Lazy Luddite Log

10.9.08

Plastic Surgery

I have just entered a new level of Transformers geekery by making modifications to a Transformer toy in my collection. This is new and scary. It is the kind of thing one finds on the Internet - hopeless fans who 'kitbash' existing Transformer toys into forms they prefer - making the toy the way it "should have been" or using an existing toy to represent a different character that has never been represented in commercial toy form.

In the past I have altered a Transformer in a superficial way by (say) adding stickers to it from another Transformer rather than the one it was intended for. Or I have done something more structural but only to put it back into its original form (by say supergluing a broken limb back on). This time I went further and I worry for my sanity.

The toy I altered was Energon Arcee. The Arcee character from the original cartoon never had a toy produced for it. Partly because it is of female 'gender' and is part of a line of 'toys for boys' (grrr). Partly because of the difficulty of making a toy look convincingly like a sportscar and a robot mimicking the form of a woman. This always seemed a pity to me. Then one day I saw Energon Arcee in the shops and was most impressed.

Some genius had cottoned onto the notion of making Arcee (technically a different character but heck it has the same name and basic appearance) transform into a motercycle. Amazing. Those kinds of 'streetbikes' have lots of curves and barely any right-angles so bits of the bike could convincingly look like bits of a fembot (the fuel tank becomes her thighs which is just a classic).

The same basic design has since been used for the live-action movie associated Arcee (she was designed to be in the movie but never got to the final edition) and I have that one too - it just shows that this is a design considered worthy of the live-action movie franchise with its more organic design aesthetic. But back to Energon Arcee.

The Energon generation of Transformers had its own separate story which I have never bothered getting into. The gimmick of the Energon toys is that they have 'Energon' attachments made of colourful transparent plastic. I have never liked this gimmick and in the case of Energon Arcee have always been frustrated by the big socket on her front that is there purely to attach a stupid bit of pink plastic crystal. It looks silly and detracts from the fembot profile which makes this toy so distinctive.

So finally I snapped the other day and took to Energon Arcee with an artist knife. I cut and carved away at the pesky socket. In the process I scratched off some of the paint on the torso. So then I got some model paint of similar colour to what I had marred and applied it as carefully as I could (using some Blu-Tack to cover areas I wished to keep paint-free). The result is amateurish but I think satisfactory. At close inspection one can tell that the painting is by hand rather than by factory process. Likewise some of the surface looks more carved than mold-set. However the overall effect is an Arcee with the right lines and a completely removed Energon socket.

Hmmm... maybe I should change the 'Creative Writing' tag to simply 'Creativity'...

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