With the hindsight of my previous LEGOformers, making this particular creation was not nearly as frustrating; in other words, since I've painstaking developed several transforming LEGO video game systems in the past, this new Vantage figure had over two years of prior LEGO engineering savvy, thus its conception and development was rather streamlined. First you've seen my Zapper Plasmashock, then I lit up the internets with my Game Boy Domaster -- followed by my Game Gear Gearhead, and eventually my Nintendo 64 Ultra Hexacon -- and now, without any further Apu, I bring you. . . Vantage: arguably the Galvatron to Domaster's Megatron (despite Domaster clearly being inspired by Soundwave, and also never getting nearly killed in an epic battle against Autobots)! More or less, Vantage has the overall general design of Domaster, but as well as a very similar (yet improved) transformation cycle of Gearhead. Combine that with the improved ascetics and engineering of Ultra Hexacon, and you've got a mighty fine and durable custom transforming LEGO toy! Vantage blends the best of basic LEGO with the sophistication of Technic, and the flexibility of Hero Factory.
A few things to cover, first: if you plan on copying my exact design scheme and color, you'll spend quite a lot of money -- for you see, to match the iconic image of the Nintendo Game Boy Advance's dark purple color scheme, I've made the outer color of Vantage with expensive and rare dark purple LEGO pieces. The Game Boy Advance was primary sold in dark purple, white, transparent blue, fuchsia, and black (as well as rare/regional colors as orange, platinum, and gold) -- ergo, if money is an issue, I'd definitely recommend making your Vantage clone solid black or white (or even a new color of your choice like red or green), as obtaining dark purple pieces was somewhat difficult. I've included 3D design files for my original purple mode, a solid black version, and a red/grey one that can have its colors swapped out. In fact, I insist: make him yellow to have your own custom Pikachu edition! Make him any color you'd like!
With the exception of the "Boom" game cartridge label (parody Doom game that transforms into an automatic shotgun), everything you see here is 100% native LEGO, with no 3rd-party accessories, cutting, gluing, sanding, nor even any electronics. All of the parts seen here can be purchased online, and many of which can be found in current LEGO sets.
Step 1: The LEGO Construction
- Download LEGO Digital Designer - free program made by LEGO Group. This program is very basic and easy to use, as it's intended more for the target demographic of younger builders.
- See the full parts list here in HTML format (this is actually the LDD build guide in illustrated mode, but to see the actual parts list itself, skip to the final step, which shows each piece laid out individually along with the quantity). Here's the HTML parts list for Fire Red Vantage, and here's the HTML parts list for Stealth Black.
- Refer to the download links below to choose your 3D LDD file - whether you're building the original purple Vantage, or his various clones such as Stealth Black and Fire Red editions. Import any one of these models into LDD; from there you can view the project in build mode (to change colors/parts), and then view it in the 3D instruction mode, in which each piece is virtually added to the next in a step-by-step fashion, in which you can zoom in or out and change camera angles.
- Purchase LEGO pieces individually from Bricklink.com, that is of course if you don't have the proper parts in your collection. If you're anything like me, then chances are you've got adequate pieces in your stash to build at least one of these; otherwise, follow the link and purchase any parts online as necessary. Like my other LEGO tutorials, I make the assumption that you're at least somewhat familiar with Brick Link and how to buy individual parts online. This isn't a novice project! Each model has well over 400 pieces!
Step 2: Applying the Game Label
Usually in the past I'd print out the game labels on high-quality sticker paper from a particular local printing shop, but due to time constraints I merely went to Staples and had them print six Boom labels on a single sheet of glossy photo paper. Then I transformed the game into shotgun mode, cut out the label, and glued the upper half of the label on the part that corresponds to the gun's stock end (with water-soluble Elmer's School Glue). When the glue dried, I used an X-acto knife to cut around the contours of the remaining area and carefully glued it on the gun's chamber and magazine (center), whilst leaving the barrel blank. This is actually somewhat difficult and requires keen precision. I got it right on the first try (well, except where some spots don't match up), but to play it safe I'd recommend getting several Boom labels printed on one sheet in case you mess up, cut the wrong spot, or glue it improperly. The only things to make sure are that your label stays on without peeling, and that you can transform it back and forth whilst the label remains secure.
Step 3: Transform, and Roll Out!
The batteries of course go inside the rear battery case, whilst the other weapon parts simply remain as "kibble". In Transformers toy slang, kibble refers to weapons/attachments that are only used for one particular mode of the toy, but serve no useful function in the other. For instance, Generation 1 Megatron was a hauntingly-accurate Walther P.38 pistol: his toy in gun mode had several attachments such as a scope, a silencer (suppressor), and a removable stock. The gun scope doubled as robot Megatron's fusion cannon (arm gun), but the silencer and stock served no function whatsoever -- and were intended to be kept in your pocket or out of harm's way until you transform him back to a gun. Well, actually, the original packaging depicted the gun's stock and silencer as combining to form a sort of huge weapon for Megatron to operate (like a turret), but realistically most kids would just transform him from gun to robot and then keep the extra attachments in their pockets. These pieces were called "kibble" to refer to the fact that they'd often get lost and presumably eaten by the dog! For Vantage, his body, Boom gun, and batteries all attach to one another and combine self-contained within Game Boy or robot mode -- HOWEVER, the battery blaster holders (hand and shoulder) and the battery blaster blue lasers can't really fit into the battery compartment on the back -- hence when you transform him to Game Boy mode, just keep them in your pockets and/or purse!
The weapons are pretty self-explanatory, but take note of the Boom shotgun: there's a modified LEGO plate with a rail attached to it, which clips onto the little hook on Vantage's right arm's Hero Factory armor plate. This is how he holds the gun, whereas the battery blaster is just penetrated by the smaller rifle, which he holds in his left hand.
Step 4: Epilogue
What's my next LEGOformer going to be? Here's a clue -- his name shall be "Super Famitron"!
- Baron von Brunk
LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group
Game Boy Advance® is a registered trademark of Nintendo
Doom™ is a registered trademark of id Software
Megatron™ and The Transformers® are property of Hasbro