Category Archives: Toy Conversions

The Force Awakens Millenium Falcon Conversion

This Millenium Falcon model was started back in early April shortly after we moved to our new studios. It started as a the Hasbro Rebels Millenium Falcon sold in the US exclusively at Walmart stores. In case you didn’t know, this Millenium Falcon came with little play value as a toy. It is pretty much a chunk of plastic with details halfway and the rest represented as peel-and-stick decals.

This one measure almost 29” inches. That’s 3” less than the Millenium Falcon prop built for Episode V ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ The side wall are adorned with leftover parts accumulated over the years from tanks and other artillery model kits. Some of you might remember a post of the 3D printed engine grilles posted a few months ago. There’s a plethora of 3D printed parts should you decide to start this build which I consider to be a very fun and rewarding one.

Check 308bits store at Shapeways.com for 3D printed upgrades for this Falcon and any other versions of the Falcon of your choice.

The base color used to paint this Millenium Falcon was Tamiya Insignia White AS-20, Model Master Acryl Red Insignia and various shades of Tamiya XF’s grays. A water based wash was made with Apple Barrel 21490E ”Pavement” and ”Brown Oxide” 20511E. These are easy to find paints from the craft store. They were mixed 50/50 and diluted with around 80% water (8/2). The blast marks are mostly with the Aztek A-470 airbrush using the fine detail ‘Tan’ Nozzle, earth and gray tone pastels. Everything then was sealed with Testors Dullcote.

3mm, 5mm and fiber optic was used to light it up and runs on either 9v battery or 12v AC adapter.

 

Note from the Author

I hope you can enjoy this conversion as well as the movie. If you have any questions, I prefer you contact me on the comments section below. If you do on Facebook it might take longer to get back to you.

May the Force be with You!

UPDATE: More pictures

Customized 6” Black Series Captain Phasma

Captain Phasma’s name is derived from the 1979 horror film Phantasm; Phasma’s chrome armor reminded J.J. Abrams of the film’s antagonist, a murderous silver sphere. Phasma was first revealed in the second teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens on April 16, 2015. On May 4, 2015, it was confirmed that Phasma will be portrayed by Gwendoline Christie.

Phasma I named because of the amazing chrome design that came from Michael Kaplan’s wardrobe team. It reminded me of the ball in Phantasm, and I just thought, Phasma sounds really cool.
―J.J. Abrams, on naming Phasma

With all the Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens hype, I thought it was nice to share a basic conversion on an already popular-yet-mysterious character. This is the 6” Black Series Captain Phasma from Hasbro. I had a very hard time to track one down up here in MN. Luckily during my recent vacation in Puerto Rico I was able to score this one in a nearby K-Mart (out of all places).

After getting back home I did place the figure in boiling water for around 1 minute -I have done this plenty of times-. This softens the plastic and make the removal of limbs easier. In this case, I removed only the head of the figure.  That way I had a place to hold the figure steadily with a metal clip.  As seen on the picture below, I used Alclad2 Chrome. I always use Alclad’s native enamel Glos Black base. Because I wanted make this as quick as possible plus the temperature up here in Minnesota is dropping fast requiring longer curing time for enamels, I decided to use Tamiya’s synthetic lacquer instead. After the lacquer cured, I proceeded to give the figure a coat of Alclad2’s Chrome at around 25 PSI in a very fine mist manner using my Aztek A470.

ALCLAD2 TIP
ALCLAD 2 TIP: Many folks complain about having issues with Alclad2 ”crisping up” (for the lack of a better word) on certain areas when using their colors especially ”Chrome or Polished Aluminum”. That’s the reason why I use higher PSI’s and spray fine mists instead of heavy coats. The reason why your Alclad2 coat ‘crisp up’ or orange peel is because Alclad2 is Lacquer based thus very ”hot” for your base color. Ad the fact that your spraying a heavy coat on an enamel or Acrylic base and you have a recipe for disaster.

Now, Alclad2 is a very strong media but personally I don’t like to over handle it. I sanded off some seam lines on the legs armor and also did cut the head ball joint in three different places with an exacto knife. It ended up basically as a triangle with round edges. This made the refit of the helmet a lot easier without loosing articulation or overall integrity on the figure. Because I had ”chrome” over-spray all over the figure, I repainted the whole body glove suit with a regular brush using Vallejo 70.950 Black.

That’s all for now and hope you like it. I clocked around 2.5 hours doing this.
May the force be with you, always…

The Force Awakens Remote Control BB-8

This is not a model kit related entry nor I believe it will be the last. With every day getting us closer to Star Wars the Force Awakens, it is hard to resist to the latest droid addition to the Star Wars universe. I’m talking about the sought after BB-8 droid and this is remote controlled. As you can see from the picture of the box, this little fella is Target Exclusive offering here in the United States. It does operates with 4 AA -LR-6- batteries and 2 AAA on the remote control unit.

After installing the fourth battery on the receiver unit, BB-8 came to life with its FX sounds. There’s no ON/OFF switch so I’m assuming that after some time of inactivity, the droid will enter a rest mode. The main body has an arrow on each half to enclose the motor unit and will remain locked once this 2 halves are turned clockwise.  That’s when my disappointment began: First, the FX sound will be opaqued by the main body shell. There are openings for the FX sound, but this openings will be rotating as the droid moves around.  Add to that the expected sound from the motor moving the droid around, and the FX sounds will hardly be audible.

The head of the BB-8 droid is held in place by 2 magnets
-see picture below.- There are no LED lights on the upper head. I thought of this before hand and even considered adding an blue LED with a standalone LED powered with a button battery. It can be done very quick and easy and I have the parts needed handy in my studio to achieve this.

