Acting Magnus Optimus Prime commissions the
Axalon, a top secret Elite Guard exploration vessel with orders to track down the technorganics Blackarachnia and Waspinator, with the hope that the pair might be cured. There's just one catch. With most of the Autobot forces busy hunting down the remaining Decepticon cells left after Megatron's defeat, the mission commander, a bot known only as Primal, must choose his crew from a pool of misfits and washouts looking for one last chance to prove themselves...Not much is known about the bot called Primal. He doesn't seem to hold any official rank, but he's treated with respect even by the Magnus. He's surprisingly well armed and a furious fighter, but his true strength lies in his peerless leadership skills. There are even rumours that he's somehow connected to the experiments at and subsequent destruction of Colony Omicron. Regardless, he seems the perfect choice to lead
Axalon's misfit crew. After all, sometimes crazy works.Part of the Elite Guard Exploration Corp, with special dispensation to investigate organic planets, Tigatron rarely spends time on Cybertron. That seems to suit him just fine, generating rumours that he's gone 'native', going so far as to rename himself after an organic species he admires. An accomplished Metallikato practitioner with mods that make both of his modes virtually silent, Tigatron was happy to sign on as the
Axalon's security officer and field biologist.There's something off about that Airazor femme. Maybe it's the organic design elements she's insisted on incorporating into her chassis, or maybe it's that she doesn't seem to understand that Autobots were never meant to fly. With a streamlined design that cuts through wind resistance and modified jump-jets that allow for amazing leaps, Airazor has never stopped reaching for the sky. Her tremendous skill handling the
Chromia 10 made her a natural choice to be the
Axalon's pilot.This young Autobot graduated from basic training near the top of his squad, earning a reputation as a top-notch scout and the nickname Spottor. After eleven consecutive applications, however, he still hasn't been accepted into the Academy. First he accidentally set the test course on fire, then there were the injuries to the adjudicators... Inevitably his enthusiasm and recklessness gets him into one sort of trouble or another. Nevertheless, Primal seems to see potential in the young bot.A Decepticon turned mercenary who left his faction over what he perceived as a lack of honour, Dynobot had the misfortune of visiting Cybertron during Sentinel Prime's brief administration, which made little distinction between former and current 'Cons. Thrown into the Stockade, he ended up sharing a cell with Rattletrap, an Autobot lowlife implicated in the Shockwave scandal. Though the pair took an immediate and vocal dislike to one another, they agreed to work together to escape. Evading guards and security systems alike, their plan was succeeding, until they both attempted to double-cross the other at the last moment. The attempt brought them to the attention of Primal, however, who decided Dynobot and Rattletrap might be just what he needed to track down another rogue Decepticon and Stockade escapee.Primal's oldest friend, the imposing Knox is a genius with all things mechanical. One of the scientists at Colony Omicron, he severed all ties with the Elite Guard after the colony's destruction, and returned to Cybertron, spending his time doing repair work at free clinics. Initially refusing to be part of the Axalon crew, Knox was convinced when Primal admitted to the mission's secret, secondary objective. The gentle giant reluctantly agreed to serve as the ship's engineer and medic.
Group photo, everybody!
A couple of fun posters:
Temporal anomaly! "Who the spotted heck are you
supposed to be?!"
Finally, Airazor and Tigatron combine to form Tigerhawk! ...sort of.
Alright, pictures aside, let's get down to brass tacks, eh?
Primal's sword, which is constructed from styrene and metal rings, is a fictional combination of the zhǎn mǎ dāo, a two-handed anti-cavalry weapon, and the appropriately named nine-ring broadsword, a theatrical variant on a one-handed dāo, both of Chinese origin. I wanted to give a nod to his swords from Beast Wars which keeping the mold's awesome two-handed chop pose. Primal's scimitars always struck me as a little ostentatious, though very cool, compared to his other weapons, so it seemed like a good fit. His pseudo-smokestacks become his wrist cannons as well. I took a cue from TFA Waspinator and went with a slightly darker colour palate, which is particularly noticeable with regard to the darker of the two reds.
I was wracking my brain for a non-gun weapon for Cheetor, and a boomerang seemed to hilarious to pass up. It really seems to work with the character, though I'd be hard pressed to explain why. The shape of this particular boomerang is a bit of an homage to the one wielded by Sokka in Avatar: The Last Airbender. His spots were applied with bits of sponge, and I learned in the process of painting him that yellow paint is pure, undiluted evil. It kept drying with inexplicable dark streaks running through it; I eventually got something I'm pleased with, but I'm curious whether or not anyone else has had a similar problem. Oh, and it's tough to see here, but he does have freckles!
While a lot of people may have been expecting me to use Bumblebee for Rattrap, hear me out. Unlike the rest of the Axalon Crew, he actually appeared in Animated, as Rattletrap. As such I based him primarily off of that character model
. Take a look at the shoulders and chest, and I think you'll see why I went with Swindle for his base. Besides, he's short, and hidden, flip-out heavy artillery seems very Rattrap, eh? I'm especially pleased with the way the head turned out.
Dinobot is almost certainly the least surprising of the crew. Let's face it, Nemesis Predaking, Terrorcon King and others have all been there, done that and bought the novelty t-shirt. All appropriate kudos go out to them for blazing the way. Standard hand-fix is in effect. It took a little while to mix a chocolatey brown I was happy with, as well as the colour used for his 'helmet'. I really wanted to give him his helmet fins, but there was no way they would fit in vehicle mode. I'm quite happy with his scarred faction symbol, though, which was inspired by Armada
One thing that away set Dinobot apart on Beast Wars was his heavy use of a sword. Obviously in the melee-weapon rich Animated environment that's not such a big deal, so I wanted to give his something a bit more unusual. I also wanted something that he could spin around, like his old tail-propeller-shield-thing, so a polearm seemed like a natural choice. I ultimately decided on a naginata, which is made from styrene and a 1/8' dowel.
Now, before anyone thinks I'm completely insane, I got the Leader-class Bulkhead that served as Rhinox's base at a substantial
discount. I actually tried using the Voyager-class version first, but that one's barely as tall as Rattrap! Obviously, that would not stand. The downside to the larger mold is that, due to the electronic and geared gimmicks, I wasn't able to do much in the may of modification to the head. Fortunately, Bulkhead already looks a bit like Rhinox.
I scrapped the mold's ridiculous missile racks, then converted the buzzsaw hand into an approximation of Rhinox's old 'Chaingun of Doom'. I went this way instead of making an actual gun for two reasons. First, none of the bots in Animated have guns which are separate from their bodies; everything is incorporated into their arms or shoulders or whatever. Second, have you seen Bulkhead's hands? No way those were holding anything. As a fun bit of trivia, he's painted primarily in the Formula P3 colour 'Beast Hide'. It seemed rather apropos.
So there you have it! Seven, count 'em, seven bots for the price of one (although you've technically already seen Tigatron and Airazor
)! Now they just need somebody to fight, eh?