Introductory: Modern Box Archival: A Cleaner Solution = Less Trashy!

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by Superquad7, Aug 16, 2013.

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  1. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    Hey guys, this one's for the artist and the collector alike. If you have any level of artistic skills, I feel you can pull this off. This is also one of those projects that you can go as far with it as you like . . . or you can pick up some of the simple skills and tips to just roll if you like.

    So, what's ol' Quaddy talking about? Well, buckle your safety belts as I take you on a journey to fix a pretty common problem I've found with modern Transformers toy collectors:

    "What do I do with all of my boxes?"

    Now, before we move on, you've got to know that what I'm about to show you is going to alter any package that you have and it's irreversible. The safe thing that you have is that you get to read about me doing this before you take up your tools and do it yourself. If you see what I'm doing, and you want to do something similar, you've been warned!

    Having said that, let's proceed:

    Over time, if one collects Transformers toys on any level, one faces a problem - what do I do with this package? Well, the obvious answer that some take for that question is simply toss it in the trash. For some, online resources are good enough to have all of the information that is desired, such as bios and character artwork. While I am a bit of a packrat, I'm not one to the point that I just amass things blindly. Also, I recognize that one continues along this path of toy collecting, one will end up with a ton of toys and boxes with no room for them at all.

    Speaking of resources, this is just exactly that, I feel, which is why I've termed the process "resourcing". Our site and our Staff do an excellent job with our Resources pages here, and this process is a bit of tribute to that work as well as for me to be able to have these types of things in my collection in a similarly manageable way. So, from here on out, if you see me use the term "resource" or "resourcing", you'll know that I'm referring this process I'm illustrating here.

    Ok, so this will be two fold - one section will focus on taking care of card backs and the other will focus on larger boxes. I find that taking care of card back can be a little easier and less time consuming because it's typically a bit more straightforward. I'll show you how I do both.

    Here are the tools that I use:

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    • Scissors
    • Scotch tape
    • A box cutter (or an X-Acto knife, depending on what kind of blade I need)

    Card Backs:

    So, you've just went to your local store and found this:

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    (Photo courtesy of Inciteful: Beast Hunters Cyberverse Legion Wave 2 Found at US Retail - Transformers News - TFW2005)


    Happy with your new find, you make your purchase, and you go home. The typical thing that many of us do when we're excited about such a purchase is to rip open the box without any kind of hesitation or restraint of any kind.

    Let's just stop right there.

    If this process I am about to show you has taught me nothing else, it's taught me an added level of discipline and appreciation for what I have just been fortunate enough to have purchased. This process makes me slow down and appreciate things a little more as well.

    Also, I enjoy systems. Going about the same things in a very systematic way appeals to me very much. This system was difficult to create because of all of the particulars, but once I put things into place, it's very easy. Oh, this can be hard? Well, not so much "hard" but it creates new problems such as how exactly to go about the inserts and such.

    What I do with figures with card backs is that I take the blade, and I cut around the bubble, flush to the card back. Doing this doesn't mess up the card back at all (as opposed to just ripping it off, as is what I used to do just a few years ago). I used to toss away that little cardboard insert that is found inside the bubble as well. The problem I found is with toylines such as the movie figures that the character artwork is on those little inserts. Figures such as the Power Core Combiners have the Tech Spec card on this insert as well.

    So, with the Prime Cyberverse figures, a good eye will notice just that - the tech spec is not only part of the insert, but it's a "collectible card" as well. this presented me with a new problem as I thought it would be cool to make that card a bit more functional as opposed to just making that part of the card back.

    This is a point to where you and I may vary. Part of the reason behind doing this is that I very much enjoy a lot of what Hasbro does for its packaging overall. However, I found several elements of the Prime Cyberverse packaging (particularly on the Beast Hunters line) a bit detracting. I tend to enjoy a cleaner look to packages most times, so the "WEAPON INCLUDED!" feels a little much for me. Also, since I've been continually reducing my completionism, I've chosen to cut off the numbering system to the Tech Spec cards. Again, this is a choice I thought about before I created my system, so yours may vary.

