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Author Topic: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)  (Read 1766 times)

worktroll

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Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« on: 11 August 2016, 00:55:12 »
So, I lost the images for this when SolVII died ... with some recent interest, decided to reload the photos & repost. Hopefully someone will enjoy this!



Okay, there's been some interest on how to repose/mod plastic minis. So I decided to emulate IAMCLANWOLF, albeit with a far less ambitious project.

I'm going to be deploying a Cyclops 11B in my 4th Tau Ceti Rangers. The 11B drops speed by a quarter, to allow addition of lots more armour and a second Gauss Rifle. The 'Mech will be supporting a lance of Demolishers, so the speed drop isn't a problem here.

Now the Cyclops has suffered a bad rep, justifiably in most cases, for lack of armour, lack of ranged weapons, and generally not being an armoured brick mega-assault. I'm pleased to say that FCCW & later Cyclopses are horses of a decidedly different colour, but alas, the mini is also disappointing - a very bland, static pose.



Now the one on the left is an original lead mini, the one on the right is a first-attempt repose as a CP-11-C2 variant - Kuritan dual-C3M command 'Mech. This was the original intro box plastic mini, hence the lack of bulk & details. Today I'm going to repose one of the much superior nu-plastic Cyclopses, into something that is hopefully a little more dynamic.

Note - all below took place in about 30 minutes, stretched out over an hour and a half of working on other 4TCR minis. It's that simple, folks.



So first, what tools do you need to work on plastic minis?



Essentials:
* Hobby knife. I prefer the stiffer Stanley blade over craft or hobby knives; I can exert more pressure, and still control it better thanks to the larger handle and harder blade. YMMV; work with what you're comfortable with (this minimises blood sacrifices)

* Superglue. I prefer the gel, again YMMV

* Pin vise, with thin drillbit. Pinning plastic is terrifically easy, and gives more strength than glue alone. In practical terms, this means "won't fly apart when I drop it". Plastic parts don't impose the same weight issues as metal, too.

* Wire to pin with. I'm using old fuse wire here - I find it's sturdy enough, and bends and cuts easily. Paperclips are the other traditional source of pins. (Note: don't use real pins. They're hard steel, and are a bugger to cut.)

* Hobby clippers. Not really essential for plastic mods, but when you just want to hack stuff off (not slice it off for later use), they're a great time-saver. They're also needed to cut lengths of pinning material.



So let's go. I want my Cyclops in a running pose. With some minis - see the plastic Assassin - one or more legs are already bent. You can mod them simply by separating one of the legs and reposing at the hip, as I've shown before. But here we're going to cut deeper ..



A few minutes slice & dice. Arms off at the shoulders, right foot underneath, both legs at the knees, and then slice up at the hips. It wouldn't be a lot more work to slice at the base, either, for torso twists, but I didn't feel like that here. With the knife I use, I find steady pressure with a rocking motion works best; don't press too hard, otherwise the plastic may fracture in unexpected directions, and you'll probably make sacrifice to the Blood God of Stanley ...



Next step ... drill holes! Stick them in the centre of the surfaces to be joined. Typically drill 3-4mm (3/16"?) deep holes (careful not to go through thinner parts), so the wire will have somewhere to bed down. Where you want parts joining at an angle - like the knees - drill one side at the angle, and the other at right angles. See how the wires stick out of the lower legs?

(Also, a simple way to make sure both legs go on aligned is to drill all the way through the lower torso, and use one bit of wire.)



This is why. When you put the bits together, you get flex.

Now there are some options here. I could have sliced the bottom of the upper leg to meet the top of the lower leg flat & cleanly; I'll show an example of that later, but do be aware that you lose length in this process. I don't want my Cyclops any shorter than it already is, so I'm leaving it with a gap.  Into which I then ...



press some modelling clay. I use this - never got to grips with two-part putties. Modelling clay dries without shrinking (except in the largest blobs), can be "sculpted" while wet, and paints well. OTOH, it's useless for structural strength, and if not supported tends to break off at the surface. With plastic minis, and inside a joint, neither is a problem. I then used my knife to cut off the excess, make sure the clay's in the gap, scrape excess clay off the plastic, and even mark some accordian lines in my "joint".



