Transformers War For Cybertron Kingdom: Ken Christiansen Concept Art

Discussion in 'Transformers News and Rumors' started by AzT, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. Suboptimal Optimus

    Suboptimal Optimus There Is Such A Thing As Truth

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    Seeing this guy's art reminds me why I love the Beast Wars-era design so much. They are recognizably Transformers but there is a certain more biomechanical vibe to the Maximals and Predacons which enhance the idea there are organic components and that the technology is more advanced than Autobot and Decepticons. This is still very much a transforming robot, obviously, but its not as boxy as classic G1 designs. You can sort of see this art style evolution from the G1 season 1 and 2 to Floro Dery's Season 3 designs to the Beast Era.
     
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  2. Pushan Halder

    Pushan Halder Well-Known Member

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    Thank Primus they didn\'t copy paste the toy beast modes!:D 
     
  3. PolyWraith

    PolyWraith Coolest kibble around

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    Could not agree more highly with you. I'll also add that BW is strongest when the characters overall bodies fit a more humanoid design (which most do). AND...doggone it, I love the kibble in BW. Animal parts, teeth, fur, feathers--man! These two factors combined just give these characters a real warrior vibe that I just can not get over. So cool!
     
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  4. BigRed

    BigRed Well-Known Member

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    The textures are a really strong point. Vehicle transformers nearly all the time more or less will be composed of geometric plates with mechanical details, but in BW, we have characters with fur or scales or rocky crustacean shell as part of their detailing, it makes everyone looke very diverse and fun.
     
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  5. Suboptimal Optimus

    Suboptimal Optimus There Is Such A Thing As Truth

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    Yes but the key visual difference of the Beast Era-characters is a bit more subtle and lie in the robot mode which I believe some of the modern redesigns slightly miss the cues on such as the Forged to Fight design or some of the IDW depictions. The difference isn't immediately notable at first as you may look to a BW character and "Well, what's so different from G1 beside the fleshy animal parts?". The difference is more subtle but it is well known if you read up on the interviews and concept designs of BW as a toyline. Guyver and the legendary HR Giger were discussed in those concept stages, with the robot mode of Maximals and Predacons being more subtle organic.

    Yes, on a surface the BW characters share a similar design and body shape as Autobot and Decepticons, looking like a robot partially made of/wearing the parts of its alternate form but the difference is on the exposed robot parts. They are more detailed, either smooth with organic curves (BW Megatron) or interlaced with detailed and complex mechanical parts (Rattrap) or a bit of both (Dinobot and Rhinox come to mind). Another key element of early BW designs are contrasting colors, with the robot mode being a color which is different from the Beast Mode and help further delineate both modes while also forming a cohesive and pleasant whole through color contrast. So Optimus Primal, for example, has the grey-black fur of his ape form complimented by the navy blue Optimus-esque helmet and the white and red parts of his exposed robot mode. Only a few BW characters have robot mode parts the same color as their beast mode, such as Waspinator or Blackarachnia (and I'm talking show model here, toys are a different story). Transformers changing their palette in different form is nothing new (see: Sideswipe gaining more white in robot mode versus a solid red and black car mode) but BW did it a lot more even if early figures had some unflattering kibble.

    I think Beast Wars design cues become more distinct when you put them aside a G1 character with a beast mode, such as Dinobots and Predacons or the Decepticon headmasters. At the same time however they are not a complete break from the art style of Transformers, merely a variation. I think this is why, by comparison, Beast Machine designs were a lot weirder and disliked.

    Edit: Of course, once you go past the first two years of the toyline and season 1 of the show, you get into even crazier and unique styles, like the variations of Transmetal (1, 2 and the one-off 'super' of Optimal Optimus) and Fuzor. In fact, Optimal Optimus, my favorite design as one can tell from my username) is the design which push the further the BW stylings to their limit by going back to many G1 cues. It is the closest to a G1-styled 'mechanimal' like the Dinobots and Predacons.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2021
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  6. Suboptimal Optimus

