Generations Arcee - The Amazing Origin Of One Of The Longest Awaited Classics Toys
Figure King Magazine came out this week and as we reported previously featured the upcoming Legends (TakaraTomy Generations) releases of Windblade, Chromia and Arcee. In this feature, it was revealed that one of the designers on the TakaraTomy side that contributed to Arcee was Hironori Kobayashi. Some may recognize this name in connection with various toys including Masterpieces, but when it comes to Arcee there's a bit more to the story. Keep reading to find out the secret behind Arcee's creation!
In the late 1990s, Japan had its own Botcon, under authorization from Takara and very similar to Botcon as we enjoyed it in the United States. Much like US Botcon, events like art contests were held with many kinds of entries. In 1998, a fully transformable, scratch-built Arcee figure was submitted in the Botcon Japan art contest. While it's now lost to history (or memories older than my own) if this won any prize, it did succeed in wedging itself in the minds and imaginations of many fans when it came to popular attention soon after that Botcon. Commonly arising in online discussions through the early 2000s, this often was pointed to when the question always arose, "why can't we have a G1 Arcee figure?" As third party efforts at a G1 Arcee took place in later years they would occasionally call up references to this custom figure. It was very much an icon for what was expected of a toy emulating Arcee's character design.
This scratch built figure was constructed by Hironori Kobayashi in or before 1998, and displayed at an event where representatives from Takara would have been in attendance. The following year Kobayashi went to work for Takara designing Transformers toys. His first on record was Speedbreaker, more commonly known as Side Burn in the Robots in Disguise adaptation of Car Robots. As Geneerations and Transformers in general has evolved to where a classic G1 style Arcee could find a place in the line, Kobayashi returned to the design he engineered nearly 16 years before to realize this character as a mass market item. And if you examine the photos of the custom figure and photos of Generations Arcee you'll find close similarity in design. The one major departure where the Botcon Japan figure appears to have a less significant backpack is both partly an optical illusion, and partly a design modification. The custom figure lacked anything like a trunk or other form of rear end of the car, leaving a much smaller mass that can be hidden in front by the body. Looking at the shoulders you'll see the familar fender-derived upright parts are fused to the car hood just as the Generations toy does. While there are minor differences between these, it's an amazing note on a figure that the fandom in general has waited for for a great many years, that it is in fact the realization of two wishes as it literally brings a one-off custom art piece to mass availability as a retail toy. Even if it took a decade and a half to get there.
Congratulations, Kobayashi-san, you've realized a dream few can ever reach in the process of fulfilling the wish of many, many others.
With thanks to Randy (aka Powered Convoy), TFArchive, TFWiki and "jitome-dan" for information and/or images that contributed to this article.
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News Story Comments
- 2014-10-24 @ 3:16 am
Pictures are from this article: (link) I think the background environment is from the current TMNT line.
I wonder if Spike from MP Prime can fit in the cockpit? :tfevil I like the background set in the pics. :D
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