Articulate your Dinobots (part 2 : Swoop)

Discussion in 'Radicons Customs' started by frenzyrumble, Oct 20, 2010.

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  1. frenzyrumble

    frenzyrumble Banned

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    Hey all, this is an "in-depth" Work In Progress; combined with a do-it-yourself/tutorial how to articulate a Generation 1 Swoop. My goal / intention when retooling these G1 figures is to keep them (a) Looking G1 still and (b) keeping as many parts/aesthetics as possible. I am not a fan of G1 figures with other lines mixed in, especially when they don't mesh well. I strive to keep as many original parts on as possible, but improve the articulation with/on those existing parts/limbs.

    In the coming days and weeks, I will update this thread with more details as well as write-up threads pertaining to the other Dinobots

    Here's what you'll need :

    Basic kitbashing tools :

    • x-acto knife
    • dremel
      • various bits / sanding disc, cutting disc, drill bit (3/16 or smaller)
    • epoxy glue
    • super glue (I use zap-a-gap)
    • screws
    • sander (I use a mouse)
    • x-acto saw (or jeweler saw)
    Figures/parts :

    • Generation 1 Swoop
    • Solid ball joint with good range of motion
    • Small minicon figure(s)
    • Sturdy plastic scraps
    As you can see, Swoop's also quite the brick. He has shoulder, elbow and knee articulation but really lacks the ability for any dynamic posing.

    [​IMG]

    I start by taking him apart from his back. The chest halves are held onto the wing assembly with 4 screws. Remove these screws (keep them nearby and don't lose them)

    [​IMG]

    LEGS

    Using a jeweler x-acto saw, I remove the upper legs from the wing assembly. It's important to make a nice precise cut. Don't cut into the wing assembly and be careful not to cut into the legs. You want a straight cut which will remove the legs.

    [​IMG]

    I remove the long pin which runs through both legs. I'll reuse this pin in a minute. It can be pulled out from the knee joint with some pliers or strong hands.

    [​IMG]

    I cut the long pin down into 2 smaller pins, each the same length as the knee for each leg. I used a fiberglass reinforced cutting wheel on my dremel. Very dangerous! use some goggles and pliers, the metal will heat up VERY quick and burn the hell out of your fingers.

    [​IMG]

    Now that the pins are tightly back in their respective legs, The legs can now independently bend at the knee.

    [​IMG]

    Next, I hunt for a suitable ball joint for the hip. In this sample/tutorial, I am using a shoulder ball joint from a Power Core Combiner figure (hey, they apparently are good for something...)

    [​IMG]

    I take both legs, and cut off a portion of the top of one of them. It's IMPORTANT to keep the other leg close by for reference. You HAVE to mod 1 leg so that it retains the EXACT same length as the unmodded leg when it's completed. When it is completed (and the right size) use the modded leg's size reference for the second leg.

    In this photo, I cut the red part first (with x-acto knife) then the silver part. The red plastic is cut down a hair more so that when the new "top" of the silver is added, the red doesn't hit into it.

    [​IMG]

    I use some Zap-A-Gap to adhere the new hip to the top of the leg. It's rough for now, and will need to get shaved down to fit the shape of the upper leg better. Notice how the leg I am working on is exactly the same length as the one untouched and next to it.

    [​IMG]

    I add some styrene strips along the sides and sand the hell out of it, making it look like 1 solid piece. I've also rounded off the back-top-corner so it can move more freely.

    [​IMG]

    Now on the wing assembly part, I drill 2 small holes (about 1/16") where the hip's ball joint peg will go. I also drill holes into the backs of the ball joint pegs. I run tight screws through the back of the wings INTO the ball joint pegs. I also add a drop of Zap a Gap to keep it tight and permanent.

    [​IMG]

    Snap the new legs onto those ball joints and the legs are complete.

    [​IMG]

    BEAK

    I use my dremel to sand down Swoop's child safe beak. There's enough plastic there to safely sharpen it. I then go back over this area with finer grit sand paper, making it super smooth.

    [​IMG]
     

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  2. frenzyrumble

    frenzyrumble Banned

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    ARMS

    I find a suitable hinge type joint for the elbows. The new arms will NOT telescope inward, but I do plan to shorten them a bit so that they can telescope inwards into the chest for Dino mode. This minicon's knee is the perfect size...

    [​IMG]

    I disassemble the forearm. And cut up the minicon's leg so that part of it gets glued into the forearm of swoop.

    [​IMG]

    I then trim down the upper arm and glue it to the lower arm. Again, keeping an untouched Swoop arm nearby for length and reference. Sand around the newly glued areas and reinforce a side with styrene.

    [​IMG]

    Adding some articulation to the shoulders is quite tricky. The shoulders already rotate forward, but I want to add articulation so the arms can move outwards. I will use the existing screw in the shoulder assembly as the "pin" for the new added articulation. I go ahead and take apart the shoulder (1 screw in back)

    [​IMG]

    I cut/hack/carve out the insides of the shoulder to allow room for the new articulation. Careful not to cut away the inside (arm pit) of the shoulder, you must keep that so the shoulder can re-attach to the peg which goes into the chest assembly.

