Posts tagged with "kitbashes" - 1
Posted November 2, 2018 at 3:15 pm

Transformers has a storied history of adding in non-toy characters to help the narrative along.  Sometimes all the "real" characters in the toy range don't give you what you need in your story, and so you gotta make somebody up.  Need a big warlord-type Big Bad, but 1985's product offering is already accounted for?  Then say hello to Straxus!  Need someone who needs to look unimpressive and also someone you can kill immediately without Hasbro getting fussy?  Then say hello to Scrounge!  He transforms into a wheel!  It doesn't matter that he transforms into a wheel, because he doesn't have to be marketable on the toy shelf.  He's just there to be in your story.  

The flipside is that these fiction-only weirdos sometimes become popular.  Like both Straxus and Scrounge.  Both eventually got toys, though Scrounge's took longer.  (And it was just Cosmos in yellow, since Cosmos is a, uh, round-ish UFO guy.)  The Rule of Cool means sometimes your favorite characters are never going to get toys.  Or if they do, it might... take... a while.  

So, hey, say hello to Rung.  He's a quiet, even-headed psychologist, and he's a skinny nerd in glasses who transforms into a stick.  A stick.  PROBABLY he's not on Hasbro's shortlist, despite having been preeeeeeetty important in the past several years of Transformers comics.  Because, you know.  Glasses nerd.  Stick.

But he's pretty important, so I had to go make my own.  

It took until Power of the Primes Moonracer/Novastar came out that something suitably skinny with kibble put in most of the right places was available to modify.  Transformers toys are mostly male, and being male-coded means your toys either get Bruce Timmish superhero proportions or you're just a big solid block.  So, yeah, thank goodness for Moonracer's slight build.  

I gave Moonracer the orange fists from Novastar and then painted the rest of her Tamiya Orange and Flat White, with some silver Sharpie in places for trim color.  I left a circle on her translucent blue plastic stomach unpainted, 'cuz Rung's got one there.  I did paint the toy everywhere, including the vehicle mode parts on the bottom of the feet and on the back, so in theory Rung could transform into an orange and white car.  But in practice, I think I paintlocked him and I don't feel like wrecking his finish just to put him into alt-mode.  Besides, dude rarely transformed anyway.  Remember, stick.  

For the head, I went to my buddy Trent.  I commissioned a Rung head from him using measurements I took of Moonracer's head, and he put together a CGI model we can 3D print off of Shapeways.  You can find it here!  Moonracer has a 4mm balljoint on her neck, so this head will also work with any other toy that has a 4mm balljoint neck, such as Power of the Primes Wreck-Gar, now showing up at Walgreens.  

And now Rung can hang out with my other Lost Lighters!  

I mean, if Hasbro actually eventually made a Rung toy, I wouldn't say no to it, but this'll make me plenty happy regardless.

Posted April 21, 2017 at 3:30 am

As was my singleminded plan from the start, I customized my Masterpiece Megatron to appear more like his color scheme in the original Marvel comics.  I mean, that's why I bought this guy, really, so my customized Masterpiece Marvel Ratchet would have a sparring buddy.

First I cracked open his faces to paint his eyes yellow.  ... Well, gold.  I was leaving most of Megatron's colors unaltered, and he's a very rich and sparkly gray, so I figured gold would mesh with that better than primary yellow.  Thankfully, on each of Megatron's swappable faces, Megatron's eyes are on a separate piece from the rest of his face.  This piece is a real doozy to remove.  It pulls out like a slotted battery cover, if that battery cover were also pegged in and not meant to ever be removed.  And so I had to violently crowbar it out with the smallest flathead screwdriver I had.  The back of these faces is a hacked-up mess.  A mess you'll never see since it's behind the face and inside the head when assembled, but a mess nonetheless.  And the gold paint would often scrape off the eyes as I squeezed the eye-piece back in, and so sometimes I'd have to crowbar it back out again and repaint and retry.  

Compared to that, the rest of my customizations were a breeze.  I got a big flat brush and painted Megatron's helmet gunmetal.  The gunmetal acrylic I used is a little shinier than the dark gray on the rest of the toy, but I'd never be able to match that in a million years -- it's speckly and textured paint.  It's close enough at a glance, however.  This process was relatively easy because you could remove the face to paint most of the helmet, which considerably lowers your chances of accidentally getting paint on the face.  You still have to paint each face's forehead, but that's way less surface area to need to be exceedingly careful with.

