WTF @ TFW Transformers Podcast interview

The great folks from TFW2005 just posted an episode of their awesome Transformers Podcast where I had chance to join hosts GogDog and Vangelus for a cool chat about my work and my involvement with Transformers. It was a great pleasure and honor to reconnect with fans on a podcast and talk about various aspects of the design work and lot of other topics!
Check the Podcast here and all the other episodes on iTunes here.


Transformers Concepts: Jazz

Later there has been some buzz on a few Transformers websites about my design for Sideswipe, a concept included in the "Aligned continuity" brand bible. Fan mostly liked the design, but many didn't like the movie inspired legs. Considering that those designs, inspired by Eric Siebenlare's awesome work, were meant to be a blend of G1 Elements, TF Animated style and proportions and movie elements, I still think the legs fit him quite well, in that specific context I mean. Transformers Prime had yet to happen, that's why some of these designs don't really fit that aesthetic.

A couple years ago, under Hasbro autorization, I had revealed another design in an exclusive interview for L'Antro Atomico del Dr. Manhattan. I thought it would have been nice to repost it here for fans from around the world to check out.

But I also didn't want to just repost the same image, so I decided to also include the Alternate Mode and a glimpse of the process for these illustrations, a process I later refined to go quicker and accomplish scary amounts of work like the TF pop-up book. So, there are some differences from what I did back then and what I do now. But the principle is the same: on a refined enough sketch, I create very precise flats that will help me in selecting areas while rendering. I copy the layer and reflat with right colors, then copy the layer again two more times. I set the top one to Color Burn with 50% opacity and the one below is set to Colorize. The first copy is then converted to just grayscale and then rendered with an airbrush in various modes. Between the rendered layer and the color layers, I add a texture layer I created with custom brushes.
There are a few extra steps here and there, but this is the basic idea.

The Pop-up book feature a couple other of my redesigns, so hopefully I'll be able to post those after the book is released.


Transformers: The Pop-Up book!!!

Once again, I totally missed the news!
The Transformers Ultimate Pop-Up Universe has been announced at least 10 days ago. And for someone that have been waiting for that announcements for many months, missing it completly is ridiculous!
Why do I care so much though? Well, I spent more than 7 months illustrating that incredible thing!

Okay, let's go back in time a bit: when Little Brown Books were discussing Pop-Up book, the folks at Hasbro showed them the Transformers brand bible. Some of the illustrations chatched Matthew Reinhart's eyes (the author of the book) Matthew especially like the Sideswipe illustration I did for the bible (posted here some time ago) and wanted to get in touch with me to ask if I wanted to illustrate the book in the same style.

Just a few weeks later, I met Matthew and Erin Stein in San Diego, during the crazy second He-Man.org get together (when I was still allowed there and allowed to pay half of the bill...). We spent some time chatting, probably not as much Matthew and Erin hoped for, and I felt terrible for that, but that night I had to handle lot of things at once and I'm still shocked no one ended up offended!

In February, while I was stuck in snow at my friend's Alessio Di Marco's home in Macerata (photographing toys for the PAH Foundation), and after recieving the very disappointing new Mattel had blocked me from working on the Icon Heroes Castle Grayskull, I finally got started on the book.
At the beginning, I didn't believe I could have used the same style, since that was very complicated and time consuming. But somehow, I made it work.

And then I saw what Matthew was capable of. Trust me when I say this is going to be amazing! These pop-ups actually transforms! That  also means I had a lot to work on, as I couldn't do simple flat illustrations, but I had to draw separated limbs, separated background elements and so on. But Matthew made it really simple and easy for me, and I can't thank him enough for guiding me in this incredible adventure and awesome experience!

