Interview with “Penguin One”, MMC’s Product Developer

Kultur

Got a nice surprise after the interview with MMCs newest designer, Jesslyn Makes Robots. Ive already interviewed two of their designers (Griffith76 and Jesslyn); This time I get a crack at the next step in the MMC corporate ladder with a chance to interview their Product Developer, Penguin One.

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First things first: thanks for agreeing to do this. To tell you the truth I told Griffith that it would be really cool if one of his MMC higher ups would came to speak here in the MMC Hub but I really wasnt expecting a yes for an answer that easily.

Well, what can I say other than we like to interact with the fans. Its one of the things that has set us apart for a long time inside the 3P community. You could say we started a trend. We are fans too but we also treat this very seriously. It is a business after all. And professional businesses today dont hide in the shadows and shouldnt be afraid to get in contact with their customers if they believe in their products. Even if we are 3P, any opportunity to talk about what we do shouldnt be wasted.

Slowly but surely we are seeing a bigger turnout of new figures from you guys. And that is considering stuff like Nero Rex that Im sure takes production time away from the old factory. How is the new factory working out?

The new factory? Thats old news. In total we have developed two more factories this year and hopefully we can see some improvements on our speed down the road. Furthermore, the original factory for Reformatted line is expanding in the coming year.

Great! So you basically can have dedicated factories for each of your lines! Weve heard many times, and felt, the consequences of crappy factories numerous times. Is it that hard to get a factory to do a decent transforming toy?

Well, speaking of the factory responsible for the OX line for example; they underestimated the difficulty of Sphinx in the beginning. It worried us a lot when we received the T1 which was floppy and full of errors. For example, if you look at Sphinx’s T1 photo, the shoulder launcher was mirrored by mistake, and there are other issues which could have made this project a failure. After months of mold modifications, now I can say I am 99% happy for the final product. It is never easy to coach a new factory.

Can we expect less time from reveal to release then?

On average, a transformable figure probably takes us 10 months or longer from design to finish, I think other companies would take the same amount of time, or maybe we are really too slow. You know, MMC is pretty renowned for taking time on things, maybe MMC should be considered lucky for not going bankrupt so far. But I dont believe that is the case. Fact is that we dont want to just change name like others have done if things go bad. We are already associated with great quality and wont give up on that. Like in the example I just gave you with Sphinx. We could have just rushed it out but then it wouldnt really be an MMC product and we certainly would not like to tarnish the MMC name just to have something in MP scale out fast.

To answer your question, maybe the only solution is to reveal the projects when our molds are ready, so people will see a smaller window of waiting. I believe it is how other companies are doing it now. We really need to keep our mouths shut. But that would come with a price: we wouldnt be able to enjoy things like seeing the faces full of excitement at the TFCON 3rd party panel.

Expect Sphinx to ship to our customers in two weeks time.

What about Seraph? He probably holds a record of developing time. People still get excited for it but is his destiny that of just showing up at Cons?

Let me just tell you this: Seraph will be released. Ill tell you even more: Seraph’s mold is ready. His final scheme has been finally approved; we have been testing different schemes and just recently before TFCON we got a very satisfying result. After the stock photos are done, preorders will be up.

Great to hear! And speaking of TFCON, Jaguar come out of left field. What else can we expect from the REmix line?

I have to admit, when the mechanism designer handed over this design to us, I underestimated the potential of this line. I didn’t know whether the scale would work. When I handled the prototype, that concern didn’t exist anymore. This whole idea is brilliant.

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What else do you want to see in REmix?

We have quite large of selections in the character pool to REmix; if it all goes well we can even have plans for original characters.

Ooooh, original characters can be difficult for 3P to sell. What about the price? Will that help the line?

We could have priced 40 dollars if it was full plastic, but we ended up with the 60 dollar price point with lots of die cast. We can always go back to full plastic if people think it is too pricey, but that will break my heart. The weight and the finish of the die cast parts of Jaguar pushed this design to a new height. If I plan on displaying something next to my desk I expect it to look and feel good.

Could a Walkman Soundwave be part of the future of the line?
I couldn’t say too much for now. And it depends on whether the first one is received well.

These last two years youve done quite a number of exclusives. The biggest being a whole five member combiner in the form of Nero Rex. Can we expect more cool repaints in the future?

Hope you like our repaint ideas. We always think about repaints when we finish the design, some were even planned together with the main character.And a tight partner of ours has had a word with us that he wants all the black repaints for his convention.

