Hasbro Transformers Design Manager Sam Smith has continued updating his Instagram account with images of the development process of several Studio Series toys from sketches, concept art, CAD model to the final physical toy.
Mr Smith had previously shared a nice set of images focused on the Bumblebee Movie Studio Series toys (which you can fin on this news post), and this time we have images and very interesting comments and trivia of Studio Series ROTF Grindor, DOTM Dino, ROTF Jolt, Bumblebee Movie Ravage, ROTF Sideswipe and Bumblebee Movie B-127.
Enjoy all the mirrored images after the jump and don’t miss the backstory comments about each figure. Click on the discussion link below and share your impressions on the 2005 Boards!
SS-73 ROTF Revenge of the Fallen Grindor
“No Prime please no!” Did he really say that as Optimus had his hooks in his face? I don’t hear it, do you?
Ok, while I’m not finished with the Bumblebee Movie content, I do want to switch things up for a bit and talk about the primary show runner for Studio Series, the Bayverse! Love him or hate him, you have to admit, the guy is responsible for some pretty substantial leaps forward in cinematography, and CGI heavy action sequences. If you haven’t watched the behind the scene content for his TF movies, there’s a lot in them to inspire creatives!
While I did not work on the original Blackout figure, I did have the opportunity to work on his repurposed robot model by way of Grindor! It was a lot of fun rewatching the film to try and capture all the unique color elements that would help to separate it from the original Blackout release. We also got to take the opportunity to update the hands with some much needed articulation, as well as adding a ROTF specific Ravage.
Lets start with some fo the discrepancies for the character. Between TF1 and TF2, Sikorsky retired the MH-53, so when it came time to film ROTF, the CH-53E Super Stallion was called in. While sharing much of a common silhouette, the CH-53E boasted a longer length by about 10’ and feature alternative equipment off of the nose. But as this translated to Grindor from Blackout, his scale shifted massively. Blackout was supposed to be around 33’ tall, while Grindor is recorded as being almost 50’ tall!
Now I’m, not going to blush over the Blackout robot design here. I absolutely love it, but there will be a better time to talk about him in the future. In looking for visual differences to set Grindor apart, I had to go frame by frame to capture various details from the helicopter flying with extreme shadows, or briefly while dangling a tethered Saturn Astra. There was very little to go on, but with a lot of color balancing I was able to gather the general details. Frame by frame in the forest scene, we see a more rusted weathered look to the bot mode, which I tried to bring to the figure without completely blowing the deco budget.
SS-71 Dark of the Moon Dino
“On the ground, per favore! And stay there!”
Alright, lets kick the weekend off with the first poll selected pick, Dark of the Moon Dino. This was one of the first Studio Series figures that I had the opportunity to work on when I rejoined the transformers team a few years ago. In taking over various segments of the line, I took on this character at the block model stage.
This “bright red mid engine European inspired supercar” design had already been established by the prior team, and there was a lot of care taken to keep the design generic, while still being inspired. Overall it transitioned nicely into a supporting form for Dino. Theres not a whole lot we can say about the vehicle for this one do to licensing restrictions, but I’m sure if you’re google inclined you can find out enough history on the topic. Regardless it was a huge step up from the previous release back in 2011 (which was just a redeco’d Sideways)
Ittoku Kuwazu did a great job of bringing the ILM movie CAD to life. This character had a ton of personality in the film, so it was great to see that translated ta a more accurate figure model. We focused his accessories on his bladed gauntlets, but we did explore utilizing his tethered blades that he hooks into Hatchet. Maybe there will be another opportunity to incorporate them in the future.
The bot mode does suffer from a bit of a backpack due to the vehicle mode /scale /and prince point. There is such a slender fragmented torso to the bot mode, that it wouldn’t have been possible to utilize the vehicle panels to complete it. I do think that the CAD details are able to shine via the chest and more notably in the face and feet.
