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by SMOG

Articulating Armada Megatron's Legs

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Old 02-01-2009, 10:35 PM   #1
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Articulating Armada Megatron's Legs

I had long dreamed of giving this figure proper leg joints . . . but I was scared off by the dangers of losing structural integrity by inserting joints at the hips and knees. I'd pretty much given up, when abruptly one day, I was looking at a junker Jetfire I had and a light went off in my brain, "Why add joints, when you can just replace the entire hip and leg assembly?!" Cybertron Jetfire is an almost perfect match. It's a really happy coincidence!

I posted a WIP of my IDW-inspired Megatron (now still very much a WIP, unfortunately). However, since then, I've had a couple of people ask me how I went about swapping in Cybertron Jetfire's legs.

It's not hard; [it's] downright easy, if you have a good cutting tool. I thought I'd run through the steps here so anyone can see them, or submit suggestions if they have any ideas to improve the mod.

I apologize in advance for not having a lot of pictures. When I originally performed the mod, I wasn't taking pics, and now it would be quite a chore to disassemble all the parts.

I suspect that this might be too half-assed to be considered a true tutorial, but I hope it helps some folks.


[*] First off, I removed Cybertron Jetfire's green lower legs. It's all screws, so that part is easy.

[*] Next, I used my Dremel tool to cut off Jetfire's waist joint. Cut on the green hinged section, keeping the block at the end which houses Jetfire's rotating waist joint; you'll need that. So now you basically just have a green block for his waist, and his silver legs.

Next we move to Armada Megatron:
  • Disassemble Megatron's green lower legs into halves.
  • Disassemble the whole purple stomach area. Discard his purple thighs and gray crotch section; you're done with them.
  • You'll notice that the basic construction of Jetfire's legs is similar to Megatron's, except with lots more points of articulation (yay!). The upper and lower legs from the 2 figures are [almost] compatible.

[*] This next part requires some cutting. I think I remember Jetfire's legs below the knee having some kind of gearing or stuff in the core of the passage. Remove the ridged black washer (I think there was one in there) and cut/sand that passage a bit until you can snugly fit the long green peg in Megatron's leg-front through that hole below Jetfire's knees.

[*] Next try loosely assembling Megatron's green lower legs with Jetfire's knees. Notice how there's not quite enough space to close the halves of the legs? Well, you just need to cut the outer edge of Megatron's treads (the backs of his legs) around that joint, until there's enough space to fully snap the halves of Megatron's legs closed with the Jetfire leg attached.

(see pictures 2 & 3):





[*] You'll also note that there's a bit of a tight fit here when you put Jetfire's lower knee joint on the pin. You can do some sanding here but I didn't find it necessary. It serves to give the leg joints some resistance.

[*] At this point, it's a good idea to pay attention to which sides of Jetfire's legs you want facing forward or out. I kind of messed that up, so on mine the open screw holes face outwards. Ahem.

Okay, so now you should have hip assembly attached to Megatron's lower legs and everything should be cool. Next you have to attach this to the upper body:
  • First, you'll see that Megatron's upper chest has a long tube in it that used to nest inside the purple stomach area. You'll want to cut this off; otherwise the new waist joint won't fit in the purple stomach section.
  • Next, you'll see that you can [almost] fit the green Jetfire waist hub inside the purple stomach. Just cut/sand away a bit of the bottom of the purple stomach section until they are close to fitting.
  • Resist the urge to hide the whole green waist hub inside the stomach. You'll need it to protrude from the bottom to get a little extra length from the waist. I didn't measure this properly on mine, and now the legs don't perfectly match the line of the front treads in tank mode (Gah!).

Basically the longer you make his waist joint, the closer his legs will be able to fold in for tank mode. (see pictures 4 & 5):




[*] I ended up cutting grooves into the 4 corners of the green waist hub so when the purple stomach was closed around it, it locked the waist solidly in place. This worked for me, but feel free to glue the hell out of that sucker.

[*] This is the stage where you want to test out how the parts will roughly line up in tank mode, because if you don't get it right, it's hard to go back. It won't ruin it if it doesn't line up exactly, but the closer the better.

Okay, by now, you should have Megs' legs and stomach (with the turret attached... don't forget that!) all together, with the screws back in, and functioning properly. Full articulation in the legs, and a twist at the waist.

[*] Now you need to attach that upper torso back to the purple stomach bit. You can glue it solidly in place, but my plan is to insert a ball-joint there instead, because I like to have that extra bit of flexibility in the torso for striking cool poses. This will allow him to "hunch", twist or stretch back in his upper torso. If you look carefully at my pictures, you'll see that Megs has a bit of a hunch forward in his pose for example.

[We're in uncharted territory now, because I haven't completed this step yet, but the plan is this: I want a false chest for Megatron, mounted on hinges at his shoulders. That way the chest armor will fold up in tank mode to fill the gap in the front of the tank. You can see in the pictures that I've used a cut-out piece of plastic from a toy gun to form that new chest [which is] fitting for Megatron, and that way I don't have to completely scratch build the detailing.

That piece is exactly the right width to fit between the shoulder treads and form the front of the tank. [I'm] not sure how I'm going to build the hinges on that part yet, but you get the idea.

Another note: I disassembled the turret, removed the electronics, and shortened the barrel on his turret. I mainly did this so it wouldn't stick out as far from his hip in robot mode. Unless you really want to mount the gun on his hip, and want it shorter, I'd skip that whole step. Disassembling and reassembling the turret is a pain in the ass, and the end effect is minimal.]


So I think that's about it so far. It may seem complicated, but if you have a good cutting tool, it's actually pretty easy once you get started. I managed to do it, so there's not a lot of finesse required.

Good luck!

zmog



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Last edited by Superquad7; 07-21-2009 at 02:42 AM..
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:59 PM   #2
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So, following instructions, I managed to get my Megs articulated for a future . . . project.

He looks a hundred times better now.

Thanks SMOG!!









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Last edited by Superquad7; 07-21-2009 at 02:37 AM..
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