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Monday, August 26, 2013

Charticon Exclusive Tech Specs

Whew, it feels like I've been gone forever. Charticon took up so much of my time I barely had room for anything else (which I know my wife didn't appreciate, lol). But now I've got my time back and since we aren't going to have another show until 2015, I have some time to get back to the blogging community I love! It is amazing what six months away will do, especially to your stats! I was running around 5-6K visitors per month in December and then when I got super busy it dropped dramatically back down to 2-3K per month. But that doesn't really matter that much, I just missed talking about my favorite hobby!

So I thought the first couple of "return to the land of the living" posts should be about some things we did for the show, and this initial one is a doozy!

So if you know anything about me at all, you know I love tech specs. So I thought it would be a good idea to create some exclusive tech specs for the convention! My original idea was to make them a Friday-night only (we had a patio party on Friday night) give-away but I decided to offer them up to anyone who wanted to purchase them on Saturday and Sunday. I created three different sets and "blind-packed" them so when we handed them out people wouldn't know which set they were getting and then they would come back on Saturday or Sunday to purchase the other two sets they were missing. Or they could trade and swap them baseball card style for the ones they wanted at the Friday night party.

Oh and please forgive the camera flash, I haven't been able to set my light box back up yet.
Set 1 Movie
Creating these specs was nothing short of challenging to say the least. Choosing the characters was the most fun, I decided to use characters who never had toys released in the G1 line (and thus would not have existing tech specs). For the first set: Movie, I had to pull stills from the 1986 DVD and then create the appropriate 1986 background for each character. Since the background was a relatively simple sunburst on black to red or purple gradient that wasn't too much trouble, it just took forever to mask out the characters. I also had to re-create the tech spec template in illustrator by hand measuring an existing G1 tech spec since there were no high quality scans available and I had to create individual stats anyway. And yes, they actually work with tech spec readers! In fact, we even included a tech spec reader with each set (which I also had to cut by hand from a large red acetate sheet). So yeah, a lot of work.

Set 2: Japanese
Set two was based on all Japanese characters who had never been released in America. So obviously I was looking at characters from primarily Headmasters, Masterforce and Victory. With Flywheels help we came up with ten characters who we thought would be intriguing. Did I mention that I had to write most of these specs myself? That was probably the most daunting part. With Set 2 I was able to use a little information from the translations of the Japanese bios, but I wanted to do a little more world-building, especially where Legout and Decibel are concerned, so I embellished a bit. (I also had great fun with the Quintessons in Set 1). The backgrounds on these were a little more difficult, but fortunately most of the characters were from Victory so their backgrounds were the white grid on either purple or red. The exception being Minerva which for some reason has a Victory background on her original tech rather than the Masterforce version. Also, Metalhawk (I assume because he was released early in 1988) has a 1987 background design on his original tech as well, so I used the same pattern I used on Legout and Decibel. And I have to give props to Botch from whom I stole all the images for these specs. The only image I had to alter was Browning as I had to fix his foot and gun since he wouldn't fit otherwise.

Set 3: Comics
The final set were characters from the incredibly popular and well-written More Than Meets The Eye comic series. Personally I am in love with this book and I thought people might like some specs of characters that had never received toys. Writing these was a little more precarious as you never know what is going to happen in future issues that might change a character's background, so I tried to stay to basic information and minor characters where I could. I even contacted James Roberts to see if he would be open to helping, but unsurprisingly he did not respond and I can't blame him. Again, I wanted to give specs to characters who never had them before, so all the main guys like Swerve, Skids, Rodimus, etc are out since they "technically" already have G1 specs of their own. It was also fun because I did two "dual" specs, Shock and Ore (duobots) and Sonic and Boom (combiners). If you see these in person you'll notice there are two tech spec lines corresponding to the color of the name in the header. Clearly, I spent waaaaaaaay too much time on these. For the backgrounds on these I just shadowed out the scene where I pulled the image from (not to mention I had to scan every image in manually) to highlight the subject of the tech spec. So usually you can still see the background a bit and I thought that was neat.

So there you have it, three of the Charticon exclusives that never really got any press mostly because I wanted them to be a surprise for the attendees of the Friday night party. As I have received absolutely zero feedback on them from anyone I kind of regret that decision now and wish I had hyped them a little more. Especially with the amount of work that went into them. But the nice thing is I now have thirty more tech specs to add to my collection :)

Oh and I promise it won't be another month before the next post this time!


  1. Those are great looking! I can't imagine the patience required to pull those off! Looking forward to the next installment of Charticon as I really want to go since I missed the first one. Bang up job!

    1. Thanks dude! I'm looking forward to a bit of a break myself, lol!

  2. hey buddy, welcome back to the bloogy life!
    I gotta say, the Tech Specs look amazing. Stunning actually. I would be very interested in the text of those Techs... (pun).
    Love the idea about the MTMTE characters as well (this is currently my most highly rated series and I anticipate its release every month!).
    Could a Senator Roller, Tyrest, Pharma spec be on the cards at some point?

    1. Thanks! It is good to be back. Well you know I actually have a couple extra sets if you're interested :)

      I don't think I will be doing any more though, they aren't as popular as I was hoping. But they are really nice, they're printed on glossy card stock so they hold up against the original G1's. And I really don't know enough about what James Roberts has planned for those characters to do them justice. Can you imagine if I had tried to do one for Shockwave? LOL!

    2. I'm definitely interested buddy! Sign me up for a set! =)

      It's still interesting to see what you have wrote for them. But yeah,Roberts turns a lot of stuff on its head.

      Imagine if you wrote one for Ultra Magnus... ahem.

      Oh, MTMTE #20 is out today!

    3. You got it, I'll include them with your shipment! Yeah, that would have been an absolute disaster.

  3. Since I'm still trying to catch up on my IDW comic reading, the 3rd set didn't make much sense to me when I first read them...but now having some insight to some of the characters I can't wait to get caught up in my reading!

    1. Yeah, it may not be a good idea to read them before you've read the comics, although I did my best to stay spoiler-free.

    2. Colbey, I highly recommend MTMTE. If you only read 1 series this year, it should be MTMTE!