Minor/Repaint: MP Smokescreen (Toy Version)

Discussion in 'Radicons Customs' started by ambitron, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. ambitron

    ambitron Well-Known Member

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    Inspired by blog posts about G1 and MP figures by @Maz, I finally got around to creating something I’ve been meaning to make for ages: a toy-accurate MP Smokescreen. Usually, I’m happy with MPs taking their primary design cues from the cartoon, but Smokescreen is an exception for me. As a kid, the G1 toy was one of my favourite figures. I mean, just look at it - it’s a thing of beauty:

    01_G1Toy.jpg

    (A bit of a faded beauty now, admittedly, but a beauty nonetheless.)

    I still love the deep-red, white and blue colour scheme, which looked especially great in his box art, with the red background of the box and the red and blue Transformers logo. His artwork is, I think, among the best of all the G1 figures:

    02_G1BoxArt.jpg

    So I was really looking forward to this Prowl/Bluestreak variant turning up in the Sunbow cartoon. And then he did. And he looked like he’d been repeatedly hit in the face with a shovel:

    03_Cartoon.jpg

    (And that’s one of the more flattering pictures.)

    Poor Smokescreen. (I still don’t understand what happened here. Why not just base the look on that great box art? That rat-like pointy face just oozed character.) So, as a kid, I just blocked out the image of him from the cartoon and enjoyed the look of the toy instead.

    Skip forward 30 years (30 years in which I managed to erase this travesty from my mind), to the silhouette reveal of MP Prowl and the news that Smokescreen was to get an MP figure. I was “excite” as the kids say. Or at least I was until some dream-shatterer posted pictures from the cartoon and reminded me of the horror that was Shovel McShovelface. I held out hope that Takara wouldn’t bother remoulding the head and would use Bluestreak’s (this was the early days of the rebooted MP line when this was entirely possible), but to no avail:

    04_MPFace.jpg

    05_MPFigure.jpg

    Somehow, to me, at least, poor Smokescreen looked even *worse* in toy form than in the cartoon - probably because of those gormless fish lips. It was especially disappointing after the head sculpts of Prowl and Bluestreak, which are still among the best in the line. I know many people love Smokescreen’s MP face, and I tried, I really did: I really wanted to love MP Smokescreen as much as I loved the G1 toy. But I couldn’t; I was more superficial than I realised, and I couldn’t see beyond that flatfish face. So he sat on the shelf and I cast him the occasional forlorn and nostalgic glance from time to time.

    *Anyway*. The point of this preamble is simply that, although I generally love MP figures and the direction of the line, in Smokescreen’s case I wanted something more like the original toy: so I decided to decapitate Smokey and give him a head transplant.

    As much as I love the MP Prowl and Bluestreak head sculpts, I didn’t just want to purloin one of their heads and use it for Smokescreen, because they each have their own character and I wanted Smokescreen’s head to have *its* own character too. Also, Prowl’s helmet is toy-accurate, but not his face, whereas Bluestreak’s face is very much like the toy’s but his helmet has several differences. So, the perfect solution for getting a toy-accurate head sculpt *and* making it a little different from either of the others was to use Bluestreak’s face but Prowl’s helmet. Using a KO Silverstreak gave it a little more difference, too, because the KO has a bit of a shorter, pointier nose than the original.

    To remove the head and take it apart, I had to remove the large pin that goes all the way through the hood (using the old hammer, nail and wooden block trick). I did the same with the pin in the side of the head, as that’s the only way to remove it from the neck to fully disassemble the head.

    The Bluestreak face doesn’t quite fit the Prowl helmet perfectly (at least the KO one doesn’t, anyway). It’s very close - you can slot it in and it looks okay, but then you can’t fit the back of the head on. So it took a little sanding down, mainly around the tabs at the side of the face and around the back of the eyes, to get the face to fit flush.