And finally, I painted his outward ab sections red.  Just red. There doesn't seem to be any gloss (non-transparent) acrylic reds from brands I recognize, so I just got a regular red off Amazon.  I have a flat red, but I wanted it as shiny as possible.  While painting, I transformed Megatron's many torso shards out of the way so I could have as unobscured a view of the parts I wanted to paint as possible.  

The comics also painted his gun barrel a medium blue, which was probably supposed to be a medium gray, but 1) this was never colored consistently and 2) I'd DEFINITELY never get the silencer attachment on again with fucking everything up, so no thanks.  Another detail I didn't bother with is moving his Decepticon chest symbol over a little to his right.  I'd never be able to match the gray, and they'd stopped off-centering his logo eventually anyway, as it was based on a bad perspective error on his model sheet which the artists seem to have eventually figured out.

He still transforms.  I checked.  And, really, the parts I painted seem to be more safe from scraping than the factory applied paint he came with.  There's more clearance around his helmet and his ab slabs than on, say, his barrel and silencer.  My modifications just mean there's a strange black area just in front of the trigger guard.

Posted October 13, 2016 at 10:01 pm

Yay, 3D printing!  It's getting to be not-crappy!  Now that Shapeways (the online 3D printing folks) has introduced a new material, black high-def acrylate, and my pal Trent Troop had a Dinobot head to purchase, I was like, yes, I will try this thing.

Shapeways' high-def acrylate, which currently only comes in black, is pretty close to looking like normal-ass molded plastic.  You don't see any layers in the plastic, like you're looking at a toy made out of lasagna, and the sculpted detail is very fine.  The only downside, at least for this project, was the piece comes in black, and I needed to make it gold and blue.  This meant.... base coat layer!  I was painting like some kind of adult, with preparedness and forethought and everything.  Whaaaaaat.  Luckily I had some medium gray acrylic paint sitting around from when I was painting up my BotCon Ratchets.

After that, it was only a matter of getting the gold and metallic blue paint on there.  After using plain-ol' Gold Leaf, I decided the gold needed to be a little more orangey-er, and so I mixed some orange into my gold and painted it again.  At this point, I think I've started to lose a little of the sculpted detail, but, eh, I don't feel like scraping it all off and starting over.  It looks nice, though!  I like it.

Trent/TheRobotMonster's got over 100 heads to choose from in his Shapeways store.  There's some Optimuses, some Pretender Monsters, Skeletor, the goddang Sogmaster, Krang, Rung and Tarn... there's a bunch there.  And all you gotta do is screwdriver away the head on the Titan Master toy itself, replace the head with the new one, and screwdriver the screw back in.  Easy cheezy.  You can make any Titans Return headmaster guy into Dinobot.  Or the Sogmaster.  

Posted August 25, 2013 at 12:00 am

Man, I still have a huge-ass backlog of toys from BotCon and SDCC which I haven't talked about.  I remember when weekend updates were unlocked during the Dumbing of Age Kickstarter, and folks worried I wouldn't have time left to do comics.  Oh, I'll have time to do comics!  Just... other non-comic things fall through the cracks, is all.  Like toy reviews.  And so let's try to put a dent in this backlog.

One thing I really really need to talk about is this customized BWX Megatron.  Cheetimus painted one up to look like Transmetal Megatron, which is basically the one thing this universe is sorely missing.  And I know I talk a big game about Dinobot and Ratchet and Hot Shot, but I assure you that Beast Wars Megatron is, in fact, my favorite Transformers character of all time.  And that his Transmetal form is my favorite iteration of him, though I think I like his BWX toy the best.

So obviously, the BWX toy painted up in is Transmetal colors just might be the best thing possible.

My decision was made for me, and now he is mine.  

I bet if you wanted one, too, you could commission one from Cheets.

Posted March 15, 2013 at 8:48 pm

So now I have Shattered Glass Blaster and a pair of Recordiguys for him, but neither of them are guys I'm particularly familiar with.  I wanted an old favorite!  And so I got myself a junker Steeljaw and made myself Shattered Glass Steeljaw.  I feel pretty safe making my own SG Steeljaw, free from worry that I'll get a real one.  After all, he's a TakaraTomy guy done up in the colors of a thing owned by their Most Bitterest Arch-Nemesis, plus they've already just recently done that toy in all black.  Either way, SG Steeljaw ain't gonna happen.

If I'd chosen his colors, I probably would have gone with something that's less likely to make TakaraTomy's legal team cringe.  Also something easier to paint.  Dang.  I ain't good at tiny details.
Posted June 26, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Airachnid is one of those toys that will test show-characters-only completists.  She's not a very good toy!  And so show-characters-only completists will end up owning toys like this instead of toys that are pretty sweet (Hot Shot, Dead End) but never made a fictional appearance.  It is a joke we play on ourselves.