Here is the official blurb for the book:
In Fall 2013, prepare to see the TRANSFORMERS, one of the most successful entertainment franchises of the 21st century, change before your eyes as never before in Little, Brown Books for Young Readers TRANSFORMERS: THE ULTIMATE POP-UP UNIVERSE, a momentous pop-up exploration by bestselling paper engineer, Matthew Reinhart. With vibrant illustrations, exciting facts, and an eye-catching design, this pop-up masterpiece featuring the AUTOBOTS and the DECEPTICONS, the world famous robots in disguise, will be an absolute must-have for TRANSFORMERS fans of all ages! The awesome conversions of TRANSFORMERS characters from massive robots into cool vehicles was made for the interactive world of pop-up! See the characters shift from robot to vehicle form before your eyes ($36.00 / Ages 3 & up)!
(here is a more extensive article on TFW2005)

I know it may sounds like a kid books, but believe me, any Transformers fan should get a copy!
Hopefully, in the following weeks I'll be able to post some sketches created during the production of the book, there are some fan-favorite charters in the book, and I can't wait to both have the final product in hand and to hear what everybody think!

Thundertron concept sketches!

Remember the recent post about Thundertron? The new Transformers character introduced in the Exodus novel? Well, the folks at Hasbro have been nice enough to give me permission to share my original concept sketches for him!

As a fan and a designer, sometime I enjoy a lot seeing the process behind a design (some time even more!), so instead of posting just the final clean sketch for Thundertron, I wanted to share also a bunch of other sketches to show how the design evolved. You can see one of the preliminary sketch, the following finalized pencils based on Aaron Archer's suggestions and the final ink drawing. BTW, pencils and inks are now just terms for various stage in the process, all steps have been executed digitally.

Also I'm including the head study based on Aaron's awesome direction. If you look closer, in the final pencil I just shrinked and pasted the same head on the rest of the body, and then inked it.
Overall was a great concept to work on, trying to include some recognizable pirates elements and silhouette while keeping it cool and not to distant from the Transformers Prime visuals. I didn't get to color it, but I'm very happy with the color choice Hasbro went for!


Transformers: Mudslinger with Decepticons

Continuing this quick gallery of  toy I helped designing, one of the early assignments I got from Hasbro was to come up with the vehicles that I would have later on learnt being part of the Powercore Combiner Mudslinger with Decepticons.
Not too loved by fans, I think this was the first actual product released on which I had worked and it was incredibly exciting!


The ToyFare Interview

Enjoy the interview about our work on the 2002 MOTU comic by clicking on the images!


Star Wars: Transformers quad changer

The Quad Changer - Republic Cruiser to Star Destroyer to Anakin to Dart Vader was a nice surprise for me.
I was involved with it at its very inception. I worked with the Star Wars team at Hasbro to create the ultimate Star Wars Transformers crossover toy. The project was ambitious: a Transformers with 4 modes: two robot modes and 2 vheicle mode.
I was asked to put the concept on paper, and what I did was a very rough sketch, in color, but still nothing refined. I figured out most of basic ideas of the transformation, but rarely freelancers are asked to develop the actual transformaton, so I only immagined how it could work and left the real engeneering to Hasbro.
I didn't know the project was moving on, I wasn't asked to provide more work on it, no revisions or sculpting input (when we refine the details for the model makers or the sculptor), so I assumed the concept was abandoned.
Then, this year at Toy Fair, the toy was presented and my jaw dropped at seeing how faithful the finished product was to my rough sketches. Even most of the transformation (like the Star Destroyer's sides detaching to become the Republic Cruiser's engines) looke a lot like what I had done.
That made me really proud: when I work on sketches, I don't only try to make them look good, but I want them to make sense, I want them to work as products that kids and collectors can enjoy.
I can't wait to see more of the work I did for Start Wars products on the shelves, it has been an absolute pleasure to work on one of my favurite brands!

Transfomers: Thundertron!

Thundertron is a project I'm very proud of . He was a character I worked on more than a year ago and he has now become a real toy, in the form of the mighty Thundertron, leader or the Star Seekers, a new Transformers faction appeared in the Exodus novel!

I was honored to develope Thundertron along with the great Transformers design team, and seeing my drawings translated verbatim to toy form by Takara and Hasbro, in the main Transformers line is absolutely awesome!

Not only Thundertron is exactly like my sketch in robot mode, but the beast mode is exactly the same too! That blew me away: the folks at Takara and Hasbro have been able to make the transformation happens without changing any detail from the concept. They are really masters of toy making and it feels great to be involved in such amazing creations!

