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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    Another repair using nail + epoxy method on G1 re-issue Optimus Prime:

    This toy has been dropped a lot already but has stood strong...until now. The smokestack of all things broke. Repaired this similar to the rifle above: Various mods (of mods), custom stuff

    However, for the smokestacks, I drilled a slightly larger and longer hole tunnel to really make sure it won't break again. Started with a 1.5mm drill bit and carefully drilled a hole tunnel in both pieces. Then used a 2mm drill bit to make the tunnel wider. Used a longer and wider nail compared to the rifle above. Made a tiny batch of 5 minute epoxy. Used a nail to put epoxy in the hole tunnels and end pieces. Held together in place until it set. Still need a day for the epoxy to harden enough after curing. The pieces have to be held together manually until it cures since it's epoxy. This time, the epoxy really wanted to make the pieces come apart, so can't just leave it alone. Almost ironically, the smokestack is now stronger than what it was before.

    smoke1.jpg
    smoke2.jpg
     
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  2. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    30. Fixing Matrix Workshop's oversized peg problems, numerous issues with the M04 Ironhide kit, and a simple mod for adding Blast Effects peg.

    Optimus Prime: "Seriously, WTF is all this $#!+!!!".
    mw04.jpg

    Note: Do NOT touch the pegs / ports that are meant for Matrix Workshop pieces to attach to each other. Example: For OP axe, do NOT touch the pegs and ports that are used to put the axe pieces and handles together. Only fix the pegs / ports that are meant to directly interact with your bots.

    Example: In this picture, do NOT mod the peg for the axe attachment (marked with X). The other peg goes into OP's hand and is too big. That one (marked with O) should be modded.
    pegs.jpg

    I have 3 different Matrix Workshop's kits and they all have the same problem: the pegs for the bots are all too big. Standard port size on TF toys is 5mm. Matrix Workshop pegs, however, are oversized at 5.3mm in one dimension. This is a problem as their pegs won't fit properly on your bots. If one tries to force these oversized pegs into 5mm ports, this could result in damage to the port on the bot (even breaking thin walled ports) and/or causing damage to the Matrix Workshop kit itself. The Matrix Workshop M04 kit (Ironhide upgrade kit) in particular had multiple QC issues that I was hesitant to fix as I got the kit for "free". Anyhow, my son wanted to play with all the parts, so here goes....

    The diameter measured this way is correct, but...
    calipers1.jpg

    The other axis diameter is oversized:
    calipers2.jpg

    Oversized pegs: The simplest way to fix this is by sanding down the diameter that is too big. It's actually OK to overshoot a little bit: as long as the other diameter remains at 5mm, the peg will still fit snug. Using sandpaper is not ideal for a variety of reasons. Easiest way is to use a precision file, square / box type (looks like rectangular box). Some of the nicer kits will include an extra handle to hold the files. When filing down the peg, try to file straight so that one end of the peg doesn't end up being too big or small. Using a file makes it easy to maneuver around a peg, even in tight quarters, and the rigid nature speeds up the whole process. For the axe peg, I used the file parallel to the peg.

    file1.jpg file2.jpg

    Warping: The M04 kit came with a severely warped rifle. See Various mods (of mods), custom stuff. Basically, use a heat gun at 150 degrees for 40-50 seconds, bend item back into proper shape, and then keep in that position until it cools down. Thicker items may need a higher temperature around 200 degrees.

    Undersized ports: The ports on the side arm blasters don't actually work either. They measure around 4.5 to 4.6mm. So, if you try to jam a 5mm peg into those ports, you'll likely break something. You'll need a 5mm drill bit (must be metric: substituting the closest size english drill bit will result in a port that's still too small or too big). I got mine at a local Grainger's store. Place the drill bit into the port, and then by hand (gorilla gloves are helpful), carefully turn the drill bit and expand the port to 5mm.

    port.jpg

    Add Blast Effects connector: None of the blasters are Blast Effects compatible. You either would need a 5mm port (none of the weapons I have are big enough to accommodate a 5mm port) or a 3mm peg.

