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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    You have to do a vacuum chamber / pressure pot, even for opaque resins, for small / thin / irregular shaped Transformers parts. When I was learning how to do this stuff, I almost gave up due to how poorly the casts were coming out. Then I finally decided to try a vacuum chamber, and voila, everything looked so much better afterward.

    Like a lot of other people, I got a cheap paint pot from Harbor Freight and converted it to a pressure pot (there's various vids on youtube about this). You need something that will support 60psi (that's your standard pressure needed for most casts; for certain tasks, you may be able to get away with lower, but you really need 60).

    You also need to buy a decent air compressor that can easily reach 60psi (should be rated for higher than this).

    You may need to use vaseline to help cover up any potential tiny air gaps from the lid. Paint pots have a rounded, concave bottom. I've seen people create their own trays to put their molds in the pot. For me, I just poured in some leftover silicone (cheap stuff that I was not planning on using again) to get a flat bottom.

    The more you use the pot, the more the locking screws will create their own grooves in the lid and shouldn't have leaks. If you end up having just one part of the lid having a leak, you can use a vice grip.

    You have to get the resin into the pot and up to 60psi before the POT time, so sometimes it feels like a race with quicker setting resins. Otherwise, you'll still end up with bubbles if you wait too long. Some resins though may seem like they set faster than the POT time, though.

    Leave the resin in the pot until the recommended cure time on the package. At this point, most resins will still not be hard enough to handle. You may be able to demold but this may cause warping. You may need to wait several hours to potentially days depending on the resin used before they harden enough. Clear resins take the longest to harden (5 days).

    I use a toaster oven to speed up the hardening process after curing, so even clear resins will harden quickly. I usually do not demold until the heating part is done. I place the molds in the toaster oven at 150 degrees for 2 hours. This is enough for relatively small / thin Transformers parts. Going longer or using higher temps on these small parts may cause the mold to get permanently stuck to the resin; ruining both.

    If you still get bubbles despite this, then you should cut a vertical air vent into the silicone mold to allow for air bubbles to escape and still follow all the same steps.

    I also use the pressure pot when making the silicone molds to get rid of bubbles instead of a degassing chamber (saw this used on one of Smooth On's demonstration videos). I leave the silicone in the pot until cure time is reached. I get no bubbles in the silicone either. Bubbles in silicone can cause warping and tiny little spikes to appear all over your molds if you have a lot of bubbles.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
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  2. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    Yep, got it and sent a response.
     
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  3. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    Instructions to Disassemble Omega Supreme’s Head

    Note: When done properly, there should be no external damage. However, small internal pegs will likely be broken as the helmet is glued together. Stress marks may also appear (cover with paint afterward if it bothers you). Of course, I am not responsible for any damage caused to your figure. My head is already modded, so the colors will be different than yours.

    1. Remove the 2 screws on the right side of the head. Use a Phillips #0 screwdriver with a long neck (sets with interchangeable tips will not reach). If your screwdriver tip is pinpoint, sand it down to avoid stripping the screw head.

    1.jpg

    2.jpg

    2. Create a lever mechanism to separate the 2 halves of the glued helmet. This is the best method I found that should not cause marks or warps to the helmet. The lever will go into the cannon groove on the back of the head.

    Obtain 2 metal brackets; one arm on each bracket should be long enough to hold as a handle. I used wall mounting brackets that came with Ikea furniture. Wrap the short ends with vinyl / electrical tape to avoid scratching plastic but not so thick to prevent them from going into the cannon groove.

    3.jpg

    Place the short wrapped ends into the cannon groove. Do NOT pull to the opposite sides. This will likely cause significant damage (and possibly to yourself). Instead, do opposite turning motions: grab the long ends like handles and turn both ends towards yourself. This should generate enough force in a gentle fashion to break the glue bonds. Turn the levers forwards and backwards as necessarily to break all the glue bonds. This will likely break the internal small pegs as the factory placed glue on top of all small pegs (I broke 3 of 4 small pegs on my helmet). Stress marks may also appear near the cannon screw hole.

    4.jpg


    5.jpg

    3. There’s a small area on top between the visor and lightpiping window that may also need to be separated. I used a LEGO separator to gently do this.

