Wing Saber vs. Mega-Dinobot: A Lesson

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M Sipher

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Nov 12, 2004, 8:31:42 PM11/12/04
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Wow, today was an expensive day. I found Wing Saber, Mega-Dinobot and
Beachcomber by stopping in a Wal*Mart mainly to kill time before the bank
opened (one of those rare days where I'm up before noon), which was later
followed by Omega Sentinel (on sale at another Wal*Mart) and the SWAT pack,
which makes my pants tight.

(Also grabbed the Joe TRU Cobra Ninja set... I hate Storm Shadow, but the
Red Ninjas are neat and the Vypra twins have GREAT deco, as well as a few
tools and things for kitbashing purposes.)

But let's talk about Wing Saber and Mega-Dinobot. I find it very interesting
that both of these toys came out in the same wave.

Because both are prime examples as to why neither Takara or Hasbro should be
allowed to make Transformers without extensively working with the other
company on them.

Wing Saber. I grant you he is beautiful. He's visually VERY impressive, with
lots of sculpting detail. But... I'm no posability stickler, but in this day
and age... I expect a little bit more than the sum total of a robot's
posabilbity to be "45-degree elbow bend and wrist swivels." I mean, at least
Overload could aim weapons at targets and do a little kicky-motion. (And was
packing massive heat and could pack even more thanks to rampant PX ports.)
He might as well not even HAVE the elbow joints, frankly. Add to this the
single least aerodynamic flight mode in TF history, which is a pretty low
bar. He's a lump in both modes, plain and simple. And why don't those
removable missile launchers have pegs so WS or other guys can hold them? He
was designed to look nice and be Prime armor... and that seems to be about
it. Great engineering, bad design.

Meanwhile, we have Grimlock and Swoop. To start with, they're a lot like
E-Downshift in that once you get past the OH MY GOD ITS A G! CHARACTER
DOOD... you're not left with a whole lot. No accessories, no missile
launchers. Posabilbity is okay, and turning into a pair of dinos counts for
a fair bit. But their sculpting leaves a lot to be desired. There are far
too many flat boring panels. Grimlock's fists are ill-defined lumps, and
both their noggins are way too smooth and rounded. Swoop's arms pop off way
too easy, which I suppose beats "breaks", while his beast-head sticks out of
his chest far too far and has a giantic hole in his beast mode neck. The
Mega-Dinobot mode? Two words: "Don't bother". It's barely held together by a
clip and forcing a square peg into a slot so it kinda sorta holds together,
and it's amazingly top-heavy and awkward looking, with another bad head
sculpt. It's not a bad design... but the engineering is lacking, and it
really needed some Takara detail-guy work done to it. Great design, bad
engineering.

Which pretty much sums up what I've noticed about both companies'
shortcomings when it comes to TFs over the years. Takara is EXCELLENT in
engineering and robot-sculpting... but their designs are odd and seem to
lack "editing", someone who steps back and looks at the toy as a whole and
goes "does this really make it fun? Does this work as a whole?". While
Hasbro seems a lot better at the "fun" aspect, the overall design... but
when it comes down to the techy details and delicate workings to get all
those moving parts moving as they should... they don't got it.

As such, I'm all for never letting either company make a TF "by themselves"
ever again.


M "Mega-Dinobot Just Sorta Edges Out Wing Saber, If Only Due To Altmodes"
Sipher
--
King Weasel Productions
Home of the productions of King Weasel!
Original stuff, Transformers, MegaMan/RockMan and more crap!
http://www.fortunecity.com/tatooine/simak/109/


Ethan Hammond

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Nov 13, 2004, 8:03:04 AM11/13/04
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How much do the Dinobots cost?

--
All Purpose Cultural Randomness
http://www.angelfire.com/tx/apcr/index.html


ShingoEX

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Nov 13, 2004, 9:35:29 AM11/13/04
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On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 13:03:04 GMT, "Ethan Hammond"
<esha...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

>How much do the Dinobots cost?

I believe they're $19.99 (mine were a bit higher since I ordered them
from BBTS on a short-term pre-order). You're essentially getting 2
deluxe figures in a pack.

Steve-o Stonebraker

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Nov 13, 2004, 11:35:17 AM11/13/04
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On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 01:31:42 GMT, M Sipher wrote:
> Because both are prime examples as to why neither Takara or Hasbro should be
> allowed to make Transformers without extensively working with the other
> company on them.

That's sort of an interesting point, but I have a question: What is the
source of your (apparent) into that Wing Saber had no Hasbro involvement?
I hadn't heard that one before. I *had* heard about the Dinobots,
although I don't recall the source of that one... Could you restate both?

--Steve-o
--
Steve Stonebraker | http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~sstoneb/
sst...@yahoo.com | Transformers, astrophysics, comics, games, cartoons.

M Sipher

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Nov 13, 2004, 1:05:56 PM11/13/04
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"Steve-o Stonebraker" <sst...@fox.mps.ohio-state.edu> wrote in message
news:slrncpcdu5....@fox.mps.ohio-state.edu...

> On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 01:31:42 GMT, M Sipher wrote:
> > Because both are prime examples as to why neither Takara or Hasbro
should be
> > allowed to make Transformers without extensively working with the other
> > company on them.
>
> That's sort of an interesting point, but I have a question: What is the
> source of your (apparent) into that Wing Saber had no Hasbro involvement?
> I hadn't heard that one before. I *had* heard about the Dinobots,
> although I don't recall the source of that one... Could you restate both?

For the life of me, I can't remember. With so many info tidbits floating
around about TFs and TFs not yet released and the blur of info nuggets from
Hasbro and 3H and whatnot, things get lost.

And if ultimately, it turns out WS is a joint creation (which I severely
doubt), then, well, just substitute DX E-Prime.


