Heavy/Scratch: Various mods (of mods), custom stuff

Discussion in 'Radicons Customs' started by ziltama, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    Edit: I do not plan to sell any of these, however, I have no problems helping out others who want to try to make their own. Nothing to hide, so if you need info on exact materials used, dimensions, volumes, tools, instructions, etc, just ask.

    I really don't like making custom stuff, however, it keeps my son and his collection happy.

    A lot of these involve making copies of existing parts with silicone molds and then casting with (urethane) resin. I tried not to mod original parts but the copies instead, just in case.

    1. Siege / WFC Brunt - Made a clear orange blaster nozzle.

    IMG_0917.JPG

    2. Siege / WFC Seekers Fins

    I got the Starscream stickers and tail fin part from Toyhax. Didn't want to wait for releases for the other seekers, so I made my own copies. Skywarp's was a little challenging to colormatch as he's not black but dark gray. I opted to do paint for Starscream's fin part as well. I don't show a clear pic here, but I also pinned Starscream's chest piece. Red Wing's chest piece is mainly fixed with having better pegs. Skywarp has Starscream's same problem, so I'll pin his chest later today.

    IMG_0897.JPG IMG_0906.JPG

    3. Studio Series Thundercracker - New Seekers head made from Siege WFC Starscream's head - Works as real Titan Master and fits in cockpit.

    Made a copy of Siege Starscream's head (I didn't want to risk damaging the head by using a razor and potentially breaking pegs, so I unpinned the piece the head is resting on). Also seemed peculiar that the figure is able to fit a Titan / Head Master. I then made a copy of a Titan Master (took apart and unpinned; made copies of all parts; used a finishing nail as a new pin and found a new small screw), cast in black plastic, and eventually ended up with a fully working Titan Master with a Seeker head. It does fit in the cockpit too.

    IMG_0903.JPG IMG_0900.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
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  2. Dr Breakstuff PhD

    Dr Breakstuff PhD Active Member

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    Incredibly impressed by the scratch-built Titan Master.
     
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  3. Reaper6

    Reaper6 Sniper

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    well done
     
  4. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    4. Custom trailer hitch adapters for reissue G1 and Studio Series 38 Optimus Prime figures to fit Fansproject G3 trailer at the proper heights so all wheels move.
    adapters.jpg
    IMG_0932.JPG IMG_0933.JPG
     
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  5. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    5. No blinding mod and fix for Shockwave Lab matrix LED sets.

    I don't think it's just my set but the POTP matrix LEDs have a major design flaw. The battery housing is just slightly too big for the battery, so the battery may not touch the contacts. It may not even turn on or just flicker. I added a thin drop of epoxy to one corner of the battery housing to keep the battery in place (obviously, epoxy will dry before putting the coin battery back in) and to force it to touch the 2 contacts on the inside. The LEDs are also blinding and not safe for a child (or anyone) to play with. The POTP matrix LED is able to separate without damage from the rest, so I used the thinnest white electrical tape I had to cover the LED. Now, it's not blinding. For the Siege Optimus matrix, I can't separate the LED from the rest of the housing without damaging it, so I used a small circle cut from electrical tape to cover (used Cricut machine for this). There's not enough room to put in resistors to dim the LEDs that way. For Siege Prime, I used some stickers and the extra smokestack parts from Toyhax.

    matrix.jpg
    IMG_0916.JPG IMG_0924.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
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  6. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    6. Legends Galvatron - New custom Cannon

    The helmet and stickers are from Toyhax (I sprayed the helmet with clear coat to make it "shiny" like the rest of the figure). I made copies of two parts of his cannon to make it smaller and added a titan master peg at the end for tank mode. I couldn't make the clear plastic more orange when casting, otherwise, it would turn into soft rubber. If I were to make this again, I would just cast it clear and then use Clear Orange Tamiya spray paint, like I did for the clear Brunt nozzle. The cannon attaches to the arm fin via a notch that I filed out. I also drilled out a hole to insert a fishing lure LED. I offered to make another one for my son with a better orange color but he wanted to keep this one.