    [​IMG]

    The shoulder assembly needs to have a space like (when assembled) this to allow the new upper arm articulation

    [​IMG]

    Next, I find a scrap of STURDY plastic, about .080 thick. The plastic should be cut to the same width of the upper arm and length is not important, but should be about ¾" long.

    [​IMG]

    I drill a small hole towards the end of that piece of plastic and round off the corners near that hole. The original screw has to go THROUGH this plastic part and secure the shoulder back together.

    [​IMG]

    I take the upper arm part from earlier, and cut a portion out for the new (yellow plastic) part to slot into. I will secure it into this slot with some Zap a Gap. I've also trimmed the top of this part so that it's angled.

    [​IMG]

    Here's an image of the new arm completed.

    [​IMG]

    I've also shortened up the forearms about ¼" and added some rotating fists from a gundam figure. The fists plug into the forearms through small tight holes. they are soft plastic so they snap into their respective sockets.

    [​IMG]


    CHEST MODIFICATION


    Cutting die cast is a tough task, but it's essential here to give clearance for Swoop's new legs. I use the fiberglass reinforced cutting disk on my dremel, then sand it out with a nail file.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. frenzyrumble

    frenzyrumble Banned

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    HEAD

    Working with the soft red plastic is also a nightmare. You'll have trouble getting most glues to adhere to it. Thanks to Matticus Prime's recommendation, I prepped the plastic with "BullDog Adhesive Promoter" which did the trick. In order to give Swoop articulation in his head/neck, I cut out the red plastic neck area. Made free the head and built a new hinging neck piece. I clipped off the ball joint on here, and drilled a (slightly) smaller hole on a precise angle up into the bottom of Swoop's head. This was trial and error, quite possibly impossible to explain how I did it...hopefully these pictures will elaborate and help with the process...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The hinged/barrel (with new pin) allows the head to tip upwards and downwards, and the peg allows the head to look left to right.


    Here's Swoop completed with new articulation...

    BEFORE
    [​IMG]

    AFTER

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2010
  4. knoted

    knoted Resistor Transistor

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    Awesome stuff. It's probably nerve wrecking to do some of the advanced cutting on tough parts of which you only have 1....
     
  5. frenzyrumble

    frenzyrumble Banned

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    it sure is. the first set I did, I used the commissioner's dinobots, Had to resort to ordering (at least) 2-3 of each because it's impossible to CTRL+Z while kitbashing...good thing ebay has so many "good for parts" listings...
     
  6. Megatron31

    Megatron31 I Belong to Nobody! TFW2005 Supporter

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    Man you are making me wish I hadn't sold my dinobots. Great work
     
  7. frenzyrumble

    frenzyrumble Banned

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    buy new ones! the best part about this, is you can get them in mostly any condition. You're replacing most of the joints, so if there are loose joints, they won't be an issue.
     
  8. Megatron31

    Megatron31 I Belong to Nobody! TFW2005 Supporter

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    I may down the road I got to get my Devastator finished before I take on another project I'm looking forward to sludge though. He was always my favorite
     
  9. G60Force

    G60Force World Smallest Mini-Con

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    CTRL-ALT-Z.... I may need more steps back on some projects :D 
     
  10. Tigertrack

    Tigertrack Back In The Game!

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    See, this is a prime example of why the KO Dinobots would be a good purchase. I'd hate to try any of this to my original 80's set of Dinobots. But, I wouldn't be too afraid to try these mods on a KO.
    This is awesome stuff! Are you going to repaint these as well? Chrome them? What?
     
  11. G60Force

    G60Force World Smallest Mini-Con

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    now I just wanna know where to get these suckers :D 
     
  12. Wheel_Jack

    Wheel_Jack pitying fools

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    my favorite dinobot of all time. great to see this broken down like this! :) 
     
  13. Spooge McGee

    Spooge McGee Member

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    Its good to see someone of your caliber can pull this off, and quite nicely.
     
  14. ACofCA

    ACofCA Autobot

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    "now I just wanna know where to get these suckers":
    got mine from kotoys, great quality!
     
  15. OMEGAPRIME1983

    OMEGAPRIME1983 Well-Known Member

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    Can I hug you through the internet :)  this is WAY better than grimlock (he's kinda easy with the arms).
     
  16. UltraMagnus2008

    UltraMagnus2008 Autobot

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    really appreciate you sharing some of your tricks with us F_R I'm going to hunt a set of these at the next Botcon, there were a bunch at peoples booths last year, just couldnt pull the trigger, FP Bruticus instead :D 
     
  17. warriorpriest

    warriorpriest Priest of Primus

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    F_R Very nice work.may have to do this with a set of the Kos. :D 
     
  18. GrandMaXimus

    GrandMaXimus Party in my tummy!!! TFW2005 Supporter

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    Mod the thumb!! :ev: ...
    After having so much customs done for me, I'm really getting a itch to try something. Your tutorials on the dinobots are a big plus FR. It also helps I have a bunch of junker ones in a bin somewhere. I can hack, just can't paint...
     
  19. supervir2

    supervir2 Feels like the kid in Big everyday.

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    This is terrific stuff. As I said in the Grimlock one, these are wonderful insights into how you and others go about 'bashing.
     
  20. thyvipera

    thyvipera ThyVipera

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    really great in depth tutorial you have going on here man. really easy to follow as well. very nice of you to provide this
     
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