Welcome to the March edition of the Transtopia newsletter. This month features Repaints, Customs, Scratchbuilds, Featured Art, and an Artist Interview. Shattered Glass characters are very popular this edition. Remember, to check out the Transtopia forum for the latest action.
How to Showcase Your Work
The newsletter is your opportunity to show off your work and talent. We rely on your articles, artwork, and customs to make it interesting. Entries will be reviewed on a monthly basis. You can submit your work here: Repaints, Kitbashes, Scratchbuilds Fan Art Fan Fiction Guides
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Want to contribute to help out with the Transtopia newsletter? Join our team. We have a couple roles to fill. Duties require a few hours each month. PM Dead Metal if interested.
Design - Flix
Formatting - Stormrider
Fan Art - Mykltron
Editing - Stormrider
Do you have modeling or art tips to share with other members? Why not write a guide? Feature tips from - repainting, kitbashing, drawing, sculpting, and even computer graphics: Send an email to Transtopia.Guide@gmx.de for details.
This month I would like to draw your attention (pun not intended) to sketch by HOWEE74 of TFA Prowl flying TFA Prowl Transforming through the air as he transforms from bike to bot.
This picture impressed me as soon as I saw it due to the skill involved in drawing it so accurately and the effectiveness of the shading. Originally it was drawn in pencil then overdrawn with a fine pen before being darkened in Photoshop. If you look closely you'll see that some parts (like the windshield) have been edited using Illustrator to create a smooth and shiny effect. You may also notice that the beginning and end pictures are darker than the mid-stages of the transformation.
He seems to have caught these stages beautifully and really conveys a sense of motion. Although each image is so clear and lacking motion, blurring it suggests a slow-motion scene.
It probably took many hours of fiddling and experimenting to find the right poses for each individual picture so please leave him your comments and praise here, I am sure h will appreciate it. Also take some time to look at his other works on his Deviant Art page, there are other great thingsthere.
A round of applause goes out to all of our other art entries from February.
Send us your artwork!
Art entries are reviewed on a monthly basis for the newsletter. Send your entries here.
Do you often think up Transformers stories in your head? It is time you put it to paper and submit it to the Fan Fiction page. Entries will be reviewed monthly.
Remember we have a theme for the month - "Transformers Go To The Movies." What does that mean? Whatever you want. Transformers starring in films, TFs watching films, TFs covered in a pile of DVDs, whatever that topic suggests to you is what I want to see. Funny, serious, romantic, tragic, anything. If that topic immediately makes you think "Oh, that would be a story about..." start writing it down.
A quick recap of the rules (don't worry, there's not many):
1) 10,000 word limit. Rough guideline to start with, I won't be automatically disqualifying anything that comes in over.
2) Decent spelling, grammar and punctuation. Run a spell check over your story, and maybe get a friend to read it before submitting.
3) Be specific as to where/when the story is set. So what continuity is it in (G1 comic, G1 cartoon, Armada comic, etc) and where is it set? Before the events of the show/comic, after, during? If during, where does it fit?
4) Fan characters are fine, but please avoid making them those annoying "I am more powerful than any other Transformer!!!" types. Also, consider if there's an under-used existing TF who'd fit the needs of the story just as well as someone new. Existing characters are almost always more interesting to everyone else.
This month's Artist Interview comes from our friends at TF.SG, who recently interviewed the Transformers artist, Altitron. Many of you know Altitron because he is an active member in Transtopia. Altitron has won several Transformers art contests in the past, including some on Seibertron. One of his current projects has been the box art for Hearts of Steel Optimus Prime, which was presented last month, here.
1. Ok dude, tell us more about yourself like which country are you from, your age and occupation, and maybe attached a photo of you too! Give us more info, the more the merrier!
Well, lets start off with a proper introduction. My name is Brett Wolff, I am 25 years of age, married to one beautiful woman, Lisa, and we are expecting our first child in April, Blake.
I am an American, but do not claim any state in particular as I was a Navy brat, and moved around quite a bit. I myself have been in the Navy going on eight years now, and currently serve my country on a military installation in the prefecture of Kanagawa, on the mainland of Japan.
