Scratch Builds: Masterpiece Skids: How I Build - by Jarrod

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by Jarrod, Jun 11, 2010.

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  1. Jarrod

    Jarrod Semi-retired Builder

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    For those who might have missed the WIP thread, here it is:
    http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/radicons-customs/308385-wip-mp-g1-skids.html For the finished result, either scroll on down or go to this thread.

    Skids was built using a Tamiya 1/24 Honda City Turbo kit, arms from Bandai's Master Grade RX-78 Ver.2, and Alt Silvestreak's head. Everything else is scratchbuilt with styrene, from the legs, waist, and even the articulated hands! All joints are polycap style from Kotobukiya's joint sets including the ball joints used for the feet .

    Paints used were Tamiya Spray Blue for the body color, Model Master Semi Gloss Black, red mixed from MM Guards Red and MM Italian Red, Krylon Silver, and Tamiya Clears Blue, Orange and Yellow.

    Bare Metal Foil was also used for The Honda logos, and for various robot mode details.

    The windows came out a bit darker than I wanted, but they do look much like the G1 toy's window. Initially I was going to leave the windows completely clear but when I realized that, with clear windows, the lower robot legs would look like empty boxes, I opted to tint the windows.

    Jazz really got me in the mood to do some more MP-styled G1 Autobots, so I searched around for other 1/24 kits I could find. So why Skids? I've always had a love for the original toy - I don't know why, [but I] just always thought it was one of the better of the Diaclone-era cars. Plus, he's so under-appreciated, [so]I had to do it.

    Anyways, I'm not using any base Transformer this time, and instead going nearly all scratch, unless I find some random bits that might work. I am, however, using the Gundam arms leftover from Jazz. They're nearly the perfect size, and attached to the City's shocks very well! As you can see, I've got the doors and roof attached and opening. The arms are attached and transform freely.

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    The hand is totally scratchbuilt. I've copied the design from the Gundam's hand. I started with thin strips of styrene and glued them into different lengths, [as] this would be the first segment. Then I built the second and third segments as a single piece, and attached them to the first with some styrene rod. The index finger is left separate, with the other three glued together at the first segment. Then I just built up the rest of the hand. I don't think I'll be doing this for anyone else though. It took SO long for just one hand.

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    Mostly for stability. Styrene, in such small pieces, isn't as strong as I'd like, and I just feel more comfortable having the three fingers as one block. Now, they still move at the second joint independently, and you'd be surprised at the amount of poses you can still achieve this way.

    I've decided to save myself the agony of building the right hand, and moved on to the legs.

    I built the knee joint first, then the transformation block, and finally started on the frame for leg.

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    I should have a mostly finished leg by the end of the week.


    I use a combination of an X-acto Razor Saw, regular X-Acto blade, and a Bare Metal brand line scriber.


    Nope, no Lego bits at all. The grey rods are actually bits of a model sprue, which fit near perfect into the Kotobukiya Polycaps I'm using.

    Both leg frames built:

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    I have to built the waist next. Then I have to figure out how to get waist from the center of the car to the front of the car for robot mode. I've got one idea that I hope works . . . .

    I got the legs attached to the body!

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    The waist/legs move into position with a few polycaps and a swingbar:

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    I plan to have some sort of piece fold down to meet the waist and add some much needed girth in the abdomen as well. Think I'll work on the rear wheels and feet next.

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    After five months, finally an update!

    Starting on the abdomen area, and made a plate to fill in that giant gap:

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    It folds away for car mode, and folds down to meet the waist in robot mode. I still have to beef up the sides a bit, but at least it's there!

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    Moved onto the legs next, and built the rear wheel assembly. It folds in a bit for clearance, and then rotates flat. I think I made it overly complicated, but I wanted the wheel well to still be visible in robot mode, so there wouldn't just a be a big empty spot in the foot.

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    Thats all for today. I hope to have most of the leg done by the weekend . . . .

    Styrene by itself is about as strong as model kit plastic, but more flexible. In single thing layers or strips, you can easily bend it with your hands and sometimes even break it. However, once you start gluing it together solidly, and form solid objects with it, you'll have a nice sturdy piece. Skids' legs upper legs for example are SOLID.

    Of course, multiple pieces glued togther into a single part will never be as strong as if it was molded as a solid, single part in the first place. That said, I handle this guy pretty much the same way I do any Hasbro Transformer, I just watch out for the parts I know are a bit less sturdy than others.

