Introduction: Desktop Decepticon: a Transformers Maquette

About: Prop Maker and model maker working in the UK Film and TV industry. Credits include Star Wars, Doctor Who, Fast and Furious, The Batman Instagram: @petefieldingprops Youtube: P F Projects Facebook: Pete Fiel…

Here is another little project I've been working on for a while, I've just got around to finishing it finally! 

After really enjoying the first Transformers movie, I wanted to try and make a little Transformer model but didn't get round to it. Once the second movie came out I thought it was about time to follow through on the little sketches I'd done ages ago.

The idea came from the scene near the end of Transformers 1, where a phone gets fried with some Allspark energy and turns into a Decepticon. Now I'm not a diehard Transformers fan but I did grow up on the 80s cartoons and I have to admit, while the movie renderings of the Autobots was incredible, I was dissapointed by the unrecognisable, spiky decepticons. So, here is my little interpretation of what I think the Decepticons could have looked like in the live action movies.

This little Decepticon is made from an old Motorola V600. Before I go any further, I have to say that unfortunatly, this model does NOT transform back into a phone! It's got a bit of articulation, but that's as far as it goes!

Step 1: Gathering Parts and Planning

When it comes to a project like this, one made from re-using existing components instead of starting from scratch, it's important to try and figure out what you want to achieve with the basic parts you've collected, before you start cutting and gluing. This particular phone was a lucky choice to use, as it has an aluminium shell, and lot's of separate components, perfect to hack up into bits of transformer "armour"

I had a couple of VERY basic sketches and knew, for example that I wanted to use the phone's keypad as the breastplate for the transformer.

That said, once the basic skeleton was conceived, the rest of the time was spent making bits up as I went along! You'll notice the evolution of the head as the photos progress, he had at least three heads until I settled on one I liked! 

Step 2: Beginning the Build

I started by cutting the aluminium shell of the phone into sections that would become the "armour" of the Decepticon. I then started from the top, and began to make the head and neck. The neck was made from a film loading crank from an old broken SLR camera, this allows the head to turn.

Step 3: Shoulders and Arms

The next thing to do was the shoulders. I cut off the end of the base of the phone, then threaded the neck piece through a hole that used to accommodate the phone's main speaker. I then modified the hinge that use to join the front flap of the phone to the main body. I cut it in half then used the pieces as the shoulders, this allows a little movement in the arms.

Once this was done, I cut four pieces of 4mm aluminium rod (from BandQ) with a junior hacksaw. Then used a glue gun to attach the rods into the shoulder sockets, and into a pair of "hands free kit" headphones that I gutted then glued back together.  These acted as the elbows and the forearms.

I then started to cut the aluminium shell into appropriate sizes to use as the Decepticons arm armour. I used a demel with a cutting wheel to cut the aluminium. (wear goggles!)

Step 4: Torso and Hips

I used the opposite end of the phone base for the hips, then secured it to the base of the neck with a collection of washers threaded over a bolt. I did this in such a way that the torso can swivel on the hips. I then cut up another piece of the phone base to use as the anchors for the top of the legs, then cut more pieces of the 4mm aluminium rod for the legs.

The phone's keypad is a selection of plastic buttons attached to a rubber base, this makes it nice and easy to bend into a "torso" shape, but pretty tricky to glue into place. In the end I made small holes in the rubber, and used very thin wire to almost tie the keypad onto the skeleton. I then added a strip from the back of the phones cover to the middle of the chest to add to the armoured look. I used the rest of this piece to bulk out the back a bit.

Step 5: Legs and Feet

I continued to bulk out the legs with the left over strips and other bits from the phone. I've used the winding parts from a disposable camera for the knees along with some rubber washers. The feet are made from the frame of the top of the flip up lid of the phone.

In this shot you can see the wires of the superbright LED I've placed behind the old keypad. It stands about 7 inches tall.

Step 6: Fitting the Electrics

There is nothing complicated about the LED system here, just a bulb, a switch and a battery pack. I fit the parts into the model, then soldered the connections.

The first shot here shows the parts before they are secured on to the model, the second shows them fixed into place, as well as painted black, to make them a little less obvious.

Step 7: Finishing the Build

The final parts to finish now were the feet, which I wanted to make a bit "flared" like the original cartoons, and to fit the final part of the exterior of the phone, the plastic "lid" of the flip cover. I cut this in two and fixed it either side of the battery pack on the back of the model, to try and mirror the way the car doors are used on the movie Autobots, looking almost like little wings.

Step 8: Completed

Here is the finished Desktop Decepticon. As the phone was a little dented and scratched before I even started the project, so the "armour" on the Decepticon is a little scarred, so from the outset I decided this would be a battle hardened little veteran, so I've added a little weathering paint to enhance this feel. 

The photo below with the black background shows the model with the light switched on.