Tags: star wars

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Girl interrupted

She's not quite done yet, but here's my Dr. Biggles-Jones kitbash in progress.

25th Joes are not meant to come apart. With the torso-joint moved up to the ribcage, there's no room for a torso screw, so if you want to swap arms, you gotta break the torso open, 'cuz it's glued. There is a method Hasbro endorses, involving a rubber mallet and a block of wood, but that was not something I was able to get to work.

Regardless, their parts aren't interchangeable. Lady Jaye's shoulders are too big for Scarlett's shoulders, so even if you could close the torso halves together, her arms wouldn't be able to move. I've spent a few days scraping away at the shoulders at various places with equally-various success, but I'm still having trouble finding out where the hell I need to scrape to get these halves together while not scraping away anything important.

At the moment, Dr. Biggles-Jones' torso is held together by her jacket, which I pilfered from a Biggs Darklighter figure from Star Wars. The jacket will do until Hasbro puts out a Dr. Venom or something, 'cuz there's simply no 3-3/4" labcoats out there for me to steal. At least, not the kind you can swap like a coat.

She also needs more paint here and there, I need to remove the paint from the hair and repaint it, since it's lost too much detail, and I need to file down her gloves and paint skintone over her hands.

Otherwise, hey. Sweetness.

Meanwhile, Comics Curmudgeon is back from vacation, and has bestowed upon us good tidings of Finger-Quotin' Optimus Prime!
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Shortpacked!: Some day I'll give a name to That Guy. Maybe his name is Thad Guyson.


I could not resist Galactic Heroes Grand Moff Tarkin. I mean, c'mon, look at him. He's an adorable this guy.

He is technically the second Galactic Heroes figure that I've owned. The first was a Han Solo keychain I got at COSI's Star Wars exhibit, but that's been ruined and disposed of since. This one, hopefully, will have a longer life outside of my erosive pocket away from sharp metal saws.

He came with a black Imperial Officer. I must resist the urge to collect an army of generics like these for Tarkin to stand in front of.

I must.

The amazing fanartist Fisi-Visi has bestowed unto us a vision of the past based on the last panel of yesterday's comic. It is glorious.
Skeeball!

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Shortpacked!: Aliens vs Predator vs Terminator vs Ecks vs Sever vs Unicron vs Death Star

The Transformers movie score by Steve Jablonsky was released today! ... in exactly one Borders in all of Columbus, I learned, after a day of searching. When I listen to "Arrival To Earth," I get all tingly. Say what you will about the movie, its score is majestic.

Unicron vs the Death Star has been debated so much that the Alt.Toys.Transformers FAQ asked nicely that you never ever bring it up again. It was such a regular topic that it really couldn't be taken seriously anymore. It became a punchline.

Which meant, naturally, that when the Star Wars Transformers Death Star was announced, I knew I could not pass it up. This is the Death Star in its purest form -- transformed into a giant Darth Vader robot, fighting Unicron. To me, these two toys represent the Internet. (Well, okay, maybe a Furry should be thrown in, or something...)

The new mythos that has been built up around Unicron since those arguments saturated Usenet has made the debate a lot more convoluted. For example, no matter how many times the Death Star blows up Unicron with its super awesome planet-blowing-up lasers from far away, Unicron can and will always shunt his essence into a divergent timeline and try again. The fight, like the Internet argument itself, would be eternal.

I know some of you are thinking, "But Mr. Shortpacked! Cartoonist Guy, aren't the Star Wars Transformers horrible toy abortions?" And to you I'd say, "Hey! The Millennium Falcon was sweet! And, uh... okay, the others were pretty meh." And I would also say that this toy has none of the flaws of the rest of the line. It's a solid toy that doesn't pop apart. It's sturdy, will stand, and while it has kibble, it all packs away fairly nicely.

Its only real flaw is one that is shared by several Transformers -- namely, this toy is the definition of "shellformer." To transform Darth Vader into the Death Star, you roll him into a ball and then spend half an hour trying to unfold the layers of planet surface compressed all over his body until it becomes a perfect sphere. This is no small task. You will invariably end up with everything aligned perfectly except for one panel which you can't put into place because, again, the altmode is a perfect sphere. Everything's perfectly overlapping.

