We're treated to images from time to time out of Emiliano Santalucia's portfolio, getting to see design and concept art for many of the toys in the various Transformers lines. Tonight's example though from his Facebook is something extra special. This is a "concept board" produced at an early stage of the planning of Combiner Wars. How early, you might ask? Santalucia dates the piece to 2013 - two years before the line debuted at retail! There's some really interesting details in this art, keep reading to find out more...
This concept art indicates that a lot of the character selection for the Combiner Wars line was locked in very early, so as far back as 2013, they'd already decided on Sky Lynx, for example, or Thundercracker and Ultra Magnus. So we see a large part of what we actually got in the line over its 18 month-or-so lifespan: Aerialbots, Stunticons, Combaticons, Technobots, and the Constructicons are all hanging out somewhere in the image. But what's more interesting are the things here we didn't get. Ramjet is seen with Thundercracker, pointing to a plan at this early stage of having a conehead variant for the Leader class seeker body. Shown also is Sideswipe, which may be just a representative stand-in for the idea of other Autobot characters being brought in the line. We also see in the background by Sky Lynx the Alpha Trion design that would go on to finally be developed as a toy for Titans Return, which had been previously revealed as intended for Combiner Wars. Finally, there's a Quintesson in the same place, but we can imagine given the arena setting that it was simply part of the set dressing and not a toy concept pitch.
As a final note, I wonder if Shockwave's prominent position in the foreground opposite Ultra Magnus may be a sign that at one stage it was considered having him as a Leader class toy, rather than the Legend we ended up with? If so, Megatron, who we don't see in this art, may have ended up in taking Shockwave's place, in the end.
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