Saturday, 26 April 2014

Tutorial Custom SIC Hyper Zabee / Hornet Part 2

All riigghhhtt by this time you would have gotten over some of the more challenging parts of the customs. However, the most challenging workstreams have yet to come! One of them being the making of Hyper Zabee's shield! But before we go to the shield part, lets have a look at THE most complicated (but not very challenging) part which is modding the Head

The Head Mod

For the head, you will need a couple of materials namely Kabuto Cast off Armor helmet and a Garren faceplace. You can always choose not to use these materials and do your own sculpt but I believe in using whatever spare materials at hand to hasten the custom process.

First thing is to cut Punchhopper's head up. Cut off his eyes, those fin-like sculpt at the sides of his head and that horn at his forehead.

Now thats done, cut the sides of a Garren's faceplate like the photo below.

For the Kabuto castoff armor helmet, you will need to cut those wire-like sculpt together with that panel that attached to the wire off. You will also need to cut off it's antennas (but these won't be used for the head but rather zabee's shield).

Once all the cutting and stuff are done, make approximate measurement of where to place those sideplates of garren's head and punchhopper's horn on punchhopper's head i.e. like so:
Notice from the photo above, when you cut off punchhopper's eyes you will find that there is a large hole in the centre of punchhopper's head. Do NOT cover the hole up with putty. It will make the head very heavy. Rather, use other materials to cover it up. For my case i used some unwanted resin bits and pieces ad I stuff it into the whole and secured them with some putty at the sides.

After that i cover the whole mess up with putty like so:

Now that we have an approximate shape of a proper head in place already, its time to gauge where the eyes should be etc. I used a pen and draw on the face to mark where the eyes should be, like so:

Once thats done, I added some more putty right on his forehead and along the top of his head. When the putty is about 1 hour dried, I push Garren's side plates on it to make imprints of where the sideplate will connect to the head. Those imprinted holes will be used later to connect the Garren sideplates on to the head securedly with glue.

The imprint can be seen on the photo below. Also you will notice that i started shaping out the eyes on the head too:

Now test the Kabuto castoff head part on the punchhopper head. Also notice I have started adding more sculpt on the top of his head, making bee-like metal-looking armor on the top of his head. Also notice I have glued in punchhopper's horn to the back of his head. This will act as an extension to add in an antenna:

Antenna added, its held together by super glue and putty:

I then added more detail on his forehead by sculpting out a gundam-like vent in front of his forehead. That vent is to house that signature 3 red dot of zabee's.

At this time I also started testing out making transparent eyes for him. I used oyumaru resin to create molds for his eyes. I then cut out the putty eyes from punchhopper's head. Using clear putty, I cast a couple of eyes and test it on punchhopper's head. I had to do this 3 times as the eyes didnt turn out well :(

While making several clear eyes (which took 3 days since each pair of eyes takes 1 night to dry properly), I created compound effect on the surface where the eyes should be on punchhopper's face. I used putty to make it and the lines are formed by sliding my blade over the putty repeated. You can also create other type of compound eyes by using toothpicks to poke holes on the putty or if you have anything that has some patterns on it, push that thing on the putty to form patterns (make sure that thing is properly wet with water first to prevent it from sticking on the putty).

Now that I have a proper pair of eyes, I colored it clear yellow and tried it on punchhopper's face, looks cool. By now I have also glued Garren's side place on the head and extended the 'wing-like' shape they produce using putty (I have a skeleton wire underneath the putty to make sure that extended part don't crack easily). I have also glued in Kabuto castoff helmet part plus made some sculpts around it. See photo below:

I color those compound eye effect putty with metallic yellow before gluing on the clear eyes over them.

I then carefully use small amounts of super glue and put them on those extra surface of clear putty around the eyes and attach the clear eyes on the head. You must not put too much super glue on it as the drying process of the super glue heats some everything around it and will fog the clear putty up causing it to turn slightly opaque.  Next I need to paint the clear eyes as well with clear yellow.

Ok, here's the part where i made one of the biggest mistake of this custom. I was painting the surface of the eyes with clear yellow. While I was doing that I didn't realise those clear yellow paint was seeping into cracks between the clear eye and the head and these clear yellow paint seeped into the compound eye putty surface causing distortion of colors as seen on the photo below!

