Hasbro Roundtable Allspark Roundup February 06, 2023
Today on the roundtable with Hasbro were discusseed some interesting toyline deteails, to be clear no RotB movie details were discussed, no mainline toys recently announced but studio series and Legacy was a go for questions.
Q:/ Rodimus Primal – Was the single cassette window on Twincast a conscious decision or was it a budget limitation & can we see core-class individual or sets releases for their cassettes such as Ramhorn or Steeljaw?
A:/ Mark Meher – Soundblaster had a double-chest but not a lot of people didn’t like that and the (Autobot) Blaster mold was so clean that it wasn’t needed because on the animated series neither Soundblaster or Twincast had bigger chests on their models.
Q:/ With the inclusion of the smirk face for Twincast, could we expect something like a toy head or a Marvel comics head?
A:/ We could not include the toy head for Twincast as he was based on his animation look, but we want to give you an opportunity so stay tuned for those things to pop up thought the line.
Q:/ Matt T – The Studio series line strives to give the most accurate version of a character, for the RotB Airazor she shares transformation with the WFC Trilogy Kingdom release, was that an intentional thing or a happenstance of her design with ILM?
A:/ Evan Brooks – She was accurate to the model that we had at the time; models, colours and other details change during development, but at the time she was correct, the reason as to why she shares transformation was because at the time they (the beasts) were being designed, they took a lot of influence from classic Beast Wars, so when you watch the movie a lot of them made me think: “Oh these are all the Transmetal designs” like they almost seemed to function the same as well, so when working with Yuya-san he suggested that the transformation would be similar, so we said: “Let’s do this” there are no reused pieces from Kingdom Airazor it just uses a similar conversion.
Sam Smith – This was the first movie we didn’t work with ILM this was MPC a Moving Picture Company, it was an interesting experience because we had a different work flow with ILM as we partnered with them for 6 movies and had a different form of collaboration but we moved to MPC, they were great contributors.
Q:/ Toys are russ – It used to happen that the cartoon was based on the toys, but since the 1986 movie it has happened that the toys were based on the cartoon designs, nowadays what comes first the toy or the model?
A:/ Evan Brooks – I guess in this case it’s the toys based on the concept of the movie as at the time we worked on them they were still concept art.
Q:/ Jack – Tformers – Was the Volvo Optimus Prime originally going to be the Amazon Prime Optimus that leaked a while ago?
A:/ Ben MacCrae – Obviously we can’t comment on products that did or didn’t happen, we have a good partnership all around with Volvo, we did the construction piece for Studio series Devastator with Volvo and our brand leader at the time wanted to continue the partnership so we took a page from our Star wars team friends to do a holiday Optimus and making him look like that comic cover and recreate Optimus on a Santa suit and then Sam worked on the classic one and we’re super excited that you’ll see it later this year in the glorious G1 Colour scheme.
Q:/ So was the Australian Amazon listing just a rumor?
A:/ Well you know how crazy Australians sometimes they just like to go rogue.
Q:/ Antony Polinick – We know there’s a 2-year period to get an idea from concept to product, in terms like comments and feedback is there a way to Fasttrack ideas or is it something which that 2-year period no matter the issue?
A:/ Evan Brookes – Depends on what the issue is, for example if it’s something where we need to create a brand new figure, we try to shrink that timeline, we said 2 years but it’s more like year and a half, if it’s a serious issue we need to run an investigation that has to run through we have to pinpoint where the problem was, where it came from so it can take from 6 months or a year, but if it’s other issues like packaging that can take around 6 months.
Delaney Norris – It depends too what the feedback is and what point of development we are, if it’s very very early on we can address it but if it’s a few months before release, we have such a small window there’s little we can do.
Mark Meher – Like with the Prime Arcee and Bulkhead we got a lot of feedback and we could formulate them into actions for releasing Prime Skyquake.
Q:/ Antony Brucale – TRU.INFO – I just want to tell you all that we love the livestreams, you’re really finding ways to tap into the history of the brand, what universes do you have but haven’t been represented into the line (Legacy)?
A:/ Sam Smith – Absolutely every piece of transformers history. I have some obscure ones but I feel if I share them it might give things away.
Ben MacCrae – Is this the #AllOfThem? Minus Live action ‘cause that’s the joy of Studio series. I mean no property is essentially off limits for marketing size perse, like we’re approaching our 40th anniversary, we have 40 years of history to pull from for Legacy and that’s what we’re loving and doing, obviously you’re seeing it, I want my little dude, my little Seaspray
Mark Meher – There’s a bunch! There’s a bunch!
Evan Brookes – We haven’t touched Energon in quite a while, that’s probably due for some updates.
Q:/ Jeremy Dennis – TransMissions podcast – We were talking about Metalhawk on our podcast, you can’t really tell it came from a Cyclonus except for a couple of panels, we were wondering how do you plan on making multiple characters from a mold like that? Is it a preplanned thing or does it happen as it goes along?
A:/ Evan Brookes – It’s a couple of things, we do preplans certain characters, we think we can make X, Y or Z character, specifically on the case of Metalhawk, we looked and said “Oh it’s the 35th anniversary of Masterforce, we gotta do something” so looked at Cyclonus and thought “Yeah we could do that, that’s easy enough” sometimes it’s just things like that, I have a document actually that we have put together that is listing our figures and it shows robot mode, vehicle mode and there are notes to the side “Could be this, could be that later down the line” so try to keep track of them… and it is monstruous.
Mark Meher – Yeah, we usually go back and forth through our working days and something’s sitting on the back of your mind “Yeah, I can turn that guy into that dude”, you send your mockup and you send it through the chat and wonder how you’re going to do that, a couple of them are preplanned like Evan said, like I preplanned Road rocket.