M "Or Most Of BWNeo, The RiD New Molds..." Sipher

Bermuda Mohawk

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Nov 13, 2004, 7:27:26 PM11/13/04
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"M Sipher" <msi...@nc.rr.com> wrote in message
news:82sld.2882$iI2.1...@twister.southeast.rr.com...

> "Steve-o Stonebraker" <sst...@fox.mps.ohio-state.edu> wrote in message
> news:slrncpcdu5....@fox.mps.ohio-state.edu...
>
> > On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 01:31:42 GMT, M Sipher wrote:
> > > Because both are prime examples as to why neither Takara or Hasbro
> should be
> > > allowed to make Transformers without extensively working with the
other
> > > company on them.
> >
> > That's sort of an interesting point, but I have a question: What is the
> > source of your (apparent) into that Wing Saber had no Hasbro
involvement?
> > I hadn't heard that one before. I *had* heard about the Dinobots,
> > although I don't recall the source of that one... Could you restate
both?
>
> For the life of me, I can't remember. With so many info tidbits floating
> around about TFs and TFs not yet released and the blur of info nuggets
from
> Hasbro and 3H and whatnot, things get lost.
>
> And if ultimately, it turns out WS is a joint creation (which I severely
> doubt), then, well, just substitute DX E-Prime.
>
>
> M "Or Most Of BWNeo, The RiD New Molds..." Sipher

But problem is, those molds may not be fan favorites, but they have been
used multiple times cause kids have bought them over and over, which is the
whole point. They are toys that kids seem to enjoy even though fans/I
personally don't.

The Dinobot team could very well turn out to be a smash hit with kids, and
therefore mean the design is in fact a good one.

Time will tell I suppose.

--Dave

Contact me at: bermudamohawk(a)yahoo.com

"You are not what you own"


M Sipher

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Nov 13, 2004, 8:14:14 PM11/13/04
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"Bermuda Mohawk" <deada...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:ODxld.20379$Rf1....@newssvr19.news.prodigy.com...

> But problem is, those molds may not be fan favorites, but they have been
> used multiple times cause kids have bought them over and over, which is
the
> whole point. They are toys that kids seem to enjoy even though fans/I
> personally don't.

That doesn't quite explain why the originals didn't sell great in JAPAN on
their first go-through, though. The rampant recoloring has been done in
America, where Hasbro's recoloring practically every mold available to them
to ride the wave of popularity they're currently on.

> The Dinobot team could very well turn out to be a smash hit with kids, and
> therefore mean the design is in fact a good one.

Well, they're dinosaurs. That's INSTANT kid-appeal.


M "Whether Or Not They Keep Interest While Wrangling Panels Is Another
Question" Sipher

Bermuda Mohawk

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Nov 13, 2004, 10:18:47 PM11/13/04
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"M Sipher" <msi...@nc.rr.com> wrote in message
news:Gjyld.3033$iI2.1...@twister.southeast.rr.com...

> "Bermuda Mohawk" <deada...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:ODxld.20379$Rf1....@newssvr19.news.prodigy.com...
>
> > But problem is, those molds may not be fan favorites, but they have
been
> > used multiple times cause kids have bought them over and over, which is
> the
> > whole point. They are toys that kids seem to enjoy even though fans/I
> > personally don't.
>
> That doesn't quite explain why the originals didn't sell great in JAPAN on
> their first go-through, though.

Wasn't actually factoring in the Japanese market. Weird market that
is.That's the place where the toy company thought the ArmaEnerverse was a
"great sci-fi story", and well the kids......the kids didn't seem to watch
it much at first, and now don't seem to watch it near at all. Possibly best
engineered toys to date, but worst TF series ever on t.v., go figure.

Steve-o Stonebraker

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Nov 14, 2004, 1:22:34 AM11/14/04
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On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 18:05:56 GMT, M Sipher wrote:
>> That's sort of an interesting point, but I have a question: What is the
>> source of your (apparent) into that Wing Saber had no Hasbro involvement?
>
> For the life of me, I can't remember. With so many info tidbits floating
> around about TFs and TFs not yet released and the blur of info nuggets from
> Hasbro and 3H and whatnot, things get lost.

I don't mean to treat you like Neale or anything, but, if you can't
remember where a little-known factoid comes from, you should probably
couch your words with a "I remember hearing..." or something.

> And if ultimately, it turns out WS is a joint creation (which I severely
> doubt), then, well, just substitute DX E-Prime.

I think DX E-Prime is a great toy, though, so that doesn't seem like a
good example to me... I like him way better than full-size Prime. I felt
the same way about the Armada ones.

> M "Or Most Of BWNeo, The RiD New Molds..." Sipher

Eh. I haven't seen a Wing Saber yet, but my understanding is that he's
Victory-ish, which is a far cry from Neo-ish. It could still fit your
description of "Takara alone makes pretty, but unplayable toys" / "Hasbro
alone makes playable toys, but they are flawed in execution" dichotomy,
but... I dunno. Seems a little like you're trying to fit the examples
into a predetermined pattern instead of the other way around. I think
Takara has made plenty of great TFs on their own, with no Hasbro
involvement. Not all of them, sure, but I think their solo efforts have
been successful (to my criteria of a playable/fun toy) almost as often as
the joint efforts are. There haven't been enough Hasbro-only TFs for me
to really form an opinion on that side of the issue.

M Sipher

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Nov 14, 2004, 3:20:16 AM11/14/04
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"Steve-o Stonebraker" <sst...@fox.mps.ohio-state.edu> wrote in message
news:slrncpduda....@fox.mps.ohio-state.edu...

> On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 18:05:56 GMT, M Sipher wrote:
> >> That's sort of an interesting point, but I have a question: What is the
> >> source of your (apparent) into that Wing Saber had no Hasbro
involvement?
> >
> > For the life of me, I can't remember. With so many info tidbits floating
> > around about TFs and TFs not yet released and the blur of info nuggets
from
> > Hasbro and 3H and whatnot, things get lost.
>
> I don't mean to treat you like Neale or anything, but, if you can't
> remember where a little-known factoid comes from, you should probably
> couch your words with a "I remember hearing..." or something.

