Tue, 30 May 2000 09:26:47 -0500
There is also the story of how Marvel Comics/Hasbro redesigned the
characters for the original Transformers cartoon series. As you
probably recall, almost all of the toys were not show accurate
(actually, it's more like the cartoon designs weren't "toy accurate").
If I remember correctly, it was John Romita (Sr.), legendary comic
artist, who did the redesigns and line art for the first season
characters. So basically, Romita took the Convoy toy and streamlined it
into what we know as Optimus Prime. Any resemblances between the
original lineart for Prime and Kunio Okawara's lineart for the RX-78 is
probably coincidental. And no, I didn't think of Optimus either when I
saw Gundam the first time. I think the original Gundam is evocative of
a samurai, whereas Prime conjures up images of... a red truck (don't get
me wrong, I love Transformers and Op - it's what got me into the giant
>From: Echo|Fox <email@example.com>
>Subject: Re: [gundam] Gundam and "Transformers" Optimus prime...what's the story?
>Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 11:30:04 -0600 (MDT)
>Well I can tell you a few things. First some history:
>Optimus Prime was named "Convoy" in Japan (hence in all the subsequent
>series that the US never got, there was Star Convoy, LioConvoy, etc).
>Why was he named Convoy? His toy came from the Diaclone line of toys where
>it was known as "Battle Convoy". This would have been the mid to late
>seventies, as I recall. So at least for the toy (which is reasonably
>similar to his cartoon appearance), it probably predated Gundam, or at
>least was parallel developed. Remeber, the first two years of toys in the
>Transformers line were all taken from various Japanese toy lines
>(Diaclone, Microman, Takotokou in the case of Jetfire), given an Auotobot
>or Decepticon logo (or rubsigns) and their firing weaponry was usually
>crippled because we can't have poor little american kids shooting their
>Thinking about Op Prime's head, there are a few distinctive features that
>1) The two antennae on either side of his head. Some artists drew this as
>only a single antennae on each side.
>2) The smooth, flat face plate
>3) The pentagonal shaped grill structure on his forehead
>The RX-78-2's defining characteristics are:
>1) The V-Fin (which does have a pentagonal shape joining the two sides)
>2) a face plate with grooves in it, as well as a red chin
>3) vents on the side of the "Face"
>Other than the face plate (which really only brings to mind Zeta Gundam),
>I can't really see a significant resemblence. That bit of art you linked
>isn't a terribly good example of Prime either, his general head shape
>there is "wrong" in that you won't see it draw like that very often.
>Rather than being that rounded, its usualyl got sharped and more defined
>edges with its components visible as seperate entities (ie you can see the
>antennae and the face plate rather than all the details blurred together).
>I'd really chalk this one up to coincidence. There are only so many ways
>you can draw a robot head with a face plate.
>On an unrelated note, I saw a kitbash of a 1/144 GW Heavyarms into Optimus
>Prime. Quite well done, actually, and HA's opening chest chainguns were
>replaced with a visible matrix of leadership. Rather impressive.
>Nicholas "Echo|Fox" Paufler
>http://www.wingzero.net - Home of the High Quality Gundam Image Archive
>On Mon, 29 May 2000, Chris Maier wrote:
> > I'm curious about the resemblance of head "Transformer" character Optimus Prime to the design of the Gundam. We all know that Gundam came first, so I'm wondering, was the designer of Prime inspired by the Gundam in anyway? Or was Optimus Prime actually designed by Kunio Okinawara? I'm wondering if anybody really knows if there is some kind of connection between the two in terms of design. You have to admit, the first time somebody sees a Gundam, especially the first one, the first thing to pop in their mind is probably Optimus Prime.
> > Also, this Optimus Prime picture looks a lot like Kunio's line art for the Gundam(As posted in the mecha domain)
> > http://members.tripod.com/~Optimus_2/optprime.gif
> > Chris
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