    6.jpg

    The helmet should look like this afterward:
    7.jpg

    4. For the next part, it's easier to do with the head separated from the neck mechanism (held together by simple pegs). Be VERY careful regarding the front of the helmet. You do NOT need to completely separate the helmet to take out the visor, face, and lightpiping, as well as removing from the neck mechanism. Under the helmet chin, there is a red painted over piece that is solid and connected to hoses on both sides. For mine, it was easier to gently pry the center piece off the right side of his helmet. Mine developed a stress mark as you can see in the photo (I plan on painting over it later with a transparent dark color until it blends in).

    8.jpg

    Now, the two helmet halves will be loosely connected by the center piece and hoses. There should now be enough room to remove the internal pieces for modding (or making resin copies in my case). If you have, um, limp cannon syndrome, then this would be the easiest time to remove the cannon, use your friction agent of choice (such as Pledge floor gloss), and place the cannon back on.

    These are the original pieces:
    9.jpg

    This is the proper orientation of the neck mechanism before putting everything back together:
    10.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
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  4. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    WIP: Omega Supreme Head Mod - G1 cartoon colors

    I wanted G1 cartoon deco rather than the G1 toy deco. After separating the head, made resin copies of the face (orange resin), lightpiping (clear resin), and visor (clear resin). Painted over the eyes of the lightpiping with transparent blue. I originally did light gray primer over the forehead area but then changed it as it didn't really match the cartoon colors. Also painted the side of the head (only a little bit of that is visible). Cosmetically, the head mod is done. Like my Jetfire head LED mod, I can install an LED circuit in there and use the lightpiping window again to house a power switch. Just waiting for the new power switch to arrive in the mail.

    11.jpg
    omega1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
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  5. idkwdya

    idkwdya Well-Known Member

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    That looks absolutely phenomenal! I can’t unsee how plain the stock head is now. I’m new to watching to your work, is this all personal modding or do you sell these?
     
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  6. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    Thanks. This is all personal (primarily for my son) and I don't plan on selling anything. Don't mind helping people to make their own stuff, though. One of these days, I'll make some sort of tutorial video.
     
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  7. Redog75

    Redog75 Well-Known Member

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    Tutorial videos: yes! Pretty please hehe
     
  8. idkwdya

    idkwdya Well-Known Member

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    No worries! That is seriously some awesome work and I’m looking forward to updates from now on!
     
  9. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    I know most people won't be able to make clear copies, but this is what it may look like with painted-over original pieces. Left in the resin copy painted face but used the original lightpiping with transparent blue paint applied (used 2 thick layers of painted on bottle paint; later easily removed with windex) and the original visor. Used an LED over the lightpiping window:

    Edit: The visor does touch part of the forehead, so it ended up stripping off a small area of paint...which I'm now fixing and going to use archival varnish next time.

    Edit #2: For yellow visor, one other color option change for the eyes is transparent orange. Orange will show through the yellow and shine as orange with light.

    Edit #3: Or transparent red over the eyes.

    headyellow.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
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  10. PrimalFury

    PrimalFury The Chosen One

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    Amazing work on that Omega, thanks for sharing
     
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  11. Autobot00

    Autobot00 Well-Known Member

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    bookmarked for future modification. Thank you good citizen!
     
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  12. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    Hopefully will get the new power switch tomorrow to finish the Omega Supreme head mod + LED. In the meanwhile, this is just a simple repair post: nail + epoxy method for broken pegs / posts.

    I received the wrong item in the mail (got to keep it anyways). This 3rd party Ironhide blaster was all warped to heck. I really don't think it's from the packaging either. Probably pulled off the 3d printer without adequate cool-down...and they still painted over it and sold it. Usually there's paint warps with severe bending if was bent afterward but didn't see any.

    repair1.jpg

    I tried to bend the nozzle back and almost got it...and then it snapped.

    I should have used a heat gun in the first place. 150 degrees F for 40-50 seconds is generally enough to bend pieces safely and then hold in place until it cools down (boiling water is 212F for comparison). Try not to use a hair dryer: you don't want hair and dead human skin cells all over your figures, let alone the lack of temperature control. Some people do the boiling water and ice shock method but I don't recommend this for painted items.

