Hasbro Answers to TFviews Questions #1

Our readers came up with these 5 great questions to send in last week, and today Hasbro was generous enough to supply us all 5 answers.

TFviews.com: Although this has been bandied about for a while, we’re hoping to finally get a definitive answer for TF: Animated on this. With TF, it’s generally assumed that the toys are designed first, and that those designs are then adopted for the other media (Cartoon, Comics, etc.; the movie not withstanding). With TF: Animated though, it seems that this might not be the case. How were the designs for Animated handled, were the toy designs worked out in tandem with the cartoon designers, did the cartoon artists take their lead from the toy designs, or was it some other process?
Hasbro: For TF Animated specifically, the Toy Designs are worked out simultaneously with the Animation Designs. In some cases, Derrick had a base idea for a character. In other cases I would have the base idea. And in some other cases, his and my ideas were very different. But no matter what the scenario. Derrick and i would always email sketches back and forth until we were both happy with the design. The most common reasons for change from myself were product transformation based. It’s a major part of my job to visualize transformation schemes that can be achieved in both Animation and Product.

TFviews.com: With the current TF:Universe packaging, we appreciate the return to character box art, but why is it that nearly all of the art for the characters share the same face? Some fans have said they felt the look was static, lifeless, even creepy; and they don’t really match the faces of the figures within. So what’s the story with this boxart?
Hasbro: We actually noticed the same thing when the art first started coming in. Unfortunately due to timing we didn’t have time to go back and re-do them. I think you’ll see that as the line progresses that you will start to see more differences and more of the personalities coming out of the artwork.

TFviews.com: With the TF Crossovers line, we know that those brands’ teams (Star Wars and Marvel) design their Transformers themselves with input from the TF team. How much input does the TF team give those other brands teams in general, and what kinds of input is given there?
Hasbro: Mostly best practices, and ways to make the most out of each form. Those items need to do what is best for that Brand and we help out as needed.

TFviews.com: Was the recent Universe Galvatron originally designed to be an Ultra vehicle, and was scaled down? There seems to be a strong belief by fans on this one that the complex nature of the figure’s design and transformation, not to mention the stature of the character himself, suggest that this mold was originally destined for a larger scale and then dialed back. Any truth to that?
Hasbro: Galvatron was initially thought of as being an Ultra or Voyager scale. I wanted him big, he IS Galvatron after all. But we already had larger tank-like vehicles in the Universe line, such as Onslaught and Dropshot/Scattershot. So he was actually moved to Deluxe while he was still in the sketching stage. So he was actually designed and engineered to be a deluxe from pretty much the start, though having him larger would have been my preference.

TFviews.com: Are there any surprising examples where ambitious design elements came close but didn’t clear budget? There’s always the loss of translucent parts, but there’s also stuff like Cybertron Optimus Prime’s spare tire weapons, and many have speculated that the Vector Prime figure’s chest was supposed to contain an electronic light gimmick to shine through the Cyber Keys (any truth to that one?).
Hasbro: Well any designer has to balance cost concerns when designing products. There are always alterations between the original vision and the final product but rarely are we off by such a wide margin that we loose significant features. As for Vector Prime, I honestly cannot recall if there was a light feature or not.

– Well, that’s it for this round, this is a bi-monthly Q&A series so we’ll have more great questions ready to go this December. Thanks to all the readers who participated by coming up with these questions, and a huge thanks to Hasbro for making this Q&A possible!