Ben MacCrae – Our TT (Takara Tomy) team is huge in that too, like we can load in an idea and we come back with this design plan and we’re like “how did you figure that out?”.
Q:/ Protoman – You were talking about tooling, how many heads are preplanned in advanced with the design with that initial tooling?
A:/ Evan Brookes – Is usually one extra, like sometimes we can get more, but more often than not, but depending on size, scale and room and how many accessories we can put we plan ahead is usually an extra head, we try to be tooling conscious there are rare cases where there are more, but sometimes is less.
Mark Meher – Sometimes is not even a head, sometimes is a weapon and a head, sometimes even if you want, there’s 2 head, like there’s a faceplate involved, when we have a project you kinda have to look into the future, you have to have the crystal ball, maybe sometimes things will align maybe things won’t align, we’ve gotten a lot better at aligning because a lot of heads didn’t see the light of day, you see how cool the heads are and like “Oh man this characters could’ve came out” but whatever fits in the line, we try.
Ben MacCrae – We’re uncovering heads, that previous designers put on the mold, that’s the direct result of Galaxy shuttle, was Mark poking around one day and just like “Oh look what we can do” and that’s how Galaxy shuttle happened.
Q:/ Matt Guzy – Holiday Prime, fantastic toy, but let’s talk evo-fusion, does it simplify things the fact that the figure comes apart and you can slap it unto others or does that add another level of design complexity being armour, vehicle and robot?
A:/ Sam Smith – I’ll let Mark go into detail, but I think if it broke apart it would be a breeze, but I think the fact that we were able to retain a full transforming robot to vehicle that then breaks apart in addition made these so much more complex than a lot of the building systems that we’ve done.
Mark Meher – Obviously Takara was a major component, Hajime-san who I worked with on the combiner of Menasor and Motormaster and what not was a designer I worked closely with to do the junkions, it was a big effort a lot of time to figure out, ‘cause don’t get me wrong, the whole functionality that the whole weaponizer system of the modular system that the Fossilizers had is just so successful in like a play value type situation for kids to play, customize and build but that was that one aspect that we had to figure out as a regular transformation and it was difficult and Hajima-san did figure out so many miracle things with it, then it was constantly tweaking from there, the styling, how many accessories, how many accessories can interact with each other and the fact that the vehicle modes could do the same, I think the transformation sequence was like, let’s do this transformation sequence that isn’t completely insane but when you get them in hand you’re like “oh wow, these are really good engineered transformation sequences” but the fact that making the vehicles work with each other when you haven’t even designed the future characters that weren’t in with the program, then you gotta figure out how it is they will do that.
Ben MacCrae – We really expect to see your creations by the end of the year, post them on social media and we will share them.
Q:/ Toy are russ – Is it possible to release a weapon pack for Evolution to receive stuff like the Skywarp’s variable-calibre machine guns or core class Optimus’ axe?
A:/ Ben MacCrae – It’s something that is brought up frequently, putting just a weapons pack is hard to fit it on a line, so we make it a pulse exclusive and some people had trouble getting it, but we’re reviewing how to make it exciting and fun and get it out there, maybe we could release Skywarp without the fork gun and release it that way so people can have that version of the character.
Q:/ Ryan – Seems some people have problems getting store exclusives like Netflix Soundwave or Bumblebee, is there something being done to help collectors get a chance at getting them?
A:/ We’re very tuned into the market, we don’t want our fans to feel they’re being left out, sadly the Netflix collection was a sad byproduct of COVID, Cosmos ended up being exponentially more popular than we expected, so we’re working on it, but we have exclusivity windows before we’re allowed to touch that character again, Soundwave was on the SG line last year, so it’s off that exclusive list, perse, so probably there’s going to be a chance for you to see him again, Bumblebee is a little bit more complicated because he’s a licensed VW (Volkswagen) and those licenses are only expected to be for the year they’re on shelves, so we’d need to revise enough pieces to resign that licensing deals but if we try to make 4 Soundwaves a year, we might take away from other characters that could take that spot and need it better along the way, we’ll see what we can do there.
Evan Brookes – If we do Soundwave again for SS86 I would do a new mold, so I can bring him to the heigh of Blaster and everyone else.
Q:/ Chris (Radio Free Cybertron) – Are the parts for the Blaster cassettes bound or can they be done separately?
A:/ Mark Meher – Rewind and the Blaster chest piece are smokey black but the chest is painted, we put a lot of effort but it’s a bit of a gamble and mixing the colours can be difficult even with difficult colours.
Q:/ Juan Barreto – The engineering of the War for Cybertron and Legacy lines has been excellent. What were some of your favorite transformation engineering innovations that the design team come up with for these lines?
A:/ Evan Brooks – Siege Hound, the side of the car how it folds unto forming the legs for robot, I don’t know why that blew my mind and the standardized articulation we’ve put is a big plus.
Q:/ West Charleston Dison Carthcan III – The Studio series Cheetor has some details reminiscent of Transmetal and Beast Machines Cheetor was that an intention thing? Do you guys think of putting the names of designers on the boxes of the figures?
A:/ Evan Brookes – Cheetor was based on the CAD file we got from Paramount at the time, putting the names of designers on the back of the box is difficult as there’s a whole team working on the figure and you also gotta translate it 5 times and there’s a lot of text on the back of the box.
Q:/ Toys are russ – Shockwave is still purple, why can’t he be a gun?
A:/ Evan Brookes – Dark purple is still considered too close to gun related colours, they basically have to be bright neon colours.
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