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NOMINATE - Multichangers


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Multichangers (or multiformers). From the early triples to the ten (if you believe the instructions) modes of RiD Galvatron, there's something just that little bit more interesting about being able to make the same set of plastic parts look like at least three different things.


Who's put a G1 Perceptor in tank mode, collected triple-changing Minicons, or found new fan modes that just work? Combiner components can have four or more modes, depending on how much you count "flip out a peg and attach a fist". Counterpunch and Doubledealer might only have one altmode, but they can step up to the plate as well. And how many modes CAN you cram into one mold before they all start looking the same?


If you obsess over Octane, ask after Astrotrain, or have an opinion on whether Springer should really be counted as having three separate modes (or whether gun platforms and 'bases' are too weaksauce to be counted at all), post it here!

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  • 3 months later...

Just throwing this out there, but one of the more interesting aspects of multichanger design is that there's a lot more art to it. It's not just a matter of taking a given altmode and flipping out feet, arms, and a head. The more forms something has, the less able a given piece of plastic is to only be kibble for one mode. Bot modes might be a lot more forgiving, but you can only stick so much on a plane before it becomes a wedge with the aerodynamics of a brick.


Correspondingly, multichangers need to incorporate more tricks of the eye, more careful thought about color matches, and more kibble hiding than most designs. Their parts need to be able to make more visual and mechanical connections, match more curves and patterns, and (ideally) go to greater lengths to integrate with the various forms. It's often all too easy to spot which modes were given more design thought and which were last-minute add-ons.


On the other hand, a mode which consists almost entirely of flipped-out kibble can be surprisingly interesting, particularly if the kibble is entirely (or nearly so) hidden in the other modes. Doubledealer's bird mode falls into this category - the only clue to its existence at all is the wing edges on the lower robot back. The wings, legs, and head/neck take up a large amount of visual (brightness) and physical space compared to the rest of the toy, as well - it's not just a huge block with tiny fingernails of plastic pretending to be full-sized features.


Compare and contrast (for example) Quickswitch, which often had too much ill-fitting kibble (the robot legs particularly) and relied heavily on small flip-out panels (wings, tank treads) and the accessories to lend additional shape - or the suggestion of, anyway - to the various forms.

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