Transformers fans! We’re excited to bring you an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at packaging and instructions development for Unicron!

Let’s first take a look at the unboxing video starring our very own package engineer who is going to walk us through the ins and outs of ensuring the villainous planet is safely delivered to your home!

And then our lead engineer will take us through some of the questions you, the fans, have been asking about the development of the mighty Bringer of Chaos.

This shipper box includes “a really big piece of foam” to ensure Unicron arrives in perfect condition.

Instructions Development Process

The instructions for Unicron are unlike anything we have ever seen here at Hasbro. We had to call in the experts to tackle this project. We’re going to hear from Mark, a Senior Graphic Designer, to get a closer look at the instructions process, how Unicron is different, and how he has had to adapt while working from home.


Q: How long have you worked at Hasbro and specifically on the Transformers brand?

A: I have been at Hasbro for over eight years and going on four years creating the instructions for Transformers.

Q: Can you walk us through the typical Transformers instructions process? 

A: Our development process actually begins a year before our toys hit in-store retail and “online” shelves. Since the early 1980s, Hasbro has partnered with Takara Tomy, located in Japan, for the development of the Transformers brand’s toys. This all starts with “TT,” as we call them, providing us with reference CADD images or videos, called photosteps, that show how to convert each Transformers figure. From there, I review each conversion assembly, step-by-step, marking-up TT’s photo steps with my own comments and recommendations for improvement that will make the most sense for our consumer.


Then, I send requests for conversion assembly renders to be created at our Hasbro China offices. After the renders are provided, I use them to populate my rough instructions layout. Also, at this time, I leverage branded creative elements such as logos, textures, graphics, etc., to create the look and feel of the instructions sheet.


As a team, I further partner together with engineering, design & development and marketing to review each step render against a prototype model of the toy to ensure accuracy. Once the instructions layout is solid, I enter it in into our approval system for eventual printing and toy packaging insertion. All in all, we collaborate and work together every step of the way to create a positive play experience for our consumers and fans! 


Q: How has working on Unicron been different, especially with adapting to work from home?


A: As much as we try to follow a set of procedures or guidelines, I found Unicron was a product where most of that was thrown out the window. Thankfully we had some opportunities to work on this while we were still in the office, but a majority of this was developed at home. 


Unicron was in my bubble and kept me company. As I was settling into my home workspace, I found that working from home was going to be helpful in some aspect for Unicron. I am not sure if you know but he is huge, and he needs a lot of room. Unicron quickly took over my dining room table which is over 8 feet long, and he needed all of it. When I laid out all of his parts it was the entire table. This extra space came in handy when I needed to spread out dozens of conversion steps and was either building him or trying to find easier ways to show a set of conversion steps.  

Q: How long did the Unicron instructions process take in comparison to other items?

A: Unicron has been one of the longest development cycles for a product that I have ever worked on. Me and the other Transformers instructions designer, Sarah Jean, reviewed Unicron back in February. This was a five month endeavor. With help from Sarah Jean and another of our designers, Dan, we went through various render explorations, and worked through layout challenges. Due to the size of this project we had to also develop a new process on how our renders were created and turned over.

Q: How many pages is the final instructions booklet?

A: The final book is 32 pages.

Q: What was the most fun part about this project? 

A: I am not gonna lie, it was pretty fun reviewing and converting Unicron when the weather was nice and I was able to open the doors to the deck. I was able to work with the sun on my back listening to the sounds around me like the birds and the water. Kind of made me feel fortunate I was able to work on Unicron and do it in a real nice surrounding.  


Q: Is this the largest figure you have ever worked with? 


A: I have worked on several brands over the years and have been fortunate enough to work on the biggest projects that brands produced, but nothing compares to the sheer size of Unicron. It is the largest figure I've worked on. 


Q: What was the biggest challenge in creating instructions for Unicron?  


A: With Unicron we hit many unique challenges that kept our entire team on their toes, but we really pulled together and were on top of everything as the challenges came. Issues were quickly identified and addressed, which kept this entire process moving forward. One hurdle that happened pretty late in the process was how we packed Unicron in the package. This one change resulted in dumping most of our existing renders and needing to quickly develop new photosteps, and creating over a hundred new renders that then needed a new layout. But we got it done!


Q: As someone who has spent a lot of quality time with the mighty Chaos Bringer, what do you think is his coolest feature? 


A: Oh man, that’s tough, trying to pick out the coolest feature. Even though I loved being able to move his eyes to watch me while I was cooking or being able to high five Unicron as I walked by, I think being able to chomp all of those planet teeth is the best. I catch myself looking for different things for him to eat. Mostly Greaser Gang or Sugar Shocks BotBots like MinnyCakes (Cupcake).



Q: How long it takes to convert Unicron?

A: If I follow the instructions I can convert Unicron in about 50 minutes to an hour. If I try to freestyle I can get a good ways there and inevitably run into something that slows me down or have to undo a bunch of steps because I forgot to rotate something. And it usually ends up taking me longer.

Q: Is there anything else you want to say about working on Unicron?

A: I want to thank the entire Transformers team for everything everyone does to make this happen. The skills and knowledge everyone brings really is what makes this such a great team. Everyone is so amazing to work with and I feel so fortunate to be around so many talented people. Truly blessed to be part of this team. I hope everyone get as much enjoyment watching Unicron eat things as I do.


Check back soon for our next HasLab Insider update!

Bonus Content!

Our trusted engineer’s assistant, Charlie, is back to do a box test.


Fun Fact! Here is proof that our 6-foot tall brand manager can fit inside the box!



Check out more stories on all your favorite brands on Hasbro Pulse Unboxed.