Here you can find a great gallery of the figure.


A month of MOTU - Part 2

Where did I left?
Oh yes, Palos Verdes! Once Power-Con was history (at least for me it is now) on Monday we went visiting Mark Taylor and Rebecca at their beautiful home! Rebecca had invited also Peer and Kevin "Jimpansen", two awesome MOTU fans from Germany and they joined us for the ride.
After being amused by the street names in Palos Verdes, we arrived at Mark's place, where we've been joined by Rudy Obrero and our new pal Errol. Rudy hadn't seen Mark probably since 1982, so that was a great reunion happening in front of all of us!
A sudden toothache prevent Ted Mayer to be there too, but we'll hopefully do it again next year.

I remember Peer being totally in shock for the surreal experince. And I knew what that was like! Hanging out with He-Man creators and artists, and while we had planned that for month, for him it was a totally unexpected turn of events!
Despite me getting a cold, we spent a wonderful day with Mark and Rebecca, enjoying the beatuful view on the Pacific Ocean and listeniing to stories about MOTU, the toy industry, crazy airplane flights and a lot more!

Mark will always have a story to tell, and all of them are fascinating. One funny anedoct was that Mark was telling us about a King Kong playset by Playmates he designed and Rudy exclaimed: "I did the box art for that set!" Without them even knowing, the awesome team the created Graykull and the famous boxart for it, had been reunited by Playmates on another project!

We left Mark and Rebecca later that night, me sneezing like crazy but all very happy for the time spent together. I lef the house not just a fan anymore, but as a friend. The best thing that MOTU brought to my life is definitely the people I met, the friend I made. One day, I will probably make a blog post about this.

The following day, while handling the flu, we didn't stop! Early in the morning we went to visit Dave Wolfram, who showed us some very cool MOTU concept art. We should be used by now, but no, we were once again amazed by the great stuff Dave had. All this is now saved for future Foundation projects of course, so I won't go in details, but among that we also saw a lot of other art for Judge Dredd, Food Fighters and Captain Power! Dave was extremely sweet and let us scan all his art, which is now preserved forever by The Power and The Honor Foundation.

After a quick stop to get some Tylenol, we paid a visit to the Otis College where Rebecca teaches.
Rebecca gave us and Peer and Kevin a tour of the college and well, how can I describe the feeling of being in a college which has an entire floor dedicated to toy design?  It felt like the place where I wanted to be! And I was not even sure I wanted to be there teaching or studying! That place is just awesome, and the students are simply amazing. We got a glimpse of their skills and no wondering on why companies try to steal them from the college before they even finish courses.
For anybody interested or just curious, I suggest to check Otis website, just the video presenting the courses it's so captivating already! (and look, Martin Arriola is there too!)

After the Otis, having still some time to kill in LA before our flight back to NJ, we went with Peer and Kevin on hunt for toys and collectible shops. We didn't find anything special, but it was fun! I wish we had more time with both of them, and I hope to see them again soon at Grayskull-Con.

Wow, all this in just 2 days. I want to keep these posts shorts, so let's end this one here for now. The rest of the trip may not sound so exciting, but it's still filled with little MOTU tidbits, so hold on for Part 3!
And, hopefully I will get to make some posts about Castle Grayskull and the DC comics soon too
Oh, and tear apart the new minicomics of course!

A month of MOTU - Part 1

Josh, Mark Taylor and Me
Okay, almost a month: from September the 20th to October, 15th, I've been travelling in US. Needless to say, about 95% of my time has been spent as a MOTU fan. Yeah, shocking news, I know.
Being out of He-Man.org didn't diminished my passion and my commitment to MOTU in the slightiest and I was lucky to do a lot of cool stuff and make a lot of great experience as a fan during the month in US. And even if I have tons of stuff to do, I'm gonna bore you with a small journal of what I did there!

