Tuesday, January 11, 2011

THRONE OF CHAOS

And now for something completely different...

For folks not following the crew's misadventures on TBDX, this'll come as a big BWAH!?

But first, let's take it back a few months. I gotta tell ya, the Gin Gin hustling wears on a brotha. I needed a fun side-project. Something light. Something that wasn't gonna make me wanna pull my hair out...or demolish my bank account! Well, last year saw the re-release of an already amazing toy: the TakaTomy 2010 Universal Dominator Unicron, a G1-inspired recolor and minor remold of 2003's Armada/Micron Legends Unicron.

Hmm...how do I summarize Unicron for newbies in a nutshell? Okay, I'm an 80's child (well, born in '78). I was at the "perfect" age for the early G1 Transformers, whose culmination was arguably the '86 animated movie, "Transformers: The Movie" (creative title, no?). The movie was obviously a vehicle for toys sales, but at least it featured dope hand-drawn animation, hilarious 80's hair-metal, and a passable Hero's Journey plot.

Well...Unicron wasn't so much the main antagonist--more like the omni-present "oh crap" looming in the background. He was kinda like an anti-god (not unlike Marvel's Galactus), incarnated in the form of a giant metal planet that ate other planets...and ultimately transformed, itself, into a titanic humanoid robot. WOW. 8-year-old mind=blown.

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For years, America's collective youth dreamed of getting Unicron toys for Diwali, Chanukah, Christmas, Atheist-day, whatever...who really needed a reason!? But alas, it was never to be. The toy gods can be fickle.

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We got older. Toys gave way to chicks and drugs...and Unicron slipped from our consciousness. Then came the internets. And we found our nerd again. Pics of G1- (and even Beast Wars-)era Unicron prototypes surfaced. Still nothing in stores.

Then suddenly in 2003, we were given a Japanese-made cartoon that actually involved Unicron!! The bad news? Well, the show sucked. Good news? We finally got a toy! Yeah, it didn't look perfect...but who cared? It was *plenty* good enough. And all was well.

I mean, who the hell was gonna argue at this point?? We'd been waiting for a Unicron toy for over a decade and a half! Any shortcomings were easily dismissed. That said, there was one common gripe...with a theoretically simple solution. See, planet-mode is kinda THE mode for this guy...and THE iconic image of Unicron is him floating "ahead" through space, with the glowing mouthy bits pointed forward and the orbital ring vertical.

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But with the orbital ring in the way, you can't "stand up" the planet to face straight ahead. The intended solution was actually to leave him on his back. This facilitated the toy's use as something of a playset, featuring interaction with minicons and other various gimmicks. Yeah, aiight...clever workaround that I'm sure lots of kids and minicon collectors enjoyed...but still a workaround.

Fortunately, we live in the era of unlicensed (heh) "upgrades" for Transformers toys. Dozens of small companies--really, clumps of enterprising fans, rather than businessmen interested in actual profit--producing dope add-ons and accessories to make the play experience better. Jerks like me.

Well, along came aptly-named Unicron.com. They produced an alleged stand for Unicron's planet mode to allow him to be displayed "properly" (in other words, the way an 80's nerd would). Again, theoretically simple solution to a common gripe. Solid concept. But, oh, how the execution went so very wrong. Awful...like, 'what the hell were you thinking?' Well, rather than dwell further on the negative, I'll link you to this young lad's amusing youtube rant. :)

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^^By the way, points for the creative cutouts on the base...but my camera wasn't tilted when I took the side-shot--the damn thing just leans that far forward, ever-threatening to snap like a twig. The toy is just too heavy for that narrow post; it just wobbles up there precariously. And yes, there's been a couple shelf dives. FAIL. Well, whatever. I just resigned to display the toy in robot mode...

Anyway, to make this long story longer, TakaTomy dropped the movie-inspired 2010 version of Unicron a few months ago, and I gotta say, this version is TIGHT. I mean, it looks killer. The molds for a lot of the reused bits are clearly tired, resulting in some fitment issues, and other minor glitches here and there...but this is clearly the 80's nerd version for me. There was much rejoicing.

