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by TCJJ

Universe/Henkei Hotshot - Why my shoulders (no longer) hurt?

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Old 03-22-2013, 06:37 AM   #1
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Universe/Henkei Hotshot - Why my shoulders (no longer) hurt?

I'm sure everyone knows by now that the fantastic (not-so) new Hotshot really isn't that fantastic. His shoulders are such a pain (among other things. I'm looking at you, Jolt).



Most people are familiar with the JaAm boxing gloves, but I personally hate them, and it requires that one Transformers taboo: PARTS-FORMING!



So how do we fix this? We start cutting and sanding, of course.

Tools required:
  • Hobby knife (e.g. Exacto)
  • Philips-head screwdriver (either two different sizes or a fairly small one that will work well with all screws in this mod)
  • Flat-head screwdriver (or similarly thin-but-strong tool)
  • Soldering iron (25W, preferably)
  • Flat file (not completely necessary but makes life so much easier)
  • Sanding stick (or equivalent - I do love this thing. It works wonders for bigger areas)

What we want to achieve is to have the spoiler rotate, so that the back of the car sections have more clearance, and don't have to overlap (if you can call it that - good luck getting those bricks to overlap).



I want to preface this by saying that I have the Henkei version, so if you have the Universe version, make sure to cut out the gaps in the bumper, same as the Henkei version (although you don't need to make them go as far back/to the side, unless you're planning to attach rocket launchers underneath). Otherwise, they'll still be a pain.

Right, now go ahead and rip off an arm. That's right - just rip it off (okay, be a bit more careful than that). The hinge joint is the easiest to detach. The swivel at the shoulder that uses that pressure clip thing is a horrible pain to detach, so don't bother trying (unless yours is loose, in which case, go ahead, if you want).

Next off, remove the lovely giant kibble piece. It also uses a pressure clip thingy-majig (I'm sure it has a real name, but I don't really care), but this one is much easier to pull out.



The shoulder has three screws. Watch out for the tiny little one. It's easy to miss (and easy to misplace). Unscrew the screws (duh) and carefully set them aside. You can arrange them like I have so that you know which is which, but they're all different in size, anyway, so it's not hard to figure out where they go.



Next, you have to crack the arm open. It's easier than you'd think, but still not simple, so here are some more in-depth details on how to do it:

Get a flat-head screwdriver (or something with a similar shape that is solid - no hobby knives), and put it in the small gap above the arm's swivel joint (the top of the red piece). Try to leverage your tool in that gap so that the two plastic pieces start coming apart.



Then get your tool into the gap at the top of the shoulder piece, and leverage it there.



Go back and fourth between these two places until the plastic comes apart. You need to jump between each, else the plastic can break, because it is glued pretty solidly in place (you'll see the glue once you get it apart), and it just needs some TLC to get it apart.



Remove the inner shoulder piece and the lower arm piece, and you'll be left with this:



See that pin sticking out? Don't even bother trying to push it out normally. After a while, you might be able to get it to budge a little, but you will never be able to get it out the whole way. You'll see why later, but for now, trust me: this thing will not move with pushing and pulling. I tried for about an hour with multiple tools. So, how do we do it? A soldering iron. They're cheap. You don't need an expensive one. It only needs to be 25W (mine's 40W, but that's generally too high, so don't follow my example. Also, I need to get a new soldering iron soon. Yes, mine is crap).

Gently lay the tip of your soldering iron on the end of the pin. Be careful and do not push on it. You'll just end up building up pressure, which will end up making the soldering iron slip off at one point, and at that point, either you get burnt or your toy gets burnt. We don't want either of them happening. Also, don't try taking pictures whilst you're doing this. It was hard enough for me, and I've had a lot of experience soldering (and shaky hands. Great).



It takes a while to heat up. Don't rush it. You can push gently to see if the pin starts to move, but I'd recommend just keeping a close eye on the plastic around it to see when it starts changing colour and form ever-so-slightly. Do not let the plastic get to the point where it starts melting away. With my higher wattage soldering iron, it will do this ever-so-slightly, so I have to keep a closer eye on it, but leave it too long, and your Hotshot won't have a shoulder any more.

Use a tool (such as pliers - that's what I used) to push the pin out when it's heated up enough. It'll probably cool down before you get it all the way out, so repeat this process on the other side, now that the head is sticking out. This is much easier to grab with pliers, but make sure you pull it out as straight as possible, or you'll warp the plastic.



And here's why you could never get that pin out normally:



It has those lovely ridges that basically stop you pulling it out. Thanks, Hasbro (and TakaraTomy).

Anyway, talking about ridges, there's a yellow one down the inside side of the spoiler. Cut it off! It doesn't have to be perfectly flat (yet - it will have to be later, but it's easier to trim it later on).



Now we have to free the spoiler piece from the rest, by breaking more glue seals. Stick your hobby knife between the window and spoiler, where that horrible pin went through, and very carefully push into it, until you each the end.



Then do the other side.



Alright, now we can separate the three parts. Make sure the ridge down the side of the spoiler piece is cleanly cut away (and tidy up the excess glue if you want - this isn't necessary, but may help with any clearance issues).

Put the spoiler piece to the side for now. We're going to focus on the other two parts.



Let's start with the actual shoulder piece first. I like to start with this one, because it allows you to test fit your work properly.

You're going to need to cut off the piece of plastic I've marked in black. This gives the spoiler piece room to move forward.



This is (approximately) what you should end up with:



Now put that piece to the side and grab that window piece. This is where the most work comes into play.

Again, I've marked parts to be removed in black. I recommend cutting away the piece that juts out of the lovely curve before tackling the rest. Once you remove that, you can simply place a file where that piece was, and file away until you've made a nice gap in the plastic. You'll see what I mean soon enough.