First stop was Los Ageles, where with my pal Josh Van Pelt we immeditaly went to meet one of the most influencial artist in MOTU. Nope, not Rudy Obrero, and not Bill George (even if we had the pleasure to meet both of them later on during the trip) An artist which remained a mystery to many for 30 years, and still, all He-Man fans are familiar with his art. The amount of art he created for MOTU is probably 4-5 times what George and Obrero did together. Thanks to Mark Taylor, we got in touch, and we had a wonderful time at his home. We'll soon reveal more about him on The Power and The Honor Foundation website, for the moment, let's say he's an incredibly sweet, humble and nice person, who also let us borrow all his art and take it with us at the hotel in Torrance, where we spent most of the following 2 days scanning like crazy.
During Power-Con, many friends stopped by our room to take a look at the historical pieces laying on our beds during the scanning process. They all had the same shocked look I had when I first looked at that art, and they have been extremely lucky to share with us that incredible sight.
Don't worry, you know why we did all that. Years ago I promised I wanted to wait to present all those toy design pieces we had, to make it right. Rest assured we want to do make justice to this artitst and his work too, so just keep your finger crossed!

The PAH Foundation crew!
Oh, right, Power-Con.
Or the lack of it. I won't be hypocrital. That was a bittersweet experience. I was officially cut out of anything Power-Con related, barely allowed inside and with silly restrictions. My plan was not to go at all. Still, I went in a couple of times, mostly to say hi to friends there. And that was the best part. The words I heard most where "I'm glad you're here". I felt the trust people put in me and their love was still intact and that was really heartwarming and made me feel a lot more relaxed.
The sad part that being officially excluded, I was not allowed to share lot of things with my friends and hang out with them as much as I wanted. And I don't mind admitting I enjoyed the work I did last year at Power-Con, which I missed this year.
Sad part aside though, everybody has been wonderful and I so loved the time I had chance to spend with all my friends: Danielle & Magoo, Karla, Arnoud, James, Tom, Chuck, Josh B., Pete, Mike and Englebert, Nate, Dan, Leanne & Rod, Israel and last but not least Eric, Jim, Owen, Shane and Sherri from the Four Horsemen Studio, plus all the great fans I met or met again (too many to list!)
If I forgot someone, you can call public shame on me when I'll post this on FB (but a couple of German guys may want to wait for Part 2...)

Martin Arriola was a blast as usual, now joined by Ed Mosqueda, which showed us a few great pieces he worked on (including purple & black haired tytus and Eldor test shot!) Larry DiTillio was sweet as always and speaking of Filmation, this year I also got to met Rob Lamb! Rob was one of the higlights of the days in LA for both me and James, and thanks to him now the Foundation now has lot more very cool art!
I had also the pleasure and the honor to intruduce Rudy Obrero to William George. What a moment!
Oh, and I sold out of my prints in half an hour!!

On Saturday, we had to stop scanning earlier and set up the room for the Friends of  The Power and The Honor Foundation Foundation Reception.
Thanks to the art loaned from friends, we had some amazing stuff on display. Some never-seen before art (with very cool surprises) and a huge homage to (and thank to) Mark Taylor. For us, that was the best way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of He-Man.
We also had the He-Man Power Tester on display, but we coudn't manage to make it work properly. Oh well.
The reception was successful: a nice, relaxed, small thing, with a few friends and guests that chimed in all night to say hi and check out the art. I'm glad we did it, and I'm glad so many friends showed up and donated to be part of it :)
The Cake Ricky made for us!
Our pal Ricky also brought us a great and tasty cake skillfully made with the vintage MOTU cake pan!!

In the afternoon, while setting up, looking at all the cool stuff by Mark, I decided to give him a call at home to describe him the view of the room and say hi. Mark was very happy to hear it was looking good and asked me where we were. I told him the hotel's name and he said he would have joined us for the night.
My mood immediatly jumped and I told everybody we were going to have a very special surprise.
Everyone was captured by Mark's stories!
Mark and his wife Rebecca arrived later during the dinner and spent the rest of the night with us the fans at the reception. Everybody was listening to Mark's stories about He-Man and toy industry and I was just sitting back chatting with Rebecca and thinking there was nothing better for He-Man's birthday party to have his dad there. Fans loved Mark and Rebecca. Both me and Josh are extremely grateful they joined our little thing and I'm sure all the fans feels the same. It was a wonderful time and I'm so grateful also for Mark and Rebecca trust and friendship: another thing I will never forget.

