First off, if anyone has ANY questions about what went into this build, from the brand of styrene I used, to the final paintjob, please go here: http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/tutorials-how-tos/646924-masterpiece-prowl-how-i-build-jarrod.html. I think I've done a pretty thorough job of documenting the whole process. I've gotten numerous requests on how I go about building stuff, what tools I use, where to get stuff, etc. So, I figure this is the perfect opportunity to showcase that all. With that said, expect this to be a VERY picture heavy thread (please be patient while images upload! ~Superquad7). I hope this thread will answer some questions, but at the same time give some tips to beginners and old-timers alike. Let's begin First [I will] cover what I'll be using for Prowl: The kits I'm using: AMT's 1/25 Datsun 280ZX Turbo: I could choose between a Tamiya 1/24 Tamiya 280ZX, or the above mentioned kit. Tamiya's kits are of exceptional quality, and it was in my preferred 1/24 scale, but it was the wrong model car. There are some minor differences between the non-Turbo and Turbo, most notably the hood vents. In the end, I felt the proper model car was more important than the (ever so slight) difference in scale and the slightly lower quality of kit. Bandai's Master Grade G3 Gundam Ver 2: I'm using this kit for numerous reasons. Foremost is probably the nearly fully articulated hands! There's lots of Gundam kits with those, however this kit (and the RX-78-2, by default) has such fantastic, generic, blocky arms and upper legs. They transition easily into Transformer limbs with just the proper outer details added. This kit is also very sturdy, nearly all the joints use ABS on ABS plastic versus polycaps (*see later) for stronger joints that won't sag over time. My Tools (all listed from left to right): Tamiya Modeler's Knife:Blades are sharper (and cheaper!) than X-acto brand; Tamiya Side Cutter: Great for small pieces of styrene, and of course model parts from their sprues; Rulers: Metric and US, plus the right angle is VERY useful; Pin Vise with drill bits; X-acto Razor saws, in various sizes, included sized to fit a knife handle; Blade style Line scribe: Great for straight lines, or over/around edges; Bare Metal Brand Line Scribe: Carves a ridge-less channel ; Pick style Line Scribe: Great for curves or coners; One of my various files Wire Cutters/Craft Clippers: Great for cutting metal wire, thick plastic, etc. Perfect for marking styrene!; Scissors: Cuts styrene easier than you'd think; And up top, various styles of specialty knife blades. Styrene: I use (nearly exclusively) Evergreen brand styrene, mostly just because is convenient and cheap! I mostly used various thickness's of sheets, strips and tubes. However, there's textured sheets out there too, usually meant to resemble various roofing, building, siding, and even sidewalk patterns. A lot of those work great for mechanical detailing too: Polycaps (or Poly-unit, or poly-joints, or just plain old "joints"): Whatever you want to call them, this is what I get asked about the most. These are mostly found in Gundam (and such) kits, and are the softer, rubber-like parts used to create the smooth, resilient joint rotations. I use Kotobukiya's Poly Unit parts, which you can buy from HLJ, here: Kotobukiya Poly Unit . I feel Koto's poly's are very tough and hold a position much better than the typical Bandai Polycap: The first thing I do when starting a project like this, is draw a rough (and I do mean ROUGH) 1/1 scale sketch of the car and robot modes. Basically this just lets me measure to make sure the parts I want to fit into the car will fit. I already know how big I want to robot mode, so I just want to make sure it will fold into the car body: Next, time to start dismantling the car. To do this, I start with my Bare Metal scriber. It will carve out a thin line, and works on curves easily. It'll take a number of passed, but will eventually cut right through the plastic. I use this method when I can't access a point with my saw or if the cut is curved: After most of the door is free, I'll use my knife, or small saw to get the smaller areas: And the door fully cut out. The edges can be rough(especially where the saw is used), so I clean them up with my knife and/or sandpaper: I've used the Gundam Marker to mark where I'll make the rest of the cuts. Then using the same method above, plus my razor saws, cut the rest of car apart: I've assembled what I'll be using from the Gundam. The arms will mostly likely be using in their entirety, [but] probably not the shoulders tho. Most of the waist will be used, as well as the upper legs and knee blocks. The lower legs, feet, and abdomen will mostly likely not be used at all, but are just place holders for now: And lastly a VERY early look at robot mode: I wanted the upper legs to collapse into the lower legs like the G1 toy. It'll give much needed height in robot mode, but a compact car mode. First thing I need to do, saw off the lower leg, leaving just enough to build a sliding block from: Then I measure how wide I want the lower leg to be, and mark it on some 1mm styrene. I use my ruler as a guide and score (just a shallow cut) the styrene with my knife. Then I grab the styrene on both sides of the cut, bend it, and its snaps at the score line: I measure how long the lower leg needs to be when fully collapsed, and cut the previous strip to this length: Four pieces are cut in total, but I only glue three together for now...gotta leave it accessible to put the upper leg in: In order to keep the legs secure, I want some kind of "clicking" joint that will hold the leg into positions. I've selected some rectangular polycap leftovers from some Gundam kit. These have perfect little extensions on them, and have enough "give" to slide between positions: Now I need to built a secure "block" around them, and leave the little nubs out. So, I cut a small rectangle of stryene: Then I measure out where the nub will stick out. I use my drill to start to open up the slot, then finish cutting it out with my knife: After that, I just continue to add panels to the block until its solid. Often, I just glue mostly-measured piece of styene on, then cut it to the final