Getting your hands on one of those convention exclusives can be hard, or expensive to be more precise. Could we at the MMC Hub get an exclusive? It would be a nice change for those that cant go to Cons to get into the action!

Why not, let’s talk about it hey, I suddenly have an idea to run a contest through the MMC Hub. How about one to choose a paint scheme design for the Reformatted Dicamus (not Roadbuster remold of Titanika) mold? The winning design will be realized into production, and we might hire the winner for future work. What do you think?

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Sounds like a great start. Thanks!

Happy to see Vulcan being revealed. Was bored of having pictures of it getting cobwebs in my hard drive! I also know you have other Reformatted and Ocular Max releases planned but there is that bit about an Ocular Max Defensor that was discussed a few months ago. Hows that coming?

Sorry to say that Vulcan is no more! The name I mean lol. Vulcan will be undergoing a name change. The name now is Backdraft. The reason for this is that we just found out another company had taken this name for their product before we did. Backdraft is a cool name though!

Maximum Pro is still in the pipeline. We started the project after Feral Rex, but we have been battling internally for its scale, build and even alt modes. It will be our next big thing after we finish the first wave of the OX characters. Hopefully by then collectors will have a better idea what we want to deliver with this brand.

Bet half of those revolve around that controversial bike that turns into a leg!

Well, thats a given; its one of the craziest combiners when it comes to scales lol But not just the bike. You have other vehicles that are also way out of scale with each other in the real world. Then there is the issue of scale with other MP sized bots. We want to take our time to make something we believe in.

There are a lot of Ocular Max releases planned. What about Reformatted? Will it keep turning out new stuff like before?

Then plan is up our releases there too. The Reformatted line has quite a few new designs in the pipeline, and the added value of a grand storyline behind the products. We just met an etailer at TFCON, he asks us not to quit this line even after Ocular Max tops it, as we have grown a group of supporters these years.

I recently talked to Jesslyn, one of your new designers. Her next project for the Ocular Max line looks killer. Will be seeing more of her work for MMC?

Certainly!

Noticed that you are crediting the people involved in the creation of Sphinx right on his box. Have to say I really like that you are giving credit where credit is due.

Thanks! MMC is the end product of a lot of people wanting to surpass themselves from project to project. We believe that great work has to be recognized.

It also means that your talent can be scouted away from you. Jesslyn told me she was contacted by some companies.

We dont own our designers; some of them have done work for other companies after all. But we do treat them very good. Thats why we are confident that they will work their hardest for us. Plus Im sure that having your design being looked after with great care to get the best final result counts too.

As for Jesslyn, I do want to take this chance to say something to other designers: careful with who gets in contact with you. With Jess there was a person (lets leave it at that) that recently contacted her boasting about his position inside the 3P industry in a way we have seen before. The case we know of ended with a designer selling his time and work but never getting actually paid for it. Dont want to sound like Im out to scare people. Just that be careful with your work. Some parts of the 3P world are very shadowy and that creates opportunities for scammers with honey mouths.

Well, thanks for mentioning it. Really sucks that there are people out there wanting to steal the work of others to pass it of as theirs. But lets not end this on a sour note: Overlord is awesomely gigantic. When can I expect to kiss his sexy lips in the comfort of my own house?

This guys schedule should be April 2016 But dont believe everything that I said;)

Interview with Jesslyn, MMC’s newest designer!

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A few days ago I had the luck of chatting up with MMC’s latest designer. You might have noticed her Facebook page,Jesslyn Makes Robots. Yes, her; women can also like Transformers!

Disclaimer: Like in my interviews with Griffith76 (here and here), Jesslyn speaks as herself and not on behalf of MMC.

Hope you enjoy!

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How about you tell me how you got into TF?

Okay! It’s the cartoon’s fault; I loved it.

It was on every afternoon after school, and mum ended up buying me some of the toys, and they just were so different to anything I’d had before.

So you’re a geewunner? Any favourites?

This was around 1989? So I had Monstructor, and a few of the Seacons, and a bunch of Micromasters. I was at the tail end of g1.

Whenever I got a new one I’d arrange everybody in a circle to introduce each other like ‘hi! I turn into a manta ray! Oh wow that’s so cool, look at me I turn into a motor bike! Haha, they were all very peaceful and proud of themselves.

Peace through respectful introductions!

Haha yes!

Then for Christmas I got Powermaster Optimus prime and that was my favourite forever, mum still talks about how excited I was.