    IMG_0920.JPG
    IMG_0921.JPG
     
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  7. autobot prowl

    autobot prowl Well-Known Member

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    Ok, really liking the orange piece and G3 connector. Really well done
     
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  8. smiller0570

    smiller0570 Maximal

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    That Galvatron cannon is genius!!! That trailer hitch is pretty cool too!! Keep it up man!!
     
  9. oneyouknowleast

    oneyouknowleast Well-Known Member

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    Wow amazing work. Would be willing to write a guide on how to do this? Seems like an awesome way to mod your figures.
     
  10. warhawk

    warhawk Well-Known Member

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    I would love to learn how to make molds and cast parts. Those clear parts look great! What materials do you use?
     
  11. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    7. Custom copy of Onyx Prime's Prime Master plate. Made this so he could keep the Onyx Prime figure in Optimal Optimus' Prime Wheel and still have something inside Predaking. There's a clear spacer holding it in place and a screw holding the two together (not shown). Used silver and gold paints. For the yellow and orange metallic colors, I just did clear yellow and clear orange over silver.

    onyx.jpg
     
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  12. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    8. Custom moving drills for Devastator - WIP

    This is SDCC Devastator with DNA Design kit. Used the Kotobukiya Heavy Weapons Unit 9 kit and the separate battery pack kit. It originally positioned better when I had the battery unit separate. I then integrated the battery pack inside the drill (cut out some plastic support beams, shortened / resoldered wires, cut out new slot for drill switch). I think I'm going to add 5mm pegs to have them fit on the arms better as well as having Bonecrusher hold them. There's a thin handle piece holding the drills in place currently. IMG_0928.JPG
     
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  13. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    9. Minor paint job for Shockwave Lab Dai Atlas Leg fillers

    I noted that on Shockwave Lab parts, the plastic is not cast in the target color but painted over. The color matching is done quite well but can scuff off. I highly recommend spraying clear coats to protect them. The filler parts looked plain in alt modes. Just painting the missiles alone made the whole thing "pop" a lot more. Since I have access to a Cricut machine and silver paper, I could've just cut out silver circle stickers too to save time. You can undo the top and bottom parts of the figure reversibly since it's held by a mushroom peg (however, don't push the connecting stem all the way into the plane mode, as it may get permanently stuck that way).

    IMG_0910.JPG
     
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  14. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    10. Custom cannon attachment to Sky Shadow

    I also pinned the peg on the nosecone shield thingie because it kept getting stuck in the ports. The package states to attach the nosecone shield to the blaster to make a larger blaster in robot mode. However, this doesn't actually work and was poorly designed, even if you try to tighten the odd shaped port. I made a partial copy of Siege Megatron's cannon, added a 4mm peg, and used that to make Sky Shadow's blaster longer. I did use Shockwave Lab Sky Shadow / Overlord hands. It works well in robot mode but cannot be stored away / used in alt mode.

    IMG_0927.JPG
     
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  15. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    11. Custom blaster for Titan Returns Bumblebee

    Used Masterpiece Bumblebee's blaster as a base and made significant modifications to it. Didn't exactly turn out how I wanted it to as the plastic ended up warping (not evident in the photos). I added 2 pegs: front for alt mode and back for robot mode. I was planning to just file down the front peg but it's not making a snug fit yet. I might just make a negative mold of the opening for a tighter fit.

    bumble1.jpg bumble2.jpg
     
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  16. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    12. Repair mod for Battle Core Optimus Prime with SND-04 kit

    My son inadvertently reenacted the Movie Megatron vs Jazz scene. The waist is held together by a small mushroom peg. However, the peg was weak to begin with. The crotch piece comes in 2 pieces, each with half a peg. He tore one of the half pegs and then the other one tore off quickly. One of the crotch pieces had an overhang with the half peg. I cut off that overhang. On the other crotch piece, I added modeling putty to make the surface flat, made a copy of an original piece with an intact half peg x2, made a new whole peg, superglued that on to the crotch piece with the putty, and made a whole new copy of that piece to construct a new stable crotch piece with a whole mushroom peg.

