Long time no post! I've been very busy with book project, lots of artwork coming out of that. I'll eventually start previewing some of that art on here, but for now it's all exclusive to those who've backed/pre-ordered it.
Here's something else I've been working on though, and many of you have seen it slowly coming together, my first miniature. I've designed miniatures for other games before, but this will be the first one from the Rangers Project setting. Of course, this is just a 3D render of the model, but that model is now going through final cleanup for 3D printing, after which my production guy will be making resin casts for sale.
First sales are going to be run through kickstarter, so keep an eye out for that coming up. It should go for around $35 shipped in the US. As the image says, it's going to be a 12cm tall resin figure, made to fit 15mm scale. It comes in 24 parts so it's a bit complex but can be assembled in almost any pose you want, including those shown in this render. Who's intent on getting one?
I know a lot of people want an Elemental figure, that will probably come next
Function: Demolitions Expert
Alternate Mode: Caterpillar 777 haul truck
The youngest and least experienced member of the Build Team, Bulkhead’s first assignment has proven to be a particularly difficult one, stranded on an unfamiliar planet with the only other survivor of the Steelhaven, Longarm. The very definition of a gentle giant (to his friends, anyway), Bulkhead is extremely good-natured and optimistic, but quite dim. Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t hired for his smarts, but rather his strength and expertise in demolishing virtually any structure. Accordingly, Bulkhead isn’t exactly the most coordinated Autobot and frequently underestimates his own strength, often causing more harm than good when trying to help. He is painfully aware of his clumsy nature, however, and secretly harbors a deep-seated guilt over his fear that he may be responsible for the transwarp miscalculation that crashed the Steelhaven and killed his friends. Longarm’s constant encouragement and tendency to play to Bulkhead’s strengths have help to temper his insecurities somewhat, however.
On the battlefield, Bulkhead becomes a veritable force of nature, second only to Grimlock among the Autobots in terms of sheer destructive force. While lacking in ranged weaponry, his hide is so thick that he can easily take punishment long enough to close the distance between himself and the enemy. Other than his massive physical strength, his main weapons are his duranium wrecking maces, which can be swapped out for his hands. Loaded with explosive power, they can be used as close-range bludgeoning weapons, fired off as short-range projectiles, or extended on a chain to act as flails.
Bulkhead is actually a fairly new addition to the post-Series 1 Autobot roster. For a very long time, I intended the Autobot “demoman” partnered with Longarm to be named Landmine. Although he was always intended to be based on Bulkhead in terms of his dumb/clumsy personality and massive underbite, he was going to be a yellow-and-brown front-end loader/bulldozer based on the Cybertron character of the same name. Later I considered making him a dump truck instead. After Bulkhead became a bigger staple of the franchise with his appearances in Prime and Monstrosity, I decided to drop the pretense altogether and just make him Bulkhead.
Anyway, there’s still the problem leftover that Bulkhead’s a dump truck, which isn’t remotely close to his traditional altmode. Aside from the fact that a construction vehicle being integral to his backstory, I think it totally fits him. Much like Wheeljack, there’s nothing about an armored car or SUV that speaks particularly to Bulkhead’s characterization to me, and I think a huge imposing vehicle that can crush anything beneath it is pretty apropos for Bulkhead. The Cat 777 is actually one of the smaller “earth mover”-style dump trucks I could find, so he’s still big, but not to the point where he dwarfs all the other Autobots. Also, yeah, the color scheme is semi-unintentionally based on the voyager ROTF Long Haul toy. Like Scavenger, it's based on Caterpillar's own livery but in different colors, which is the same idea I assume the layout artist of the toy had.
The transformation is really pretty simplistic. I mean his entire torso barely even transforms, the panels just sort of move around a bit to make it look less like a dump truck. Due to the way the truck bed forms the shoulderpads, I’m not sure if the bed would be able to tilt on a theoretical toy. Also, in his original design, the back half of the bed was going to form the feet but they ended up making him way too tall. So instead now they end up on his back, conveniently recalling the “chair” kibble from Animated Bulkhead, so to whoever it was asking me about that a while back, there you go. The feet store inside the doubled rear tires, which are actually hollowed out and split in half to let them out while remaining functional. The other arm ends up between his legs in vehicle mode. That's was she said... or he said.
