Monday, September 11, 2006

V-Wing Shadow Pilot

Figure Era: ROTS/TSC
Year: 2006
Primary Appearance: Fan Fiction
Difficulty: Easy











Recipe

Parts
1 TSC Clone Pilot (Shadow Pilot)
1 custom V-Wing Pilot head cast from Bantha5

Paint

Model Master Acrylic Gloss Black (4695)

helmet, chest box

Polly Scale Br. Ex. Dk. Sea Gray (F505264)
front of belt, buttons on chest box

Polly Scale Dark Blue (F505023) (RLM 24)
buttons on chest box


Directions
Cut the air hoses from the clone pilot's helmet right where they join the helmet. Snap the cast V-Wing pilot head onto the figure and super glue the air hoses back in place.

All that's left is to paint!


References

Sunday, September 10, 2006

V-Wing Pilot

Figure Era: ROTS
Year: 2006
Primary Appearance: Star Wars, Ep. III: Revenge of the Sith
Difficulty: Easy

The color scheme for this figure was based off of the Attacktix V-Wing Pilot figure, as I couldn't find any reference pictures that were more "official".









Recipe

Parts
1 TSC Clone Pilot (Shadow Pilot)
1 custom V-Wing Pilot head cast from Bantha5

Paint
Polly Scale Br. Ex. Dk. Sea Gray (F505264)
straps on chest armor, air hoses, belt buckle
dry brush used on light gray areas

Polly Scale Light Gray (505061) (RLM 76)
gloves, boots, helmet, torso, chest plate

Polly Scale Night Black (505214) (RLM 22)
visor, stripe on helmet, buttons on chest plate, touch-ups on black uniform torso, chest plate

9:1
Water
Polly Scale Br. Ex. Dk. Sea Gray (F505264)

wash used on light gray areas


Directions
Cut the air hoses from the clone pilot's helmet right where they join the helmet. Snap the cast V-Wing pilot head onto the figure and super glue the air hoses back in place.

All that's left is to paint! Note that it can take 3-4 coats of the light gray paint to cover up the underlying black. It may have been easier to use a white-and-gray clone pilot instead of the black one, as far as this was concerned, and to paint the necessary areas black. However, all the joints on the final figure need to be black, so I figured that using the black clone pilot would keep me from having to paint the joints and worrying about the paint chipping off with repeated movement.


References

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Republic Commandos (Omega Squad, Black Stealth Armor)

Figure Era: WOTC Champions of the Force
Year: 2006
Primary Appearance: Star Wars Republic Commando: Hard Contact and Star Wars Republic Commando: Triple Zero stories
Difficulty: Basic





Recipe

Parts
1 WOTC COTF Republic Commando Boss
1 WOTC COTF Republic Commando Fixer
1 WOTC COTF Republic Commando Scorch
1 WOTC COTF Republic Commando Sev

Paint

Polly Scale Night Black (505214) (RLM 22)
armor, gun, backpack

Polly Scale Br. Ex. Dk. Sea Gray (F505264)

dry brush on armor, backpack and gun

2:1:1
Model Master Acrylic Silver (4678)Polly Scale Dark Blue (F505023) (RLM 24)
Polly Scale Light Blue (505306) (RLM 64)
visor

Weathering Powder

Prof. Weathers Filthy Brown
boots, shoes


Directions

This is just a straight repaint of the original figures. When doing the dry brush, do just a little on the armor, and more on the backpack and gun.

Dust the boots and shoes with a little weathering powder, then wipe off any excess from the base using a wet brush or paper towel.


