I haven’t done a Transformers Artifact of the week in quiet a while, and this seemed like a good opportunity. I picked up these two prototype boxes on ebay. They are for model kits based on the Masterpiece Optimus Prime and Masterpiece Starscream. The boxes are dated 2007, and are quite large at approximately 18” x 14” x 4”. The model kits were never produced (as far as I know). These boxes are not final product quality, and were likely test shots to give a general idea what the box would look like.
The box fronts have classic G1 styling and photographs of the Masterpiece toys. I assume they took a stock photo of the Starscream, and if it had been in the USA it would have had G1 colors. They look fairly decent in the photos, but in person, it is very clear that they are not final quality. The art is not printed directly on the box either. It is a heavy paper sheet that has been (most likely) printed on a laser printer and glued on (though not very well). When you open the flaps, the covering bulges up along the edges.
The back of the boxes use the 1984 artwork back and the tech specs, which appear to be G1. Both are low quality, but the Optimus Prime is better than the Starscream. It may have been from a point farther along in the design process. The Hasbro logo is glued on to the Starscream, but printed on the Optimus Prime.
The tops of the boxes show transformations just like G1 toys did. There is no way to know if the final model was to be the exact design of the Masterpiece toys, but that is how the transformation is pictured.
It is unfortunate that these were never produced. I would love to know if any prototype models exist.
Thanks for reading!