SWTF Death Star comes with a number of accessories, including a light saber, a gun (which fits between his (its?) ankles during transformation and becomes the main planet-busting weaponry), three Stormtrooper minifigures, a Darth Vader minifigure, and three tiny TIE fighter "MINI-CON"s. (That's right. Check the instructions. The TIE fighters are called Mini-Cons, despite the lack of Powerlinx ports.) It also comes with a cloth cape for robot mode. It drapes nicely over the hemisphere on his back.

He's got loads of electronic lights and sounds, as well. In robot mode, a button on his chest causes his chest to glow green and spurt a number of Darth Vader sound clips. A button on his right arm causes his light saber to glow with light saber sound effects. In planet mode, you can open up the circular top hatch, press down his robot head, and launch the main planetary weapon, accompanied by sounds. (It's strange to hear the Darth Vader breathing effects come from the Death Star.)

It's a pretty sweet toy.

I've photographed it next to Steve-o's Energon Unicron and my Cybertron Primus for a sense of scale. He's roughly the same size as the others in planet mode (discounting Unicron's rings), but he's a much smaller robot. Sadly, a grapefruit was not available.
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Shortpacked!@TNI: Quick! Need a scapegoat for my immediate disappointment!
Shortpacked!: Analysis is overrated.


The Autobot redeco of Booster X10, the Decepticon MP3 player/Bluetooth earpiece, was named Night Beat 7. Hasbro likes to remind me that they still own the trademark while adhering it to random other guys. They could make a new version of the original Nightbeat! But they won't.

Curses!

Night Beat 7 is, however, still a detective, according to his packaging bio. It's a nice acknowledgment, or a consolation prize, or what-have-you, and his colors are amazingly pretty, so I got him. He's great-looking, and in these colors he looks more like an actual MP3 player, as well. His legs are a lot looser than Booster's, making him a little difficult to keep standing up -- and Graham says his Night Beat 7's legs are looser, too, so that may be a widespread thing.

(Tangentially, as you can probably tell in the photo above, my original Nightbeat has yellowed quite a bit over the ages. See, this photo is of my Nightbeat several years ago. Yikes.)

Nightbeat is one of my favorite Transformers characters of all time almost entirely because of one issue of the Marvel comic, "Bird of Prey!". It's a great issue. It is the first few panels from this issue that I redrew and altered for today's strip. You can see one of the original, unaltered panels to the right. Geoff Senior, the artist for that issue, was one of my early artistic influences. I've Timmed up since then, but I can still see traces.

This weekend I also picked up the Cobra Legions set and Star Wars Transformers Death Star! Both make me so happy. Look for talkings about them soon.


Small Press Expo is this weekend in North Bethesda, Maryland! In addition to myself, also in attendance will be Blank Label Comics folks Howard Tayler, Dave Kellett, Brad Guigar, and Kris Straub! We are a bundle. Stop on by!
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Star Wars Transformers AT-AT! Sweet! The robot's kind ehh, but I want the Hell out of a transforming AT-AT. AT-ATs are awesome.

We've also got new (official) photos of SWTF Death Star! Finally, Unicron and the Death Star can determine who can beat the other in a fight. Geekgasm!

This and more were revealed this week at Star Wars Celebration IV. Ironhide's totally gonna beat you upside the head with Signal Lancer.
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Joyce and Walky!: They go through a lot of refrigerators.

Whee! Inks! I counted strips after the end of the first book, and the Amber wears a Corset story is totally in it, so I made an adjustment.

Now I gotta figger out how to cram the SHORTPACKED! logo and PULLS THE DRAMA TAG into the lower right corner in a way that doesn't look crappy.

I'm still figgerin' on drawing both ideas, this one (of course) and the full-on poster. One will just be inside, as was suggested by somebody.

And, yes.

There is now ample cleavage. Males got their wish!
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All the files for Shorpacked! Book 1 are being processed by the printer, so it's the first time in a while that I had the book's production out of my hands.

So I started drawing concept art for the next book's cover! ...I may be a workaholic.

