Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Monstrus Creation

Sometime around 2004, I got into the hobby of 3D modelling Transformers on the computer. To say that I got obsessed with this hobby would be quite the understatement as over a span of around 5 years, I created over 250 Transformers characters & designs all of which had the ability to transform into their respective alternate forms. Not to toot my own horn but i’d like to think that I got pretty pretty good at it.

Aside from being able to see my favorite come to life on my computer screen, what I really enjoyed about the hobby was the freedom I had with my creations. Not only did I make 3D models of existing characters from the Transformers universe, I also came up with my own characters. And one of my favorite “creations” that I am particularly proud of are my additions to the fan favorite team, the Dinobots.

Before starting this particular project, there were THREE objectives I set out to do: First was to improve upon my initial models, which I had done a few years back. Second, I wanted to include two new characters that I had swimming in my head for quite some time. And finally, I wanted to test my creative juices and see if I could come up with a Dinobot combiner that would give Predaking (or any Decepticon for that matter) a run for his money. Anyway, I'm proud to say that I managed to succeed on all three counts.

Here are some comparison between the original Dinobots I modelled a few years prior and my new improved versions. As with most of my models at the time, these were largely influenced by artwork from the Dreamwave Transformers comics that I collected at the time.

Now when the Dinobots first came out, way back in the 80's. They were based after in my opinion, the 5 of the most popular dinosaurs of the time. Left out though was the Ankylosaurus. Although he wasn't as popular as the others, I still think a "walking tank" with a clubbed tail was unique enough to get a dinobot design. Unfortunately, toy makers thought otherwise. So I sought to fix that oversight. Here's my idea of what a Dinobot ankylosaurus would look like. In keeping with all the “S” names, I dubbed this guy SLAM which I think is just perfect.

Next we have the Velociraptor which really only became popular after the movie Jurassic Park. Since then, he's become one of the most recognizable dinosaurs and one that some would say, pound for pound, is the fiercest dinosaur ever. I liked the idea of making a runt sized dinobot. SLASH may be small, but just like his dinosaur counterpart is just as fierce...with a rotten pissed off attitude (due to the fact that he hates being so damn small) and you've got one bad bot.

Now I created these 2 Dinobots all the way back in 2005. Nine years later, in 2014, Hasbro released a Dinobot velociraptor as part of their Age of Extinction toy line interestingly named...Slash! Now aside from sharing the same name, same altmode and similar dual handheld weaponry, my Slash and Hasbro’s had absolutely NOTHING in common :P I would often joke to my friends that Hasbro must have copied my concept and design and as a result owed me royalties.

Anyway, as mentioned earlier, my last objective was to make a Dinobot combiner. Nowadays, there are a number of Third party companies that have made their own versions of Dinobot combiners to varying degrees of success. But back in 2005, aside from the occasional fan art, there weren’t that many concepts of a Dinobot combiner going around. I’d like to think that mine was one of the first fully realized one. At a friend's suggestion, I named him Monstrus.

Finally, as part of their Power of the Primes line in 2017, the concept of a Dinobot combiner became official canon when Hasbro announced the release of their updated Dinobots and their combined form Volcanicus. Funnily enough, aside from the original five, they also included a little addition in the form of another Velociraptor guessed it Slash. And if the original movie version wasn’t enough to convince you that Hasbro was copying* my idea, I’ll just leave a picture of their more G1 styled Slash next to mine :)

Another funny thing worth mentioning is that before actual official news and images of Hasbro’s Power of the Primes line were released, some guy lifted off renders of my Monstrus, blurred them and posted them on Transformers news sites on Facebook to drum up excitement from fans. Talk about “fake news” but I was flattered. I immediately set the record straight by posting the unblurred version. Oh well, at least it gave my work and website some bonus exposure after all these years.

Anyway, for quite some time I decided not to get these new Dinobots, mainly because I thought they were collectively too small and well….their combined form Volcanicus looked rather weak.  Then 3rd party company, TDW (Transform Dream Wave), came along and released pictures of their upcoming upgrade kit for Volcanicus making him look quite impressive.  I was immediately sold.  

Now I’m more on the side of fans who think that ultimately combining Dinobots aren’t really a necessity in the Transformers universe.  But I don’t mind it either and have always been open to having some sort of combining Dinobot set in my collection.  But prior the the Power of the Primes Dinobots, the only way to go where with the previously mentioned 3rd party sets which to me were just too expensive.  So I figured, that while the individual Dinobot sizes still bothered me, I really liked the end result of Volcanicus paired up with TDW’s upgrade kit. And his total price point was just right for me. So I set out to get my own Power of the Primes Dinobot team.

I’m sure a lot of collectors can relate to when you see a certain toy on the shelves so many times but pass on it, and when you finally decide to get it, it’s no longer in easily available.  Well that was the case for me and these damn Dinobots. It seemed like the announcement of these Dinobot upgrades, got all the other people like me who were previously on the fence to finally buy in.  It took some time, but after scouring practically every toy store in my area, I eventually completed my Dinobot set,  And a few months later finally got my TDW upgrade kit.  So now I finally have a pretty good looking Dinobot combiner on my shelf.  He may not be Monstrus but….he’s close enough.

 * for the record, in case you initially didn’t get it, let me make it clear I have no delusions that the concept of a Dinobot Velociraptor named Slash is originally my idea and that Hasbro copied it. Stating that they owe me royalties is a joke. I just find it funny and pretty cool that someone over at Hasbro was thinking on the same wavelength as me :) BUT, if they release an Ankylosaurus named SLAM....

 ** for more of my Transformers 3D stuff, check out :)