    For the sniper rifle, I added a 3mm peg. The idea is to drill a 3mm hole and then place a 3mm rod or tube in it.

    There was some, um, "gunk" in the nozzle, so cleaned that out. Used multiple drill bits by hand to get up to 3mm (2mm, 2.5mm, and then 3mm). If the drill bits cause a chip in the 3d printed plastic, that's OK and sanding will fix that (followed by painting). Placed a 3mm tube into the hole (I have acrylic 3mm tubes), secured with 5 minute epoxy, and then cut / sanded down the 3mm tube to the appropriate size.

    nozzle1.jpg nozzle2.jpg

    Final note #1: I do spray clear coats on all painted over 3d printed parts I get to protect the color. For most colors, I do 2 coats of Tamiya clear spray paint. For silver paints, I do 2 coats of Krylon gallery series UV archival varnish (glossy version).

    Final note #2: Some of their pegs are not only too wide but also too long for the ports they go into. For these, I'll sand down the length to make them shorter.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
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  3. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    29c. Adjusting LED brightness for Omega Supreme LED eyes mod.
    ledeyes.jpg

    After having the LED installed for a while now, it is a bit bright in real life, and not just in photos. Instead of swapping LEDs or trying a bunch of resistors, added a potentiometer (variable resistance) instead. Although I would still have to open up the head, this will allow me to adjust brightness as needed without any more soldering.

    This potentiometer is from Sparkfun. The local Micro Center store carried them. With some sanding and cutting down the knob size, it does fit in the lower face cavity. In this orientation, I cut off the left pin (not needed in this particular setup). Turning knob clockwise would make LED brighter.
    led2.jpg

    Cut open the circuit to allow for the potentiometer. Tinned the ends of the red wires.
    Note: Some batteries are very annoying and need some light pressure in order to work, hence the red vinyl tape (wrapped tight). Would have been too much work to install springs inside the head.
    led3.jpg

    Soldered the potentiometer into the circuit. Brightness level with knob turned counter-clockwise.
    led4.jpg

    Brightness level with knob turned clockwise. Set brightness somewhere in between.
    led5.jpg

    The potentiometer sits in the lower face.
    led6.jpg
     
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  4. NemesisJazz

    NemesisJazz Well-Known Member

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    This is all gold
     
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  5. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    golden.jpg
     
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  6. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    WIP: Resin copies of Omega Supreme's blast effects

    Casted in orange resin (mix of yellow and red So Strong dyes). Going to spray the back ends in smoke (transparent black) later.

    blast1.jpg

    Edit:

    Tried casting 6 effects at once. Generally, I try to do less to avoid problems but I had a larger batch of resin than usual.

    These 3 turned out great and had zero problems:
    blast2.jpg

    These 3, however, had major defects and cannot be salvaged:
    blast3.jpg

    There's no air bubbles or anything but didn't have enough resin left after the air pockets had cleared. I need to cut deeper / steeper resin "wells" into the molds for these and try again.

    Edit #2: Spray painting the back end of the pieces with Smoke turned out awful. Painting the back ends by hands with bottle smoke paint looks much better.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
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  7. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    Another warping fix post.

    Was fixing casts and third party pieces that had various degrees of warping. Heat gun is the best method (I am anti-hair dryer due to hairs and other human matter getting on figures). There is a potential concern if the heat gun is going to blast heat over too much of the figure and you just need to fix a small area. One way around this is to make a funnel at the end with foil tape and leave a small opening. As a result, you may need to use higher temperatures to make up for this (200F instead of 150F, for instance). Of course, DO NOT COVER UP THE VENT HOLES ON THE NOZZLE when you do this.

    Making molds of flexible plastic can be tricky as the piece can bend under the weight of silicone. This example shows a bent / curved tip near the top.
    heat1.jpg

    Normally, I would do 150F for a thin small piece like this. Because I added a funnel at the end of the heat gun, I increased temperature to 200F. The plastic is ready when there's relatively little force needed to bend the piece straight. Then hold in that position until it cools down. Repeat as needed.
    heat2.jpg

    Now tip is straight. I suppose this would be useful for a certain ridiculously expensive MP figure with bent antennas.
    heat3.jpg
     
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  8. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    31. Custom resin copy of Springer's sword with gold deco.