Oh yea, referring to the photo above, you will notice I have also glued some red rubber wires on the bottom back of his head as added details. I got those wires from one of mcfarlane robots.

And thats how my left eye looked kinda spoiled wtih some orange color-like discoloration :( I made I didnt make the same mistake while painting clear yellow on the right clear eye.

Final touch on the head would be that 3 red dot on his forehead. Earlier one, I have sculpted a hexagonal hole on his forehead. How I did this is to hollow out putty from the hexagonal surface by carefully cutting out small pieces of putty using my blade until i created a nice hexagon hole on it. Make sure to cut as deep as possible. Now, use very small amount of putty and form 3 very small globes. You may want to make more than 3 just in case you made their size incorrectly. Next, let the forehead sculpt dry completely first. Take a toothpick and cut one of the pointy head surface to created a flat surface to be used later.

Once everything is dried, use a very small amount of putty and insert it into the hexagon hole. Use that flattened edge toothpick and push those putty into the hole and create a flat area in that hexagon hole. Next use a twister or a pincer carefully pick up those very small putty globes you made earlier and place them one by one into that undried putty surface in the hexagon hole to form that 3 red dot on zabee's forehead. The result should look like the one below:

Let everything dry and thats it :) This head sculpt itself took about 6 days to complete due to the compound eyes and adding details after each putty drying sessions. What I am trying to point out is, making custom is not as simple as some may think and it takes a lot of time, most of them isn't from sculpting sessions but more on waiting and waiting for putty or paint to dry ;p So it is very beneficial if you schedule your sculpting sessions around your own private and work timetable.

Hive Shield mod

Here comes another experimental workstream that I have never tried before. Making something using clear putty on a large scale i.e. making the clear Hive Shield for Hyper Zabee!

First thing to do is to make the shield itself using putty before replicating it using clear putty and oyumaru resin.

Draw the shield design on a thin plastic sheet. Use Alternative Zero's belt buckle as the main design in the middle of the shield like so:

Next glue a metal wire on the longish side of the shield to hold the plastic sheet in place. Fill that surface with the metal wire glued on with putty like so:

Remember those antenna you cut off from the Kabuto Hyper armor helmet? They can be used here as design for the shield like so. Since there are only 2 of those antenna, you will need to replicate 2 more using putty via a oyumaru resin mold:

Now add some small designs like these vent-like sculpts on the longish part of the shield and those buckle like design on the short-ish part of the shield like the photo below. Next use a pen and start drawing those hive-like design on the shield surface like so:

Now, using a Line engraver, cut lines as per your penned hive design like so:

Once you have completed the line cuttings for the hive design, use oyumaru resin to create a mold like so:

Now to cast a new replica shield using clear putty. Here you need to be very careful with how you use the clear putty. Clear putty dry alot faster than normal epoxy putty. They can be fully dried within half hour or so (but it is a MUST that you let the clear putty dry for at least a full 24 hours so that the surface won't feel sticky to the touch). The second thing you need to know about clear putty is that it is in liquid form and it flows where gravity pulls it so you need to know how to position your mold to allow the clear putty to flow to the area you wanted and not congregate in the area you dont want it to.
The best way to do a large scale replica using clear putty is to do it in stages. I cut off the Alternative Zero belt buckle from the original epoxy putty shield and place it on the oyumaru resin mold. Next I start filling the oyumaru resin mold with clear putty. I did this by filling up each sides of the shield one at a time. The reason is it is hard to mix the clear putty for its hardening chemical process in large quantity without causing bubbles in the clear putty. So I mix up smaller quantity of these clear putty and drop them on each sides of the shield. Once the clear putty on one side of the shield hardens in about 10 minutes or so so that it doesnt flow over to the other sides, I mix a new batch of clear putty and drop it on another side of the shield. This process repeats until i filled up all 4 sides of the shield like so:

Let the clear putty shield dry for at least one full day before removing it from the oyumaru resin mold. I made a mistake on my first try as there were some areas of the shield where my clear putty didn't fill up properly and there were areas where bubbles formed without me knowing it. Its really hard to see when the clear putty is clear and the oyumaru resin being in a color that makes it hard to see bubbles or other stuff formed on it until its dry and you pull it out to inspect.

