Greetings Seibertronians! Fellow Seibertron user, EvasionModeBumblebee has informed us of a recent update to the Hasbro Pulse Unboxed blog! The update concerns an interview with one of the people responsible for the recent Studio Series Devastator combiner, toy engineer Mike B. He shares his thoughts on the process that created the behemoth that is Devastator, from initial planning to conception, to production. He also deals with the question of the time frame the toys were released in.
One of the more intriguing comments is made when asked about the size of the components and which size class they would be:
Mike B wrote:Last was the upper torso and lower torso. We actually thought of two options for this. (1) Scavenger being a Commander scale figure and Overload a Voyager or (2) Scavenger a Leader scale and Overload a Leader scale. We decided to proceed with option 2 of both Leader scales to fit in our existing scales, but more importantly for strength and stability. Having the lower torso as a Leader scale with more mass helped to improve the stability of Devastator.
This shows us that while Commander class has so far been only for WfC toys (Siege Jetfire and Earthrise Sky Lynx), we could still yet see the sizing in other lines.
Through out the blog is various pictures showing the design work that went into Devastator, but they served the best pictures and comments till last.
Working hard or hardly working?
The face you make when Devastator might actually have a good idea
When Devastator thinks he's all big
One of our more productive brainstorming sessions
Check out the rest of the blog for more information on Devastator!
What do you think of this bestial combiner? Have you made him up now? Let us know in the Energon Pub and stay tuned to Seibertron for all the latest news and reviews!
That doesn't mean we're done with Siege stories, however. Seibertron is proud to exclusively bring to you an interview/Q&A with actor Shawn Hawkins, who voiced Mirage in the Siege cartoon! Read on to find out what he knew about Mirage prior to voicing him, how he feels about the Transformers fandom, and find out the 'bot he originally auditioned to voice before landing the role of the disappearing Autobot illusionist, Mirage!
Shawn Hawkins: Taylor! What a great surprise to wake up to this morning! Huge thank you to you and Ryan for having me on!
Taylor: It's our pleasure! So, Shawn, Tell us a little about yourself, your career, and how you came to voice acting. Is it a main focus of your career?
Shawn: Yeah so I’m originally from Upstate New York where I started in music. Ever since I was a kid I had a guitar in my hand and ended up playing in a few bands around New York. Then I went to college in Nashville, TN for music and business and ended up touring with some bands up and down the east coast. But at one point I just knew I wanted to get back in to acting. I had been a part of some theatre in high school but was interested in film and TV. So I ended up joining the theatre department at my college and then moving to Los Angeles right out of school. It was the best decision I ever made but it was definitely a big move. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of some really fun and creative projects in my time here. A lot of indie film work and some television stuff as well, but voice acting was something I always wanted to do. I would make voices, probably just like everyone else as a kid but for me it continued and continued haha. I did some smaller (voiceover) stuff along the way but finally got this audition for Transformers WFC and I was sold. It was an absolute blast and I’m so thankful to have been a part of it. Sharing it all with the fans has been an incredible pleasure in my life!
Taylor: What was the audition process like for the Siege series? Did you read or audition just in general, or did you always know you'd be playing Mirage specifically?
Shawn: So I originally auditioned for the role of Bumblebee. We weren't told at the time what the project was. It had a code name and character code names but I knew reading it that it sounded a lot like Transformers. Of course, then I found out it was and that I was up for Bumblebee. Then after a few callbacks, they ended up giving me Mirage. And I am so incredibly thankful they did. I feel right at home with Mirage and I love his role in the series. As well as his role with the fans! I’m excited to share the next two seasons with you all and see what unfolds!
Taylor: How much did you know about Transformers before landing the role of Mirage? How much do you know now?
Shawn: Oh man! Well I grew up watching some G1 and saw all the Bay movies but I didn’t dive in until taking on Mirage. Now I’m learning things everyday. And it is mainly thanks to the fans! The Transformers community has been so welcoming and supportive. I am amazed at the interaction we get to have together. I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I look forward to many more meaningful interactions over the years. But yes, my capacity for Transformers material just keeps growing haha!
Taylor: How much interaction have you had with Transformers fans since the series aired? Were you a fan yourself before you got the role?
Shawn: Oh man! A ton!! I love it more than anything. Getting to meet all the fans and hear their stories. I actually pride myself on running a really interactive Instagram account where I connect with the fans on a daily basis, run giveaways and answer questions. If you’d love to connect, hit me up @shawn_hawkins. I was a fan before but not to the extent that I am now. It’s a whole new ball game!
Taylor: What did you know about the character of Mirage from the original cartoon series? Did you ever listen to the original voice actor to get a feel for his interpretation of the character?
