Last time on Brite My Litest Hour part I, I wrote about how I found an old Lite Brite at the thrift store and it inspired me to break out my old Transformers Lite Brite sheets. I then gained a new appreciation for both the work that the original Lite Brite designers put into making the patterns and the free child labor provided by my son who plugged all the pegs into the torturous Lite Brite screen so I could get pictures of the finished products. Then I found I'd hit a wall! It turns out I didn't have all the patterns from the Transformer set! I'd bought mine used years ago as part of some other lot of stuff and I never checked the contents. It turns out I was missing half of the twelve Transformer designs. This sucked because I didn't want to spend any more money on buying a brand new unopened pack, which runs in the neighborhood of 50 bucks on eBay. What could I do? Where could I go? Well it tuned out that eBay would be the answer to my problem, but not in the way I expected.
eBay auction pic
eBay auction pic
|Enlarged and color inverted photo||Insecticon: Bombshell|
As I was browsing through the auctions for Transformer Lite Brite patterns I noticed that some people were selling opened packs or packs that were missing some sheets and they'd take pictures of the contents they had. Well nowadays everyone has super high resolution cameras and nobody bothers to rescale their pictures like we used to do 10 years ago to ease the load on bandwidth. Consequently you can blow up most eBay item pictures and get really fine detail out of them. Once I realized this it was just a matter of time before I found pictures of most of the missing patterns I needed in a decent enough resolution that I could make out their necessary peg colors and placements. Then I'd crop and invert the photo to make out the pattern better and use it as a guide for recreating the pattern on a fresh blank sheet of Lite Brite paper. It was a lot of work but they came out pretty good!
|Autobot: Skids||Autobot: Skyfire|
There are a couple of downsides to literally getting Lite Brite patterns off of eBay. First it is really tricky to translate the picture to the appropriate Lite Brite screen resolution. I decided not to try printing the photos out at 1:1 scale because even subtle shifts in perspective were enough to throw the whole picture out of whack with the peg board. So I had to draw a grid over the photo and number the rows so I could best guess where each peg went. I made some mistakes and it took a lot of time but I think I nailed them for the most part. The other problem is that you are at the mercy of whatever random choices eBay sellers make when deciding what patterns to take pictures of. Consequently as of when I write this I am still missing one Snarl pattern. But beggars can't be choosers and I am basically getting patterns for free so I can't complain.
|Dinobot: Slag||Dinobot: Swoop|
It was through this method of pulling patterns off eBay auctions that I recreated two of my absolute favorite Lite Brite patterns-Swoop and Slag. These things are beautiful because they use just about every peg in the base set to create stunning 3/4 angle views of these robots in their dino modes. I don't know if the same artist worked on all the Lite Brite Transformer patterns but whoever did these was inspired compared to the Skids and Skyfire patterns. Skids is almost unrecognizable and Skyfire looks like he's holding a vibrator. I'm very sure I nailed those so I don't know what's going on with them. But the Dinobots are gorgeous. Swoop and Slag are easily the nicest of the whole set, followed by 'Bombshell Blasts Away' and then the Snarl picture I am missing. They never made patterns for Grimlock and Sludge so the team remains incomplete but what we did get was pretty awesome.
C'MON HASBRO-WHERE'S MY LITE BRITE KREMZEEK
I think if I were in charge of the Lite Brite Transformer patterns I would have made a few different character choices. I would've tried to include Optimus and maybe Bumblebee instead of doing multiples of the same guys like Bombshell and Snarl. As the line went on it would have been nice to see patterns based on the Movie characters. Hot Rod opening the Matrix almost begs to be done in Lite Brite. The combining special teams would have been fun to see since they were made of multicolored limbs that would very much have lent themselves to Lite Brite interpretations. They could even have done Lite Brite versions of iconic Transformers comic book covers. On a wider scale I would have liked to see other non-Hasbro lines like GoBots, Robo Force, and even Robotech get Lite Brite treatment. I guess at this point there's nothing stopping me from doing my own!