Maquette Building 01

So this is a pretty interesting thing I discovered which generates some nice shapes and ideas quickly.

I had this transformer lying around that I got for Christmas a few years ago (yes, I'm 26 years old...), it was the Sideswipe Human Alliance with Sgt. Epps to be exact. I think it was a bit of a joke present, but I liked it! It's been sitting on my desk in car form for a while because it's a bit of a pain to transform. For some reason I started playing around with it the other night and noticed it had some pretty nice parts and interesting joints.

I took my tools out (little screwdrivers, clippers and my photo etched saws, although next time round I'll use my Dremel to speed things up) and started dismantling it. Once I had all the parts I started thinking about how they could go back together. I actually started with these arm joints and thought they would make some cool legs - the articulation worked really well and started firing off ideas in my head as to where the design would go.

This is what I ended up with. I sprayed it with grey primer to get it flat and even so I can see all of the details properly. I will now take this into Photoshop and paint over it and render the materials and add details etc. The thing about this technique is that you get lighting information from the photographs, so you can just concentrate on refining the design and not have to worry about light direction and shadows etc.

This took around 4 hours in total. Because of my current confidence level with digital painting it takes me a while to get warmed up and get into the zone for painting, and with my job I just don't have the time at the moment to commit to it. Having a set of ready made interesting parts that I can fit together in a cool way is really satisfying and helps to generate ideas quickly. I get really annoyed with how little time I have to be creative, so this is a great technique to get interesting results pretty quickly.

This is really quick and dirty - no sanding or filling, just sticking things using super glue. I call it a maquette because I'm not trying to create a finished model, it's a starting point that I can then work on as a 2 dimensional image, or as a reference for proportions or articulation if I wanted to make a proper model out of it (resin casting?).

As you can see from this last photo I got straight onto ebay ad bought a job lot of transformers for about £20 I think, which is super cheap considering I got about 10 transformers. I can't wait to take apart and get thinking!

I've come up with some constraints to focus my mind. I find that if you can do whatever you want with no constraints, there becomes too many possibilities and you stop thinking of inventive ways to use the parts and start just doing the same old stuff:

-Use only one Transformer model/ toy
-You must use at least 90% of the original parts
-You can't add anything else, eg. Sytrene sheets or extrusions

I'd love to see other people trying this out, if so let me know, I'd be really interested to see!

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