Inquiries are being made to those who know this stuff.

> > And if ultimately, it turns out WS is a joint creation (which I severely
> > doubt), then, well, just substitute DX E-Prime.
>
> I think DX E-Prime is a great toy, though, so that doesn't seem like a
> good example to me... I like him way better than full-size Prime. I felt
> the same way about the Armada ones.

You're odd.

DX E-Prime is an absolutely lousy design. Had he been bigger, had they
altered the proportions to better accomodate the PXing gimmick, it might
have been vaguely pulled off decently. As it is, he's just a way-too-small
version of a much better, larger toy, with a gimmick that the body was never
designed to accomodate. His PX modes just SUCK, plain and simple.

And DX-E-Prime was just... kinda dull. He works better as TFU Magnus,
really.

> > M "Or Most Of BWNeo, The RiD New Molds..." Sipher
>
> Eh. I haven't seen a Wing Saber yet, but my understanding is that he's
> Victory-ish, which is a far cry from Neo-ish. It could still fit your
> description of "Takara alone makes pretty, but unplayable toys" / "Hasbro
> alone makes playable toys, but they are flawed in execution" dichotomy,
> but... I dunno. Seems a little like you're trying to fit the examples
> into a predetermined pattern instead of the other way around.

No, I've come to this conclusion after quite a few years of playing with the
things. It's something I've noticed for a while now, only with WS/MD coming
out right next to each other, there's never been a better and more readily
apparent comparison.

I've noticed in more Takara-only molds long before Wing Saber the same
GENERAL TONE of problems I have with WS. Little things that you look at and
realize they fit engineering-wise, when focused on individual details, they
work as individual details... but step back and look at the whole, and
there's problems. They're not always crippling problems, but they do make me
scratch my head and wonder "why didn't they try it another way?" Like... the
toys are made under a microscope, but never looked at actual size. Or played
with.

(Or, as Avias put it in chat one night, it's like there's not an editor
there to look at the whole and say "trim this bit, fix this part, the whole
will be better without it.")

The BrainMaster gimmick, which only really works well with Star Saber
because he's huge. Road Ceasar's robot mode period. The funky proportions of
various SixWing Micros. SixTurbo's useless arms. Road Police & Neo-Wheel's
pointlessly long hood/windshield capes. Glide and other Six-Micros'
chicken-leg stances. And the needless complexity of the Neo & RiD orignial
molds.

Not that various joint efforts haven't suffered from various "overall
design" problems. But I've noticed it in a much larger percentage of the
Takara-original toys.

> There haven't been enough Hasbro-only TFs for me
> to really form an opinion on that side of the issue.

There have been considerably less, yes, but what we have reportedly as
Hasbro-only seems to form a pattern. G2 Power Masters, Animorphs, and now
Mega-Dinobot.


M "Good Premises, Lousy Execution" Sipher

Ethan Hammond

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Nov 14, 2004, 8:52:28 AM11/14/04
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"ShingoEX" <ldo...@satx.rr.com> wrote in message

>
> >How much do the Dinobots cost?
>
> I believe they're $19.99 (mine were a bit higher since I ordered them
> from BBTS on a short-term pre-order). You're essentially getting 2
> deluxe figures in a pack.

You did pay $35 for them. $20 isn't bad that is the Alternators
price point and therefore the bestest price point evah!!!!

Derik Smith

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Nov 14, 2004, 10:42:53 AM11/14/04
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>> M "Or Most Of BWNeo, The RiD New Molds..." Sipher
>
>But problem is, those molds may not be fan favorites, but they have been
>used multiple times cause kids have bought them over and over, which is the
>whole point. They are toys that kids seem to enjoy even though fans/I
>personally don't.

They're also deluxes, which appears to be Hasbro's favored price point for
recolors. And,a s someone else said- dinosaurs.

I want Hasbro to deluge us with Break recolors, damn it.

-Derik
"I'm torn between being pissed off at you and being in
complete awe of you." - Zobovor
"I'm a sucker for G1 homages." - The Wombat King
I want the weeks of endless recounts and litigation I
was promised.

ShingoEX

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Nov 14, 2004, 12:24:02 PM11/14/04
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On Sun, 14 Nov 2004 13:52:28 GMT, "Ethan Hammond"
<esha...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

>"ShingoEX" <ldo...@satx.rr.com> wrote in message
>>
>> >How much do the Dinobots cost?
>>
>> I believe they're $19.99 (mine were a bit higher since I ordered them
>> from BBTS on a short-term pre-order). You're essentially getting 2
>> deluxe figures in a pack.
>
>You did pay $35 for them. $20 isn't bad that is the Alternators
>price point and therefore the bestest price point evah!!!!

Actually, BBTS's price was $27.99 for the Dinos on that preorder.

Desperado00

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Nov 14, 2004, 2:22:57 PM11/14/04
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> I want Hasbro to deluge us with Break recolors, damn it.

I'd love to see Hasbro bring the entire line of BWNeo figures out here, and pad
it out with completely new molds that fit in aesthetically and
transformation-wise with the rest of the line.

Yeah, I'm dreaming, but I believe in dreaming big.
-----

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

An egotist is a self-made man who worships his creator.

If we aren't meant to eat animals, then why are they made of meat?

No horse is too dead to beat.

M Sipher

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Nov 14, 2004, 3:35:16 PM11/14/04
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"Desperado00" <despe...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20041114142257...@mb-m25.aol.com...

> > I want Hasbro to deluge us with Break recolors, damn it.
>
> I'd love to see Hasbro bring the entire line of BWNeo figures out here,
and pad
> it out with completely new molds that fit in aesthetically and
> transformation-wise with the rest of the line.

EYUW.