    This is the 3rd attempt at making this. The first two molds failed and had various warping issues (sword is made of flexible plastic). 3rd attempt still had some warping but able to fix this time. Casted in black resin. I originally wanted silver or chrome but ran out of those paints. Had gold spray paint on hand. Decided to try that out and looked better than expected. Did 3 very light passes of Tamiya gold spray paint followed by archival varnish to protect the color. Covered up any gold that got on the handle with black paint.

    Maybe I'll make a 2nd one after getting silver and chrome paints.

    springer.jpg
     
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  9. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    32. Custom resin copies of Siege Omega Supreme's Blast Effects
    blast1.jpg

    Finished making one full set along with extras of the end piece. Chose a fire orange deco, which is also for faction color. This compares mine versus the original (mine is on the left):
    blast2.jpg

    This shows one potential problem that destroys molds. Although the silicone I use is pretty strong, sometimes, things like this happen:
    blast3.jpg

    There's a piece of silicone stuck in the blast effect port. The silicone piece is stuck past the nozzle of the port, which is better than if it was hanging outside the port. If I use this mold again, the port will only have a tiny opening at the end, so I would need to drill a 3mm hole to make it useable.

    blast4.jpg

    When molding and casting, sometimes the peg and port measurements get slightly off. For TF figures, this is a problem. For the ports, I go through them with 3mm (blast effects port) and 5mm (regular TF port) drill bits to make sure they end up at the right sizes. For the pegs, if it ends up being too wide, then I can sand down slightly to get it to fit. If the peg is too small, that creates the most work. Then I need to brush on a thin layer of resin, wait for it to cure and harden, and then sand down to the right size.

    This shows a 3mm blast effects port that is too tight. Used a 3mm drill bit (by hand via gorilla gloves or pliers) to get the right sized port.
    blast5.jpg

    Casted in orange resin via mixing yellow and red So Strong dyes (red is quite powerful and used very little of it). Used Tamiya smoke (transparent black) for the explosion parts of the effects. Spray painting smoke failed: by the time the back part was dark enough, the front got too much of the spray and turned dark. Hand brushed thick layers of smoke paint instead. Going to paint the remaining end pieces. Thinking about doing a purple version for Decepticons. The blue and purple dyes are ridiculously "strong", so I'll do a test run first on the end pieces. When I casted the Omega Supreme eyes in blue, I dipped the end of my hobby razor in the dye and used a sliver of it in the resin to get that light blue.
    blast6.jpg
     
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  10. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    WIP: Decepticon faction deco of Omega Supreme effects

    The purple dye is overpowered. 1 drop of it basically turned one batch of clear resin (a little under an ounce) almost pitch black. Tried about 1/2 a drop and still ended up way too dark. Dipped a razor in the purple color and tried that until I finally got a better purple color:

    Fire orange on the left with the purple test batches on the right (1/2 drop of dye on top with slivers of dye for the bottom 2):
    blastspurple.jpg

    Note: I wrap the pegs with painters tape to avoid getting paint on them. That way, I don't have to clean paint off them later.
     
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  11. reluttr

    reluttr Well-Known Member

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    You know, I have always wondered. Pieces made from flexible plastic tend to get much stiffer when cold, so if you soaked the part in liquid nitrogen or used dry ice and alcohol could you actually get these pieces to be hard enough that you could quickly pour a mold around it and it hold its shape?
     
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  12. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    Interesting idea. However, the silicone I use needs at least 75 minutes to set properly (this is actually considered fast), so it'll likely thaw out well before then. Also, both go below the working temperature for silicone (more so for LN2 than dry CO2). Liquid nitrogen is neat stuff to play with but not exactly great for home use. I almost had a severe frostbite injury once when I accidentally spilled some on my shoe in school. My sneaker froze instantly and the cold burn wound lasted several weeks.

    Oh yeah, I did try the heat gun on the stress marks but it didn't work. Well, not completely. The stress mark shrunk a teeny, little bit at the edges.
     