    Heres the begining of the right foot, and solidifying the leg some more:

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    The foot is on a ball joint and has side to side, and a bit of forward movement:

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    For vehicle mode, the entire foot block slides into the leg:

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    Continuing work on the leg.

    I've built the knee details, and built a panel to fill in that giant open hole from where the leg sits in vehicle mode. The panel is just a very preliminary set-up right now, just had to make sure it would work, more details and stuff will be added later

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    Attached the rear tire too - I almost didn't have room :) 

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    The panel folds down onto of the foot. And here's the whole leg folded into vehicle mode position.

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    And, everything still fits nicely into that compact little City (phew!)

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    Most of the styrene I use is .75 or 1mm thick, and I'll layer that 2 and sometimes three layers thick when needed. I also use .10mm for details and stuff, and I use 2mm and 2.5mm strips a lot too.

    For example, each side of the upper leg is 2 layers of 1mm styrene, reinforced with strips on the inside. Each finger is three layers of .75mm.

    I scavenge the joints from Gundam kits somtimes, but mostly I use Kotobukiya Poly Units. You can get them from HLJ and the like:
    Search Results

    I partiularly like the Starter Sets, but you can get just Ball joints, or just Cylinders, or pretty much any kind you might need.

    I rarely use the chassis. It's just such a large flat piece, and there's usually no room for it anyway.

    Working on the left foot now; he can finally stand unaided!

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    The head is one I may use, haven't decided yet. It's an unfinished head from a failed attempt at an Alt Skids reshell I tried years ago, before the actual Skids toy was even announced! It's just balanced on the hood for now.

    Sure, here's some. I've got to fill in some of those gaps now.


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    And both legs now match. The engineering for the legs is now finished, [so it's] onto the head transformation and car interior next! Once all the engineering's done, then its on to all the cosmetic stuff.

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    Got some more done today. The hood is now cut and opens up. Also, notice that the gap where the arm folds out is now covered.

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    The hood opens on a simple swing bar:

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    Now, as for shoulder joint cover, I'd orginally had a very simple plan to just have it rotate up. But, whichever way I'd do it, it either wouldn't fit, it would get in they way of the hood or shoulder, or was just ugly. So, I came up with this overly complicated hinge to let it just fold away underneath the hood :)  Overkill? Maybe, but it works:

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    Oh, I agree. His waist is definitely narrower than I would have liked, but this is why:

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    The City is a TINY car. In order to have decently sized arms, the waist had to suffer. Now, I'll still add more details to make the waist section look better, but that's as wide as it can be. At 1/24 scale, the City is as long, and barely wider than a typical Deluxe car. It's a lot taller however, which is the only reason I was able to cram proportional legs in there

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    Hmm...not sure what you mean by that. Nearly all of the bot mode is styrene, so its definitely not concealed. Also not sure why you think styrene usually sticks out so bad. As long as it's finished and painted properly, I don't feel it looks any different to the ABS Hasbro uses.


    That's what I'm hoping for too.


    Blasphemy! I don't believe in any add on parts or parts-forming, especially just to improve appearance. Unless it's a weapon, but even then I try to integrate it into the alt mode too :) 


    Gotcha, makes sense now.


    Got the head attached today. It simply rotates under the hood via polycap, and is attached to a ball joint.

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    Nah, I've never really been all that into electronics in my toys. I'll usually light up stuff once just to see what it looks like, then never again. I wouldn't even know where I'd be able to fit the battery packs, I've got nearly every amount of free space taken up by transformation parts!


    I'm using both. For larger joints, such as the hood, I'm using Poly-rods (same material as the ball joints and cylinder joints). For the small hinges like the ones that allow the shoulder flaps to fold or for the panel that covers the shin, I'm using brass pin through styrene tube. For the knees, I'm using plastic rod through a polycap. I used all three styles for Jazz as well, he just happened to have alot more of the small hinges.

    The rod and pins I use come in standard sizes 1mm, 2mm, and 3mm; and I have a hand drill set in the same sizes, so the holes I drill are usually the perfect fit. If the holes too tight, wiggly the drill around a bit while turning will usually loosen it up just right. If I accidently make it too loose, I'll usually add a tiny bit of super glue to thicken up the peg.


