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Masterpiece Starscream Tailfin/Waist Kibble Modification

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Old 11-09-2007, 01:15 AM   #1
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Earlier, I found a way to pop off the tail fin sections and slip them behind the air brake section tabs to have them hang off the back:

Nice, but it's only friction holding them in place, and despite the initial "wow" factor, it turns out they don't hold very well. [However,] I figured there HAD to be a better way to get them to stay there. Permanently attaching the fins to the legs is only really an option if you plan to display him with the base. I REALLY liked the back storage, so I found a way to mod the interior part of the fin sections (that you don't really ever see) in such a way that you can use those previously mentioned air brake tabs. If you cut out some of the material from the black interior piece near the rear screw and a little of the grayish-white material from the outer section like so:

You can then use the slots to tab the fin sections to Starscream's back:

If you do it correctly, the connection will be quite sturdy:

Then you can remove the ball joints and have a nice looking Starscream:

I'm happy and relieved to report that removing the ball joints doesn't noticeably affect the sturdiness of how the tail fins attach in jet mode. Between the peg, the way the wings rest up against them and the tab near Starscream's wrist that pegs into the top of the fin section, they're just as sturdy and firmly attached in jet mode as they were with the ball joints. Happy modding!

Originally Posted by StarFire_MK2 View Post
How does this effect the balance of Screamer when he's standing?
Not at all that I've noticed. The bulk of the sections sits even with the wings/air brake, the only bits that really stick out are the fins themselves, and they don't weigh enough to throw off the balance.

From Golgo-13:

After looking at MP-03 for a long time I decided to change a few things. It feels like the original design was originally meant to have more articulation in the hips and waist (but after looking at the first prototype, the hips actually had no articulation at all. The hip kibble is the main reason there is no articulation (on this mold). I also did not like the look of the "samurai swords" and "shoulder guns".

So, I removed a couple small pieces on the hip plates, rib/waist pieces, and back frame to let the waist turn and the hips move much more freely laterally and up and down. The hip plates can swivel up and down now too. Also[, I] shortened the little pieces in between the jet nozzles to let the heels move more freely inward so they stand flat in any pose. I also made a little silver cover for the nasty screw showing in the cockpit.

I moved the hip kibble to the back like a backpack. Initially, I was going to mount the kibble on the leg like the first prototype, but I really liked the the clean legs, so the back felt like a natural place. It's not a perfect transformation, but this toy had shit falling off of it first time I transformed it anyway. I modified the tabs on the back piece to be pegs that plug into the hip kibble to hold it up, then the shoulder kibble is on the back too and clamps the hip kibble to the back piece.

I like it and [it] is compact. It could benefit from another set of pegs to hold it in better, but right now it won't come off unless you pull it off. The best part is the figure is free to be posed and looks much cleaner. The jet mode is unaffected, by the mods. The hip kibble is still held firmly in place in jet mode by the leg pegs:


I'll remove the screw, and fill that tiny area in with epoxy sculpt putty, then I can make [a] groove. [It] won't need much . . . about 3/8 of an inch is all, to get the ground clearance required to keep it from interfering with any posing.

Here's a mock-up:

The green is where the kibble used to be before you'd add in the groove so it can slide on the peg. I'll probably put some putty on the peg, so that it has a "head" but I may not; it wouldn't really be necessary I don't think. I colored in the cutout area green so it's easier to see how much it was moved.

(Note: where I cut it in the mock-up is in existing panel lines so the cuts won't even be really noticeable at all.)

Since [it was previously] mentioned [regarding a] screw problem, thought I'd toss this one together for ya:

If I could find a picture of that kibble piece where you see the other end of it (this one is cropped off), I'd draw how easy to make the hinge piece with only some cheap metal rods available at craft stores (at Hobby Lobby, they're with the modeling tools and pine car supplies).

The directions are in the picture, but to clarify (no room in pic) . . . . where I mention shaving an angled cut, what I mean is if you look at any TF that has a joint such as this, one side has the cut left alone, and the other side has a 45 degree angle shaved off the corner so the piece that will flip up and over can clear the area:

(Note: this mod will have the pins and holes hidden as the shell will cover those holes you drill in the black plastic. all you'd see is the square, and the panel line would look slightly more prominent.

From Jarrod:

[This] sounds very much like what I've done. I've done this to my original MP03, Skywarp and now the US Starscream.

The tail fin section actually slides up and down on a set of screws I've installed:

Originally Posted by Peaugh View Post
Nice! Looks like that's similar to what REDLINE's proposing. I wish I had enough confidence in my ability to cut the piece along the panel line without messing the whole thing up and tight enough so that it looked good in jet mode.

Speaking of which, could you share a jet mode pic showing the modded area? I'm curious as to how it looks.
Here ya go. The gap is very minimal, no bigger than any other transformation joints on the figure. Everything still locks and holds together as usual.

