Heavy/Scratch: WIP: OS KO Arcee to Masterpiece Arcee

Discussion in 'Radicons Customs' started by Snaku, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. Snaku

    Snaku Well-Known Member

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    Figured I should stop high jacking the OS KO Arcee thread with my customizations. I've been planning on customizing the Wei Jiang oversized KO Arcee into a Masterpiece Arcee ever since it was announced. She's the same height as the MP carbots so she should fit in great. The plan is to bring the hips in, give her articulated hands, add waist articulation (segmented abdomen with balljoints at the top and bottom), add ankle and toe articulation (3d printed parts), cover the ugly shoulder balljoint holes with cap sleeves (either 3d printed or molded by hand), remold her face, maybe even with swappable face plates and repaint the whole thing and just pretty her up as much as possible.

    First, the photoshop I did for my plans for her hips and abdomen:

    [​IMG]

    So she finally arrived today and I immediately got started. Disassembly was pretty easy until I got to the pins. Her hip pins were in there really freakin' tight. Went out and bought a pin punch and proceeded to ruin it in the process of getting the pins out. Once they were out, I started grinding the pieces down with a dremel so that her legs could bend further in toward the center (the stock Arcee can't close her legs beyond an A frame power stance without popping them out on their transformation joint and making them look horribly disjointed).

    [​IMG]

    On the left you can see where I trimmed, indicated with the blue lines parallel. On the right is her right hip pieces unmodified. Note that some of these cuts will weaken her structurally: I intend to reinforce them by filling in the hollow areas with Apoxie Sculpt.

    [​IMG]

    Once I was satisfied with how her thigh fit, I proceeded to do the other side and then moved on to the hands.

    [​IMG]

    Here she is with both hips done and with the articulated hands attached. I used 1/144 scale articulated Gundam hands from Hobby Base (ordered from hlj.com). They need some work: the wrist connection is a little ugly and the hands have no backs 'cuz the Gundam backs made them look too bulky. I'll fix both with Apoxie Sculpt (ordered it yesterday and it should be here Monday).

    Going forward, I think I'll start on the waist articulation next. I'm going to cut her abdomen out entirely, install the ball joints while she's in alt mode (so that they'll be lined up correctly for transformation), and once they're in, I'll start working on sculpting the three part abdomen. The goal is to make it so she can stand naturally without arching her back and thrusting out her chest and so that she can twist and tilt at the waist (hell, with balljoints at the top and bottom, she'll practically be able to belly dance), but still get back into her stock position for alt mode.

    I also plan to widen the hips (not the thighs, the area above them) so that her legs can move out to the side without running into them (you can see in my photoshopped plan image that they're a little wider than normal). I'm going to leave off the pink saddlebad plates and fill in and reshape the area with apoxie sculpt: they thickened her thighs too much and made it look like she has chicken legs.

    I've also got a digital caliper arriving Monday that I'll use to get precise measurements of her feet so I can get to designing a new set for 3d printing. As it happens, I already have a set of feet with ankle and toe articulation that I designed for a planned scratch build Arcee that I never finished, and I should be able to retrofit them to fit this Arcee's legs with little difficulty. I'll have my buddy with a 3d printer make me a prototype set and, once I'm happy with them, I'll have a nicer set printed by Shapeways. I'll probably also shave off her ankle cover things and build my own that can move up and down. If I do it right, it shouldn't interfere with her transformation.

    The replacement face I'll be doing by hand with Apoxie Sculpt. I haven't decided yet if I can just cut her stock face out or if I'll need to make her an entirely new head. Her stock face is too narrow so I'll have to see if I can cut it out and also cut into her hair buns a little to give her face space.

    Other than that, I'll probably be doing molded detail work a little here and there. Flesh out... um... "metal out?" her calves a little to reduce the chicken leg look and make them slightly more angled, kind of like @Budokhan did from this thread (which is what inspired me to do this project at all).
    [​IMG]

    I just love the way he got her legs looking there so I'm going to try to do the same thing.

    So yeah, that's my progress so far and my immediate plans. I'll keep you posted.
     

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    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
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  2. Saito Satoru

    Saito Satoru smile

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    Looking forward to this. I love it when WIPs are detailed like yours. Help me figure out exactly what is going on with everything.
     
