30 years of Transformers: big show at Science Centre

An exhibition featuring a 7m-tall Optimus Prime figurine and other robot paraphernalia is now at Science Centre Singapore

Having amassed more than 2,000 Transformers figurines over the past 20 years, Mr Tyron Tan has run out of space in his four-room flat and now keeps the bulk of them in a storage facility.

But the 33-year-old, who works in human resources, has taken 20 of them out for display at the Transformers 30th Anniversary Exhibition, which opens at the Science Centre Singapore today.

The travelling showcase, which makes its third and final stop here after Malaysia and Macau, will run till March 1.

Mr Tan, who is one of the three Singaporean collectors invited to share some of their most cherished figurines from the hit toy franchise, says: "I'm happy to be able to share my passion with the public as well as fellow collectors. It's always a thrill to check out the rarer or older figurines that can be worth tens of thousands of dollars these days."

Indeed, the 3,000 sq m exhibition is a fan's dream come true, with 7m-tall models, original toys and rare collectibles spread across eight zones. Special-edition merchandise, such as T-shirts, mobile phone cases and mugs will be sold at a retail section.

One of the zones is devoted to more than 300 figures and fans' collectibles, including Mr Tan's first-generation Fortress Maximus and Mp-04 Masterpiece Optimus Prime figures, which are highly sought after by collectors.

For a close-up look at the shape- shifting robots, check out 11 life-sized models of well-known characters, the largest number displayed here. Towering above them will be two 7m-tall displays of Optimus Prime, leader of the good robot faction Autobots, and fan favourite Bumblebee.

The showcase was originally curated by toy manufacturer Hasbro and Hong Kong-based entertainment company FM Event. Science Centre Singapore produced the enriched narrative for its run here.

With the press of a button, some of these robots will spout one-liners uttered by their film alter-egos.

Long-time fans of the toy alien robots, which have spun off four Hollywood blockbusters that have grossed more than US$750 million, can also look back at how the franchise has evolved - the first zone maps out its entire timeline, from 1974 to 2014.

Zone 4 is a 3D mapping theatre dedicated to the evolution of well-loved Optimus Prime, from his first appearance in the original animated TV series in 1984 to his latest incarnation in the fourth Transformers movie, Transformers: Age Of Extinction (2014).

True to one of the franchise's taglines, "More than meets the eye", the Science Centre has fused elements of the series with hands-on learning opportunities.

Mr Lim Tit Meng, its chief executive, says: "Bringing to life the popular Transformers series, we aim to unveil the omnipresence of the science behind Transformers in our everyday life."

For instance, visitors can learn about the concept behind Transformium, the fictitious programmable, shape-shifting matter that constitutes the bodies of the Transformers.

Iron fillings are shown to take on different forms to the beat of music, just as how Transformium is able to reconfigure its molecules to assume any shape it is instructed to.

Working educational value into the exhibit, panels are placed throughout to highlight daily transformations people encounter, such as how a chunk of chococlate turns from solid to liquid within seconds in one's mouth.

Visitors can have a spot of fun too, by dodging laser beams in Zone 3's laser maze and completing the race as quickly as possible. Or head to Zone 5 to catch the first three Transformers films, each of which will be screened over a month at two timings daily - 11am and 2.30pm. It has yet to be confirmed if the fourth film will be shown.

Avid fan James Ho, 30, who has been a Transformers fan since he was a child and owns a collection of over 300 figurines, plans to visit the showcase with his six-month-old son.

Says the human resources executive: "I really want to see the older generation of Transformers toys, especially pieces that I don't own. As for my baby boy, I have plans for him to be a fan too, despite my wife's objections."