Transformers: the Movie debuted in 1986, and a number of newly designed character toys were released to coincide with the futuristic aesthetic of the movie. It was a strong departure from G1’s traditional selection of realistic vehicles, but the new designs had an opportunity to mimic the animation, as opposed to the converse. Cyclonus was a result of this, and transforms into a sleek, swept-wing jet fighter.
Cyclonus’ design story is a little convoluted. Artist Floro Dery created the character models for Cyclonus and other new Movie characters, depicting stylized robot modes and sleek, futuristic vehicles. Subsquently, the toys were engineered to resemble the Dery designs as much as practical. However, the character and control art models were subsequently redesigned before being animated into the movie – often leaving the toys less accurate in the process.
Cyclonus transforms into a purple and silver swept-wing space fighter. It features a tremendously long and needle-like nose, with the cockpit windows set further back near the wing roots. The top of the jet and wings are decorated with stickers of purple and orange swooshes. The jet engines in the wing roots have narrow rocket boosters and silver vertical rudders. The jet can land on two landing wheels in fixed positions in the rear of the fuselage, and a retractable front gear that blends smoothly into the plane’s belly. Cyclonus also features “removable wings”, strangely mentioned in his instructions, but never depicted. However, Marvel’s Tranformers Universe comics contain a character bio that describes Cyclonus as able to “trim his wings and tail back to assume a space-worthy rocket mode for interstellar pursuit”.
Cyclonus has a fairly simple transformation that just folds much of his aircraft body behind his back, but produces a tall barrel-chested robot with huge fists and pointed horns or “ears” on top of his head. He has an unusual amount of articulation, including shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and rotation of the lower arm. He can wield his silver rifle in robot mode.
Cyclonus is generally very sturdy, and not susceptible to breakage. However, his arms are sometimes missing due to their “ability” to detach. It is important to distinguish between regular and Targetmaster Cyclonus, as none of their weapons or parts are interchangeable. See Targetmaster Cyclonus’ article for more.
Cyclonus has some production variants, but the most notable concerns the paint on his ears. Very early production featured blue paint on the ears and the recessed “belt” area around his waist, while most versions just show the bare purple plastic underneath. It is unknown whether Japan received the “blue-ears” version.
Redecos & Retools
Cyclonus’ mold was modified to have 5mm holes in the top of the jet and fists, and sold as Targetmaster Cyclonus in 1987. The mold has not been used since.