    Suboptimal Optimus There Is Such A Thing As Truth

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    Continuing my analysis of Beast-era designs, for fun:
    • Transmetals are the most normal and Transformers-looking at a glance, at least in beast mode which is now completely mechanical. They are the closest to G1 mechanic animals but a bit more rounded and detailed and less blocky than the old G1 chunker. One key difference here is that the contrasting and/or complimentary colors are primarily moved to the beast mode, with mainly their iconic vaccum metallized chrome which is so pretty to look at yet so annoyingly flaky for collectors. Of course, its the robot mode which is now all weird and biomechanical as the parts mostly exclusive to robot mode sport an even more organic look, with Cheetor for example having fur on his robot mode parts or Primal's distinctly ape-like face. Transmetals have a weird inside-out look which is entirely unique to them and quite distinct as Hasbro could have easily gone for a fully mechanical look. Instead, the fusion of beast and machine is reversed rather than suppressed. They also have these vestigial third mode which is deployed from beast mode.
    • Fuzor got their own distinct cues beyond their obvious weird animal fusion beast mode but it isn't as noticeable at a glance. They tend toward having a more coherent palette and their robot mode heads appear as a mid-point between the fully robotic heads and the inverted organic heads, with Silverbolt for example having a smooth but clearly metallic head that is shaped like a snout. As weird as it may seem, they are the most balanced when it come to being biomechanical and would look the most normal if not for their often truly bizarre chimeric beast mode. Unlike Transmetal, however, there is no vestigial third mode.
    • Optimal Optimus is an anomaly and arguably his own Transmetal variation, even if people often mistake him for a Transmetal 2 due to being upgraded from a previous Transmetal state. The beast mode is mostly unchanged, still being that mechanical animal look which is a tad more robotic due to the extra kibble of his extra vehicle modes which are more fully formed than Transmetals. The major difference is in the robot mode which is nearly completely mechanic and much closer to the G1 designs looks slightly more boxy than even the season 1 Optimus Primal form. The organic elements still exist, as Optimal Optimus isn't 100% robotic. Its hard to see and often a missed detail (his Power of the Primes design lacking these) but has has some recesses in his other forms where black ape fur exist. So he is mostly robotic but as Beast Machine state there are still organic elements inside his body.
    • Transmetal 2 are very noticeable because they are monstrous and assymetrical. The metal and organic parts blend in weird overlapping blotches The heads are closer to the fuzor design but most retain the assymetry to some degree or another. They also sport the tell-tale chrome of Transmetals but they lack the third mode. I know some have vestigial third modes, such as Tigerhawk or Megatron's dragon form but these are not used in fiction and appear to be leftovers of engineering. By a pure lore standpoint, Megatron's season 3 form should not be such a being but be closer to Optimal Optimus but....heh, limitations of the toyline and the show and all that. We also see a single Transmetal 2 Fuzor in the form of Tigerhawk and they very much in the Transmetal 2 design cues, just with a beast mode that is mix and match like a Fuzor.
    • Transmetal 3(?): This one...doesn't exist in the lore but I'm bringing it up as a 'missing link' to Beast Machines and Neo-G1. Only two characters sport a form divergent from all these previous types and from the reused G1 mold/Neo G1 styling of their respective shows. These are BW2nd Galvatron and RiD Gigatron. Everyone else in their shows is either a Beast Wars-esque design inspired by the previous categories or flat out reusing a mold, when they are aren't a G1 or G2 mold. BW 2nd Galvatron is a unique, Japanese-made mold which sport a mechanical beast mode with a mostly complete vehicle mode and a robotic but era-inspired robot mode. He's not a Transmetal in the lore in any capacity nor is he something like Optimal Optimus but he's clearly still a Beast Wars-esque design. Meanwhile, RiD Gigatron at a glance looks like a Transmetal 2 (and indeed, most of his minions reused TM2 molds!) yet he himself isn't one visually. He has the fusion of flesh and metal of them and the Transmetal chrome but he is symmetrical. If anything, that Botcon 2016 BW Megatron redeco of the mold is closer to what BW Megatron should have looked like within the show, being a multi-moded Transmetal-ish design.
    • Techno-Organic: These are the infamous Beast Machine designs and they are even more of a radical take. The beast mode is akin to Transmetal 2 but perfectly symmetrical and balanced. As for the robot modes they are the most human-like and organic. Of course, Beast Machine is its own thing and goes far beyond the weirdness of BW designs.
     
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  7. PolyWraith

    PolyWraith Coolest kibble around

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  8. Suboptimal Optimus

    Suboptimal Optimus There Is Such A Thing As Truth

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    So yeah, BW designs: in my opinion a lot more unique than people give them credit. Its not just G1-with-fleshy bits!
     
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  9. BigRed

    BigRed Well-Known Member

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    Finding out that BW's toyline's art style was inspired by manga like Guyver is eye opening. Lots of the sculpts in BW, specially the first two years, look straight out of that series and it's very fun.
     
  10. Suboptimal Optimus

    Suboptimal Optimus There Is Such A Thing As Truth

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    Ayup: Obscure Transformers Website - Other Files
     
  11. PolyWraith

    PolyWraith Coolest kibble around

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    Very compelling, to think about Beast-era bodies actually being an upgrade. Ideas like the whole "using food instead of energon" advancement (from a comic I haven't read) give a lot of potential to BW characters. Very cool.

    I don't like Floro's character's color schemes, but I do like the smoother aesthetic he brought to the table a lot. Someone should share some of their thoughts on his character designs, too.

    Love this.

    Color contrast between the modes is one of my top five favorite aspects of BW bot design. I absolutely love the contrast you see on Cheetor and Terrorsaur (in the show) and I especially love the red on Polar Claw and Ironhide's toys.