Like this. It looks a little messy here, but it'll paint up just fine. So here's the next step:



The lack of weight in plastic means all I had to do was apply the glue, apply the part on the pin, hold for 30 seconds, then release. The Cyc's just leaning up on the paint pot, and doesn't need the support a metal mini would need at a similar stage. The Hanse is there because it's going to sacrifice it's remaining barrels to make my two Gauss Rifles ...

Now the right torso cannon I just replaced the AC-20 with the end of the Hanse's gun. For the new left torso one, I had to remember that the LRM-10 was still mounted - unlike the 11-C2, where the LRM was dropped. So I couldn't stick the barrel on the LRM box; with the legs as they were, nor could I mount it under. I could have put it on the side, but felt it'd get in the way of the arm. So ... upper surface, it is!



As you can see, I cut the barrel back so it'd point forward enough to look good. I then filled the small gap with putty, again scraping off the excess ...

.

While giving this several minutes for the glue to set, I grabbed a handy nu-plastic Awesome, sliced under the foot & at the knee on the right leg. In this case I did slice the top of the lower leg at an angle, so it would go back raised; the existing bend in the left leg means it's got a nice "chugging along" look:



And here they are, all ready for priming!





I can't say this enough. Plastic minis are so easy to modify! Yes, I realise it seems pretty daunting for a first-timer. If you want, just start with the knife and superglue. Just slice an arm off at the shoulder, and aim the weapons forward. Or slice at the waist, for a torso twist. Then go on to separating & swinging a leg up.

Doing these simple things makes the mini uniquely yours. There are many Cyclopses out there, but this is mine. It's a great feeling to look at something which was otherwise a little disappointing, which you've made your own.

Modding metal is hard. it's doable, but you need to devote more time, more effort, and invest in the right tools. If that appeals, then please post pics of your creations here! But in the meantime, for those who've got the plastics, and are thinking about how they'd do something with them ... give it a go! Post pics, ask questions here. But mainly share pics O0

Cheers,

W.

* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

pheonixstorm

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #1 on: 11 August 2016, 05:02:58 »
You can also heat up the plastic with hot water to make it even easier to deal with. As a bonus you can sometimes just heat up the plastic and bend it into the position you want. Just be careful you don't stretch it out.

jimdigris

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #2 on: 11 August 2016, 06:33:43 »
Well done. O0
I did the same with my metal ones using a dremel tool.  It was not a pleasant process.

Xiwo Xerase

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #3 on: 11 August 2016, 15:12:05 »
Thank you for reposting this!

You make this seem easy (and I'm sure it is with a little practice).  I hope to try it soon.

ogre

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #4 on: 11 August 2016, 15:20:33 »
SO much better than the static pose.  Really nice work!
When in doubt, take it out.

worktroll

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #5 on: 11 August 2016, 18:07:39 »
Thanks (again!) for the kind words!

Xiwo Xerase, I look forward to seeing pictures.

The simplest mods are arms - if you can slice cleanly at the shoulders, then it's trivial to glue them back on in a new pose. You don't need to pin - just score the surfaces lightly with the tip of your knife; this helps the glue hold.

Legs are next. Many minis have one leg straight, and one slightly bent (like the Awesome). Slice at the knee, and under the foot; remove a small wedge at the top of the knee; reglue (often pinning will be useful, but the Awesome in the Dai Da Chi thread is just glued), and you've got a runner/walker. This, combined with a torso twist, suddenly opens the whole thing up and makes it look so much more dynamic.

Was it you mentioning the Dragon in the other post? The left arm can be easily reposed at the shoulder, cutting right next to the torso. The right arm is a little more problematical. You can slice at the torso and repose it pointing forward, but I'm more taken by recent Dragon art showing an elbow on that arm. Slicing it about a quarter of the way down, then pinning it back with a bend, will look good - alternatively, if you have a source of bitz, look for alternative cannon.

