Courtesy of a great team work of our 2005 Boards members Cheem The Rup and opoptimus, we can share for you a proper translation of the MP-44 Optimus Prime Ver. 3.0 Designer Team Interview from the new Transformers Generations Book 2019.
A Japanese-to-Chinese translation of this interview surfaced on Baidu, and our very own Cheem The Rup shared it in our forums with a fast Google translation. A few hours later, 2005 Boards user opoptimus was kind to translate all the interview from Chinese to English for all of us. The interview cover some interesting facts and trivia about the process design of the new MP-44 Optimus Prime mold:
- Planning for this Masterpiece started while back on December, 2016.
- How they worked the G1 cartoon proportions in both modes.
- Innovation in design and articulation.
- Trivia about all the accessories included.
But we don’t want to spoil anything else, so we suggest you to read the full interview translation after the jump and then join to the ongoing discussion on the 2005 Boards!
1: When did the project planning start?
We normally start planning for an MP project a long time in advance, this was started from back in December 2016. At that time we still thought MP10 (Convoy 2.0) was the best/definitive OP, but looking at the time line from 1.0 to 2.0, a 3.0 would be on the table sooner of later, so we started planning real early.
2: Where did you start？
The first thought was “to surpass OP 2.0”, but we couldn’t quite imagine exactly what counts as “surpass” at the beginning. We thought of areas of improvement, for example a more accurate mouth plate, better articulation etc. Also the comparability with MP 36. we wanted to do a cartoon accurate Optimus just like MP 36 Megatron. So we drew up an Optimus with ideal proportions then started to think about the mechanism within,
3: It’d be difficult to recreate a cartoon accurate Optimus?
For example the truck wind shield and the ‘bot mode chest. The angle and height-width ratio are both different. In the past we would find a middle ground between truck and bot then achieve a balanced look by detail design. But this time around, we really wanted to recreate this difference in physical form. Although MP 10 has quite an involved transformation, the parts placement actually follows the G1 toy. But in order to create the definitive Optimus, we were willing to change it up this time around. If it couldn’t surpass OP 2.0 this project would be pointless.
4: Proportions have evolved too!
From past experience designing Optimus, the balance in the cab and back section is very tricky. First it’s the size of ‘bot mode chest; it’d be too wide to be toon accurate if using the truck wind shield directly. Also the trailer hitch section needs to be thin in order for the trailer to sit at a proper height, but on the other hand Optimus’ legs are long and thick in the cartoon so kind of mass shift between modes, it’s very difficult to achieve a balance.
5： How did you solve this?
We had a flash of genius to move the mass as solution, so that in ‘bot mode the volume in the legs is increased and volume in the chest decreased. So we came up with the transformation to move some of mass on the side of the cab to the lower half of ‘bot mode. We used to have to put a lot of effort into concealing the arms seamlessly into the cab, with this design it’s automatically solved as well.
6: What an amazing idea!
But here comes the color problem: the upper body (cab) is red and the lower body is blue. So we had to hide the red surface within the legs, with the rear tires too.
7: The tires have finally disappeared
The rear tires are narrow and rotate to conceal inside the legs. We felt this is a must.
8: Another evolution in design is a clean and flat waist.
Finally able to make the waist flat (LOL). Initially we though of the same mechanism as Megatron. Then we wanted to achieve better articulation without breaking up the sculpt, so this time the waist doesn’t have the articulated front skirt pieces but has an automatic mechanism where if the thighs move up the skirts retract. And we made them pop back up automatically as well.
9: The double knee joint gives off an action figure impression
This is a modern construction we only started to pay attention to recently. The friction resistance in the the two joints is different, so only when the first joint is bent to a certain degree then would the second joint engage. So that in normal posing only one joint is engaged to keep the body proportions. Because MP 36 has incredible articulation, this Optimus definitely needs to be able to match up with that.
10: The trailer has several new gimmicks, a lot more play value
We thought if the trailer isn’t re-made properly, it wouldn’t be called Optimus 3.0, so we can’t have a similar trailer to MP 10’s. So we thought about what gimmicks hadn’t been done before. For example the mobile artillery in “Fire in the Sky”. We thought it could be formed from the battle station with wheels added.
11: Using Roller to drag the artillery; seems like a very Takara-esque Sci-Fi design
Yeah we wanted to include this kind of Takara-esque Sci-Fi gimmick similar to Diaclone. The figures included have magnets on the bottom of their feet so they can stand on the deck etc. Although it’s not an official way to play, you can have this interact with the Diaclone figures as well. This sort of product cross over play pattern is something we’d love to see.
12: There are two styles of head sculpt..lots of accessories!
Because there’s two drawing styles in the G1 cartoon so we made two head sculpts. And the head is removable so that scene from “City of Steel” where Bumblebee is holding Prime’s detached head can be recreated.
13: I almost forgot there’s that episode where Prime had a jet pack…
Yup he sure did.
14: What’s with Starscream’s head and the intakes
To recreate that certain scene lol.
15: So technically it’s not Prime
Yep, so yeah these can’t be stored inside the trailer (does it sound like an excuse? lol)
16: Which part to design has most effort gone into?
The trailer. Although the cab is always more important and the trailer just kinda needs to be a square box, its thickness is quite hard to get right. Making it too thick would effect the overall height, so it took several tries to get to where we are.
17: Something not in the cartoon?
We’ve made slight changes to the toes and added bumper-like details so they look more realistic.
18: Would this product be the benchmark for future releases just like MP 10 did before?
MP 10 already had the design philosophy of “recreating the cartoon”. In a sense we finally arrived at a time where we can face the origin of Transformers, where staying true to that source material without modifying or compromising can be viewed as a good thing.
19: Now that the project is finally done and dusted, how do you feel?
Feel like “we’ve done everything we could”. This is Optimus Prime after all, so we put in our heart and soul. At the same time even if we overdid it, Prime would forgive us (LOL). After MP44, the MP benchmark might have been raised again!