M "Please, No" Sipher

Kil - Michael McCarthy

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Nov 14, 2004, 3:50:01 PM11/14/04
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Derik wrote...

> I want Hasbro to deluge us with Break recolors, damn it.

What if they choose to break us with Deluge recolors instead?

-Kil
----
Michael "Kil" McCarthy
The Kil File: http://hometown.aol.com/michaelmcc79/index.html
"Y'know, evil comes in many forms, be it a man-eating cow or Joseph Stalin. But
you can't let the package hide the pudding. Evil is just plain bad!" -The Tick

Onslaught Six

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Nov 14, 2004, 3:59:38 PM11/14/04
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"M Sipher" <msi...@nc.rr.com> wrote in message news:<4zEld.387$YP3.1...@twister.southeast.rr.com>...

> There have been considerably less, yes, but what we have reportedly as
> Hasbro-only seems to form a pattern. G2 Power Masters, Animorphs, and now
> Mega-Dinobot.

...and the Cyberjets, MW Flipchangers, G2 Dreadwing, and a mess of other guys...

David Willis

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Nov 14, 2004, 4:23:11 PM11/14/04
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"M Sipher" <msi...@nc.rr.com> wrote in message
news:8kPld.3100$iI2.1...@twister.southeast.rr.com...

> "Desperado00" <despe...@aol.com> wrote in message
> news:20041114142257...@mb-m25.aol.com...
>
>> > I want Hasbro to deluge us with Break recolors, damn it.
>>
>> I'd love to see Hasbro bring the entire line of BWNeo figures out here,
> and pad
>> it out with completely new molds that fit in aesthetically and
>> transformation-wise with the rest of the line.
>
> EYUW.
>
>
> M "Please, No" Sipher

Seconded. I would cry.

--David
www.itswalky.com


David Willis

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Nov 14, 2004, 4:24:02 PM11/14/04
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"Onslaught Six" <mew00...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:150f8eab.04111...@posting.google.com...

....are those really Hasbro-only? I.... don't think so...

--David
I really don't think so.
www.itswalky.com


Doug Dlin

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Nov 14, 2004, 5:14:24 PM11/14/04
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On Nov. 14, 2004, Onslaught Six wrote:

> "M Sipher" <msi...@nc.rr.com> wrote in message news:<4zEld.387$YP3.1...@twister.southeast.rr.com>...
>
>>There have been considerably less, yes, but what we have reportedly as
>>Hasbro-only seems to form a pattern. G2 Power Masters, Animorphs, and now
>>Mega-Dinobot.

And from what Ichikawa-san tells, me Takara actually did have a hand in
some of the design work for the Animorphs.

> ...and the Cyberjets, MW Flipchangers, G2 Dreadwing, and a mess of other guys...

What makes you think Takara had no involvement in the design of any of
those figures?

Doug Dlin
apcog at hotmail.com

M Sipher

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Nov 14, 2004, 5:28:47 PM11/14/04
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"Kil - Michael McCarthy" <michae...@aol.commscout1> wrote in message
news:20041114155001...@mb-m01.aol.com...

> Derik wrote...
> > I want Hasbro to deluge us with Break recolors, damn it.
>
> What if they choose to break us with Deluge recolors instead?

I can get with that.


M "I WANT That Last BiaB Set..." Sipher

Desperado00

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Nov 14, 2004, 5:51:28 PM11/14/04
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>>> > I want Hasbro to deluge us with Break recolors, damn it.
>>>
>>> I'd love to see Hasbro bring the entire line of BWNeo figures out here,
>> and pad
>>> it out with completely new molds that fit in aesthetically and
>>> transformation-wise with the rest of the line.
>>
>> EYUW.
>>
>>
>> M "Please, No" Sipher
>
>Seconded. I would cry.

Then it's settled. It is an absolute imperative that Hasbro go with my
suggestion. ;)

Steve-o Stonebraker

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Nov 14, 2004, 6:59:28 PM11/14/04
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On 14 Nov 2004 22:51:28 GMT, Desperado00 wrote:
>>> M "Please, No" Sipher
>>
>>Seconded. I would cry.
>
> Then it's settled. It is an absolute imperative that Hasbro go with my
> suggestion. ;)

Pissing off their fans *is* their primary motivation, so I guess it's
inevitable now. :)

Bermuda Mohawk

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Nov 14, 2004, 8:49:12 PM11/14/04
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"Doug Dlin" <ap...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:zc-dnd5JGqs...@texas.net...

Yeah, cause if it were not for Takara's design stafff, we would never have
had those, or even the BW line as we know it at all.

Derik Smith

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Nov 15, 2004, 3:07:26 AM11/15/04
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Walky wrote:

>>> > I want Hasbro to deluge us with Break recolors, damn it.

<xnip>


>>
>>
>> M "Please, No" Sipher
>
>Seconded. I would cry.

http://members.aol.com/regenesis0/icebreaker.jpg

You see how Hasbro has cleverly integrated their 'Spy Troops' style
accessories for added play value.

M Sipher

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Nov 15, 2004, 3:16:28 AM11/15/04
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"Derik Smith" <regen...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20041115030726...@mb-m03.aol.com...

> Walky wrote:
>
> >>> > I want Hasbro to deluge us with Break recolors, damn it.
> <xnip>
> >>
> >>
> >> M "Please, No" Sipher
> >
> >Seconded. I would cry.
>
> http://members.aol.com/regenesis0/icebreaker.jpg
>
> You see how Hasbro has cleverly integrated their 'Spy Troops' style
> accessories for added play value.

Except he's missing the huge MAXIMAL logo in beast mode.


M " http://www.itswalky.com/shortpacked/d/20030317.html " Sipher

Derik Smith

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Nov 15, 2004, 5:14:59 AM11/15/04
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>> http://members.aol.com/regenesis0/icebreaker.jpg
>>
>> You see how Hasbro has cleverly integrated their 'Spy Troops' style
>> accessories for added play value.
>
>Except he's missing the huge MAXIMAL logo in beast mode.

