Scratch Builds: Megatron31's Tips on Scratchbuilding

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by Megatron31, Mar 3, 2011.

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  1. Megatron31

    Megatron31 I Belong to Nobody!

    Apr 25, 2010
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    Here is a little tutorial of how I scratchbuild for my customs.

    My media is styrene mostly because it’s available close to me. I work with varying degrees of thickness ranging from .8mm .5mm and 1mm for the frame work.

    I work in layers getting my basic shape and then layering the detail on top of that shape with the thinner material. As far as glue goes i use a variety as well. For styrene to styrene I use Testors liquid cement for plastic (blue label). For plastic to styrene i use the same brand but red label (it seems to bond Hasbro’s stuff and styrene very well. For everything else i use Loctite control gel (this stuff is awesome).

    Besides my vast array of X-Actor and utility knives I also use a cutting board and a slide (used to make straight exact cuts mostly for scrapbooking but works really well on the thinner styrene sheets) and a good pair of scissors. I use some crafting ones; the blade is short and lets me cut through styrene like butter.

    Now that I have listed the tools I use its time to discuss the task at hand: I am going to be making a chest plate for my Construction Hook. I have used this process several times, and [it's] turned out really well on Scrapper and Scavenger.

    It is important to have a visual aid, be it sketches of yours or pictures of someone else’s work to help you visualize what you are doing.

    For me and this custom, it's IDW's All Hail Megatron Volume 1 TPB. It has some great photos of just Hook and a sketch of him in the back of it.


    So I start with looking at what i have so far and size up how much space i have for the part I want so I can take measurements, and get my basic shape:



    I then trim it down until I get what I want out of it. Then I begin copying that shape so I can layer it (or some call it laminating) and with each layer I create more detail. So my bottom layer is going to be nothing more than a sheet with the right shape:


    The second layer is a cheat for me. I usually do what is called "scribing", where you take one layer and make lines just enough to scratch it and remove material, but not cut the piece in two. For Hook, with this layer I am cheating a bit - I’m using a piece of styrene that already has a pattern to it (kinda of like a grill pattern):


    Ok while i glue those 2 together i start working on my next layer i draw the whole thing out to get perspective and then start to gun out some of the detail i just want the third layer which is the two rectangular holes


    Now to cut these out, I use one of my utility knives. You don’t have to use a lot of pressure at first - just enough to make your groove. Use the drawing to trace your cuts after going around it one time and making a groove go back with more pressure to cut all the way through:


    Now, the last layer is the thinnest .5mm, so it is even easier to cut , especially with a sharp blade (but a little trick that helps me is to try using a duller blade at this point. It is a little more forgiving when you try to trace your shapes and it doesn’t want to wander):


    Now that you have all of your layers cut out, stack them all up, and it will reveal all of your hard work:


    . . . . and here is the part on the figure:


    The last layer I rushed on, and it isn’t my best work but works wonders for illustrating my point. It is super easy to do but one tip: I can't stress enough is patience; do not get in a hurry or your lines will be off, as well as your proportions.

    Good lighting helps as well; there are more photos of the process at the bottom in thumbnail size.

    Thanks for looking hope this helps some of you guys out!

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2011
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