Transformers The Movie, despite being a staple of Season 3 and often also literally referred to as “Autobot City”.

 

IMAGE CREDITS

*Diaclone colored Ultra Magnus from Transformer The Movie Retailer Preview / video uploaded to youtube by “The Spacebridge”

*Galvatron TFUK comic cover recreation by Kevin Gorman

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kgorman79/

https://tfsource.com/blog/2017/05/05/collector-interview-60-kevin-gorman/?fbclid=IwAR1AiYGTNYpFRrswP5nldQxa_ERHlX7QTsIMuMdNIkH8oUxo6Ep4H_fITWI

*Unicron attacking / eating Death Star by Matthew Corderman

https://www.deviantart.com/profkilljoy7z

*Screen caps by myself from Transformers The Movie Blu-Ray Anniversary Edition.

*Floro Dery original concept art in watercolor by Floro Dery

*Dery/Kohara model simplification image from Transformers Wiki / TFWIKI.NET https://tfwiki.net/wiki/Floro_Dery

*Spider-Man newspaper strip art from 13th Dimension https://13thdimension.com/the-spider-man-art-unseen-in-more-than-30-years/

*Season 3 cast Transformers art by Dan Khanna https://www.deviantart.com/dan-the-artguy

*Headmasters DVD cover art by Guido Guidi https://www.deviantart.com/guidoguidi

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SPECIAL TEAMS PART #5: Galvatronus

Galvatronus kicks ass

In the Combiner Wars toyline several of the Voyager sized torso-bots were released that had no specific limbs nor set combination. Among those toys was Cyclonus who turns into a torso with a Galvatron head.

The Japanese version of the same toy line – Unite Warriors – later released their version of a combo set for Cyclonus, but this set and combo did not exist in the west leaving fans to come up with their own. I also didn’t care for it a whole lot. It wasn’t bad, but it also was not good.

CW Cyclonus is a fun toy. He’s bigger and chunkier than his more sleek lean appearance in the movie, but he’s still recognizably Cyclonus and makes for a good stable base for a Combiner as a rework of Aerialbot Silverbolt. The Galvatron/Galvatronus head is one of the best looking in the whole CW line, making him a desirable toy.

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I bought a second one to keep one in combined mode and one in robot mode. It took over three years to get a combo I was happy with as the early CW releases didn’t match the color or look of Cyclonus. I toyed with a G2 theme, and was going to get two of the G2 Brawl tanks as legs but that option proved too pricey.

I did manage to pick up a knock off version of the G2 Bruticus to see what those limbs were like. And they were not bad – but I still was not satisfied. I went through quite a few combos before settling on his final look.

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With the release of the Masterforce themed Buster and Hydra (aka Darkwing and Dreadwind in America) and their lovely pastel colors – I knew I finally had a combo that might work. Only then of course those toys never got released in my state.

Well not until 12 months after their actual Hasbro release in tiny numbers nowhere near where I live. So it took perhaps a year or more to track down some online, with multiple purchases mostly from China again at normal RRP after the usual artificial inflation prices wore off.

It is a bit of a shame these two great looking Powermasters/Godmasters will be living in combined mode – as these lookers are under-appreciated late line toys that I could quite happily buy a third version of, just to have in their robot modes.

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Despite being retools of earlier Combiner Wars toys, there is enough new details and little stylish flourishes to make they bad dudes really stand out.

buster hydra3

Cyclonus being his usual space jet-craft thing, he goes well with other Jets as limbs. I added on the KO PE feet that were going to go with my Menasor, but Menasor is shit so I don’t ever combine him and have instead starting buying the X-Transbots Stunticons for that purpose.

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I really like the dual faction symbols on the wings here, and the arm ports for their small guns go down a treat in robot or jet mode.

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Getting the whole crew together – Galvatronus takes whatever weapons he feels like including Galvatron’s Space Carrot of Death, Shockwave and Devastators Big Grape Gun, I also chucked on Menasor’s sword on his back, which pegs in nicely.

Galvatronus kicks ass

The hands with Hydra and Buster are a nice fit with the Galvatronus colors, the KO PE Purple feet are a pleasingly nice match too.

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I never expected to complete Galvatronus in any meaningful way. I tried dozens of combos with all my other CW limb-bots and nothing worked too well. But now that he’s complete I REALLY like him and he will be living next Unicron for the foreseeable future.

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Space bad guys? I think you mean Space Bad Asses!