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You still have any of them?

All of them actually! I could never bring myself to part with them. I wish Ihad the shelf space to have them all out rather than suffocating in a crate, though.

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Have you kept up with any of the series that came after G1?

Very much yes! I loved beast wars, and I’m pretty sure it was that and the episode where Megatron shot G1 Optimus on the ark that made me want to do 3d fanart.

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So that was the spark that put you on the track you are now? From playing Hostess at Transformers introduction parties to playing creator god of Transformers!?

Haha! I hadn’t thought about it like that 😀

I have to credit Azim Venksta though, so much is his fault.

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He saw your 3d work?

I’ve known him since I was 15. We were both doing 3d fanart way back in 99/00.

So you’ve been part of the TF community for a long time!

I pretty much had stopped by 2005 because the spark had gone; Azim kept going and started his Renderform business.

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So one day he called you up to go at it again?

He has always been so supportive of my work and last year he wanted me to collaborate with him on some heads for Renderform, so you could say he pulled me out of retirement as far as this went haha.

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Seeing Vulcan it was sure worth it!

So we did the head for Toyworld’s Orion, and some IDW style heads for Fansproject Code and Smart Robin, along with some others that will hopefully see the light one day one of which was for MMC’s Predaqueen:D

Ssshhh, we don’t talk about her anymore!

Haha!

She was actually my first interaction with MMC. Azim had designed a head for her and I modeled it.

People expect to see her at Cons but they always get Seraph instead.

It doesn’t help that I have one of the prototype heads all the way down here in Australia haha.

You are full of scary predators down there; she must feel right at home!

Haha good point!

So MMC liked what you did and approached you?

Basically yeah. They even remembered some of the fanart I’d done ten years ago! I must have really made an impression.

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I started off buying Feral Rex like anybody else and never dreamed I’d be working with them, let alone my first project being alternate heads for the Feralcons:D

They first popped up on display in Jaegertron’s trophy cabinet at the Singapore con.

And how was the transition from heads to full body?

Heads are often the hardest part to get right so it was like a holiday haha.

Vulcan was my first full project. I had the G1 toy of Inferno thanks to the gold box Australian/European reissues in 1990, so he was one I was fond of.

I spent more time thinking about fire trucks than I ever wanted to, haha.

So it was even more special for you then! Cool. Saw your explanations for the text on the side of the firetruck. It really shows that you went the extra mile to make it special!

Thankyou! I was so worried that fans might find it controversial given how much complaining and analysis went into, say Sphinx’s Citanes font or Goofyear branding. And that was just a tiny little letter change for copyright reasons and not a big splashy fire department deco.

If you want to piss off fans then let’s do it the right way: Toon accurate or Toy accurate?

Haha I have to say toon; though the cartoon is not even accurate to itself! Using it for reference is a nightmare when they look different from episode to episode. Or frame to frame, even! You have to sort of either pick one that is the best representation or average them out.

Wrong! That was a trick question. You should have said “OX Style, OF COURSE!!”

Haha oops XD

OX does a fantastic job of adding extra detail and heroic style to the cartoon designs. Imagine if the cartoon had been animated like that! I did the head for Sphinx, which seemed very divisive, but I think I captured a look that suits him, the proto just looked off with the paint being so thick, all the crispness was lost.

Good last minute safe. I’m sure MMC approves!

Speaking of fans, how has your interaction with them been?

Really positive! A few remember my old fanart as well, and no one has come to my page just to diss my work yet haha.

I don’t really interact much on the major fansites anymore but Ido lurk and read quite a bit.

Any offers from other companies?

Haha yes actually but I have so much work lined up already between MMC and Corbot-V

Corbot-V happened through Azim, again XD

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That cool Allicon? (BTW, thanks Azim for getting Jesslyn into TF toy designing!)

Yeah! I’m proud of that one because I had to design the transformation and everything entirely from scratch. With the Vulcan and the other secret future OX figures I’ve worked on we have an expert transformation designer for the engineering who passes on a blocky model to be detailed and polished. So it’s very much a collaboration for OX.

Sounds like a tag team. How does that work exactly?

The transformation designer, who I believe wishes to remain anonymous, does his magic engineering the transformation in a really simple blocky fashion. So for Vulcan I had this as a starting point.

Legotastic!

So along with detailing him up, I refine the look and add some features. I made the body of the truck as gapless as possible, made functional side stabilizers, the hand hose weapon swapping gimmick without detaching parts, a second knee joint, etc.

