Customs: 'Ancient Thunder' Biped Minion...a fun creative exercise, buuuuut...

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by Sledgehammer, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. Sledgehammer

    Sledgehammer Digital art monkey

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    Hey all,

    Following on from the Avian Minion concept I posted in the Fan Art forum, I've been working on the other half of the 'Ancient Thunder - Enemy Espionage Collection'. As I pointed out in that thread, I decided to go quiet with things following a conversation with Andy at Kapow Toys, in order to approach third-party manufacturers with an eye to getting these designs produced and available for everyone.

    However, things haven't gone exactly to plan (but I'll get to that in a bit)...

    So, I worked up the engineering model, tested it for STL issues, and uploaded it to Shapeways for prototyping:

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    Even went as far as to knock up a packaging concept, along with Takara-style tape cases for each of the little buggers:

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    Eventually (following a minor hiccup with Shapeways), the prototype parts arrived, and I've got to admit I'm very happy with how the actual engineering turned out - ball joints all fit nicely, and the tape case design worked like a charm:

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    But now comes the real crux of the matter - he's a little bit...well...tiny. o_O 

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    Sure, he still fits perfectly into WFC Soundwave's chest (as per the original idea), and the 'tape door' still closes without any issues...

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    ...but at 29mm (1.14in) high, he's not going to be a practical size for manufacturing. As a result of some serious brainstorming, I'm left with two major issues to ponder over:

    1) In order to be a reasonable scale (at least the size of say, Shadow Warrior, I reckon he'd have to be twice the size - but then obviously he's not going to fit inside Soundwave any more.

    2) Legality - This was originally conceived as a way to promote my digital production company, but having duplicated the game model as much as possible, I can see a potential storm brewing. Whilst Hasbro might not have plans to release their own versions, both they and Activision would happily unleash the attack lawyers if they think their IP is being infringed in any way. So whilst I could drop all of the Dogfish logos, it would pretty much defeat the original purpose.

    So, I put it to you guys - how do you think I should proceed from here? Call it quits and use the stuff I've already done as concept artwork for my business? Drop the company idents and push it to a third-party outfit regardless? Double the size and rework the models to essentially make them fancy Action Masters, given that their alt modes would be practically useless?

    Looking forward to hearing what you think! :thumb 
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

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    Okay, obviously I don't like it, as I have my own set of SW minions for WFC Soundwave due to arrive soon. Nowwhile I have my own model for the Fremble twins, I didnt work with ball joints or anywhere near as complex a design for the reason you stated: it wouldn't be practical.

    The best i can tell you to do now is this (and this is in no discredit to your work): don't release it. It's a great model, and i'm feeling slightly ashamed at my model now, but at the same time, I can be 100% certain of my model being easily produced and reliable. For yours, upscale it. At the scale of Petal and Salvo, this model would work really well. That, and it would fit better with the HasTak figures. While I know that means it won't fit in Soundwave's chest anymore, I think it is definitely worth it to release it in some form or another, and from what I see the current scale, though functional, is a concern. If you, the designer, is worried about it, then I wouldn't touch it as a consumer.

    Now, I'm going to say that even though I don't want anymore competition, I'd still support this idea if it were released at this scale. It's just in my opinion, I have a full set of Soundwave's minions already made, and us competing in that field, with your design so worry inducing, is a fruitless endeavour for both of us. However, if you upscaled it, you could make it work with G1 Soundwave, and your only competition is PE's Shadow Warrior, which, let's face it, isn't exactly very G1-y. Plus, at an upscaled class, and with it working for G1 Soundwave, not WFC Soundwave, chances of a lawsuit against you, I'd say would be less likely (though I'm not a lawyer, so make of that what you will).

    Just my 2 cents. :) 

    EDIT: Are you going for a SW release or a release with a 3rd party company? Because if you want another company to take it on, so that you get a professional product in the end, I'd say give up now. You yourself said it wouldn't be practical for manufacturing, and if you're not confident in your product, I highly doubt taking it to a company for production will go well. I applaud your skills (that thing is really detailed and I love how you fit the back missiles even in Soundwave's chest), but I think that you are sort of forgetting the scale you're working at. SW can make it, but for mass manufacture, im not so sure.
     
  3. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

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    Well I got beat out by both of you. Though I had a different alt mode in mind more related to alt modes in the game.

    I'd like to get a full set for sure. Very nicely done. was it sketch up?
     
  4. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

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    Which of us are you asking? Because if you're asking Sledgehammer, i can tell you right now that that's definitely not sketchup. I can't be certain exactly which (I'd bet 3D Max, but that's just a guess), but it ain't sketchup.

    Secondly, "full set"? Again, i'm not aware of Sledgehammer having mentioned a full set (unless you mean that set of 4 he has designed, though i don't know if they are tested yet). I've a full set of Soundwave's minions, the test prints are due to arrive on the 21st (so 20th for Americans due to time difference), which i'm pretty sure will work.

    Anyways, Sledge, i'd love to know where you get that background. It looks really nice. :) 
     
  5. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

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    The op. Everything was referring to the op. I would have quoted otherwise.

    The amount of detail and engineering that went into these is great.