Longarm was once the foreman of the “Build Team”, a loosely-knit group of Autobot volunteers dedicated to helping rebuild Cybertron and its off-planet colonies following the widespread devastation wrought by the Great War. While traveling aboard the shuttle Steelhaven on a routine mission to Ki-Aleta to provide housing for refugees, a Transwarp miscalculation instead sent Longarm and five other Build Team members hurtling inexorably towards a planet called Earth. Most of the crew were killed on impact, leaving Longarm and rookie Bulkhead as the only survivors. Stranded on an alien world with no way to contact the outside, the distraught but resourceful Longarm developed an escape plan: build a miniaturized space bridge, powerful enough only to jump the pair to the nearest Cybertronian outpost. Thus, the duo began the long, arduous process of gathering construction materials strong enough for the job (rare as they are), and enough energon to power one jump (rarer still), all while keeping their true nature hidden from the indigenous species. Over thirty local years later, as the project nears completion, Longarm and Bulkhead receive a transmission indicating they may not be alone on this planet after all…
Longarm is the perfect mixture of brains and brawn. He has a keen mind for engineering and problem-solving, although his projects often turn into obsession if left unchecked. While he tends to prefer to work alone in quiet, he is fiercely loyal to and protective of his close associates. Moreover, spending decades with the clumsy and aloof Bulkhead as his only companion has helped Longarm develop a nearly limitless amount of patience. The one thing that’s still sure to get his blood boiling, though, is the Decepticons, having seen firsthand the horrifying results of their depredation.
While not quite as massive or stalwart as his partner, Longarm’s plenty imposing himself, and has no problem holding his own in battle. His main weapon of choice is the crane arm on his right shoulder, which can extend many times its length, and its hook and cables swung as a flail or bolas (it can also be replaced with a wrecking ball for extra-destructive jobs). He also carries a pair of hammers which, while intended for construction purposes, also work well as bludgeoning weapons. His only ranged weapons - or rather countermeasures - are the grenades launched from the pod on his left shoulder, which emit a veil of obscuring, choking smoke, perfect for quick escapes and diversions.
Longarm, for whatever reason, is one of my earliest ideas for Legacy, and with Rodimus, Jetfire, and Inferno, was part of why I wanted to extend the series beyond the initial ten Autobots. The other characters make sense as they're long-established staples of the franchise, but Longarm? I dunno. I just had it in my head that I wanted an orange crane named Longarm, even though there's never been such a thing in Transformers history.
I guess it should be obvious, though, that Legacy Longarm actually derives almost entirely from Armada Smokescreen, not the Mini-Con that shares his name. Orange and blue, stocky, bucket head. Why was he called Smokescreen? Beats me. And yeah, I guess there's some shared heritage in G1 Grapple, but let's be honest, this is Smokescreen through and through. The smoke grenades are sort of a sly wink to that fact. Oh, and before anyone gets any ideas, no, he has absolutely nothing to do with Shockwave.
His personality, on the other hand, is pretty much 100% Beast Wars Rhinox. An interesting thing I realized about that fact when writing his bio: Rhinox has, like, no flaws. He's perfect and can do pretty much anything. He smart AND strong. He's nice AND mean. He's a Mary Sue. Yet he's also the most down to Earth and genuine character on the show. How did they do it? I don't know. But hopefully that's tempered a bit here in Legacy, where he's not the strongest or the smartest anymore. I'm also afraid his bio might read too similar to Red Alert's, but the main difference I see in them is that Longarm is much more sociable and empathetic, and, obviously, much more willing to fight.
The choice of specific vehicle mode is completely arbitrary, it was just the first orange crane truck I found that looked good. Does this mean the Steelhaven crashed in China? I don't know, maybe. The transformation is a bit janky as usual, mostly due (as usual) to the fact that I'm not familiar enough with the vehicle mode. The crane arm hangs halfway off his back, by the way. He looks like a seesaw from the side. The robot mode was first drawn in August 2014 and this final version is, barring only a few small changes, practically identical to it. Sometimes you just nail it on the first shot.
I knew I wanted a handful of Transformers to already be on Earth when the Ark crashed, but totally unaware of their presence. I love that Longarm and Bulkhead spent all this time on this massive undertaking only for it to be rendered moot just as it nears completion. Very ironic in the Alanis Morissette way. Although now with the extra help and materials, they might be able to finish the space bridge just in time for it to become plot-relevant!
For those who couldn't read between the lines, the implication is that the Steelhaven crashed in 1984 and that Bulkhead was responsible for it, being a dumbass and all. Lastly, this is strictly off the record (just so I don't force myself to make posthumous entries for them later), but the other four Build Team (that's one of the few RID references you'll see in Legacy BTW) members aboard the shuttle were Hoist, Quickmix, Scoop and Landmine. The fact that these six construction-vehicle-based Autobots align perfectly to the six traditional Constructicons is complete coincidence, I'm sure. Speaking of which, yes, Bulkhead is the next Autobot, and you should be able to figure out his vehicle mode by process of elimination now.</sub>