No, see- the Bowler hat is the disguise! He's a giant penguin, bu he puts
on the hat and wanders into town IN DISGUISE, and it's nor until Koji bumps
into him and knocks the hat off that they realise- "GASP! You're a
Decepticon!" Then Icebreaker flaps and squawks in alarm before Transforming
and trying to play it off legit.

Also, there's no need to be snippy about these things. Just for that I'm
not showing you any of my OTHER fafulous Break Digibashes. :`)

Onslaught Six

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Nov 15, 2004, 4:12:59 PM11/15/04
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Doug Dlin <ap...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<zc-dnd5JGqs...@texas.net>...

> > ...and the Cyberjets, MW Flipchangers, G2 Dreadwing, and a mess of other guys...


>
> What makes you think Takara had no involvement in the design of any of
> those figures?

What makes you think they did? :P

Doug Dlin

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Nov 15, 2004, 8:27:15 PM11/15/04
to

Well, I'd have preferred that you back up your stance before asking me
to back up mine, but all right...

Their name on the copyright/trademark stamps, the general design
aesthetics...and the fact that they were all sold as TFs in Japan at one
time or another. To date, Takara hasn't been in the habit of doing that
with products it didn't have a hand in developing.

That's my answer. Yours?

Doug Dlin

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Nov 15, 2004, 9:28:18 PM11/15/04
to
Steve-o Stonebraker wrote:

> On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 01:31:42 GMT, M Sipher wrote:
>
>>Because both are prime examples as to why neither Takara or Hasbro should be
>>allowed to make Transformers without extensively working with the other
>>company on them.
>
>

> That's sort of an interesting point, but I have a question: What is the
> source of your (apparent) into that Wing Saber had no Hasbro involvement?

> I hadn't heard that one before. I *had* heard about the Dinobots,
> although I don't recall the source of that one... Could you restate both?

Sipher had me double-check with Hirofumi Ichikawa on this one, since he
did the design art for Wing Saber. Ichikawa-san gave me a nice, LONG
response, which not only clarifies things about WS but also about the
current TF design process in general. Feel free to edit it into the FAQ
wherever you feel it's applicable, Steve-O. It'll be framed here by
commentary on Wing Saber, but I'll add extra space above and below the
general development commentary to set it apart. Some elements of the WS
commentary might still be worth working into the general commentary, though.

------------------------------------------------------------------
True, the Wing Saber toy was a Takara request, and development of it
began after Omega Supreme's. However, Hasbro did participate at a few
points in the process, so you couldn't say it was solely a Takara
product. And as with all the characters, the details of the toy
development are quite complicated. (It's not nearly as simple as the
"Hasbro = Design, Takara = Engineering" scheme often brought up among
the fans.)


This seems like a good opportunity, so let me explain about the toy
production process. (Though I should note that some points may be
insufficiently covered, as this will be limited to the scope of my
personal knowledge. Also, this is just the current procedure in which I
take part; the methods used during the middle and later periods of G1
may have been different.)

Broadly divided, toy development proceeds through steps as follows:

1. BRIEFING
Takara and Hasbro consult each other by interview, fax and e-mail on the
series' direction, distinctive gimmicks, character organization,
transformation motifs and so on.

2. CONCEPT SKETCHES
Hasbro's designers present rough images of the various characters and
gimmicks.
In most cases, Hasbro mainly suggests the alternate form design, such as
the vehicle or beast mode. Sometimes they send sketches of both robot
and vehicle modes, but the actual transformation mechanism hasn't been
considered at this point in the process. (And depending on the
character, sometimes the concepts themselves are abbreviated or
omitted.) The TF design images revealed by Hasbro or Draxhall Jump are
almost all from this stage.

3. BASIC PLANNING
The Takara designers complete the finished vision of the characters,
then set about planning the specific transformation mechanisms.
When it's Hasbro's concept, they respect it as much and endeavor to
reproduce it as closely as they can, but when this is physically
impossible, this is the point where design elements that interfere with
the transformation or gimmicks get changed. (At this stage, the
character of the vehicle and robot modes are still vague, so this is
when they decide the where the axes for hinges or joints will go or how
to handle the internal space for the gimmick(s).

Aside from all that, Takara also draws up the schematics for the
transformation process and parts organization, which are used to explain
the toy to the prototype production company.

4. FINALIZED DESIGN
And here's where I finally come in! Takara's blueprints and schematics,
Hasbro's sketch materials and so on are sent to illustrators or "mecha
designers" like us, and we draw up the design images that decide the
final outward appearance, details, character features, etc.
We draw and provide front and rear views of each mode and weapon, the
reverse views of parts where need be, and the various angle shots needed
for the work of the prototypers, TV show CG modelers, and animation
character designers.
We usually get supervision from Hasbro during this work, or even afterwards.

*I think anyone who saw the design panel for Transtech Starscream will
understand this process well, but just in case, here's a link:
http://obsequiosity.home.mchsi.com/tt/

The color image at upper left is Hasbro's concept design, while the line
art at upper right is Takara's final design. In this fashion, the
design produced by Takara is the one ultimately used, regardless of the
character.

I was in charge of seven designs for Energon (Optimus, Scorponok,
Megatron, Divebomb, Cruellock, Omega Supreme, and Wing Saber--that's in
the order they were developed), and am now in charge of several more for
Cybertron. You can see a few of my design images on ASM's web page
(www.alteredstatesmag.com).

5. PROTOTYPE MANUFACTURE
Based on Takara's blueprints and our designs, an affiliated prototype
production company establishes a full-blown blueprint and makes the
first prototype.
The prototypes covered in gray surfacer that you see in catalogs and
such are from this stage.

