Minor/Repaint: RotF leader Starscream ball joint wrist tutorial

Discussion in 'Radicons Customs' started by hthrun, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. hthrun

    hthrun Show accuracy's overrated

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    Battle Blade Bumblebee wrists: Post 7

    DotM voyager Shockwave: Post 9

    One of my biggest pet peeves with TF toys has been hands that face palm up and can't be turned. Several movie toys suffer from this, like Longhaul, Battle Blade Bumblebee, leader Starscream, and Shockwave. So I was thrilled when I discovered Sculpt-bot's Longhaul tutorial which starts out with giving him articulated wrists. I did the mod on my Longhaul and was planning to do the same with Starscream, but I was worried he wouldn't have enough room for the Lego peg.

    Then I came across savio-prime's BB Bumblebee wrist mod and figured that may be a better alternative for Stascream. So this is not my idea at all, all credit goes to savio-prime!

    Before you read any further, if you'd like your Starscream to have movie accurate, super articulated hands, not just the wrists but also the knuckles, check out fakebusker83's Shapeway Starscream hands. I also have to give HUGE thanks to fakebusker83 for donating his left over SS hands to me. Without him I'd still be trying to salvage a horribly mangled SS hand :) 

    So here we go...

    I recommend doing one hand at a time. As Matt Booker mentioned at his web site, this approach keeps you from having too many pieces floating around. Also, it's good to have an original wrist to compare your mods to as you go. Starscream has limited space for his hands in alt mode so you want the mod to be as close to the original wrist length as possible. Thirdly, you can learn from any mistakes the first time through :) 

    [​IMG]

    The first thing you need to do is acquire a ball joint peg (no socket is required). You want one that's as close to the same width as the original wrist joint as you can get.

    [​IMG]

    I got mine from the back legs of movie Ravage. This is the fourth custom he's contributed to!

    [​IMG]

    ... and hopefully not the last!

    Next we cut off Starscream's hand at the joint. I used a utility knife so I wouldn't scrape SS's hand too much. It actually didn't take very long to do.

    [​IMG]

    One option would be to simply shave down the area where the wrist was cut, cut the peg down on the ball joint, and super glue it right on. But you'll get a more secure attachment if you drill a hole into SS's arm and glue the ball joint's peg in there. That way instead of the glue just holding two flat surfaces together, it'll hold all around the peg.
    I just used some drill bits and hand drilled into the arm. I wouldn't recommend a power drill, it would most likely go too fast and not be precise enough. You don't want to drill too far and wreck the concealed weapons. When I drill holes like this, I like to start with my smallest bit and work my way up to the bigger ones, checking to see if the peg will fit in the hole each time.

    [​IMG]

    Then simply put some superglue in the hole and push in the ball. I learned the hard way when using superglue, first gently squeeze the tube away from the toy until you get it to come near the tube's opening, then carefully apply it. You don't want it spilling all over :eek: 

    [​IMG]

    You may want to paint the ball if its color doesn't match well with the rest of the toy. You could paint the ball first, but I'm not sure if the superglue would work as well touching the paint as opposed to the plastic. My guess is it would be fine...
    I've had a lot of scraping on mine and don't know if there's a good way to make the paint stronger. I'm still rather novice in that area...

    [​IMG]

    While that's drying, let's remove the old wrist from the hand. You can remove all the pins to get off the thumbs and then take out the joint, then put them all back in. I'm not as comfortable moving pins, so I used my dremel with the bit shown in the pic and cut through the joint and its pin. After cutting most of it out of there, I still had to use a nail and hammer to remove the last little bit.

    [​IMG]

    Please don't repeat my stupid mistake of trying to cut the pin with flush cutters! I ruined the hand (thanks again to fakebusker83 for the replacement!) AND I ruined the flush cutters!

    Of course these steps don't have to be in this exact order. With the first hand, before gluing the ball joint in place I first tried it out in the hand. Then I did the drilling and testing with the hand already on the ball to make sure it would fit.

    Finally, pop the hand onto the ball! Depending on the ball joint size, the hand may require some shaving to fit. Or you may need to tighten the ball joint using your preferred method (I like clear fingernail polish).

    [​IMG]

    After each wrist, be sure to test that SS can still hold his weapon up...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And check that his hands fit inside in alt mode. As you can see, mine are a little off and still have room to fit...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That's it! I hope you found my first tutorial helpful :)  There may have been other tutorials already describing this method, but I hadn't seen any so I thought I'd make one. I figure a little redundancy can't hurt, either...