    So what I've done here is I take the cardboard insert, and I cut off the Tech Spec card from the nameplate. I put that part aside. I then take the nameplate portion of the insert and tape it directly to the card back. For these, since there is a tag that there is a "FILE CARD INCLUDED", I simply aligned the insert to that portion of the card back to continue with my idea of functionality:

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    While I typically do tape the Tech Spec to the card back, I thought it would just be cooler for the Cyberverse paperwork to have that added portion of functionality:

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    Once I'm finished, into the custom binder it goes:

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    Larger Boxes:

    My basic process is the same for larger boxes, but I'll always run into something that's a bit different than before. Typically, I just resource voyager boxes, as anything else is a bit too large to do anything with other than just keeping the box for storage. Since we don't get too many figures that are larger than voyagers anyways, it's not a huge problem. The bulk of my resources are card backs and voyager boxes anyways.

    So, at the time of shooting this tutorial, I had recently gotten both a Prime Beast Hunters voyager Shockwave and a a Prime Beast Hunters voyager Ultra Magnus. I had gotten Shockwave first, so that box was my first go at the Beast Hunters voyagers packages, as it was the first one from the line I have purchased. I decided what I wanted to do with Shockwave, and by the time I purchased Magnus, Shockwave's package serves to be my example. I used a similar process with the first round of Prime voyagers, but the Beast Hunters packages are a little different. Here's how I went about them:

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    To the left is the Ultra Magnus box, cut down to the portions that I'll end up using for the most part. I'll still proceed to trim some things off, but we'll get to that. To the right is the Shockwave box, fully completed, and serving as my example here of how I want to do things with Magnus' box.


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    Here are the entire portions of Magnus' box that I wish to use, and a few that I'll end up discarding.

    My basic process is that I use the insert as the background for the front portion of the card, and I affix the back of the box to the insert. This gives the box a flattened out look that preserves much of the intended presentation by Hasbro.

    Before I go on, as with the card backs, something you and I may differ on: the BEAST HUNTERS logo. I think it's a bit of a detractor of the overall look of the box, and I much prefer the cleaner look of its absence. For this reason, I end up discarding this logo. If you want it (or something similar) on yours, basically just don't discard it from the process here as I have.

    Here is what Shockwave's box looks like and I intend to emulate the same look for Magnus':

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    (Boy, that's a blurry photo! My apologies!)

    You can see there that box is more focused on Shockwave than the BEAST HUNTERS line with the removal of the logo. Again, your preference may differ, and that's totally cool.

    Due to these preferences, I wish to remove the logo. The problem here is that the regular portion of the Prime line has a particular look with the front box logo - mainly it's got an angle to it. I do prefer consistency, so that's how I'll go about solving this problem:

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    Here's the TRANSFORMERS logo, now sans BEAST HUNTERS, and I compare it to Shockwave's box for consistency. Here, I just cut the logo to match the angle:

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    So, moving right along! Next, I'll focus on the nameplate, and in this case, the alt mode artwork:

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    This is the basic layout, so what I do is size everything up first like this:

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    Remember how I said I discarded the BEAST HUNTERS logo? Well, maybe I should backtrack to say this: the very last step I do is discard the unwanted portions of this process.

    There, now that's out of the way, I'll explain why I discard last. Sometimes the discarded items have portions of artwork that I can end up using. Such is the case here:

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    That small portion of blue Spacebridge-like energy artwork I'd like to use to fill the right side in just a bit. So I just cut it to fit:

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    Next is affixing the portions of the front of the box to the cardboard insert. Here again, I use the previously resourced Shockwave to match up for consistency, as I will cut the cardboard insert down to the size of the box back. The "consistency" is to match up the insert artwork with anything I've done previously:

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    So, again, here I am lining up everything, about to make my cuts. Remember, measure twice and cut once:



    After a few eyeballing measurements, I took my box cutter to make cut lines. This enables me to get the proper alignment before I completely cut off those portions of the box:

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    (Again, apologies for the blurry photos, but hopefully you can see the scoring in that photo!)​


    Next, I simply cut things to fit:

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    I put unwanted portions aside:

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    Now, I'm ready to start affixing everything together, as I have the box back and the insert ready to go:

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    Just like the card backs, I'll be using my trusty Scotch tape. Only this time, I'll be using a lot more of it:

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    I suppose if you want, you can use two-sided tape. I tend to be cheap, so if it works for me, I'll run with it. Basically here, you can see how I just use a makeshift portion of two-sided tape simply by wrapping it around. It's quick and easy to do, too:

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    Here is the basic layout of tape, all two-sided to some degree. Notice how that no one piece is really going in the same direction in any given corner. This patterning of tape prevents the box portions from scooting around once they're affixed:

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    Once that's done, simply place one on top of the other:

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    Next, I want to affix all of the front portions of the box to the insert. Typically, I like to arrange everything first, affix the insert to the box back, and then affix the front portions to the insert. Here, I'm ready to go with the front portions of the box:

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    Again, the trusty Scotch tape is my weapon of choice, but I'll of course use much less than I did on the box back:

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    Sometimes, even after I've done my alignment work, there will be some overlapping. Here are such cases, and all I did was cut the excess off:

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    In these cases, it's better to have excess than not. If you have leftovers, you can always cut away; if you cut too much, it can be much more difficult to put back on!


    Sometimes, I'll end up adjusting things later down the road. Here is such a case where I simply didn't like the "SPECIAL WEAPON ACTION" tags, so I ended up cutting both off of Shockwave and Magnus:

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    Here is an instance that sort of similar to cutting off too much, but this is completely deliberate as the Spacebridge energy portion I used for the side isn't quite enough to cover the gap:

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    How will I ever solve such a problem? Well, I have a little trick for that, in the form of a "secret file" for such an occasion:

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    What's in there? Well, I'm glad you asked! With the regular edition Prime figures, I had made some portions that have faction symbols on colored paper. I would make a "Tech Spec" card out of the side of the box and put this sheet of paper inside to show through the window. I'll do something similar with these Beast Hunters boxes, but the new shape of the sides of the boxes aren't big enough for the full faction symbols. I can put those symbols on the front now that I'm presented a gap problem:

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    The main thing here is that I'll be using one each of the Autobot and Decepticon pages. Again, I want thing consistent, so I want to make them in shapes that are approximately the same:

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    I've chosen to create a square that will show the faction symbol, but cover that small gap:

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    So, after I cut one, I want the other to match:

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    Oh no! I messed up! It's a good thing I made extras of these sheets!

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    Here, I test fit everything before I affix things together:

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    Again, here is a detail showing the tape pattern so that nothing will scoot or slide once it's affixed:

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    Here is the finished product:

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    I mentioned the sides of the box earlier. As I said, these boxes don't have room for the faction symbol to show through the Tech Specs' "window" created by the side of the box, but the color can show through. I simply make a strip to fit behind the pieces allowing the faction color to show through:

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    The top portion on the reverse side is smaller, so I'll use my faction color strip idea again:

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    This is simply me sizing things up before I cut:

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    Making the cut:

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    Now that the sheet is cut to fit, I'll adhere it like the rest of what I've done earlier:

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    As I've said with the Beast Hunters boxes in particular, I've had to change up my system just a little bit. Here is another example of such where I have the faction color visible on one side as a strip at the top:

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    . . . . while showing through on the other side (which is a bit more consistent with how I've done the rest of Transformers Prime):

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    This is my discard pile that will go in the recycle bin (not the trash, as it's paper and cardboard. I make that distinction because recycling is very important to me):

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    Here is the binder that I use for my Transformers Prime cardbacks and cut boxes. As shown earlier, I have a separate binder for my Cyberverse figures. These binders retail for around $20 at Michael's and other similar craft stores. Michael's runs a coupon nearly each week for 20-40% off or so. What I typically do is wait for a really good coupon and a nice toy lull to buy one or two at a time. I'll eventually make some sort of insert for the cover there, but I've a few other similar projects that are taking priority over that:

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    Here is a look inside the binder, as now Magnus and Shockwave are ready for insertion:

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    I hope what I've made here is helpful with your own endeavors with how you go about your packages and such. There's been a part of me that sometimes just wants to toss it all, and on the other side of the coin I really like what I've created here. I understand the paperwork issue from each perspective side (as well as the "mint in box" or even "sealed" methods of collecting), and this is simply me offering up one alternative among many ways of solving this problem.

    Now, I need to work on a better system for "modern" instructions . . . .

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    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
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