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Classics Starscream to Classics Thundercracker Conversion

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Old 07-18-2010, 10:02 AM   #1
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Classics Starscream to Classics Thundercracker Conversion

Well folks, [while] being an impatient and a cheap and lazy bum (I will elaborate on my traits later in the text, so read on), I have decided to repaint my classics Starscream as Thundercracker.

Now, a lot of people have done this already, so this is nothing new, but Superquad7 in this thread here asked if someone repainting seekers would be willing to do a tutorial, so I will try to make this one as thorough and comprehensible as possible.

First of all, I'm an impatient and a lazy as I will be using spray paints to paint most of the figure, with only the chest to be painted silver by hand. I decided to do it this way, since it would need to be undercoated (in black) in the first place even if I was to paint it by hand all the way (which will take a lot of time). I thought, "why don't I get a blue spray paint and undercoat it blue, and then do another layer again as the primary color?"

[The] lower arms, fists and feet are going to get undercoated in black and then spray painted again, just like above.

Since I'm still waiting for my supplier to get the colors I need, I will start with PART 1.

So without further ado...

*** PART 1 - Preparing the figure ***



1. screwdriver (that's it) - most people suggest Phillips screwdrivers. I used a flat headed one. Phillips screwdrivers I have come with shallow heads, so they strip the screw heads which is a big no-no. [A] flat headed one I use is perfect - it's strong, with a narrow head, so even the hardest screws are no problem with a little force. I suggest looking into screws used by the clock-makers.

The figure will need to be disassembled, which by itself is not hard at all, what's hard is keeping track of all the parts, screws and pins. I have a container with legs and arms that I divided into sections with cardboard, cut out as a cross to keep the parts, screws and pins from mixing.

Apart from the lower legs, there's nothing special I can say about this, just get a screwdriver and unscrew the screws, but like I said keep note of the part you're disassembling and the position of the screw.

Like I said, you might want to pay attention to the lower legs. Backs of the halves of the lower legs (whew!) were glued on mine, so I had some trouble with this. Forum member Overhaulimus suggested I score the seam with an X-ACTO knife which I did. The trick is to get the foot off ([the] pin needs to be hammered out, look bellow this section for that) so you can get some leverage to force the halves apart and the seam at the back and right beside the thruster/exhaust would split a little, so you could jam an X-ACTO knife in it. After that push the knife (don't pull) along the seam with the sharp edge up (you will use the knife as a wedge). At one point you will come up to section where the knife would need to be pushed harder, so do it, but be careful so you don't hurt yourself.

Here's how the figure looks like after disassembly (note: I took the pictures after I removed most of the original color scheme):

Head/nosecone section

Torso section



Right Leg

Left Leg

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Last edited by Superquad7; 07-19-2010 at 06:41 AM..
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:07 AM   #2
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PINS (are for life)


1. a hammer
2. a screwdriver (preferably one with a wooden handle)
3. a 1mm pin that you will use to hammer out the pins from the plastic. I'm using a broken 1mm drill bit, with the flat end as the one doing bussiness. You can buy a 1mm drill bit at a hardware store for a buck.
4. pliers

You also need to remember about pins used. Slim pins [are] used for joints (1) and pins with flat heads (2), sorta like unthreaded screws. As for (2)s, I won't be covering them, as I'm cheap, and I don't want to fork out 20 bucks for a soldering pistol, for something I never did before. There are tutorials here on how to disengage pins with flat heads via soldering iron/pistol. Look them up if you want to disassemble these. Anyway, (2)s are present on this figure in 4 places - they connect the thrusters/exhaust with the tail fins
and stabilizers, and they attach the shoulder joints to the torso. Like I said I won't be disassembling these, so I will mask them during painting.

As for (1)s you can hammer these out, but you have to be careful, as one end of these is rough. You have to hammer out the pins from the opposite side of the rough end, because if you do it the other way, it will take more force and the rough end will probably stress and crack the plastic as it goes all the way through the plastic.

