It is the year 1992... (click to enlarge)



UK/European/Japanese Transformers  

Skyquake's Megavisor scope, 1992.


His conceptual drawing appeared in Million Publishing's Transformers Generations Deluxe, published in 2004.




None. Since he was going to be an early '90s European Autobot, he doubtlessly would have had a steadfastly heroic and unintentionally morbid motto.




Futuristic semi-truck and trailer. His trailer could probably turn into a battle platform of some stripe.




Along with Big Bang and Giant Decepticon Warrior, Hyperdrive is a character I found out about through the Japanese Transformers Generations book.


(A real good book, that one.)


Given the 1992 date clearly displayed in his explanatory text (and the fact that his name was printed in English on his concept drawing), I had the inkling that Hyperdrive might have been intended as a late European Generation One or an early US Generation Two concept, or was perhaps a prototypical version of Thunder Clash, the Turbomaster. Amy Lipkowitz was once more kind enough to provide a translation of the design description:


Hyperdrive was a character planned as the showpiece or pinnacle for the 1992 European series of Transformers. He was to be the leader who stood above Thunder Clash. The mysterious warrior visible through Skyquake's scope is none other than Hyperdrive.


Well. Holy freakin' cats.


Like Big Bang, I learned Hyperdrive's backstory at the 2004 Official Transformers Collectors' Convention. I kept this knowledge in mind, and related the facts to my Australian partner in crime, Jhiaxus, once I returned home. As it turns out, Jhi has taken to buying junk lots off of eBay Australia, and had acquired a Skyquake (along with numerous Stalkers and Rotorstorms, incidentally, who appear to be common junkers down under). Being the inquisitive sort he is, he actually took his Skyquake apart to get to the juicy slides contained therein.


And... well, you can see the fruits of Jhi's vivisection below. Concealed within Skyquake's bulk is the lone appearance of the unproduced Autobot commander Hyperdrive!


Funny world, eh?




Hyperdrive was the Autobot commander above Thunder Clash in the relatively unknown period following the second wave of Action Masters and the emergence of such Autobot subgroups as the Lightformers and the Rescue Force. It is unknown if he was the leader of the entire Autobot legion of the time, but presumably led at least his fellow Turbomasters into battle against the Decepticon air commandant Skyquake's Predator forces.


During one battle with the Predators - either on Cybertron or another metallic alien world - Skyquake spotted Hyperdrive with his Megavisor scope.


Their battle - and Hyperdrive's final fate - remains unresolved.



Smile! You're on Skyquake Camera! (click to enlarge)



Tech Specs/TFU  

Okay... so this guy was supposed to be more powerful than Thunder Clash, right? Thunder Clash has all 10s except for 9s in Endurance and Skill. Therefore, Hyperdrive probably had all 10s - they hadnt't invented 10+ yet, or I bet he'd have a few of those, too.


As for his bio itself, it'd undoubtedly describe him as The Ultimate Heroic Good Guy Man who is willing - disconcertingly so - to dispose of any Vile Decepticon without blinking a sensor, by jove.




Well, with Hyperdrive, we have something of a rare case here at the Obscure website... he was going to BE a toy, and obviously got far along enough in development to be included in Skyquake's scope gimmick. I assume for the sake of this page that he was indeed a Turbomaster, which the turbines at the front of his trailer seem to bear out; these resemble the spring-loaded missile launchers the other Turbomasters came with, and may have used the same choking-hazard projectiles.


Speaking of the trailer, let's examine Hyperdrive's connection to it.


While Hyperdrive's boots plainly make the front of his cab, he only has wheels visible on his shoulders (assuming he is symmetrical), with his forearms turning into the truck's gastanks. In fact... it doesn't look like the four wheels behind the cab's first two are CONNECTED to the cab itself, but are instead part of the trailer. Hyperdrive's entire transformation evidently just involves bending him over backwards, positioning his arms to become the wheels and gastanks, attaching his shoulder shield to the roof of the cab as his sleeper section, then linking him up to the trailer. Hyperdrive himself thus seems to make up very little of his own vehicle mode. Why is that?


It's possible, like Powermaster Optimus Prime, that Hyperdrive's trailer became some kind of extra armor for him. I don't think that's very likely, though... not many G1 toys featured that kind of self-combining play pattern. No, I think we need to look at Thunder Clash for the real reason. Thunder Clash's trailer became a gun station/battle base which you stood him on; I postulate that Hyperdrive's humongous trailer became a bristling bay of firepower for him, making him more than a match for Skyquake.