References

Thursday, August 24, 2006

ARC Pilot

Figure Era: TSC
Year: 2006
Primary Appearance: Clone Wars Cartoon Series
Difficulty: Intermediate










Recipe

Parts
1 ROTS Evolutions Clone Trooper (with Pilot Helmet) - entire figure
1 POTF2 Boba Fett - range finder
custom made decal for helmet

Paint
Games Workshop Skull White (61-54)
white armor, top of range finder

Polly Scale Night Black (505214) (RLM 22)
mouth and nose areas on helmet, base of range finder, bodyglove under armor (if needed)
dry brushed battle damage on white armor

1:1
Polly Scale Dark Blue (F505023) (RLM 24)
Polly Scale Light Blue (505306) (RLM 64)
blue markings on helmet

Polly Scale Br. Ex. Dk. Sea Gray (F505264)
air hoses
soles of feet

Model Master Acrylic Insignia Yellow (4721)
yellow buttons on chest plate

Model Master Acrylic Bloode Red 1/2 (4352)
red buttons on chest plate


Directions
Using epoxy clay, fill in the center ridge than runs along the length of the helmet on top. Also fill in the two Republic logos on either side of the forehead area. Sand and smooth the area after the clay has dried. Since the helmet is flexible and the epoxy clay is thin and brittle, cover the clay with a layer of superglue and let it dry before painting

Scrape off all the reddish-brown weathering on the clone's body using the edge of a sharp Xacto knife. Paint the white parts of the armor white (so it will match the white of the helmet when it gets painted). Dry brush with black to add scuff marks to the armor.

Slice off the range finder fom Boba Fett and trim as needed. Glue to the clone helmet's right side and paint.

To make the decal for the front of the helmet, download the template from here.


References

Friday, August 18, 2006

Paints Comparisons

  • VP - very poor
  • P - poor
  • A -average
  • G - good
  • VG - very good
All paints were tried with and without sealer (clear coat) on top. Only where this made a significant difference is it noted.

Acrylic Model Paints
PaintBrushabilityFully Dries
on Hard Plastic?
Fully Dries
on Soft Plastic?
Suitable
for Joints?
Suitable
for Other Surfaces?
Comments
PollyScaleGYYNYgoes on very thin and smooth.
TamiyaVGYYNYdries very fast, so can't brush over same area more than once until fully dry.Retardants available if you want it to dry slower, though.
Least chipping of any acrylic paint so far, but still not good enough forjoints.
ModelMaster AcrylicVGYYNYGoes on very nice. Very close in quality to Tamiya, but since this one doesn'tdry as fast I prefer ModelMaster Acrylic.
Games Workshop (Citadel)GYYpossibly
(see comments)
YDoesn't go on quite as smooth as some of the other acrylics, leaves more brushmarks. Seems like it
would be good for non-articulated miniatures, which is what it was designed foranyway.

Without clear coat, chipped off worse than the other high-quality acrylics. With sealer, did quite well. Some chipping around the edges but it didn't get worse with repeated motion of the joint.

Sometimes the paint is too thick, depending on the color, and leaves a lot of brush marks.
Country ColorsPYYNNBrushes on somewhat unevenly, not very smooth.
Apple BarrelAYYNYBrushes on smoother than the other "discount brand" (Country Colors), but not as nice as the higher-end hobby paints.
Parma FaskolorPYYNYThis is a paint made for plastic RC race cars, and is designed to be more flexible than modeling paints (which are made to be hard).

Feels thick on the brush, but goes on very thin. Required 2-3 coats of blue to cover up the color of a light gray plastic. Most of the other acrylics did this with only a single coat, maybe two.

After about 10-15 bends of the joint, half of the paint was chipped off. Didn't notice any difference between this "flexible" paint and regular "hard" paint.
Enamel Model Paints
PaintBrushabilityFully Dries
on Hard Plastic?
Fully Dries
on Soft Plastic?
Suitable
for Joints?
Suitable
for Other Surfaces?
Comments
TestorsPNNNNgoes on a little thick and sticky, not nearly as smooth as the other enamels.Even a single coat is sometimes too much.
FloquilVGNNNNGoes on thin but with complete coverage, very smooth.
ModelMaster EnamelVGYNYPossibly,
depending on type of plastic
Goes on very nice, very similar to Floquil in terms of brushability andquality. In some tests, dried fully on hard plastic, unlike other enamels.
Requires further testing to confirm.
ModelMaster Enamel (on top of a clear coat layer)VGYYYYGoes on very nice, very similar to Floquil in terms of brushability andquality. In some tests, dried fully on hard plastic, unlike other enamels.
Requires further testing to confirm.
Micelllaneous Paints
PaintBrushabilityFully Dries
on Hard Plastic?
Fully Dries
on Soft Plastic?
Suitable
for Joints?
Suitable
for Other Surfaces?
Comments
Sharpie MarkerN/A



Easy to apply, but need a fine point to get into tight spots. Limited on color options, since you can't custom mix your own colors.

