by: Austin Welch
What does Lego, Transformers, and Back To The Future all have in common?
Over twenty years ago, after the original G1 cartoon ended, and the toyline and comic were winding down, I began to write my own Transformers fanfiction. Basically, I wanted to continue the stories in the cartoon universe, and whip a little comic universe on it, and throw in a few of my own concepts and characters to boot.
One such original character, Flashback – a handle I’ve used in various forms since – was inspired by the then-new Back To The Future sequels. On the way home from the second film (opening day, of course), and on a high from what I’d just seen (II remains my favorite of the three), I began to brainstorm the idea of turning the time-traveling DeLorean into a Transformer. Although time travel had existed in various forms in both the cartoon and comic, how cool would an Autobot with self-contained time-travel technology be?
I put the idea on the shelf for a few months, as I was developing one of my fanfic stories, The Menace Of Megatron (guess who returns in that one?), but it needed a good ending. After seeing BTTF III in May of ’90, I revisited my time-traveling Autobot, and gave him a purpose – while at the same time devising a cliffhanger ending to Menace (which is now known as A Question Of Power). The cliffhanger would be the Decepticons’ theft of the Matrix, and Flashback’s story would be a sequel, in which h will be charged with traveling back in time to steal the Matrix before the Cons do, and bring it back to the Autobots in the present day. After all, he can’t just prevent the theft; that would cause him to not be created in the first place.
I gave Flashback a backstory, making him a once-promising shuttle pilot who ditches his post in favor of a life of organized crime and nuclear drugs. Flashback is not the noble warrior that Optimus Prime requests of Vector Sigma, to occupy the time-travel-equipped Powermaster Transformer body constructed by Wheeljack and Perceptor. On his journey, the reluctant hero learns a lot about himself, his human partner, Quantum, and life in general. Again, Flash is basically the DeLorean from BTTF (Wheeljack insisted, with his sense of humor), with a very Sideswipe-ish transformation…if you know your G1 toys, you’ll get what I mean. The big differences being that the gull-wing doors and rear thrusters form a rocket pack on his back, permitting him flight. The name was admittedly appropriated from a time-traveling Silverwhawk.
I’m not an artist, but I’ve had a couple friends render Flashback a few times. Eventually, I’ll finish the novel version of Flash’s story, Somewhere In Time, and I started a 20-issue comic adaptation back in ’99, but my artist friend and I only completed one issue before life got in the way. I’d often fantasized about a physical version of Flashback, but alas, I’m not kitbasher or customizer. My good buddy (a fellow BTTF and Transformers fan and actual DeLorean owner) Tony made a G1-esque toy of his original stock-DeLorean character Raggletag, but despite my threats of bodily harm, I can’t twist his arm to make me a Flashback.
As explained in my previous post for Shockwave, I’m an AFOL – Adult Fan Of Lego – and I’ve made many working Lego Transformers over the years. It’s crossed my mind to make a Lego version of Flashback for years – all the way back to his initial creation. But I put it off for years, afraid that he wouldn’t come out well enough to do the character justice. In the years since, Lego has produced many new parts, particularly motion parts, that I knew would enable me to do Flash up right. Still I put it off. No longer.
With BotCon coming up, I was inspired to start working on Flash in May, and surprised even myself by completing him in just a few days, working on and off. I was able to show him off to Tony and his lady Rosemary when they were in town for the con. And now, I’ve gotten around to showing it off to the world wide web. In this gallery, you’ll see many shots of Flashback in both modes, his transformation, his hover mode (which happened more by accident than by design), his weapons (double-barreled rifle, snub-nosed pistol, and retractable grappling winch, similar to Jazz), his rocket pack, and his human partner Quantum. Many people have created Lego versions of the DeLorean, and they’re all great, but none of them transform into a robot! Hope you like him, and check out Cosmos!
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