    Well, I used 1mm styrene rod, and a 1mm drill bit to drill the holes. The rod was a pretty snug fit, and would probably stay in fine just by friction, but I put a tiny drop of superglue on the outside of the finger after assembly, just to make sure the rod stayed in. I'll take some more pics of the process when I build the right hand.


    Oh, absolutely! After I've got all the engineering done, I'll be going back and adding all the surface details.

    Ok, this was the last bit of engineering I had to work out, the seats! I've only got the passenger one attached, but here it is.

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    The seat is attached to a piece of the center console, and swings down to fill in Skids' back. The seats fold up Alternator style. In fact I got the idea from Alt Skids, but this is far less obtrusive.

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    At this point, it should be all cosemtic building; filling in gaps, adding details, building up parts, reinforcing parts, etc!

    Pretty much the same way I build the knuckles. The fingers are attached to the back of the palm with more little joints.

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    And, ugh, the right hand was defnitely easier to build after the left, but damn, it still took HOURS!

    Anyway, you can see that the seats are nearly entirely hidden by the roof, they fold up very well.

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    Started the long process of adding in all surface details. So far, I've got most of the waist, the right leg, and the left shoulder.

    Worked on the head too. I think I made it too wide, but I'm not sure. I think I'm most likely going to get rid of the smirk too:

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    Its already gone, and I like it a lot better.


    Lots of practice, and the right tools. I cut with an X-Acto blade and ruler most of time. I'll often draw my parts on the styrene before I cut, and I carefully measure all my cuts. After assembly, I sand all the seams, and often bevel the edges to get of the right angles. I'll often sand flat surfaces to give them a curve or angle as well. The panel lines are scribed into the plastic with a line scriber tool and ruler. Styrene's pretty easy to work with, but it can be pretty tedious, so you've definitely got to have some patience with it.

    Well guys, this is it! Skids is nearly done! All I've got left to do is build the weapons and add a bit of styrene to the doors, and he's ready for paint.

    I've got the arms built up to look more like Skids', and I've scribed in some detail to the abdomen area.

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    I've got rid of the smirk from the proto-head, and I've given it a quick and sloppy paint job to help see the head in color.

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    (Check the thumbnails for some detailed pics)


    And the weapons are finished! They're a blend of the toy model and animation model. They can attach to sides or top of the forearms with small tabs that peg into slots hidden in between gaps in his arms.

    And, I think that's it!

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    You're correct, it is Alt Silverstreak's face, and most of his helmet underneath there. The rest is built up with different layers of styrene, and a bit of putty.

    Haha! I almost did burn out too, but I wasn't going to let it happen, so I just sat down one day, picked him up, and then ended up flying through.


    I am indeed. So far I've found nothing that will adhere to the poly-material. I usually build the parts with that in mind, and usually build a cradle or something to hold the polycap in.


    Thanks, yeah, the City is so small. I remember when I first got the kit, I was like "Huh...well..." Good thing is its tall and roomy.

    That's almost the same kit. The one you linked to is the regular City, while Skids (and the kit I'm using) is the City Turbo. It's got a bulge in the hood, a different grill, a slightly different front bumper and side skirt, and probably another minor difference or two. In fact, its the thumbnail immediately to the left of the one you posted!

    Alright, here he is, finally finished!

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    Transformation:

    Open doors, unclip roof from rear:

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    Unfold legs, straighten and knee and hip:

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    Position red chest section:

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    Fold torso to meet waist. Peg together:

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    Pull feet forward, flip up panel and clip onto knee block. This secures the foot, and transformation joint:

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    Rotate rear wheels in:

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    Swing arms down:

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    Fold seats down, and flip seat backs up. Fold roof down:

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    Open hood, fold head out:

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    Fold in shoulder joint covers (yes they are unpainted on the inside :) :

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    Fold up arms, rotate shoulder into postion, swing arms down, and rotate fists:

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    Robot mode, without weapons:

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    With weapons:

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    The weapons can also be attached to the top of the forearms. They attach to both locations with small tabs:

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    Some close up/detail shots

    And finally, some comparison shots with Binaltech and G1 Skids [as well as] some comparisons with MP Jazz and Prime:

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    Thanks everyone!


    Yep, I originally planned for the waist to be wider, but realized soon that it just wouldnt fit. Ive gottten used to it though.

    Haha! Its actually a peace sign, and the driver figure was included in the kit, but it looked SO horrible!

    Nope, don't get in the way of anything.

    Yep, just Tamiya Clear Blue.
     

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