Howdy folks! Baron von Brunk here with the long-anticipated step-by-step tutorial how to create the famous LEGO/Transformers/Game Boy mashup recently made by me. Due to the overwhelming amount of fan suggestions, I've painstakingly reverse-engineered this item and created a series of pictures with every step to make your own clones, based off the parts list!
Within this guide you'll see a master list of parts for both Domaster and Tetrawing, a series of instructions on how to assemble each body section, how to make the weapons, how to transform both robots, obtaining the labels for the Tetris/Nintendo logos, and some encouragement on how to make your own variations with different colors and/or sizes!
I'd like to thank a fella by the name of GW on MOCpages for his support especially, as he's the first one to spread this project across the internet which made it go viral. Check out all of his custom creations and show him plenty of respect! Next I'd like to thank all of you loyal fans -- or Brunkamaniacs -- on the realms of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and DeviantArt -- to whom showed me great appreciation and positive feedback! Fans of video games, LEGO pieces and Transformers can finally unite as one!
-Baron von Brunk
P.S. - I now have this entered on CUUSSOO, so if you're interested in having this potentially mass marketed, be sure to log in and support!
LEGO® and the brick configuration are property of The LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, own, or endorse this custom creation.
Step 1: Domaster (Game Boy) Parts List
Step 2: Domaster's Torso, Arms, & Head (including dot matrix screen)
The torso is pretty straight forward. As you'll read about later in the tutorial, nothing is truly set in stone: in other words, you can make your own changes and substitutions if necessary, such as making a different pattern for the screen. This particular instructional guide shows how to perfectly duplicate the quasi-Tetris sprite pattern I attempted to mimic. You're free to use any pattern or tile format you want, provided you at least try to use lime-colored pieces to imitate the original Game Boy color scheme. You can even make a completely solid lime green tiling for the screen, and then use custom stickers or decals to make screenshots (see the decal step later on in the tutorial)! Also, the decorated tiles are optional -- you can use blank ones, or any tile decoration really; I chose these ones to make the robot appear more mechanical!
Step 3: Waist/back Piece
Step 4: Upper Right Thigh
Step 5: Lower Right Leg
Step 6: Upper Left Thigh
Please note: in the primary photo of the completed upper thigh, you'll see a 1x1 transparent clear plate in the top left corner. This piece was accidentally added to the initial render of this section, and was not actually used in the actual model nor guide, so go ahead and disregard it. In fact, the area where you see the plate must be kept empty to ensure clearance for the leg's rotation.
Step 7: Lower Left Leg
Step 8: Battery Guns
Step 9: Tetrawing -- Tetris Cartridge Bird
Build a yellow Tetrawing that mimics Zapdos, and make his Game Boy label Pokémon Yellow!
Step 10: Assembling Each Module
Please note: The basic robot structure is moderately sturdy, whilst being weak/rickety in the waist section. The torso is attached to the waist by a mere set of four studs, and thus tends to separate easily when transforming. You'll read about this torso detachment issue in the forthcoming transformation step; also, later on I encourage you all to make any slight engineering/design changes to improve off my base set of plans. For all you know, you could have the solution to securing Domaster's torso to his waist without it coming loose so easily!
Step 11: Transformation Cycles
Please note: it's imperative that you start with the legs first when transforming from robot to Game Boy, as you'll probably end up snapping off the torso if you do it backwards -- for you see, you need plenty of slack to rotate the upper legs, and if the arms are folded back already, they'll more than likely push the legs off. Naturally since this whole thing is made of LEGO, you can easily attach it back together, but if you want an authentic Transformer (and not a take-apart-former) I'd suggest starting with the legs!
Domaster & Batteries:
- Fold the black feet inside the lower legs.
- Rotate the lower and upper legs, so that the Game Boy buttons are facing the same direction of the screen.
- Flick out the side tabs (located on the lower torso, right above the waist). These tabs provide slack for the upper rotation of the legs. When the upper legs are rotated and facing forward, they have to be spread out in a bow-legged position, which if done too hard can force the torso to come loose and separate from the waist. I recommend holding down the torso when rotating the legs, in order to keep the whole unit from falling apart.
- Using the hinges on the back piece, fold the back down. Then turn the hinges on the head to move the head/neck to tuck under the shoulders.
- The head should be securely folded under the shoulders.
- Pop the side tabs back in (the inverse of step 3).
- Rotate the arms along the axis of the blue Technic pins.
- Turn the ball joint on the upper arm, so that the arms fold behind the chest.
- The arms should be folded so the gray plates with the small black areas are exposed (those black pieces are supposed to mimic the appearance of the Game Boy's volume dial and connection port).
- Fold the back piece back up to close the unit.
- The back of the "legs" have hinges that house the batteries.
- Rotate the wings to go towards one another.
- Fold the green tail downwards slightly, so that it has enough clearance for the under-wing portion. Fold the head and talons along the hook's joints, so that they're resting underneath the wings.
- Close the wings to make a square shape.
- Fold the green grille tiles so that they're at a 45 degree angle to create the effect of the game cartridge's green microchip showing.
Step 12: Custom Decals & Labels
Game Boy labels (download the .PDF image here of the decals)
- Tweezers -- or in my case, a good set of naturally long fingernails!
- Transparent waterslide decal paper -- which can be purchased here -- although I bought mine from a random crafts seller on Amazon.com; you can also find this at specialty stores for model cars and trains. It's imperative that you purchase the proper decal type for your printer: You must specifically buy laser decal paper for a laser printer!