Paint wise, I chose to keep his exposed mechanical details in a darker gun metal shade of gray, along with the intricacies of the face. I found it to compliment the red of the bot mode vs the stark contrast of using black and bright silvers.
Overall, I think he’s a lot of fun to stack up against a legion of dreads, and features the articulation to support some pretty wild poses.
SS-75 Revenge of the Fallen Jolt
Over a decade later, we finally get a good look at Jolt by way of an all new figure. I was thrilled that we were able to revisit this bot form and deliver his onscreen head for the first time.
Jolt, although having a very minimal role In the film, played a large part in awakening of Optimus Prime, and the fusing of Jetfire in the final Egypt battle. Jolt includes his tethered energy whips which can be swapped into his hands to help recreate his brief but iconic onscreen moment.
Jolts vehicle mode was based on a 2009 Chevorlet Volt concept car, which featured some interesting design details, including massive 5 spoke wheels with multi piece faux brake rotors (seriously there are no calipers) behind them and an electric blue paint that never made it into the production launch model.
Partnering with Kunihiro Takashi, we found various ways to incorporate the clear paneling though out the bot mode. I think the most successful uses of this were the thigh and lower torso panels which have intricate tech detail sculpted into the back side of them.
At the deco stage, I chose to darken the tint on the clear plastic in order to maintain the illusion of the swooping glass windshield roof and rear windscreen from the concept car. If there was an opportunity to add more paint to this figure, I would have liked for the tech detail on back of the clear panels to have received some secondary color accents, as well as getting some of the red and yellow cabling accent details on the upper chest.
I know there are some fan theories that Jolts head shows up in AOE as scrap remains, but there are a lot of the details that don’t align to character model. What do you think, is Jolt secretly alive? Or did he meet his demise after Revenge of the Fallen.
SS Core Bumblebee Movie Ravage
“Meow? Roar? … BIG CAT NOISE!”
Alright, so we talked Soundwave, we’ve talked core, so let’s get down in the details of Ravage!
This character pairing was locked in from the beginning. Once we knew that we were going to take on the the Bumblebee Movie figures, and that we would be introducing the core scale to Studio Series, Ravage was a no brainer as an assortment debut.
One of the few Cybertronian character to have an alt mode designed for the film (a literal block) Ravage gave us a glimpse into just how loyal this opening scene would be to the original toy. Press Soundwave’s eject button to deploy his minion into battle!
This figure was a lot of fun to design. Working along side Ittoku Kuwazu as the same time that we worked on Soundwave, these characters needed to be developed in tandem in order to ensure that the cavity in Soundwave’s chest was sized properly to fit Ravage.
Ittoku had the brilliant idea to include a missile pod for Ravage, that could be stowed into the shoulder cannon of Soundwave. This is to be reminiscent of the original G1 toy, and it’s an awesome incentive to link the two together once you’ve added both of them to your collection.
Getting the jaw to finally articulate while adhering to tooling challenges of ensuring that we didn’t run into a thin steel issue with the teeth almost didn’t pan out. When the tools are cut for ABS parts, there are minimum wall thickness for both the plastic and the steel to ensure that both can survive large capacity manufacturing runs. This is done to avoid short shot and tooling deformations. In the end, with some clever mold layouts and part draft, we got to a plan that would satisfy our production standards.
Deco wise, I think we were able to cover off on all the main details. What was nice about this guy was that all of the paint operations could be dedicated to the beast more, since the alt mode didn’t utilize any unique applications.
What are your thoughts on this theatrical Ravage? Do you prefer this design, or the Ravage from Revenge of the Fallen?
SS-78 Revenge of the Fallen Sideswipe
“Damn, I’m good”
What an awesome introduction to an all new bot form hidden inside a concept debut corvette that roller blades, and uses his doors to sever Sideways in half. Without a doubt, these Autobots showed up in full swing, and certainly made the deceptions sweat a bit without Megatron at the helm. It was almost mirrored years later by the Autobots being hunted at the beginning of TF4. With such an epic entrance into the live action universe, we are long overdue for getting into the details of SS ROTF Sideswipe.
