Customs: HFTD Sidearm Sideswipe - Pop Up Head Fix Tutorial

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by Matt Booker, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Matt Booker

    Matt Booker Fantasy Adventure Author

    Sep 3, 2008
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    SSAS’s head is on a ball joint with a pretty expressive range of motion, but the ball joint itself is attached to a spring loaded base. It’s designed so that when you push the head down it rests in a notch that’s deep enough to hold position but shallow enough to release the plate and let the head pop up when disturbed.

    When it doesn’t release, it is not easy to get his head out of there without a longer fingernail, a knife, or some kind of pointy device to get under his head and push it up. It shouldn’t take much, but transformers shouldn’t require tools to help you transform them. (I’m looking at you, Revoltech Macross VF1s!)

    Otherwise, you can lift his chin up and wiggle it in hopes his head will pop up, but getting a grip on it to pull is not going to be easy.

    Not to worry though! The solution to this problem is easy and only takes a couple of steps.

    Step 1 - Remove Excess Plastic

    First, we need to unscrew the screws so we can take the gray torso apart from the roof of the car.


    Next we remove the two screws that keep his trunk\chest armor attached.


    He kinda looks like a cross legged little idol you might find in some lost temple on Cybertron.

    Now remove the two screws from the side of the roof piece that his head and base plate are attached to.


    Once you do that you should be able to see if there is any excess plastic around the edge of the baseplate. On mine specifically, there was a fine edge around the back where the plastic was almost transparent, thin enough it almost felt sharp. There was also a nub of excess plastic on the side, which is colored red in the next picture.


    Trim those carefully. I used flush cutters for the nub and took a razor blade to the edge to shave the thin strip of excess plastic.

    Be especially careful trimming the back end, making sure to just get the excess and not actually make the plate shorter. Otherwise your Sideswipe’s head will not lock into position.

    Don’t worry, it’s very easy to cut a thin strip of plastic off without damaging the thick piece it’s attached to.

    Once that is done, it’s time to take care of a design flaw in the mold itself.

    Step 2 - Remove Excess Ridge

    If you look at both halves of the engine block \ hood piece, you’ll see four notches cut into the plastic, creating ridged areas.

    The bottom notch is used as a catch. When the spring loaded base plate goes down and folds up, the tip presses into the notch to keep the head retracted.

    So what are the other notches for? Appearances, maybe?

    For whatever reason, they’re there and they don’t need to be. However, the only extra notch that gets in the way is the second one. When that happens, Sidearm Sideswipe’s head pops up, but not all the way. It’s still not far enough to get a good grip and pull it up, but you can tell it’s raised at least a little bit.

    Thankfully, the solution to this is just to shave one of the ridges off. Since the other notches don’t get in the way, you only need to shave off one ridge. I’ve colored it in red in this picture, but make sure you shave it off on both sides.


    After that, put Sidearm Sideswipe back together and it should be fixed. Mine still takes some coaxing on occasion, but it’s nowhere near the trouble that it was.

    ~Matt Booker

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