Space Case rebuilt as Cowl

Cowl with shield-gun Cowl jet mode from below Cowl jet mode from above

    Cowl is the character I play on Transformers: The Lost Years MUSH, a Decepticon from the era on Cybertron just after Megatron and Optimus Prime led their warriors to Earth. The reason he has no Decepticon symbol is that, well, I forgot. I was working from an old drawing I had done which was the basis for the MUSH character, but the original Cowl was a factionless mercenary in my RoboMACs universe, so he had no symbols. The symbol's visible (barely) on a decoy I kitbashed of Cowl. Note (7/24/98): Inspired by Neale Davidson's prodigious collection of Transformers icons elsewhere on this server, I made one myself, and it's flanking the header of this page. Note that it's more in the colors of the original drawing than the toy, so there's a few points of disagreement.

    To build Cowl, I started with the Cyberjet Space Case. Knocking the pin connecting the black plastic arm to the main wing, I reversed the arm so that the wings would point up, rather than down in robot mode. Then I pulled the arms from their sockets on the wings and chopped off the end of the tabs, so that the shoulders could slide into slots on the back of the nose/chest piece (I glued them in after finishing the painting step). I also cut off the tip of the jet's nose so that it wouldn't extend past the pelvis of the final toy. Next I pried the missile launcher off of Space Case's arm and inserted a missile which I had removed the tip and last centimeter of (the end bit removal was to turn into the handle of the gun). Because it was beyond my skill to create the arms-fold-to-the-chest motion visible in the original drawing of Cowl, I had to modify how the gun attached to the jet mode, and I decided to merge the shield and the gun into one item. So I built up a shield around the launcher using Sculpey, and once I had finished putting everything else together, I used a glue gun to attach the handle to the right part of the shieldgun. The final easy structural change was to build up Cowl's head over the tiny head of Space Case using Sculpey.

    The wing surface was another matter entirely. I initially considered making it from Sculpey, but that task bordered on the masochistic, since I couldn't heat the toy up in an oven to harden the Sculpey...the toy itself would melt! And I didn't relish sitting with a hairdryer pointed at the wing for hours on end either. So I decided to piece the wing together from sheet plastic. I was lucky to find a cheap set of plastic scoops at Odd Lots, and I got all the pieces I needed from a 1/4-cup scoop. I chopped off the tail fins of the wing and filed the edges down as best I could, then started fitting scoop pieces together to form the proper wing surface. Because of my lack of practice with a glue gun (and the general messiness of the tool), the wing ended up kinda lumpy in places...this toy will win no art contests, let me tell you. Because the toy would be slightly different in transformation from the drawing, I added tailfins on the wing surface (the original design has the toes pointing up in that function, but in the toy they toes point outwards). Finally, I drilled a hole in the lower part of the cowl/wing to accomodate the shieldgun's peg.

    Once all the structural stuff was done, it was a "simple" matter of painting all the pieces and putting them back together again so I could align the shieldgun properly. Unfortunately, it turned out that the cockpit attached off-center, so the teeth I painted on with structural paint look like they're misaligned. As you can see above, the toy actually does transform, albeit in a simplified way, and the pegs on the feet rest snugly in the filed-down missile rack slots. You'll notice that the cowl is a bit "higher" than in the drawing, but that's a necessary limitation of Space Case's own wings. It's a closer match to the decoy, in terms of the cowl, actually. I considered having a "lip" on the cowl like in the drawing, but decided it would create too many complications.

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