shape: And the finished block. I've sanded it smooth, getting rid of any bits that could catch inside the leg: Now, using a special blade that is flat on the top/tip, I cut a groove into the inside wall of the leg. This will be the groove that the polycap clicks into. I repeat the process on the extra panel as well: After that, its just a matter of gluing the fourth panel on. The leg now collapses with a solid, locking "click" in both positions. More details, etc will be added later: Your's sounds really cool too, can't wait to see it! He'll be right around Seeker height; maybe a head shorter. As for the sketches, like I said, very rough, and although the upper part is obscured, its just some rectangle's drawn in to estimate how much room the legs and waist will take up in car mode. Got a good chunk of work done yesterday! I've built up the second lower leg, identical to the first. I've temporarily glued the two rear car halve together so I can gauge where the legs will, and how I'll need to attach the feet: After a few ideas that didn't pan out, I finally decided on a working idea of how to attach the feet, while still retaining a decent range of articulation. I'm using the Gundam's foot and ankle parts. The ankle is a stiff, unhindered ball joint, and the foot features a great "toe" articulation piece I'm going to repurpose. I've cut the ball off and cut away some extra of the foot: Now, I'm going to attach the toe part of the foot to the rear of car. There are four pegs on the bottom of the foot part, so I measure out and drill four holes into the car piece: Then I glue the pegs into the holes. The old toe articulation joint will now become the transformation joint, while the ball joint will provide the same ankle articulation: To attach the ball to the leg, I'm going to embed it into a piece of styrene. This will add better stability than simply gluing it on. I start by drilling a hole in some styrene with the largest bit I have. Then, I use my round file to open the hole more, and when that's still not enough, switch to my wider half-round file and spin it in the hole until it is the correct size: After that, the ball is simply glued into the hole: The styrene is cut mostly to shape (leaving a bit extra just in case), glued to the lower leg, and then I pop the foot piece on: Here's a better shot of both feet attached, and after trimming the excess styrene: And with some of the other car parts set on: Finally, the legs transformed. The tire is simply set in: Yep, there will definitely be an interior, although I'm thinking now that its gonna be about as much as MP Rodimus. I actually found PERFECT lightbars on eBay! While LEDs would be cool, I don't think I'll have any room left for wires and batteries. Actually, I've considered that already, and made the legs just narrow enough to fit the wheels in, and build a wheel well. The tires won't stick out, but they will be just flush with the outer wall. Well, the feet were already all connected to the leg by the ball joint. Next thing to work on was attaching the doors to the front of the car. First thing to do, glue the outer door piece to the interior piece. Then cut that interior piece down, cut some room for the hinge, and drill a hole for the peg that will hold the door on: Here's what I'm using for the door hinge, its the Gundam's inner shoulder frame. It's an ABS joint so its strong and durable plastic. I cut it down to pretty much just the swinging joint: I glue two styrene strips to the hinge, the beginnings of the track the door will slide out on. The grey 3mm rod is used to make sure the styrene is the right distance apart: Continuing to shape the track. I add a thin layer of styrene to either side of the track and cut it down to shape. This helps further hold all the individual parts together: And the near finished hinge part. I'll do a bit more sanding so it properly fits the inside contours of the door: The hinge attached to the door. The grey peg is the same rod I used earlier for measuring: All that's left is to attach the hinge to the rest of the front end: I jumped back to the legs for a minute, to add some securing pegs to the feet. To make sure I line everything up right, I temporarily glue the foot halves together with some small drops of glue: I start with two pieces of styrene tube, on that snugly fits into the other. A thin piece of styrene is glued to the thinner rod so that it is flush with the thicker one: Then, I carefully glue the peg and tube to the combined feet, making sure not to leg any glue touch the spot where the tubes meet. This peg and tube will be covered by the bumper later: I add a second, smaller peg assembly to the inside top of the feet: Now that the feet are secure and the doors are added, I can properly judge the distance and determine how to combine up the upper and lower body segments. I bought these Kotobukiya "Mechanical Arms" since I thought they looked like they could be useful. They're ABS plastic, and have a nice solid feel. They have a peg on one end, and a hole on the other and peg together firmly: I've attached one set to the inside of the hood area. This pair will be stationary. You can see I've also begun to add some styrene to the inner walls and such to strengthen the front end. This is mostly because when I cut the fenders out for transformation there will be very little, if any, original model kit plastic holding the front and rear of the front end together: . . . . and unfortunately right here is where my camera batteries died, so I couldn't document everything as I kept working (but I'll make sure to when I build the second Prowl). So, jumping ahead to the Mechanical arms added in, and the car is beginning to take shape: You'll notice the ankle blocks look completely different now too: I wasn't totally satisfied with the previous version. The legs sat WAY too low in car mode, and in robot mode, there wasn't enough of a "toe" as I wanted, the feet sat too far back. So, using the existing ball joint, I built a new block around the socket piece. The socket can actually slide back and forth in this block, allowing a further forward sitting foot, and a MUCH leaner car mode: And now, the robot mode is starting to take shape as well: There's definitely a lot