    Used a heat gun to straighten out the pieces. Very carefully, drilled a 1.5mm hole / tunnel (metric drill bit set is useful in general for TF stuff and got mine at a local Grainger's) into both pieces. You can try to dig out a tiny groove by hand with the drill bit before using the power driller to prevent the drill bit from wandering. If I could use a 1mm drill bit first, I would have done that and then used 1.5mm but my power driller won't accept a 1mm bit. I usually look at the drill bit and piece at 2 different angles 90 degrees apart to make sure I'm drilling straight and make adjustments as needed. You want to drill in tunnels on both sides that are deep enough to use a nail to provide support. Used a nail that was a little thinner than 1.5mm and cut it down to a little under the length of the tunnel sizes. You do NOT want a nail that's too snug because you need room for the epoxy and to have some wiggle room to make positioning adjustments.

    repair2.jpg

    Mixed up 5 minute clear epoxy. Used a different nail as an applicator stick to get some epoxy into both hole tunnels and then at the edge of the pieces.

    repair3.jpg

    Then placed the support nail in and put all the pieces together.

    repair4.jpg

    Because it's epoxy, you must hold them in place until it cures. It will take longer than 5 minutes because of the relatively small amount used. So, sit back and watch your favorite show on TV until it sets (may take 10 to 15 or even 20 minutes). I do not recommend tape on painted over pieces to hold them together while curing. Sometimes, during the curing process, the epoxy may want to expand, so if you don't watch it, the epoxy will set with the pieces separated. Wipe off excess epoxy, if any, before it cures. After that, you should wait at least a day to use (especially for a weapons handle peg) to allow the epoxy to sufficiently harden.

    The nail + epoxy method is far more stable and stronger than end-to-end gluing. The nail provides a new backbone for support and to handle stresses. 5 minute clear epoxy doesn't get brittle and has some give to it, so can handle forces very well. I haven't had one of these repairs break yet nor has my son broken them either.

    repair5.jpg
     
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  13. JonoPrime

    JonoPrime Well-Known Member

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    Just wanted to say a quick thanks here for all the tutorials here! They have been VERY helpful :)  ... Looking forward to the next one.
     
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  14. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    29. Siege Omega Supreme Head Mod

    Note: The LED ended up being so bright that the camera can't capture the light blue light well.
    os1.jpg os2.jpg

    I understand why the head on Omega Supreme is all yellow, but I prefer the G1 cartoon color scheme. After taking apart the head (see post above), there is enough room for a LED circuit, so decided on a LED mod too.

    Made resin copies of the face in orange resin (smooth on color match resin [clear amber if no color added] with orange UVO color added), lightpiping in clear blue resin (crystal clear with blue so strong clear color), and visor in crystal clear. Made some other resin copies earlier but these are the final versions used.

    os3.jpg

    For the face, painted forehead with Tamiya Buff and the sides with Tamiya Medium Gray. These colors were close enough to the colors on the toy. Did very light sprays of clear blue over the lightpiping to make it a little more blue as it ended up being lighter than expected. I had some clear resin that went bad, which I think ended up messed up the mold for the visor. It was still smooth but had a lot of micro-scratches and abrasions. Used multiple clear coats to fix that to make the visor much more clear. The visor does touch the forehead, which can strip paint. I tried using multiple coats of archival varnish over the forehead to prevent it from stripping off (was going to use car varnish next if that didn't work).

    Painted the back of the face black, otherwise, the whole face would light up.
    os6.jpg

    For the LED circuit, used a 1/3N battery for capacity and to fit in a certain space inside the helmet. This is 2 LR44 batteries put together and I don't have to use shrink wrap (which would then make the battery too wide). Used the brightest 5mm white LED the local microcenter store carried (maybe it's too bright).

    Split the lightpiping into 2 parts. The eye part snugly fits inside the face. The other part is used to mount the power switch and LED. Bought the smallest slide switch I could find (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10860). This switch was not easy to deal with.

    Used metal files on the support lightpiping piece to carefully dig out an opening to fit the power switch. The clear resin I used is very tough (after hardening in the toaster oven) and didn't break despite having thin walls left on top. Used epoxy to glue the switch in place. I didn't realize the support piece wasn't reversible and could only tab in one way. Of course, I ended up filing the wrong side. I cut off legs from a LED and soldered that to the switch to extend the connections. Drilled holes to have the connectors come out the other side. Then measured and soldered the rest of the circuit.

    os5.jpg os4.jpg

    There's not enough room to fit in a battery holder. I hate soldering to batteries so tried using copper tape with electrically conductive adhesive. I tried soldering to the copper tape and then taped to the batteries. It worked but wasn't exactly stable. I think the soldering process affected the adhesive. Taping the adhesive directly over the wire ended up working much better with a consistent connection. Still needed soldering for the rest of the circuit. (The photo on the right is just an example on a different battery showing the final connection method.)

    os7.jpg os8.jpg

    These are pictures of making the circuit:
    os9.jpg os11.jpg os12.jpg os13.jpg
    (Again, did the battery connection differently on the final.)