Some say that over time, ink will soak into the plastic and change in color (
i.e., black will start looking slightly purple).

Putting a clear coat washed away the marker ink, even after it had dried.
Krylon Fusion Spray PaintN/AYNYYThis is a spray paint, so it obviously can't be brushed. Since you can't custom mix colors, you're also limited in your color choices. However, it bonds to plastic better than any other paint. Good for joints, if you let it dry fully (7 days to be fully chip resistant, although dry enough to handle after 1 hour).

Goes on smooth, since it is a spray paint.
Acrylic Primers
PaintBrushabilityFully Dries
on Hard Plastic?
Fully Dries
on Soft Plastic?
Suitable
for Joints?
Suitable
for Other Surfaces?
Comments







Enamel Primers
PaintBrushabilityFully Dries
on Hard Plastic?
Fully Dries
on Soft Plastic?
Suitable
for Joints?
Suitable
for Other Surfaces?
Comments
Mr. Surfacer 1000GYYNYgoes on very well, a little too thick for joints. Comes in 3 grades of
thickness (this one is medium), also a surfacer. For some reason, dries fully
unlike most enamel paints.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Clone Armor)

Figure Era: ROTS
Year: 2006
Primary Appearance: Clone Wars Cartoons
Difficulty: Easy








Recipe

Fodder
1 TSC Obi-Wan Kenobi - torso, head, thighs, upper arms, lightsaber
1 ROTS Clone Trooper - forearms, shins, feet, hands, belt
1 ROTS Evolutions Clone - helmet (Phase I, plain white helmet)
1 POTF2 Princess Leia Organa - cape

Paint
Polly Scale Fr. Earth Brown (F505240)
tunic, shirt, waist/hips, cape

Model Master Acrylic Leather (4674)
clone armor body glove (black parts showing at the joints)

Weathering Powders
Prof. Weathers Filthy Brown
Prof. Weathers Grimey Black
armor, cape, tunic

Prof. Weathers Graphitetunic, bottom of cape, lightsaber handle, helmet



Directions



References

Standro Jcir

Figure Era: TSC
Year: 2006
Primary Appearance: X-Wing: Rogue Squadron novel
Difficulty: Basic






Recipe

Fodder
1 VTSC Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot) - torso, legs, arms (except for hands)
1 POTF2 Greedo - Head, both hands (cut above wrists)

Paint

7:2:1 ratio
Model Master Acrylic Gloss Black (4695)
wrist cuffs

Directions




Part used for Standro Jcir

Boil-and-pop to remove Greedo's head, and cut off his hands above the wrists (I kept 7 ridges on his left hand and 4 ridges on his right hand, since the ridges aren't the same size). However, cut higher up to start with and you can always trim more off as you measure.

Shave off most of the base at the end of Greedo's neck (not all of it though). Shave in a tapered fashion, so it will be easier to put into Luke's torso. Now cutt off the ball for Luke's neck, just above the collar. Carve out the neck hole so it is a little bigger. Dip Luke's torso into hot water and work Greedo's head in. Using twisting motions, you should be able to eventually get it in there snugly, but still retain articulation.

Remove Luke's hands, and then cut off the pegs left on the forearms. Glue Greedo's hands to Luke's arms, making sure to position them carefully. Also, the paper clip rebar trick may not work this close to the ball joint of the elbow, so be careful.

Paint the wrist cuffs (the wrist portions left over from Greedo) gloss black, and seal. That's it - no other painting required!



