Article: Prize Inside! asks "what if" and then makes it happen
Prize Inside! springs forth from the imagination of fellow Transformers fan Trent Troop. Like many fans, he asks the question "What if?" a lot. "What if there were G1 style transforming animal weapons?", "What if there were guns for Optimus Prime that look like his Action Master guns?", "What if you wanted a different face plate on your Titan Master figure?". The difference between Trent and most fans however is that he works to make those "what if" scenarios a reality. Through his Workshop on Shapeways, Trent works all sorts of magic with his imagination to bring creations to life that you may not have realized you needed in your collection (but you totally do).
For those not familiar, Shapeways is a Dutch founded company based in New York. They were founded in 2007 and allow people to create 3D printable files and set up shops on their site. From their 3-D printing factories, they print out the items in a variety of materials and handle the shipping process. This takes away a lot of the potential overhead and labor of having a shop, allowing creators to focus on their content.
It is important to understand that when you order Shapeways products, they are not exactly the smooth, pre-assembled plastic contraptions you buy at mass retail outlets. The basic materials are a bit rough and almost everything comes on sprue so some assembly is required. I am not much of a customizer but I have been told by friends that you should expect to have to do some sanding and painting once you receive your figures and/or accessories.
Prize Inside! offers a variety of products, and Trent was kind enough to send me some samples to check out.
Action Master Optimus Prime Arsenal
Described as A weapon set based on Action Master Optimus Prime, includes his "Photon Bazooka" weapon and two "Laser Guns", scaled for voyager-sized figures. this set is perfect for the "Titans Return" Optimus Prime figure or even the Voyager Class "Classics" Optimus Prime. The level of detail on these weapons really shows you how carefully Trent stared at the G1 versions of these weapons before creating these versions. The set includes the hand rifle and the two "smokestacks/blasters" based on the weapons that attached to Action Master Optimus Prime's truck. These do come on a sprue, so you'll have to clip them off and shave off a bit of plastic off the ends, but they are printed in just the right orange so you can use them immediately to spruce up your Optimus Prime!
This set is an extension of Prize Inside's BMOG line, which consisted of several weapons coming together to form animal robots. True to its lineage, this set includes Synaxid (Dimetrodon/Axe), Multi-Function Pterattacktyl (pteradactyl/pick axe/crossbow/blaster) and Splashpoint (ichthyosaurus/old timey ray-gun). This is a relatively simple set, as each "non-dino" member of the team does not need to be separated or assembled to become their weapons. Simply use the standard 5mm pegs and they attach to Transformers figures with the appropriate ports and voila! You have a "non-dino" weapon! It also took some imagination to come up with these forms, especially Splashpoint whose "old timey ray-gun" is both humorous and fun at the same time.
When I saw the "Catling Gun" I knew I had to have it. Not only is the name absolutely hilarious and brilliant, but this is very much made in the style of the hold "Action Master" weapons such as Catgut. This set requires a bit of assembly since the legs come separated from the body. It took about ten minutes or so to put the piece together. It will take you more if you decide to sand the parts down a bit to smooth them out and paint them. Once you have it together though, Catling Gun is excellent. The beast mode looks great and all you need to do is flip the head forward, swing the legs back and now you have (you guessed it) a gatling gun weapon! This is my favorite of the accessories I received and I would highly recommend this be one of your first purchases.
BisonZooka Transforming Weaponoid Kit (5mm)
Bisonzooka is a sprued seven-piece snap-together kit similar in style to Catling Gun. Intended to look like a bull, bison or buffalo, this mammalian robot beast transforms into a scifi style blaster (in contrast to Catling Gun's more current day looking weapon form). This is my second favorite of the pieces I played with and it makes a great partner for any of your Transformers figures.
Horri-Bull Mini Vehicle
Taking a cue from the "Titans Return" figures such as Shuffler, this "mini vehicle" is based on Generation One Horri-Bull's beast mode. It has a similar head with horns sticking out the sides (instead of being on top) and a tail made up of weapons. The idea is to provide a "mini vehicle" for Titan Masters. This skirts my comfort level for touching on Hasbro IP, but the fact is you need an official Transformers product to really utilize its full functionality so I'm cool with it. Also, Horri-Bull does not have a robot mode. Instead, this snap together kit transforms into a weapon in a few simple steps! If you look up top and follow the progression of these mini-reviews down you'll find this is one of the more complex kits to put together (between taking the parts off the sprues and assembly I'd say I spent about 15 minutes on it).
The items above are great, but Prize Inside! is much more than...well, you know. Want a kit to convert your Windblade into Anode? They've got that. Want a G.I. Joe arcade game scaled to a 3.3/4" Joe? Check this out! They even have a line of "Battle Beast" inspired figures such as Fetid Fly and Atomic Allosaur! I am not kidding when I saw you could easily burn a lot of time browsing Prize Inside's store. I absolutely recommend you do and see what they have to offer.