Minor/Repaint: Sidestep Sideways/Ratbat/Noisemaze Key Gimmick - Tutorial

Discussion in 'Radicons Customs' started by ShadowStitch, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. ShadowStitch

    ShadowStitch vectoring the hate plague

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Posts:
    2,023
    Trophy Points:
    207
    Likes:
    +12
    As awesome as many of the Cybertron figures were, there's no getting over the fact that the whole Cyberkey gimmick was pretty lame. Why bother with a giant ridiculous hunk of plastic to activate a gimmick when a simple button would have sufficed?

    In some cases, the presence of the key gimmick isn't conspicuous enough to detract from the figure; often times however, a giant round key jutting out of a figure is enough to ruin the aesthetic of the toy completely, and generally for very little benefit.

    And It gets even worse when the powers that be start repainting Cybertron, Energon, and Armada figures for other toy lines, replete with gimmicks now twice-removed from relevancy.

    Thankfully, on a few figures it's possible to perform slight modifications to sidestep the gimmicks entirely. On figures where the key can be plugged in securely, then pushed in further against a springloaded mechanism to activate a feature, (such as the Cyb Megatron and Red Alert molds) it's possible to carve off the end of a key, leaving for all intents and purposes a tiny rectangular pushbutton, which stays in the socket.

    On the rest, where the key must be pushed in all the way to activate a spring-loaded feature, it necessitates keeping a key onhand at all times, using an improvised tool to jimmy the switch, or forgoing the gimmick entirely. This isn't something I enjoy, so on many of my Cybertron mold figures I've come up with alternative ways to activate the feature with some small modifications. Here, as an example, is the Cybertron Sideways/Galaxy Force Noisemaze/Universe Ratbat mold.

    On this figure, I added a small screw, protruding unobtrusively from the bottom of the arm cannon.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It is actually running up through a small channel, and into the key mechanism itself, so that pulling the screw gently down and back with your fingertip will trigger the key gimmick and release the blades.

    [​IMG]

    Here I'm pushing down on the plate inside, so you can see how the screw moves out of the shell when pulled.

    [​IMG]

    This mod is pretty easy to do; tool-wise it just requires the usual pin vise to drill a hole and an X-acto knife to trim some parts. The only real catch to all this is that you'll need a properly sized screw. And it can be tricky.

    It needs to be no more than 3mm in diameter, and preferably no longer than 8mm in length, so if you've got a box of spare screws and junk parts, you might have to scrounge a bit. The screws pictured below are all ones I could have used, but I chose a black one for consistency.

    [​IMG]

    The first thing you need to do is remove the 4 black screws from the bottom of the arm weapon assembly. They're all the same size, so don't worry overmuch about keeping them in order unless you're simply anal about it. The top half comes right off, as there doesn't appear to be any glue or pins holding it shut.

    The front end of the assembly might be a little harder to pry off thanks to the two smooth pins holding the wings, but it should nevetheless pop off with little difficulty. I recommend holding the transparent "wings" closed, and taping them down first thing, because otherwise they can (and will) go flying, and it's a real pain in the ass to hunt down loose springs, then keep resetting the little spring mechanisms over and over.

    If you're determined to reseat them later anyways, you can always just pull them off now and set them aside without any real consequences.

    [​IMG]

    After that's done, you can remove the purple "faction swap" slider, if it hasn't fallen off already on its own. The red dot there is about where we're going to be putting the screw hole, just for future reference. (though the screw itself will be on the underside.)

    [​IMG]

    Now you need to pull off the little panel. There isn't anything really holding it down. Again, the red dot marks where the screw hole will eventually be.

    [​IMG]

    the top side of the panel. The small pegs on either side are what hold the wings in, and the large center block contains the spring which keeps those two pegs secure -- until the key pushes the panel down, releasing the wings.

    [​IMG]

    And here is the underside of that panel.

    Remember how I stressed the importance of the size of the screws? That's because the screw itself is going to go up from the bottom of the arm gun assembly, through the center of the spring, secured into the plastic peg running through the center.

    [​IMG]

    Now for the drilling. You can remove the spring or not, though the job may be easier if you pull it off the holding peg (being careful not to bend or warp the spring in the process.)

    You need to drill a pilot hole that is slightly smaller than your screw, so it can pass through without warping or stretching the plastic. It's important to try and get the hole as centered and straight as possible.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Once you're done, you should have a nice clean hole from one end to the other. If you like, now is a good time to test the screw and make sure it screws in straight and securely.

    [​IMG]

    Next, you'll need to carve a small channel for the screw. Since the screw will be arcing slightly as you pull it, it needs to have a rectangular trench to move in -- a single hole won't work as well, if at all.

    As you can see in the picture below, I was still experimenting -- I put the hole too far towards the front, and the screw could neither reach, nor move. I ended up carving a more teardrop shape, removing plastic as I test fit.

    [​IMG]

    Now that I've completed it, I think that an opening more consistent with the red area would have been better. Now I know for next time, but the key concept here is that the channel needs to be just as wide as the screw, but not as wide as the spring if you can help it, because else the spring will pop out of the hole and the whole mechanism will fail, since the whole thing relies on the pressure of the spring against the bottom plate.

    [​IMG]

    Now another step I took, that you might not have to, depending on your skills, was a small washer. I added this washer to keep the spring safely inside the mechanism at all times, while allowing my screw trigger to have a wide range of movement.

    To make this tiny washer, I snipped the circular bit off a soda can's pull tab, and cut it into a round shape, then flattened it with pliers.

    It serves its purpose, and it may be an optional step for you, but there's no harm in adding it to the project because it assures the spring will never escape the channel. And of course it also serves as one way to remedy an oversized hole. Alternately, you could use pliers to stretch the bottom of the spring so that the diameter is far larger than the channel, or substitute a real washer if you have one small enough.

    [​IMG]

    From here, it's just a matter of reassembling everything. The screw goes up into the arm weapon assembly from underneath, and up through the washer and spring. The trigger plate is laid down on top of it and the screw tightened just enough to hold it in place. Then the rest of the parts can be added back in and the whole thing closed up.

    Once it is closed securely,test the mechanism to make sure it is pulling the trigger plate down properly. Depending on your situation, you may choose to tighten the screw and minimize the length of clearance under the assembly, but this underpart does not ever touch any other parts, so it's okay to leave a bit hanging -- it all depends on how easily you want to access the trigger screw.

    If it all works to your satisfaction, screw it all back together and tear loose the scotch tape. Voila, the wings can now be released without having to use a key (though if you did it correctly, you should also be able to use a key to release the wings, and activate the faction-changing gimmick.).

    And if you ever choose to undo this modification, it's only a matter of removing the trigger screw, opening the casing, and gluing a bit of plastic or styrene over the hole in the bottom.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Rhinox555

    Rhinox555 Insert clever joke here.

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Posts:
    1,680
    Trophy Points:
    137
    Likes:
    +1
    Awesome. I intend to get Ratbat soon and i hate cyberkeys so i'll try this out soon.
     

Share This Page