Now, let's consider his size. Thunder Clash is roughly the size of a larger Mega-class figure; as the described "pinnacle" of 1992, Hyperdrive would have been larger. He may have been the size of a modern Ultra-class figure, or even more massive, considering both the size of Skyquake - the largest toy actually released in 1992 - and the fact that consistent price points are a recent invention, meaning Hyperdrive wouldn't have to be in scale, however rough, with any other toy that was on the market at the time. Which, of course, may have been why he wasn't produced...


In a way, Hyperdrive would have been a forerunner to toys such as 2001's Robots In Disguise Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus, whose vehicle modes are effectively useless without their "trailer" portions. However, I think that between his hypothetical base, firing missile launchers and light-piped eyes, he would have been a fine toy in his own right. And, because he was a 1990s European toy, his missile-laden glory probably would have been decorated in a multitude of pastel and metallic hues with a touch of pink for his eyes. Awesome.


Now, if you wanted to make a version of Hyperdrive for yourself? Um... no idea, really. Very few large TFs have truck-cab feet... I guess you could kitbash a Motormaster, Wide Load or G2 Hero Optimus Prime, but they wouldn't have a battle base.



Over All  

Well, right off, one thing caught my attention: Thunder Clash's function was "Commander In Chief". How could Hyperdrive have possibly been higher than that? El Supremo Presidente? Ultimate Supreme Commander? I know it's got me wondering.


I'm also curious about where Hyperdrive stood in terms of fiction... the switch from European G1 to European G2 is rather nebulous. In 1992, Prime and Megatron seemed to be out of the picture again in toy-continuity, and it looked - at least to me - that Thunder Clash (or Hyperdrive) and Skyquake were meant to take over from them. But Deftwing, a Lightformer released at the same time as the Turbomasters and Predators, shows up in a 1994 Generation 2 UK annual text story where Optimus Prime's in command. Does that mean Hyperdrive was concurrently leading troops elsewhere, or were he and the released Turbomasters under Optimus? I guess, er, the old leaders decided to come back. Who knows?


If you look closely, you can see some minor differences between the robot mode drawing for Hyperdrive in Generations Deluxe and the slide included in Skyquake - his shoulder tire is missing, and his forehead is less prominent. Oddly, his head reminds me a lot of Japanese TF leader Star Saber.


What interests me the most about Hyperdrive, I think, is the fact he was specifically going to come out along with Thunder Clash. This gives him a pre-existing scenario to fit into, which adds to what little we can determine of his character. It reminds me of something else, too... the last year of Japanese G1, Operation Combination, consisted primarily of repackaged Turbomaster cars and Predator jets in 2-packs. Skyquake and Thunder Clash were sold as well, straight releases of the European product with some Japanese-language stickers slapped on. Hyperdrive probably would have been released there as well - and as it stands, he did make an appearance of sorts, since so far as I know Skyquake's visor was unchanged.


Now, the final question... why wasn't he produced? I wager cost had much to do with it. Between Thunder Clash and Skyquake, Hasbro Europe was already going to have two big-ticket items on the market. With Hyperdrive's marginal similarity to Thunder Clash as is - they're both big trucks - they may have figured that two was overkill, and gone with the smaller Thunder Clash for economic reasons. But not before giving us one quick glimpse of him... one that no one recognized until well over a decade after the fact.


You ever notice how Thunder Clash is a bit of a Prime redux figure? That's the other similarity between Thunder Clash and Hyperdrive here. He's very... Primeish in many ways. His chest could be, and probably is, a set of faux windows (which Prime has had since the Powermaster version). His Transformation, as far as we can see it, reminds me a bit of Rodimus Prime. And there's other things.


Look at the cab in truck mode, or the kind of "stripe" down the trailer side, look at his face in the Skyquake image. Very Primeish.


Now I don't know the signifigance of this. Like I said, Thunder Clash was very Primeish, while clearly not being Prime. Ultra Magnus is very, very Primeish without being Prime. I guess it just strikes me as odd that having chosen NOT to make Prime the leader of their Turbomasters year, that they designed not one, but two very Prime-like leaders. -- Jhiaxus