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Galvatronus make my third completed fan-limbed combiner with my own limbs of choice along with Sky Max and Sky Racer. Actually 4th, the other dude will be in his own post. I still have yet to complete my White Prime Combiner, as I’m keen to get the SND Nova Prime kit to go with him, but have all his limbs laid out. Having this fan-mode boss bots in addition to my proper versions fo Bruticus, Devastator, Predaking, Defensor and Superion is just great fun and really plays up the old Scramble City theme to great effect.

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Well we are done once again, expect some more short combiner related posts in coming weeks and more feature style articles on Ye Olde ’86 Transformers Movie too as I finish up some of those soon.

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DID I ‘AXE YOU?

 

Galvatron – Purple or Blue? The Fashion Challenged Emperor of Destruction [TRANSFORMERS 1986 MOVIE SERIES]

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Fans seemingly love to argue what Generation One Galvatron’s color is.

It’s a silly, tedious  and pointless discussion, so of course I’m going to talk about it.

Along the way we’ll take a look at how Galvatron has been coloured in his Generation One toy, cartoon and comic book aesthetic.

We will also take a look at his model sheet and dubious concept art.

But keep in mind the toy was based on the original movie character (the reverse of the usual process), so I’m going to defer to the medium Galvatron was first created in (animation) for his intended colors rather than the cluster fuck of misinformation that was the toy and promotional tie in materials that featured Galvatron.

ALL THE PRETTY THINGS THAT CHANGE

The Transformers The Movie (1986) on screen animated Galvatron leans towards a blue-purple-hue, while later in Season 3 of The Transformers TV show he’s usually more deep or light purple, but even that varied and was inconsistent. Plus when you throw shadow on him, or different light sources in the cartoon his colour would change again.

Typically in Japan when Galvatron has appeared in promotional hand drawn comic style images – he’s usually the lilac or lavender color associated with royalty or emperors in various cultures, which is also the color used for the reissue toy below on the right, and the color of many Takara-TOMY produced Galvatron toys over the years. While for some this lighter lilac color makes sense, to me he he just looks like one of those old cheap bathtub toys for little kids.

Below is a color grid that I will call The Purple Grid for the sake of simplicity. In this grid you can see the potential shades of Purple that Galvatron has been in animation and toy production. Purple being a mix of  Red and Blue – it changes in shade depending on how much red or blue is dominant in the mix. People often have trouble distinguishing subtle colors in these shades with their naked eye – especially at a distance.

You don’t have to be color blind to confuse colors – but if you’ve never been exposed to say many different varieties of colors in the natural world such as the wild flowers on green trees and bushes the ones our eyes have been trained to see and value or avoid over thousands of years, then we tend to be a bit collectively…. I don’t know… color dumb?

Our perception and cognition lumps what we see most often into the most familiar categories such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet etc – giving us seven broad colors (as well as black and white). In contrast the range of colors there are in the physical world, current estimates are around 10,000,000. Yes, that’s ten million. That’s a few more than we see in a typical week.

…what one botanist calls red may not be what everyone else calls red. Barring a persons ability to see all of the visible light spectrum, there is no set standard, for flowers at least, as to where we draw the lines between colors. What we end up with at the end of the day are lumped packages of color pertaining to a chunk of the spectrum visible to us. – InDefenseofPlants.com

As many Transformers toy photographers know, Purple and it’s various shades and mixes is a real pain to photograph. That’s because under variable lighting conditions (more light, or less light etc) it changes shade to our visible eye. As do all colors really, but Purple is just that much more noticeable with even a small difference in lighting. Now, the toy being photographed doesn’t change, just our PERCEPTION of it does according to how much or how little light is present.

THE BLURPLE EMPEROR

And the same thing happens in animation where we have simulated light and shadows. Now, here is a cropped piece of Galvatron’s chest from Transformers The Movie (1986). It’s not the best quality as I’ve had to enlarge it from a relatively low resolution image.

To the left of the image, note the lighter color. The area in shadow to the right, and the middle left has his faction symbol. In this square alone, we have Galvatron showing three shades from The Purple Grid. A portion of his chest is lit, other portions are unlit.

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Now let’s take a look at how Galvatron sometimes appears in promotional materials, often in his Manga form, or fan art – which was different than his standard movie version and the toy box art. The art below shows the contrast not only in Galvatron’s potential color shades, but also his alt design elements such as his more spiky crown, different chest, different legs, knees and feet.  The Galvatron below left is the one we typically encounter when we watch the Western cartoons, but both versions here have elements that appear in early stages of the toy and toon production.