6. COST ANALYSIS/DIE PRODUCTION
Costs are calculated using the diagrams and prototype(s) as reference.
Depending on these calculations, a few gimmicks or movable parts that
were present in the design/prototype stage may be deleted. (Gimmicks
and parts are also sometimes omitted depending on weight limitations.)
Since the priority for TF play value goes Transformation > Gimmick >
Posability, there are even times when posability, with its low
preference level, gets deleted in the Planning phase.
Hasbro's cost range, weight restrictions and package size regulations
are extremely strict compared to Takara's, and there are times when
these place limitations on the design itself.

After these assessments are received, the revised prototype is sent to
the die factory in China, where they make a "master model," a model with
parts made of metal, and the die is shaved out using a technology called
"electrical discharge machining."

7. COLOR ASSIGNMENT
In almost all cases, Hasbro is in charge of assigning color schemes.
They coordinate colors based on the Pantone color guide on the design
images from Step 4. (However, there are also characters colored by
Takara, like Wing Saber.)

8. PRODUCTION
And then we go through the package/booklet production, molding,
assembly, and packaging work, and the toy is finally completed as a
commercial product and sent out to everyone.

And that completes this rough overview of a TF toy's journey from
development to production.


While Wing Saber is definitely primarily a Takara product, its
development also followed the above process, so I wouldn't say you could
view it as a counterpart to Mega-Dinobot. (Mega-Dinobot's development
was done entirely without Takara's involvement.)

Wing Saber's toy was developed with the most heavily stressed concepts
being, "It should combine several ways with Optimus and make him even
bigger than his first super mode."

This all had to be implemented within the framework of Hasbro's
Mega-size product package measurements and weight limitations, so the
Takara designers devoted quite a lot of trouble to it. Wing Saber's
lack of posability is all due to these limitations.

And for this project, Hasbro also added the instruction that it couldn't
be split up into separate pieces for the packaging, which was a big
constraint on the design. Takara's designers said that they could
probably have given WS's vehicle mode much better styling if not for
these conditions. Ironically, the American-market Wing Saber in
question was packaged split up into separate pieces! This sort of thing
probably happens a lot in the business world.

Also, regarding WS's lack of a hand weapon, the developer had hoped to
make the Energon Saber his main weapon, but unfortunately, his request
wasn't granted.

That's all there is to tell about Wing Saber, but there's probably
back-stories like this for all toy development.
------------------------------------------------------------------

Paul Segal

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Nov 16, 2004, 12:36:00 AM11/16/04
to
Doug Dlin wrote:
>
>Sipher had me double-check with Hirofumi Ichikawa on this one, since he
>did the design art for Wing Saber. Ichikawa-san gave me a nice, LONG
>response, which not only clarifies things about WS but also about the
>current TF design process in general.

Thanks, Doug. Ichikawa's description of the phases of TF toy development is one
of the most interesting and valuable things I've ever read on ATT.

-Paul Segal
Email: aster...@yahoo.com AIM: asterphage
http://asterphage.lunarpages.com - toy robots and cosplay photos.
Why u always hatin'?

Ethan Hammond

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Nov 16, 2004, 4:59:58 AM11/16/04
to
"ShingoEX" <ldo...@satx.rr.com> wrote in message
>
> >You did pay $35 for them. $20 isn't bad that is the Alternators
> >price point and therefore the bestest price point evah!!!!
>
> Actually, BBTS's price was $27.99 for the Dinos on that preorder.

I should have looked instead of going by my obviously faulty
memory.

Ethan Hammond

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Nov 16, 2004, 5:03:50 AM11/16/04
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"M Sipher" <msi...@nc.rr.com> wrote in message
>
> Except he's missing the huge MAXIMAL logo in beast mode.
>
> M " http://www.itswalky.com/shortpacked/d/20030317.html " Sipher

ROTFLMAO I love every single Shortpacked strip.

Ethan Hammond

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Nov 16, 2004, 5:04:58 AM11/16/04
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"Kil - Michael McCarthy" <michae...@aol.commscout1> wrote in message
>
> > I want Hasbro to deluge us with Break recolors, damn it.
>
> What if they choose to break us with Deluge recolors instead?

They will color him black and call him Nemesis Scourge Prowl.

Pyre

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Nov 16, 2004, 12:58:58 PM11/16/04
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Onslaught Six wrote:
>>>...and the Cyberjets, MW Flipchangers, G2 Dreadwing, and a mess of other guys...
>>
>>What makes you think Takara had no involvement in the design of any of
>>those figures?
>
> What makes you think they did? :P

You're dodging the issue. The fact that Takara involved them in their
own line while not including stuff like Animorphs and Mega-Dinobot says
allot as well.

--
Pyre[Rock] - pyres...@crosswinds.net
http://pyresdomain.crosswinds.net/
"I feel my world shake, like an earthquake.
Hard to see clear. Is it me, is it fear?
Madly in Anger with you. I'm madly in anger with you."

M Sipher

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Nov 16, 2004, 1:32:03 PM11/16/04
to
"Doug Dlin" <ap...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:ErqdnebOYsg...@texas.net...

> Sipher had me double-check with Hirofumi Ichikawa on this one, since he
> did the design art for Wing Saber. Ichikawa-san gave me a nice, LONG
> response, which not only clarifies things about WS but also about the
> current TF design process in general.

See, I'm very interested in this stuff. I LIKE learning about the
step-by-step that goes into TF toy design. The restrictions they're under.
The details.

> 3. BASIC PLANNING
> The Takara designers complete the finished vision of the characters,
> then set about planning the specific transformation mechanisms.
> When it's Hasbro's concept, they respect it as much and endeavor to
> reproduce it as closely as they can, but when this is physically
> impossible, this is the point where design elements that interfere with
> the transformation or gimmicks get changed. (At this stage, the
> character of the vehicle and robot modes are still vague, so this is
> when they decide the where the axes for hinges or joints will go or how
> to handle the internal space for the gimmick(s).

