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!


  1. Wow! The best diy article written so far :D. Now, i appreciate the final product in every little detail possible.

    The spill over of transparent resin on the shield, it can't be just a cutting off of the spilled edges right? Do you polish the edges using fine sandpaper?

    Making of compound eye part is really fun to read! Double thumb up for the good description & pictorial guide. Now, i'm going back to part 1 and read from top again :D.

    1. heeey thanks dude, you win the Most Comment Award at the moment ahaha!

      The spill over of transparent putty actually just need some cutting using your blade. When its dried for a day, its quite hard and cut quite smoothly if you have a sharp enough blade. For example, an Olfa blade works wonders and cut into almost any materials seamlessly. They are also very hard to find ;p

      For the compound eyes I have found a better way to make it without the risk of discoloration or fogging :D I need to buy some clear putty to experiment on it when I am finally free

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  3. Hmm ... the Alternative Zero belt buckle part, you cut it off from your original epoxy putty shield and place in the oyumaru mold. Then you fill up wing each wing with clear resin. Is that belt buckle replicated separately like the wing too?

    I saw a replicated belt buckle from one of your photo attached to the wings.

    1. ah good observation haha. Im afraid I skip on a bit of description over there and you spotted it ;p I made the shield with the original Alternative Zero belt buckle first but it turned out to be not very satisfactory. So, I redo another one. The Alternative Zero by now has been stuck firmly on the first shield and removing it might damage the entire shield. So instead of removing the actual buckle, I used putty and stuff them onto the oyumaru resin mold to create a putty centre and then filled the sides of the oyumaru resin mold with clear putty. This way I still end up with a detailed centre and those side vents and buckles on the shield has better edgy-ier details. So if you look at that photo of the 3 shields, the full putty one was the main template, the one with the original Alternative Zero buckle was the 1st attempt and the one with Putty centre is the 2nd Attempt :)