In that discussion, you'll note my displeasure with the subpar effectiveness of the Unicron.com stand. But the new 2010 Unicron was just too good to let it slide. As a result--and to take my mind off the ever-secretive Gin Gin drama for a bit--I decided to make my own. A completely "open" project, I posted my ideas in real-time on the board to elicit feedback.

The result is what I have to offer today: the Throne of Chaos

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The Unicron.com piece of crap retailed for $15. Mine unfortunately goes for over twice that...and it can't be shipped flat. :/ But it has advantages. Chiefly, it it does not suck. Not only does it get the job done...but as far as display stands go, ya kinda can't ask for much better.

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The 3/16" thick acrylic base and cradle (all fabricated in the USA by good people) are crystal-clear and have a brilliant polish on the edges...so the last thing you wanna do is scratch it up. The first thing ya gotta do is attach the bumpons. Do this first--I made the mistake of putting the unprotected bottom surface of the prototype stand on a slightly dirty work table...and it scratched the hell outta the bottom!

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Next, just throw on the cradle. It takes a little finagling to get it on because of the awkward shape, but you'll understand once you have it in hand. Just flex the acrylic of the base a little bit to make some clearance--don't worry, it won't break!

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And you're done! No tools or adhesives required. Just toss that badass beachball up there, and you're ready to rock out to some Spectre General!

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With the toy on top, there are NO worries of this thing taking a tumble. It's pretty much earthquake-proof. The size and angles of the cradle are perfect. The notch in the front matches the orbital ring pylon very closely, so even though toy's plastic is slippery against the top surface of the cradle, it's not going anywhere. You can even pick up the whole rig by the base and "fly" him around your room looking for tennis balls to gorge on [though I don't recommend this...'cause I know some clumsy jackass out there's gonna try it, drop their toy, and blame me].

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The bumpons obviously protect the bottom, but they also provide slip-free stability. So go on...toss this guy high up on top of a detolf or your favorite display case. Go nuts!

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Now, I can just hear y'all screaming over the internet, "WHERE DO I BUY ONE???" As it turns out, these are now available over at BigBadToyStore.com. Ain't that something!? So head over there and pick one up. Any paid preorders that are still pending with me will still be honored, though...so don't sweat it!

But by all means, if y'all have feedback--positive or negative--keep sending it my way. You can hit me up here or at the "**Contact Brownnoize**" link over on the right. And if you send me pics of how you have your Unicron and other TFs displayed, I'd LOVE to post them on the blog!



Edit: Whaddup, folks? Just a quick update for Summer 2014. The stands are BACK for a limited time! They're no longer being carried by BBTS, but big homie, Matt "Dead Presidents" Walker, has taken up the mantle. You can now pick up a stand from the Monster Kolor website. Like I said, I'm not sure how long these will last, so if you're planning on getting one, please try to order as soon as possible. Any questions, as always, just hit me up! ;)



40 comments:

  1. All hail Sanjeev, servant of the Chaos Bringer, for he builds a mighty throne.

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  2. Haha...hey, you had a hand in this, too, my friend! In the end, we're all architects of chaos, are we not? ;)

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  3. All hail to you guys for doing this, been following the saga of these products, you are awesome for pulling this off and saving Unicrons around the planet. Cheers guys

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  4. This blog post is fucking win!

    I agree, this throne suits the mighty planet eater. Nice job. May pick one up myself for my Armada Unicron.

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  5. I'd find this more appealing... if it weren't for all the cold bashing of the old stand and its makers.

    As a representative of Unicron.com, I do not appreciate all the excessive negativity being directed towards the previously-mentioned stand that our site had produced all those years ago.

    While I fully acknowledge that it was an imperfect stand (and have personally experienced such mentioned breakage), there is no need to go overboard on insulting the product this severely.

    Yes, it wasn't much of a success, but come on! It was our second product and the production of such high quality third-party merchandise as we see today was not a common norm back then.

    The makers of our stand were still kinda fairly new to the whole third-party custom item mass production deal at the time. For someone to even conceive such an idea as this in an actual, physical form back then was a wonderful feat. The end result may not have been perfect and doesn't really hold up as well as it was intended to, but at least it came to fruition at all.