And those were just the first 3 days!
But before we move to Palos Verdes, I gotta get back to Transformers, work is calling!
Stay tuned for Part 2, (hopefully) soon!


Great Rebellion print
Evil Horde printFor my non-appearance at Power-Con, I have prepared two new prints to complete last year's set of Filmation style Heroic Warriors and Evil Warriors. Fans really wanted me to complete the two missing factions and my trip to Los Angeles was the perfect occasion to finally do them, and have the Great Rebellion and The Evil Horde in quality art print form, totally Filmation style!

Even if not allowed to have a table at Power-Con, I'll be around  all the time, and the prints will be available outside the Convention floor and at The Power and The Honor Foundation reception.
I will also bring back the few copies left of last year's prints, you can see them all below here.
Each art  prints measures 42 x29,7 cm, and it's printend on high quality paper.
See you in LA!

Since I've got many advance requests for these prints, please refer to this page for all the instruction!
Thank you!


The Power and The Honor Foundation Reception

A very special message from The Power and The Honor Foundation:

Friends, Food & Art
We regretfully announce that The Power and The Honor Foundation will not be attending this year's Power-Con/ThunderCon convention. We had an amazing time last year, were able to share some incredible artwork, and more importantly, were able to meet and talk to other fans.

Unfortunately, we have been informed by the promoter of Power-Con that The Power and The Honor Foundation cannot be an exhibitor at this year's convention. The Foundation would still like to thank everyone for their support and contributions during our first year, and would still very much like to interact and share with other He-Man and She-Ra fans.

Therefore, we are pleased to announce the first annual Friends of The Power and The Honor Foundation Reception. The reception will be held on Saturday September 22, 2012 starting at 5:30pm in the Jasmines Room at the Torrance Marriott South Bay, 3635 Fashion Way, Torrance, California 90503.  We have the room until 1:00am so be prepared to relax, eat, and enjoy some time with friends.

As many of last year’s Power-Con attendees chose to either eat at the hotel’s bar or venture outside the hotel for dinner, we thought it would be nice to have a friendly on-site reception that allowed people to remain at the event hotel.

The Foundation will be giving FREE space to collectors to display art, toys, and merchandise in the room. Expect some great He-Man AND She-Ra artwork showcased for your enjoyment, including art from the personal collections of Mark Taylor, Josh Van Pelt, Emiliano Santalucia, James Eatock, James Sawyer, Mike Zolotrow and Lee Clevenger. Contact us if you have something in your collection that you would like to display!

For your $35 donation you will gain access to this private event and receive an assortment of finger foods as well as refreshments. The tentative menu includes chicken fingers, flatbread pizza, buffalo wings, and sandwiches & wraps. The room only holds 80 guests so be sure to secure your spot today!

  For those of you who can’t attend our reception but would still like to support The Power and The Honor Foundation please click the link below.


MOTUC: Pilots 2!

Ooops! Seems like I forgot about those two!
Last minute addition: the pilots from the Talon Fighter and the Roton box art from the Monogram Model kits!

MOTUC: Octavia

End of the run for the San Diego week!
This is one of may favourite, originally designed by Ted Mayer and appeared in a handful of Filmation episodes, Octavia is one of thoe Horde weirdo we love so much!
With bendable tentacles (possibly not made of the same material used for Snout Spout's trunk..) and weapons from the show!

Now I can finally have dinner, sit back, relax and enjoy all the reveals tomorrow :)


Today everything is working against me and trying to make me not post the other sketches!
I've been without power for almost the entire day and trying to catch up!
Fortunately, Icer is quick and easy. I quickly did an accessory too, but he may need more. Of course, translucent plastic is still a sensitive topic with MOTU fans...