To hammer out a pin you need a steady surface and something hard with hole over which you will position the part with the pin (pin needs to be centered on the hole, and the hole needs to be deep enough so the pin will stick out sufficiently to be grasped with pliers). For that I'm using a computer screw that is used as one of the anchors for the motherboard. For the steady surface I'm using a piece of wood. I just hammered the screw into the wood:

Anyways, I will go by the numbers on how the pins should be hammered out for which part.


1. the rough end on the elbow pins is at the outside of the joint, so they need to be hammered out from the inside, meaning the elbow needs to be positioned so the outside part is resting directly over the hole. Gently tap the top of the hammering pin with a hammer, until the pin is out sufficiently enough so you can pull it out with pliers, and this part of the job is the same for all the pins.

2. wrist pins have the rough end on the backside of the lower arm. I don't think I need to repeat myself about how to position the lower arms, do I?


1. knee pins have the rough end at the inside of the knee joint. Do your stuff...

2. feet pins have the rough end at the outside. Y'know what I'm aiming at?

3. there are pins that connect the horizontal stabilizers with the tail fins. I couldn't take these out without damaging the stabilizers, so I left them alone.

* Torso

1. There's a long pin that connects the back and front of the torso which is also crucial for transformation. That pin has the rough end on the right side (the figure's right side and your right side when you're look directly at the back of the figure)

2. there are pins connecting that allow the shoulder joint to swivel during transformation. I couldn't get these out, so I left them there.

3. I also couldn't see a way on how to take out the pins connecting the landing gear/nipples with torso

* Head/nosecone

There are a lot of pins here. I just took out the ones for the head and cockpit. Cockpit pin has the rough end on the left side (plane's left side, your left side if you're looking at it from above), head pin has it on the robot's right side/plane's left side. To hammer out these pins you need to implement a different approach. Put the hammering pin inside the hole (it also needs to be deep enough so the hammering pin will stick sufficiently enough for the job), put the pin you want to hammer out on the hammering pin, and then tap the nosecone with the screwdriver (the one with the wooden handle) until the pin pops out.

I think this covers all the relevant pins, so on to ...

Last edited by Superquad7; 07-19-2010 at 06:44 AM..
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:09 AM   #3
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There's isn't much to say here. It's easy, since you disassembled the figure by now. All you need to do is get a 90% (or higher) rubbing alcohol. I used a 96% as that's the only one strong enough I could find and it worked like a charm. Paint was rubbing off in a matter of seconds.


- tools:
1. sheets of wet sandpaper of very fine grain (I'm using Smirdex silicon carbide P2000)
2. a sheet of dry sandpaper (I'm using Smirdex aluminium oxide P220)
3. good ol' fashioned elbow grease

First, I'd like to point out that the head is only going to have it's face painted on, so I didn't do anything with it. I also didn't do anything with the canopy. Also at the time of writing this, I haven't finished with the front torso, as I still have to rub off the red color from it.

Prior to painting, the surface of the figure that will be sprayed on, needs to be sanded down a bit as the paint will stick much better. All you need to do is take a part of the figure, dunk it in water, dunk the wet sandpaper and give the part a once- or two-over with the wet sandpaper.

The dry sandpaper will need to be used on the feet and elbow parts of the lower arms, right where the pins go through. Take the dry sandpaper and sand those parts a bit, going once or twice over with it should be enough, then take the fine, wet sandpaper and go over the parts with that, so you can give them a nice, rather smooth finish.


After all this, take the prepared parts and put them in a lukewarm water with a bit of FAIRY dish washing luqiud. Let the parts "swim" in it for 15-20 minutes, rinse them under a jet of cold water, and after that dry them over with a fan. There are many parts so you will need to do this in a few steps (I did it 3 times).

Now your figure is ready to get painted. More on this in PART 2.