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  3. Ellamin

    Ellamin Heroes protect Freedom! not safety! BAKA!!

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    I really want to see this work well and find a way to integrate her front fenders into the classic pauldrons... As for the rest of the car mode, i guess shield form works fine... But maybe you can find a better solution?
     
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  4. Snaku

    Snaku Well-Known Member

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    Fenders into pauldrons? You mean like have them over her shoulders like they were in the cartoon? Might be possible but it would mean ripping out and completely rebuilding the transformation joints that move the fenders, hood, and chest.

    For the rest of the car, I just set it aside. I'm going to build a false kibble to cover the bare transformation joints at her back. I've given some thought to making the hood collapse or something but I can't figure a way to do it. It'd be easier at that point to design an entire new figure from scratch and have it 3d printed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
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  5. Ellamin

    Ellamin Heroes protect Freedom! not safety! BAKA!!

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    I was thinking that the joints required for the fenders to be pauldrons like the cartoon, could be replaced with a 3d printer kit for that look, as I am sure some other would love it, especially if you could downsize it to work with the original figure too.
     
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  6. bumblebeej8

    bumblebeej8 Pinpoint Doodle User#3

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    This I know will look cool!
     
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  7. Snaku

    Snaku Well-Known Member

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    Neat idea. Last night, after replying to your post, I popped the wheels of the fenders and held then in place for the pauldrons. I liked how it looked but wasn't thrilled with how it would hinder her arm movement and I really didn't like the idea of it putting her backpack behind the fenders. The backpack just sits so far behind her. I suppose, to really do Arcee justice, the backpack would need major reconstruction but I don't think I'm prepared to go that far. I'll give it some thought though. If I come up with a brilliant way to solve the backpack problems, I'll see what I can do.
     
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  8. shiftypenguin

    shiftypenguin Fancy-Pantsless Dancer

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    Wow! This is really looking up! I look forward to seeing the final figure.
     
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  9. scrapmetaru

    scrapmetaru Well-Known Member

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    Can you really turn a knock-off of a bad figure into a masterpiece?
     
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  10. Devastator21

    Devastator21 Well-Known Member

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    its not a bad figure
     
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  11. Snaku

    Snaku Well-Known Member

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    Here's a comparison pic of her standing beside the stock Arcee to illustrate how far in the legs have come. Both Arcees are standing with their feet as close together as possible without popping her transformation joint out. I would've liked to have gotten them in just a little closer but I've cut the crotch down as far as I can without compromising it structurally so I'd have to cut into the die cast thighs to go any further. Not real eager to try to cut into die cast.

    ArceeHipsDone2.jpg

    Note: for now I've swapped the articulated hands with some solid closed fist hands so I don't risk any fingers popping off and getting lost while I work on her. They're also nice for any closed fist poses I'll want to do: the articulated ones can do a pretty decent fist but they don't look quite as natural as the solid ones.

    I figure I can get her thighs to be able to slide in under her... bikini? That pink band between her hips and belly. But to do that, I'd have to shave that inner hip piece down pretty far. I'll have to do a photoshop mockup to see if I like it of if it just looks too ugly to work.

    I forgot to mention in my first post, I'm also going to be removing the wheels from her thighs and building some swing arms from the rear bumper section to move the wheels into place in alt mode and move them out in robot mode. Then I'll make some covers for the backs of her legs. It means more partsforming, which kinda' sucks, but it'll give her a much cleaner look (I really hate how the wheels look sticking out of her legs) and more posability with being able to sit down without sitting on the wheels.

    I've also been examining the inside of her abdomen and I realized that, when I was planning the ball joints, I'd forgotten to take into account the space where the car rear section plugs in. A dual balljoint setup would interfere with that so I'm going to be limited to a single joint. Shouldn't be too bad: my original plan was for one and I only changed it for the sake of getting her torso into the exact arched position it's in by default so she'll fit in alt mode, but I think I should be able to get it to work with just one.

    The knock off part isn't the problem. It's the limited posability and overabundance of kibble on the original mold that presents a problem. Wei Jiang is known for turning out quality knock offs that equal or surpass the original in quality.

    As for Masterpiece: I doubt many will consider her a true Masterpiece. Too much partsforming. That said, I think she won't look out of place at all on my Masterpiece shelf by the time I'm done with her.
     
