Creating a custom Transformers action figure allows you to make a toy that gives life to your imagination. Construct an obscure character overlooked by toy companies, or revamp an old classic. Modify a favourite to more closely resemble its on-screen counterpart, or build one from scratch. Pick the size, select modes, design transformation and add colours or accessories. Customisation allows you to showcase creative skills while filling a void in your collection.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Toy parts
- Mini saw or rotary tool
- Power drill
- Drill bits
- Super glue
- Metal file
- Wire cutters
- X-Acto knife
- Acrylic paint
- Acrylic clear top coat
- Fine-tipped paint brush
- Painter's tape
- Airbrush compressor and nozzle
Select a character, and find existing parts for your design by browsing online auctions, yard sales or flea markets.
Draw a layout for how you will assemble your Transformer's parts and accessories.
Place the parts together without attaching to make sure they fit and move as intended. This may require several attempts. Return to the previous steps and get replacement parts if necessary.
Design a paint scheme.
Cut parts with a hand-held rotary tool or mini saw with a fine-toothed blade. Clip using small wire cutters or use an X-acto knife in areas where a saw will not fit.
File rough edges with a metal file.
Attach accessories with super glue prior to painting, because painted surfaces do not allow the glue to stick.
Apply painter's tape to cover areas you're not painting.
Paint using an airbrush, and use a fine-tipped brush for details.
Apply a clear, water-based acrylic coat to protect the paint.
Modifying and Painting
Drill small screw holes for attaching parts.
Fasten parts permanently by using ball joints for moving parts and screws or super glue for fixed parts.
Test the movement of your Transformer's parts to ensure free range of motion and proper fit.
Tips and warnings
- Some characters have very specific features. The ability to create a toy with those features depends on the availability of parts, materials and tools.
- Use an existing Transformer toy to simplify the project and become familiar with the process.
- Modify model vehicles made of lightweight plastic as a shell for toys with a vehicle mode.
- Use internal parts or limbs that have ball joints for a greater range of motion, enabling the figure to actually transform.
- Boil soft plastic to reshape it.
- Apply multiple, thin coats with your airbrush to eliminate drips, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next. Paint before assembly whenever possible to avoid excessive taping or painting around difficult areas. Be flexible between assembly and painting; some parts may have to be assembled before painting.
- Start at the core, and work your way outward when connecting parts unless other objects must be connected first.
- Drill screw holes slightly smaller than the screw.
- To connect areas that cannot be fastened with screws or glued on the surface, follow a post hole method. Cut a short, thin plastic or metal rod. Drill a hole slightly larger than the rod's diameter in each object being joined. Fill the holes with super glue, place an end of the rod in each hole, and press the objects together until the glue is dry.
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