But do they have axes for axes?

> I was in charge of seven designs for Energon (Optimus, Scorponok,
> Megatron, Divebomb, Cruellock, Omega Supreme, and Wing Saber--that's in
> the order they were developed), and am now in charge of several more for
> Cybertron. You can see a few of my design images on ASM's web page
> (www.alteredstatesmag.com).

You know, Divebomb does not surprise me one bit. Something about him just
seems very, very Ichikawa-y.

And he's responsible for Cruellock's face? I LOVE Cruellock's big fangy
face.

And... now that I know Ichikawa was responsible for Omega Supreme, that the
head-robot looks like Omega Spreem comes as no shock whatsoever.

> 6. COST ANALYSIS/DIE PRODUCTION
> Costs are calculated using the diagrams and prototype(s) as reference.
> Depending on these calculations, a few gimmicks or movable parts that
> were present in the design/prototype stage may be deleted. (Gimmicks
> and parts are also sometimes omitted depending on weight limitations.)
> Since the priority for TF play value goes Transformation > Gimmick >
> Posability, there are even times when posability, with its low
> preference level, gets deleted in the Planning phase.

That value chart is interesting. It's also pretty much exactly what my
feelings on the toys in general are too. All the gimmickery and posability
in the world doesn't stack up to if the damn thing is no fun to transform.

I'm looking at YOU, Side Burn and Mach Kick.

> Hasbro's cost range, weight restrictions and package size regulations
> are extremely strict compared to Takara's, and there are times when
> these place limitations on the design itself.

Not surprised. We'd been talking about this in chat one night, namely about
tail-end G2 and how there were price-points all over the place and things
just didn't seem to be working out with things like that.

Frankly, set price points is a blessing.

> And that completes this rough overview of a TF toy's journey from
> development to production.

Bars and punch in the fellowship hall.

> While Wing Saber is definitely primarily a Takara product, its
> development also followed the above process, so I wouldn't say you could
> view it as a counterpart to Mega-Dinobot. (Mega-Dinobot's development
> was done entirely without Takara's involvement.)

Fair enough.

> Wing Saber's toy was developed with the most heavily stressed concepts
> being, "It should combine several ways with Optimus and make him even
> bigger than his first super mode."

I think that's where the main problem lies, to be honest. As a standalone,
he's pretty "ehn". RiD Magnus suffers from the same thing. So much work
going into making it combine with some other toy.

Where your Armada Jetfires, Overloads, Tidal Waves and Energon Omega
Supremes hold up a lot better as toys by themselves. (Hell, Omega's Prime
compatablity almost seems like an afterthought.)

> This all had to be implemented within the framework of Hasbro's
> Mega-size product package measurements and weight limitations, so the
> Takara designers devoted quite a lot of trouble to it. Wing Saber's
> lack of posability is all due to these limitations.

Huh. Hasbro got to dictate all that? On a Takara-initiated toy? Interesting.
I guess they didn't want another RiD Trains episode...

I dunno. I mean, honestly, I could care less about the legs' lack of
posability, and the head & waist don't bother me at all either, since
there's very obvious design limitations going on there. It's all the arms.

Could the elbow hinge have been put on a "track" of some sort in the forearm
so it can slide down, to at least give it 90 degrees of forward movement? I
see that there's a screw inside the right arm to keep the Spark Crystal in
place that might have restricted that... extending the groove on the top of
the forearm to the same length as it is on the underside? It's really just
his inability to point a gun in his hand straightforward that does it. I'm
trying to think of ways to do this without increasing parts count, which
probably wieghs into the shoulders' immobility.

(I've been taking apart a fair few spare Energon toys I've gotten to dye up.
There's a lot more individual pieces of platic than you'd think. And bolts
are the bane of my existance.)

> And for this project, Hasbro also added the instruction that it couldn't
> be split up into separate pieces for the packaging, which was a big
> constraint on the design.

Considering the big clear window school of packaging, unsurprising.

> Takara's designers said that they could
> probably have given WS's vehicle mode much better styling if not for
> these conditions. Ironically, the American-market Wing Saber in
> question was packaged split up into separate pieces! This sort of thing
> probably happens a lot in the business world.

It's happened to me back when I worked on computer games. One licensed game
that never happened (thank the gods) in particular was full of the company
in control saying one thing then turning right around and doing another.
That's dealing with Large Corporations.

(I hated working on that project from the start. They sent samples of the
toys that I LITERALLY had an allergic reaction to. Hives.)

... Isn't WS's vehcile mode too wide to go in a Mega box?

> Also, regarding WS's lack of a hand weapon, the developer had hoped to
> make the Energon Saber his main weapon, but unfortunately, his request
> wasn't granted.

What, as in "packed in with the toy"? That would have been wildly
appproprite, and more Mini-Cons is always a good thing... a recolor, I'm
guessing? Three tech jets packed with a tech jet, the minis becomng the
sword of the guy modeled after the guy from G1 with the big sword...

I'd have liked that a lot.

I think it's just the lack of a peg on the guns attached to his legs. I
guess they're technically not SUPPOSED to come off, and only do so for
safety purposes, but... well, they remind me very much of
Cliffjumper/Beachcomber's guns. A peg on the side opposite the screw-hole
(the side that's not pressed against the leg when swung back), I think,
would have added a lot. There's clearance for it in jet mode, too.

Maybe I'll make some.

Ah, who the hell am I kidding.

> That's all there is to tell about Wing Saber, but there's probably
> back-stories like this for all toy development.

It's been fun and a real interesting read. For a toyline as unique as TFs,
insight as to how they get made is very welcome.


M "And Now, Lunch" Sipher

Steve-o Stonebraker

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Nov 16, 2004, 9:51:15 PM11/16/04
to
On Mon, 15 Nov 2004 20:28:18 -0600, Doug Dlin wrote:
> Ichikawa-san gave me a nice, LONG response, which not only clarifies
> things about WS but also about the current TF design process in general.

