Let’s face it, the human characters in Transformers: Age of Extinction exist to to give the audience members someone to relate to, but the big draw are the big bots on screen. During our set visit to Michael Bay’s Detroit-based stand-in for Hong Kong, I got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only look at the high-priced automobiles used in the film, but to actually sit in them (like the so-expensive-I-should-avert-my-eyes Pagani Huarya, and the latest model of the Camaro). My colleagues and I also got to pick the brain of transportation coordinator and stunt driver Randy Peters, who shared some behind-the-scenes stories on the new bots’ vehicles and designs.
Since every robot, old or new, has been designed from the ground up, we thought we’d bring you a look at the updates. From Optimus Prime and Bumblebee to Stinger and Galvatron, we’ve done our best to pair up promotional images with toy images and screengrabs in order to familiarize yourself with the characters before they hit the screen June 27th. Hit the jump to take a look at the old and new vehicles and robots on display in Transformers: Age of Extinction. Possible spoilers follow.
Let’s revisit some old friends with new faces, shall we?
And now, let’s make introductions with some new bots and their associated vehicles:
This beast was definitely my favorite vehicle on set and I’d take it over the high-priced hot-rods any day. As Bay himself says:
The always rugged and reliable Hound, one of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles from Oshkosh Defense.
Unfortunately, none of the Dino-Bots were wandering around the movie set, but we did get to talk to transportation coordinator and stunt driver Randy Peters who shared a lot of behind-the-scenes tidbits on the vehicles and their design:
Randy Peters: [On the design of the original Transformers and Bumblebee] They were thinking about making it a Camaro, to go with GM. We had all these pictures on the wall and they had to decide what’s going to be Bumblebee, who’s gonna be Optimus Prime, and so on. That was a huge learning curve on the first one. So we had a Camaro, we knew GM was going to be a player, and they had the CAD files; all they gave us was the CAD files. A CAD file, you put it into the computer and it reads it and blah, blah, blah, you take it to a CNC machine and cut all the body parts out. GM hadn’t done that yet, so we took the two GTOs, which are made in Australia, and we had a company out here in Detroit CAD the body onto the GTO, which was like two inches shorter in the wheelbase. Well, that scene in Transformers where they swap cars out, we see the old Camaro and then this one flies over. So every time we do a new Transformers, we start playing with what we want to do, and this is the new model here. We do all these after-market flares and sculpting and the hood things, and they tweak it and tweak it, and then they go and play it. So we take a stock Camaro and kind of tweak the car.
No spinning rims, unfortunately.
Peters: No spinning rims? [laughs]
Yeah, that didn’t last long did it? Do you have a favorite, as far as building them?
Peters: Well, now the art department … the first one was sort of us. Now, it’s gotten way over the top, so the art department, they all get involved. The first one, it was just Optimus Prime, and now it’s…
I noticed you don’t have the Oshkosh under a protective cover like these guys.
Peters: I don’t think we could. [laughs] We could put a motorhome cover on it, but that doesn’t quite work. That’s been modified a little bit. The Corvette is another concept version of GM’s Corvette. Again, we tweak it with the “flying nun” spoiler on there.
Peters: Optimus isn’t working today so he’s over at our shop. That and Galvatron, which is a Freightliner, which is a right-hand drive.
Are these all flying overseas?
Peters: [points to the Oshkosh] That has to go by airplane because China won’t allow those … or Hong Kong’s military won’t allow it coming in on a boat. So we’re going to fly that. We sent the Freightliner already on a boat; that left yesterday. I think the Camaro goes, I think Bumblebee goes.
How do you fly that thing?
Peters: You know, 747 Antonov. It’s a Russian cargo plane, it opens from the front. They used to be owned by the Russian military and now they’re owned by cargo companies. There’s a couple of those that the nose opens up and you drive right in.
Was that the same vehicle from one of the Fast and the Furious?
Peters: Well, they might have had an Oshkosh.
Oh, okay. I know sometimes they’ll use a vehicle like that because it’s not common.
Peters: I think if Michael Bay knew that [laughs]. We try to be a little more original.
How many vehicles are you responsible for total?
Peters: Well, we do everything. My guys, everything that you saw over there, the equipment, the stake beds, the trailers the actors are staying in, the picture cars … anything that moves, we encompass that. And then I have guys that help me manage that and manage the picture cars. It used to be just me and another person, and then we got bigger and bigger and bigger.
It’s got to be fun for you guys to get to drive some of these things around, especially …
Peters: Well, I’m more into, you know, when you can slide a semi-truck 60 miles-an-hour and make it do a 180…
Have you driven all the cars in the movie?
Peters: I’ve driven, you know, on and off. This is the Bugatti.
Which bot is this?
Peters: I can’t tell ya. [laughs] You’ll find out later.
This is gorgeous.
Peters: It’s Italian. We had it for a week before we could figure out how to even start it. The tech had to come out because they’re temperamental.
For more on Transformers: Age of Extinction, here’s our coverage from our set visit:
- 65 Things to Know About Michael Bay’s TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION From Our Set Visit
- Michael Bay Talks TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, Working with Mark Wahlberg, Robot Redesigns, the New IMAX Camera, and More
- Mark Wahlberg Talks TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, Drawing on His Experience as a Father, Big Action Movies & Possibly Singing the Title Track
- Jack Reynor and Nicola Peltz Talk TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, Action Scenes, Character Traits, Working with Mark Wahlberg and Michael Bay & More
- Stanley Tucci and Sophia Myles Talk TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, Filming Action Scenes, Working with Michael Bay, and Their Favorite Bay Movies
- Lorenzo di Bonaventura Talks TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, Working with Michael Bay, Casting Mark Wahlberg, and Threats from Robots and Humans Alike