If there’s one thing that every kid who owned Transformers toys in the 1980s can agree on, it’s this: The packaging art always looked cooler than the toys. Whether it was the fact that the illustration of Optimus Prime didn’t have skinny arms or legs that broke ridiculously easily (Yes, it still annoys me, dammit!) or just seeing a Megatron that wasn’t as stupid-looking as the real thing, those airbrushed illustrations were exactly the right kind of siren call to boys around the world aching to discover a world where robots really could be “in disguise” without anyone knowing.
Originally, the art was the work of Jeffrey Magiat, who’d previously produced work for Newsweek, Popular Mechanics and Popular Science, and Hasbro staff artist Richard Marcej, with Japanese artist Hidetsugu Yoshioka taking over as popularity for the toyline started to fade in the US, but each artist brought the same glossy, shiny sheen to the characters that ignited childhood desires and pretty much guaranteed that the real toys could only disappoint. I mean, some of their legs don’t even bend that way. For now, though, ignore reality and remember the glory days when you imagined that alien robots could look this good.
(Images via Botch’s Transformers Box Art Archive).