References

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Commander Storm Kode

Figure Era: POTF2
Year: 2006
Primary Appearance: N/A
Difficulty: Easy

This was my son's first custom, done when he was 4 years old. He had been asking for weeks to do his own custom, so I let him use an extra POTF2 Stormtrooper. I don't particularly like those figures, so I had no use for it anyway and I thought it would be a good one for him to practice on. However, I kind of like how it turned out once he was finished.

I had to help him a little, but for the most part he did it on his own. He designed the character and the color scheme, thought of the name, and came up with his story. He also painted the torso, head, arms, and legs by himself. I took the figure apart to make it easier to paint, so he wouldn't have to worry about staying in the lines. The only parts I painted were the black accents on the helmet and the blue eyes. I also applied the dull coat lacquer because I didn't want him inhaling the toxic fumes. I applied a dull coat over the whole figure, and then gloss coat just over the eyes.

Commander Storm Kode was stationed on the Death Star, and was in charge of an elite group of stormtroopers that specialized in deep space combat. They were sent on particularly dangerous missions in the far reaches of space, far away from most civilized worlds.








Recipe

Parts
1 POTF2 Stormtrooper

Paint
Polly Scale Dark Gray (505059 RLM74)torso, helmet

Polly Scale Night Black (RLM 22)arms, legs, highlights on helmet

3:2 ratio
Model Master Acrylic Silver (4678)
Polly Scale Dark Blue (RLM 24 Blue)

eyes

Directions
This one is just a straight repaint of the original figure.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

7th Sky Corps Clone Trooper

Figure Era: ROTS/Saga2
Year: 2006
Primary Appearance: Conceptual artwork for Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Difficulty: Easy







Recipe

Parts
1 Saga2 Utapaun Clone Trooper or ROTS Clone Trooper (Super-Articulated)

Paint
7:2:1 ratio
Polly Scale CP Yellow (F404058)
Polly Scale Br. Ex. Dk. Sea Gray (F505264)
Model Master Acrylic Clear Green (4668)
green markings on armor

Polly Scale Br. Ex. Dk. Sea Gray (F505264)
gray stripe and hollows on helmet, soles of feet

Directions
This one is just a straight repaint of the original figure. You can use either the ROTS or the Saga2 figure, because the 7th Sky Corps Clone has the exact same pattern markings on the armor as the Utapaun Clone, just in green instead of orange.

The Saga2 figure already has the pattern laid out in orange, so that part is easier if you choose to use that figure. But if you go that route, you may have to do several coats to cover up the orange and make sure none of it is peeking around the edges. Some of it can be scraped off with a sharp X-acto knife. You can also use that trick to scrape off your green paint to correct minor errors if you didn't keep your lines exactly straight.

If you go the ROTS figure route, you won't have to worry about covering up the orange, but you will have to freehand the pattern on the armor.


References

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Riv Shiel (Rogue 6)

Figure Era: POTF2
Year: 2006
Primary Appearance: X-Wing: Rogue Squadron novel
Difficulty: Basic

Normally too muscular looking, I though the POTF2 Luke in X-Wing Pilot gear was a perfect match for this figure. The extra muscles look good with the Shistavanean alien.






Recipe

Fodder
1 POTF2 Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot)
1 POTF2 Lak Sivrak

Paint

3:1 ratio
Model Master Acrylic Insignia Yellow (4721)
Model Master Acrylic Bloode Red (4252)

orange flight suit

5:1 ratio
Polly Scale Dark Gray (505059 RLM74)
Polly Scale Night Black (RLM 22)
fur, basecoat

Polly Scale Night Black (RLM 22)
chestplate, cuffs, leg strap, air hoses

Polly Scale White (F505011 RLM 21)
vest, leg straps

1:1:1 ratio
Polly Scale White (F505011 RLM 21)
Polly Scale US Tan Special (505386)Polly Scale Soviet Sand (505362)nails

Directions

Remove the head from Luke (boil-and-pop).



Cut off the arm at the top of the gloves and the legs at the top of the boots for the Luke figure.