    We have since learned from our designing mistakes and have produced further products of superior quality to our stand. The Energy Cubes, the Golden Disks, Vector Sigma, and the Animated Accessories were all real successes with very few documented issues. We are not incapable of making improvements.

    I am not going to argue over who's Unicron stand was/is the better stand for Unicron, but I will say that I hold nothing against this new stand's existence and can endure some new competition. However, I will not ignore such hateful words that have said more than they needed to. Unicron.com can take constructive criticism, but attacking us with such destructive criticism is completely out of line.

    Same goes for that guy's YouTube rant (designed by ten-year-olds, my foot!).

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  6. Hey, thanks for commenting! Well, I agree wholeheartedly that *personal* attacks are fucked up. If I implied that I actually hated the Unicron.com site or y'all folks who run it, my bad. That wasn't my intention.

    But I definitely stand (heh) behind my words. A nice effort, for sure--as one individual with a day job, I sure know how much of an achievement it is to bring something from concept to product.

    That said, though...the dot-com stand WAS a piece of shit. I mean, there's really no getting around it.

    I'm not trying to hate...hell, I'm not even trying to *compete*. I dig other unicron.com products as much as the next guy...but that stand sucked. Objectively. No need to take nothing personally, of course...I mostly posted that kid's rant because his unbridled kid-rage was amusing! I know y'all aren't ten-year-olds.

    Hell, next time you're in Boston, we'll get a beer. But I gotta keep it real. Can't dick-ride every product on the internet and pretend shit's sweet...and hell, there are PLENTY of people who've come to hate ME in the past 48 hours for making MY stand!

    ;)

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  7. Are you going to be selling these to online retailers? Your stand look a lot better than the one released by Unicron.com back in 2003. Does it need to be assembled like theres did?

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  8. Hey Wasp! Actually, I've been considering turning over the reigns of this little adventure to BBTS or TFsource. Those sites are run by cool people and they know their aftermarket crowds. We'll see!

    Does it need to be assembled? C'mon man...scroll halfway up the page and read! :P

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  9. I certainly hope you do sell it through BBTS and other places. Your stand looks amazing and I know I would gladly take Unicron out of storage to display him again.... Originally I had passed on Unicron.com's stand because of its weak design. Yours looks sturdy enough to do that job. How did you begin thinking of a way to make one?

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  10. Yeah, man...after this past week or so, it may be out of sheer necessity to let BBTS or others handle this product!

    Well, I began thinking of a new stand around the time the 2010 Unicron came out. It was *so* gorgeous, I knew that a proper stand HAD to be made. I've never worked with acrylic fabrication before, so it was new territory for me...so with feedback from the TBDX crowd, we just started bouncing ideas back and forth and I kept designing and redesigning the stand in CAD.

    I began talking with various acrylic fabricators across the country to figure out what could be done, what couldn't be done, and ways to minimize cost. I'd post screenshots of each iteration to the board to get feedback, and with each version, the stand got simpler and more elegant until arriving at the version you see above.

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  11. Got to have this. How do I order?

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  12. Hey, Joseph...glad you're digging this! Well, before you order, read the update: we're all sold out at the moment, but we're getting more made.

    When the time comes to place an order, just hit me up at the **Contact Brownnoize** link on the right!

    Thanks!

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  13. Are these still availible?

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  14. Yup...another batch is on the way. Just e-mail me via the form linked on the right for details!

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  15. Simply Awesome Stand.

    Also Sanjeev is one of the nicest blokes I've dealt with. Great friendly communication, and the stand was very well protected for international transit. Transaction was super smooth, with dispatch & delivery to the UK being very swift. Extremely happy to display my new Amazon Exclusive Unicron on the Throne of Chaos. 110% recommended. 5★s.

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  16. Thanks so much for the kind words, Alex!! As one fan to another, they're much appreciated! It's great to hear that I actually made something that people are enjoying, y'knowmsayin?

    Well, I'll be posting this separately, but the HUGE bit of news right now is that BigBadToyStore will be taking over the retail of these guys! By all means, feel free to drop me a line...but from now on, I'll be directing folks directly to BBTS for purchasing.

