Bazzell's S3 Time Traveler
In May of 2002, Ken Lilly, head of production at Palisades Toys, contacted a few members of the Micropolis Embassy mailing list to begin throwing ideas around for the proposed Series 3 of their Micronauts line. Dave Waugh was in charge of gathering together a group of artists and designers to begin what was later dubbed "the PaliMicro consultant group". The objective of this group was to re-design some of the old Micronaut favorites, and update them for what would have been possibly the first new Micronaut toys since about 1981. In May of that year, the group began passing ideas back and forth, and decided to set up a Yahoo mailing list. Comprised of long time collectors and artists, the ideas began to flow almost immediately.
The PaliMicro group was a small one, starting out with a membership of about 6; Bryan Wilkinson- who had already been apart of the Retro Series consultant group and was doing CGI work for the S1 and S2 lines as well as accessory design, Will Jones- who was very familiar with the in's and out's of designing toys with his own Black Falcon project, Mike Bazzell- computer whiz, designer and artist all-in-one, Ray Miller- also apart of the Retro Series consultants, and another customizer and sculptor Robert Martin (with the group rounded out by consultant/accessory designer/web master Dave Waugh).
Waugh's S3 Acroyear II
Jones' female Acroyear
A few other members joined at a later date (including Michael Jaecks, Chris Miller and Gordon Smuder) but by this time, Series 3 was in limbo. The designs shown here were inspired by the possibility of actual new Micronaut toys, and were a joy for the group to work on. Ken Lilly gave the group a list of basic figures to re-design: a 3 ¾" Baron Karza and Andromeda, a 3 ¾" Biotron and Microtron, Emperor, Acroyear, Space Glider, and all new designs for an updated Galactic Warrior, Acroyear ll, Antron, and Giant Acroyear. Ken also had his own ideas and line plan brewing in his head, but wanted some basic ideas to go off first, and who better to look to than die-hard Micronaut fans? The plan was to get the basic ideas across to Ken as to what made a Micronaut a Micronaut, and let him take it from there. Oh, the possibilities…so, shown here for the first time are the designs by the different artists as presented to Ken…and what could have possibly been.
Smuder's Command 6
The text that accompanies these pictures are exerpts taken form conversations passed back and forth on the groups discussion board:
Bryan Wilkinson: 5mm interface connection ports and jacks: It would be cool if all 5mm pegs had circuitry etched into them so they looked like some sort of interface, and also the edges and maybe even interior of 5mm sockets. I've sketched an idea for it on paper and will post it later. They'd still be 5mm pegs and ports, but have a more cyber-interface look to them. :) This will encourage the notion that these are more than just lego-esque pegs and sockets, but actual electronic interfaces between the figures and parts.
Modern figure-style asymmetry: In terms of asymmetrical details, I'm thinking using it in ways that look consistent with the micro look and non-jarring. Kind of like more attached accessories and wiring or circuitry that is molded into the figure's limbs and torso. Not as far as the ugly earlier protos went, but more blended in and still keeping an overall symmetry. Enough to update the look without overwhelming it. Some GI joe stuff does this well, and you can even find some Micros that have minor asymmetrical detailing, like on the torsos of some Rescue figures and such. Painting: There is a lot of potential for mixing painted details and clear plastic. Beast Wars Transmetals had some excellent examples of this using newer chroming techniques, and I think it would be cool if you could paint some circutry INSIDE a clear figure. The GI joe alien Carcass had a great use of this, where the shape of the organs where imbedded on the inside of the clear torso, then painted on the inside...the result was that it looked like he had organs inside him, since the painted, sculpted surface showed backwards through the plastic to look like solid details inside of him. It's hard as hell to explain, but it's an easy trick and I think would look great with internal circuitry and such.
Disclaimer: these designs were NOT the actual series 3 designs, they are images that the PaliMicro Consultant group drew up for series 3 consideration on the request of Ken Lilly, head of production at Palisades. All images are © each individual artist, and not for reproduction.