Next, cut the hands and feet off Lak Sivrak. The exact position and angle you cut off at depends on the final pose you want for the figure, so take some time to think about it. Remove the head from Lak Sivrak. Now you have all the pieces you need.



Trim around the back of the collar so the slightly larger Lak Sivrak head will fit snugly into place. Use the boil-and-pop method to put the head into the body (boil the torso, not the head). Then glue the hands and feet onto the new figure, using paper clip rebar to reinforce.





References

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Tips

This section contains random notes I've collected about all the steps involved in customizing. Keep in mind that these aren't all my own ideas - most of them were collected from various customizing forums. Wherever possible, I will try to give credit to the original poster but for the times that I don't remember who that was, remember that these aren't all my ideas. I'm not trying to plaigerize! If you see something here that is from your website or forum post, please contact me so that I can give you the appropriate credit. Most likely, it isn't credited because I have forgotten where the information came from.

These are all grouped into "phases", which are all the phases of customizing. Keep in mind that it is rare that a custom requires every single one of these phases - most only use some of them.

Phase 1 - Gather Tools and Materials
Phase 2 - Finding Parts
Phase 3 - Disassembling
Phase 4 - Joining Parts
Phase 5 - Making New Parts (non-sculpted)
Phase 6 - Sculpting
Phase 7 - Molding & Casting
Phase 8 - Reassembling
Phase 9 - Painting
Phase 10 - Applying Decals
Phase 11 - Soft Goods Clothing
Phase 12 - Weathering
Phase 13 - Custom Stands
Phase 14 - Custom Cards & Packages
Phase 15 - Photogrpahy

Phase 1 - Gather Tools and Materials
Glue
Good glues to use are either Superglue or (for something stronger) Loc-Tite
Super Bonder 495 Instant Adhesive (look here).

Phase 2 - Finding Parts
Female Figures
Finding female figures for fodder is hard to do. Here are some ideas I've seen from various sources. All of these will probably require some retooling, but certain parts may be just what you're looking for:
  • Sub5 Agent Annika (buy it here)
  • G.I. Joe Covergirl
  • G.I. Joe Agent Courtney Krieger
  • G.I. Joe Bombstrike
  • Star Wars Saga Ayy Vida
  • Star Wars POTF Princess Leia with Sail Barge Cannon
  • Star Wars POTF2 Princess Leia (Jabba's Slave)
  • Star Wars ROTS Luminara Unduli (fairly plain torso)
  • Star Wars ROTS Aayla Secura
  • Star Wars Saga Padme Amidala (Arena Escape)
  • heads from various G.I. Joe (Scarlet, Covergirl)
  • 4" line of Marvel Legends Showdown Figures (no females yet, but hopefully soon)

Phase 3 - Disassembling

Phase 4 - Joining Parts
Joints
Sometime you need to build custom joints if you're trying to articulate a joint that was previously not articulated. Some good ideas for doing this include:

Phase 5 - Making New Parts (non-sculpted)Making Lightsaber BladesThe simplest option is to buy small transparent plastic dowels, available at craft stores like Michael's. These can be tinted using Glass paint or Tamiya Clear paints (dip them and then drip dry, don't brush as it will leave streaks). Another option is to check hobby stores to see if they sell pre-tinted plastic dowels. Plastruct makes some pre-tinted ones (check their online catalog).

Clothing

A handy trick for molding clothing like capes is to first make it out of aluminum foil and then coat it in Plasti-Dip.


Phase 6 - Sculpting

Phase 7 - Molding & CastingGrowing and Shrinking Casts
There are products out there that will let you make a cast of something and either enlarge or shrink it in the process. Industrial Polymers makes some compounds for this. HydroSpan 400 is for shrinking and HydroSpan 100 is for enlarging. There is also a product called HyrdroShrink that is also for shrinking. I believe HydroShrink shrinks by a set amount (60%, I think) while HydroSpan 400 lets you control the amount of shrinkage.