2. We all know about your fan art and how you have the uncanny ability to mesmerize us. Care to share you how did you get started?
I started drawing when I was about three years old, with crayons and any surface I could get my hands on, be it paper, walls, tables, whatever.
The thing is, my parents never punished me for what I was attempting to do, they just wanted me to keep it on the paper. Once they got that message across (with maybe a spanking or two), they never did anything but help to promote my imagination and desire to create something.
They always encouraged my artwork from the very beginning, even when it was only artwork to them. Twenty years later, and here we are today.
3. So which are your favourite works?
My favorite work of all time is The Coronation of Napoleon and Josephine, by Jacques-Louis David, seen below:
I have been fortunate enough to have seen this masterpiece in person, at the Louvre in Paris. It is a massive painting, spanning 30 feet high and 50 feet long. It is a truly awe-inspiring work that leaves you breathless.
I am also a fan of anything painted or sculpted by Michaelangelo, and Raphael School of Athens is another of my favorites.
Some of my more modern favorites are the works of the legendary Frank Frazetta. He is best known for Death Dealer, a Black Knight-esque character whose depictions have been used by many bands for their album covers. Frazetta also did many illustrations of Tarzan, from Edgar Rice Burroughs novels. He is the father of modern day pop-sci/fantasy artwork, and I have always drawn inspiration from him.
On the other side of the world, Sesshu Toyo is a favorite Japanese master of mine. His suibokuga, or ink paintings, are beautiful. 6 of his works are regarded as national treasures in Japan.
Growing up with comic books, I always imitated Joe Kubert, Chris Bacchalo, Joe Madureira, and more recently, Adam Hughes.
My first taste of Japanese art came when Chrono Trigger landed on American shores, and I fell in love with Akira Toriyamas character designs. My interest grew in the art I could not find at my local comic shop, and when I was old enough to afford my own comics, I started importing the masters of Japanese manga.
My favorite work from Japan is the 6-tome Akira masterpiece by Katsuhiro Otomo. I am also a huge fan of anything done by Masamune Shirow, like Ghost in the Shell and Appleseed. Kaneda, the Major, and Briareos are some of my favorite characters.
I will also admit that I am a huge fan of the Dinotopia books by James Gurney. The first things that I drew that someone else could identify when I was young were dinosaurs, so when these books came out back when I was 12 or so, they were the greatest things I had ever seen. I still read and flip through them today, and they still bring out that child-like wonder.
4. Any works in progress from your side? If you allow us a little sneak preview that is!
Well, by now I am sure you have all seen the Hearts of Steel Optimus Prime box art that I am working on for Griffiths custom-made resin kit. And if you have not, here it is
I plan to have that finished shortly, so you can expect to see color teasers rolling out very soon.
I have been working on a series of Transformers pinups that I have titled Civil War.
This is a collection of works depicting desperate battles between some of the brands most notorious rivals. The first of these planned pieces was Shockwave VS Grimlock, which I believe I have shared on the forums, and is included in my artwork collection on the sites photo gallery. I am currently working on Soundwave VS Blaster, so expect to see a teaser of that on the boards pretty soon.
5. We all know you as a TF fan-artist, any plans to cross over to say, fan fiction or customs?
I have been doing customs work for quite some time now. My website has a small section dedicated to it. I got into customizing by way of wanting to repair some of my old and busted G1-era figures. The first of these were Shockwave and Sky Lynx. They were bought in a non-functioning status, and I did what I had to do to get all the electronics and sounds working as they were intended. It only got worse from there.
I've done a Dawn of Future Past Terrorsaur, made from a Beast Machines Obsidian, and I am currently working on what I call Predaking 2.0. I believe that monster has his own thread in the customs forums. I do what I can, off and on in between work, the wife, my addiction to Warcrack, and commissioned artwork, so it is much more slow going than anything else that I get to work on.
I do have the rest of the Decepticon combiners planned for my 2.0 series. I just got my hands on the Classics Special Edition Dragstrip, so I can finally begin my Menasor project. Look out for it!
As for fan fiction, I never really wrote any myself, outside of MU roleplaying back in the day, but if I were to read something that really inspired me, I would not hesitate to bring it to visual life (I am looking at you, TwilightStorm).