of trail and error, but I often only show the successes! Yep, pretty much all the outer surfaces of the Gundam kit will be significantly altered or replaced. For the thighs, I think I'm gonna end up having to build all new outer panels(those light grey thigh panels actually just slide right off, revealing the mechanical frame underneath) Here's the arms: Mechanical Arm On a side note, I've also received some of Hobby Base/Yellow Sub's new Perfect Part Collection joints. These are all made of hard plastic, and come in ball and socket joints, and the standard cylinder type. The ball joints come in clear and grey, and the "Hexa Pipe" as they're called come in clear. And damn! I think Kotobukiya may be a thing of the past for me! These joints are amazingly snug and smooth. Seriously the best thing I've ever tried, and even better, since they're actually plastic, they can be glued and painted. They're more expensive, but totally worth it. The Roll Swing Joints are pretty awesome too. Order these things! Search Results: Perfect Parts Collection Time to add some arms! I'll attach the wheels to the shoulders first. They're just pegged on for now, but I might go back and make them roll later. I start by drilling a whole into the back of the shoulder, then glue in a piece of styrene rod. The rod just happened to be the exact right size for the wheel, so I just popped it on: I've decided I am going to use the Gundam shoulder assembly, and so will use the original mounting peg as well. However, I've cut it down to a flat surface as seen: Using some various styrene strips, I've built a mounting arm for the...er arm. This piece will connect to the inner fender: And heres a view of it glued it: Time to cut the fender out. I've popped the arm back off of the shoulder peg to make it easier. Then, I just used my saw to cut on the lines seen: To allow the fender to rotate up, I'll be using Hobby Base's Hexa Joints (basicly just plastic versions of the cylinder type polycaps), since they can be glued to plastic. For extra sturdy mounting, a hole is drilled in the fender for the joint's peg: Here's the set of joints I'll be using on the front of the fender. They rotate around a 2mm rod cut from the joint's sprue: . . . . and here they are in a test fit underneath the fender: A larger cylinder (3mm hole) is attached in the same manner to the back half: [The] 3mm rod is set into the rear of the shoulder block, and this is the whole thing before it's glued in: Test fitting and rotating before being glued in, then it's pulled back out and finally glued in: Pop the arms back on, and there you go! Here they are in robot mode: With Alt Prowl head set on. Next up, actually attaching the head! Well, the Datsun kit costs anywhere from $15-$40 on ebay, and you can find the Gundam kit for about $50 on various online sites. The joint units will run you $4-$5 a set, plus shipping from Japan or China usually, and I might use about $5 worth of styrene. Yeah, they're fantastic. And yep, totally using the sprue here too! Here's how the ankle joints were built. I glue some strip styrene together in a rectangle around the Gundam's original ankle polycap. Then I measure and cut the lengths and finish it off: Using my half-round file, I file some concave indents into either end: Then I glued this rectangle to some styrene to fill in the bottom: After the lower plate is trimmed, I set the polycap in and glue two pieces of styrene on top. These will hold the polycap in, and still allow it to slide back and forth: Here it is, with all the trimming and sanding down. I've also beveled the front edge for rotation: I'll be using the brackets from Hobby Base's Roll Swing Joint for the transformation joint: For the rotation/attachment peg, I just cut a piece of the sprue: A hole is drilled into the front of the block, and the peg is glued in: The bracket's are attached. You can see that on one side a portion has been cut out to allow room for the aligning peg on the foot/rear shell piece: The brackets are glued to the car shell, and popped onto the ball joint: And lastly, triple Prowls! It's time to attach the head. I'm using one of the ball joints from the Roll Swing Joint part of the sprue for the stalk. The ball fits in the Prowl head perfectly: I'm building the neck plate of two strips of styrene, give it some definition, and then drill a hole in the center: The neck plate is slid onto the ball joint, and then cylinder joint is slid on as well: To build the swing arm for the head, I take some more styrene strips, drill some holes, and add two more roll joints: The whole assembly is then attached to the body: A panel is cut out of the hood for the head to fit through: In order for the head to fit in car mode, parts of the lower back need to be cut off: Now back to the hood, the cut off panel needs to be hinged to fold away. I'll build a hinge using styrene tube and some thin brass rod: Then build it up more using more bits of styrene: . . . . and the hinge is glued on (and yes, Prowl did change color again!): Now its time to hinge to the hood to open. Luckily, the kit already came with a hinge, but it was kinda frail, so I reinforced with some styrene: . . . . and back to black. I've taped the windshield to the roof/frame for now: The dashboard is trimmed down to fit into the car. It'll be attached to the front of the windshield frame: I've cut a thin strip of styrene and curved it. This is then glued to the frame, but not to the clear windshield: The dashboard is then glued to the styrene strip: The roof hinges are built from more styrene strips and polyrod: . . . . and then glued to the roof and chassis: Here's the current car mode" . . . . but I didn't like the how far back the roof sat in robot mode, and I wanted it to collapse closer to the body. So, I decided to turn the existing hinge bars into sliders. In order to cut a channel into the strip, first I drill multiple holes. Then, I use my knife to cut finish cutting the channel open. [Next,] I screw a screw into another piece of styrene. The screw acts as the sliding pin, and the new piece of styrene will be glued to the chassis: Once reattached, the roof can now slide closer into the body. It's only a centimeter or so, but it make a big difference and fills