With "Iron Man 2" opening in cinemas this week i.e. April 30, 2010, let's not forget another movie coming to theaters in December - "Tron: Legacy". It is a sequel to the 1982 Academy Award-nominated film "Tron".
For those of you who don't remember or wasn't born yet, "Tron" was one of the first movies to make extensive use of any form of computer animation, and is celebrated as a milestone in the computer animation industry. Three designers were brought in to create the look of the computer world. Renowned French comic book artist Jean Giraud (aka Moebius) was the main set and costume designer for the movie. Most of the vehicle designs (including Sark's aircraft carrier, the light cycles, the tank and the solar sailer) were created by industrial designer Syd Mead, of Blade Runner fame. Peter Lloyd, a high-tech commercial artist, designed the environments. [source: wiki]
I don't think there were that many Tron toys released but Medicom Kubrick did release a four-boxed set of TRON figures and vehicles in 2002 (?) and it has to be one of the coolest sets of all.
Set A consists of two figures, Tron and Yori, and an orange Light Cycle.
Tron, played by Bruce Boxleitner, is the titular character of the film. He is a security program created by Alan Bradley (also played by Boxleitner). In the movie, he stops the MCP (Master Control Program) and Sark (an evil computer program) with the help of the digitized user named Flynn.
Cindy Morgan is Dr Lora Baines (Alan Bradley's girlfriend) and also Yori (Tron's computer program gal)
Medicom Kubrick Tron comes with his Identity disk which is a Frisbee-like device with multiple functions. Programs use identity disks to record anything they learn or do; they use them to hold special code or instructions from their Users; and they use them in combat as either a boomerang type weapon or as a small shield.
Tron also the rod which becomes a light-cycle in the cycle arena. The Lightcycle is rezzed (Rez - short term for Resolution) in by the driver through the rod. Once the driver holds the rod out in front of him or her, the Lightcycle immediately Rezzes and forms around the driver while he or she automatically moves into a driving position. [source: tron wiki]
Tron Light Cycle (orange). A Lightcycle is a motorcycle driven by programs in the computer world. During the reign of the Master Control Program (MCP), lightcycles were used in gladiator-style matches on a Game Grid.
The Medicom Tron Lightcycles open up so you can fit the Kubrick figure inside, which is visible through the toy's clear, tinted windshield. The toy is weighted and features a seamless, "invisible" front wheel, and it's assembled so there are no screws or holes to break up the illusion of a computer-generated design.
The gladiator games on the Game Grid involved the Lightcycles leaving an impenetrable jetwall behind them. The gamers must avoid the jetwalls at all costs or they will derezz by crashing into them. If a lightcycle is eliminated from the game, what jetwall that lightcycle leaves behind will fall.
The TRON light cycle comes with a molded piece of plastic that fits into the rear wheel well and makes it look like the Lightcycle is leaving a light trail that bends off into a right angle turn.
The lightcycles in the Game Grid have their brakes disabled and cannot be stopped. When on the Game Grid, lightcycles turn at 90-degree angles making it very hard to control. Outside of the Game Grid, the jetwalls are disabled and they are able to turn normally like a regular motorcycle.
Here you see two light cycles racing against each other. The red light cycle comes with the Medicom Kubrick TRON Set B
Medicom Kubrick TRON Set B has Flynn, a red Lightcycle with the pursuing, gunmetal-colored tank from the movie.
The Tank is one of many vehicles in the computer world. The tank is mainly used by military-security programs and hacker programs. Its main weapon (if not its only weapon) is a large cannon mounted on top of the tank that can rotate 360°. Each tank holds one operator who acts as driver, gun operator, and radioman.
Tanks are not very fast, as lightcycles can normally outrun them. However, lightcycles - and even the giant recognizers - cannot withstand the powerful energy projectile that tanks fire at enemies.
The tank is less elaborate but maintains its sleek look and form. They were one of the coolest things in the movie. The only moving feature necessary to accurately reproduce the movie vehicle is the swiveling, turntable-arm "turret" and that works. The gunmetal look of the main body and the mint-green side "tracks" are also spot-on. The proportions of the Kubrick TRON vehicles look very close to the original movie designs i.e. they don't look super-deformed or distorted in any way.
I also find the tank design similar to the Merkava (Hebrew: מרכבה, Chariot), which is the main battle tank of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) because of its sleek and rather low profile design.
Earlier posted pictures (dated September 17, 2007) of Medicom Kubrick TRON Set A HERE, Set B HERE, Set C HERE, Set D HERE and a group shot of all four sets HERE.
UPDATE April 30, 2010: Kubrick TRON set C & D revisited