Above we can see the main dominant shades Galvatron tends to get colored in. Below left is the Marvel UK comics Galvatron, and on the right his Marvel US Transformers comic profile appearance, which is based on his animation model, but colored in the weird toy deco colors. Confused yet? Why the heck was Galvaton grey in the comics, instead of in his movie colors? My assumption is that they typically had the black and white model sheet, but only the toy / toy based art for color reference. Which explains a good number of weird stuff when it comes to Galvatron. There was *also* a comic released as a direct adaptation of the animated 1986 film where Galvatron has his proper movie colors.

So already we have Galvatron appearing in shades of purple, lilac, lavender and grey, with his torso seemingly almost never drawn the same way twice.

lilac

Even when Galvatron was colored consistently, he still shows up in different shades/lighting of that color. And don’t get me started on the inconsistencies of his torso. Like in that toy pic at the top, same mold, diff torsos! And is his arm cannon on his forearm or bicep? The answer is both, depends on what material you look at.

I was going to skip over the Marvel Transformers The Movie comics adaptation showing Galvatron…..because it’s a major fucking headache. I don’t want a further tangent into 1980’s comics color theory, I’ve already redacted an entire section of this article on that topic. #PRINTINGPROBLEMS

I’ll post this image below, and then NEVER speak of it again *sigh*

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If you thought that was strange enough, check out this epic kids books cover below from Ladybird…

galvatron family jewels
Ladybird  licensed book using  unfortunate art with the toy deco

GETTING DARKER ONE CEL AT A TIME

Most mainstream low budget western animated TV shows don’t have a whole lot going on when it comes to lighting and shading. It’s very basic, or nonexistent. With theatrical animated films – it’s a different story. Big budgets mean more special effects. In the real world, you point a camera and there is going to be light and dark. In animation, it’s all virtual. There is no camera, there is no light. So it has be a special effect. If the people making the animation don’t know what they are doing – then it looks shit. When they do know what they are doing – then you don’t even notice the virtual lighting – it’s seamless and doesn’t draw attention to itself like any traditional well made film.

In this image below, we can see the light source is clearly “off virtual camera” to the right, with the light falling across Galvatron in a leftward direction. As a result of this light, we can see both light and dark elements on his model. This virtual light is either Unicron himself, or a sun/star whatever. This is the beginning of some fanboy arguments right here.

In different transfers of the film (there have been multiple slightly different versions over the years) Galvatron appears more towards the lilac part of the The Purple Grid, while in other versions he was more closer to the darker Purple toys that Hasbro typically makes. And whenever he is lit, partially or fully – the shade changes again. So, you have several different cuts of the film, with different qualities of transfers (typically too bright or too washed out looking) and then you throw in the settings on whatever TV you watched it on – and it gives a whole stupid fucking spectrum of misconception.

It’s interesting that the earliest Galvatron images by Floro Dery were just black and white, and that as production moved along – versions of that image were used for products. Box and toy reference, licensed tie in stuff. The usual low quality cash grab bullshit. However, there is  a really weird chain of people having different references, adding or taking away various details and it’s a whole article of its own that somebody else already wrote over at The Mechanical Maniacs website.

The Mechanical Maniacs Gauntlet’s Guide to Galvatron mk2 History of a Madman (updated version)

This article linked above is a great informative read, and this version is updated from an earlier version. It’s easier to read. However I have saved an older version of The Mechanical Maniacs Galvatron Guide, which has the early rare images no longer in the final version of the article for some reason. It was this older version I read multiple times, so if you want to check out the older version here it is linked below. I recommend READ the article in the above link, then click over to the second link to see the images. Some mind boggling stuff in there.

The Mechanical Maniacs Gauntlet’s Guide to Galvatron mk2 History of a Madman (older version)

gauntlets guide to galvatron mechanical maniacs link to article you must fucking read history of a madman.jpg

The short story version of why is Galvatron such a bloody inconsistent maniac is materials were rushed out during production (to external parties) as is typical of a multimedia licensed production – resulting in a mix of weird inconsistent coloring for Galvatron. His FINAL FORM was still being created while early materials were supplied in time for licensed merch to be out in time to coincide with the release of the movie.