  13. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    Clear coats to enhance transparent casts

    Besides protecting paint jobs, clear coats are useful to improve the appearance of transparent casts.

    Let's say the cast comes out as matte. There's no major surface defects. There's nothing to catch a fingernail on. The cast is just not that shiny or reflective. Flexible plastic tends to be this way and the mold will copy that. Sometimes, there's an issue with the mold and/or cast and a smooth glossy finish comes out as matte instead. Depending on what's being casted and personal preference, this may or may not be OK.

    For complicated shapes, using extremely high grit sandpaper (followed by buffing wheel and polish) is not going to work. There's typically numerous surface micro-defects causing the matte appearance. Spraying clear acrylic coats, however, will get rid of the matte appearance. I prefer to use Tamiya clear spray paints (do NOT use pearl or semi-gloss for this purpose).

    The purple is matte. The darker area is not because there's smoke (transparent black) hand painted over it making it look glossy smooth.
    blast1.jpg

    After 2 coats of clear spray (never spray heavy coats...if you see clear acrylic dripping, then you did way too much), the whole piece now has a smooth, glossy finish. The purple is now more vibrant and more see-through. The peg was covered by tape and didn't get the clear coat. The clear coat will also help protect the smoke color.
    blast2.jpg

    Clear coats can also help cover up clean razor cuts / marks. If you had to shave off thick flash or an external solid resin bubble, the clear coat sprays will cover it up and have the shaved surface blend in with the rest. This, however, may take several coats to do (never do heavy coats). My orange clear brunt nozzle took 4 coats total to cover up all the razor cuts (2 clear orange and 2 clear coats). Again, this is for surface defects where you can't catch your fingernail.

    Because repairing more serious surface defects on transparent pieces may take way too much time (solid color pieces are so much easier to fix), it's generally better to recast the piece.
     
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  14. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    31b. Custom Siege Springer sword with chrome deco

    Did chrome deco this time. Same black resin sword (primarily for the handle) and used heat gun to fix all the warps (original is flexible plastic and hard to keep perfectly straight while molding). Tried using the Liquid Chrome paint marker but had difficulty with all the fine details in the sword. I didn't have the 1mm marker version, which would have been so helpful for all the panel lines and grooves. Airbrushing would be the best route, though (they sell just the chrome paint, which is airbrush compatible). Used Krylon UV archival spray to seal the paint, but I may end up starting all over later and using a standard silver spray paint instead. Because it goes on so shiny, it's easy to miss very small spots due to all the glare. I started to notice tiny missed areas of paint afterward.

    Fortunately, some of the resins I use can actually resist acetone for short exposure times without melting or falling apart (even months later). This black resin is one of them, so it would be easy to remove all the paint in less than a minute and try again. I have one other idea which is to add metallic powders when mixing resin (you then use very fine steel wool to bring out the metallic look after casting); maybe I'll try that later.
    swords1.jpg

    32b. Custom Siege Omega Supreme Blast Effects in Decepticon purple deco

    Had some issues with finally getting a good cast of the biggest / widest blast effect but finally figured it out. Had to create two venting areas for that one due to the unusual shape and how I cut into the mold to minimize flash marks / lines.

    Unless I invest in a micropipette system, it's hard to get consistent results from the purple So Strong dye because of how "strong" it is. I'm dipping the end of a razor or very fine detail brush and then using a sliver of color until I get a shade of purple I like. 1 drop from a medicine dropper will turn the resin near pitch black. I also figured out one more variable in getting more consistent and bubble free results: resin batch volume. I was used to doing 0.019g based on the recommended weight ratios on the clear resin packaging (10:9) and that was the smallest weight I could do (ends up around 20mL). I did double batch for the Omega Supreme effects (0.038g total) and noticed everything came out consistently better. It also mixed and poured a lot easier.

    Painted the explosion parts with smoke by hand (Tamiya transparent black). Spray painting with smoke was a disaster and not recommended. Sprayed on 2 clear coats to protect the smoke color and to make the purple more vibrant. Had to fix various port sizes and one peg actually ended up being a little oversized (filed it down). The resin color intensity can look different after casting as thinner casts will make the color look lighter than what was in the mixing cup. The three on the right were from a test run and ended up lighter than the final versions on the left.

    purple1.jpg

    Edit: Fixed various typos and wrong wording.