MOTUC Fang Man

Last one for tonight!
After Shokoti and Madame Razz, I did 3 more Filmation characters and this is the first one: Fang-Man!
One more guy and one more girl coming tomorrow ! Now I'm off looking at MOTUC Granamyr pics!
-Updated with the accessories...-

MOTUC: Netossa

Second one for today!
Okay, I kind give her away with Peakblue. Both the colorful rebel and Netossa shared the same body in the vintage line. It would just make sense if the same would happen in MOTUC. (And same for me as I only sketched the same body once)
But with a few trick, not only she would still look different enough, but she could also be able to be displayed looking like the vintage toy or more like cartoon versiuon.
Just with a clip on mask! (no, no swapped forearms needed!)

Netossa has always been one of my favourite POP figure. I just love the color scheme and I always immagined her as very strong and imposing. I tried to incorporate that in my sketch, moving a bit from the more fragile and gentle look she has in the Filmation cartoon.
Somebody may remember that she was also the only POP character appearing in my old fan comic, Homecoming. Yeah, I definitely always had a soft spot for her!

MOTUC: Hover Robots

Bulding up the hype for San Diego again!
Todays' first sketch: The Hover Robots! Completely new tooling, but great army builder material, especially if sold with a variety or arm attachments!

MOTUC: Horde Invaders!

Some of you may remember an idea posted some time ago, about introducing in MOTUC two others body structures or "bucks", to allow a greater variety of figures and characters:

I had posted some figure designs based on these extra body bucks, including Ram Man, Tataran, Lizard Man and Prince Adam. But I also left the door open to even more reuse. One of the things I had in mind back then, was to create multipacks based on specifics episode of the cartoon. So why not a Horde Invaders 3-pack from The Origin of the Sorceress? This is just an example, but I plan to explore this idea further with more multipacks ideas!

That's it for today, I wish I had done more, but I couldn't, I'll try to catch up tomorrow!

MOTUC: Pilots! 1

Second round wating for SDCC reveals!
You probably have seen the Wind Raider Pilot when I posted my concept for the Water Rider. I promised to post it by himself and bigger.
Based on the generic pilot painted by William George on the famouse poster, a Wind Raider pilot could be a very ceahp figure to produce, with new parts being just the head and the armor. Replikor made a custom out of this design and used Icarius trunks instead of Man-E-Faces' ones. Those had not been sculpted yet when I drew the pilot, but I think the idea was awesome and I wish I had time to go back and modify my sketch!

Also, next to him, based on the Attak Track model kit box art by Monogram, the Attak Track driver! I tried to incorporate some of the AT stickers decoration in his armor, to link him more to the vehicle.

With these guys, we sorta have a hint of their look, and the fun was filling the blanks. I hope you'll enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoied drawing them!

Now you're asking for the others? Mmmmmm...

MOTUC: Peakablue

Trying to rise the mood of all my fellow POP fans, especially all the great guys over at the Shadow Weaver's Realm,  the first sketch of the San Diego week had to be a POP figure
A shiny, colorful warrior from the Great Rebellion that would look great in our MOTUC collection: Peakablue!

Her desing was pretty easy, as the Filmation version is pretty close to the vintage toy. As usual the I used hairstyle and facial features from the cartoon, mixing everything else with the toy details. The tail, not necessarily limited by the old action feature, can now be muc bigger and imposing.

Oh, BTW, why Peakablue of all POP characeters? Well, her entire body was shared by another POP girl, so I'm gonna show how to do exactly the same in MOTUC and still stay close to both the cartoon and the toys.
This should give you enough hints about the next one... one the figures I really had a soft spot for ;)

Removed from He-Man.org

It is with great sadness that I officially announce I've been removed from He-Man.org since early June, and I'm not responsible anymore for the site or the forum. For a number of reasons, myself and the powers that be found ourselves at odds over the way in which the website should be run for the fans. I've had a wonderful ten years working on the website and am now looking forward to having the creative freedom to work on new and exciting projects with The Power and The Honor Foundation!


I did not officially announce this for almost a month, but recent discussions on facebook pushed me at releasing this today.

Since June the 6th, I've been removed from He-Man.org administrators against my will.
My access to Google Analytics has been removed.
My access to Printfection account has been removed.
Val Staples has blocked me on skype.
-UPDATED- My Adsense account has been replaced, and I've stopped receiving shares of the site profits from the advertisments ( Val Staples has still to complete paying his debt with me for the comic work I did ).
The Italian forum will be forced to migrate to another domain.
It was made clear that I'm not welcome at Power-Con unless I agree to certain conditions.

