Paints, Repaints and Kitbashes, Oh My!
Painted Decoys!
Last Updated 5/20/24
Jada Nano Metalfig Shattered Glass Soundwave added in Pseudo-Decoys.
The stuff that started it all for me...decoys. Oh, I did a few projects here and there before the decoys, but it was in painting 150+ of these little rubber guys that I gained the painting skills and confidence that led me to go on to other projects. Of course, I also managed to be a victim of my own success...decoys are now so popular I can't find the last one I need for my collection.

What Are Decoys?

These are decoys in their natural form, little rubber guys which came with the 1986 Transformers toys.

Hook on the left, Snarl on the right.
This page is devoted mainly to painted decoys, although there's some general information.

    One thing that's worth noting about the decoys is that while they were mainly based on the animated versions of the characters, elements of the toy versions do tend to creep in. So, for example, you get Ironhide and Ratchet with real faces, Reflector as a single homogenous guy instead of being made up of Slyglass et al, and so forth. But you also see things like wheels on Bumblebee's arms, Megatron with a sword and Brawn without a real face. In painting the decoys, I had to make compromises sometimes when the decoy was halfway between toy and cartoon versions, or when I owned the toy but lacked a good cartoon reference for a mostly-animated-version decoy (believe it or not, at the time I did these, I only had the movie and MtMtE on tape of the US-release collection of Japanese episodes was far more extensive).

Decoy Gallery

With the exception of the group shots, all of these images are the result of simply placing the decoy on a scanner and scanning them up to 200% size.

2016 Commissions

    In 2016 I joined a decoy collector group on facebook, and the guy running it commissioned me to paint a set for him. He sent me the Cybertron Hero Collection No. 3 to use, and asked for some Diaclone designs. Since some of the characters' Diaclone designs were identical (or nearly so) to their G1 designs, I did other stuff for them.

The BotCon 100

    Okay, the disposable camera shot is still blurry, but I took a better scan of it in 2021 and tried to identify all the ones in this shot, so people have a better idea of what figures are authentic BotCon 97 Dinner Exclusives. (Note, I had nothing to do with making the bases or backdrops, I just did the decoys.) In the upper right of the picture you can see my old bucket of paints, those weren't all of my paints, but the rest were Testor acrylics. Some of the decoys in this picture have closeups later on, but many do not.

Old Group Shots

    Thanks to Drew Dederer for taking some of the photos I scanned in below.



    All of these are done in the classic lime green, but I also did three of them in modern "government cheese" orange. Next time I try to paint a decoy orange, I'm giving it a base coat of some flat color...these guys were sticky for days! For the BotCon editions, I just went and found a container of green paint about the right color rather than try and mix the color each time, and I did a set with dark purple as well as a set with violet.





Dave's Guide To Painting Decoys

A straight text file of pointers on making decoys like those above

Transformers Decoy List

   I now own all the decoys, yay!

1)  Grimlock        14) Inferno         27) Huffer          40) Shrapnel
2)  Snarl           15) Tracks          28) Cliffjumper     41) Bombshell
3)  Swoop           16) Red Alert       29) Blaster         42) Hook
4)  Sludge          17) Hound           30) Perceptor       43) Scavenger
5)  Slag            18) Sideswipe       31) Optimus Prime   44) Bonecrusher
6)  Ratchet         19) Prowl           32) Megatron        45) Long Haul
7)  Ironhide        20) Mirage          33) Skywarp         46) Mixmaster
8)  Smokescreen     21) Hoist           34) Thundercracker  47) Scrapper
9)  Grapple         22) Wheeljack       35) Starscream      48) Devastator 
10) Trailbreaker    23) Bluestreak      36) Soundwave       49) Ravage  
11) Sunstreaker     24) Brawn           37) Blitzwing       50) Frenzy  
12) Skids           25) Windcharger     38) Astrotrain      51) Shockwave
13) Jazz            26) Bumblebee       39) Kickback        52) Reflector
Note that with 52 of them, it's possible to do a deck of playing cards with the decoy'ed TFs. And that's exactly what happened in the Japanese releases, although several Dinobots had to be used in the Decepticon suits to make the numbers work. Laserbeak/Buzzsaw is not available in the US as a decoy, but is in Japan.

If you have a decoy that has a "wrong" number, especially one over 52, then you have a Japanese decoy. The Japanese decoys used the sum of the character's techspecs scores instead of an arbitrary listing number.

Transformers Decoy Pamphlet
Front of Pamphlet

Note how they refer to Ratchet as First Aid.

Back of Pamphlet

Listing of the decoys.

I used to have these images inlined, but they're kinda big and really slowed down loading time for this page.


If it looks kinda like a decoy, but it isn't a decoy, then it's a Pseudo-Decoy!

    There's a number of little rubbery robots available in the same general size range as the decoys for those who want to paint stuff but can't get ahold of real decoys (or who will paint anything they can get their hands on, like me).

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