“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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Army-Building with STEVE, XPNDBL & CANTFLY (Star Wars Fans Have it Easy)

Army-building is a slang term among action figure collectors which means obtaining and displaying multiples of the same action figure — usually one which represents a generic “trooper” rather than a particular character.

These statues were made with mix-and-match molds, so each one is actually unique.

Qin Shi Huang was the first Army-builder. (Photo of his mausoleum, from Wikimedia foundation, original here.)

Army-building seems to be popular among the Star Wars fandom. A quick Google search turns up thousands of images of fan-made displays, some of which contain hundreds of neatly-lined-up Stormtroopers with a a single Darth Vader & Emperor Palpatine (and maybe a couple of those red bodyguard guys) stood at the head of the group.

Guess what kind of action figure we army-build with here at AddAltMode: that’s right it’s a Transformer. The Vehicons from Transformers Prime – who are the show’s Stormtrooper-equivalents.

The Steve who looks thoughtful is wondering where his pal is, completely fooled by his disguise.

Vehicons! We’ve discussed them once or twice before.

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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.

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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Transformers Prime Skullcruncher: G1 Nostalgia

Grax transforms into Skullcrucher's head... it's complicated.

Character-model images of Skullcruncher and his Headmaster Partner Grax. (Images From Transformers Generations)

Skullcruncher was a Decepticon in Transformers Generation one. He transformed into a pinkish-red and dark-green robot alligator – not a crocodile, his upper jaw is wider than the lower one, and the lower jaw’s teeth are obscured when his mouth is closed… Herpetological concerns aside, he was a brutish and feral (although not stupid), Decepticon, used as muscle and cannon fodder by various post-Megatron Decepticon leaders like Scorponok and Bludgeon. His human-sized partner Grax transforms into Skullcruncher’s robot-mode head.

Seperated at Birth construction? Pandemic From transformers universe and Beast Hunters Knock-Out.

Seperated at birth construction? Facial close-ups of Pandemic from Transformers Universe and Beast Hunters Knock Out.

I obtained the reptilian Beast Hunters Knock Out very cheaply, and had in mind using him as the base for a custom figure of the Transformers Universe character Pandemic. However, I changed my mind, and found a new inspiration when discussing the Headmasters from Generations 1.

In Transformers: Prime (at least until the Robots In Disguise subfranchise), Decepticons don’t have beast modes per se, so the alligator-ish warrior Skullcruncher would be likely to look more like a reptilian car in his alt-mode than like an actual reptile. With that train of thought in my head, I began to work on a simple customisation for Knock Out.

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The Polar Opposite of a Weapon: Healing Ray-Guns

I strongly suspect that a large fraction of AddAltMode’s readers might have played Team Fortress 2. If you haven’t, then go and play it now: it’s free on Steam, which is also free. You only have to pay for the hats. One of the things that TF2 introduced me to was the Medic’s Medigun – a blunt and tubular ray-gun that shoots healing rays.

The “healing gun” is a popular trope in first-person and third-person shooters with a team element. It’s tidier and easier (and way less gory) than having a field medic perform realistic battlefield surgery. Your team’s medic just has to shoot you with his healing ray, and your health bar is filled right up – the heal ray is the very opposite of a weapon. Of course, this makes much more sense in games with heavy fantasy or hard sci-fi element… Continue reading