Shawn: Well I knew he was the elite and also walked both sides of the fence. I knew that I was diving in deep because Mirage had such a unique voice in the original cartoon and I wanted to live up to that but also bring my own spin to it. Our sound engineer for WFC brought some great ideas and feedback to the table in a way that made me feel comfortable and confident with what I was bringing to set. For me I envisioned him sounding a little younger and I think the WFC team did as well. It was like watching this spunky rich kid who thought he knew more than everyone else but also sometimes.. he did. Haha! I loved it. And from what I’ve heard so far, the fans have been happy with the interpretation. I can’t ever predict that but I just brought my heart and soul to it and I always said, “There’s a reason I’m here on this mission... maybe this is it!!”
Taylor: What kind of direction were you given for the character? How is direction given for voice acting? Is the director in the studio with you when you record?
Shawn: Yeah so the direction was great. The VO director, Phil Bache, the engineer and the rest of the team had a really great idea of what they wanted already which made my job a lot easier. So we would go over individual lines and what they meant and I would just give a couple takes of each that were my interpretation of that. And we would go back and forth until we got something we were happy with. But yes, the director was always in the room and the guidance was top notch. I felt incredibly comfortable and free to play as well which is something you really appreciate as a voice actor.
Taylor: What's next for Mirage? Do you know if you'll be reprising him in the follow-up series to Siege?
Shawn: What’s next?! Well I’ve got some things on the plate. I don’t know what I’m allowed to say but I believe you’ll be seeing more Mirage in the near future! I am so stoked for the next two seasons to air and to celebrate with the fans. Other than that I’ve got a few smaller projects in the works and I’m also launching a Youtube channel for the Transformers fans and community. I’m incredibly excited to share that with you all. Be sure to check me out on Instagram @shawn_hawkins for when that drops and more cool Mirage stuff!
Taylor: What's next for you professionally?
Shawn: Professionally, I’m going to take a nice vacation haha. We have planned to go visit some family in Sedona Arizona here in October to just relax and reconnect. I keep myself pretty busy all the time so remembering to relax is important for me. But lots of cool things. I’m working on that Youtube channel and I also oversee a couple small businesses as well as audition regularly here in LA. There are a few films and shows on the horizon so I will have to keep you all posted! Thank you guys so much for having me and keep up the awesome work you’re doing at Seibertron! Such a pleasure to chat with you and connect with the fans.
And as for keeping connected with fans, Shawn has some exciting news for you, Seibertronians!
We wanted to do a special GIVEAWAY with everyone who keeps up with Seibertron. I will be giving away a signed Mirage figure from the WFC Netflix series to one lucky winner. If you’d like a shot at winning this you just have to follow Seiberton (Instagram @seibertroncom) and go over and give a follow to @shawn_hawkins. After you follow me, shoot me a DM with the word SEIBERTRON! So stoked to get to meet you guys and good luck with the giveaway! We will run this for two weeks from the date of posting. Much love to you all and thanks for letting me be a part of your world! )
Many thanks to Shawn for your time and talent, and willingness to share with us some fun insights into the world of a Transformers voice actor!
The Netflix Transformers War for Cybertron Siege series is being well recieved by many fans and critics but you may be curious as to what some of the most prominant Optimus Prime voice actors had to say about it.
Firstly we have Garry Chalk, who was the voice of Optimus Primal in Beast wars and the voice of Optimus Prime in the Unicron Trilogy. Here is what he stated on Facebook:
"Ok I watched the first episode of the new Transformers on Netflix .....um...
Everyone tries to sound like a tough guy and as a result they all have the same pace and delivery. Visually it's pretty good but I am sorry the voices were kind of low energy."
And then we have Peter Cullen who was asked how he felt about other people doing Optimus Prime back in March (when conventions were still a thing that happened). He specifically mentions the Netflix series when mentioning that it hurts that he isn't the one doing Optimus Prime and that it is wrong for the production to be using non union talent in order to cut costs. You can tell he cares deeply for the character he voices and his legacy. Now, while it may seem like he is speaking ill of other voice actors or of the idea of others being Prime, his emotional responses are really towards the producers who are using cost cutting tactics that may hurt actors' wellfare in general. Frank Welker, the voice of G1 Megatron, also shares how wrong he feels it is for others to be hired when the known voice actors are available and willing to work.