Last edited by Superquad7; 07-19-2010 at 06:45 AM..
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Old 07-25-2010, 04:55 PM   #4
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Classics Starscream to Classics Thundercracker Conversion

*** PART 2 - Painting the Parts ***

Here's the second part of my custom repaint project.

The guy who was supposed to get me Cosmos Lac paints for this job got a hold of only the Flat Black, so I had to get Happy Color Blu Trafico from Saratoga instead. This is also a good paint brand, and this particular one is a very nice blue color, maybe a tad darker for Thundercracker, but much better than Azuro Chiaro from the same company, which was too light IMO.

I chose to use spray paints because I am painting a 6" figure, not an inch and a half miniature.

That means a lot of flat surfaces, so painting with a brush is not recommended unless you don't mind seeing paintbrush strokes in the paint when it dries, or you're patient enough and can take your god damn sweet time by using a paper towel to get excess paint off your brush every god damn time you dip it in the paint.

Which is what I did, when painting some areas on lower legs and upper arms in silver. I had to, because the only silver paint I got is a 3 years old Mithril Silver from Citadel that has started to thicken, so painting larger surfaces with it is a huge PAIN IN THE BUTT. I ordered a jar of Model Master Silver that should arrive Tuesday, so I'll start painting the chest then.

You can use the paint in small plastic jars if you own an airbrush. I don't, so [in general] I went with spray paints. I'm over budget on this project as it is, so getting a silver paint in a spray can was out of the question, hence the ordered Model Master Silver for the chest.

Now, the main thing to keep in mind is that after applying paint it needs to dry, and for it dry properly it is best to suspend the painted part so it doesn't touch any surface. For all the TC parts I used toothpicks that I wedged inside every appropriate hole I could find and that could hold the weight of the part securely. I also used them as leverage for holding the parts while spray painting them.

You can see an examples of that in these pictures:

Wings were another matter. For them I used Energon Divebomb's clear green hatchets which I masked with tape. These weapons have standard 4.5mm pegs on both ends, the same peg size that TC's launchers have for their pegs. I stuck the wings on the handles of these weapons (via the peg holes on TC's wings) and used them for leverage when painting. I used the pegs on the other ends of these weapons (used for attaching them to Divebomb in his alt mode) as handles, so that he can hold them and act as an anchor while the wings dried.

Before you start painting the parts, pick the parts you want to paint and think about how they are used for both modes and during transformation. This is important because you must know which areas of these parts need to be painted or not. Areas that are not visible in both modes, or come in contact with other surfaces should be left unpainted because it is better for them to be uniformly unpainted that sport paint chips, at least IMO. That also means they must be masked with masking tape. You can clearly see the masking tape on the tail wing assemblies as well as the feet in the picture I posted above.

I applied two coats of paint on all parts (apart from the lower legs and upper arms, as I just painted them with silver). I let the first coat dry for an hour, and then applied the second coat. I clearcoated the parts with clear paint the next day, so the main paint would have enough time to dry properly.

I didn't clearcoat the wings as of yet, as I'm waiting for a set of reprolabels with wing stripes for TC. I did this (or didn't do it - whichever you prefer ) because the clear paint I'm using is gloss, and stickers don't apply very well on gloss paints. I will clearcoat the wings after I apply the stickers.

As you can deduce from all of this the bulk of the job was done with spray paints, but certain areas (like the lower legs, upper arms and the head) where done by hand. I used two brushes for this - one "000" brush (3 zeros) and a "1" brush. For recessed areas and the TC's face I used the thinner brush, for everything else I used the thicker one (this "1" is a Raphael brand, awesome brush, holds the tip together marvelously, no splitting hairs what so ever).

EDIT: Forgot to mention a very important thing. Wear a latex glove or a plastic glove I've seen janitors use in their line of work, or if you can't find them use the plastic freezer bags to cover your hand with which your are holding the parts (by their appropriate toothpicks). You don't want to end up painted blue like a Smurf (in this case that is).
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Last edited by Superquad7; 07-27-2010 at 12:53 AM..
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