Unicron’s Faster-Than-Light Travel Method

What kind of thoughts keep the strange minds at chez AddAltMode up at night? Well, we have relatively few skeletons in our closet, and no strong phobias, so it’s mostly the eccentric stuff; by which we mean musings on 30-year-old movies about robots.

In The Transformers: The Movie, the planet-eating monster Unicron appears to be able to traverse interstellar distances very quickly and with great ease. It is clear that Unicron possesses some sort of faster-than-light (FTL forthwith, due to laziness) engine.

Unicron devours the planet Lithone. © 1986 Sunbow Productions, Marvel Productions, and Hasbro.

Unicron devours the planet Lithone. Presumably, he got to where Lithone was from where we was previously at faster-than-light speeds, or else they’d’ve seen him coming and evacuated earlier.

Continue reading

MTMTE Voice Acting

How do all these 'bots sound when they speak?

How do all these ‘bots sound when they speak?

AddAltmodeR and I have a little thing we like to do with the IDW Transformers comics, particularly More Than Meets The Eye, Windblade and the Dark Cybertron crossover comic: we like to read it to each other, sat on our sofa or in bed, whilst putting on voices for each character. We’re like a home-grown (and markedly less skilled) version of the Audio Knights Theatre, the group who make the podcasts of people reading comics (and whose work includes, but is not limited to, readings of MTMTE). Now, neither of us is an amazing impressionist, and we’re certainly not professional voice-actor material (neither of us can talk for long enough), but attempting to do this is good fun.

So, we tend to have strong opinions on the subject of how the characters’ voices should sound. This feeds into a perennial conversation topic: which voice actors we’d like to hear in a (hypothetical) animated version of More Than Meets The Eye. This post is going to be a long one. It’s also unapologetically self-indulgent; I’m not kidding myself that there are a huge number of people who care what voices we at AddAltMode put on when reading comics aloud to each other, but for the people who will find this interesting, I hope both of you enjoy it.

So if I was casting director for an animated series or movie set in the IDW universe, (and I had unlimited resources, so as to acquire the services of any voice actor I choose), here’s how it would sound…

Continue reading

Free Comic Book Day 2016

So another annual staple of the Geek calendar has been and gone. What does Free Comic Book Day mean to you? To me, well obviously it’s a welcome opportunity to score some free comics, whether that means a few more gratis pages of franchises and characters I already know and love;  the chance to sample something new (or at least new to me); or just a one-off wildcard, it’s a fun way to expand my comic reading horizons. It’s a day to celebrate comics, yes, but more than that, it’s a day to celebrate the geek community in general and to have a little fun while supporting local businesses. I love going down to my local comic shops on Free Comic Book Day, more for the atmosphere than for the freebies even – since so many other people make a point of doing the same it’s a great way to catch up with old friends and make a few new ones a long the way.

Not just free comics, free cake!

Not just free comics, free cake!

The Guardian newspaper ran a preview feature on 10 of the best places to enjoy Free Comic Book Day in the UK. The event we attended, at Exeter’s Moving Pictures, actually came in at number 8 on the list, so that was pretty exciting (especially given the typically London-centric focus of that particular publication). It was also pleasing that the article mentioned Exeter’s “big cosplay community.” Those three words are all deserving of equal weight: for a fairly small city we are big on cosplay here and there’s definitely a big sense of community spirit, something for which I’ll always be grateful. Saturday was a prime example of this in more ways than one….

Continue reading

Rodimus and Brainstorm go to Optimus Con, Bristol

The weekend of April 9-10th was Optimus Con, held at the UWE Exhibition and Conference centre in Bristol. B and I went along for the day on the Saturday and had a great time. Our original cos-plans for this event had been to give a second airing to our Borderlands Tannis and Salvador costumes, but that was before I got utterly obsessed with working on our Transformers MTMTE-inspired human(ish) Rodimus and Brainstorm cosplay. These only really needed to be finished in time for TFNation, which isn’t until August, but once I started building and sewing these I got so into the project that I just wanted to work until they were done. So I figured I’d set myself an earlier deadline and get a few wears out of them before the Summer’s big robot party. And hey, what’s an event called Optimus without some good old Transformers representation anyway?

MTMTE Brainstorm and Rodimus, cosplay by Addaltmode

MTMTE Brainstorm and Rodimus, cosplay by Addaltmode

Continue reading

Off to Optimus…

Hi folks! It’s been a while hasn’t it? We had such great plans for this blog at the start of the year and precisely none of it has come to fruition. Apologies for that. The truth is I’ve had a few health problems this year and I just didn’t have the energy to blog for a couple of months so I had to give myself a break. Sometimes in life you just have to admit that you can’t do it all and give yourself permission to take a step back. It’s a healthy thing to do but – if your personality is anything like mine – often a very tough call to make. I’m doing a lot better now, though, and am keen to get typing here again so hopefully our normal geeky service will resume here soon.

I may not have been blogging, but I certainly haven’t been idle in the past couple of months. Rather, it’s been full steam ahead when it comes to cosplay creation. I’ve been working on our humanised Transformers More Than Meets The Eye costumes. These are really for TFNation but I figured it might be fun to finish them well in advance of that gathering and take them out to a few other events too…. starting tomorrow. So if you’re heading to Bristol’s Optimus Con on Saturday then do watch out for B and I as we début our Brainstorm and Rodimus respectively. These cosplays are a bit more stylised than my Slipstream or Arcee costumes but I had a blast making them and I hope they’re true to the much-loved characters if not to every aspect of their design. I’ll be posting photos and also a bit more of a ‘cosbloggy’ write up on the trials and tribulations of #ProjectMTMTE after the event.