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  12. TigerBlade

    TigerBlade Prepare for extermination

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    Damn dude, the thighs look so much better!
     
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  13. Mizzinno

    Mizzinno Merc With A Mouthplate

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    Next time try heating the pins with a soldiering iron. Its a life saver.
     
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  14. Snaku

    Snaku Well-Known Member

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    On the knurled end or both?
     
  15. Mizzinno

    Mizzinno Merc With A Mouthplate

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    Really either will work, but if you can id the knurled end go for that. I've bent both my pin pushers several times trying to hammer them out but with the iron you can just push them out after about 30-60 seconds.
     
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  16. Snaku

    Snaku Well-Known Member

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    Cool. Is that 30 to 60 seconds of holding the iron to it or, once you heat it, you can push it out in 30 to 60?
     
  17. Mizzinno

    Mizzinno Merc With A Mouthplate

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    Holding the iron to the pin. Heating up depends on your iron, mine gets to the right temp after about 2 minutes.
     
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  18. setsuna

    setsuna Active Member

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    Man this is awesome!
     
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  19. Starganderfish

    Starganderfish Well-Known Member

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    This is extremely cool. I've got a copy of this gal coming from Rub in the next week or two.
    I'll be doing the leg fix and giving her proper hands. I have sculpie at home so i'll probably look at slimming down those thighs like you suggest.
    I probably won't bother with the ball jointed waist and I'll have to see how the feet come out. I don't want to spend too much on what is only ever going to be a stand-in on my MP shelf, but these fixes seem pretty easy, relatively cheap and should bring her from an awkward KO, to a halfway decent 3P stand-in effort.
    Something has t be done about her head though - that's undoubtedly her biggest weakness. Someone is bound to do a Shapeways head for her sooner or later.

    Also thanks for the tip about the Gundam hands from HLJ. I need new hands for my Planet X Jupiter and Spark Toys Alpha Pack. Alpha Pack can probably get away with KFC's MP-10 hands but finding the right hands for Jupiter was proving difficult. Hopefully I can find something here.
     
  20. Snaku

    Snaku Well-Known Member

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    Not sure how sturdy sculpie will be but I guess if it's just rounding out the space left by the thigh pads, it doesn't have to be too durable.

    Yeah, I'm not liking her face much. I did a practice face sculpt just now in apoxie and I'm not thrilled with how it turned out; might've been too optimistic thinking I could sculpt her a new face, let alone multiple swappable faces. I might take a stab at making a 3d print design instead and have it printed in Shapeways fud or hda: there's no way my buddy's 3d printer would be able to print a detailed enough head/face sculpt. I have a 3d head from when I was trying to do a 3d scratch build Arcee that I should be able to retrofit for this figure.

    Update time!

    I cut up her abdomen and installed the ball joint last night. Then, just as I was getting ready for bed, I realized I'd made a terrible mistake by installing the ball in her upper torso instead of the socket. This illustration from yet another unfinished (unstarted really) Arcee scratch build plan should help explain:

    sideIllustration.jpg

    The area marked in blue is the ball joint. The inner abdomen will rotate around the ball allowing backward/forward, side/side, and rotation. By placing the ball on the top, it would have made it impossible to build the upper torso correctly. So anyway, I had to cut it out and then try again today. The apoxie sculpt is in the process of curing (though I noticed I'd gotten her waist crooked so I had to jam a blade in there to hold it in the proper alignment until it finishes curing.

    ArceeWaistWIP.jpg

    Tomorrow I should be able to assemble her in alt mode and glue the ball into her lower torso (to make sure it's lined up correctly to be able to transform. Then it'll be another 24 hours cure time before I can move on to sculpting the inner portion of her waist. Another 24 hours and I'll be able to sculpt her outer lower torso. I guess I'm at the slow going part of this project. Gives me time to work on the 3d model for her feet.

    [Edit 4/18] $$@&! I didn't leave enough space for the car rear to plug in. While I was shaving down the apoxie and test fitting it popped out so I had to reattach it. I connected the hell out of it this time and made sure the rear fits so it's back to waiting for it to cure and I'll try again tomorrow. Meanwhile I've filled in the peg holes and the holes in her inner bicep and her feet (in case the 3d printed feet don't work out). I need to figure out how to move her head and neck back: with her torso straightened out, her head is too far forward now.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
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