    I'm hoping to use this method on other toys, like the ones mentioned earlier. As I complete them, I'll post pics in this thread with any differences in procedure...
     

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    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  2. hthrun

    hthrun Show accuracy's overrated

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    Y'know, I wonder if superglue would hold them in place... Otherwise you could try checking at any store. I saw Target carries epoxy, maybe that would work too...
     
  3. Gjinrai808

    Gjinrai808 Well-Known Member

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    Great Tutorial gives the idea of approaching this modification with a very easy mind set! Thanks!
     
  4. hthrun

    hthrun Show accuracy's overrated

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    Thanks! :thumb 
     
  5. wirth

    wirth Seekers

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    that's neat..thx for sharing the tutorial, i probably will do this soon :D 
     
  6. hthrun

    hthrun Show accuracy's overrated

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    Battle Blade Bumblebee ball joint wrists

    I'm glad you like it, let us know how your turns out!


    I finished the same mod to Battle Blade Bumblebee, the one savio-prime did. I took the same approach as I did with Starscream, drilling shallow holes to put in my ball joints.
    Like savio-prime, I shaved away at the corner of the hands opposite the thumb so they could turn. I also had to shave away some at the thin piece sticking out from the arm. (I suppose that could be completely cut off if someone wanted to.)
    Again I used my dremel to cut out the pin. It's only one pin so it could have been pretty easy to remove, but I wanted to leave the portion of the pin for the thumb.

    I still have trouble with them popping off and being floppy. That's probably due to the ball joint I used. Savio-prime got his from legends Ravage (fitting that I got the SS ball joints from deluxe Ravage :)  ). I got mine from a Gundam model. (A good source of ball joints may be the Mega Block toys, like the Halo and Marvel Hero figures. I picked a couple up and haven't used them yet, but they have five ball joints each and are pretty cheap.)
    It's still better than no wrist. I'll just keep applying clear nail polish to take care of the floppiness and keep shaving away at that thin arm piece so it has more room to turn without popping off.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  7. Gilgamesh

    Gilgamesh Mostly Harmless

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    Man, I'd totally do this... but I'm deathly afraid of ruining my Starscream. I only have one and Leader figures are ROFLtasticly expensive here so getting another is quite the investment. I guess he'll have to remain with his armpit-scratching hands only for now.
     
  8. hthrun

    hthrun Show accuracy's overrated

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    DotM voyager Shockwave

    I recently gave Shockwave ball joint wrists. He was a bit more difficult than SS or BB because his hands have to fit perfectly in alt mode. He was a good example of why I do one hand at a time. It took me three tries to get the first wrist right! Three times I drilled into it :)  Then the second hand worked out right away.

    I ended up using ball joints from my junker Battle Blade Bumblebee. They were a little too big so I had to do some shaving on the sides where the ball pops in.

    It was easy to remove the pins. Just unscrew the forearms and gently pry them apart with a flat head screwdriver or something else. Then you can use a pliers to grab the pin and pull the hand out. The pin will still be in the hand, but you can just cut that piece off.

    I then put the hand in its alt mode position and hand drilled the hole. I went at an angle with the drill bit so that it passed through where the balls were going to be, to get the correct angle for the joint to attach to the hand. I kept checking to see if the joint would fit as I drilled.

    If you can, you'll want to get a ball joint with a long peg. I ended up with a little gap at the top of the hand because it was angled in. To get the precise position, I put the ball joint in place with the peg in the hole of the hand and put them into their alt mode position. I then put a drop of super glue where the peg and hand meet. You have to be really careful if you do this so you don't accidentally glue something you don't want to. The next morning I unscrewed the forearm so I could pull out the hand and ball joint. I then glued all the way around the ball joint hand.

    With the first hand, I had to do some shaving on Shockwave's legs so the ball would fit down in alt mode. With the second hand, it fit perfect right away. You can see from the pics that the two wrists are a little different. The right one is the one that's a little off, the left one is the one that fits.

    I hope this helps!
     

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  9. Warpshard

    Warpshard Well-Known Member

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    I just want to ask,is there any chance you may make a shockwave arm mod for the disgusting screws?
     
  10. hthrun

    hthrun Show accuracy's overrated

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    I wasn't planning to, but maybe you could try using some Apoxie Sculpt to cover them...
     

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