|How I turned this...||...Into this|
Project: Redline began on August 15, 2002 and the figure was completed in late June, 2003. I took dozens of progression pictures as I went along so everyone can get an idea of what goes into a project like this. For those of you who decide to try to make your own Transformer, I hope this site is helpful for you. I received hundreds of emails from fans of Project: Steelskin and how much the website helped with their own work, so I decided to keep the format similar. It also serves as proof that this whole thing was scratch built. Keep in mind here that I've been making plastic models since around 1986, and have been working with styrene consistently since around 1992. The images are all thumbnailed for your convienence.
Pictured above are some of the first week's work. The first bits of work went very fast, and at that rate it felt like it might take only a few weeks to complete. Uh,.. no. I did a top and side view drawing of a '69 Dodge Charger so the body panels could be lined up to scale. The left front fender was created in only an hour or so, then I moved on to the hood. The blower motor sticks out of the hood, and I needed to make the hole big enough so that the hood could lift over it. I taped the blower in place to test the new pieces for scale and just to imagine how the whole thing might look. Just like with Steelskin, an important aspect of this project was that I wanted to make the thickness of all of the body panels the same as if Takara/Hasbro had made it (either 2 0.20" layers or 3 0.15" layers glued and held in place while the glue dried to shape). This time I would not hold back on the detail as much and it will be a strong combination of modeling skills and Transfandom. The finished figure is lacking in just a few details (bits of front and rear bumpers, gear shift, and side mirror) because I felt they might break off too easily.
As things moved on, I had to start coming up with pivot points and hinges on my own, since I was scratch building. I discovered a strong, reliable way to make tiny joints by heating up straight pins and pushing them through the styrene sticks. This took some practice but was well worth it. I bought this box of straight pins when I was building my first detailed DeLorean model in 1994 (I used them for door latch posts). The box of 400 pins cost me about $2.25 back then and will last through my next few projects. Cheap hobbies rule! Pictured above are shots of the engine block, progression of the left front fender, and one of his fist/forearm assemblys with the dual-pivot hinge.
The arm was progressing nicely at this point. The forearm attached to the fender without too much hassle, and it made for a realistic elbow joint. The next step was to make the shoulder joint. The second type of dual pivot joint allows for 360 degree pivot and also a 180 degree perpendicular movement. This is almost as good as any ball joint, but stronger. The gray part sticking out eventually is where the hood half will attach. The front grill splits in half to make the two forearms. The Fast and the Furious Charger (allegedly a '69 with '68 front end) does not have a middle section. Personally I liked the middle piece of the grill so I went with it. About the middle of September I began working on the frame. This work needed to be precise otherwise the car would have a nasty frame torque and body panels wouldn't line up. One of my reference Chargers was this '69 Charger 500 (flush front grill and sloped rear deck) Sheriff car from Road Champs. It's a little smaller than Transformer scale, but the blower still looked kinda cool on the hood so I took a pic to inspire me.
It wouldn't be one of my websites unless I rant about something here and there. Quite the opposite in this case. My wife got me the coolest wedding gift I could have asked for, a nice Kodak Easyshare LS443 digital camera. No more webcam pics! On the way out of town to our honeymoon we bought a 128mb memory stick, which could hold like 180 pics at medium resolution. Insane. Well since I didn't read the manual I didn't bring the docking/charging station (just the a/c adapter) and the factory non-charged battery ran out after just 3 pictures in San Francisco. Lucky we brought our regular camera and we just bought more rolls of film and had a great time. Anyway, I had a good chuckle when I saw the first pic after several months. My workspace was so clean an organized! Not the case anymore. These pics represent about 15 days' work and show some early frame development, the addition of doors, and the backseat (with individual seat cushion bits - front seats will be added 22 days later.) Note the styrene debris in every corner of that picture and probably every picture from now on - this stuff gets EVERYWHERE after a while. Note the scorched fingers - working with hot metal pins can occasionally be painful! The last pic in this series is of my little bucket of junk bits, where I get screws, springs, etc. Been collecting stuff since I was about 10 years old.