Credits


Niels Dekker (story & design), Danne Bakker (design)

About


Of all those "great" ideas you come up with college (or in live for that matter) only a few are actually, pretty great. This was one of them. And don't let me take any credit for that idea. My college bud Niels Dekker did that all on his own when he excitedly pitched the idea to me of "an animated series about boy scouts fighting a robot invasion with slingshots".

We called it "The Beaver Brigade" (which remains a working title and has no intended connotations) and started drawing lots and lots of robots. The main characters were all inspired by our fondness of series like Ducktales and The Goonies. Adventurous, bold, but also clumsy and adorable at times.

Eventually I took some time off work to draw a storyboard which spans more than seven hundred images. It is the pilot episode in which our heroes go on a field trip while unbeknownst to them a giant intergalactic screw-shaped spaceship drops in the middle of their town. They sneak back down the mountain to investigate and come face to face with our main antagonist.

Sadly, we had to abandon the series due to time constraints and creative differences. Luckily all the work is still there and we have great memories to accompany them.

Prologue


We are introduced to a small, self-contained city in the middle of a valley. People are on their daily commute and all is well. A man walking along the sidewalk catches a shimmer in the sky. He looks up.

Thousands of miles above the Earth, a spaceship filled to the brim with menacing looking robots is preparing an invasion. If only there was someone, somewhere that could stop them...

Camping trip


Scout leader "Hopman" commands his troop in preparation for the weekend. When he is done he returns to the wheel, just in time to steer his van away from imminent disaster.

We get our first look at our protagonists. Bram, he chubby kid with a big heart; Ming who has mad adventure skills; Susie who is a bookworm and is crushing on Tim, who is always too far off to take notice; and finally Hazan who really doesn't care one way or the other.

Once arrived they pick up their gear and head straight for the woods where they sing their signature song. Each of them more off-key than the next.

At the campsite Hopman orders them to set up their tents. While being highly inadequate at it himself, his troop manages to impress him and he ends up rewarding Ming with a badge.

It turns night and they sit around the campfire. Realizing that they must have left the cans of sausages back at the van they vote who has to go back and get them. Hazan, who fails to pay attention, loses the vote and heads for the van.

While wandering around the forest, Hazan notices a twinkling in the stars. What could it be? He decides it must've been nothing.

Meanwhile, Hopman decides to liven up the party and add some turpentine to the fire. Just before it hits the flames the spaceship comes crashing down the city. Both the explosion and the impact of the screw sweep our characters of their feet.

Hazan has finally made it to the van and makes dastardly attempts at retrieving the sausages.

All of his efforts attract the attention of one of the robots. It takes a closer look and decides to carry the van with him for further inspection.

Back at the camp it doesn't take long for our troop to notice that something is off. When they see Hazan and the van being carried away by a huge robot they know it is time for some action.

As they run up to the edge of the forest they find out that their city has been invaded. While Ming swears revenge, Tim holds her back and pleads that he should be the one defending the city. Bram takes a closer look and sees that Hazan is being taken to the nearby junkyard.

To the rescue


Under the cover of night the troop head down the hills. Hopman is pre-occupied with a rock in his boot and tells his pupils to go along without him.

When they reach the junkyard we get reintroduced to the menacing, sunglass wearing robots we saw earlier. There's two of them. The kids devise a plan and manage to sneak behind them.

Apart from junk, big signs litter the junkyard entrance warning unwanted visitors and scaring them with mentions of a dog. Ming admits that she is not too fond of that idea, and Bram makes fun of her. When the mutt finally shows up it seems to be scared itself more than anything else.

They tread on further and walk up to the giant robot which seems to have been turned off. Slowly they sneak between its legs and then stumble upon a shaking Hazan. He has a big bag of sausage cans in his hand which Bram gladly takes from him.

As they turn to head out they come face to face with one of the guarding robots who holds a big gun in his hands. Surprisingly, he starts to speak: "Hello. I have come in peace. Let's be best friends." Susie remarks that they weren't so bad after all. Then the robot opens fire.

The kids duck away, but Tim and Susie are left with no place to hide. That's when Ming decides to take action and jumps on the robot's head. When he shakes her off, Bram jumps in as well and smashes the bag into his legs. The robot falls down.

Thinking all is done, Ming starts to brag. But when the robot raises his head they panic and climb onto the piles of garbage and broken down cars. The robot raises himself off the ground and stumbles away with a seemingly broken leg.

During all of this, Hopman has finally made it to the junkyard. Both of the guards are gone. Meanwhile the kids have managed to climb atop a garbage disposal facility. Once inside, they head downstairs.

Then, all of a sudden sirens start to whail and an emergency light flickers on. We can hear an elevator coming and with a big metallic "clunk" its doors open, while steam comes rolling down the pathway and bright glasses shimmer in the darkness.

Hopman is fully unaware of what is going on and calls out for the kids. This seems to grab the attention of the giant robot.

The kids are running down the stairs of the facility while the robot is chasing them. Still impaired it takes great effort for him to keep up, but with a swift maneuver he throws himself off the balcony and lands right in front of the group.

They head back into a closed room. Looking for a way out, they discover a conveyor belt. With the combined skills of technical insight and smashing buttons, Ming manages to get it started.

One after the other the kids hop on, fall down a chute and land on another conveyor belt. Bram is the last one to go and manages to get his bag stuck behind him. Not wanting to let go, he pulls with all his might until suddenly the robot appears right in front of him.

Both Bram, the robot and a load of cans fall onto the conveyor belt. They have a hard time getting back on their feet, and the kids are cheering for Bram to make it to the platform.

When all seems dire, Susie uses all her might to plant her foot straight into a control panel. This manages to realign the conveyor belt straight into a flaming pit of fire. Tim reaches out and just barely gets a hold of Bram.

In a last effort the robot manages to get back on its feet. Both the cans and his gun disappear in the smouldering oven behind him. He reaches out towards the kids, but a well placed slingshot rock hits him straight in the face and he falls backwards into the fire.

The kids cheerfully leave the junkyard. Unbeknownst to them, they are being watched.

Epilogue


Hopman has a moment of his own while he unveils the clothed object in the back of his van. With a roaring engine he blasts through the doors on his motorcycle.

Back in the factory we can hear the sounds of steel being molten and crushed. There is a small conveyor belt coming from the machine that spits out a cube of metal with a distinct pair of sunglasses.

In the city, a television in a pawn shop whizzes on. It's the local newsstation reporting on the last developments on... Gorillas. "This is just in! We have been overrun by robots. Let's head over to our reporter on the spot." "Thanks, I can confirm the allegations. We are now under total robot control!" As both the reporter and his cameraman seem to be held up by robots, the anchorman finishes the segment and the television turns off.

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