in noticeable gap: The rear wheels are attached, just sitting under the car: Really, however much I need. For Prowl, I'll probably use half a package of the three different sizes of strips I'm using, and maybe a sheet each of 1mm and .8mm. I attached 1 set of rear windows. I started by gluing the rear window frames to the window. Then cut window in half and cut off the side quarter panels: I built a pair of small hinges with some more strips and rolling joints; A small peg is added to the window frame and the front of the leg. The joint is then attached to both: . . . . and both windows attached: For transformation, the windows rotate and lay up against the legs: [Here are some] comparisons; [the] bot mode shot is a little dark, but you get the idea: This [here is] working on building up the feet. First thing I need to do is build a frame that will cradle the leg in car mode. To start, I use a little cutting and sanding until I get the right curve I need for the inside of the rear fender: Now, I need to copy this piece. So I lightly glue it (two little drops) to some more styrene. Then, I cut out a second piece using the first as a guide, then split them back apart with my knife. Simple and effective way of getting two identical parts: Next, glue that piece inside the fender: Then glue another sheet to that piece. Then cut to shape: Another piece is glue on the front to form a wall from the fender and the styrene frame: Continuing to build the frame, a piece is glued to the bottom, and then [to the] side, completing the open top box: I've also decided I didn't like the first version of the rear window hinge I made. It was just a bit too big and chunky for where it was, and the plastic joint pieces were actually too tight. So, I rebuilt them using poly joints and rod. These new hinges are smoother and smaller. I also made them a bit longer for better robot mode positioning: Now, to attach the rear wheels. I've drilled a hole into some styrene strip, and will use the styrene tube as the wheel mounting peg: Then, just glue that piece to the leg frame: And some shots of [the] progress in car mode: . . . . and robot mode. The new feet really add a lot to robot mode; I like the angle the feet sit at now with the tires on: Yep, definitely thought about it. Even did a quick mockup, but I just really didn't like the way it looked. But more importantly, I wouldn't have been able to build the frame the foot because the wheel would be in the way in robot mode. Alright, it's time to start "solidifying" Prowl. First thing, building the skirt armor . . . or at least the base of it on which future details will be added. I start by just snapping on the Gundam skirt to see how it looks, which is actually pretty good! its nearly the right size and dimensions, but the surface detail is, obviously, all wrong, and I think its too long: I've marked where I want to cut the panels, then just slice them with my knife. The techy "blocks" are also cut off and sanded smooth: The armor is put back on, and I mark where I want to cut the center piece: That piece is cut, and a flat piece of styrene is glued to the front: I want to bevel the edges of this piece, so I start by slowly slicing the corner at an angle. Then, I use my file to smooth it out: [Here are] the beginnings of the new waist. The panels will be detailed up later: Now, jumping to car mode, its time to add some locking pegs to the roof/rear windows. A piece of styrene strip is glued to the window frame, and then a hole is drilled into this: The peg will be attached to the roof, but it needs an extension piece too. Very similarly to the rear wheel mounting peg, I drill a hole through some styrene strips, and make the peg from some rod: I peg this part into the hole, and mark where to cut the stryene: Then, it's just a matter of lining up the roof properly and gluing the part to the roof. After the part is secure, repeat on the other side: The rear windows will also need some support, and its pretty easy. On the underside of the roof, I glue a strip of styrene, this now makes the inside edge of the roof and rear windows line up: That piece is trimmed up to match the roof contours: Then another, wider strip is glued on. It extends past the end of the roof, and will be the support for the rear windows: While the car lined up pretty good before, now it's quite solid! Back to robot mode! Something I've been wanting to work on for a while is filling in the chest area, but I need to wait until most of the car was done first. So, lets take a look under the hood in car mode. Yep, there's lots of room in there for some folding panels! I cut three 3.5mm x 1.5mm panels, these will be the front and sides of the upper chest. I make some measurements and mark where I'll be cutting the side panels, and where they'll need to be glued onto the front panel: Then, I glue them into the shape I think [will] work: A test fit shows I'm on the right track: The sides will need to fold onto the front panel in order to fold into the hood compartment for car mode. So, I cut the side panels off and build in the same type of hinges I always make for myself (also used for the folding hood panel a few updates ago): And a quick check in robot and car modes to make sure everything still fits: I attach it to the existing styrene frame using the same kind of rotating joint I build for the roof, using styrene strip and poly rod: . . . . but it didn't quite fold completely away as I expected, so I just added a second rotation joint using the same method. It now folds up higher: I'll go back and add some surface details later, but just having those panels in helps the bot mode appearance greatly. There's another unsightly giant hole to get rid of too, the lower back! This is where the head sits in car mode, so a simple solid panel is out of the question. . . . . [so, it's] time for more folding panels! Using my standard folding panel hinge, I attach one panel to the back wall: . . . . then a second. Cutting out some small sections near the bottom for inside clearance: Some more styrene is layered on the upper parts to follow design of the abdomen parts and for a bit more strength. The parts don't line up perfectly, but I can fix that later. These two panel fold inwards and