"Beast Wars Transformers" Mega-Turtle Custom
You may be here because you saw the above image on social media and its follow up post(s), if not you can skip to the next paragraph. While the image above was posted as a light hearted April Fool's Day gag, the figure itself is real in so much that it is not a digibash but a real action figure custom that I commissioned. The April Fool's Day gag was actually an afterthought. Getting the figure made was a three month saga that you can read about below.
Back in December 2020, The Allspark revealed scans of several unreleased Beast Wars Transformers action figures. These appeared to be focused on a never-produced McDonalds Happy Meal campaign and featured figures as bizarre as "Auto roller" style beasts and a Megatron that transformed into a multi-armed dragonfly. One of my favorite concepts from this set of images was Beast Wars Megatron transforming into a sea turtle (image below credited to Robotic Planet Toys in Instagram)! The simplicity of the design clearly pointed to this being planned as a Happy Meal toy, but I immediately saw opportunity and latched onto the idea of having a custom made.
Off to ebay I went and purchased a sacrificial Beast Wars Snapper and Megatron crocodile figure. Next, my awesome friend Trent Troop put me in contact with fellow fan and customizer Shawn Tessman to make this dream come true. During his off hours Shawn worked his magic based on the artwork shown on Allspark.
Unfortunately the two pictures of "Mega-Turtle" (as I affectionately call him) did not exactly match color-wise, so Shawn and I went back and forth a bit to decide on how to keep the "spirit" of the colors while making them work on the Snapper toy. Keep in mind that the original drawings showed a different sculpt, not Snapper (though there are heavy similarities of course).
Also part of the challenge was giving the figure a new head. The concept drawings showed a fanged Megatron face, which most Beast Wars Megatron figures do not have. In fact, in this scale the only Megatron with that face was the "crocodile" Megatron from the two pack released with "bat" Optimus Primal. I purchased these pieces and sent them off to Shawn and it turns out it was not as simple as just popping the heads off and snapping them into place. Some disassembly was required to get the heads to work but Shawn made it work! *Note: the in progress photos above and below were sent by Shawn to me during one of our conversations about the piece.
A couple months after the idea popped in my head, Shawn finished up his work and sent me the figure. To say I am impressed with his work would be an understatement. I am of the belief that the sculpting work during Beast Wars was extraordinary, especially given the era. The organic details from fur to scales to outer shells forced the designers to do more than just create boxy rectangles which so defined a lot of the G1/G2 era. I wanted to be sure that the paint work on Mega-Turtle helped bring out this detailing.
Looking at the beast mode photo above, you'll note the shell has a black wash that helps bring out the detailing in the gaps between sections of the shell. The legs in front feature a white wash over the sea green helping to bring out the "organic" details. One of my favorite touches is the yellow spray op on the head, which really adds to the organic look of the beast mode.
A big challenge with this figure was to ensure it could still transform without paint scraping off or other such damage. I am happy to report this figure suffers no such issues. Now, as part of the disassembling of the figure to attach the Megatron head the "spring loaded" transformation feature was neutered, but the figure still transforms just fine (it just doesn't "snap" when it transforms). I also lucked out in that Shawn is a fellow fan who also had Predacon symbol stickers from Reprolabels available so he attached one to the chest piece. It really helps "complete" the figure. I also love the sharp contrast between the purple on the head with the white fangs and red eyes. He may be a relatively normal looking turtle in beast mode, but in robot mode that head makes him look fierce (oh, and the giant claws and dual barreled cannon help).
This is one of the few times I was heavily inspired to commission a custom figure and boy am I glad I did! You can see more images of this guy in the gallery below. Enjoy!