We have word of a story in Newsweek magazine regarding one of the more interesting lines in all of Transformerdom, BotBots! The article touches briefly on the origin of Transformers brand as a whole, but mostly describes how the Transformers BotBots line from Hasbro came to be - what the inspiration was, and how the design team, led by Senior Design Director Marcelino Paulino,comes up with the figures, and the backstory. Also interviewed is Senior Director of Global Brand Marketing Ben Montano
The idea of BotBots and how they came to be stemmed from a meeting in the office of Senior Director of Global Brand Marketing Ben Montano. Talking with his team of designers, [Paulino] posed a simple question: "how do we create everyday objects that have more than meets the eye feel and what would it look like?"
Montano, in particular, is also quite a fan of the silly nature of the BotBots line.
"We wanted to keep the property a little bit loose, Paulino's team really brought what an apple or a sneaker brought to life would be," Montano said. "The seriousness that is most of our storytelling. just felt like it wasn't the best place to play here."
You can read the full article by clicking here, or on either of the pictures above. It's an interesting look into a line that doesn't get a ton of attention, but surely has its devoted fans.
Do any of you collect this line? Have your favorites to show off he here? Feel free to do so, and discuss the article below!
Over at the Hollywood Soapbox, the Soapbox crew got the chance to conduct an interview with the creative team for the upcoming Transformers / My Little Pony crossover event, which will run for 4 issues and, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, was set to come out next month. The creative team included in this round of interviews includes writers Ian Flynn and Sam Maggs, as well as artist Jack Lawrence.
You can check out the full interview by following the above link, and you can also read some snippets of the interview included below. Let us know what you think and let us know how excited you are for this crossover that will hopefully soon grace our comic book shelves!
Were you skeptical at first that My Little Pony and Transformers could come together for a comic book?
IAN FLYNN: Not skeptical, more like delightfully baffled. With a little bit of work and research, they came together surprisingly easily. It’s like mixing up your toy boxes and playing with everything.
SAM MAGGS: I thought the idea was both absolutely brilliant and absolutely bonkers. I pitched on it immediately.
How difficult was it to have two artistic styles for this four-part series?
JACK LAWRENCE: I didn’t actually approach it as two artistic styles as such. It’s different characters as part of the same animated TV show like, say, Bobby interacting with Uni in the ’80s Dungeons & Dragons show. The two character types are built differently, but exist in the same world.
What do you like about Twilight Sparkle as a character?
SAM MAGGS: I think I find Twilight Sparkle relatable, personally. She loves to read and learn and can get lost in books. But over the course of the series, she’s really come out of her shell, and that’s inspiring.
What do you think is the most appealing aspect of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series for its fans?
JACK LAWRENCE: I think everything about it is appealing. The characters and world designs are just so pleasing to the eye, which draws you in, but then it’s very, very funny at times — and the stories are really good. You don’t necessarily expect ‘epic’ from My Little Pony, but that’s what you get!
Seibertron.com: Are there any pieces featured in A Visual History that were brand new to you even after all your years of deep curation and involvement with Transformers?
Jim Sorenson: Oh, absolutely. That's part of the joy of a project like this one. Much of the production artwork from Chapter 5, “The Films,” is from deep in the vaults. To my knowledge no one outside of Hasbro or Paramount has ever seen much of the material presented here.
Seibertron.com: If yes, any that stand out for any particular reason, perhaps due to their being a surprise discovery or something that has a fun story around how it was discovered?
Jim Sorenson: A couple of pieces come to mind. On page 269, we have a couple of Rescue Bots sketches that are just brimming with emotion. They really capture the feel of the series, and I'm delighted that we found room to include them. On page 346, there's an important piece of movie concept art called The Ice Man, by James Clyne. It's one of the first pieces that Michael Bay fell in love with and helped set the visual language for the entire film franchise. The challenge for the production staff was that it's a portrait piece, and of course films are landscape, so they had to figure out how to translate this piece to the big screen.
Seibertron.com: Are there some new items or surprises in this upcoming book that most fans haven't seen before?
Jim Sorenson: Yup! Tons. I won't give away all the surprises, but we've got the never-before-seen alternate modes for Elita-One and Orion Pax from the original series episodes The Search for Alpha Trion and War Dawn, which I'm super proud to bring to the light of day. You'll find them on page 226, in the “Animation” chapter. There's also an amazing sketch by Doug Heart, who did virtually all of the Beast Wars package art, for a 15th anniversary box set that would have included Beast Wars and G1 toys. Alas, it never came to be, but you can see the art here for the first time on page 44.
Seibertron.com: Was there a particular piece that was difficult to come across or that you hadn't seen before?