Do you have a dream project you wish to work on?

I’m actually working on two of them right now ;D

But for one I’m actually able to mention I’d love to do IDW Nautica; she’s so precious.

So you’re a IDW comic fan too?

So much, MTMTE specifically! It was the first Windblade series that got me into them, though.

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Big fan I see! I would really love to see more sisters for Azalea on the Reformatted line!

Anything else you would like to say?

I don’t know! I just… I still can’t really believe this is all happening and that my love for a cartoon and years of poor financial choices with the toy collecting haha would lead to actually MAKING the toys I love so much. This is why my page says I fell accidentally into the world of toy design! I didn’t seek it out; and now, wow, I am so lucky <3

Sometimes out hobbies end up defining us. Very glad you’ve given me the chance to talkyou Jesslyn!

Thankyou! You’re welcome~

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(All the 3D render you can see here were created by Jesslyn)

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Stratosfear is the Stormbringer!

And continuing the TFcon reveals this year comes Stratosfear, the latest addition to the Mastermind Creations Reformatted line. Inspired directly form Thunderwing and the IDW comic Strombringer comes a big guy with a lot going on.

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And if you look closer in the upper right side of the pic above you will see that Stratosfear here also comes with a Pretender gimmick.

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Vulcan (aka Inferno) full reveal

Vulcan (aka Inferno) Full reveal

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This years TFcon has seen the debut of the next figure in the Ocular Max line, Mastermind Creations Studio OX inspired masterpiece style figures!

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I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this guy come into fruition from early 3d designsand I have to say I love that fire truck altmode.

The heavy red guy sports a lot of diecast metal parts as well as a detailed interior with a steering wheel and working doors. Expect chrome and a paint job that will do the renders justice.

 

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Photos thanks to:

tfw2005

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Enter RE:Mix Jaguar, something the kids will not understand

If you like Transformers since the early days then you know what a cassette is. Soundwave’s minionshave always been mini cassettes but in terms of scale they have always been a bit small. The Mastermind Creations RE:Mix line revisits these tiny bots taking a retro look.

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Ravage here, I mean “Jaguar”, sports a mix of plastic and diecast parts to make a robust cassette ready to patrol our workdesk.Here’s hoping this subline succeeds and gives us many small pets to procrastinate with.

 

Bugs, bugs everywhere!!

And let thebug war escalate!! Next up in the Ocular Max line from Mastermind Creations are the Insecticons!

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Potestas, Calcitrant and Inflector sport a simple looks that makes for a very clean set of bug bots.

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Ocular Max Q&A session about the upcoming MP style NotDefensor

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Last week renders of a certain fireman TF were revealed. The place of origin of said pics was the Ocular Max website. OM is MMC’s label for Masterpiece style 3P toys influenced by the Studio OX aesthetics. The reveal of NotHot Spot, or “Maximas Pro” also meant something big and new: the first combiner to go for the MP niche.

Defensor has been getting a lot of attention lately with TFC Prometheus, Maketoys upcoming Guardia and even Hasbro with their Combiner Wars Defensor. So, what does MMC’s version under their OM label have to offer? I asked members of the tfw2005 boards if they had any questions about the upcoming combiner. MMC’s in-house designer, Griffith76, has been kind enough to share some answers about the project. Please remember to take this with a pinch of salt since the project is still subject to change. And so, without further delay:

 

– How big is the combined mode?

Combined should be around 15″.

– Is it scramble city compatible?

Full scramble.

– Will all 5 members be unique molds?

They will look different in both modes but some might share certain parts in the areas that are not significant, for example mechanisms or joints.

Studio OX style Defensor

– Will they be sticking rigidly to g1 vehicles (aesthetically) like they are with Sphinx? For example, will Streetwise resemble an 80’s Nissan 300ZX.

We are going for the OX look but updating as and when necessary. OX is basically G1 toys on steriods and certain parts might be outdated. Initially I attempted to try more realistic vehicle models for the alt mode but it doesn’t look good combined. So its gonna be something close to G1/OX but simplified to make the combiner look clean and neat.

– How big is Hot Spot going to be?

Nothing is fully confirmed but Hot Spot should be around 8.6″.

– Are the limbs going to be MP car size? (assuming they all fall into line with Streetwise).

Limbs are tentatively 7″.

– When is the projected release for the first member? (I know things change but it’d be nice to see if it’s time to start saving now or if we have a bit of time to wait).