First the dashed area must be cut off. This leaves a flat, smooth surface for the piece to slide up on:

After unscrewing the black plate, remove the screw hole and support beams from the inside of the leg tail section to provide room for the screw that will be added:

Then attach the black plate to the leg and hip, as if SS was in jet mode. This way when you drill the new screw hole, you know everything will be perfectly lined up in jet mode. The hole should be drilled roughly where shown here, but really isn't a specific location. A hole should also be drilled in the peg that the tail assembly used to peg into in jet mode:

Now cut a slot for the upper screw to slide on, and remove the chunk for the lower peg/screw to slide on (the old leg peg is now the sliding peg, and the slot needs to be as wide). A screw with washer is needed for the lower to be big enough to hold the black plate on:

Finally, cut the tail fin assembly and black plate at the separation point. The upper half that remains on the hip can be screwed back together, but the lower half will need to be glued:


[As] I had said before, except [here] I just went with putting it on the wings instead of hinging it to fold down. Total time of work was only about 45 minutes.; here's photos:

Its a pretty straight-forward design, really. When you go to make your cut of the whole piece into halves, just cut right down the panel line there at the "elbow" of the kibble. Originally, I was going to have the whole thing on the legs with the top portion hinged to fold down the outside, but figured eh, this way would take less work and looks just as good or better.

From Peaugh:

Originally Posted by REDLINE View Post
the cuts for the tailfins is done with a thin knife (like an exacto, or a boxcutter). The only place we recommend the dremel is so its easier to scrape out the inside, and for the drill because you have to make a pair of screw-holes.
Actually, when I did mine, I used the little "nub" idea you had mentioned before, so when I slide the leg back to jet mode position, the original peg "snaps" into the peg hole part of the groove. Very nice.


Originally Posted by Thundercracker View Post
Can someone elaborate on what type/size screw they used to screw the black part of the tail section onto starscream's lower leg?
Just re-use the screw that you removed from the bottom of the kibble at the beginning of this mod. For the second screw, try to find something that's roughly the same size ([it] doesn't have to be exact.)

If you place your top screw hole where Jarrod shows in the pictures (there's a circle of flash from the mold), then you won't have anything to worry about.

From Cheebs:

I've had this idea in my head since I got the original Japanese release, and I finally got around to doing it. I figure since his tail pieces join up with his wings in alt mode, they could attach there. Then they just have to fold in half and rotate to sit nicely on his back in 'bot mode.

As you can see I kept it simple with a thin piece of speaker wire serving as a flexible joint. Two closely-spaced ball joints would do the same thing if you felt adventurous. Alt mode is not changed in appearance at all.

The only other thing I had to change was the nubs near his fists. They had to go to make transformation possible.

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Last edited by Superquad7; 09-25-2010 at 05:20 AM..
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:26 AM   #2
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iGear's prototype track mechanism for this same modification:

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Last edited by Superquad7; 04-22-2011 at 02:32 PM..
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:41 AM   #3
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This is a quick and easy tutorial I've gotten a ton of requests for. I know there are many other (similar) tutorials out there like this, but my method is a little different, and VERY quick and easy (takes about 10 minutes)

some tools you'll need:
  • X-Acto saw
  • good super glue (I prefer zap-a-gap)
  • sanding paper (medium & fine grit)
  • wire cutters (or something to cut plastic bits off)
Out of the box, the MP seeker tail wings clip onto ball joints on the hips. Many aren't overjoyed with this placement, and it makes more sense (and looks better in my opinion) to have them down lower. This tutorial will explain, step-by-step how to achieve that modification with ease.

Begin by popping the tail sections off the hip to reveal the ball joint.

I use a set of sharp wire cutters; clip that ball off and sand (well) the area leaving no evidence behind.

Here, you will see the un-modified tail wing section

Grab your x-acto saw blade (these are about $5 at AC moore, michael's, or most hobby shops..a MUST have)

I carefully saw off the small clip which holds the tail wing in place. It's important to clip this off as close to it's base as possible. You'll need as much of it as possible for relocating it later on. Let the saw do the work, don't push it too hard, there's thin areas of plastic here.

Here's an image of that clip removed. I'll proceed by sanding where it came from, as well as the bottom of the clip so both areas are super smooth.

I also cut a bit off the very back of the tail wing. If I don't, the point will stick out past the foot, hindering the MP seeker to stand properly.

I also sand down the detail front of where the original clip sat. The area needs to be flat and allow the moved wing to sit straight. If I were to leave it, the shaped of the plastic would get in the way.

I also trim about 1/8" off the base / bottom of the wing. I am compensating for the clip being a little smaller and closer to the main part. Sand it well, and bevel it's edges as well. You need good proper clearance so it can hinge back in robot mode.

Next, I apply a small amount of glue to the clip's base.

I affix the wing's clip to the base, ensuring it's perfectly level and straight. Wait until the initial glue dries, then re-enforce with some more glue (which will be cleaned better prior to painting)

I grab the corresponding leg and coat the areas (with glue) which will make contact with the newly modified tail wing.

I ensure the tail wing's properly aligned (front sits flush with front of leg) and voila, that's it. Now the MP seeker will use his foot and rear thruster to stand, like it originally did.

I haven't run into problems, the figure stands/rests on the thrusters and foot, as it did originally. Sorry if my wording confused that.

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Last edited by Superquad7; 03-16-2011 at 03:22 AM..
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