When I sold prints of the piece on the left
at a convention, I heard some interest in seeing some elaboration on my inspiration and references. So here we go! The most direct precursor was the piece on the right:
The typography is admittedly not very true to actual Constructivist art, but rather a modern take on it that most people think
was how it was done:
I was motivated to turn this from one of my many back-burner ideas into an actual piece by, among other things, delight in the notion of Bonecrusher's drill and Scavenger's shovel crossing to become an analog for the hammer and sickle. Partly this was because as a kid I had owned Bonecrusher's original toy, and I knew that he had a drill that could be attached to his arm,
which I always wanted to see depicted in the fiction but never did. Scavenger's toy
didn't have a removable shovel like that, but let's say he was inspired by a later version of himself that did.
The other part of the appeal was riffing off of the adaptability of the hammer-and-sickle design. Say what you want about the tenets of Marxism-Leninism, but their graphic design was on point. The H&S could be depicted from hyper-real to brutally abstracted:
And its component symbols were often altered to match the character of a country. For instance, East Germany had a hammer and compass:
Mozambique has a rifle, hoe, and book:
And then there's Angola's frankly hilarious machete and half a gear:
Next to those, I think a drill and shovel seem right at home. And the thing is, in modern Transformers lore,
Megatron was a champion of the oppressed working class who tore off the shackles of a corrupt system in a revolution that would've made Marx proud. But as with the Soviet experiment, this led only to a new kind of oppression.
The idea of using the Constructicons to embody this occurred to me when a friend was going through all the original TFs' tech specs,
and he noticed the Constructicons were the first bunch of Decepticons to have Autobot-like stats. All the other 'Cons up to that point had turned into things like military vehicles, weapons, and spy equipment. I joked that the Constructicons gave Megatron the proletarian cred he needed to keep up his mech-of-the-people image. Then it hit me: they're literally workers uniting! And I knew what had to be done.