lie flat up against the inner walls: Just some shots of the new parts fully attached: So, its about that time to start filling in gaps, and building up the details. First things I'm starting with are the wheel wells, gotta fill them. I start by adding a small wall of styrene to the front: Then, I cut a strip of thin styrene and curl it around my pin vise to curve it: . . . . and glue it in, then trim to shape: Then I just add a few more of of styrene until I have closed all the openings: Next, I want to add a little bit of mechanical detail to the shoulders to beef them up a bit. I've selected this bit that held the beam sabers from the Gundam kit: A small hole is drilled into the shoulder: . . . . and the new part is glued in. It's purely a cosmetic addition, and while it has some movement thanks to the ball joint, but doesn't attach to anything on the other side: It folds forward and tucks away for vehicle mode: Next, I'm going to add the seats . . . or rather just the seat backs. There's very little room for any interior thanks to the waist, so I decided to go the Masterpiece Rodimus route, and just throw in the seat backs for looks. I start by sawing off the backs: Then, I glue them both to a styrene strip: I build a rotating hinge from more strip and a polycap, and glue it to the seat assembly: A hole is drilled into the roof, and a plastic peg added: Lastly, the seat assembly is pegged onto the roof: In robot mode, they fold up inside the roof: Continuing with the "build-up and add details" phase, its time to work on that chest/abdomen. I began with the the little fold up chest filler panels. On the front, I first drew on some detail ideas, then I scribed the center line with my Bare Metal panel-like scriber. Two small thin pieces of styrene were added to the lower corners: I added some extra layers to the side panels, and (as before) first drew on the detail I wanted to add, and then scribed it in: Moving on to the lower torso, I've added some styrene panels to start to build up some detail: . . . . and then and some more styrene to the sides to widen it: Two small rectangles are added for more detail, and then cut to shape: Progress in Robot mode so far: Next, I jump down to the thighs, and again, sketch out the detail I want to add: This time, though, I'll be adding panels for the detail. I've cut one panel to the dimensions I want, then glue it to the thigh. I continue to add panels, and trim them down to shape: . . . . until I get the complete look I want: . . . . and Prowl with his new upper legs: Next is the skirt armor. First thing I do is glue a thin layer of styrene to the front of the armor (which I forgot to take a picture of). Then, I take some narrow grooved styrene, and add more grooves with my line scriber: This panel is then cut to the shape below, detail meant to resemble Prowls waist stickers: : That piece is then traced onto some more styrene, and I cut out the shape slightly bigger than the lined piece: The second, smooth styrene panel is glued first onto the skirt, and then the lined piece is glued inside. This gives a nice dividing line, much like the yellow line around the sticker: Two small styrene rectangles are glued on the lower edge of the skirt as well: [Lastly come] the side skirts. I start by cutting what will be an outside panel, and line it up to make sure it looks good: Then, I make some copies, and glue the second one on: After that, I continue to add panels until it it completely closed off: Finally, some shots of [the] progress: I'm pretty sure they're just called "panel line scribers". Seriously though, I mostly use this one: Introduction To Using Bare-Metal Foil - Bare-Metal Foil Co. But I'll be trying this one soon: Plastic Scriber II | HobbyLink Japan The Bare Metal brand one cuts a great line, but can be a bit wide/thick and sometimes rough, so I wanna find one that cuts a thin, shallow line too. This is about adding some much needed detail to the legs. First things first, the edges of the lower legs are all beveled. Then a rectangle is scribed in the front: Now I want to add some detail in the shin resembling the sticker detail or Prowl's original box art. The Datsun's shocks make great "mechanical stuff" so I sand one side down flat: This piece is cut from part of the suspension/steering column, but I'm going to need to bend it. So, I hold it over a candle briefly until it becomes soft, then simply bend it and let it cool. This piece is then sanded flat as well: After that, those two parts are glued onto the shin along with a piece of styrene strip: To add some panel lines to the sides, first I draw on what I want...some lines will not be scribes, but are just guidelines: And then scribed in. This process is repeated on the other side, with a slightly different pattern: In order to ease the transition from the big blocky lower leg to the smaller, curved thigh, I'm going to build some extra knee detail. I start with a shape I like, and layer it onto a thicker second and then third styrene sheet: After is cut out, I sand the edges so it appears to be a solid block. Then, I bevel the edges, first but rough cuts with my knife, then sanded smooth: Then one last smaller, but similarly shaped panel is added for more detail and shape: This block is glued on the outside of the knee, and the process is repeated for the inside, but I decided to leave off the smaller panel: Now, onto the foot, and some lines are scribed in: I also want close the big open space at the back of the foot, so I'm going to make a folding panel. I start by cutting out the shape/size I need, and attach one of my hinges (made like before) to one side: Then glue the hinge to the rear of the foot. You can see where the panel will sit in vehicle mode: Test fold, and you can see it will have to hinge again for fill in the top. So I cut the panel and add in a second hinge: And it fits! Some very narrow, thin stripes are added to the outside of the foot panel. These will be stoppers so the panel doesn't fold down into the foot: Then I add some more panels for detail and sturdiness. I decided on the the grooved styrene because I wanted the panel to give the impression it was flexible like a tank tread or garage door, and maybe it would fold out up from the bottom