The newest Foldabot, Siklab, one of the members of the Elementrobots
Meet the Foldabots: all-Filipino crew of robots that can transform into anything and everything under the sun: skateboards, police cars, trains, even mythical Filipino creatures!
Loyal K-Zone readers know that every month since May 2006, we’ve rolled out a brand-new version of these paper art robots. All you have to do is to cut out the Foldabot from the page, assemble it according to the instructions, and you got yourself a Foldabot! They’re easy to assemble, and very easy to transform (usually, you just need to tuck a head or arm in, and then turn the paper construction around). Sometimes, they come in a set that, if combined, turn into a giant Foldabot (two so far: Metrotren and Higantechron).
We interviewed Foldabots creator Jomike Tejido to find out the inside story behind these transforming robots (we even show some of his behind-the-scenes sketches)! Plus, we got three downloadable wallpapers of Metrotren, Kalasag, and other Foldabots. All this and more — AFTER THE JUMP!
Buhawi, the first-ever Foldabot
K-ZONE: How did you get the idea for Foldabots?
JOMIKE: When I was a kid, i always watched my favorite cartoons like Transformers and played with cool toys of the late 80′s like Roadblasters and Dinoriders. They usually are about converting normal objects into radical creations. I had a few of them, but instead of asking my parents to buy more of these toys, i decided to make my own out of cardboard. I imagined them to be flat patterns and drew them on old folders. I made a lot of mistakes (and a lot of mess too!) but at night I’d have my own transforming paper robots. I’d show my dad and he’d always say [that] they [were] great.
I recently unearthed an old elementary notebook and saw [a] pencilled pattern I did back then, which i never got to cut out. From the looks of it, it looked like a tank that could transform into a jet fighter. From there, I got the idea of reviving my craft and sharing it to Filipino kids all over the country.
KZ: How do you make a Foldabot?
J: First step is to think of a cool alternate mode. Will it be an animal this time? Or another vehicle? Will it be for land or air or water? I try to vary the things I come up with every month so it’s always a surprise.
The next step is to make a prototype. I sketch a boxy robot and cut it out. I don’t draw the features yet, just the general shape. I tape the connections so i can easily remove them later. It becomes more complicated if it’s a combiner Foldabot [like Metrotren and Higantechron like we mentioned above -- KZ]. In that case i have to design all four body parts in one time to see if the all fit together in fusion mode. I also see to it that it’s easy enough for an average kid to create, so everyone can have a chance to build one from the magazine paper.
After that I take the pieces apart and draw the patterns, scan them and color them in a computer, then i print the very first one in production. I take a photo of it (thats the one you see as a finished ‘bot every issue), and it’s ready to go!
KZ: We noticed that all your Foldabots are Filipino.
J: I wanted to show how Filipino culture can be infused in a cool art form. To me, being Filipino is showing the world that we rule and can create our own toys. If Foldabots goes worldwide, I’d like the names to be carried too, so kids all over the world can see how the names associate with the Foldabot. Plus, I have top secret plans of a future comic series!
KZ:So far, who’s your favorite Foldabot?
J: My favorite is Buhawi, the very first one i made. I’ve researched much about the philippine eagle, and it was even my thesis topic in college (kids, that’s like the biggest and final project you’ll ever make before you graduate). Buhawi is a natural leader, an ode to our national animal.
KZ: Any Foldabot you don’t like?
J: None! I like all my creations.
KZ: Tell us about the world of Foldabots. Are there bad Foldabots out there?
J: This whole story will come soon in a comic series i’m preparing. But let’s just say all the Foldabots are in one big team, and a lurking evil presence is out there. Hmmm…that’s it for now.
KZ: Obviously, your inspiration for the Foldabots was the Transformers. What did you think of the movie?
J: The movie is great, [and] I rate it at 8.5 out 0f ten. The designs are pretty rad for someonw who grew up with the [original] Transformers. I liked how well the faces were [different] from each other. Another comment on the movie is that the transformations and action scenes were too fast all through out. I’d appreciate if they slow-mo’ed some areas so we can appreciate the great detail they put into the designs! But overall it’s a fantastic movie.
KZ: What’s next for the Foldabots?
J: Next would be local street vehicles that roar in our everyday cities. I still haven’t got a clue what my next set of Combiners [will be]. I kinda just wait for that next spark of ideas to come, then I create. Hey, if you kids have something cookin’ for cool Combiner-bots, feel free to write to me or send me drawings!
BEHIND THE SCENES SKETCHES
Coloring in Siklab, this month’s Foldabot and the first announced member of the Elementrobots. A few more steps and it’s ready to be sent to K-Zone.
Click the images below to download the wallpapers!