[English translation] Figure King #270 (July 2020) Shogo Hasui interview on Earthrise Scorponok

Discussion in 'Transformers News and Rumors' started by opoptimus, Jun 18, 2021.

  1. opoptimus

    opoptimus SUN WUKONG, not Son Goku.

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Posts:
    396
    News Credits:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    182
    Location:
    Melbourne, VIC
    Likes:
    +2,066
    SOURCE
    All credit goes to OP 'Cybertron 600".


    [​IMG]

    FORWORD: This project was riddled with chaos. Even veteran designer Mr. Hasui still needed the help of "magic" to pull off the design of Earthrise Scorponok. This interview will bring you a behind the scene look on that, and more on the latest of the WfC trilogy.

    --Please tell our readers why Scorponok was chosen as the Titan class figure this time around.
    H: The character selection was basically Hasbro's request. According to Hasbro's survey(fan votes) Scorponok is really popular among fans, so they strongly proposed on making him the Earthrise Titan figure. Because the story of "Earthrise" actually takes place on earth, this request took us by surprise. Hasbro hoped this Titan figure would be able to interact with the previous Titan class figures, and give fans the opportunity to enjoy the base bots and their related toys; so we introduced this character in the Earthrise line.

    --Was the "Double Head On" feature decided on from the get go?
    H: Yeah, it was the earliest proposal from Hasbro. Even if we (TakaraTomy) did the proposal, it would no doubt be the same in this regard. Probably because this had been mentioned before when we were having general discussions with Hasbro. All in all, Scorponok having dual Heasmasters was decided on at the very early stage. In addition, Hasbro also hoped the aesthetics would be close to <Rebirth>, as well as triple-changing ('bot, scorpion and base mode); they had decided on these from the proposal stage.

    --As a Titan class figure, what first came in your mind when it comes to upgrades(from the G1 toy)?
    H: It would have to be a comparable size with Titan Fort Max. The original G1 toy was too small compared to Fort Max; since these two are arch-enemies, they should then be the same size so they can be displayed next to each other. We thought fans would think the same.

    --Although slightly shorter than Fort Max, Earthrise Scorpornok has a bulky upper body; he certainly does look the part against Fort Max!
    H: But I went through hell to achieve this! (laugh), because budget was less than expected. The proposed budget this time around, was only enough to produce 3/4 of Siege Omega Supreme's molds. With molds reduced by this much, but the figure needed to be bigger in size than Omega Supreme, we thought this was nigh impossible. Hasbro proposed to reduce the size accordingly--and of course it'd be much easier (for us)--but thinking about the fans that waited for years for a worthy Scorponk alongside Titan Fort Max, we just couldn't accept a smaller size.

    --Then how did you achieve this size?
    H: I used "magic" (laugh). Firstly I explained to them how critical his size is, so there's no way down the size reduction route. Then we started from cutting back on accessories, but even then the number of molds was over budget; in the end we thought if we were limited on the number of molds, we could use one mold to produce two completely same parts. Although we added some symmetrical parts in the end, the right/left hand and right/left legs are completely swappable mirrored design, which could be cast from the same mold. Also we had to give up the clear visor part as well, and use the saved area of this mold to increase areas in other molds, thus increasing volume of the figure.

    --You went through all this to get to the current size.
    H: All in all, with a bottom line of not compromising the aesthetics in mind, we tried everything to get him as close to Fort Max in size as possible. For me personally, aside from Scorponok, at the time I also had Studio Series Devastator and another big ticket product which I can't name now in development concurrently. They were all big projects with very high difficulty so it was really stressful for me. During that period there was one day where the transforming Scorponok prototype and SS Overload's final gray model were completed on the same day......(sad laughter)it was really a nightmare.

    -- Can you talk about the character design this time in more detail?
    H: Scorponok as s character has appeared in the American <Rebirth>, Japanese <The Headmasters>, and Marvel comics. So how we could combine elements from these different portrayals into one design was no easy task. Specifically, Hasbro proposed "Titan class, dual headmaster, and based on <Rebirth>", so we used these as a starting point where we added more elements from other versions of the character.