of the foot: Here some bot mode and close up shots : So, time to build up the arms. I start by cutting off the round joint-things on the elbows: Next, I take the bicep sleeve, and cut it flat on the bottom: Then two styrene strips are glued on and then cut and sanded to shape: After that I repeat the process on the forearm. However, the added styrene pieces don't need to be as smooth since the entire forearm will be covered: To build up the forearms, I'm going to panel over the existing ones. I start by measuring out the length on a styrene sheet and then measure out and draw on the forearm panel lines: ....after which I scribe in some nice deep panel lines: From the lined strip I've just made, I measure out two sections for the forearm, and glue them to the sides (with some helpful guidelines drawn on to make sure I line them up properly): The new side panels are trimmed and sanded to shape, and the process is repeated on the top and bottom. After that, the arm is given a bit more shape by beveling the edges and cutting out the elbow slots: . . . . and the mostly completed arm: The shoulder needs a little extra bulk, too, but I'm pretty limited there due to space in car mode. I cut a small panel to the size I want, and this is glued to the existing shoulder: Now I need to widen it a bit, as well as even out the sides, so I start adding thin styrene strips, until I have the whole outside covered: The added stripes are then cut down and sanded smooth: Some beveling and shaping is done: . . . . and the completed arm: 've got to go back and apply all the newly added leg and arm work to the other two. Haha, glad to be of help! Anyways, I usually just use whatever brand of CA glue ("super glue") that you find at the plastic model hobby shop. Currently I'm using Zap-a-Gap, and I always get the "medium" or "gap filling" variety as its a bit thicker and will fill in gaps as well as glue them together. Time to build the gun. I start with the Gundam's gun, [I don't] need all the parts, but this is a good start: The front grip is pretty close to Prowl's already. Just needs a few extra bits of styrene, and flipped around: Then I cut out the center of the barrel part, its the wrong shape for Prowl's gun: Next some styrene is added to the front of the gun to give it the proper shape: Two holes are drilled into the front of the body: Time to add the new barrel. I'm using the Gundam's spear handle - pretty much the exact diameter I'm looking for: Some styrene rod is used for the upper barrel thingy. A small piece of larger rod is slid over as added detail: Two holes are drilled into a piece of styrene strip, this will connect the barrel's together: Next, I've sawed off a portion of the rear of gun: Using some grooved styrene, I build the triangle piece that will attach to the rear of the gun: And the completed gun: Ack, I can't believe I've been working on these three for over a year now! To my buyers, I apologize for the time . . . so much happening in real life over the past year! But anyway, its time to finish these up! The head still [has] some putty drying, so in the meantime, I built the shoulder launchers. So, I started with Universe Starscream launchers, removed the front section and spring. Then I cut away some of the front to shorten it: I beveled the top, and then reattached the front piece: I used some knee detail parts from the Gundam to create the end of the barrel. A hole is drilled in the front: To recreate some of the detail, some grooved stryene is added, and then cut to shape: Now to build the little scope thing on the top of the launcher. I first cut out the shape I want, and then build up a wall on all the sides. After that, another panel is added, completing the piece: And the nearly finished launcher: Time to create a mounting bracket. I start by gluing some styrene strips together, and then cutting them down: It will mount to the windshield hinge, seen here: A few more bits are added on, and I've beveled some of the edges. A ball joint is mounted on as well: Back to the launcher, a section of the rear is cut out, allowing the socket to be set into it. The bracket is then attached via the ball joint: And with both launchers built and attached. The ball joint gives them a wide range of movement, even though I only took pics of them pretty much straight forward: [Now, it's] time for pretty much the last part I needed to build - the head! After this, it's all clean up, and then time to paint! (Well, at least after I build the other two sets of launchers and heads!) Anyways, I started with a KO Alt Prowl head, and cut off the cheek guards, then cut out the face: After that, a little sanding was done to reshape the face a bit. Then some styrene is glued on to add a more depth to it: The eyes seemed to small to me, so I'm going to replace them. I've cut out the eyes, and reshaped the socket a bit. I've sanded the mouth off as well (the black paint is there just to check how smooth the surface is): Some new eyes are cut from the Gundam's eyes, and glued in place: Moving on to the crest, I've cut and sanded one side down to a more G1 style Prowl crest. Then, repeat[ed] on the other side. The base needed a be a bit longer too, so some small bits of styrene are added: Back to the helmet, some Apoxie Sculpt is used to build up the shape I want. And then even more is added when I think it might not be enough: To shape the helmet, first I cut it down some with my knife, and after I more or less have the right shape, I sand it down smooth. And then sand some more: The crest is glued on, and the face is set in. Using my knife and line scriber, I carve a mouth (but neglected to take a pic of the process...maybe on the next head): Prowl's side head circle things are made using Kotobukiya's Circle Molds: To make the center of Prowl's crest, I start with another Koto option set. Using one of the long rectangular parts, I sand it down significantly, and cut it in half, but still retail the etched detail inside: And here is the finished head (minus any clean up work). The mouth looks kinda weird in these shots thanks to some shadowing I think: . . . . but in these shots you can see the mouth looks much more natural: It is definitely time consuming, but there is something very