    Worked out well. The tab from the power switch barely protrudes from the top and really isn't noticeable unless you look very closely. The other 2 potential areas for a LED would need something on the lines of a flashlight to work. The chest part has no easy access part although will illuminate from behind with a very, very bright light source. The autobot insignia area is easy to light up if you can strategically place an LED in just the right spot.

    os14.jpg os15.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
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  15. Kingocto5x

    Kingocto5x Well-Known Member

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    This is great work! Keep it going!
     
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  16. Lunatic Prime

    Lunatic Prime Former Prime

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    Where did you buy the axe (which seller)?
     
  17. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    Matrix Workshop Optimus Prime axe. You can get it from a lot of places now. I got mine from tfsafari.com.

    I have multiple Matrix Workshop kits now but they seem to have a common problem: their "5mm" pegs are too big. You'll need to sand them down, otherwise, you may damage the ports on your toys or make it extremely difficult to take out. The pegs they use to keep their own parts together (like the axe handle parts) are different and fit like they should.
     
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  18. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    29b. Omega Supreme Chest Window Mod

    os2.jpg

    After watching back old G1 episodes on Tubi to get ideas for the head mod deco, I finally noticed that his chest window was originally red. Didn't bother me at first, but then decided to make a new resin window anyways. I didn't realize till afterward that I forgot to take photos along the way. Oh well. It was not fun taking apart the chest / tank. There's one rather annoying long pin to deal with (which resulted in yet another tiny stress mark); it's the one with an opening on only one side. The window has its own built in circular clips, so you have to dismantle pretty much the entire chest / tank to get it out without breaking the clips.

    I didn't throw away the resin yet, so here's a picture of that:
    redresin.jpg

    I finally got the So-Strong sampler, so I can experiment with casting in transparent colors and avoid painting afterward. When I tried mixing Tamiya transparent clear paints into resin before, it led to a lot of air bubble issues for small casts because you needed to use so much to get a color change and that led to making the resin more viscous. So-Strong is "so strong" that you only need teeny, tiny amounts to get a strong color change, so it shouldn't cause any significant viscosity changes. The bottle on the right is UVO, which is opaque. Unless you want to make translucent casts, this is the wrong stuff to use for transparent color casts. The resin in the cup is fully cured and not liquid.

    Now he has a great G1 cartoon look. There's no actual LED mod behind the chest piece: just a strategically placed flashlight LED.
    os1.jpg

    All the leftover original parts.
    os3.jpg

    29a. More info about power switch

    As noted above, got this switch from Sparkfun: Surface Mount Right Angle Switch - COM-10860 - SparkFun Electronics
    Placed next to a blaster with a 5mm peg for comparison.
    switch1.jpg

    This switch is meant for PCBs. For this project, I cut off the PCB support arms from the sides (not needed and wouldn't fit well if still on) as well as the left switched / power pin (not needed and got in the way). There are also 2 tiny plastic nubs on the back side that I shaved off to get a flat surface for the epoxy (not shown). From this viewpoint, the switch in the right position would connect the two remaining pins and turn the LED on. In the left position, there's an incomplete circuit and nothing would happen.

    switch2.jpg

    I purposely didn't put anything directly under the switch for support. The epoxy is strong enough. The top of the power switch base is like a hair under the surface. The power switch tab is so small that your finger pad can't put that much force on it. If you look at the Omega Supreme with Optimus picture above and zoom in on top of the head, you can see a tiny black speck, which is the power switch tab.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
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  19. reluttr

    reluttr Well-Known Member

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    I hope someone offers these as a kit at some point, it looks so good, but I dont have the setup or experience to do casting. :( 

    OH! also, you can get rid of some stress marks with a hair drier, sometimes steam from a kettle will work as well, just be very careful not to burn yourself or warp the figure.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
  20. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    Thanks. Taking apart Omega Tank was not straight forward, especially since there's no guides on any of this. Thought about using a heat gun but sorta risky due to how small the marks are compared to the heat gun nozzle. If I can find or make a pinpoint nozzle attachment for my heat gun, then I'll try it out.