6. So do you see yourself as a fan or a collector?
How can you not be both? I love Transformers. I collect Transformers. Everyone in my family knows it. They look out for me. I have toys sprawled all over my room, from G1 to movie,
I am into about anything and everything Transformers-related. My in-laws have been buying our baby silly little Transformers items, so they have not only accepted the madness, they are contributing to it.
7. Having interacted with the folks of TF.SG in the forum section, in your opinion, are there any differences between us and other members in the international TF community?
Everyone seems extremely nice and well-intentioned. I have yet to read through a single thread that devolved into a mud-slinging argument, or any post that contained less than complimentary remarks. There are arguments, but they have always been kept civil and respectable. That is something that is extremely rare these days.
Things sometimes get out of hand on the OTFCCs boards, and I have to pay to post there.
The folks at TF.SG are extremely friendly, and it is very refreshing. Everyone seems much more tight-knit and familiar, as well. I suppose that comes from the majority of the members being able to meet one another in Singapore. Maybe one of these days I will drop by.
8. Oh, by the way, do you have a blog or a website? Care to tell us how they come about?
I have no blog, but I do have a website. Well, two - sort of.
My personal, professional website can be found at the following address: [url">http://www.thepimpsled.com/
I also run a gallery through Deviant Art, simply because it is just so easy to update and keep that way. It is often more up to date than my own website, which takes a bit of time and effort to maintain the polished, business look.
You can check it out by following this link: [url">http://altitron.deviantart.com/
9. Have you won any awards or accolades for your masterpieces?
I won a sweet polo shirt from TF.SG for one of the contest!
I won a monthly art contest at Seibertron.com with my Shockwave VS Grimlock piece.
I won Most Outstanding Student¢ in my 7th grade art class. And at BotCon, I won a Participant ribbon!
In high school, I won a design contest for my towns annual founders Day Parade, a weekend celebration they hold every year to celebrate the towns founding. I got my picture in the paper, alongside my art teacher and the sponsor of the event. I think that is when my parents first realized that my artwork may actually be worth a damn.
A few years later in high school, when I was a Junior, I entered a few of my watercolor paintings that I had done as a Freshman into a very large competition in central Texas. There were something like 250+ schools represented, and over 3,000 works were entered from all over the state. The gallery only had room for about 500 works, so just to have your art shown was an accomplishment in itself.
Of the three that I entered, all three were shown. One of my works won Honorable Mention honors in a small field of 25 or so, and another placed in the top 6. So I feel I did fairly well in such a large field of competing artists, and with works that were at that time two years old. It was something to be proud of, to say the least.
10. What do you wish to see most eagerly in ROTF?
Transformer dialogue! After the euphoria and wonder of seeing a new Transformers movie in the theatre wore off, I was very disappointed in the first movies lack of character development and screen time for the guys the movie was named after.
All collected, the Transformers had about 5 lines of meaningful dialogue, and 90% of it came from Prime. I really want to see the movie focused on the Transformers. They have eons of history, and each of them has no doubt lived for centuries. I would like the movie to get down and show you who these guys really are.
11. Yes, we know it a cliched type of question, but we would like to know who is your favourite TF character of all time!
Shockwave! I just love the guy, his personality (or lack thereof).
I am a very rational person myself, as my wife would attest. I do not do anything without there being an explicit reason for it. I do not enjoy being wasteful, and I am very prudent in what I do. I see a lot of myself in Shockwave, although I have to admit that I am not /that/ dedicated.
12. What is your favourite TF series by the way? Do you have any favourite toy?
My favorite series to watch would be Beast Wars. G1, while I adore the toys more than any other, had a very kiddy, campy show. Now that I am 25, I laugh at what I see.
Beast Wars, while degrading to slapstick humor at times, still manages to be very gritty towards the later seasons. It gets SERIUS Beast Wars Megatron is probably the best-written villain of any Transformers series we have had. I mean, the guy conquered Cybertron. Who else has done that? Nuff said.
My favorite toy (thus far) is Masterpiece Megatron. I've broken him in two spots (inner lower leg red hinge clip on the first day I owned him, and about a year or so later I cracked some small black piece attached to the die cast 'spine' trying to remember how to transform him, LOL), but I'm still awe-struck today when I look at him.