special about being able to say, "I made that! And nope, no recasting; surprisingly I have no idea how to recast stuff, nor do I want to put the effort into learning. I just used my modelers knife; lots of small, careful cuts. Alright folks, just a few little tidbits before I start painting: I've built up the neck area a bit too take up all the space in the hood gap. I've also added some little pistons (non-working) from a Kotobukiya detail set: A thin piece of styrene is used to cover up the cap in the toe area: And finally, one of the heads with a chin on it: Still got LOTS to do, but all the main colors are there on this one. Alright guys, lets talk about how what went into painting Prowl. I started by puttying all seams, cracks, accidental cuts, etc. I'm using Tamiya white putty, it goes on very nicely, and dries fast. After it dries, I first sand it with 400 grit sand paper, and then sand it smooth with 800 or 1000 grit to give it a flawless, paint-able surface: I airbrush all of my paints, and for the most part, strictly use Model Master Acrylics. I like their finish and color selection, plus the ease of clean up, and the far less obnoxious odor. For a few special circumstances, like Prowl here, I'll use Tamiya Spray cans. Tamiya's spray cans are, quite simply, the best paint I've ever used. The finish is always perfectly smooth, and the gloss is always high-gloss. Plus the finish is so tough, it creates a nice strong shell. First thing I paint is the the tinting for the windows. I'm using Tamiya Smoke spray. Normally, I always paint the inside of the windows, and that's what I did for the rear windows. For the main windshield, however, I painted the outside since I could not longer fully get to the inside: Next up, painting the black robot parts. I'm using Model Masters Semi-gloss black, since it always dries so amazingly smooth, and for whatever reason, is one of the toughest finishes of any Model Masters paint I've used. Most of the parts, I just straight paint, however one of the Prowl's will have black foot panels, I mask off the vehicle panels, so only the robot parts get painted. For masking off large areas, or areas where precision is not super important, I use some basic painters masking tape, usually the "medium hold" or "general purpose" 3M or Duck brands. And the parts drying. USPS medium flat rate boxes work great as drying racks: After the black is dry, its time to paint the white. Now the masking fun begins! When precision is needed, or when I have to have a very crisp line, my ONLY choice is Tamiya masking tape. It has an amazingly fine edge, is very flexible, and comes off so very clean. For precisely cutting my tape, I'm using Tamiya's (sensing a trend here?) Design Knife. The blades are smaller, and surprisingly even sharper than the standard Modeler's Knife. These blades really aren't designed for cutting plastic as much, and they'll quickly dull if used for that, but the knife is perfect for detailed cutting of masking tape, decals, stickers, etc. I do occasionally used it for really minute plastic work though: To mask off the rear windows, I first apply a piece purposefully larger than window, and begin working it into the cracks using my fingernails and a toothpick. Then I cut away the excess, and press it down firmly. Don't forget the inside of the window too! Then I mask off some parts that will remain black: The windshield and rear windows are masked off similar to the rear quarter windows, but using multiple pieces of Tamiya tape: I first paint everything in Model Master Semi-gloss white. Like the black, it dries incredibly smooth, and lets me see any mistakes or areas I need to touch up before I apply the final, gloss coat: After that has dried for a full day, I apply the topcoat. In this case, I'm using Tamiya's Pure White spray, the same color I used for Jazz a few years ago: After the white parts are all dried, and the masking tape carefully removed, it's time to paint some of the extra details. Now, while the large parts are all airbrushed, I do a great deal of the detail work by hand. There are a number of areas to be painted semi-gloss black, such as the hood vents, and shoulder joints. So I just grab a few of my brushes, and get to it! I used the exact same jar I used to airbrush, so the paint is nice and thin, eliminating visible brushstrokes: Now its time to paint the black along the lower portion of the car. The shell of the car is pegged together to make sure it all lines up properly. In order to make sure the front "triangle" design is as perfect as possible, I'm using Tamiya's Masking Sheet. Its a good sized sheet, helpfully marked with square cm grid. I measure the width of the hood at 4cm and mark it: The Tamiya tape dispenser happens to have a perfectly suited curve on it, so I use this as a guide to draw the line onto the sheet. Then using my design knife, very carefully cut along the lines: Then it is applied to the hood, and pressed into place: The rest of the lines are masked off with regular Tamiya tape. It is carefully pressed into a crevices: To mask off the rest of the top half of the car, I use plastic wrap, and make sure all the edges are taped down. The bottom of the car is masked off as well: After all masking is done, I apply a thin coat of semi-gloss black. This creates a kind of "barrier" against the masking tape edge, and helps the next, thicker coat from not bleeding through as much, or at all. And then the heavier, gloss coat is applied: After the paint is dry, the masking tape is carefully, one piece at a time, removed: Now, as careful as I am, there's always gonna be little mistakes - spots where the paint bleeds through, or the edges aren't as crisp. In this instance, the tape lifted a bit where the fender flares out. To correct this, I very lightly sand if off with 1000 grit sandpaper. Then, later I'll touch it up with Pure White, sprayed out to be brushed on: A few parts will have some silver details added, and these will be airbrushed, so more masking is needed: The tape is removed on the legs and waist panels: . . . . but the crest gets one more coat of paint, Tamiya Clear Red: The eyes are handpainted with Tamiya Clear Blue: Now that the majority of the painting is done, it's time to start added