    This is the prototype piece used to make a new stable crotch piece with mushroom peg.
    peg.jpg

    Now the figure is intact again and surviving repeated transformations.
    IMG_0931.JPG
     
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  17. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    These are some other heads I had made for the custom Titan Master: Grimlock (Clobber) and Galvatron (Megalligator) in Seeker head colors. He liked the Seeker head the best, so went with that one. The Grimlock head was small and was going to use the arms as ears / antennas to make up for it.

    titanmasters.jpg
     
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  18. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    Thanks. Took a while to get some of these done.
     
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  19. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    Molding and casting is an expensive hobby to get into, let alone do reasonably well. There's also safety precautions to take into place because you don't want to have a pressure pot explode in your place or get inhalation poisoning.

    Basic outlines:

    Make a silicone mold:

    There's a lot of vids on youtube. There's all sorts of mold products out there. That being said, putty is garbage and don't use it except for rare circumstances where you can't pour silicone over what you're trying to copy. The only item here where I used putty was to make a negative mold of the g3 trailer port and I was glad it worked on my first attempt.

    You need to have a proper container to hold the silicone. Most plastic containers work well. I have made temporary boxes out of plastic (acrylic) sheets. I have used disposable small measuring cups as mold containers. I have these clear plastic small storage containers that stack onto each other like a jar lid. I cut out the bottoms of some of them to dynamically adjust the size of the mold as needed.

    If you're going to do a lot of this, you would need to buy at least a gallon's worth. Depending on the product, this may cost a few hundred dollars. Platinum silicone works best but more expensive: least shrinkage and molds last longer.

    You need to buy mixing cups and mixing spatulas. I use cheap kitchen metal spatulas from Bed Bath & Beyond.

    You can't just pour silicone after mixing and let it cure. You will guarantee a lot of bubbles in your mold, which is problematic: lead to uneven surfaces on your resin casts and even tiny little spikes all throughout your casts.

    Some people use a special degassing chamber and then pour silicone into the mold. I skip degassing and pouring afterward will just introduce more bubbles regardless, which is more problematic for small Transformers parts.

    I actually use a pressure pot to get rid of bubbles and let the silicone cure in the pot. Skips degassing altogether. Usually, the pressure pot is used for the casting part, but some people use this for silicone molds too.

    Some people do a method where they do the silicone mold in two steps: first layer does the bottom half of the object, spray a mold release agent (otherwise, the 2nd layer will just stick completely and defeat the purpose of doing this in layers) and use items like bolt nuts to act as a "key and lock" for the layers, and then pour a 2nd layer of silicone over. Take the original item out and pour your plastic resin of choice into the mold (some people cut out a channel to do this and cut off the excess later). When doing this in layers, the silicone mold itself has to be contained (separate support mold or put back in the container used to make the mold), otherwise, the resin will just leak out. I do this for larger objects.

    For small items, I just have the silicone cure all around the object (sometimes, I do this in layers: pour silicone over object, flip object + cured silicone, pour more silicone, now object is completely enclosed) and then use a razor to carefully make an incision on one side of the mold and take out the originally object. I then pour the plastic resin into the opening. Because incision is on one side, I don't have to worry about resin pouring out, except for any excess.

    Make a plastic casting:

    I use urethane resins in a well ventilated area (i.e. there must be a vent overhead; open window is not enough). You actually don't need a lot of resin volume compared to silicone, so I use the small 30mL disposable mixing cups. Resin can also be done in layers for large objects (i.e. Galvatron cannon).

    Your must use a pressure pot for Transformers parts. People say you only need to use a pressure pot for clear parts: this is to get rid of bubbles. Even for solid colors, however, bubbles can form on the surface and ruin especially small parts. You also don't want a bubble to form in an area where a part needs to handle stress. So, use a pressure pot for ALL clear and solid colors.