    Pretty wild, huh? ;)

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  17. hey got mine preordered but i want this thing like yesterday, do you have any instock that i can buy now and you will hopefully send within 24hrs? thanks bro, and thanks for makingf such a badass stand

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  18. @blaster78, I appreciate the enthusiasm, man! Alas, I get mine the same time BBTS gets theirs. I *am* actually getting a few more than the preorders I have left, though, so some folks will end up saving a few bucks by preordering directly from me. But still, they'll all be going out around the same time. Thanks again for the support though!

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  19. What's the total height with Unicron on the stand?

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  20. Hey! With Unicron on the stand, the very top of his satellite ring comes in just under 16". Thanks for the interest!

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  21. Ok, I know I must be the last one to the party on this, but I've only just learned about this fantastic stand. I've searched online for anyone who was selling it and they are all sold out. Is there any way of still buying one of these stands, or is my Unicron doomed to lay on his back forever?

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  22. Yeahhhh...that ship has definitely sailed.

    That said, there IS hope. Check out my latest post. At the end, I mention the idea of doing a group-buy on a board (or any other interested group of folks). My fabricator will likely be down for that. You just gotta make it happen.

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  23. yea i would be interested in the throne of chaos stand also... i think i should put in group link in TFW2005 to see if any Unicron owners want to get on this... how many ppl are u looking first before getting it rolling again?

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  24. That's a great question: honestly, I think it comes down to YOU folks. See, I think my fabricator *could* produce one single stand and ship it out...but it would probably be $75 or so. But once all the rigging is set up to produce them, increasing the output is not as big a deal, so an order of a dozen would end up bringing the unit cost down to less than half that.

    Obviously, the more that are requested, the cheaper they'll be. So for starters, I'd try setting the minimum at a dozen and we'll go from there.

    For real: I've gotten at least a dozen private e-mails from folks requesting stands, so I think it should work out. Once you guys have a reasonable number, just hit me up and I'll contact my fabricator to get a solid number for you guys! Good luck!

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  25. When will you guys make more of this sets???

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    1. Funny you should ask! These have been outta production for a long time since I just don't have the resources to handle the order management, warehousing, and shipping anymore. But I'm just beginning talks with someone who *does*. I don't want to get anyone's hopes up just yet...but there's a chance...

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  26. Replies
    1. neoraven3, just zap your request over to unicronstands at gmail dot com and they'll hook you up! Thanks!

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    2. Hi! Is there any way to still get this stand? That unicronstands at gmail dot com address gave me a "Delivery Status Notification (Failure)‏" message when I tried sending a message to it. :/

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    3. Hey, Cyber...unfortunately, the previous offer is no longer available. We shut down the e-mail address months ago--there just wasn't enough action to justify keeping the operation going. But again, we would still be able to do a group-buy like I described above, but that would be on you and any other folks willing to organize it.

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  27. Hey there mate. Is the any chance that you would do another run of these. I was a bit slow at displaying unicron as a planet.

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    1. Hey nort! Well, there's good news: we actually have some stock left of the stands. They're currently available at my homeboy, Monster Kolor's website: http://www.monsterkolorstore.com/unicron-stand-2/

      And thanks for reminding me--I should update this post with the new link! ;)

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  28. Any chance you could do another run of these? I need at least 2 or 3... Would it need to be a group buy type of thing?

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    1. Hi Wesley! Yeah, my fabricator is still available to do runs of these stands--I just don't have the bandwidth to manage the actual operation. A group-buy can certainly work! If this is something you might be interested in putting together, feel free to contact me via the "Contact Brownnoize" link near the top right of the page.

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    2. Just learned about these stands as well. What are the chances of getting once ordered?

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    3. Hi! Well, as it turns out, we're no longer manufacturing these acrylic stands. That said, I'm working on a 3D-printed alternative that will be made to-order, look nicer, and be even more sturdy!

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    4. can you let me know when these are available
      Thanks

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  29. Hey @Sanjeev, where would we keep an eye out for that stand?

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    1. Hi Fractle, I'm actually keeping the new stand a bit under wraps...at least for the first run or two, so there won't actually be a public announcement. If you'd like a stand, please contact me using the "Contact Brownnoize" link near the top right of the page and I'll add your e-mail address to the announcement list. Thanks!

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