    (The fit is so close, requiring only very minimal filing, that I wonder why Takara didn’t just design the faces to be interchangeable in the first place. If they’d done so, they could have used this combination in their toy-accurate Bluestreak.)

    06_HeadParts.jpg

    I painted the head using Tamiya Sky Blue, which is a very close match to the blue parts on MP Smokescreen, using Tamiya Gold Leaf for the crest. I first removed the existing paint, sanded it lightly, and added a little Tamiya primer. I really ought to learn how to airbrush, though, because I hand-painted this, which never comes out as well as other people’s sprayed customs (I’m not really a customiser).

    07_PaintedHead.png

    To better match the toy, I also painted the sides of his waist using Tamiya Chrome Silver. (Those parts are white on the toy, but I used silver to match the silver thighs - the toy has white thighs. I wish Takara had used white for the thighs on the MP, too, but hey.) I also painted the triangle on his crotch red to match his G1 artwork.

    I then added some of the stickers from the Reprolabels MP Smokescreen set, along with one of their clear Autobot logos on his shin.

    08_InPieces.jpg

    I knocked out the pins from his rocket launcher holders and gave him Prowl’s white launchers instead, to match the white launchers used by the G1 toy. I also equipped him with Silverstreak’s gun and the Amazon rocket launchers (already painted white by @nellie131 as part of a great Bluestreak custom he did for me a while back).

    09_Finished.jpg

    I’m really happy with the way he turned out. I’ve got no complaints about Takara’s choices for the original MP Smokescreen, as the line is supposed to be cartoon-accurate and I would have been annoyed if other figures weren’t predominantly based on the ‘toon. It’s just that the ‘toon (and therefore MP) design of Smokescreen did nothing for me personally. But with these changes, I can - and do! - finally love MP Smokescreen.

    Here’s a comparison of the Prowl+Bluestreak head with that of the original toy:

    10_HeadComparison.jpg

    And some more pictures:

    11_Car.jpg

    12_Together1.jpg

    13_Together2.jpg

    14_StandingTall.jpg

    15_TimeForYourCloseUp.jpg

    I love how he looks with the other Datsuns:

    16_DatsunsTogether.jpg

    Thanks for looking!
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
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  2. Maz

    Maz Square One TFW2005 Supporter

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    That is WONDERFUL!

    You've completely convinced me that I need to do the exact same thing with the head, and I was already hatching a plan for the launchers! I was going to use the Blue Fairlady's silver launchers to match Smokescreen's silver legs for uniformity (of course they were white originally but I don;t mind the silver on either section).

    Bravo dude, labour of love! We've both endeared this thing to ourselves much more through our efforts, yours rather more extensive than mine.

    All the best
    Maz
     
  3. nellie131

    nellie131 Well-Known Member

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    Love be this dude looks the business! Reminds me of how henkei smokescreen looked when I had one
     
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  4. Underlord

    Underlord An Excellent Member

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    He's looking really good, well done :thumb 
     
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  5. EightiesKid

    EightiesKid G1 archivist

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    That is FANTASTIC!!!!!! Now THIS is what I had in mind for MP Smokescreen!!! Outstanding work!
     
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  6. Fallout

    Fallout ꧁꧂

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    gorgeous. i'm a toy guy too (love hasbro soundwave) so this makes me super happy
     
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  7. Warpshard

    Warpshard Well-Known Member

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    It looks fantastic. I don't collect MP, but whenever I see MP Smokescreen's face, I always think it looks too fat, especially for the body it's on.

    Glad to see someone do the deco (and the toy face) justice.
     
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  8. Mizzinno

    Mizzinno Merc With A Mouthplate

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    As someone who only cares about G1 for the toys, this is truely perfect. Great job!
     
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  9. tabtiurf

    tabtiurf Chimeracon

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    Dig it! I, too, had the toy as a kid. I hadn't really realized how much I missed the toy face until I saw this finish.