Plastics
  • The type of plastic Hasbro uses is PVC in various grades (hard vs. flexible, or different ones in between).
  • When making your own, a good choice is a polyurethane plastic like Easy Flo 60. It can be cut with a knife, be sanded, and adheres well to paint.
Casting and Molding

Phase 8 - Reassembling

Phase 9 - Painting
Paints
Good brands of paints:
  • For a comparison of different paints, see the Paint Comparison page.
  • Tamiya Clear - for tinting transparent plastic parts
  • Glass paint (available at Wal-Mart and craft stores) - for tinting transparent plastic parts
  • The actual paints used by Hasbro are similar to those made by Nazdar. It is primarily done with the Nazdar 9600 series with the NB 72 catalyst. Evidentally, this works very well but is extremely difficult and hazardous to use. (from Master_Gunzz on the Rebelscum Customizing forum)
Painting

Phase 10 - Applying DecalsHere's a good site with a lot of Star Wars decals.

Phase 11 - Soft Goods Clothing

Phase 12 - Weathering

Phase 13 - Custom Stands

Phase 14 - Custom Cards and Packages
I don't make custom cards or packages for my customs, as I leave them all open for my son to play with. Therefore, I don't have any notes about this phase of the process.


Phase 15 - Photography
Photography

Friday, February 24, 2006

Montross

Figure Era: TSC
Year: 2006
Primary Appearance: Jango Fett: Open Season comics
Difficulty: Intermediate



Recipe

Fodder
1 TSC Boba Fett - cape
1 TSC Jango Fett - torso, helmet, backpack, neckpost
1 Elite Forces desert soldier (cheaper line from Target exclusive two-packs) - arms
1 Elite Forces soldier - hips, legs, head
custom made decals for helmet and chest armor

Paint
Games Workshop Shadow Grey (61-48)
shirt, cape, pants, highlights on helmet, gloves

Polly Scale Br. Ex. Dk. Sea Gray (F505264)
hair, boots, highlights on helmet, wrist strap, range finder on helmet, highlights on backpack

Polly Scale Night Black (505214) (RLM 22)dry brushed on armor, jetpack, boots, cape

Krylon Fusion Blue Hyacinth Spray Paint (2333)
inside of knee joints and shoulder joints

1:1
Model Master Acrylic Skin Tone Warm Tint (4603)Model Master Acrylic Skin Tone Tint Base (4601)
skin

2:1
Model Master Acrylic Silver (4678)
Polly Scale Br. Ex. Dk. Sea Gray (F505264)

armor, helmet, highlights on backpack, missile in backpack



Directions



Parts Used


Cut the Elite Forces head off at the base of the neck, and cut Jango's head off the neck post. Make sure you figure out the proper slant to cut at so it will look right when placed in the torso. Connect Jango's neck post and the Elite Forces head using a small piece of paper clip and superglue.

Shave off the extra straps and pouches from the Elite Forces legs, and sculpt in the gaps with epoxy clay. The "cap" at the top of the waist peg may need to be filled in some with epoxy clay, so it doesn't wiggle as much when placed into Jango's torso. The base of the peg also needs to be carved away a bit to thin it out. Otherwise, Jango's torso won't close fully.




In Jango's torso, just behind one shoulder, drill a hole using a 3/32" drill bit. This will be where Boba's cape fits in. The peg on the cape isn't an exact size for a drill bit, but 3/32" is the smallest size hole that the cape fill fit in, although a little loosely. To tighten it up, put a little superglue on the peg and let it dry. Repeat if necessary to achieve the desired thickness.

On the arm with the watch, shave off the watch part leaving only the strap.

The parts are now ready to paint and assemble.

The face will need to be repainted, so the skin tone matches the one used for the arms. Draw over the eyebrows and irises with a .005 Micron black pen, and draw light outlines under the eyes to give him a "darker" look. Also when painting the face, wait for the paint to partially dry and get tacky, then lightly "tap" with a flat brush. This will give it some texture and make the face look more haggard, and not so smooth.

The two black lines running around the top of the helmet should be drawn in with a .005 micron black pen.

To make the decals, download the templates for the chest logo, arm logos, and the helmet logo.