I was lucky enough to get into the Botcon 2011 customizing class earlier this morning and boy was I glad I did!
About 30 participants were able to attend today’s class, which started at 9:00 AM. A few stragglers had to come in late due to travel problems, but they were pleasantly accommodated, regardless of the “no one will be seated after 9:15 AM” rule. We were then told that the figure to be created would be Animated Minerva from the Animated Arcee mold, which will in turn be used for the Dragstrip figure in the Botcon 2011 set.
Two samples were provided for us to see what we would be making. Apparently this year was special because this figure is meant to be an official Animated line figure, complete with character art, bio card, and two sets of headgear!
After everyone was seated, we were each divvied out our bagged set of raw materials to make Minerva. There were 4 colors of plastic: Red, White, Light grey, and the translucent blue.
Each piece had to be twisted or carefully cut with an x-acto blade from the sprue, and then placed in a corresponding tray for easy access. There were 5 main sections – Head, left arm, right arm, left leg, and right leg. The instructions were easy to follow, and apparently this year’s figure was easier than most due to all the screws being the same size and no springs. The most difficult part was attaching the pins for the wheels, which required some excessive force.
After about an hour, I was ready to start assembling this hot mama into discernible pieces. First the legs, then the arms, followed by the central component.
We were told it was best to get it assembled first, and then worry about the paint applications later. Slowly but surely, Minerva was coming to life!
As I had mentioned previously, this figure had a custom molded part created out of resin. There were two options – the G1 headmaster style antennae or the Derrick J. Wyatt concept antennae. I ended up with the Animated style head piece and I was happy with that. It is a bit fragile and could break easily, but so far it is holding up good. The head still works in alt-mode as well!
Next came the paint apps. I had to dis-assemble some of the figure and then use masking tape to mask off areas I wanted to stay white. Then I applied some red via an air brush. I’ve never done this before, and was a little hesitant. I was instructed to try two coats, and the results were awesome. I did, however, get a little bit of bleeding under my tape, but who’s keeping score anyway?
There were 5 colors of paint – black, red, slate gray, a lush blue, and vivid orange. The orange was only use on the face, and REALLY sets this figure apart. Wowie! We were also given a custom sticker sheet. All the stickers could’ve been painted on as well, so it was up to the creator to decide how the additional apps would be applied, if at all.
As an added bonus, a full techspec was supplied. This techspec helps to vindicate this figure’s place in the real Transformers Animated Line. We were told that the character chosen for the custom class could not be a character that had appeared in any other Transformers Animated fiction. Considering the wide breadth of characters seen in the comics, cartoons, and other Transformers Animated media, this was no easy task! We really received a great character for the mold though, and everyone involved with this custom class deserves a truckload of recognition.
After about 4 hours, I was satisfied with my creation. I re-assembled all the now-dry painted parts, applied the decals that I wanted, and marveled at my finished Animated Transformer. It really is incredible how complex these seemingly simple toys are once you make one from the ground up. I personally cant’ stand customizing to a certain degree, and this gave me a lot more respect to those that practice the craft well. I met David from Encline Designs, who was in my class, and he is one of the best out there. He chose to black line some of the creases on his figure, which gave it a very unique look.
When compared to the provided samples, I feel that mine is pretty true to the intended design. The face is a little messy and I could’ve been more careful with my paint applications, but this was my first custom figure.
So the question to me, as a Collecticon, is if this figure will garner the same attention that last year’s G2 Sideswipe figure did. It certainly was an incredible figure to get, and as it’s price inches ever-closer to the $1000 mark, will Transformers Animated Minerva do the same? With under 100 of these sets produced, the rarity factor is through the roof. But do a lot people in the fandom even really know who G1 Minerva (or Minelba) even is?
Here is an image of the figure in alt-mode. It still looks great! A figure for the ages.
Overall, I would highly recommend this class!