Jim Sorenson: There were several pieces that I fought hard to procure. On page 334 we've got the promo art from BotCon 1997, High Stakes, which was my very first Transformers convention. It's a gorgeous piece by Andrew Wildman, who was my very first favorite Transformers artist, with modern colors and inks by JP Bove and Stephen Baskerville. There's also a couple of images on pages 106-107 featuring the Siege Starscream vehicle and robot artwork that was a very late addition that I advocated passionately for, because I'd realized we were a little light on both Siege and Starscream. Two birds and one stone later and it's an absolutely gorgeous spread. And you wouldn't believe the lengths I went to in order to procure the Pat Lee Back to the Eighties piece originally published in Wizard Magazine. (Suffice to say, a former editor had to dig it out of a semi-inactive email account.)
Seibertron.com: Of all of the artwork shown in this book, what piece stands out to you the most as your personal favorite?
Jim Sorenson: Which of my children do I love the most, you ask? Jeepers. I'm not even going to attempt to pick a single favorite. But some pieces that have great personal meaning for me are the classic Shockwave cover to Marvel #5, my first comic book EVER, on page 127, a two-page spread of every Gobots character ever in Cybertronian bodies on 294-295 that I commissioned when I was working with the fan club, and a series of Transformers homages to classic comic covers on pages 208-209 headlined by a Liefeld-on-Liefeld recreation of the cover to New Mutants #87 he did for the Dark Cybertron storyline.
Questions pertaining to the Transformers franchise:
Seibertron.com: Since the scale charts shown in The Complete Ark do not address it, how large do you think the individual Scramble City style combiner characters are in relation to other established characters? Are the individual limbs similar in size to the ‘84 cars? Are the torso characters Optimus Prime and Megatron sized? Would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this debate!
Jim Sorenson: This feels like a question that would require research to answer well. WITHOUT having done said research, my gut is that guys like Motormaster are as big as a large Autobot car (think Ironhide Trailbreaker, five meters according to the internal scale guides) and that limbs are probably closer to regular car height, about four meters. But the real answer is that these guys are whatever size the plot required.
Seibertron.com: What was it like to come up with fiction for the TFCC (Transformers Collectors Club) characters? Is there any story that stands out to you as a favorite, or that you're particularly proud of?
Jim Sorenson: Incredibly satisfying. There's something magical about starting with a blank page and building up the robot zombie apocalypse 500 pages later. I think the last two Beast Wars Uprising stories, Derailment (a 179-page novel!) and The Inexorable March, stack up favorably to any other Transformers fiction you might care to read.
Seibertron.com: What's your favorite aspect of the franchise?
Jim Sorenson: The community it has generated. I've got friends on all four corners of the globe, and I'd never have met most of them if not for the incredible franchise that is The Transformers.
Seibertron.com: Transformers fans miss their time with Jim Sorenson at past BotCons! Will you be signing books anywhere in the future or when can fans get some time with you?
Jim Sorenson: I try to keep my dance card full, but I've got no specific plans I can announce yet. This year I did TFCon in Burbank, NYCC in Manhattan, Bubonicon in my hometown of Albuqurque, and TFNation in the United Kingdom. Fingers crossed I'll be able to maintain a similar schedule for 2020. But I'm easy enough to get in touch with. Facebook is pretty reliable (https://www.facebook.com/jimsorenson) and Twitter (https://www.twitter.com/jimsorenson) are two good means of reaching out. So please, don't be a stranger!
While it seems Season 3 of The Toys that Made Us may still be a bit off in the distance, we will be getting a Blu-ray release of all 8 episodes (S1 &2) in just a couple of weeks. It will be released on October first and some of the bonus content appears to be Transformers focused, as you can see below. You can preorder on Amazon.com. The Blu Ray is $26.99 USD and comes with a limited collectible in the form of the logo. We thank fellow Seibertronian O.Supreme for letting us know of this.
Here are the list of extras:
Featurette with Show Creator Brian Volk-Weiss
Barbie 80’s Marketing
More Stores That Made Us: GI Joe the Story of COBRA
More Stores That Made Us: Us Selling the Show
Jim Swearingen Extended Interview Peter Cullen Extended Interview
Todd McFarlane on LEGO
Todd McFarlane on Star Trek Hideki Yoke/Takara Tour
+9 Deleted Scenes
Click HERE or on any of the images below to head to the updated Unicron SDCC2019 gallery.
We're also giving you our interview with the Transformers Brand Team Hasbro's Senior Design Manager John Warden and Hasbro's Marketing Director Ben Montano. Our very own head Seibertronian Ryan Yzquierdo was on the scene to interview the two gentlemen in front of the Unicron prototype itself. But they don't just talk about Unicron, they also discuss the Studio Series and the recent G1 reissues. Here's some highlights from the interview.
- They go over the challenges of converting a sphere like a puzzle into the familiar devourer of worlds, and some of the logistics of the Haslab crowdfunding project.