Seriously, Airachnid's not that great.  It's not that she's nearly immobile in robot mode, it's not that she looks devoid of paint, it's not that she can't make that sweet third spideresque mode she has on the cartoon, it's not that her robot arms are kind of hilariously gimpy, it's ... well, it's all of those things, combined.

Airachnid has very little poseability.  She has joints, sure, but everything on her that isn't a joint works together to keep those joints from having any real range of movement.  She can't turn her head because even though the neck is balljointed, the helicopter mode's cockpit seat is attached to the back of her head and that kind of keeps it from doing anything.  She has knees and hips, but those are similarly useless joints.  To make matters worse, she doesn't stand well.  If she's not holding her weapons, she's incredibly backheavy and will topple... unless she's kind of bending forward a bit.  Which, again, isn't very practical since her movement's so restricted.

I said she "looks" devoid of paint.  She does have paint.  It's just that so much of her is black and what paint she has isn't used in the best way that it could be.  She's got paint outlining the windows of her cockpit, on the insides of both of her thighs, on her stomach, two paint applications flanking her hips, a good number on her face, and a tiny bit of paint on the Decepticon symbol on her sternum.   Oh, and her two "electro-stinger" accessories (designed after the "Null Rays" Knock Out suggested to Starscream as weapon replacements in one episode) are both extensively painted.  She has her knees painted gold and purple in her stock photography, and those must have been costed out, but I'm pretty sure I'd rather they had sacrificed the paint on her hips.  Those are supposed to be black and not purple anyway!

With paint!

She's not a very fun toy.  It's not a great transformation.  And she looks kinda dull and substandard.  I think part of the problem is her design is too ambitious for the Deluxe size class.  She woulda been a great Voyager, I'm sure, but of course that'd make her too huge.  And so we have this thing.

I've already painted my Airachnid up a bunch.  It makes her look better, but she still ain't any funner.  The most hilarious part was painting black over the unnecessary purple on her hips.  Oh, you.
Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm

So Cheetimus made me a yellow Hot Shot, because he loves me or something.  Sorry, Cheets, I already have a bromance going!

At some point Cheetimus realized that he can paint, and so recently he's been doing piles of modifications to Transformers toys to either make them look more like their media appearances or just for fun.  For example, he's done buttloads of Ratchets and Knock Outs and such.  Definitely stuff above my particular skill level, for sure.  For example, just by looking at this Hot Shot he sent me, I notice he can actually paint straight.  (Rulers and straight lines have always been my natural enemy.  I mean, check out these old It's Walky! strips... these panel borderss were drawn with a straight edge.  I kid you not.)

The Hot Shot he sent me is the offspring of two toys.  Cheets took a PRID Bumblebee and gave him PRID Hot Shot's head.  After all, that gives you a yellow Hot Shot, correct, without nearly as  much painting?  Then it was a simple(?) matter of detailing him to look more like a classic Hot Shot deco.  He seems to have gone for the Armada animation colors route, with the grays instead of navy blues.  Bumblebee's stripes were painted over in red and his gut and thighs were done in red also, with some silver accents to call back to his Armada seatbelt chest details.

He's perfectly transformable, though Cheets warned me not to fuss with his visor.  The paint there means it can't be moved anymore without scraping.

This toy reminds me of the early Armada Hot Shot prototype, the broadshouldered one.  Aaron Archer said one of the reasons for the change was that he didn't think the "football player" look worked for the character, and the transformation made him too wide.  And yet,  here we are.

To sum up, Cheetimus is good at painting.  If you think your Knock Out needs more yellow, I'd check him out.
Posted May 21, 2012 at 9:46 pm
I got Knock Out (and Vehicon) in the same box from Big Bad Toy Store that had Hot Shot in it, but I only asked Maggie to bring me Hot Shot to the airport for BotCon.  Knock Out awaited me when I returned!  I mean, I like Knock Out, but I don't have a shrine of him.  (It'd be a pretty small shrine at this point anyway, with only his Deluxe and his Happy Meal toy.)