I have to redo the shield and the result is as per the photo below.

Note that the edges of the shield have residue clear putty that has overflowed. Once the clear putty has dried properly you can cut off this overflowed residue away.

Now to tackle the shield's empty back. To add some details to it plus to make the surface smoother (those clear putty runs everywhere and they don't dry in a smooth surface sometimes), I used plastic sheets to cover up most of the surface on the shield's back like so. I also drilled some "bolt-holes" on the plastic sheets as added details using my diamond drill:

The result of the final shield will look like the photo below after i properly attached those antennas on the shield. Those antennas have metal wires within to strengthen themselves and the bond between antennas and shield. Use putty to shore up any irregularities on the design due to poor castings and then let everything dry. Once its dry color a layer of clear yellow on the hive-design part of the shield AND a super metallic silver layer at the back of the entire shield (you may need to color at least 2 layers of the silver paint to make sure its fully opague at the back of the shield). I cut up punchhopper's hand weapon thingie to get that peg thingie and glue it on the shield's back in the middle to act as a connector between the shield and punchhopper's right hand. And you are done for now :)

Watch out for Part 3 of the tutorial in a week's time!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Tutorial Custom SIC Hyper Zabee / Hornet Part 1

Awhile back I have been asked to make a Hyper Form custom from the Kabuto series and I thought it would be nice to make a Hyper Zabee.

And the whole custom actually took a little more than 3 weeks! One of the longest custom ever but then it was more because I was tied down with other stuff. Having said that, I did intend to take more time making this as I want it to turn out at least an ok custom. As it turns out, I think he's just ok with some hits and some misses, I'll let you be the judge as I post the complete version photo gallery at the end of this tutorial (which will stretch to probably 4 parts due to its complexities and multiple workstreams).

To start off the custom, I would like to state down the special materials you need (aside from the usual such as epoxy putty, blade, water, paint, clear putty, oyumaru resin etc etc). You will need:
1) A Punch hopper figure (you are free to use other kabuto figures if you like really so long it has  standalone shoulder pad joints)
2) A Hyper Kabuto Hyper chest armor
3) A spare Kabuto belt (for those square connectors on its sides, or you can replicate them instead)
4) An SIC Alternative Zero belt (you can forgo this if you want, explained in later part of the tutorial)
5) A Kabuto cast off armor helmet
6) A kabuto blade
7) A pair of Kabuto wings
8) A gundam shield (mainly for the holder but again you can use other materials to replace this)
9) A candy toy armored core figure (this is also elective, I used this to make this giant Perfect Stinger, you can always use other parts to make his stinger, for example, cut up a Perfect Zecter and reform it into a stinger)
10) A gundam laser beam sword
11) Some gundam leftover sprues (I always use these as connectors)
12) Some rubber wires and an antenna from Macfarlane robot (again an elective, you can replace these with other easier to find stuff)

The very first thing I did was to draw out a rough sketch of how I wanted Hyper Zabee to be. And the result is as you can see below except that the actual custom didn't exactly came out looking like it ;p oh well Here's a comparison as requested by WalauWei :)
1) Belt mod
First thing to do is a simple one, add some stuff on his belt. Punch hopper's belt doesnt come with those side squarish connector thingie. So you have to add them on. I cut those part from a spare half kabuto belt I have lying around. Then I cut grooves into punchhopper's belt for those square thingie. See photo below.

I then glue those square connectors onto Punchhopper's belt. The other thing to do is to cut that half ZECT logo from punchhopper's belt buckle and reglue it back facefront. See photo below.

You will need to sculpt the remaining lower half of the logo using putty. Real easy, just slap a piece of putty on the lower half side and smoothen it as a surface for the lower half of the logo.

Let that dry then slap very small piece of putty to form the edges and the lower half of the ZECT logo. To obtain those sharp putty edges, wait for 2-3 hours to let the putty dry more before carving 90degree edges with your blade on them (and removing the unwanted putty parts). The results will be as below:

2) Front armor mod

One of the main workstream is the front armor mod.

First thing to do is cut off punchhopper's front armor leaving only a pair of small piece of armor that connects to the shoulder pad joint and the back armor. Replace the front armor with Hyper Kabuto chest armor (cut Hyper Kabuto chest armor's top part enough to prevent hindrance and prevent the Hyper Kabuto chest armor to fully connected with Punchhopper's body).

