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Thursday, December 8, 2016

CUSTOM TRANSFORMERS: FROM SIDESWIPE TO TURBO BLITZ, HOW TO CUSTOMIZE TRANSFORMERS - PART 2

This is the second part of my long article, which discuses how to customize transformers toys. I've gathered the tips from other veterans, and I also added some tips from what I've learned by trial and error. The first article is over HERE. And the base model that I used for this build was the FOC - Fall of Cybertron - Sideswipe toy, released roughly 4 years ago in 2012. It was red and it had a rather bulky chest, which drooped down over the gut / central torso of the toy. I've already talked about the things that I didn't like about the toy. And the new toy was renamed Turbo Blitz and it was painted metallic blue with brushes by hand. So this post will show the finished product.

Honestly, I did not have to fuse two or more toys together for this build [which I often do]. But in that case, always make sure that your toys are roughly the same height, before you try to swap limbs [because that will mean that they're roughly in the same class; like the Legion class, Leader class, Deluxe class, Voyagers etc]. And unfortunately, all the TF toys made over the past 20 years do not all have compatible joints, so you may try to fuse & kitbash a guy with "clicky sounding" ratchet-joint legs with a guy that has fluid balljoint legs, and that can be a hassle unless you know how to unscrew / cut the ratchet-joints open carefully...
Plus, large balljoints can be sanded down, so that they work better with the limbs that you are attaching. And putty can be smoothly added to a balljoint's head, to make it larger, if necessary.

Also, I added two arm-mounted weapons from one of the Iron Factory third-party toys, as well as two more laser handguns from the Combiner Wars Leader Class Skywarp toy [that toy comes with like six weapons]. Thus, in some pics, my custom toy has two weapons; while in others, he has four. And the former Transformer toy had skinnier legs void of the outer wheels, and no doors attached at his back.
Anyway, check out the front view, side view, back view and top views of the new Turbo Blitz:

 
 

 


 


 
 

LASTLY, MY BRIEF TOY MODEL CUSTOMIZING AND PAINTING TIPS:

Honestly, I did not utilize a base paint coat or any primer for this job... 
The thing is, those base coats that lie under the paint can be either good or bad, depending on what you want to do. 

One of the reasons why people apply base coats, is to mask an underlying layer of color that you don't like at all. So if you intend to paint with a bright surface color, then you should use a white / bright base coat. But if you want to eventually paint your toy with a dark surface color, then you should utilize a dark / black base coat. That way, if you miss painting any edges, then the underlying darkness or brightness will easily hide the former color, causing the toy to look more balanced and somewhat "properly battle-worn".

So if you utilize a paint spray as the base coat / primer, you need to let it dry for maybe 36 hours or more; and then you should get a surface paint linked to the brand of the primer that you used, if possible. But even then, if your new paint is too "thick", then due to the base coat you applied first, the eventual color of your toy model will look lumpy and the underlying details of the toy will be fully overshadowed by the surface paint + the base primer's color tone. 
To reduce the thickness of the final surface paint that is used as your top-coat, you should use a thinner... perhaps even rubbing alcohol, which you can buy for less $2 at a grocery store... or if you choose to buy a professional thinner from a prominent Japanese brand like Tamiya, they will sell you something really small for a large price.

You need to mix that thinner into your paint, by adding a few drops of it - since you're basically diluting your paint and making it flow better. These are actually hand-painting tips, which is my preferred style. And those who use the mechanical airbrushes don't have to worry about using thinners as much, unless they specifically want a thin color layer as their top-coat.

Note: Always let paint fry for over 24 hours at least, before you start fiddling with the toy.
And as far as paint type goes, if you are a humble beginner, go with sharpie markers or acrylic paints [from a brand like Deco Art or Tamiya] for your toy models. Try out the paints on some cheap / used toys from ebay, to get a feel for what you are doing. When you've been doing it for several years and you've learned advanced blending tricks by trial and error, then you should switch to enamel paints.... I've heard that they are brighter and they last longer, but they require special base coats, or else they will melt / weaken your plastic toy. But I believe that the Enamels are better on metal toys.

And remember, Part 1 of this article with more pic & details on customizing Transformers is over HERE!

CUSTOM TRANSFORMERS: FROM SIDESWIPE TO TURBO BLITZ, HOW TO CUSTOMIZE TRANSFORMERS - PART 1

All right guys, this particular custom kitbash job had to be broken down  into two parts, because I didn't want to put almost 40 before-and-after pics into one single post. So this article will show some rough tips on how to customize Transformer toys, although the techniques used will vary from person to person.

The base model that I utilized was the FOC - Fall of Cybertron - Sideswipe toy, released roughly 4 years ago. It was red and it had a rather bulky chest, which drooped over the gut / central torso of the toy. And I didn't like the skinny legs of the robot, so that was definitely one of the complaints that I had with the design. Additionally, there were no flaring doors mounted upon his back, which would remind you of the other Transformer Deluxe toys like Jazz, Prowl or Bumblebee. Therefore, I bought a small model toy car  for like $7 from ebay [Kinsmart Diecast Red Mercedes Benz ML Class SUV, 1:36 scale]. And it's so small that it can fit in your hand... that would be the item that I butchered for spare parts, as shown in the pics below.