    Also:
    • Love your "inside-out" description of Transmetal
    • Like how you point out the more coherent color scheme of the Fuzors. Hadn't realized that before. I think it's part of what makes Quickstrike's, Bantor;s, and Noctorro's color schemes so boring (but Silverbolt's, Air Hammer's, and Sky Shadow's so cool).
    • Never realized there was hair on OO
    • Ohhhh Beast Machines...heh. So cool yet so lame all at once.
     
  12. Suboptimal Optimus

    Suboptimal Optimus There Is Such A Thing As Truth

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    I think had Beast Machine figures been design better and more coherently that they could have looked way better. Their beast mode, in my opinion, are excellent: a well balanced fusion of the organic and mechanical. Not an artificially induced fusion of their original season 1 forms or a forced mutation of Transmetals but a true fusion down at the cellular level. Excellent concept marred by weird toy designs, bad engineering and an art style many find grotesque.

    As for Optimal Optimus: go look at pics of his original figure and not the Titanium or POTP version. Those black spots have molded fur. Its just very hard to see in most lights in photo and just a thing you need to see for yourself on the toy. Its very subtle but its there.
     
  13. PolyWraith

    PolyWraith Coolest kibble around

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    @Suboptimal Optimus Ah yes...I had the OO toy back in the day, but I'd forgotten about those lil black chunks. Definitely molded fur. Cool!
     
  14. Suboptimal Optimus

    Suboptimal Optimus There Is Such A Thing As Truth

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    Since I brought up the Season 1-2 G1 versus The Movie/Season 3/Floro Dery design, I may as well discuss those too in the context of character design:

    I think an important aspect of early Transformers design is that they were pre-existing, being the Japanese-designed Diaclone and Microman figures primarily. They were very robotic, cubic designs that just scream 'robot' or in some cases a very cubic and hard-line super robot from Japan. A lot of these character designs got simplified and streamlined during the Marvel Comics run and Sunbow cartoon which created what I consider the iconic Transformers look. In that era, everything was hard shape and geometric lines and what they turned into were mostly realistic objects or vehicles.

    Floro Dery's Movie/S3 designs (by that I mean those he had a lot more input creating as opposed to adapting!) are quite a departure by comparison and have a style I'd almost call retro-futuristic and humanizing. Transformers sporting human faces were nothing new, but they always stood out a bit from the otherwise mechanical body. Floro's designs love smoother curves giving his robots a very retro-scifi or almost 'raygun' or comic book-esque designs. Its hard to put into word so this post will include images down the line. There's a lot more ovals and arches in his design whereas these were way less present in the Diaclone designs. Looking at designs like Hot Rod/Rodimus, Kup, Orion Pax, Ariel and Galvatron (which if I am not mistaken he worked on) give them a more rocket age scifi look as well as some odd humanizing touches. It seem a lot of his robots have colors and the geometry of their arms and legs implies almost a mimicry of human clothing that just isn't there in the old Diaclone cuboids. They are less robotic and more 'big metal people'. Paradoxically to this metal people look he seem to love weird button, panels and planes on his robots just to add detail like Galvatron's robo-abs looking like buttons, contrasting with clearly a design meant to evoke a belt and trouser/trunks.

    Then there is the alt mode, which are all space age vehicles and not remotely realistic but rather retro scifi too. But I didn't need to bring it up as that is obvious.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Verno

    Verno Beast Wars Collector

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    I do indeed. In a franchise that's entire premise is 'one thing can be two things', is it too much to think that the designers could have taken what is quite a large piece of plastic and get it to do something else? You know, it "transforms" a bit to help reduce the kibble (and show off the nice spine piece underneath) and improve Dinobot's iconic accessory.

    #BackLivesMatter
     
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  16. Suboptimal Optimus

    Suboptimal Optimus There Is Such A Thing As Truth

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    Hah. Jobby The Hong Reference...
     
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  17. ScorponokIsHere

    ScorponokIsHere He is Arrived Indeed

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    .........yikes
     
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  18. Suboptimal Optimus

    Suboptimal Optimus There Is Such A Thing As Truth

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    It's a joke Jobby the Hong made in reference to how Masterpiece figures these days got a nasty habit of tucking away a humongous amount of hideous jumbled kibble, ruining the figure's silhouette form any angle other than the front.
     
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  19. Scorpio

    Scorpio Well-Known Member

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    At this stage kind of wish Kingdom was an animated series, with the lack of the trailer I'm concerned they are holding off as the line is potentially doing better without Kingdom to potentially stain the legacy of Beast Wars that is contributing to a lot of the sales.

    Lmao
     
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  20. PolyWraith

    PolyWraith Coolest kibble around

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    Cool. I'd say a lot of the Floro Dery designs are very "Darth Vader" (esp Galvatron and Orion Pax) and am guessing Floro liked Star Wars, or at the very very least, was inspired by the same artwork and design that the SW concept artists were inspired by.