Now here comes the more complicated part. You need to resculpt his Hyper Chest armor into a more bee-like design. First thing I did was to cut up Hyper Kabuto chest piece like the photo below:

I then need to add putty details on it. Before I add the putty on it, I used transparent food wrappers to protect the  inner piece of the chest armor so that the putty wont stick on that and only on the moveable upper chest pieces.

Now how to sculpt very 90degree edgy armors using putty is a matter of timing your cuttings on the putty and you will achive such details as seen on the photo below:

First thing is to slap a crude piece of putty on the upper moveable chest pieces first like on the photo below (I didnt snap a photo between sculptings of the top chest sculpt so I'll show the 2nd chest sculpt instead). It doesn't matter if the putty overflows at the sides as you can cut these off later. What is important is the top surface will need to be smoothen out as you won't be cutting the top surface, only the sides. So shape the top surface as smooth as you can and to the angle you wanted it to be. Let the putty dry for about 2 to 3 hours MAX. Remember to remove the plastic food wrapper.

By now the putty has harden to a state that it is not TOO hard that you can't cut it with your blade and not TOO soft that when you cut it, the putty shape become distorted or bent to the cuttings you are making. This make it very easy to cut sharp edges on the putty.

First cut the sides into the shape you wanted. Thats the easy part. Make sure you make one-off straight cuts, this ensure that the side surfaces are just as smooth.

The slightly harder part is to form those very sharp grooves you find at the edge of the surface of the putty. They are actually easier to sculpt that you think. Just very slowly and carefully use your blade and cut horizontally just a little below the surface of the putty. Do it in a sawing motion and cut only less than 1mm into the putty. Next cut vertically onto the surface of the putty at the edge of the top surface. Again cut less than 1mm into the putty. By now the edge of the 2 cuts you made would meet and that part of the putty you have cut off will fall off leaving you with a very nice very small line of groove along the edge of the putty surface. Do this all around the edge of the putty surface to form the shape seen below:

Repeat the process above to form the lower part of the chest sculpt. See photo below:

Remove the transparent food wrapper and let all your putty sculpt dry completely. Now to add designs on the chest sculpt. Use some pen or liner to draw the design you wanted on the chest piece like so:

Use a line engraver to carve those linings out like so:

And there you have it a completely different Hyper Chest for Hyper Zabee which is also removeable and poseable (thanks to those transparent food wrappers):


3) Back and Wings

I would love to resculpt a different more bee-like wings for him but I have ran clean out of clear putty and I have a spare Kabuto wings handy so I'll settle for that.

First thing to do is to drill 2 holes onto punchhopper's back armor. Use your blade to cut further into the edge of the drilled holes. This is to allow the back armor to fit in socket joints. I am talking about those ball/socket joints you can find on HLJ website. Real handy to make connections between stuff and allow movements too. Glue the socket pieces into the hole like so:

Next you need to mod a bit the ball joint. Cut the ball out of the double ball joint like so:

Use a handdrill and drill a hole in the ball. Use a pair of pliers to hold the ball steady while you drill it. Remember to use your blade to mark down the spot where you wanted to drill. It makes the drilling more steady that way too.

Next cut the connector on the wings to make it smaller so that it can be wedged into the hole on the ball joint.

Super glue the ball joint onto the wings.

After the glue has dried, add another layer of super glue on top of the first and let it dry again. Lastly, add a layer of putty between the ball joint and the wings as added connection.

Cut off punch hopper's horns on his shoulder pads. Connect the other ball joints and glue it onto those horns. They will act as something to block out those ugly socket holes when the wings are not being put on the back.
Test the wings. Make sure to glue the ball joint very securedly onto the wings otherwise it might be pulled out and get stuck on the sockets on the back of the body.

Now cut off those 'wing-like' sculpt from punchhopper's head. Glue that onto the wings as additional details for them. Add more putty details on the wings as well like so:
Those bolt hole designs you see on the putty sculpt are created by that diamond drill. Just power on the drill and press the tip onto the putty (when its dried!) and let it stay there for a while and it will produce those neat little round holes.

It should look like this when its done:

All right! Thats it for part 1 of the tutorial!! See you all again in the next part in a week's time!!