But in the meantime, if you’re heading over to Optimus do watch out for us and come and chat if you see us! You never know, I may even award you a Rodimus Star

2016-04-06 17.32.44

Yes I have spent most of the past week brandishing scissors and sticky-back plastic!

We Aten’t Dead

Aten't Dead

*blows away cobwebs*… Hello, Internet! We’ve been a bit quiet of late here at AddAltMode, due to some health issue followed by being super busy on a couple of projects. We’ll be back up here as soon as we’re ready, but in the meantime, anyone who is at Bristols’ Optimus convention on the 9th of April, look out for us, since we’ll be there. We’ll be in costume, but if you think MTMTE, you’ll find us with no trouble.

I’ve Renamed my Shapeways Shop

We’ve not been posting much this week, after seven days in a row for Bruticus Week, we thought we’d let you bask in his majesty whilst we recover.

So, I’d been thinking about how I needed a better name for my shapeways shop, when inspiration jumped out on me from the pages of More Than Meets The Eye.

Image belongs to IDW and Hasbro.

Weapons Designer, Eccentric and self-declared “Ship’s Genius”, Brainstorm, from MTMTE #2.

What better name for a collection of accessories (mostly weapons) made for Transformers toys than that of a prolific and legendarily-skilled (if a little narcissistic and maybe a little bit bonkers) weapon-smith? So the shop is called Brainstorm’s Workshop.


Coming in the new year to the workshop, I’ll finish the modular weapons project, I’ve got a couple of weapons modelled after video-game guns on the way, and some more exotic bladed mêlée weapons that have only appeared in comics and books. Finally, for Easter, I’ll have project involving eggs… and faces… and tentacles….

Humanised characters? Cosplay ponderings

So what are your thoughts on humanised cosplay? Seen frequently within fandoms such as Pokémon, My Little Pony and – recently – Five Nights at Freddies, this is the phenomenon of creating a human – or at least humanish – version of a non-human character. In the anime scene I believe this often called Gijinka (擬人化), the Japanese term for “humanoid”, “personification”, or“anthropomorphic.”  I have mixed feelings about it. Just my personal opinion, and call me a prude if you will, but I’ll admit I’m not much of a fan of the kind of humanised cosplay that is just a thinly veiled excuse to be wear a swimsuit or parade around in lingerie. I’ve no problem with sexy cosplay where the character themselves is sexy or skimpily dressed in the original designs. But let’s face it, we’re not exactly lacking in choice of characters who fit those criteria, so I’ve never quite understood the need for a furry bikini Chewbacca, or a swimsuit Ivysaur either. But where the point is to re-imagine a character and try to capture their essence rather than just recreate the whole look, I think humanised costumes can be a really interesting and creative form of cosplay.

I am planning to do another reasonably bulky “full rig” Transformer costume for 2016, hopefully building on what I learned while making Slipstream and coming up with something even better. I also recently obtained some Worbla for the first time, so it’ll be interesting to have a go at using this (expect lumpen disaster photos in the not-too distant future). I’ll talk more about the character I’ve chosen and start chronicling my progress here another time. But alongside the big project, I’ve also been pondering having a go at some more “humanised” cosplay. Why? Various reasons really…

I've been sketching and scheming! See below for the results...

I’ve been sketching and scheming! See below for the results…

This post is going to be a bit of a thought dump as well as the chance to share some sketches and plans.

Continue reading

MTMTE meets M:tG?

In IDW’s Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye comic series there’s a point in issue #21 in which the character Skids passes through a mysterious portal. I’m not going to spoil too much of the context for those who aren’t reading it yet (why not? READ IT!) but after passing through, Skids is addressed telepathically by a group of 5 differently-coloured planetoids. (Believe me, this is far from the oddest thing that has happened in MTMTE.) He is soon nonplussed by the planetoids; their method of communication is beyond what his mind can fathom, and their in-comic speech bubbles contain not text but a series of pictograms.

Anyway, one of the telepathic planetoids’ speech bubbles, contains this glyph:

I suspect the symbol in the middle represents the Knights of Cybertron, and the outer 5 orbs represent the gods of the guiding hand.

Detail from panel in Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #21

The 5 differently coloured orbs are arranged clockwise: White, Green, Red, Black & Blue. I suspect the symbol in the middle represents the Knights of Cybertron, and the outer 5 orbs represent the Gods of the Guiding Hand.

But I’ve also seen a very similar wheel of colours before somewhere else; several thousand times, in fact… Continue reading

Geekily Ever After? AddAltMode’s Top 10 Tips for a Lasting Geek Relationship

This summer B and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. According to UK tradition this apparently was our “woollen” anniversary – although a more appropriate material for us would surely have been plastic seeing as we spent our anniversary weekend at Auto Assembly! Who says romance is dead? Now a Transformers convention may not be too many people’s idea of a romantic date but it’s fitting for us in many ways as our geeky interests and passions have always been an central element in our relationship. Like any partnership, ours has had its ups and downs over the years, but we’re glad to still be going strong after 7 years of marriage and almost 15 together as a couple (yeah, we didn’t exactly rush down the aisle).

PixelHeartWe’re often asked what is the secret behind our successful marriage, and I’m not sure there is one – although friendship, compromise, stubbornness and yes, just sheer luck certainly all have had their roles to play. But even if there’s no magic formula we’ve learned a few things over the years about making a relationship last and we thought we’d share them today. Now, relationship advice isn’t a topic we’d normally cover here on AddAltMode but, as you’ll see, it isn’t a million miles away from our regular programming. This is a geek blog, and over the years we’ve come to realise that the fact that we’re both massive geeks isn’t just a key element in why we get along so well, it also provides a shared language and some handy frames of reference for many of things we’ve learned on our journey together to date…

Continue reading