I mean look at his official box art below, sweet fucking robo-jesus, what is going on there? Look at his head, those shoulders, the weird gun in his hand, his legs. You can see some of the various elements that chopped and changed through his early designs to final form. I never liked his stupid vertical shoulder pads (which only make sense as a stand in cannon mode), at least here in this design the horizontal shoulder pads make more sense even if they are still damn ugly.

 

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Galvatron Box art courtesy of Botch the Crab: http://botchthecrab.com/archive/teletran.asp?coat=decepticon&year=1986

HEY KIDS! LICENSED CRAP!

A quick stop over in Ladybird Books town before we move on to the final section. Ladybird books (and other publishers) put out various licensed story and coloring books. Check out the first square which uses stills from the movie vs the other images that use the toy based art, and even more art based on the toy based art.

The legacy of this Grey Galvatron color scheme stuff brought us the likes of the insane time travelling Galvatron over in Furman’s Transformers UK, so it’s kind of cool that Galvatron the Grey can legitimately be considered a different character than his 1986 movie counterpart. Also note that once again, Galvatron is not drawn the same way in any of these four images below. That’s not artistic choice, it’s the early reference materials that were constantly changing/evolving so different artists had different source material to base their version on. Take note below of how different his crown/helmet is in each image. The kids book cover where he is being slammed in the robo-balls is of course unintentional comedy gold, as well as horrifically bad art.

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So what you have is not a matter of right and wrong, of provable facts – but personal preference and fans dodgy memories, dodgy home movie transfers, shitty resolution TV’s incapable of showing the full spectrum of colors used in the film and inconsistent licensed and promotional tie in material for the Transformers movie and the Galvatron toys, with different source material given out to licencees that leads to the confusion about what his colors are, were or “should” be.

What color is Galvatron? A big fuck off rainbow of confusion and bullshit that’s what. Feel free to argue with me about it and submit your own theory.

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GALVATRON COMPARISONS AND CONFUSIONS

Moving on, let’s take a look at his animation style sheet, based on Floro Dery’s illustration. Keep in mind the first version was black and white, the colors were added later. And style sheets are “guides” they are not meant to be definitive.

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Also featured on Floro Dery’s own blog (not appearing until modern times for the public eye) is this concept art for Galvatron. Some of this art appears to be old concepts, but redrawn and done in watercolor. I can’t say how early the very first Dery Galvatron appeared as he worked privately on his work, which was later sent to Hasbro under contract (Dery designed the original movie characters). Dery is also known for stretching the truth, so we have no date for this mechanical image other than when it appeared online, and a lot of his concept art for both Transformers and Pirates of Dark Water went up for sale on Dery’s Daughters’s page on Etsy.

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The mechanical theme and extra detail is a consistent motif across Floro Dery’s other concept pieces, and you see below it literally is the same picture of Galvatron  just more like an X-Ray version showing some of his interiors. Which version came first I don’t know. The model sheet version was modified even further for his final movie form.

Galvatron animation model comparison Floro Dery concept art version.jpg

Time for another comparison. Let’s take that Floro Dery movie style model, and compare it to some later Manga style art. You can really spot the differences here with these three versions in a row. Check out the knees and crown for example, which are different in all three versions.

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And let’s compare Dery’s Galvatron to the toy based art.

YIKES! Bit of a difference there. And who thought he needed ANOTHER gun in his left hand? A giant plasma cannon / space carrot was not enough on his forearm?

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Let’s knock things up a notch and get on screen 1986 movie Galvatron in there for shits ‘n giggles. Things are getting crowded and it hurts my eyes, but we’re almost at the end, so take a deep breath and lets your senses bathe in confusion.

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The final movie version, and the UK comics version are my two favourite Galvatron designs.

To sum up, there is no “one mythical galvatron color” to rule them all. It just doesn’t exist. He’s grey, he’s purple, he’s blue, he’s lilac and lavender and a bit of everything in between depending on who is drawing him and what purpose they are using it for and how he is lit and what the image is being viewed on. If I’ve lead you down the rabbit hole, well you are going to have to find your own way back.

Every artist and colorist who touches the character may do him a little bit different than the previous person. Galvatron is wildly inconsistent, and that to me is more fun and more interesting than any definitive answer.

If you’ll excuse me, I have empires to rule, toys to collect and line cutters to deal with.

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NOTE: I did as much research as I could for this article. There are likely errors in here as some things are just unverifiable and come down to using your own reasoning and observation. If you have any corrections, feel free to add them and preferably with some sort of source.