It was noted that the Terminators (T101) were infiltrator units, designed to infiltrate the resistance.

Given the ragged undernourished humans of the time, wouldn't making an infiltrator body into the hulking over-built Conan The Destroyer frame be something totally illogical if your goal is to blend in?

Why not use a more "normal" body? Robots already have metal frame and super-strong muscles, so size wasn't required to bump the combat capacity as with flesh and bone humans.


4 Answers 4


In the original Terminator we see two different models.

The Terminator in the future:

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And the Terminator in the present day:

enter image description here

In the Sarah Connor Chronicles there were a variety of body types.

Cromartie is different from the terminator Carter as Cameron (another body type and model) identifies his endoskeletal structure as different.

Cameron: That's not Cromartie. Endoskeletal structure points don't match. He's too short.


enter image description here

Here is Cameron vs Cromartie:

enter image description here

Here is Cameron vs Rosie (the Terminator):

enter image description here

From this we can see there are a wide variety of terminator chasis for blending in.


There is a deleted scene in Terminator 3 that explains why the Terminator 101 units look like they do. Essentially "Sergeant Candy" (portrayed by Arnold with a horrifyingly obvious dubbed Southern Accent) was chosen to be the "model" for the T101 unit.

Note: As Xantec pointed out in a comment, Kyle had a flashback in Terminator. The flashback shows a non-Arnold version terminator infiltrating a human controlled base. This seems to indicate that they did change the look of the units, at least from time to time. Since we see more than one "Arnold" version, it is likely that there is a (limited) pool from which they can select a unit.

This YouTube playlist has (supposedly) all of the Terminator units from all of the films and the TV series, so there is quite a variety.

  • 2
    There was another non-Arnold version portrayed in Terminator, during one of Kyle's flashbacks.
    – Xantec
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 20:07
  • If you include the TV series, Terminators came in a variety of visual models (maybe as many as 101). Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 20:19
  • 1
    @JackBNimble - if you have screenshots of them being smalled bodied, that'd be a good answer. Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 20:30
  • @Xantec - the other terminator was played by Arnold's bodybuilding buddy, Franco Columbu. He shows up in the documentary Pumping Iron, as well. Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 2:36
  • @DVK I think Jack B Nimble's answer should be the accepted one, he did more work on it than I did, and in fact the only reason my answer contains other versions is from Xantec's comments.
    – NominSim
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 12:56

The T800 series exo skeleton was one of the earliest models. It was originally used on the battlefield and retrofitted for use as an infiltrator.

So it had big robotics for being a battlefield soldier, then had skin (or rubber) just plastered over the top. It looked so big because it WAS so big.

Later models (T-1000, etc) used more advanced technology that allowed them to be smaller or have better control over their shape.


The models you're comparing are all T-888s if I recall correctly. The T-800 all looked like Arnold in order to give a body size large enough to house the terminator skeleton. Where as the T888 were more advanced and smaller, better able to blend in without looking like a giant Austrian

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