Previously, He-Man.org Server's password had been changed.
I had been removed from He-Man.org facebook page administrators.

I've received offerings for a different position on He-Man.org, at conditions for me impossible to accept, including agreeing or keeping these events confidential.
All my counter offers have been refused as well.

I was informed that all the graphics and logo will be changed and all I did for the site will be removed.

Reasons given  for these measures are my critiques about Mattel's representatives actions over the years. In general my removal should "set the right tone with Mattel" as my opinions are seen as detrimental for the good of the fan community.

He-Man.org has been part of my life for more than 10 years, in many ways, it's my creature, but was also my family, my home and the place where I met a lot of friends. All this has been taken away from me, and that hurts me a lot. Seeing the site changing and becoming something else than I envisioned, adds even more pain to the fact I'm being stolen of something that is mine too: my work, my time and my money.
I wish the community the best of luck, and a better future for He-Man.org.

Thanks for reading.

MOTUC: Shokoti

Quick one today!
I had her on my schedule for a very long time and people kept asking me for her. I had another break from work, so it was the perfect time to finally put her on paper (or on Cintiq...)

Not a lot to add here, I went back and looked at Mark Taylor's art to add details to her.
Also, since there is nothing that could be used as an accessory in the cartoon episode, I thought it would be cool to have one of those "Darklings" maybe molded in soft plastic.
That's it, hope you will like her!

Little update about Modulok's post

First of all, thanks to all expressed their appreciation for my sketch.
I been reading a couple of  fair criticims and questions and I wanted to quickly address them.

The neck piece.
Somebody suggested that it could do like a two-necks torso like Two-Bad. It could, but then you'd be stuck to the 2 heads configuration. To make the Filmation version or any of the other combinations, we'd still need to have a separate connector for the neck.

Eamon suggested to do it more like the Mer-Man neck piece. Again, that would work, but only for the neck. We wouldn't be able to reuse that connector with any other part of the body. I guess, to an extent, maybe just one of the connectors could be shaped differently, and maybe be an extra, so not defeating the purpose of making all the vintage transformations possible.
Anyway, the problem with the current neck piece is to make it able to conncet to any other part of the body, that's why it looks that way.

HM.org users Slackrguy is wondering if this design would allow for the same number of combinations of the vintage one.
Yes it would, the number of pegs and ports is exactly the same, so all the combinations of the vintage one are possible. I worked precisely toward that goal and I wouldn't have settled for less than that ;)

Thanks for reading!

MOTUC: Modulok

After taking on The Rock People and the Energy Zoids, to me the most challenging design for the MOTUC line remained Modulok.
The visual were pretty straight forward: reproduce the vintage toy as much as possible and add the extra paint applications that would make him look a lot more like the Filmation version without changing the sculpt too much. So, I added more purple and black, with a different crotch piece to match the Filmation style.

But the most interesting part is how to make him fit the MOTUC repurposable parts library and still mantain the modularity and interchangeability.
To achive that, Mattel would need to develop a pegs/ports system based on what they did with Trap Jaw's shoulders. The majority of the new engineering would go into the new limb's articulation's discs and the torso/abdom/tail parts. Also, to keep the ball joint style of MOTUC articulation, we'd have a port where there was a peg in the vintage figure, and a peg where there was a port.

It would take quite a lot of work (here I can only suggest the idea, the actual engineering of the pieces isn't really my territory). And the end result would be a very expensive figure, probably around $45, but it could reuse a minimum of existing tooling and new parts could be added to the library for future reuses.
The best part for me is that with the inclusion of an extra leg, the Filmation version would be very easy to obtain, giving collectors the option to display Modulok in both modes (or even buy two of him to display both versions!)

Transformers Concepts - Sideswipe

Okay, before I start diving into the Sea of Negativity™, let's try something different and take a look at some of my other works.
Here is a concept I did for part of the Transformers Franchise bible for Hasbro.