Wow! That is a superb post, man. I think that's the most detailed
account of the development process I've ever seen. Thanks, Hiro! ^_^

Doug Dlin

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Nov 16, 2004, 10:29:56 PM11/16/04
to
Paul & Steve:

On Ichikawa-san's behalf, you're both quite welcome.

Sipher:

I don't know if Ichikawa-san has answers to your follow-up questions at
all, but I'm sure he's checking on the feedback to this post, and once
he muddles through all the English :-), if he does have answers, I
imagine he'll tell me when his next free moment to communicate comes around.

M Sipher

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Nov 16, 2004, 10:26:37 PM11/16/04
to
"Doug Dlin" <ap...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:NYidnTOOpcM...@texas.net...

> I don't know if Ichikawa-san has answers to your follow-up questions at
> all, but I'm sure he's checking on the feedback to this post, and once
> he muddles through all the English :-), if he does have answers, I
> imagine he'll tell me when his next free moment to communicate comes
around.

So... June, then?


M "Heheheheh" Sipher

Doug Dlin

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Nov 16, 2004, 11:18:52 PM11/16/04
to
On Nov. 16, 2004, M Sipher wrote:

> "Doug Dlin" <ap...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:NYidnTOOpcM...@texas.net...
>
>>I don't know if Ichikawa-san has answers to your follow-up questions at
>>all, but I'm sure he's checking on the feedback to this post, and once
>>he muddles through all the English :-), if he does have answers, I
>>imagine he'll tell me when his next free moment to communicate comes
>>around.
>
> So... June, then?

Optimist.

> M "Heheheheh" Sipher

Laugh it up, fuzzball...

Seriously, it'll depend on how long it takes him to parse out all the
English responses. If he understands everything right away, actually
composing his reply won't take too long. The main delay would then be
finding a break in his work, and I wouldn't expect that to be more than
4-6 weeks at his busiest. If he happens to luck into a free day, it
could even be as little as a week. That first factor, though, is the
real mystery point. Well, just have to be patient.

Thylacine 2000

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Nov 17, 2004, 2:40:33 PM11/17/04
to
Doug Dlin wrote:

> Sipher had me double-check with Hirofumi Ichikawa on this one, since he
> did the design art for Wing Saber. Ichikawa-san gave me a nice, LONG
> response

ker-SNIP

That was one of the best and most worthwhile things I've ever read
come out of the online fandom.

Thank you, Doug and Ichikawa-san!

Quag Prime

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Nov 18, 2004, 3:16:20 PM11/18/04
to
Doug Dlin <ap...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<ErqdnebOYsg...@texas.net>...

>
> Sipher had me double-check with Hirofumi Ichikawa on this one, since he
> did the design art for Wing Saber. Ichikawa-san gave me a nice, LONG
> response, which not only clarifies things about WS but also about the
> current TF design process in general.

Thank you, and thank Ichikawa-san for me too! This is the kind of
detailed "how are Transformers made/ where do Transformers come from?"
answer I've always wanted to read. Sure we've had a lot of insights
into the process, but this is the most detailed, easiest to wrap my
head around version I've ever seen.

>
> 6. COST ANALYSIS/DIE PRODUCTION
> Costs are calculated using the diagrams and prototype(s) as reference.
> Depending on these calculations, a few gimmicks or movable parts that
> were present in the design/prototype stage may be deleted. (Gimmicks
> and parts are also sometimes omitted depending on weight limitations.)
> Since the priority for TF play value goes Transformation > Gimmick >
> Posability, there are even times when posability, with its low
> preference level, gets deleted in the Planning phase.
> Hasbro's cost range, weight restrictions and package size regulations
> are extremely strict compared to Takara's, and there are times when
> these place limitations on the design itself.
>

This is gold Doug, gold. Understanding exactly what prevents HasTak
from doing certain things is wonderful to know, and in hindsight
explains quite a bit when I think of some toys we've gotten.

The priorities of Transformation > gimmick > posability is an
interesting insight. One that suprises me, but when I think about it,
it shouldn't. I personally would preffer the gimmicks priority
switched out with posability.

> After these assessments are received, the revised prototype is sent to
> the die factory in China, where they make a "master model," a model with
> parts made of metal, and the die is shaved out using a technology called
> "electrical discharge machining."
>

This is interesting to me, as I work with deep hole EDM machines, and
have a working knowledge of the different types of EDMing techniques.
I never knew the dies that form the parts of my favorite plastic toys
were constructed using electrical discharge machining, but it makes
perfect sense. One can EDM into very hard materials very accurately
to produce very clean, detailed molds that will last a long time in
production.

Neat. And thanks again!

-Quag

Paul Segal

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Nov 18, 2004, 4:09:33 PM11/18/04
to
Quag Prime wrote:
>
>> After these assessments are received, the revised prototype is sent to
>> the die factory in China, where they make a "master model," a model with
>> parts made of metal, and the die is shaved out using a technology called
>> "electrical discharge machining."
>>
>This is interesting to me, as I work with deep hole EDM machines, and
>have a working knowledge of the different types of EDMing techniques.
>I never knew the dies that form the parts of my favorite plastic toys
>were constructed using electrical discharge machining, but it makes
>perfect sense. One can EDM into very hard materials very accurately
>to produce very clean, detailed molds that will last a long time in
>production.

Do you think you can explain it in terms that non-engineers can understand?
I've never heard of it before, and I'd like to know how it works.

Ethan Hammond

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Nov 19, 2004, 4:06:50 AM11/19/04
to
"Doug Dlin" <ap...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>
> That's all there is to tell about Wing Saber, but there's probably
> back-stories like this for all toy development.

Thank you Doug that was very good insight into how TF's are made.

Ethan Hammond

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Nov 19, 2004, 4:35:32 AM11/19/04