How I made the Cybcon 2004 exclusive Bumblebees
When I think about the last two years of my life I feel I've been very lucky. I've met amazing, talented people and I've been fortunate enough to learn from them and use their influence and inspiration in my creations. I've been able to take a little hobby of mine and through that hobby I've been able to share a piece of myself-if not with the world, at least with a bunch of guys from Washington!
It's amazing to me how many influences came together to shape the course of what I thought was going to be just another simple personal kitbash. Sometimes our ideas are bigger then ourselves, and when they take flight the end result is much more than we ever expect. That's exactly what happened when I decided I'd make myself a transforming cybertronian Bumblebee, which ended up being the exclusive toy for a fan convention called Cybcon.
I'm not some expert toymaker or someone with any engineering background. I'm just a guy who thought it would be cool to make a toy representation of a transforming vehicle from an old cartoon that never got officially made. I'm an amateur resin caster who's only been at it for a little over a year and a half. It's always been my belief that if I really want to do something and I'm dedicated to seeing it through, then lack of training or experience doesn't matter. If I'm really lucky then there'll be a few other people who like what I'm doing, too!
What I was totally unprepared for and what I never imagined would happen was that two guys running a fan convention in Washington would believe in me enough to give me a shot at making their convention exclusive. And when they asked, I'm sure they didn't expect me to say I could make them an original transforming robot toy. So my thanks to Greg Gaub and Richard Mistron, who had faith that a total stranger could deliver on such an enormous promise. But that's getting ahead of myself.
With this webpage I want to show how I made the Cybcon 2004 convention exclusive Bumblebee, and along the way I want to tell the story of how my least likely idea ended up becoming my most famous.
Project Origins-Here's a really long essay I wrote about how the project came to be and what I was thinking as it all came together.
Picture Gallery 1-Early Prototypes-My first failed attempts are shown here. These are the early prototypes I made back in August of 2002 when I tried to make a cybertronian Bumlebee out of styrene and existing Bumblebee toys. I scrapped these when I changed my approach and decided to engineer the toy myself from scratch.
Picture Gallery 2-B00 Clay Prototype-Pictures of the very first working prototype I made. B00 was my name for the clay proto, which was the first major step in the rebirth of the project. It was the clay master from which I made the very first set of molds that the testshots were cast from.
Picture Gallery 3-B01 Test Shot-B01 was the name I gave to the resin test shot of the clay master sculpt. Once I made this I further refined the shape and then made the final molds from it.
Picture Gallery 4-B02 Production Models-Here's when I cast the final 30 units and took them from raw resin to fully painted, fully assembled figures.
The 2004 Cybcon Exclusives at ZMFTS!-My co-conspirator Zobovor put this page together within hours of the close of Cybcon 2004 so the world could get its first glimpse at the Cybcon toys. Go here to see a great review of the completed Bumblebee project with packaging and instructions!
Cybcon 2004 Show Review-Cybcon co-organizer ViceGrip X reviews how the show went down! Complete with lots of pictures, read this and you'll feel like you were there!