Knock Out, much like SG Tracks, is evil Tracks.  He's more concerned about his paint job than anything else, and the only difference between him and heroic Tracks is that if you scuff him up, he'll take a saw to you.  Much of Transformers fandom -- and expecially Tumblr -- has decided he's gay.  If you want to see some hot Knock Out action, or at least some mild cuddling, search for art of him.  I guarantee you he has a much higher percentage of slash than any other Transformers Prime character.  (Starscream is probably second.)  In fact, if you read nothing on the Internet about Transformers except what's on Tumblr, you'd probably come away with the idea that Knock Out is The Most Popular Transformers Character Of All Time (And Also Has A Thing With Breakdown).

Given his popularity, of course everyone was excited for a toy of him.  We got to see an early, unpainted version of his toy at 2011's BotCon, to much cheering, but once we saw him in color, folks seemed put off.  On the show, he has a pretty high contrast red/yellow/white color scheme, while the toy focused instead on the car's two-toned red deco, leaving most of the yellow accents off.  Knock Out is "that red and yellow car" according to probably most folks, but the toy was decided only red and gray.  The toy does have some gold trim on the hood, but that's the extent of non-red colors.

There's also the matter of the show model being able to thwart all laws of physics and hide nearly all of his car parts and replace them with robot parts.  The toy of course can't do that, so instead of having normal robotty forearms, Knock Out's forearms are the car's rooftops, and instead of having a big robotty abdomen, his abdomen is car hood.  Plus none of the official photos (and many of the in-hand photos by fans) seemed to have trouble photographing his torso transformed properly.  Those car hood halves can angle towards each other so they nearly connect in the middle, y'know.  And so folks were all "bleaaugh."

Here's mine with some minor paint added, mostly silver and gold touch-ups.

(Except the folks on Tumblr.  They seem perfectly pleased.  I swear, the difference between the Transformers fandom on Tumblr and on everywhere else is like night and day.)

The toy itself, in all practicality, is fine.  It transforms easily enough, and with enough unique twists and turns that it doesn't feel like one of the 30 million other Transformers cars I already have.  The face has the appropriate smirk, giving the toy some personality. And so I was pleased with it!  It's Knock Out, as a non-terrible toy, which may require some painting.  Which I am perfectly capable of doing, so hey.  I didn't attack it as thoroughly as Cheetimus did, but I know the limits of my skill and I stick within them.

So if you like Knock Out, I recommend him.  If you like Knock Out and have a silver Sharpie marker, all the better.
Posted April 8, 2012 at 1:17 am
This toy's going right into my pants.

I started putting together a Dr. Biggles-Jones nearly 5 years ago.  I got a spare Lady Jaye and a spare Scarlett, and I was gonna frankenstein 'em together, hoping I'd find a good labcoat to add to her later.  But that labcoat wouldn't come until the GIJOE movie line gave us a white-coated Cobra "Rex" Commander, and Lady Jaye's hands had gloves on them, so I ended up buying a movie Cover Girl to use for arms instead.

And then the thing just sat in pieces in a tub somewhere since then.

But I've been doing a lot of toy-painting recently and I'd picked up Volume 14 of IDW's remastered collections of the original Marvel run, and I was reminded of my forgotten project and how easy it would be to finish it.

So I did!

I spent way too much time trying to x-acto knife open Cover Girl's torso to get her arms out of there.  Half an hour of sawing.  Eventually I gave up, grabbed some damn pliers, and with some very manly force, I crushed the torso, sending both arms flying behind the couch.  Those were retrieved and their sleeves were painted white.  I got some super-glue, put the body back together, and did some paint touch-ups.  I also took the knife to the labcoat, trimming the shoulders and opening up the front of the coat a bit so you could actually see her.

Yeah, uh, this photo's from the last time I did anything with my kitbash in... 2009. Yikes.


If I may get a little Fazzy with you, Dr. Biggles-Jones is the hottest lady.  I think in 1993 she was my ideal woman.  Incredibly smart, good with giant guns nearly her size, interested in by Transformers, and she wears a leotard and knee-high boots under a damn labcoat.  If only she wore glasses.  She's still pretty ideal.  Not as ideal as, say, that wife I married, but pretty close!  Hey, Maggie, if you're reading this, it's my birthday this week, just sayin'.  Y'know, if you find a spare leotard and labcoat...

Posted March 21, 2012 at 12:42 am
I told you I'd give you photos of my painted-up Prime Ratchet toy!  And here they are.  I couldn't begin to tell you all that I did in exacting detail.  Suffice to say I added a lot of red and silver and tiny amounts of black and yellow.  The one important detail that's still beyond my skill levels is the thin red zigzag line that runs down the side of his vehicle.  Maybe mirrorverse David can paint that in a way that will not end in tragedy, but I sure as hell can't.

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