Realizing I had only a month to go, I called into question the need for packaging for Redline, at least for OTFCC 2003. Then I realized that part of what makes my projects unique is the full 9 yards that I take these things. I started altering the Steelskin Photoshop file that made up the pattern for the first box, but I soon learned that it was not a simple process converting it to a Decepticon box. I wanted to keep the established size of an Autobot car package. I spent a few long days working with the file to get it into Decepticon form. With more than 70 layers to start with, it was pretty confusing. What was I thinking 2 years ago?? I ended up re-scanning or re-creating most of the layers, but hopefully it will be easier to change around in the future, if such a need should arise.

TECH SPECS

After fussing with the box pattern for a bit, I decided to make the tech specs. The tech specs file is actually separate so it's easier to manage the layers and such. After some color matching and test shots, the separate tech specs came out pretty well. For easy reading, the techspecs read like so:

DECEPTICON | REDLINE
FUNCTION: WARRIOR
"On your mark, get set...DIE!"

REDLINE Is a brash, impatient Decepticon who loves the smell of melted tires and flaming wreckage. Blown 426 Hemi engine produces 2000+ horsepower with land speeds topping 400mph. Blower motor reverses flow for jet pack mode. 6-Barrel Vulcan cannon fires 6600 rounds per minute of 20mm depleted uranium-tipped explosive shells. Multiple rocket launchers accurate up to 2 miles. Especially fearful of cosmic rust.
Strength: 9
Intelligence: 8
Speed: 10
Endurance: 3
Rank: 6
Courage: 8
Firepower: 6
Skill: 9

INSTRUCTION BOOK

Side 1 Side 2 3 Done Scraps


I finished Redline's Instructions about a week after OTFCC in 2003. Redline didn't win anything in the art contest this year, but I had a great time with my friends Tommy and CrazySteve, and I got to meet some nice fans of Steelskin and Redline. Anyway, the files I set up for Steelskin's booklet needed work, much like the box. Before the convention I took pics of Redline in various positions during transformation, enhanced and cropped them in Photoshop, and wrote the instructions. Once again, the printing was the real killer. I chopped 11x17" paper down to 8.5x17 because the instructions are actually about 15" long. My computer/printer doesn't understand paper that long so I had to trick it a bit by feeding the paper through once, rotating it around, printing again, flipping it over, and repeating until all 4 sections (some printed upside-down) were printed and lined up. This took fewer duds than Steelskin's instructions, but is still not a perfectly easy process, though the files I finished with are better than what I started with. I made 2 perfect booklets and one "passable" one.

FOAM INSERT

I decided to go with a foam box insert for Redline for basically 2 reasons:
1. I didn't have that much luck with Steelskin's bubble, hated the process and thought the foam would be easier.
2. I thought I might enjoy something new.

Well, one out of two ain't bad. The foam started out as inserts for a new piece of furniture. It was taller and deeper than the box, which provided a little wiggle room for error. I sketched out the pattern for the figure and weapons, based on pictures I could find from Japanese G1 figures. Foam is not user-friendly to work with. I used a heated X-acto blade and X-Acto saw blade, solder iron, and a household iron. The blades were used to slice deep, the solder iron to make deep gashes, and the iron evened out surfaces and helped to round the corners. I did the whole thing in one night, as opposed to Steelskin's bubble taking 3 weeks. So when I die 2 weeks earlier from toxic poison and styrene shavings in my lungs someday, I will know I was still ahead of the game by a few days. I would not recommend the heated X-Acto method, as re-heating the blades caused some styrofoam to catch fire, and the toxic fumes were just raunchy. Plus it totally ruined both blades. But hey if you don't care it was very effective in cutting the foam, though if you keep a hot knife or iron in place the foam melts VERY quickly and can distort before you know it.

BOX CONSTRUCTION

After the insert was done, I dusted off the box pattern I made for Steelskin (read about it HERE), found the extra supply of box material (still not telling what it is) and got to work cutting the pattern and shaping the box together, allowing for the foam insert to slide gracefully in and out.


I made a miniature box printed on a sheet of paper and put the not-quite-to-scale 1/64 Charger inside. It gave me a pretty good idea of how it would look in the end, and I was inspired to go on. I had to look at Steelskin's box to figure out how to put Redline's box together. I had totally forgotten how I did it. I printed out each panel as a section, some joined, and with spray glue I layered the printouts over the cardboard. My wife was gracious enough to let me do this inside, as it was getting dark and our monsoon season was starting. The whole box assembly was done in one night on July 15, 2003.

So that's it: figure, box, weapons, tech specs and instruction booklet, and a product number (5784/5780 Asst) in line with the Decepticon Jets assortment from 1984. I figure he'd have shipped one or two to a case with Starscream, Thundercracker, and Skywarp, and maybe sat next to Steelskin on the shelf :)


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