Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Tuesday 7 April 2020

The Great Cybertronian Write Off - Week 1

Welcome to the first weekly summary of The Great Cybertronian Write Off (GCWO)! The GCWO is a project started by Transformers Square One (myself), Sixo, Toybox Soapbox and tikgnat that aims to provide daily Generation 1 Transformers content for fans to enjoy during the indefinite period of lockdown and social distancing many of us are now experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic of 2020. This weekly series of blog posts should allow you to keep up-to-date with all the content produced as part of the GCWO across all three of us!

Throughout the lockdown period in many countries so far, I have seen a great deal of creative people doing what they could to provide a glimmer of entertainment, positivity and goodness for those who followed them on social media. People who were working from home, or simply staying home with friends, families, loved ones or even in isolation, to help prevent the spread of the deadly illness as advised by numerous government and health authorities around the world.

I thought about how I could also contribute, seeing as I have been active in creating Transformers content for two decades now. I have done extensive Transformers writing and photography, and I'm fortunate to know others with exceptional writing and photography skills who share my love of G1 Transformers, specifically the literature we grew up with in the UK, and an idea started to form. 

I contacted tikgnat, the design maestro behind the UK Transformers Thread Calendars and Transformers Top Trumps game, to see if he could carry out the design work for my vision. I wanted him to create a daily poster that would contain a mini-review of a G1 Transformers toy, with room for my toy photography, but as much in the style of old G1 paperwork as possible.

1985 UK Transformers toy catalogue

I asked tikgnat to allow space for about two paragraphs of text (these really would be mini-reviews) and between two and three photographs for the toys in their various modes. At the same time, I wanted to involve Sixo and Toybox Soapbox, both superb writers and toy photographers with a love of G1, to join me in delivering content such as this on a daily basis. 

1986 UK Special Teams comic catalogue

As the design for the poster developed, tikgnat and I looked to incorporate as many recognisable elements of UK - and by extension European - Transformers paperwork design from the 1980s as we could. This included heavy influences (such as main logo and caption fonts) from the 1985 and 1986 UK pack-in catalogues, the 1986 Dutch in-store V&D giveaway poster catalogue and the 1986 UK Special Teams poster catalogue; all of which I had purchased and become enchanted by over the previous few months. We also incorporated some styling from the unforgettable UK/Euro Panini sticker book albums, too.

1986 Dutch V&D store giveaway poster/catalogue

You'll notice the UK and Dutch paperwork have a fair number of design elements in common with each other and the 1986 Special Teams paperwork, too. Notice the use of the black grid, red tildas around blue header text, yellow triangles for copy, faction-specific border colours and toy caption font and box, and also blue background boxes housing photos at different angles. While the three photographs for Optimus Prime's poster worked well when it came to space usage, it was more tricky to find a solution for toys where two photographs sufficed. That's when the idea of using box artwork to cover empty spaces came from, not unlike we see in the 1986 and 1986 UK toy catalogues!

UK Panini sticker book album

Once the design template was finalised, we all got together and made note of which G1 Transformers we owned, then divvied up which writer/photographer would get which toy and decided on a daily release cadence and schedule! The decision was also made that the mini-reviews and photography style would reflect that of the author/photographer, giving each entry in the series a unique feel and give followers of all the contributors something to look forward to. It also gave us a chance to direct our followers to each others' social media to help spread the word far and wide.

That brings you up-to-date with how the whole thing started, and at this point we have completed seven consecutive days of posts! We will all post a weekly blog article like this one to share our individual contributions, just in case any of you have missed an entry and care to catch up.

So far, we've had:

Here are my contributions to Week 1 of The Great Cybertronian Write Off:

Day 1 - Optimus Prime

Day 4 - Soundwave

Day 7 - Wheeljack

You can check out Days 2 and 5 from Toybox Soapbox as well as Days 3 and 6 from Sixo on their social media accounts as well as their individual blogs.

We all very much hope that these GCWO posters can provide you, fans of G1 Transformers and indeed any of our followers, with just one more small thing to look forward to daily. Something that allows you to pass a little more time enjoyably at such an unprecedented time for us all. The idea is that we will continue to create and share these every day that we are required to continue social distancing, self-isolation and the like. 

Should they become popular and interest in them grows, we are certainly not opposed to the idea of doing something more fun with them. Let's see where this write off takes us!

Huge thanks to tikgnat, Sixo and Toybox Soapbox for their enthusiasm, their talent, and for helping to make this a reality. Remember to check #GCWO daily on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more daily doses of G1 Transformers mini-reviews, photography and nostalgia!

All the best

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