Saturday, April 28, 2012

Transformers Legacy

The cybercat is out of the bag!  Today, at the BotCon IDW panel, we announced my next Transformers book.  In 2013 (or perhaps earlier... we shall see) you can look forward to a new, high-format book from Bill Forster and myself.  Legacy: The Box Art of The Transformers is going to be something special.  I've been working on it for a while now, and I'm really amazingly pleased with how well it is going.  We've been working with Hasbro, Part One (the parent company of eHobby), and numerous private collectors to pull together the definitive coffee table book of Transformers packaging art.

A lot of things, like the date and the page count, are still up in the air.  However, here's what has already been decided on:
   1: The scope will be G1 and G2.  No Beast Wars or beyond.  We'll be covering every year in the US, as well as the entire Japanese set of releases.  It's possible that we might get Europe in too, if we can find the material.  That remains to be seen.
   2: The extras will be substantial.  We're talking essays and interviews with the original artists, modern repaints of vintage artwork (think eHobby exclusives), unused box art, production sketches for box art and more.
   3: In terms of scale, we've got more then 750 images in hand, and a few more last-minute leads to pursue.  I'd like to get those numbers up, so if you are a collector of the originals, drop me a line!

This is the big one.  Transformers box art.  Tell your friends.

Many of you are asking what pieces I'm looking for.  While there are many I'd like to have, here are the biggest omissions so far:

US G1:

US Astrotrain (Train Mode)
US Trypticon
US Piranacon

Action Masters:
    Bumblebee, Jackpot, Rollout, Skyfall,
    Sprocket (bot), Wheeljack (bot), Optimus Prime (Bot only), Prowl (both)
    Banzai-Tron, Devastator, Krok, Shockwave, Treadshot
    Starscream (both), Axer (both)

 US G2:
Dinobots (color variants, possibly Italian only), Windrazor, Autobot Cyber Jets,  Auto-Rollers Roadblock, Gobots (2nd wave). I'd also like the watch artwork.  Unused G2 artwork, especially from the tail-end of the line, would also be very cool.

Japanese G1:
Dino cassettes: Graphy, Noise, Dial, Saur
Sparkdash: Hardspark, Hotspark, Wildspark

Rocket Base
Battle Patrol (Micromasters)
Super Car Patrol (Micromasters)

Virtually all, but especially at least one of the battle murals from the back.  Pyro and Clench are personal favorites. I find the Rescue Force and the new Scrapper art pretty cool too.

Catalog and Puzzle:
There was a bit of catalog and puzzle artwork created in the same style around this time frame, I'd like to feature some in the book.

Diaclone / Microman:
Diaclone and Microman artwork is also of interest.  Omnibots, Bumper (that is to say, MC-04 Mini CAR Robo 02 Familia 1500XG), Kronoformers, Powerdashers would be high on the list of priorities. I'm also partial to Powered Convoy, and the blue Blaster Microman artwork. 

I'd like to get my hands on the micromaster combiner back-of-the-box artwork that's in a kind of cartoony style, especially from the Combiner boxes.  Oddities, like the Tyco sets, are also of interest.  Any unused package art, guys that never actually came out or alternate variants for guys who did, are of keen interst.


There are also some that I have decent quality pics of but I'd like to upgrade, mostly from 87:

Terrorcons minus Hun-Grrrr
Japanese Computron, Strafe, Lightspeed, Afterburner
Laser Optimus Prime
G2 Sideswipe 
G2 Gobots (wave 1)

If you have originals or transparencies for any of these guys, you could help me out a lot and get your name in the book.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Chaos

Ahoy, brave readers.  BotCon is now merely days away, so I'll be departing from beautiful sunny LA for... beautiful, sunny Dallas.  If you're in town, say hi to me.  I'll be attending most of the panels and maybe possibly participating in one.  And, at the IDW panel, look for an announcement about my next Transformers project!  Exciting!

But I can't neglect my Addendums, now, can I?  This week, Chaos!  The episode, that is, not pandemonium here on the site.  Chaos is one of just three S3 episodes that I have extensive models for.  Webworld I've already done an eight-part series on, and I'll be doing Madman's Paradise at some point in the future. 

Chaos was actually one of the first set of models that came to me after I published the first Ark book.  For those who care about such things, I managed to squeeze a few of the Chaos models into  Transformers: The Complete Ark  (order it today!)  I actually tried to do a whole Skuxxoid page, but the quality of the models were too low and space was too tight.  I got the best Skuxxoid onto the Acknowledgement, along with the monster Chaos himself, a Shrike Bat, and an Ick-Yak. (I really love how Paul Davids added in movie callbacks in this script, giving visualizations to some of the monsters mentioned in an off-hand way in the movie.)  Here are the rest of my models from the episode.  Hope you enjoy them!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Workmen

This one is a fun one for me, even though it's kind of generic.  It's the human workers that dot the landscape of season one.  For whatever reason, 90% of humanity in the first season of Transformers were workmen wearing hard hats.  I already had two of them in  Transformers: The Complete Ark  (order it today!) , so here are a few more.  Of course, the first time we meet Spike and Sparkplug they, too, are workmen with hard hats, though their normal models don't show them as such.  That's almost an oversight... battling Decepticons has to be more risky than working on an oil rig.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Ginrai's Trailer Transformation

Full disclosure: I don't think this is a particularly interesting model.  It depicts the transformation of Ginrai's trailer into its base mode.  Maybe I find it dull because it's not a character proper.  Maybe It's just that it's really a rather static piece, with no great liberties taken from the toy.  Nevertheless, it was requested, so I figured why not.

Now, the actual Ginrai / Powermaster Optimus Prime toy, on the other hand, is just marvelous.  Ginrai especially, with the retractable fists and metal bits.  As a kid I thought it a bit funny that Prime had a cargo space in his trailer, but nothing to put there.  I would store his head back there, but it seemed like overkill.  I used to try to cram Roller back there too.  I think I could get it to just about fit if I took off all the wheels.

As it turns out, great minds think alike!  How could I know that that trailer space was vestigial? Early on in the design phase, Powermaster Prime was to be a Powermaster AND a Headmaster, with a triple-changing Roller as the head.  It would have been truly glorious.

Godbomber, too, went through some big changes from conception to final execution. (If you don't know, Godbomber is the trailer extension for Ginrai that turns into a robot or an enhancement for Super Ginrai, allowing him to become God Ginrai.) Big differences include spots on his wrist to keep Ginrai's rifles, and a large hand-held cannon instead of a shoulder-mounted missile launcher.  I liked the idea of the wrist-mounted guns so much that I drilled holes in my reissue.

Anyway, a very neat figure, and maybe some day I'll customize up that rifle or even the Roller headmaster.  Don't hold your breath, though, since Joe books are taking up much of my time.  (I came up with a great little eight page block today that lets me use a lot of neat models and have them all feel coherent.) If anyone else out there has done some kitbashing or customizing along this line, chime up and let me know.  Maybe we can do a photo-spread right here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Ark Addendum - Wilder's Transform

BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT!  (Well, Martin politely requested it, but close enough.)  I finish off the HM Junior transformation sequences with Wilder.

This is actually an interesting one, if only because it's so complicated.  Yes, it's nominally six steps, but note how there is an insert between steps one and two showing the back, and note the detail in step five, split up into three parts.

All this for one of my least favorite designs in the series.  There just weren't enough liberties taken with the toy design.  Now, Fangry, at least as done up by Andrew Wildman, that's how you stylize up this toy.  This guy looks terrifying!  Wilder looks too dumpy, almost like he should be plush.