No promises on release. The revealing of the CG is accidental anyway.

– Will it have die-cast?

No diecast. Combiners should never have diecast especially at that size.

– General question not specific to Max Maximas Pro: What will be indicative of this line? Other than OX style with MP scale; what else are they trying to achieve/accomplish with the Perfection Series?

The combiners are solely handled by me alone so the aesthetics are gonna be quite different from the other individual figures in the line. I don’t know what the others try to achieve but I do believe that all the guys who are involved in this line are passionate and proud of what they do with this line. I’m just saying this on my own but I think what we are achieve in this line is to create definitive versions of the characters. Meaning we intend not just to outdo other groups but TT themselves. Saying that I can’t guarantee all the figures in the line will be the best representations of the characters or the best versions around, but we will be trying our best.

BTW, the rest of ox should have some diecast, just not combiners.

 

 

 

 

Updates!

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Time for some updates. The MMC Hub blog has been sitting in the dark while the FB group has been flourishing (we are getting close to having 500 members!); Well, now it’s time to direct some of the attention here. So expect to see more movement here in the coming weeks.

It’s been a good year start; MMC has been releasing stuff like the INCREDIBLY articulated Cynicus. As you can see below, the menacing sniper has a love for music!

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Eupatorium and Salvia Promion are also out are ready to strike poses like few bots can (well, maybe Cynicus has something to say to that).

Strike a pose Cynicus!

And we couldn’t be talking about fembots without mentioning our dear Zinnia. Yes, the flaps are ready. Patching out the final bugs in the ordering system for them. Yes, those of you that want them will get them. I haven’t forgotten 😉

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Also remember that if you are getting MMC’s R-10 Salvia Prominon you will find inside of her box a little bag with a pair of Zinnia flaps, so no need to order any if you changed your mind.

MMC’s Ocular Max line of MP – Studio OX inspired TF has been popping up too. Sphinx is still on track and we’ve had the reveal of OM take on Hot Spot, aka “Maximas Pro“.

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Fire truck Ocular Max

 

You know, that guy that gets together with his buddies to form Defensor!! This will be the first 3P Mp style combiner. The torso mode and one of the limbs I have seen look awesome so I’m sooo looking forward to this combiner team!

 

And we can’t forget about certain sexy lipped fellow that has been showing up recently. Might have a split personality but just his gigantic size will tower over any bot that wants to pick on him for that. Can’t wait to see your lips in person Carnifex!!

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Zinnia Flaps!!

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Want to dress up your Zinnia?? Well, now is your lucky day cuz the MMC Hub has found common ground with MMC to solve the issue with the Zinnia flaps. Mastermind Creations will supply the highly coveted flaps for the Reformatted medic BUT it is up to the Hub to distribute them to those that want them. The catch? You pay the shipping. So if you want a pair of flaps just go to the MMC Hub Facebook group to find out where you can make your order.

Please specify the number of pairs you need and where you live so we can get started on a shipping quote for you.
This is a one chance offer, I mean it; once I give MMC the total order I won’t be able to add any more flaps so please share this info with your friends and contacts

 

Should MMC Zinnia include Panel Flaps and Swords?

Should Zinnia include Panel Flaps? Swords? Both? Over at the TFW forums MMC Hubster Zfarsh started a poll a few days ago asking what people thought of the lack of parts in MMC latest fembot release (aka Zinnia) compared to Azalea.

http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/transformers-3rd-party-discussion/1006970-should-mmc-zinnia-include-panel-flaps-swords.html

In his last message Zfarsh nails it perfectly:

“Hi Everyone.

I had recently created a Poll to see about how many fans here actually found that the MMC Zinnia lacking the flaps / swords would be a problem, or at least they would want it included, other than myself. Some also wanted to know if it is a vocal minority.

On MMC HUB in their facebook page, I have made a thread / comment that Zinnia’s Flaps / Guns are missing in the MMC Hub to get fans to realise and comment on it:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/376931142473960/

If fans can join to politely comment on this thread, giving your opinions, and showing MMC their is an organized group that can give very valid feedbacks in a polite and respectful manner.

The MMC Hub is currently trying to get MMC to address the Zinnia issue with some valid solutions, and the more join, the greater the leverage Turnman will have

Thank you in advance for those that can voice their opinion on the link shown.”

http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/transformers-3rd-party-discussion/1006970-should-mmc-zinnia-include-panel-flaps-swords-8.html#post11786450

So let’s unite together to change things!!!