First off, we need to talk about this vehicle mode. The 2009 Corvette Stingray concept was such an incredible heritage design, that was beautifully brought to life for the 7th generation Corvette (Crosshairs era). This hard top version of the concept car was such a perfect inclusion for the film and helped to keep that muscle car nostalgia alive after seeing Bumblebee’s Camaro concept in the first film.
I was glad to see that this character was part of the line plan when I joined the team, as it was long over due for the studio series, and was my preferred design of the Stingray concept. This figure was established as a partial, but it still received a pretty sizable amount of tooling modification to satisfy to screen used vehicle.
Yuki Hisashi did a phenomenal job of maximizing the tooling efficiencies for this character to try and gather all the sculptural differences between the two vehicles. In the end, I think the only details that we needed to sacrifice were the daytime running lights on top of the fenders. Sadly we couldn’t work entire new front fenders into the cost as it would have required an entirely additional mold. Overall, I think the vehicle was still very successful and frankly prefer the look with out the lights on top, its one area in which I feel the convertible succeeded to improve.
I am not personally a huge fan of molded silver, and feel that it is often wasted when an entire vehicle is being painted silver. It tends to look very dull, almost translucent, and to be honest, I don’t think it is a color that I have ever molded a part in on transformers. I really saw the robot mech details as being a darker gun metal metallic, with the bright silver paneling of the vehicle overlayed. This became a nice point of differentiation from the original SS release, and I was pretty happy with the end result. Hopefully I am not the minority with this application.
Which version of Sideswipe do you prefer? ROTF or DOTM? Do you prefer the darker color palette to the bot, or did we ruin the look?
SS-70 Bumblebee Movie B-127
“Sorry I’m late, hit a little traffic.”
Bumblebee B127 is a redeco of the existing SS Cliffjumper figure, which is an extensive retool of SS Offroad Bumblebee. This figure utilizes the alt head from the Bumblebee Jeep mold to deliver the battlemask portrait. Odly enough, the combination of this body, and this head only appears for a brief moment as Bumblebee faces off with Agent Burns for the first time, before rescanning and fleeing the scene. I literally had to scrub through the film frame by frame to find a brief moment in which the mask is down with the Cybertronian chest plate. I think the Buzzworthy redeco is a more accurate depiction of how this character is presented in the film.
There isn’t a whole lot to say about the design of this figure, as it’s selection and tooling were all preexisting, but what this figure does do is label a milestone for the paint decoration process on Studio Series.
Back in 2020 right after the Pandemic began, Evan and I were transitioned over to support the Transformers design team, and help out with various segments including Studio Series. This was my first venture back into transformers product since I started at Hasbro over a decade ago, and I was eager to implement some process improvements that I had been utilizing on other teams.
The previously existing process for generating deco utilized photoshop painting over gray model photographs, which was a very time consuming process, and required a repeat procedure for every image that was created. This often involved trying to accomplish the deco model in as few images as possible (often 3/4 view for efficiency).
I got to work on a procedure that would take advantage of the 3D toy data that was available at the time we would be starting deco, which would enable us to separate the models into individual parts, breaking them out by molded color and material, and allowing those selections to take place across all of the views simultaneously. The end result was an overabundance of color information being able to be shared with a much quicker delivery.
B-127 marks the first character I took on in rejoining the team, as well as the first character to implement this operation. It has since grown to a third variation that I started to implement with the BB cybertronian characters, which I will share more about in a future post.
Overall, I think the vehicle design for the film is such an awesome adaptation for a cybertronian bumblebee alt mode. The execution in delivering this vehicle as a SS deluxe unfortunately was drastically limited by being a partial tooled figure. I think the vehicle sculpt came out fantastic, but falls short in transformation.
What are your thoughts on B127? Is he part of your current collection? Do you prefer this or the Buzz-worthy variant?