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HftD Leader Starscream - Creating Ball Jointed Wrists

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Old 06-27-2011, 04:22 PM   #1
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HftD Leader Starscream - Creating Ball Jointed Wrists

One of my biggest pet peeves with TF toys has been hands that face palm up and can't be turned. Several movie toys suffer from this (like Longhaul, Battle Blade Bumblebee, leader Starscream, and Shockwave). So I was thrilled when I discovered Sculpt-bot's Longhaul tutorial which starts out with giving him articulated wrists. I did the mod on my Longhaul and was planning to do the same with Starscream, but I was worried he wouldn't have enough room for the LEGO peg.

Then I came across savio-prime's BB Bumblebee wrist mod and figured that may be a better alternative for Stascream. So this is not my idea at all, all credit goes to savio-prime!

Before you read any further, if you'd like your Starscream to have movie accurate, super articulated hands, not just the wrists but also the knuckles, check out fakebusker83's Shapeway Starscream hands. I also have to give HUGE thanks to fakebusker83 for donating his left over SS hands to me. Without him I'd still be trying to salvage a horribly mangled SS hand

So here we go . . . .

I recommend doing one hand at a time. This approach keeps you from having too many pieces floating around. Also, it's good to have an original wrist to compare your mods to as you go. Starscream has limited space for his hands in alt mode, so you want the modification to be as close to the original wrist length as possible. Thirdly, you can learn from any mistakes the first time through!

The first thing you need to do is acquire a ball joint peg (no socket is required). You want one that's as close to the same width as the original wrist joint as you can get:

I got mine from the back legs of movie Ravage. This is the fourth custom he's contributed to!

. . . . and hopefully not the last!

Next we cut off Starscream's hand at the joint. I used a utility knife so I wouldn't scrape SS's hand too much. It actually didn't take very long to do:

One option would be to simply shave down the area where the wrist was cut, cut the peg down on the ball joint, and super glue it right on. But you'll get a more secure attachment if you drill a hole into SS's arm and glue the ball joint's peg in there. That way instead of the glue just holding two flat surfaces together, it'll hold all around the peg.

I just used some drill bits and hand drilled into the arm. I wouldn't recommend a power drill, it would most likely go too fast and not be precise enough. You don't want to drill too far and wreck the concealed weapons. When I drill holes like this, I like to start with my smallest bit and work my way up to the bigger ones, checking to see if the peg will fit in the hole each time:

Then simply put some superglue in the hole and push in the ball. I learned the hard way when using superglue, first gently squeeze the tube away from the toy until you get it to come near the tube's opening, then carefully apply it. You don't want it spilling all over:

You may want to paint the ball if its color doesn't match well with the rest of the toy. You could paint the ball first, but I'm not sure if the superglue would work as well touching the paint as opposed to the plastic. My guess is it would be fine.

I've had a lot of scraping on mine and don't know if there's a good way to make the paint stronger. I'm still rather novice in that area:

While that's drying, let's remove the old wrist from the hand. You can remove all the pins to get off the thumbs, then take out the joint, and then put them all back in. I'm not as comfortable moving pins, so I used my Dremel with the bit shown in the picture and cut through the joint and its pin. After cutting most of it out of there, I still had to use a nail and hammer to remove the last little bit:

Please don't repeat my stupid mistake of trying to cut the pin with flush cutters! I ruined the hand (thanks again to fakebusker83 for the replacement!) AND I ruined the flush cutters!

Of course these steps don't have to be in this exact order. With the first hand, (before gluing the ball joint in place) I first tried it out in the hand. Then I did the drilling and testing with the hand already on the ball to make sure it would fit.

Finally, pop the hand onto the ball! Depending on the ball joint size, the hand may require some shaving to fit. Or you may need to tighten the ball joint using your preferred method (I like clear fingernail polish).

After each wrist, be sure to test that SS can still hold his weapon up:

And check that his hands fit inside in alt mode. As you can see, mine are a little off and still have room to fit:

That's it! I hope you found my first tutorial helpful! There may have been other tutorials already describing this method, but I hadn't seen any so I thought I'd make one. I figure a little redundancy can't hurt, either.

I'm hoping to use this method on other toys, like the ones mentioned earlier. As I complete them, I'll post them with any differences in procedure.
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Last edited by Superquad7; 09-22-2011 at 12:25 AM..
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Old 09-22-2011, 12:24 AM   #2
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