    There's youtube videos on making your own pressure pot if you don't want to buy a real one. I used a converted paint pot. Took a while to figure out how to get rid of air leaks (liberal use of vaseline to plug gaps in the lid) and I used leftover silicone to turn the rounded bottom into a flat surface (I didn't have to make a special tray to put molds on). The pot needs to handle 60 psi, which is the typical setting (I use the same for silicone molds).

    I primarily use 3 sets of resin colors: black, white, and "water" clear (does not turn yellow and looks like "water" if not scuffed or roughly sanded). You can add colors to tint, however, there's a limit. If you add too much coloring agent, then the plastic will not harden and turn into a bendy, rubbery consistency. I found that Tamiya clear paints can tint clear resins.

    Volume measured resin is easy to deal with. Weight measured resin requires an accurate scale down to 1g. To get the resin into smaller molds, I use a pipette. I now use disposable ones (you can buy cheap packages of 1000 online; the hobby shops way overcharge for packages of several pipettes). I lost too many glass pipettes if I didn't get them into acetone quick enough to clean before the resin starts to set.

    For both:

    Your setup has to be efficient and ready to go. For both silicone molds and resin casts, you only have a certain amount of time to get them into the pressure pot and up to the required pressure. You'll see something called POT time. Basically, everything needs to be done and up to pressure before then, otherwise, you'll miss your opportunity to get rid of bubbles.

    Basically, longer POT times will lead to less bubbles and less stress when trying to get everything into the pressure pot, however, this will also greatly extend the actual cure time. Shorter POT times make it quite stressful, however, your mold will set much quicker. I try to avoid the absolute quickest setting resins and silicones and go somewhere in the middle.

    Back to casting:

    There's also a difference between recommended demold times and when the plastic is actually hard enough to use. The black resin I use can be demolded after 90 minutes but it takes several more hours afterward to actually harden enough to use. The clear resin I use can also be demolded after 90 minutes but needs 5 days to fully harden.

    It is possible to accelerate the curing after molding. I use a toaster oven for this and each resin has its own time and temperature setting. For the clear resin, instead of waiting 5 days, I set a toaster oven for 150 degrees F for 4-6 hours. When it cools down, it's ready to use. If you mess up heating (temp too high or cooked too long), however, you can make the silicone mold permanently stick to your resin, and then you lose both.
     
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  20. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    One of the biggest problems I have is that the casted product at the end may suffer from shrinkage. For large objects, this is not a big deal. For 5mm pegs, this can be quite annoying. I noticed that using platinum silicone molds and water clear resin has the least amount of shrinkage and pegs still fit tight, but I can't cast everything in clear. The white and black resins I use, I can easily remove the fully cured remains from the measuring cup. I can't really see the shrinkage but easily releases from the cup. The clear one will not and I would have to destroy the measuring cup to get the hardened excess out of there.

    For joints, aside from using Pledge floor polish, I now started using the thinnest electrical tape on hand. Works right away and easy to cut down to size as needed. For the custom Titan Master that I casted, I had a Cricut machine cut out tiny circles of thin black electrical tape and then I poked a hole in the middle. This is how I tightened the knee joint: the pin would also pass through the electrical tape which then provided the friction needed to prevent the knees from being so floppy. I used electrical tape to tighten the remaining joints: hip, shoulders, and neck.

    One other method to fix a loose peg is to use a very quick setting resin. Dip the peg into the resin, wait for it to cure, then sand down to size. You don't even need to coat the entire peg if you don't want to risk getting resin on the rest of the part. You can just coat the bottom 1/3 or 1/4 of the peg.

    I mainly use products made by Smooth-On, mainly because there's a local distributor around here that I can simply drive by and pick up whatever I need. I use Smooth-Cast white and onyx resins for white and black plastics, respectively. I use their Crystal Clear resin for any transparent uses.
     
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