To begin, I took the Sideswipe toy apart. And then I started adding putty to his legs, since I wanted to make them bulkier. I also had to shape and cut out some 0.040-inch-thick white styrene plastic sheets [from the Plastruct brand,which you can find on ebay]. And when painted over, those white plastic sheets will look like metallic plates. The front wheel axle of the small Benz had to be cut as well, so that I could get the tires and glue them to the feet of the renamed toy, Turbo Blitz. I also had to cut the Sideswipe toy in half, in order to lift his torso and make him a bit taller, while I filled his inner body with putty and glued him back together.... and no, he can't transform anymore, since I cut him up LOL. Plus I didn't like his kneepads or his feet, so I had to mold new ones for him, as shown below. And I used quite a lot of Scotch Mounting Putty on this job.
Note 1: after putty is molded and added to a limb, you can put the molded limb under a bright light / lamp, which will cause it to harden quicker.
Note 2: How to tighten Transformers toys joints... if your toy joint is ever loose, just add some drops of nail polish, and rotate the joint a bit, just to get the slim coating all over the joint. Let it dry for an hour [but it will probably take less time than that], and then the limbs should be tighter again.

 

 
 
 
 

For my other tools, I needed blue metallic paint, white stickers, silver metallic sharpies, gray metallic paint, and a compact SAW, along with lots of glue and putty. I also needed to buy some small 1-inch hinges from Home Depot, because I wanted to attach the Mercedes SUVs car doors to the back of the custom toy. The hinges were glued into place.
And here are the pics to show the work done to the re-assembled limbs and the body of the robot. Even the toy's face needed a new face-mask, like the one that Optimus Prime  uses. So I made that from some slim plastic, like the kind that you find at Publix or Kroger - it is used to package fresh cookies for sale, or doughnuts ;)

All right, the next blog article will show the final product, fully painted and assembled - and those who follow me on Instagram have already seen some teaser photos... so stay tuned!

Update: Part 2 of this article is now live, over HERE!

Monday, November 28, 2016

CUSTOM TRANSFORMERS: WARLORD ULTRA MAGNUS, BEFORE AND AFTER PICS!

Another one of my fav custom toys. I had to utilize two "Transformers Prime Ultra Magnus Voyager Class" toys to build this one... and you can see them in that pic shown on the right.

Both of those Ultra Magnus toys were light-blue / powder-blue, so I had to mix and match their limbs for the kitbash. And I chose the best-looking head, while I repainted him ultramarine-blue. I added the extra left-and-right shoulder missiles from a Gundam weapons kit, while the classic missiles that point upwards were repainted. And stationed upon his back is the large blaster cannon from "Transformers Titans Return Hardhead". The las-rifle affixed on his back horizontally was also taken from that same toy. And those two weapons were painted black and silver, to change them from their original green and smokey light-gray colors. There was a central hole presented in the back of the Voyager Magnus with the crazy legs, the one shown on the right. But I had to drill a second lower hole in his back for the las-rifle, which is shown in one of the pics below with none of the back-weapons attached.

Sigh - speaking of Mr. Crazy Legs shown on the right above, that tough sonvabitch has some of the worst legs and thighs that I've Ever seen... I took him apart and studied it... and I really think he was fabricated with two left thighs, or two right hips above his thighs... his damn legs are just... crazy.... just look at him... he's bow-legged damn it!!! LOL And his freakin' thighs are waaaay too small, while his knees are too high and his boots / lower legs are too long. And his hefty warhammer mechtech thingy sucks!! So I broke it!! [while trying to take it apart to fix it].

And now my rant is over :)

For the rest of the custom toy's coloring, I used blue sharpie marker pens and acrylic paint; and I added lots of white paint, silver and also a few silver stickers to him... but you probably can't tell by looking at it. The sniper laser cannon amended to his outer right forearm was taken from an old TF G1 toy and I customized it, adding the larger scope barrel and thus making it longer - which gives the weapon a slight Megatron vibe. He is holding that weapon, in the last pic of the second row below.

And attached to his left forearm is... The Legendary CLAW of Justice!!! LOL

Those familiar with the Transformers Prime Animated series will recall that Ultra Magnus was presented as a no-nonsense lieutenant of Optimus Prime, and at one point, his right hand was broken during one of the Season 3 battles against the Predacons... and it was replaced with a damn ugly claw.
I never liked that damn claw. But the TF Movie Decepticon Crankcase Claw-gun that I added looks pretty damn cool.

Honestly in the TF Prime animated series, there should have been spare parts stored inside the spaceship of Wheeljack or even within Ultra Magnus' dropship, in order for a new hand, like a badass power-glove, to be created for Magnus by the Autobot medic Ratchet.... come to think of it, I never liked Ratchet, because he was presented as a grumpy old pessimistic fart, who was too traditional for his own good in the animated series ;)

Additionally, I gave my custom toy Warlord Magnus some new shoes... heftier feet created with painted putty, which can carry more weight and help to balance him more readily. And I like the final comparison pic, which shows Warlord Ultra Magnus and Mega Optimus Prime, side by side.  Their weapons are interchangeable, and they utilize the 5mm pegs that a lot of the TF toys currently use as a standard.


 

 
 

 
 

Check out the former article that shows the pics of Mega Optimus Prime over HERE!

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