some chrome details, and to do that, I'm using Bare Metal Foil. This is a very thin, self-adhesive metal foil: To use it, start by cutting out an appropriate sized piece, and peel it carefully off the backing: I'm going to chrome the inner rims of the wheels, and press the section of foil onto it. Then I slowly work it down and around the edges. It will begin to conform, but it will tear easily, so care must be taken. A toothpick and q-tip, as well as my fingernail work great at smoothing the foil. Excess is simply cut away: And some more chrome work . . . . The tail lights are molded in clear red, meaning painting clear yellow over top is pretty much pointless. So I just foil the entire piece. Afterwards, black is painted around the edges, and clear red and clear yellow are painted on top: The small lights on the front and rear are chromed as well: The rim around the windshield is also chromed, using the same techniques: I usually put a layer of Future over it, yeah. It's a lot stronger than say, silver leafing, but its still just a stick-on foil. For the tail lights and stuff, the clear paint will work great as a protector. I make my own decals in Microsoft Photodraw - yeah its a super-old program, but I know how to use it, and its easy for me to navigate! I use Experts Choice decal paper, made by the Bare Metal foil company pretty much because that's what my local shop carries. The decal paper comes in standard 8.5x11 in sheets in both white and clear and is made for inkjet or laserjet printers. Once the images are printed and dried, simply spray on some Testors Decal Bonder, and you've got yourself some custom decals. Anyway, Prowls set is pretty simple, the shield and chevrons were drawn up in the Photodraw, and the Autobot symbol is just some colored lineart I found on the web years ago. The rest is pretty much just text. Now my inkjet doesn't print white, so to get the white POLICE on the doors, I create a black background with white text. This is then printed on white decal paper. Because the decals are glossy, the black portions match the black paint perfectly. The rest of the decals are printed on clear paper: Then the decals are cut and applied like any water-slide decals. I always use Micro-Set setting solution prior to application, and Mico-Sol decal solvent after the decal is applied. The Micro-Sol softens the decal significantly and allows to go adhere more naturally, and really helps give it that "painted on" look: After this, I'll go back and touch up little spots here and there - nothing really "document worthy" ( . . . . and here's how I paint this little corner that rubbed off . . . .). Then I'll brush on some Future to protect the decals and seal the paint job, and they're done! Well, after over a year, and some VERY patient awesome guys, the trio is finally finished! I've got over 100 photos here, so I wanted to make sure I got everything! Please click each of the thumbnails below each post to see them all. Not every photo will be included in the body of the post. There are three (3) different Prowls represented below. In vehicle mode they are all near identical, save for the Autobot symbol on the one rear window. So, the vehicle mode shots are a mix of all 3, if you happen to notice any inconsistencies. Prowl #1 features a toy accurate paint job in robot mode, Prowl #2 is mostly toy accurate with some extra white on the feet, and finally Prowl #3 is heavily cartoon accurate. So anyway, here we go! Vehicle mode: Transformation (featuring Prowl #2): Open and slide out doors. Unclip rear/feet from roof and each other: Pull arms up to clear bumper, then swing out on fender joints: Flip down chest filler piece, and open up the sides: Swing down lower body to meet up with the chest: Straighten out waist section, then rotate entire lower body where waist and abdomen meet: Slider down lower legs, then rotate rear windows onto the shins Fold feet down, the slide foot forward at the ankle: Unfold the panel from underneath the foot, and flip it up to cover the rear of the foot: Fold the seats up against the roof, and fold the roof down: Open the hood, and then flip the neck and head out: Flip down the center piece of the hood: And before the hood is clipped back down, open the panels on the back. Lower the hood into place, making sure the center hood panel fits into the hollow chest section. Then fold the panels closed: Now, lower the neck into place, and rotate the head: Slide the roof in closer to the body: Rotate, and unfold the arms: And lastly, rotate the small detail/mechanical piece in the shoulder into place: Robot Mode, continuing with #2. Without weapons: A close-up of the gun and launchers: The launchers clip on to the roof hinges: And fully armed: The launchers are on ball joints, so they can rotate side to side, and up and down. I think they look best angled up and slightly out: Prowl is, of course fully articulated, including double jointed elbows, hinge and ball joint wrists, and two knuckles in each finger: Here's the Robot mode for #3. They white lower legs are a striking difference from the black of the previous one. The abdomen areas is also painting in a more cartoon styled scheme. I think this one is my favorite: This one has shoulder launchers as well: And finally, a few shots of #1, featuring all black lower leg and inner feet: Just some random close ups and alternate shots. There might be some doubles in here from the previous photos. Lastly, the comparisons. With other Prowls: With MP-10: And finally, with himself: And well, that's it! Thanks to everyone for looking, and thanks for all the kind words over the last year! I try to say this often, with some practice, anyone can do this. It just takes patience and [a] willing[ness] to learn/try new things. I continually challenge myself and push myself to try something difficult; sometimes it works, [and] sometimes it doesn't. I still make lots of mistakes, and learn something from each project I tackle. The materials are actually very easy to work with. It's more learning how to make the mechanics work, which after playing with transforming robots pretty much my whole life, I guess I picked up a few things. Like I said earlier, it's just thanks to lots of practice. Thanks everyone!