Interview with CenoKibble about Mastermind Creations and the new “Reformatted” Line!

Discussion in 'Transformers 3rd Party Discussion' started by Kuma Style, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. Kuma Style

    Kuma Style I'm boney. I'm boney; Leave me aloney! TFW2005 Supporter

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    This is one that I just published for KumaStyle, but figured I'd share here too. I'll include the pictures from in a separate post since there are so many and larger resolutions on some.

    Sorry in advance if there are some formatting things that I don't catch copying it from there to here. Just post any problems and I'll fix it:

    In this interview, I got the chance to pick the brain of CenoKibble, who does the promotion and even story writing for Mastermind Creations! It was great to get some further insight into the company that’s really been taking the fandom by storm and get ask some questions about their upcoming “Reformatted” line!

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    • It looks like we’re moving from the Knight Morpher line into the reformatted one with Hexatron and the Feralcons coming up here. What was the decision behind the shift in gears?

    The Knight Morpher line is what got us to where we are today, thanks to the fantastic design of the Knight Morpher Commander figure, and we will always be grateful to that design for what it did for MMC as a company. Having said that, we have always realised that the Knight Morpher universe is a very niche universe, anyone can see that after a few minutes looking through the threads on the boards. It is not unusual to hear people say things like; “this piece looks awesome, but I have no place for it in my collection”, that gets a little disheartening after a while.

    We’re also a big fan of the how the franchise is represented in the comics, and by moving into the Reformatted Universe, it gives us a chance to play in that sandbox, and provide awesome toys with mass appeal.

    • Can we expect more from the Knight Morpher line down the road?

    I really hope so. While all our focus is on the Reformatted line at present, we don’t have any plans to abandon the line that bought us to the dance.

    • What are some things that you all have taken away from beginning with the Knight Morpher line, whether it be sales, marketing, or engineering?

    Engineering wise, every piece we’ve done, we have learned something from, even if that has been “okay, don’t do that again”. I think it’s safe to say we have steadily improved with every release. Cyclops was a huge risk, I think at the time we released it, it was probably the most ambitious third party project ever attempted, and for what we feel was a very reasonable price-point, and we definitely learned a few things from that release about plastic tolerances and walking that very fine line between awesome display piece and fantastic toy to fiddle with.

    Sales wise, this harkens back to your first question, and we definitely look forward to producing something with a wider appeal.

    Marketing wise, I think we’ve definitely got more involved in the social media aspect of connecting with the fans. We have Facebook pages for both MMC and Mech iDeas, unprecedented access to our designers with the Mel Warner and Cassy Sark Facebook pages, and I stink up the place with my self-indulgent posts on there as well from time to time. Between all those pages, our presence on the boards and interviews like this, there is great accessibility for the fans, frequent new content, snippets of information to be gleaned here and there and I try to be there to answer questions for our fans as much as possible, within reason. And no, I can’t confirm or deny Catilla at this point, haha.

    Honestly though, I think the best thing we take away from the KM line is the reputation that we’ve built up from our fans who have supported us every step of the way. That is something you cannot buy or trade, and something that we wouldn’t change for all the money in the world. Thank you to all our fans for getting us to where we are.

    • Now, I’ve noticed that Hexatron and the Feralcons are very Cybertronian in their styling: Will that be the general theme of the reformatted line?

    Spot on, the idea is that the Reformatted line are Planet Cyber (Cybertronian) modes for classic characters. Obviously some creative licensing comes into effect, as I don’t believe we could make an effective Feral Rex that the fans would want to buy without including the staple bull, eagle, rhino, tigers and lion. Wait, did I say tigers? Haha.

    Hexatron is a great and logical starting point for us for this line, as none of his six modes (the seventh mode is the worst kept secret in the history of anything) are based on Earth vehicles. You do have to take the wolf head with a pinch of salt, we just have to presume animal modes have somehow filtered through to robotic sub-consciousness thousands of years before they evolved on Earth, for the sake of giving the fans the accurate looking toys they want.

    • What can we expect out of this line that’s truly going to set it apart from other toy companies creating homages to like characters?

    Lots of detailing and a lot of joints to enable great poses, ankle tilts as standard on (I believe) every figure we have planned so far. Great characters with their best ever representation to date, and we’re trying to do all this with as sensible price points as we can manage. We’re not looking to update a G1 toy, we’re looking to re-engineer him (or her) from the ground up.

    As well as all that, we hope to provide intelligent fiction, rather than a single line character description or a hard to read, poorly translated piece.

    Another thing we try and do is listen to our feedback, this has already caused us to make a couple of tweaks to some of our designs, included a complete overhaul of the head for Talon.

    • Any hints as to other characters coming down the road soon under the Reformatted line?