- They also touch on the prioritization of features focusing on articulation such as in the fingers and eyes in place of electronic light up or sound features.
- They also touch on the vintage G1 reissues such as the Dino cassettes and The Sonic Iconic, everyone's favorite who raves it, Soundwave!
- They remind us that Blaster and Astrotrain are still coming down the tracks so keep your optics focused on those WalMarts Seibertronians.
- John states very seriously about listing Unicron in an official size class, name yet to be determined.
- The Studio Series is also discussed, or the lack thereof. They say they fully intend to continue with the line and wanted to debut some of their newer products but didn't want the SDCC2019 to be too busy given all the other Siege reveals let alone Unicron. They do mention wanting to wait to show the finalized Studio Series Devastator once all the individual toys are finalized and revealed. They talk about how the gestalt mode is not just tall, but deep and extremely bulky. Very much a monster! A very different type of combiner than we've seen before.
Check out the video for the full interview. It's always a pleasure to hear people who are so passionate about the brand guiding its current vision.
Thanks to a head's up from IDW's Twitter we've learned that PiexelatedGeek.com has a brief interview with IDW's Transformers Galaxies writer Tyler Bleszinski. This is broken into both a written portion excerpted below along with a supplemental five minute interview with Mr. Bleszinski.
In the video portion Tyler touches on how this story will take place recently after the Constructicons have been forged and follows them as they make choices that will shape their darker destiny. He doesn't want to spoil how Devastator comes into play, but states this will be a character quite unlike the Devastator we saw way back in the old G1 cartoon. Enjoy the interview below and click on the embedded video for a few extra cool tidbits from Tyler on the origins of his interest in the characters and the Transformers brand as a whole
Don't forget to share your thoughts in the forums and stay tuned to Seibertron for the ultimate in Transformers news!
"This September we’ll be getting a brand new anthology series from IDW – Transformers: Galaxies. The first four-part story will focus on the original combiner team, the Constructicons.
At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con we had a chance to sit down with writer Tyler Bleszinski to talk about why he wanted to write this story, why the Transformers, and specifically the Constructicons, are so important to him, and what we can expect from the series"
"After we turned off the cameras we talked with Tyler a little more; I always like the little conversations you have with people after the recording’s over, everybody’s more relaxed when they don’t have a camera in their face. Lucky for me, the backup recording was still going, so I caught a little of the conversation."
"Tyler: There’s so much to learn from seeing them in action, seeing them do what they do, even if it’s just as much as them building something. To me, that was the was the coolest thing about the Constructions. I always thought, man, they’re like these builder bots, they should really be Autobots. How did they become Decepticons? And then the cartoon…I don’t know if you followed the cartoon..
Elizabeth: It was the one with Omega Supreme, right?
Yes, the cartoon basically swept it away because Megatron had a Robosmasher that brainwashed them. I mean…really?
It takes it away from them.
There’s no choice! As much as I loved that episode because the Constructicons are featured so prominently, I always hated that aspect of it, that they didn’t make a choice to do what they did, they were forced into it. And while there’s there’s an aspect of them being forced into certain things here too, it’s choices that they make to bring them there."
"The thing I loved about the old IDW series was when they showed how Megatron became Megatron. In the cartoon the Decepticons were bad bad bad, evil evil evil, the Autobots heroic, awesome, incredible, The Best. And when I read the IDW series that featured Megatron being a miner, and then wising up to rebel against the bourgeois Autobot senate, I was like “Damn, finally somebody gets it, there should be layers here! Like Walter White or Tony Soprano, that should be Megatron!” Not like, cookie cutter villain."
When you were a kid did you dream of growing up and designing and building toys as a job? Are you an adult and that's still your dream? Hear how these kinds of dreams come true in this truly fascinating audio interview by Slate Magazine with Hasbro Senior Design Manager John Warden and his right hand bot Senior Project Engineer Lynsey Bernier. We learned of this article from our own fellow Seibertronian Megatronus.
John and Lynsey go over the entire evolution of a Transformer from concept to design to final product. They also go over many of the details of the concept and creation of the new Unicron crowdfunding project through HasLab.
If any of the behind the scenes aspects of the Transformers creation process interests you then this is easily a worth while listen. Learn why certain exceptions have to be made during the design process, how affordability is minded throughout the process, and where dreams and actuality find compromises.
Whatever you do, don't forget these key words: Man-Bear-Plane. You'll have to listen to the interview to find out what that means.
Enjoy the interview and share your thoughts with the Seibertron crew in the forums, and as always stay tune to Seibertron for the ultimate in Transformers news!
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