- A small dish of warm water
- Magnifying glass (optional)
- Clear acrylic spray (optional)
- After you've downloaded and saved the PDF, do a few "dry runs" by printing out the decal images as one page of regular paper. It's important to print out multiple dry runs rather than immediately printing on the decal sheets -- decal sheets cost money, and your printer might be calibrated to print things slightly smaller than the image on the computer! For example, the vector images on the PDF file are at 100% when you view them in Adobe Illustrator, but when printed out at full size on my office computer, the resulting images were slightly larger than on the screen. I scaled them down to 84% in the printing options, and when printed on a dry run of regular paper, they appeared to be the proper size of actual Game Boy lettering. As I said before, I used a laser printer on my laser decal sheets.
- When you've made successful dry runs and determined your printout size, load the decal sheets into your manual tray with the plastic side facing up (as in the direction of where the ink ends up on the paper -- which is traditionally facing upwards). If you don't load in the manual tray, make sure there are no other sheets of paper below the recently inserted decal sheet!
- Set your printer in the printing properties option to print in regular/plain paper to avoid printing the sheets with high temperature, as too much heat can screw up the plastic decal by baking it early -- making the labels brittle. The toner shouldn't smear, but if it does, run it through again as light glossy or transparency.
- Cut each section of the label from the printout: you don't have to cut exactly along the contour of the shape, as it's printed on clear paper, which won't matter when stuck to a LEGO tile surface. Go ahead and cut each label into a rectangular shape. Cut the A & B buttons into small squares, and make sure to cut the word "BOY" apart from "Nintendo GAME", as they'll be placed on opposite parts of the unit which split apart (see photo).
- Using the tweezers (or your freakishly long fingernails like I use), grab each small cutout one piece at a time.
- Dip the piece into the dish of warm water (one piece at a time, not multiple cutouts!) and let it stay submerged in the water.
- After 10-20 seconds, the warm water will separate the paper backing from the plastic portion of the decal.
- Use the tweezers (or fingernails) to gently grab onto a clear part of the label -- avoiding the part with the print -- then carefully stick it on the respective part of the Game Boy (see photo for label placement).
- Gently rub your fingers (or a cotton swab) over the recently placed decal to flatten it out and remove air bubbles.
- Once the decal dries, it should hold itself in place. You then have the option of putting some acrylic coating on top of it to ensure permanent labeling. I personally didn't do this for my model, as it's truly up to you.
- Good quality sticker paper -- albeit the Tetrawing model I personally built uses glossy cardstock paper decoupaged onto the LEGO tiles, as I wasn't able to obtain sticker paper.
- An Xacto knife
- Like the Game Boy decals, make a few dry runs on regular paper to see if the actual printout fits within the size of the LEGO toy.
- When you get the size ready, print out on the sticker sheet and simply cut around the square shape, stick and peel onto Tetrawing.
- Feel up the ridges where Tetrawing's wings separate, and use the Xacto to carefully slice through the fault lines -- so that he can transform and his label sticks to the moving parts.
Step 13: Nothing Is Set in Stone!
In the mid 1990s, Nintendo released a new line of Game Boys called the "Play it Loud!" series, in which basic monochrome 1st generation Game Boys now had a wide variety of colored outer shells, which included red, black, blue, green, yellow, and transparent clear (see photos) -- which gives you the option of potentially substituting the gray colors of this particular model to mimic a Play it Loud! era unit. If the actual pieces can be found in abundance with the specific color you like, then go ahead and build it that way. Consult Bricklink's color guide and parts catalog to see which pieces are available in existence of your desired color. Gray was easy to work with, as it's a basic staple color that spans over almost every piece made in LEGO's entire parts record. Please note: the dark bluish gray ball & socket joints typically only appear in that color, and to deviate, you might have to alter the parts' construction and improvise. For example, if you want a green 2x2 brick with ball joint, you can combine two 1x2 Technic bricks with axle holes and attach a lone ball piece to mimic the size of a standard ball joint brick (more serious and experienced LEGO builders should have no problem making improvisations to compensate for non-existence of certain pieces of a color family). I do know for a fact, however, that the ball and socket female end also comes in white or dark purple, and you can always try to use Bionicle parts as well for substitutions (and they have more choices, such as pastel shades and metallic).
The screen pattern is truly up to you: I merely made a random pattern of squares to vaguely resemble Tetris pieces, but you're free to use any pattern you'd like, so long as they fit on the 6x6 screen (with preferably a lime green color scheme). You can also make a solid color screen from tiles and then use the same techniques of making custom waterslide decal labels to stick on your own screenshots or sprite patterns, if mosaic LEGO tiles aren't your thing! You can even use any Game Boy label on Tetrawing, and technically he can transform into a game of your choice! For instance, build Tetrawing from predominantly red LEGO pieces, and put on a "Pokemon Red" label to make a Moltres-like firebird!
As far as I know, this is the first transforming Game Boy replica made out of LEGO, and therefore it pleases me to be a pioneer in that sense -- and whilst this is truly a landmark in innovation and custom building, it has its flaws and errors (which basically makes it true to an actual "first generation electronic device!") -- therefore, aside from encouraging you folks to make your own with different color schemes and stickers, I'm also encouraging you all to copy this basic design structure to make your own differently-engineered models, that might be smaller or have more efficient transformation cycles. If you read all of these steps and concluded that you can copy this verbatim -- only with small, more streamlined features, then go ahead and try it out! Who knows: you might successfully build a transforming Game Boy Pocket replica with a pink or purple outer color! Think of this instructional guide as as a basic template or a standard in which all subsequent clones, variations and improvements can be based upon -- just like Wing Gundam being the base model for all other Mobile Suits in the Gundam Wing anime series!
Have fun, don't stress yourself out if you run into engineering issues, and feel free to ask me any questions you might have. Also please point it out if I made any slight errors in parts count, placement or transformation, and I'll be glad to fix those issues.
-Baron von Brunk