    I really can’t say at the moment, we have several planned in various stages of development but our focus is on making the Feral Cons the best they can be. The War of the Predakings is in full swing at the moment, and we plan to win. However, we wish our competitors the best and we think the competition is healthy for us all, and great for the fans who, ultimately, decide who wins the war.

    Our friends at Mech iDeas have a few really great projects in development at the moment as well, so keep your eyes peeled (note; this interview was conducted before the Animated reveal on Feb. 22nd).

    • One thing to note is that you were actually the writer of the comics under the Knight Morpher line: Will we be getting comics for this series as well? And, will the storylines have any continuity between the two lines?

    Correct, you will be getting new comic fiction based on the adventures of the Feral Cons, Hexatron and all the other future characters we have planned. The two continuities will be kept completely separate. The Knight Morpher universe is an alternate reality where they landed on Earth a hundred years early, hence Cyclops’ plan to speed up technological innovation through warfare.

    The Reformatted line is its own continuity, but to give the readers an idea of how it works, it exists almost in the same universe as the Furman penned IDW series Inflitration through to Revelation, with the exception that our stories will mostly be set a few million years before the events seen in those books. We plan to go right back to the roots of a faux-G1 universe, and see the events that set everything in motion years before the war broke out, in the pre-faction days.

    It’s worth noting that these comics will be a lot more brutal than the Knight Morpher fiction, which told a very layered story immersed in history. One of the things you can look forward to in the Reformatted books is a smackdown between Feral Rex and Hexatron!

    At some point, we plan to introduce a character that can walk through time, space and parallel universes, so never say never.

    • Is there anything on behalf of either yourself or Mastermind Creations that you’d like to let the fans know?

    Simply put, I think we are considered by many to have kicked, scratched and clawed our way into the list of top three third party companies. We won’t rest, or be happy until you guys consider us to have earned the title of the best. Thanks for supporting us, and huge thanks to TJ for the support and great questions.

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    To give the fans a chance to be heard, I gave people a chance to submit questions to me via email, and I forwarded 100% of those questions over for consideration. I’d like to thank everyone who participated and here are the questions selected/answered:

    • I would love to ask what drives their focus on hyper detail and engineering.

    One of our designers is a huge toy geek, into some really expensive lines and he spends a healthy chunk of time, money and resources into researching the BEST toys on the market at the moment. He has scrapped entire projects and started again as he felt the project wasn’t what it needed to be. Our ethos is simple: We never design or produce a toy we wouldn’t want to buy ourselves.

    • also, what made them decide to create a real comic based universe for their series?

    We’re fans first, and writing is the only thing I am good at. To me, fiction is the difference between a toy release, and a character being released.

    • I would be interested to know if they have anything in mind for a potential future release that is more of an original character, in the same vein as Fans Project Steel Core.

    Never say never (again).

    • Have they/would they consider figures that reference Beast Wars characters?

    This comes back to the question of niche markets, all I can say is Beast Wars is not on our current “to do” list, despite the show being my favorite of the TV fictions.

    • I would imagine balancing between articulation, transformation, and general robot/alt mode detailing is a challenge. Do they (MMC) feel like during the design process that one aspect is generally more important than another? Or are these considerations taken on more of a case by case, figure by figure basis?

    You pretty much nailed this with your opening line; yes, it is a huge challenge, and we look at what is really the essence or any of the characters, this is made even harder as we refuse to compromise one mode for another.

    • Furthermore, have they ever had to eventually sacrifice one aspect in order for another to turn out better? Such as sacrificing a point of articulation in order to better facilitate transformation.

    Great question, see above.

    • How long have they been a fan of Transformers (I assume since they’re making them and all that they like them)?

    1984 was a very good year. I personally never stopped collecting from those childhood days, everyone else on the team is much the same.

    • What educational background or self taught skills do you use in designing transforming figures?  What advice would you have for someone who is looking to get into toy design/engineering?

    We’ll save this one for a future Q & A session with our designer Cassy Sark. But the best advice I can give anyone looking to do anything creative is to do it, just do it. Grab a pen and a piece of paper, get a program on your computer, work a job you hate which will teach you skills that will apply and help you for a future job you want, that you will love, that will move you closer to your goal.

    • What does the design process look like to you from start to finish?

    Daunting, but full of possibilities.

    • Where do you see the reformatted line going in the next year?  Anything cool that we can expect?

    You mean we have to follow up on Feral Rex and try and better ourselves AGAIN?!?! Aw, man. Onwards and upwards, we will keep making great products as long as our fans support us.

    • If the knight morpher line continues, any chance we’ll see Guido Guidi’s HOS Squawkbox see a physical representation?

    That would be awesome, as a fan, I hope so.