I did many of these guys, working along with Eric Siebenaler. At first I was working on his awesome sketches and developed this rendering tecnique painting on top of them. For the last bunch (which includes this one and the next I'll be posting) Eric trusted me in creating the desings from scratch for a few characters.

This was back in 2010, but, oddly enough, some of these designs and the same tecnique came back from the  huge job I'm doing now and that should be revealed in the following months  (to not create confusion, it isn't about toys)

All images are © Hasbro 2012 and used under authorization.

Good old Kalamarr... er, Slush Head!

I finally got him yesterday, along with Stinkor and TMS (who went direclty in the storage room, nothing else to comment there, move on).

When a figure like Slush Head doesn't make me feel like I have something completely new and stranger in my hands, it's always a good thing.
He is defintely my ol' Kalamarr there, and the parts reuse didn't bother me much. 
The 4H are always very clever in reusing parts and find the most fitting solutions for everytime. When they are left at doing their job, we never get the same kitbash feeling we get with stuff like Sir Laser-Lot. You just don't see the reused part, you see the character.
Job accomplished!

BTW, I'm not trying to do a complete and in-depth review about him.  There are guys out there that can do a much better job than me .This is more about sharing my feelings and thought about a certain figure (or a beast or whatever). 

The inability of the head to rotate has been discussed at lenght by fans. I can't really see how the solutions suggested wouldn't have worked within Mattel's restrictive safety standards. Sometime it just feels the engineering work doesn't go the extra mile on these figures for whatever reason.
I won't break the tab holding the helmet in place on my figure just because, seeing myself as a sort of "historian", I prefer to keep they toys as they came out of the factory for the most part, to keep record of how something was actually produced.
But looking inside the armor, it doesn't look like breaking it would compromise the water tank. Don't quote me on that though, as I said, I won't be testing it.

The tentacles... Wait, did they tooled these things wrong again?!
I can see how the plugs for each tentacle is meant to be unique, so you can only plug in a specific tentacle on one side. But looks like they would be facing backwards, and to have them facing forward the only way is to swap them.
Of course, the plugs's shapes don't really match, so it's hard to keep them in place.

So, why every time they tool new left and right pieces something goes wrong?

Oh well.
For a moment I feared also that the gun couldn't be hold in Slush Head hands in Axe mode, but even with its rectangular shape, the handle fits in the hand nice and thight, so Slush Head can go chopping Galacting Guardians like in the old times

I also really like the solutions for the extra details on the arms. A much better way to execute this stuff than what was used on Vikron. Which makes me wondering more and more how much of that came from Mattel and what the 4H actually did (the design was executed at Mattel anyway).

The details and the extra paint jobs are nothing short I expect from the 4H as always, but I won't fill his helmet with water. I just refuse to trust the materials. Every day I say a little prayer to the First Ones and the Ancients for my Snout Spout!

I hope I haven't bored you too much with this, you can now Rate the Negativity of this post from 1 to 10
A high Negativity score won't be considered a bad thing at all by the author ;)

Bringing back the blog with Filmation Hordak!

Hi everybody,
I want to take a shot at bringing back this blog.
I'm awful at keeping this stuff up to date, but maybe I'll be able to share something here and there.
Hopefully I'll be also allowed to share some of the work I do for Hasbro (I already have a few images ready and approved) but of course the main focus will remain He-Man and She-Ra!
But also expect some random thoughts here and there, as I recently found myself with a lot to say, and not just art.
(always in my broken English - for those who don't know, I'm Italian and I live in Italy)

And to kick-start this, what was better than one of my ideas for possible MOTUC figures?
So, here is the variant figure (almost) everybody want!
Hordak in Filmation colors!
And since Mattel already tooled swappable arms (the shoulders discs and the torso) for Trap-Jaw/Kronis, why not selling him with two sets of arms, to simulate the different robotic arms he had in the cartoon?
BTW, Hordak had two different mechanical arms styles. I think asking Mattel to staty true to that would be too much, but I think most fans would settle down with something that works good enough for both.
Still there can be different iptions: they can go for almost a simple repaint, or just add a few new parts:
I'm presenting two of these options here, which one would you like most?