The only thing wrong with him is that not everything really sits flush and perfect as it is depicted in images on the box and instructions in gun mode.
But it is still a marvelous piece of engineering. Although I do wish that he was packaged with the extended scope and stock as found in the add-on set from... TFSource? Not sure, but I wish he came with that stuff anyway. Mine's got a bit of cosmic rust on the feet, but I actually like it. Gives him some shit-stompin' character, in my opinion. I just think he's the best looking figure in my entire collection. G1 had a great alternate mode - the pistol fit in your hand perfectly - but the robot mode looked nothing like the cartoon.
The Masterpiece version... especially when stood next to Prime... it's like /finally/, everything you imagined as a kid, and in the flesh - or plastic and die cast, as it were. :> I could have stopped collecting Transformers entirely after purchasing MP-05, and I would still be happy today.
13. Given a choice of a massive project which is rather ambitious, what would you chose to do? Any person or people whom you want to work with in particular?
I have a few graphic novels that I would like to write and illustrate in the future, when I finally get around to putting all of my ideas on paper. I sketch characters and locations from time to time, but nothing more than what I would call R&D work for the moment.
I also want to make a full conversion mod for Warcraft 3, turning it into a Transformers RTS. I do not have any experience with 3D modeling at present, but that will change when I get my collegiate schooling nailed down.
As for my most ambitious goal, I have wanted to do a retelling of Dantes Divine Comedy as a series of graphic novels for quite sometime now. I even went so far as to call Penguin Publishing in New York and ask them about rights licensing. Someday, I will get it done.
Hasbro- The first question submissions for 2009 have been answered. Seems we get a repeat answer when we asked a question related to one of our previously submitted questions, and a very frank answer to one for you movie line collectors!
"1.) Can we expect more store exclusive Generation 1 repaints of movie figures like the new Corvette Sideswipe into Generation 1 colors? Any hints to drop for us on which characters will receive Generation 1 style repaints (Devastator?). Can we expect premium style repaints with the ROTF line of figures as well?
-Whenever we redeco a figure for a store exclusive, one of our first inclinations is to go back and see if there is a way to bring the figure closer to a classic character, especially if it apears unlikely that the figure will be released in those colors otherwise. With Revenge of the Fallen, there are quite a few characters to choose from that have some fairly obvious alternative color schemes that are on our short list of potential items. Premium items are also on the short list because we are are sometimes able to offer a higher number of paint applications on figures if they are offered as store exclusives. While we can't provide exact details on any upcoming G1-based or Premium figures, rest assured that we will be making them whenever they make sense.
2.) Recent confusion with IDW's and HASBRO's answers gives us conflicting information. Will IDW's character Drift be getting his own toy, or not? Would it be a part of UNIVERSE or some other special line? How about other comic original characters getting toys like Impactor or Jhiaxus, which are not repaints? In the back of the Transformers Spotlight Vol 2 Graphic Novel, there is a great design for Nova Prime, which could be made as a toy, any chance of it being made?
-Every year as we develop our toy line, we try to fit in characters that make sense for the brand. With that said, every character, new and old, are always up for disussion. We certainly would love to make a toy after IDW's Drift and will do our best ot fit him into the line at the right time.
3.) Will there be toys of these new Season 3 TF: Animated Characters? What of the rumor that Season 3 is the last season of Animated? Any hints on what is the next on tap after the ROTF line is done, with the supposed end to Transformers Animated?
-There will be new toys of season 3 characters throughout 2009. Unfortunately, we cannot speak to any rumors regarding the animated series at this time."
There you have it, answers to some of our very important questions. Sorry if yours was not submitted this time. Please be sure to re-submit a new question the next time we have the opportunity.
Rumors of the current status of the Transformers Animated cartoon have been flying around the net like wildfire, and as we reported here, the Goldfire Grimlock and Hydro Dive Bumblebee voyagers have been cancelled. Now there’s rumors that the entire Transformers Animated toy line may be seeing it’s last days at retail.