    Remember to check out the following links to go to the Facebook pages for both Mastermind Creations Mech ideas, and Cassy Sark, where you can keep up on current products and even get glimpses into what’s coming up:

     
  2. Kuma Style

    Kuma Style I'm boney. I'm boney; Leave me aloney! TFW2005 Supporter

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    [​IMG]

    Enjoy the official photos of Terminus Hexatron as well as a sneak peak of some of the art from the upcoming Reformatted comic series!

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    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  3. megatroptimus

    megatroptimus Untitled

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    So that's more or less WFC/FOC Sixshot?
     
  4. General Tekno

    General Tekno Self-Styled #1 Lugnut Fan

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    Glad they went with the purple highlights. The off-white plastic seems to be a good shade as well for allowing detail to show.
     
  5. Kuma Style

    Kuma Style I'm boney. I'm boney; Leave me aloney! TFW2005 Supporter

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    It's not a WFC/FOC toyline, but yes, they are Cybertronian-style. Sixshot never had an "earth mode" to begin with, so for me he's simply Classics Sixshot.

    Everyone can (and SHOULD) use him in whatever line they want, though. I just hope many buy him, because it's SUCH a solid toy.
     
  6. originaljk

    originaljk Technobot

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    Thanks TJ! Enjoyed the insight into a wonderful company. Keep up the great work MMC!
     
  7. Robogeek28

    Robogeek28 Proud grandpa

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    Great interview and awesome pics!
     
  8. hardreturn

    hardreturn Ian Reid

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    everything about this, yes.
     
  9. Astronut

    Astronut Well-Known Member

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    good stuff, thanks cenokibble and TJ!
    MMC is definitely my favorite 3rd party company at the moment. From fantastic toys to great, unprecedented communication, not even the sky's the limit.

    And Hexatron looks gorgeous as always. Strong contender for figure of the year so far. Quakewave has a tough opponent in this one.
     
  10. megatroptimus

    megatroptimus Untitled

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    I was going by the pink paint apps, which kinda are exclusive to the WFC/FOC lines.
     
  11. kaizen3121

    kaizen3121 Well-Known Member

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    Great Interview TJ! You asked all the right questions. And thanks for the new pic of Talon! Looks better every time i see him. Have any more ? haha
     
  12. Kuma Style

    Kuma Style I'm boney. I'm boney; Leave me aloney! TFW2005 Supporter

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    Ha!

    Agreed on all accounts.

    Hahaha. If I had more to share, I definitely would!
     
  13. kibble

    kibble Seeker style, yo!

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    MMC, wanna be top dog? Price. You've got the chops and your prices are competive for 3rd Party. Figure out a way to make them comparable to official import figure costs and you win. :thumb 
     
  14. Kuma Style

    Kuma Style I'm boney. I'm boney; Leave me aloney! TFW2005 Supporter

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    This isn't to say anything one way or another, but Hex is a head or two above MP-10 and MP-13 (soundwave) and retails at $135. Also, the price on the Mech Ideas Apex/Geminus were just phenomenal.
     
  15. Megatron31

    Megatron31 I Belong to Nobody!

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    i dont have them in hand so i cant really compair them but based on price alone thats i what one would pay for 2 takara deluxes based on Mech Ideas prices

    i wnt those guys just havent quite pulled the trigger yet, my wallet is still in ICU from genesis.


    great interview TJ and thanks to MMC for being so open, more so than any company before it i think.

    great stuff and pics as well always apprciated TJ
     
  16. kibble

    kibble Seeker style, yo!

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    Agreed on Mech Ideas, who appears to be at least related to MMC, and Hex is getting warm... For 3rd Party they're definitely fair. But I'd like to see them be the best across the board. And hope it forces the rest of the chodes to follow suit. :D 
     
  17. Bountyan

    Bountyan Well-Known Member

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    Really glad they went with the highlights. Helps break up the color well.
     
  18. Lbsammills51

    Lbsammills51 Well-Known Member

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    Cool interview, I'm glad that MMC has been willing to communicate with the fanbase like they have. Interaction and actual clarification straight from the horse's mouth is always welcome considering how often the fanbase ends up in the dark and left to cannibalize each other over whatever few pieces of reliable info are available.

    (Though I admit, I was hoping for something like an estimated release schedule for the remaining Feral Rex components.)

    It'd be nice if other companies looked at interviews like this (I remember Headrobots did a similar one a few months ago) and became more willing to interact with the people that buy their stuff.
     
  19. General Tekno

    General Tekno Self-Styled #1 Lugnut Fan

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    So is Hexatron on track for his release date then?
     
  20. jbz

    jbz Well-Known Member

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    That Hexatron! Looks bad ass. Can't wait. Great interview TJ. MMC is definitely looking like one of the top dogs in the 3P world