Inspiration from art: Get to Da Choppa!

*pushes glasses up nose* Actually, it was the year 2005.

Those grid lines behind him help you to tell that it was the ’80s when this happened.

Sometimes, inspiration just seizes you, and you have to go where it follows. Now Galvatron, was an interesting enough character in the old G1 comics and ‘toon, a construct of Unicron created from the defeated Megatron’s carcass.

Galvatron's fierce grin, from IDW's Transformers #37.

Galvatron’s fierce grin, from IDW’s Transformers #37.

In the modern IDW comics, they’ve taken him in an entirely different direction with a new origin story that places him as a time-traveller from Cybertron’s distant past. Galvatron of the Darklands was a barbarian who fought in the time of the ancient Primes; initially a follower of Megatronus Prime, he ragequit and went on a murder-spree against combiners, headmasters and various other transformers he considered impure. He has no patience with anyone he doesn’t consider to be a “true warrior”, nor anyone who relies on “magick” science too complex for him to understand (he doesn’t trust any technology more advanced than his fusion cannon). He’s basically Conan The Cybertronian.

What is best in life, Galvatron?

To crush your enemies, to see their alt-modes driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their Minicons.

There’s a fantastic illustration of him on Retailer Incentive cover of IDW’s Transformers #45, drawn by the vastly skilled Kei Zama, known to the interwebs as Golby II.

This guy is for the chop. then.

Bigger, better version of this image here at the artist’s website.

Anyway, I took rather a shine to this barbaric ‘bot; in particular I adore this image which really channels the character’s oldschool “barbarian” fantasy feel. Furthermore, I think that axe is rather cool.

Here's the axe, pulled out from the rest of the image.

Here’s the axe (and Galvatron’s shoulder), pulled out from the rest of the image.

So simple, but such an effective outline. I couldn’t resist sculpting it and 3d-printing one for my Transformer’s figures. The model just seemed to flow from my mouse and keyboard. It’s probably the easiest sculpt I’ve ever done. (I put it on Shapeways, of course, it’s at

If only I could get the orange ink to glow...

Brainstorm isn’t the most natural stand-in for Galvatron, but he’s the most natural stand-in for a Cybertronian weapon-smith…. so there.

I don’t actually have a Galvatron figure, so I’ve no idea what I’ll do with the axe. Making it just felt right. If the upcoming Titans Return Galvatron doesn’t have a decent axe, then this blade will find a suitable wielder. After all, sometimes the blade chooses you.

“Quick and Dirty” Pandemic: a Custom Transformers Toy

This is Pandemic, from the defunct MMO Transformers Universe:



For those who never played, or don’t remember the game, he was an ambitious Decepticon with a sibilant voice, a fondness for viral weapons and two vicious drills. He transformed into a very sleek, vaguely snake-looking car.

This is Knock Out, a Deluxe-size Transformers Toys from the Beast Hunters subline of Transformers Prime:



 What happens when you blend those two things? Well just look here after the jump…

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Transformers Universe Modular Melee Weapons Project: Part 1

Not the most concise name I’ve ever given a project, I’ll admit… Anyway, regular readers might be aware that I, AddAltModeB, have a fondness for the defunct MMO Transformers Universe, which has manifested itself in the occasional bit of model-making: such as my custom Mismatch, and the Pandemic I’ve got on the way. Maybe I’ll call the project TUMMWP for short… but Tumm-wup sounds like something that might be forcibly taken to Isengard by the Uruk-hai.

They’re taking the tumm-wups to Isengard! Gard-ga-ga-ga-gard!

The axe in 3 Parts: 1: Head 2: Handle 3: Hilt

The axe in 3 Parts:
1: Head
2: Handle
3: Hilt

Anyway, whilst working on my previous axe-modelling project inspired by the weapons in the game,  I’d adopted a modular design to save on 3d-printing costs. Basically, the Head, Handle, Hilt could be printed separately. Separating the Head and Hilt makes the model take up much less “tray space”, making it cheaper to have it made (though it adds to costs in the polishing stage if you want to use polished materials). Separating the Base of the handle makes it easier to attach the axe to toy robots whose hands might be 5mm-diameter tubes — I learned this trick from models made by the esteemed fakebusker83, in particular the Galactic Dichotomizer, an axe that was my first Shapeways purchase.