    --The Marvel version is particularly different to the others right?
    H: The comic Scorponok is about the size of Optimus, so we said F that. But we did design kind of a comic-esque muscular V shaped upper body, as well as make the small Titan master closer in look to the Marvel version.

    --The 'bot mode of the Head Master used the JP <HM> design. What was the thought process?
    H: Truth be told the concept design of Scorponok was pretty much done back when we were still finalizing the design on TR Trypticon. But in the poll after Fort Max, Scorponok didn't win; so when we were redoing all these Headmasters, he didn't get a a chance to be remade. Back then we actually proposed to Hasbro to release him as a Deluxe class Headmaster only in the style of the JP <HM>. Because the Japanese version was such an impressive character, we thought even just releasing him as a single headmaster it'd be good for the product line. At least he could (in toy format) interact with the Decepticon line up. Although the proposal wasn't taken on board at the time, this idea of having the Japanese Headmaster 'Head On' stuck in my head, and it's finally realized this time.

    --Please let us in on some hidden features if there's any, like swapping heads with Fort Max.
    H: This wasn't planned intentionally but in the end it worked? (laugh). It's probably Zarak stealing Fort Max's body... In 'bot mode the scorpions legs are stored inside the body in 'bot mode, but we still made the chest panel openable and it could house a Titan Master inside This was inspired by a <Rebirth> scene where he captures an enemy, but of course it can be used as a pilot seat too.

    --So as the designer, what are the selling points for Scorponok?
    H: He's a double headmaster but also has the neck articulation to look down. With double knee joint, ankle rocker, and claw articulation, a lot of effort went into articulation too. He can be put in poses that suit his menacing size, so I hope fans can also enjoy playing with a gigantic toy this size. The scorpion mode was also designed as an articulated transport mode. With universal ports all over, and the upcoming Weaponizer (Fasttrack), I hope fans will be able to use their imagination and create their own powerful Scorponok.

    --Siege Omega Supreme and Earthrise Scorponok give off impressions they're so fun to be played with.
    H: Probably because both had their robot mode designed first, then transformation designed around it. Scorponok had more development time scheduled, so we were able to have the mold technicians come to Japan and iron out joint and mold issues one by one with me. For example originally I'd designed the scorpion tail to become the shield for 'bot mode, however after the technicians pointed out adding heavy load bearing joints on the arms would be detrimental to other parts of the figure, we abandoned this idea. Being able to interact with production staff this closely, I think it helped increase our product quality too.

    --The Generations line has grown a lot lately.

    H: The original 'Classics' line started as a preview line for the movie 1 products. I thought this was a great position to be in, because back then there was the Movie line, and also the Animated line which were both very progressive in design; so Classics had the room to go for the "(traditionally) good-looking robots" aesthetics. Then it evolved into a main toy line that closely follows the foot steps of G1. This time there's even animation directly based on these CHUG format toys. On the other hand, because it's a line that's had such a long history, the same character could've been remade in different series; so in order for us to get the fans to buy the same character again, we constantly improve on engineering and articulation, and also increase interactivity and weapon expandability etc. throughout the whole line. All of these efforts were recognized and acknowledged by fan and this is the reason why this line got to continue to this very day.

    --Please talk a bit about the design direction in general.
    H: For Siege, to demonstrate the alien nature tech on TFs, a lot of mechanical details were added. However Siege has included earth alt mode, so I referred to Studio X's concept art because their design was heavily based on real life vehicles. I also borrowed from the details on MP products with a real life vehicle mode. Also worth noting, the character designs from recent years have been really faithful to older works (mainly G1), for example this Scorponok. If you think he looks quite like the G1 cartoon character, then it's our success.

    -- Please talk a bit about what you think of the (Siege) cartoon.
    H: I had the honor to visit POLYGON Pictures, the production company, and watched a couple of clips during production. Looking at the toys so faithfully recreated in animation, I was really touched. It felt to me that the production staff are big Transformers fans, and the show is really a labor of love. So I really wanted to find out what happens next in the show; and as a designer there's a show that makes people want to buy the toys you designed, I feel really honored.

