Hi all, welcome back and I hope all is well. The topic of size changing comes up often and why is it needed. The reason is clear, Hasbro adopted previously created toys from Takara’s Diaclone and Microchange toy lines and had to work with what they got instead of spending a lot of money developing and creating toys on their own (as they did with the G.I.Joe line.) So they strung together a back story through comics and cartoons and the result was the invention of size changing to allow all the robots to be similar sizes and their alternate forms to be the size intended. I am going to look at 10 different Transformers that use size changing (either all the time or just once in awhile)
But first what is size changing? what is it all about? well simply a giant robot changing a form may need to change size to make the transformation believable. A giant gun flying through the air may tip off humans that they are not alone, (although all the destruction they cause would kind of let the cat out of the bag)
- 10) G1 Huffer: The small sized Orange single-axle semi truck that is normally smaller than Optimus Prime but has been seen pulling Optimus’s trailer (therefor being similar size to OP for that scene) and has also been seen being big enough for Hoist to drive. (although Hoist looks smaller than usual)
- 9) G1 Astrotrain: the Purple guy who transforms into a normal sized Shuttle Craft or outdated Locomotive train. (this becomes the first instance of size changing for him as the scale between the two are off.) He also can become fairly huge to transport his fellow Decepticons, with room large enough to allow a full sized Devastator to move around.
- 8) G1 Broadside: This guy pushes the size changes between both of his alternate modes to the extreme. This triple changer has a normal Jet mode and he also turns into an aircraft carrier the size that could normally hold a bunch of jets the size of his jet mode. (Adding to the confusion is that he is afraid of heights and gets seasick…. who writes this stuff, seriously)
- 7) Prime Arcee: (Not to be confused with the pink G1 1985 bot of the same name) This Blue gal turns into a Motorcycle much smaller then her Robot mode who stands almost triple the height of her human teen side kick.
- 6) Animated Prowl: Our second Motorcycle entry is a bit of a weird one, since his alternate mode is much smaller than Bumblebee’s alternate mode, his robot mode is bigger than Bumblebee. (this spot could be tied with Bumblebee, I guess… since the two seem to size change back and forth)
- 5) G1 Reflector: Three standard size robots who combine to create a camera that any robot or sometimes a human could use. (This bot is suppose to be one character inhabiting three bodies but in the cartoon you see a lot more than three running around.)
- 4) Animated Shockwave: This large guy can shrink when he transforms into Longarm when he infiltrated the Autobots (poor Wasp was implicated for something he did not do and became Waspinator)
- 3) G1 Groove: Our third motorcycle on the list has a robot mode that is not aligned size wise with his alternate mode, but he also changes in to a limb of a much larger combiner and looks very odd among his fellow protectobots. The whole scale is wrong and very silly. (this robot is far from my favorite and could easily end up on a list of disliked Transformers at some point.)
- 2) G1 All the cassettes, Soundwave and Blaster: I thought I would lump all these in one since they all are in the same theme. A micro cassette player, a boom box and multicolored cassettes that are the size of traditional human mid 1980’s music tech grow into larger bots. (I mean huge compared… a cassette that could fit in your hand, turns into a realistic sized Puma… Yeah!)
- 1) G1 Megatron: we save the best for last. The fearsome Decepticon leader would be a little guy in robot mode if not for size changing (or his alternate mode would be a huge gun.) He can transform not only into a gun the size usable by Starscream but also a human sized gun as seen being used by Cobra Commander. He has also been seen as a huge gun capable of plugging in under Starscream’s jet mode underbelly. (I am not making this up, trust me!)
The real world reasons behind size change (aside from the previously mentioned toy explanation) is basically the story calls for it or the animators just went with it… but in-story explanations vary. Here are some.
- Subspace: A magical place where all the extra body parts go, similar to where Optimus’s trailer goes to.
- Mass displacement: Basically the same as above without saying the Subspace name…. stuff gets displaced… where?…. not sure… just live with it….
- Sliding plates: This was the explanation for Broadside, his body is made up of sliding plates that extend to make him bigger… but thinking about it, this would make him very brittle… like if a jet landed on him, it would be like a car wheel going over a empty pop can… or in the smaller mode would make him so heavy he could not fly…
- Mass conversion: This one explains it as they transform, all their molecules expand or shrink in the conversion… ok!
Well there you go, I hope this helps clear a bit of the confusion, well maybe not. The subject is a weird one and not so easily explained away. Most people do not care, thinking “it is just a toy, or cartoon” But some people have OCD and like every little detail explained away… anyways it proves to be a controversial topic in certain circles. Until next time, take care!