"Shortpacked! Pulls the Drama Tag" is definitely the decided title for the second book, and I wanted to have Robin lifting the tag itself up into the sky, dramatically... and so I thought of the first poster for Star Wars. I threw the sketch at the left together using various elements from the original trilogy Star Wars posters, and I'm somewhat satisfied with it, in its own vacuum of individual existence. However, I'm conflicted over whether the idea is too done. Everyone does a Star Wars parody at some point in time or another. If this thing shows up in a bookstore, I don't want any eye-rolling.

On the other hand, it makes me giggle. And there is some exposed Robin cleavage.

We'll see.

(Also, I'm not sure why Faz is vomiting a series of boxed X-Wing toys.)

Speaking of Melonpool and parodies, Steve Troop's submitted a "Snakes on a Plane" spoof video to the MTV Movie Awards. If you like it, you can vote for it, and it can win!
too!, Frenzy wants to read

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Shortpacked!@TNI: Pimp daddy!
Shortpacked!: The honest-to-gosh true horrors of working retail.

I've neglected mentioning them because I'm a bad person, but the 30th Anniversary Star Wars toys have been pretty darn interesting, featuring prototype versions of some characters and wacky stuff like Holiday Special Boba Fett. For example, Wave 5 has concept art Vader and Leia Starkiller. You know, back when Luke's last name was gonna be Starkiller instead of Skywalker and he was gonna be a girl?

I don't collect Star Wars, but that doesn't mean this stuff doesn't twist my knob.

I am not a good painter. In fact, one would say I am a shitacular painter. I'm too impatient, too eager, and too, well, unskilled. I have learned this over the years, but sometimes I forget the severity of my nonskill and need to remind myself.

The Transformers movie toys, are of course, produced on the same budget as previous lines, specific maximum paint applications and all. The Movie toys have all this awesome sculpted detail to recreate the crazily-complicated designs of the dudes from the film, but only a handfull of paint applications to cover it. And so the temptation to "finish" the job is high.

I really want to paint pretty much everything when I get it, but I decided to try my hand at the Legends Bumblebee I got. This way, when I screw up, I'm only out a $4 toy instead of a $10 or $20 one. I got some black and silver paint markers and a black Sharpie and went to town on it. At first I tried using masking tape to cover up the parts I didn't want to be painted. Of course, the paint just bubbled up under the tape and slopped everywhere. Hooray! I did manage to get most of it cleaned off, but there's still a few specs in the cracks. Thankfully, a lot of that was going to end up being painted black anyway.

And so here we are. I made sure to not paint in areas that can chip during transformation, which is why I didn't get any yellow to paint the thighs. I also dunked and rolled him in a few coats of heavily-watered blank paint to get that "I'm an old 1974 Camaro junker" look he has in the film. (It's not so apparent in the photo, sadly.) I also wish I had something to match the blue glittery paint Hasbro used for the windows, 'cuz the back window is unpainted and there's these areas on the side corners of the front windshield that aren't painted 'cuz those areas are on his arm pieces and would require two more paint applications. Oh well! (I also need some red to do his brake lights.)

All in all, I'm... actually kinda satisfied with him. It ended up being a pretty unfair reminder of how bad a kitbasher I am. Bumblebee's '74 Camaro form is supposed to look sloppy and crappy, so it's not like I'm trying to recreate a very clean look, and so I haven't really relearned anything at all.

Oops.
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Toy Fair begins! As covered by, uh, Toy Fare magazine. Here's a preview interview with Hasbro marketing dude Greg Lombardo, talking about
the movie toys. With pictures! Official pictures. Hot damn!

(That's the Leader Class Optimus Prime, which means he'll probably be in the $40 pricepoint. And there's the protoform version, but we've seen that.)

(His legs look kinda, uh, busy.)

Also, as per usual, the press releases pop up early.
* Transformers (Ultimate Bumblebee plays WHAT?)
* G.I. Joe Sigma Six (Shockwave? Holy crap.)
* G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary (Hrm, two five-packs and some single packs...)
* Fantastic 4 (Fantasticar!)
* Attacktix
* Star Wars
* Marvel (Nothing really new here.)
* Spider-Spud!