W.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Ryumyo

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #6 on: 11 August 2016, 22:33:32 »
Worktroll, what an excellent primer to teach someone on how to repose units. The example pics highlight what you're saying. Personally I've never used modeling clay for a filler, must be having better luck with the " green stuff " and the " gray stuff " than you in this area. A wet ( use water ) X-Acto blade can help keep said blade from sticking to the epoxy as it's curing - requires trial and error to get it figured out properly. Like how the Cyclops and Awesome turned out b.t.w..

worktroll

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #7 on: 11 August 2016, 22:46:17 »
Modelling clay is a great filler, and easy to work. It works easily, dries to a hard paintable surface, and it's cheap.

It's poor for structural purposes - while solid, if you glue something to it, it'll often come off with a very thin layer of clay next to the glue. Nor would it take the punishment epoxies would. But when pinning, it's great for the gaps, and as long as you respect its qualities, it's a great cheap answer.

(I do use an exacto blade for 'sculpting' clay, just don't need to wet it ;) )
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Ryumyo

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #8 on: 11 August 2016, 22:55:54 »
Wetting the blade was for epoxy. Wiping the blade clean during sculpting helps remove excess material from it.

Daemion

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #9 on: 12 August 2016, 11:00:03 »
Definitely much better in the running pose.

Nice job, Troll.
It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

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worktroll

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #10 on: 12 August 2016, 20:34:54 »
How easy is it to mod the plastic minis? Let me show you how easy ,,,



9:12am: plastic Hatchetman, three cuts:
- arm sliced down at shoulder.
- foot sliced underneath
- leg sliced at hip (I did the arm first, to make this easier)

Then I scored the surfaces lightly on both sides, applied superglue gel, and



9:15am, one handsome, animated pose Hatchetman!

So then I wanted to do something a little more involved. I picked a plastic Wolfman, and



9:18 he's come to pieces. Arm off first, then waist, then leg. Had to be careful not to cut too much and slice where I didn't want it.



9:20am: couple of minutes with the pin vice, shown, and we're ready to



9:22am, wire clipped and glued into place. You can always cut the wire longer than needed, and trim it back once glued. And then,



9:25am: leg pulled back, torso twisted slightly to the left, and arm pulled back, and we've got that classic "firing to the side" we all practiced in MW2 & subsequent games!

Not bad for 15 minutes work.

W.


« Last Edit: 13 August 2016, 00:16:02 by worktroll »
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

pheonixstorm

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #11 on: 12 August 2016, 23:42:56 »
Images aren't showing up for me.

worktroll

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #12 on: 13 August 2016, 00:16:30 »
Working now? Sorry!
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

ijewett

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #13 on: 13 August 2016, 03:15:21 »
I have to agree, the plastics are great for dynamic poses.

pheonixstorm

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #14 on: 13 August 2016, 04:35:18 »
Working now WT, thanks  O0

Xiwo Xerase

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Re: Chop shop! Reposing a plastic Cyclops (reposted)
« Reply #15 on: 15 August 2016, 11:52:40 »
Xiwo Xerase, I look forward to seeing pictures.
I'll have them!  (Although they might not be the greatest...)

My current obstacle is that I don't know if I have anything for pinning right now.  (I might have access to floral wire.  Otherwise it might be picture hanging wire or ordering something online.)

Was it you mentioning the Dragon in the other post?
It was.

One of my concerns with moving the Dragon's arm at the shoulder was that the shoulder isn't round.  Based on the art included in the article on sarna.net, it looks like the arm moves but the shoulder plate doesn't.  But then, this morning, I realized it wasn't that important.

I agree that the right arm will look better with an elbow.  (And according to the record sheet, there's a lower arm actuator so there should be one.)  I don't have any bits so I'll have to cut the existing arm.

 

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