Draxhall Jump is a design studio in Toronto. Founded by famous comic book artist Ken Lashly, its members are all highly talented artists who have worked on everything from comic books like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Rising Stars, magazines, advertising, animation design, children's books, packaging, and most interesting to me, toys. Toys like Transformers.
In fact, it has been said that the designs they had come up with for what would have been this year's Transformers toy line, known as "TransTech", were either put on hold or canceled. However, some design work showed up at a dealer's table during BotCon 2001 in North Carolina last July. These robots had a very "mech" like look to them, and the heroic side could transform from a robot to a vehicle with animal-like stylings. You can find some of these designs at Transfandom.com. When these pictures were leaked, some fans hated the look, and some liked it. But just about everyone was curious. And so I wondered what I could find out at this convention.
While Hasbro eventually stopped the dealer from selling any more prints of these proposed designs at BotCon, there was no one to stop the designers themselves from displaying some at their booth. Quite prominently, might I add!
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Here's TransTech Optimus Prime with some other characters heads. Optimus would have Transformed into a futuristic truck cab with a sleek, gorilla-like face on the front. I don't care what anyone says, I think that this guy looks super cool, and he'd fit in great with the rest of the Prime and Primal toys. Look at his big, smashin' arms! He rocks!
Here's a closer look. One of the booth guys said that Ken Lashly himself designs most of the Hasbro Toys work that they get, and that he's one of Hasbro's preliminary designers. He didn't know if these designs were ever going to see the light of day, but said that they would have been out this year if Hasbro had not decided to import the previous year's Japanese line instead. I hope that at least Optimus is released somehow, but I doubt it. The guy I talked to knew that pictures were floating around the Internet. He also confirmed suspicions that this toy would be made by using a lot of translucent plastic. Notice the "energy generators" on his shoulders. The prints being sold at BotCon had circular shapes that look to have been removed for the sake of space on the booth display.
Here's a closer look of some of the heads. Your guess is as good as mine regarding which characters they are, but they look pretty different from anything Transformers has seen before. They look kind of Gundam like, but with a bit more personality.
I don't know who this guy is, or what side he'd have been on, but he sure looks cool. And to all of you Beast Machines haters out there, look! He's actually got a gun!
I don't think that this guy is a Transformer, but he's sure looking pretty wicked.
Here's some designs from the new line of GI Joe: A Real American Hero action figures. I'm guessing that's Destro, Duke, Cobra Commander, and Snake Eyes. I don't know if that tank is from the line or for something else.
Here's an example of some of the comic book stuff that they do. It's a bunch of Image Comics super heroes, including Spawn.
And here is the Free comic book that they were giving out, with a bunch of sketches and works in progress based on some of their own creator-owned projects. They really a a talented group.
Creative Interests DHJ Profile: More information and some sample artwork.
Official Draxhall Web Site Awesome artwork and concepts!
If, on the off chance, anyone from Draxhall Jump is actually reading this, give me a shout some time. I'd like to talk.
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