Right-o, there's a gap already in the translucent blue plastic that the window makes, but we're going to have to make it bigger if we want this to work. Stick your file in and file away! My files is slightly too wide for the gap, so I just made it wider. The way the shoulder is constructed means that some extra space in there is fine - the spoiler piece will not flop around just because it has more room to do so.



To test fit this as you go, put the three pieces back together (not with the pin or screws - just hold everything in place), and, making sure the pin holes line up, rotate the spoiler piece to see how far it moves. If it can't touch the edge of the pin hole that you cut away from (the first black-marked part you cut), keep attacking the window piece with your file until it can. It's important to take this slowly, because you don't want huge, unnecessary gaps. It'll look horrible and serve no purpose other than making it look horrible (and maybe less durable, if you get too trigger-happy).



This is what you want the end result to look like:



So, to put it back together, we just reverse the order, right? Wrong. The original order only works because we pried the shoulder apart, where the pin didn't have much grip, but the pin still needs to end up going through both shoulder pieces. The logical step here, then, is to reattach the inner shoulder and lower arm, then screw them back together. Now we can put the pin back in.

Crank out that soldering iron, put the pin gently in place, and start heating it up!



You may think this will be easier than removing it, and you'd be correct - if you're careful. If you're not, you'll end up with a big, hot, sticky mess. Of plastic, I might add.

Once the pin has heated up enough, gently push it in with either your soldering iron or another tool (such as pliers). Again, make sure it goes in straight. If you want to push it in with the soldering iron, be very careful that you only push lightly. You shouldn't have to push hard. If you do, it's not hot enough. If you use a tool such as pliers, you'll probably need to reheat the pin once or twice to get it all the way down. It's no easier re-inserting it than it is removing it.

I pushed the pin in slightly more than it originally was, but that's fine - it's more secure that way. Just remember that it's essentially melting the plastic around it to achieve this, so you can theoretically push it all the way through and out the other side, which we don't want. Make sure to gently rotate the spoiler piece whilst the pin cools down, so that it doesn't set, but do it very gently and slowly, else you risk warping the still-warm plastic.



And now it's complete.... right?



Well, you could leave it at that, but as it turns out, there's a way to make his arms work even better.

It's a subtle difference in look, but you can really feel the difference when you're playing with the thing. Hint: the left arm is pre-modded in this picture. As I said, the difference is subtle when you're looking at it.



This is where the fantastic sanding stick comes into play. You can use alternatives, but it's the perfect size for this mod.



See how the upper arm is angled on the inner side? Sand it down until it's much more rounded and doesn't protrude as much. This will allow the arm to sit closer to the body.

That's not all, though. The round piece of the inner shoulder where the pressure peg thing connects won't go further into the shoulder because of a screw hole post that gets in its way, so we need to flatten the top of that round, yellow piece.



Finally, once all that is done, put him all back together, and you should now be able to rotate the spoiler down, make the arms straighter, and put those big chunks of car out of the way. Aesthetically, it's still not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better.




Now, here's a quick little extra mod you can do to make Hotshot even better. See how the windows on his legs are just kind of floating there? What if they could actually sit in the leg cavities (to an extent)?



Easy. See the grey piece on the inside of the legs? Stick your file or sanding stick in there and start sanding. You need to sand more towards the top and less towards the bottom.



Test fit it as you go, and eventually, you'll have the window pieces able to swivel all the way down. Of course, if one of the engine block pins sticks out a bit too much, you might need to get the soldering iron on that , but be careful. One of mine sticks out a bit, but I have yet to fix it.



Now, as for Jolt..... His time is coming.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:52 AM   #2
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This... is.... AWESOME^^
I'm definitely going to be doing this mod to my Hot Shot ^^
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:08 AM   #3
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:16 PM   #4
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Cheers guys! I'm glad that you like it.
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:38 PM   #5
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Nice mod. This was an OK figure. I customized mine and then literally gave it away


Now accepting commissions
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:42 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cheetor71 View Post
Nice mod. This was an OK figure. I customized mine and then literally gave it away
Yeah, I can understand that. I think he has lot of good ideas, but also a lot of poor execution. A few mods may make him better, but I don't think you can fix this ultimately broken toy, unfortunately. But at least you can improve him. Now, if this was Airachnid, then you may as well throw it in a fire. Thankfully, Hotshot isn't THAT bad.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:04 AM   #7
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This looks like some great work here!
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:34 AM   #8
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This looks like some great work here!
Cheers! I really appreciate it. Any chance it could find its way into the Tutorials section? I don't know how to submit it for the tutorials.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:30 AM   #9
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I just wanted to bump this to ask if anyone is really interested in a Jolt mod. I'm planning to do one either way, but I'm wondering if I should do a tutorial or just go ahead and do it myself. It people want a tutorial, I'll definitely do one. I plan to give him solid heels that will work well, improve his arms (because mine came with a funky arm - this mod won't be necessary for everyone, but helpful for some), and possibly even change some other parts to give him a proper helicopter power-up mode thing for Hotshot's vehicle mode.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:38 AM   #10
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I just wanted to bump this to ask if anyone is really interested in a Jolt mod. I'm planning to do one either way, but I'm wondering if I should do a tutorial or just go ahead and do it myself. It people want a tutorial, I'll definitely do one. I plan to give him solid heels that will work well, improve his arms (because mine came with a funky arm - this mod won't be necessary for everyone, but helpful for some), and possibly even change some other parts to give him a proper helicopter power-up mode thing for Hotshot's vehicle mode.
Go for it!
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