    --Finally, can you please share your outlook for the WfC trilogy.
    H: Keeping the robot modes in scale, all the characters you guys were expecting will be there. There will even be "this character gets a toy too!?" kind of surprises. Please stayed tuned.
     
    • Like Like x 31
    • News Credit News Credit x 1
  2. Fallout

    Fallout Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2011
    Posts:
    19,741
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    302
    Likes:
    +19,794
    Instagram:
    cool stuff! love seeing these looks into the design process and always appreciate the translations and translators

    sad to hear before the project even started scorponok was allotted 3/4 of the budget of omega supreme. of course what would the brand be if we didn't hearabout or see budget cuts every 3 months at this point?
     
    • Like Like x 4
  3. cynw32618

    cynw32618 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Posts:
    1,319
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    232
    Likes:
    +5,579
    It sucks, but I believe the budget cuts were actually announced in 2019 by Brian Goldner, it was part of the Trade War between the Trump Campaign & China:

    For toymaker Hasbro, trade wars are no fun

    It’s been a pretty rough year or two for Transformers (and toys in general) when you think about it, especially including Covid distribution issues so I’m pretty impressed that HasTak’s managed everything as well as they have, all things considered.
     
    • Like Like x 8
  4. Lex79

    Lex79 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2016
    Posts:
    3,912
    Trophy Points:
    222
    Location:
    Italy
    Likes:
    +4,486
    I'm really thankful to Hasui for being able to design a big and imposing Scorponok despite the limited budget. It would have been really unfortunate if we ended for the second time with a Scorponok so much smaller than his rival. Anyway, it was an interesting read.
     
    • Like Like x 9
  5. Black Convoy

    Black Convoy Proudly Peruvian Transfan Moderator News Staff

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Posts:
    6,978
    News Credits:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    337
    Location:
    Lima, Peru
    Likes:
    +10,653
    Ebay:
    Facebook:
    Google+:
    Instagram:
    Another amazing reading. Thanks for your all your work @opoptimus
     
  6. Fafnir72

    Fafnir72 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Posts:
    4,350
    Trophy Points:
    262
    Location:
    Heart of a neutron star
    Likes:
    +6,864
    Sad but true, "bad guys" are a risk to invest heavily in because they supposedly don't sell like gangbusters. Siege Megs for instance is a known shelf/pegwarmer in certain areas.

    But aren't most if not all TFs made in Vietnam now?
     
    • Like Like x 6
  7. Shin Densetsu

    Shin Densetsu I WILL DESTROY YOU Super Mod

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Posts:
    41,204
    News Credits:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    432
    Likes:
    +36,008
    Hasui has contributed a lot to the CHUG lines especially with the WFC trilogy. I know the Takara designers rotate to different TF lines but I hope he’s on CHUG and Studio Series permanently. I can kind of tell which figures he designed by feel now, his designs usually lend themselves well to intuitive transformations and playability. He’s a perfect fit for CHUG.
     
    • Like Like x 9
  8. cynw32618

    cynw32618 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Posts:
    1,319
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    232
    Likes:
    +5,579
    They are, but it still affects the whole production chain. I mean I live in the UK, but I’m still affected by this and the knock-on effects.

    Hasbro has 2 choices, either increase the cost of their products by 25% (which they haven’t done) or decrease the amount of money they invest in the toys themselves.

    In this case there’s a 25% tariff on the toys, which has a knock-on effect of 75% budget available.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  9. WinstoBot

    WinstoBot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2015
    Posts:
    3,511
    Trophy Points:
    222
    Likes:
    +6,203
    Great read! We have Hasui to thank for our full sized Scorponok. Hasbro was gonna shrink him , but Hasui fought to keep it full sized. THAT’S a toy designer on OUR side. He’s the one keeping everyone’s scale correct. We are so lucky to have him designing our hobby.
     
    • Like Like x 9
  10. Thundershot

    Thundershot Ratchet Fanatic

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2002
    Posts:
    30,656
    News Credits:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    412
    Location:
    Mineral Ridge, OH, USA
    Likes:
    +19,757
    Ebay:
    Did he really use the CHUG acronym or was that just part of the translation!?