    Another thought: For these explosion type Blast Effects, casting in the target color worked out well but still needed some painting detail due to the nature of the effects. Casts with the dye end up having more intense color in the thicker sections and being lighter in the thinner sections.

    When I did crystal clear casts before of Blast Effects and then painted afterwards, I could create a gradient effect easily with spray paint: orienting the blast effect to have the narrow / thinner part(s) point directly at the spray can nozzle (and then not moving the piece). This would make the thinner sections have more intense color and the thicker sections towards the back would have lighter color. In terms of matching animation / cartoon effects, this would be more "accurate".

    A good comparison is looking at the Kremzeek copies I made:
    Various mods (of mods), custom stuff

    The original I got from eBay has the body in more intense color while the limbs were lighter. Mine was casted in clear and then spray painted: body is lighter instead with more intense color in the limbs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
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  15. GAUGE

    GAUGE ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    kind of a huge shame seeing all these mods nobody ever plans making into kits to sell.
    many of us would love this.

    Oh well I'll just enjoy my regular factory made Omega Supreme. The fact we even get one at all is pretty nice as it is. I'll just enjoy it for what it is, once I actually get one. :D 
     
  16. Starling

    Starling Well-Known Member

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    Chest looks awesome in red, great work.
     
  17. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    Thanks. Still no plans to ever sell. The way I do things turns out looking good but is ridiculously inefficient and expensive. As an example, I threw out about half the blast effects I had made from the last several batches due to various issues. There's no tutorials on doing small and irregularly shaped objects like this (or anything even remotely TF related), so I've been figuring out things on my own. Now, I feel like I'm finally getting things figured out for more consistent and better results. When I made the last set of 4 orange blast effects, I was shocked that all 4 came out great. Usually a "good" result for me is 1 or 2 of them.

    I was glad to get the chest window done on 1st attempt. This is the 3rd or maybe 4th face visor I tried.

    Nonnef is apparently planning something for OS. So, I guess we'll see. OS is a great figure, even if you don't factor in the size.

    Thanks. I was thinking about using a transparent red vinyl sheet at first but then begrudgingly took apart the tank. I didn't want to break the full circle clips on the window as then there'd be no way to secure the chest window back in.
     
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  18. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    WIP. Siege Springer Mod

    springer1.jpg
     
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  19. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    33. Siege Barricade "Box Art" Mod

    Cast black resin copies of the forearms and belly pieces to match the box art render. I thought about casting the belly piece in lavender and then painting the bottom part black, but then the black paint would scuff too much. Mixed together Tamiya white, medium gray, and purple paints until I got a match.

    All the various tools I used. Soldering iron is a must in order to remove the flathead pins from the forearm pieces (and to put the pins back in). Don't attempt if you can't keep a steady hand. I don't have a proper pin punch tool so I used a screwdriver (need hex/star head with a smaller diameter than the pin shaft) to push the pin out followed by the pliers while the pin is still hot. Trying to force a flathead pin out by, um, force rather than heat will likely cause significant damage. The pin for the belly piece is one of the easier ones I've removed in some time; simply pushed it out with the screwdriver.
    barricade1.jpg
    barricade2.jpg
     
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  20. ziltama

    ziltama Lurks, mods, molds, and casts

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    34. Copies of Siege Prowl and Barricade's weapons

    Of the "Praxians", they come with 2 of the 3 available accessories. So, made copies of Barricade's shoulder / hand blasters for Prowl and made copy of Prowl's blaster for Barricade. Used color matching resin, so no painting done here. Mixed white with a touch of purple and black to get a match for Barricade's color and then mixed white with a tiny bit of black to match Prowl's white.

    I do have white resin but it's too bright. Mixing white dye by itself into color matching resin makes it look like milk (with that subtle hint of yellow), so the teeny bit of black was needed.

    weapons1.jpg weapons2.jpg
     
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