A couple of years ago a good mate of mine, Transformers writer Shane McCarthy came up with a new Autobot character for a minor role in IDW's All Hail Megatron comic book series. He was called Autobot Drift and was in part a homage to the japanese origins of transforming toys. Shane worked with the series artist, Guido Guidi on coming up with Drift's look (see his initial designs here) My small contribution as the resident petrol-head was to suggest that the drift car he transform into be a Nissan Silvia S15.
As is the norm with this type of work, the editors at IDW Publishing and Hasbro, the owners of the Transformers franchise needed to approve the inclusion before publication. From what I can tell, the marketing types got a bit excited. Okay, they got a lot excited. So excited that they decided "We're going to make this into a toy!"
So two years later, I find myself driving around to various toy stores all around Perth trying to find Autobot Drift (apparently there are Transformers collectors at Ozformers who keep track of this stuff - handy!). I managed to find one in Toyworld Claremont. Being Claremont I'm sure they added an extra 50% to the price, because, it's Claremont.
It was pretty surreal to see a 3D realisation of Shane & Guido's character there on the shelves in real life. I get the same kind of surreal buzz seeing my own design work in print.
The actual Drift toy is remarkably close to Guido's comic book design. The Hasbro designers have done a remarkable job for what must have been a complex engineering task. I was also really impressed by the pose-ability of the character and you can style some pretty neat poses when Drift brandishes his two-handed sword. Yes, Drift has three swords. It's doesn't get much more awesome, unless of course they were lightsabres. Or maybe flaming lightsabres... but I digress.
My one criticism probably says more about me than the toy, but transforming these toys seems so much more difficult than I remember.
When I was a kid you just folded them in half.