    And hey, this is a pretty successful go for someone who isn't a customizer! Careful, the first one's a bit of a slippery slope!
     
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  10. shiftypenguin

    shiftypenguin Fancy-Pantsless Dancer

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    Gorgeous! Your alterations really added personality to the figure.
     
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  11. ambitron

    ambitron Well-Known Member

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    Many thanks everyone!

    Thanks, Maz! That's a good idea to use Bluestreak's silver launchers - I just tried it and they do indeed work equally as well:

    IMG_6624.jpg

    IMG_6626.jpg

    IMG_6634.jpg

    Hmm, in fact, I might even prefer the silver - it adds a nice bit of balance to the legs and gun, as you say.

    Now I just wish I had the guts to slice off those annoying wing mirrors. I could cover the black stubs with pieces of the red stickers that come with the Reprolabels set... But I haven't worked up the courage to do it yet, as I'm worried it will end up messy. Maybe you'll do yours first and I can see how it looks. :)  (I also need to decide if I'm going to put the "38" on his bonnet when Toyhax sends out the other half of my stickers. I quite like it as-is, but I also really like your fully stickered-up Smokescreen.)
     
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  12. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    That looks great. I was never a fan of the flat cartoon face, but since I already had a great MP Bluestreak and Prowl with distinct heads, I felt like I had to hand it to Takara for not doing justa straight repaint.

    But now that I see how much better he looks with the new head and launchers... damn. Something to think about!

    zmog
     
  13. Max Rawhide

    Max Rawhide Well-Known Member

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    Ooh, that looks nice. Much nicer than McShovel face, as you so apptly called him ;-)

    I never had the original G1 Smokescreen (well, I bought a cheap version during the Mexican invasion in Europe and used it to fix my G1 Prowl -- should've waited a year and bought the gold boxed classic one), so I don't have any real attachment to the G1 toy or it's head. But like you, I never cared for the cartoon head: the Alt/BT still has the best Smokescreen head to me.

    But I like this very much. Tempting to do the same and copy Maz his work on the decals.
     
  14. Maz

    Maz Square One TFW2005 Supporter

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    Honestly mate, it has made a world of difference to my feelings about the figure.

    All the best
    Maz
     
  15. [Wing_Saber-X]

    [Wing_Saber-X] Great Shot!

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    Fabulous work! Now to get Takara making and re-releasing MP Smokescreen "toy" version, inspired by your brilliant but effective head kitbash. :D 
     
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  16. Prowl 76

    Prowl 76 Well-Known Member

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    Wow man, this is fantastic.

    I know exactly how you feel about the 'toon character. I remember thinking he was one of the coolest toys when I first saw him, then when they introduced the character in the show, I was like 'the fuck did they do to his face? And his distorted skinny launchers and cheesy ass voice?' He had so much potential and they made him super lame. I felt the same way about Red Alert's character too—he was just plain unlikable.

    I love the old cartoon and I love the overall direction of the MP line, but there are instances (particularly in season two) where the 'toon representations were actually kinda bad. It makes me wish the MP line used a little more judgement in terms of when, where and how much they follow the cartoon character sheets, but we've definitely crossed that bridge at this point. It might motivate me to start customizing some things here and there on my own MPs.

    Really love what you've done with your custom Smokescreen. If I ever get up the guts, I'll do the same to mine.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  17. JJohnson

    JJohnson Well-Known Member

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    This is how they should've released the Smokescreen figure! Or, at the very least, give us 2 separate heads - a toy-accurate head, and a toon-accurate head - and let us choose which one we want to use. Ditto the launchers.

    Have you thought of fixing the arms so they match Prowl and Bluestreak?
     
  18. hinomars

    hinomars Micromaster

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    This is essentially why the art of customising exists!
    Looks truly sexy, good man!
     
  19. Leopard5

    Leopard5 Human in disguise

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    This looks way better than the original face, you made this even more of a Masterpiece with a mere head change!!!!:buttrock 
     

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