I realized that this system lent itself to building a modular system of parts. Almost all the heavy, 2-handed melee weapons in the game follow this simple pattern. I could build each handle, head and hilt with relative ease, and so long as I used the same system of pegs to put all the pieces together, I’d have a huge number of options to use creating the finished items. Of course, the limits to minimum sizes in finished materials might create a few problems with some of the hilts, but I could adjust the geometry as necessary within these parameters…

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Windblade: Operation Stability (Shapeways product review)

There’s such a thriving Transformers fan community on Shapeways,”The World’s Leading 3D Printing Service & Marketplace.” I think it’s wonderful how the development and expansion of 3D printing has really taken Transformers fanart and engagement with the toys to the next level, allowing designers to do anything from making the official figures more show/comic accurate; creating replica parts and accessories to repair older toys or reinstate missing components; construct characters and properties that would never otherwise appear in the plastic (as B has been doing with his weapons and customs inspired by the now defunct Transformers Universe game). And, of course, 3D printing can occasionally provide a very welcome opportunity for fans to correct flaws in the official figures. Today I’m going to look at one such corrective product: the Upgraded Heel Spurs for Generations Windblade designed by Shapeways artist JohnBonhamatron. These are a great example of how a little modification can make a big difference…

Generations Windblade - Upgraded Heel Spurs by Shapeways artist by JohnBonhamatron

Generations Windblade – Upgraded Heel Spurs by Shapeways artist JohnBonhamatron

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Deployer Mounting for Fun and Profit, Mostly Fun

In the current Transformers cartoon Robots In Disguise, which is a sequel of sorts to Transformers Prime, there are a number of Mini-Cons: small (from an Autobot/Decepticon perspective) robots who can symbiotically combine with their larger cousins, or who can be deployed into battle from the the larger ‘bots arms.

I choose you, Slipstream!... yeah, I went there.

Drift’s gauntlets are about to transform into his Mini-Con allies Slipstream and Jetstorm. Drift wants to be the very best, like no-one ever was…

It’s not clear what the advantage is for the Mini-Con of spending so much time attached to their larger partner whilst shaped like a tortoise’s shell, but it is clear that it’s pretty cool.

Funnily enough, where you’d think it would be a no-brainer for Hasbro to put a couple Mini-Con-attachment points on every Deluxe Warrior-size toy in the RID toyline, they’ve actually decided to do something completely different.

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The Cortex Cleaver: A custom weapon for Transformers.

Hey Transformers Universe fans! The game may have died and faded to gunmetal grey but we’re keeping the good parts alive, and among those good parts were some of the weapons. Do you remember Shellshock’s Cortex Cleaver? Rampart’s Flak Axe? The un-named axe that Diabla wielded on the posters?

She lost the axe, but stayed Axe-crazy.

I don’t think this axe even made it to public beta before being replaced by her venomous arm-blades.

Well, they all use the same model, and I thought it’d be a cool thing to have, so I went about digitally-sculpting it and sent it to Shapeways to 3D-print.

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Mismatch: A figure custom inspired by Transformers Universe: Part 3

A long time ago, I posted about customising a toy into Mismatch, the cannibalistic Decepticon from defunct MMO Transformers Universe. I’d been too involved in other projects to make much progress, but recently I’ve been back to it. Here’s a fresh picture before I go into the final stages.

At the back, you can see another TFU-related project underway...

Mismatch in car mode, mostly painted. Inset: Mismatch’s custom head.

Mismatch in Car Mode, from his trailer.

Mismatch in Car Mode, from his trailer.

Actually, it’s been a bit of a struggle to get all of the yellow parts covered: Not all of them are easily accessed without extensive dismantling. Some customisers prefer to do this, and I’m beginning to see the wisdom in this method.

Another thing that became apparent when as I worked on this project was that I could have made a better choice of starting figure: there was a black re-deco of this mould released as “Night Shadow Bumblebee“. If I’d planned better from the start, I’d have picked up one of these along side the yellow mould that I did get, and used the grey parts from standard Bumblebee with the black parts from the Night Shadow version, I’d have only needed to paint the green bits. Still, this was my first heavy customisation project, so it has been educational.

Mismatch is well on his way to completion: I’ve just got to paint a few more areas, ink in a few details, push his new head into place and give him a faction symbol (sticker) a quick coat of lacquer. I’m hoping to finish him in a couple of weeks.

3D Printed Swords for Transformers: A Round-Up of Mini-Reviews.

A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer’s hand.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

3D-printing is an amazing technology; it is finding medical uses, making industrial prototyping an awful lot easier, and putting gadget personalization into the reach of just about anyone with even a basic amount of computer literacy.

However, today at AddAltMode, we’re not here to talk about all these amazing world-improving technologies. We’re going to talk about the use of 3D-printing to make custom accessories for action figures. And guess what? There’s a thriving community of Transformers fans, arming their robots with unique 3D-printed weapons. Today we’re going to pull some 3D-printed blades off the sword-rack and look at them in detail.

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The Polar Opposite of a Weapon: Part 2, Cerrian/Starstream Beam-Gun

Hi blogosphere!

Brief post today: I just realised that in my post describing my model Cerrian/Starstream Beam-Gun (the healing ray-guns wielded by Autobot medics from Transformer Universe) I didn’t put any photos of the completed and painted model, so I thought I’d better correct that glaring omission.

It still looks really heavy.

The grumpy old Medic should look more pleased: he could just shoot this through the Ground-bridge, and wouldn’t even have to leave the base.

This post is pretty much all pictures – so skip it if you’re not into that.

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