    If you can hook up a flow gate system I think these can be very well replicated in pressure casting. I say get a sample to an experience caster and see what they say. If I can cast articulated hands then I know this can be casted. Could you invert the model and get a steel mold and either melt pvc or abs (both reconstitute well, pvc at 100 percent) and try that out?
     
  6. Suntzu28

    Suntzu28 Well-Known Member

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    Theres no reason this unit shouldnt be created. The size isnt an issue .

    ^ Truth.

    Ive made hundreds (if not over a 1,000) pieces at this scale (both the individual limbs and the entire constructed figure) via casting. This is easy work . With that said though ...depending upon your desired production numbers i'd avoid casting.
     
  7. process

    process Hanlon's razor Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    Are those tape cases using live joints?
     
  8. Venksta

    Venksta Render Project Creations TFW2005 Supporter

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    I think you should try to release it either way. If Hasbro and Activision are not doing anything about the War Axe, then I can't see them spending time to shut this project down. Unless someone with a grudge against your work decided to poke the big corporate monsters. But I doubt thats a likely scenerio. As you would have to be heavily tied to the group. The group itself would be harder to go after.

    I think these might be manufacturable. And at their size, they could be low cost 3rd party products, that would be obtainable by more fans with a smaller budget. :) 

    Otherwise, if you can't find anyone to pick them up, throw them on shapeways. If your prototype works well, and is strong enough, then that should be a great way to make them available.

    If you want any help getting in contact with a 3rd party group, shoot me a PM. I know one group that might be interested. :) 
     
  9. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    I think Venksta's advice is spot on.
     
  10. Ramrider

    Ramrider TF Art Lad

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    I concur. Everything Venks said makes a ton of sense. :) 
     
  11. thielmj

    thielmj Well-Known Member

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    i love these little guys and would love to see them made
     
  12. azdragon58

    azdragon58 Well-Known Member

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    I second that... I also like how small they are...
     
  13. Insane Galvatron

    Insane Galvatron is not insane. Really!

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    Given what I know about mold making, the socket joints in the lower legs would not be producible. In order to have those little tabs on the inside of the socket that the ball "snaps" past, you have to have a slot cut into the back side for a piece of metal to come in through to stop at the back side of the tabs. Otherwise you'll have an undercut in the mold and the part can not be ejected. This is why every socket joint on your Transformers have a hole in the back. There would be no way to get at the backside of those sockets since they run long ways with the leg. Put the ball there and the socket in the foot and it might be doable.

    The other problem you will run into is the parts count. The more parts there are, the more expensive. A larger toy with less parts would be cheaper to manufacture, and thus cheaper on the retail end. You might want to consider sacrificing a small amount of articulation for the sake of cutting costs. I'd recommend losing the foot and head joints. Incorporate them into the legs and chest respectively. That would reduce your parts count by three.

    **EDIT** Upon further inspection, the same problem with the shoulders. The balls and sockets need to be reversed.
     
  14. Sledgehammer

    Sledgehammer Digital art monkey

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    Treadshot A1: Don't worry, I'm not trying to corner any markets...yet. ;) 

    Fishdirt: Thanks - MAX is my preferred weapon of choice. Cheers for the info, too, but if I can get a third-party manufacturer to take this on, I'll leave them to do all of the casting (due to my complete inexperience in that side of things, probably a good idea).

    Suntzu28: Again, thanks...makes me a little more confident that this might just be a viable project after all.

    process: Yep, used the Takara cases from the Encore tape reissue as reference.

    Venksta: Cheers, mate - much appreciated. PM coming your way. :thumb 

    S7, Ramrider: Agreed. :) 

    thielmj, azdragon58: Thanks very much!

    IG: Don't really see any problems myself in terms of the actual engineering, and as I pointed out, changing the scale defeats the purpose of the original concept. And whilst I agree that reducing the parts count would keep costs down, I really wanted this to be as articulated as possible in order to maximize both his VFM and his poseability.
     
  15. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

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    I'm gonna have to agree with IG here. The sockets in the lower legs and shoulders will cause undercutting issues. Reverse the joints and you'll be fine.

    And I'm getting my prints in the mail today, so I'm not too worried. ;) 
     
  16. dkr7

    dkr7 "Argh' Hexagonal Nuts!"

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    You should definitely try and get these produced by a 3rd party, they look awesome and would love to see them painted nicely, ive been following this project for a while and hope i can get them one day soon, PE01F&R arent working that well as wfc stand ins and i need that lazerbeak :drool: 
     
  17. Karhukjnsi

    Karhukjnsi Universal Wrestler

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    Even though they're not in scale, I personally would be fine with them that small a size, they are "Minicons" after all. :D 

    I'm just really digging that these little guys are being made, especially transformable ones that fit in Soundwave.
     
  18. azdragon58

    azdragon58 Well-Known Member

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    Was just checking this thread to see how progress is going on these little guys???
     
  19. Karhukjnsi

    Karhukjnsi Universal Wrestler

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    Any more news? :D 
     
  20. Altitron

    Altitron Commercial Artist

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    What a horrible attitude to have. Reading your posts, /I/ feel insulted.

    - Alty
     

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