Both the local Targets and local Wal*Marts (Colorado Springs, CO) have marked the Transformers: Animated line as canceled and won't be stocking up any new figures for it past what has already shipped. That means that the March/April waves won't be showing up at all in these stores.
Oddly, Universe seems to be continuing even as the seasonal reset makes a ton of room for the Revenge figures beginning to surface.
Unfortunately, the Hasbro rep checking the Wal*Mart aisles didn't really know what to make of the changes, as she knew about upcoming figures, but also confirmed that retailers were 'dumping' the Animated line.
This would also make it seem that retailers have more interest in the upcoming Transformers Revenge of The Fallen toy line, and do not wish to have old stock lingering on shelves when it comes out.
Additionally, Wal*Mart.com has their exclusive Transformers Animated value sets along with more Transformers Animated products currently on clearance at ridiculous mark downs. Coincidence? It would seem unlikely.
HASBRO.com- According to HASBRO's official Transformers page which has been updated with pictures, descriptions, and price points or the toys revealed at Toyfair 2009.
A couple of pieces of interest-
#1) Three Human Alliance Sets will be released- we know of Bumblebee, but are unsure of the others. We do know that Aaron Archer has Mikaela on his wishlist, so at this point she is not paired with any Transformer ally.
TRANSFORMERS MOVIE HUMAN ALLIANCE
(Approximate retail price: $29.99; Ages 5 & up; Available: August 2009)
For the first time, the new TRANSFORMERS MOVIE HUMAN ALLIANCE collection allows kids to play with the human characters alongside the TRANSFORMERS. When the TRANSFORMERS are in vehicle mode, the human figures fit inside and can go along for the ride. When the TRANSFORMERS are in robot mode, the human figures can be positioned at different battle stations. Three different characters will be available in 2009 – complete with a 2 1/4-inch human action figure – including BUMBLEBEE and friend Sam Witwicky.
#2) That the Mega Powerbots Devastator has an alt mode of sorts, laying him on his stomach as kind of a vehicle Voltron combined style.
TRANSFORMERS MOVIE MEGA POWER BOTS
(Approximate retail price: $34.99; Ages 4 & up; Available: August 2009)
Taking POWER BOTS to the next level with a second mode for “mega” action! Robots include OPTIMUS PRIME and DEVASTATOR. When the DEVASTATOR POWER BOT figure is face down, he appears to be six different vehicles, but when standing upright, he is the monstrous DECEPTICON, DEVASTATOR.
You can see the full press release of ROTF toys on HASBRO's official page here.
actionfigs.com- More merchandise teasing the Transformers movie sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, have been shared by ActionFigs.com. These include keychains, clip-ons, slide puzzles, and more. THESE IMAGES COULD PREVIEW MOVIE SPOILERS!
Many of the images of what will be inside the packages have been pixelated as to not spoil some of the bigger ideas in the movie, such as the possible combination of a certain Autobot leader, and one of his companions, a new character resembling Megatron, Starscream, and more.
You can check out the images of these collectibles here, and the 'blurred' version of Optimus Prime Power-Up Mode in package, and Megatron in package below.
TFW 2009 also has silhouetted images of the actual keychains here although they reveal no source for their images other than a retailer at last week's Toyfair. These images are sharper and thus are considered Possible SPOILERS!
Yizhi521 from TF08.net has posted an photo of the upcoming Revenge of The Fallen Skids figure. The photo is of the card he comes sealed to which, of course, contains a photo of him in both modes, and his bio. To see the image, click here, and you can also read his bio here:
“Because he is slightly less hyperactive than his brother MUDFLAP, AUTOBOT SKIDS has always thought of himself as “the smart one.” He likes to point this out at every opportunity. While MUDFLAP zips around like a maniac, AUTOBOT SKIDS prefers to impress his superiors among the AUTOBOT high command by behaving in a way he thinks of as mature, which usually involves talking nonstop about anything that occurs to him.”
TFormers.com has received some official images of some Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen figures. Though most of these toys were showcased during this week's ToyFair, one image stands out among the rest - an in-package photo of the un-named Audi R8 Decepticon, long thought to be a reformated Barricade.
Fans now have official word that this is not the case, and that the R8 is a new character who will go by the name of Sideways.