    I love interviews like this. I wish Hasbro would do extensive detailed ones like this. Scorponok is one of my favorite recent toys and I love getting more background on the making of his toy. Now we need a leader sized Marvel version…..
     
    • Like Like x 5
  11. Shin Densetsu

    Shin Densetsu I WILL DESTROY YOU Super Mod

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Posts:
    41,204
    News Credits:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    432
    Likes:
    +36,008
    This isn’t the 1st time he’s gone against the grain either. We’ve all benefitted from him doing things like this. Maybe one day he’ll disclose more but the seed he planted during the early phase of Prime Wars laid the foundation to build the WFC trilogy upon. Not all partners see eye to eye when someone jumps the gun and heads in their own direction past the point of no return but we definitely reaped the benefits and he even managed to convince Hasbro that what he did paid off in the long run. He literally was and is ahead of his time.
     
    • Like Like x 10
  12. Powerbomb

    Powerbomb Interpol and Deutsche Bank...

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2019
    Posts:
    964
    Trophy Points:
    157
    Location:
    Inside your Mom.
    Likes:
    +1,220
    It's a great read. But I had no idea of the behind the scenes drama going on.

    I love Scorps. He's the best of the titan class, IMO.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Negativedark

    Negativedark Stealth Gesalt

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Posts:
    2,054
    Trophy Points:
    312
    Likes:
    +1,580
    Is there any way i can send this man a Thank you?  Because i really want to thank him.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  14. WinstoBot

    WinstoBot Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2015
    Posts:
    3,511
    Trophy Points:
    222
    Likes:
    +6,203
    Absolutely. After all, Hasui was the one who went to the Takara exclusives and pitched (and fought for the budget for) the idea of making the Masterpiece brand into a scaled continuous line and not the the one off, for special occasions thing it was made for. Everything changed after MP-10.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021
    • Like Like x 5
  15. Dirge121

    Dirge121 I'll be your end of days

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Posts:
    12,190
    News Credits:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    362
    Likes:
    +5,141
    Ebay:
    Twitter:
    YouTube:
    Tumblr:
    I love the behind the scenes stuff like this, how it all comes together is fascinating.

    Skorponok pushing up against budget crunching is a surprise, and him only getting 3/4 the budget given to Omega is certainly surprising although now makes Fasttrack’s separate release more logical.
    Also interesting that he was supposed to have a clear visor but the budget wouldn’t allow for it. In any case what was accomplished in the end is definitely a contender for the best Titan release up there tied with Omega Supreme.

    I’m assuming this interview was done a while back and so the other large figure he referred to working on is the Ark?
     
    • Like Like x 6
  16. Megatron Unicronus

    Megatron Unicronus Let’s say go!

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2021
    Posts:
    682
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    132
    Likes:
    +1,285
    This is great, but….

    You’re about a year late.
     
  17. Megatron Unicronus

    Megatron Unicronus Let’s say go!

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2021
    Posts:
    682
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    132
    Likes:
    +1,285
    Jokes aside, I’m really happy for this man, and I think he did a great job on Scorponok, even with budget issues. I tip my hat to you, Hasui!
     
    • Like Like x 3
  18. BBJazz

    BBJazz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2014
    Posts:
    1,445
    Trophy Points:
    197
    Likes:
    +2,833
    Scorponok is one of the best titans- super impressive that they managed that on a limited budget.
     
    • Like Like x 10
  19. ThatsJustPrimal01

    ThatsJustPrimal01 The guy who comments sometimes idk

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2021
    Posts:
    54
    Trophy Points:
    37
    Likes:
    +75
    I just preordered the ER Scorponok reissue a few days ago. I\'ll reserve judgment until I get it, but if all goes well, I think I\'m really gonna be happy with my purchase.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Powerbomb

    Powerbomb Interpol and Deutsche Bank...

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2019
    Posts:
    964
    Trophy Points:
    157
    Location:
    Inside your Mom.
    Likes:
    +1,220
    You 'probably' will be happy with him.

    Who doesn't like him...Speak up!

    *crickets*
     
    • Like Like x 2