Templates / How-to make styrene/plasticard TF (like 'Rolling Thunder')?

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by blaynescott, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. blaynescott

    blaynescott Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking for advice or links to information on how to create totally new Transformer pieces (heads, arms, feet, legs, etc.) out of sheets of styrene / "plasticard" / PLA Board.

    I recently picked up a ton of them, made by Tamiya in various thicknesses for doing custom weapons (layering then sculpting over) -- but I'd like to try my hand doing something more advanced.

    I remember seeing Encline Designs 'Rolling Thunder' custom some time ago:

    I was really impressed at his ability to craft something so unique from mostly straight pieces, skillfully cut and attached together. I'd like to try something similar to create my own MP-Prime scale using a footless, headless Hasbro MP Prime. :) 

    I've scoured the net for tutorials, or random posts about the topic, and have come up empty. Is this method of TF customization a well kept secret? ;) 

    I did manage to find a random thread at IDW's forums where Encline posted some WiP shots, which I've attached here to show what I'm aiming for.

    Thanks!
    -Blayne
    Custom Toys & Action Figures
    Online Portfolio of Blayne Scott | Fashion, Art, Music & Toys |
     

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    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  2. Mecannibal V

    Mecannibal V Engineeratron

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    There are a number of threads in the tutorial section of this site that go into pretty good detail on working with styrene.
     
  3. destrongerlupus

    destrongerlupus #MoreSawBoss

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    Here's a good one by Wikkid to get you started, his whole series is GREAT, though a little more aimed at taking a styrene model and building it up into a TF

    http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/tutorials-how-tos/390407-06-creating-styrene-hinges.html

    Also, this is bound to be moved to General Discussion, where you'll also find a lot of helpful threads :) 

    I think the honest truth about styrene scratch building is, there IS no "secret," it's actually a very straightforward and simple way to build. However, you need to take a lot of time, and have a lot of patience, it's all about careful planning and precision cutting.

    I've read every tutorial out there (not just in TF land), and I definitely understand the principles, and have occasionally built up some decent parts with styrene work, but even having read a million pages about it and practiced for a long time, I simple do NOT have the patience or the mindset for this technique. By temperament, I'm a rough-it-out and refine as I go along type builder, that's what comes naturally to me, and it's what I enjoy.

    If you're a careful-planner, methodical measure-twice-cut-once kind of guy, I'd say just start trying to build up something simple, you'll probably take to it like a fish to water ;) 
     
  4. blaynescott

    blaynescott Well-Known Member

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    Wow! Nice! I'm really happy you linked me to that tutorial. For some reason, I forgot the How-To thread page had more than a single page-view. That really helps me out with the styrene construction angle.


    I'd still be interested in any tips people could provide, both about the construction of TFs with it -- and with any patterns people have designed for Optimus-style bots. :) 

    I have a deep desire to create my own custom DW-style Prime - it's one of my childhood icons I've not made a custom figure of yet. ^_^
     
  5. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    Non-project threads go in Creative General Discussion.
     
  6. Slothboy

    Slothboy Nick

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    Unfortunately search is disabled right now, but if you browse a few pages back in general discussion I started a thread about what are the best ways to get rid of the 'seams' left after joining styrene together.

    As for a general tip: I've built curved pieces where I've layered straight pieces together at angles, then filed them down until it formed a gradual curve. There's also heating the styrene and bending it to shape before it cools down. Hope that helps somewhat!
     
  7. blaynescott

    blaynescott Well-Known Member

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    Ah, very cool. :)  As for heating the styrene, what do you use?

    For customizing 6-7" scale figures (ML, NECA, etc.) I use to use a heat gun or hair dryer, but now I dip it in boiling water for a bit, then fish it out with a ladle.
    What works best for you if you're trying to bend/shape?
     
  8. hXcpunk23

    hXcpunk23 The Chaos Bringer

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    Since search is disabled at the moment, if you click on my username then on "statistics" then view all threads I've created, you can see a lot of my own work and WIP threads with plenty of styrene work. I do most of my threads as a sort of follow-along, meaning that if you read what I've written and follow the pictures posted with it (and some new pics are scattered through each thread with updates), you should be able to learn a few tips and tricks that may help you out.

    You can also check the links in my signature to see some of my work. I'm working more on my Classics Optimus Prime now (you can view all the WIP before my most recent updates on him if you look at my threads or check the sig links). I've done a lot of styrene work on his head, legs, shoulders, gun, and now his waist and forearms (which I haven't shared just yet). I usually take an existing figure or head, then cut and scratchbuild with styrene onto that to create another character or to make a certain character better. If you check out my work and have any questions, feel free to hit me up and I'll be glad to give a few tips or help if I can.
     
  9. Slothboy

    Slothboy Nick

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    For me the quickest way is still a hair dryer or heat gun. I don't know whether it's because styrene is a lot thinner than the plastic used in ML figures or what, but I find it takes to heat a lot faster, then you can simply bend it gently into a curve and hold it there for a while until it cools down. :) 
     
  10. Kouri

    Kouri kupo

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    That tutorials forum also has a Table of Contents stickied at the top. A whole section just for scratch-building in there.

    http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/tutorials-how-tos/201900-table-contents.html

    There was a great follow-along for scratch-building War-Within Prime (Think it was before we got the Titanium). Was a real interesting read, though it would be nice if the post was updated to display attachments again.

    http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/tutor...-within-prime-scratch-build-follow-along.html
     
  11. encline

    encline customizer of love TFW2005 Supporter

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    First off, I gotta say I am honored you are using my RT as an example... I learned a lot and there are many things I would do different....

    I really can't explain how I work other than I look at "shapes"..angles, lines, that kind of stuff.. when you mentally break something down like that, it is much easier.


    But the real guys styrene works on here with tutorials are in the TUROTIALS section as KOURI has already pointed out.
     

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