My deception continued after seeing the droid working. It moves a little slower than I thought. The movement while I wouldn’t say is erratic, I’d confidently say that it is simply not fluid. I did notice a little bit of that even on the real prop shown at Celebration. But with this toy is more notable.

I don’t want to trash the toy completely. I know that this is still technology in development. Kudos for trying this in a toy. But for my hard earned cash, *I* do feel that the retail price for the R/C BB-8 is a bit steep for why I got in the box. In my very subjective opinion and in the words of old Ben Kenobi, this is not the droid I’m looking for.

Note from the Author
I look forward to seeing an affordable BB-8 in the 18” line where I can take care of the lighting and FX sound myself. If I had to name a fair price for this R/C BB-8 droid it would be more a $39.99 price tag.
$79.99 is simply too much.

3D Printed Engine Vents for Hasbro’s Millenium Falcon

Here I am with my building plate full as in the buffet line and still I want to add more to it. Almost a month ago I started to work on a conversion of the Millenium Falcon ‘Hero’ offered only at Walmart this past holiday season. I burnt this particular toy back when it first hit the shelves on my personal Facebook page in a relentless rant about it. As I previously mentioned, this Millenium Falcon has absolutely no play value. Out of the box kids can only pretend they are flying it by and rotate the radar dish. That’s it! Besides that, this toy can also be another junk in your kids closet most likely to be sold during next year’s garage sale.

But dumb me that didn’t noticed as other did before me the great potential this Falcon has. It measures 29” inches. That’s 3” inches less that the current offering from DeAgostini’s 32” studio scale Millenium Falcon installments kit. While this piece of hollow polypropylene is in no way a match for DeAgostini’s offering, with some TLC and some people in the know producing upgrade parts can make this toy really shine.

So this is the case with the parts I received yesterday. By the way, this is the second shipment from Shapeways. If you never heard of Shapeways, click here to see how 3D printing is rapidly changing the ball game in the model building hobby and after market industry.

As with the first shipment, Shapeways goes the the whole 9 yards to ensure that your order will arrive safe. The picture below shows the bubble wrap that formed a cocoon and this wrap came wrapped in more air pads. So I could say that even Ace Ventura kicking the hell out this box while delivering it will keep your goods safe. As with the first item that I ordered, the detail on the 3D printing is absolutely amazing. I originally thought that the exhaust vents for the Millenium Falcon was going to be detailed but solid. Never I imagined that the level of current quality from 3D prints could deliver such fine and intricate detail. Yes, as you can see on the picture below the vents are hollow -see-thru-. After the pictures were taken, I noticed some printing residue on my 32” screen monitor but an old soft tooth brush and soapy slightly warm water took care of that.

These parts are 3D printed in frosted ultra detail with a clear matte finish that allows the printer to reproduce the fine details from the original 3D rendering. These upgrade parts are made by seller TonyRR and he has a plethora of upgrade parts for this project, DeAgostini’s Falcon, MPC, Revell, Fine Molds and other Sci-Fi subjects. His catalog is growing rapidly so if you are sci-fi builder, you might want to check out his store at Shapeways.

Note from the Author
I’m sold with 3D printed aftermarket parts.
My sincere thanks to Antonio ‘TonyRR’ Regidor AKA 308bits at Shapeways for the review sample.

General Grievous Starfighter Model

Well, not exactly a model kit, but one of my personal toy conversions and this time I present you General Grievous star ship from Hasbro. Many toys from Hasbro are coming with a descent amount of details at least on the hull. Have in mind that these are just toys so look at them accordingly. But I’ve seen beautiful conversions on many Star Wars and Star Treks toys. So a little while ago I decided to put my hands on one of these conversions myself and from a movie that I will have fond memories of for years to go.

The starship toy from Hasbro, was literally taken apart. It was painted in Gun Metal from Dupli-Color. All the landing gear wells were sealed off with .20 styrene stock and the cockpit colors were changed to more vivid as well as weathered. The last step was a wash of very thinned black acrylic, a dry brush of enamel Model Master Steel and sealed with Testors Dullcote.

Hasbro V-19 Torrent Starfighter

The V-19 Torrent manufactured by Slayn & Korpi is an assault fighter with exceptional speed and maneuverability. Widely used by the Republic during the Clone Wars, the V-19 was unique in that it had folding airfoils that gave the ship added maneuverability and was armed with two blaster cannons and two concussion missile launchers.

Among many of the Star Wars universe of vehicles, the V-19 Torrent Starfighter is one of my favorites. The new Revell Snap-Tite is rather small and very flat in terms of details. The whole Star Wars Snap-Tite line from Revell, reminds me of the now defunct Action Fleet from Galoob Toys which years ago I used to collect.

The pictures here present the V-19 Torrent Starfighter from Hasbro. I decided to do a few tweaks by adding some dings and dents from space battles, eliminating the landing gear wells and repainting and weathering what out-of-the-box is a too ”clean” representation of the famous starfighter from Clone Wars.

Enjoy the pictures, I hope you like my version of the V-19 Torrent.

Star Wars Escape Pod model

This is an improved version of a famous Star Wars vehicle in episode IV. Many Star Wars fan don’t realize that this vehicle is responsible of transporting not only R2-D2 and C-3PO. It also transported us the audience to a world far far away. Thanks to the Escape Pod, WE all arrived to Tatooine, and got a glimpse of a sandy hot and harsh planet orbiting 2 suns. So basically, the Escape Pod is our vehicle to coolest adventure and symbol of pop culture ever. If only a plastic model making company could see the role of this vehicle and release a nice 1:1 model kit of the Escape Pod.

This is nothing but an off-the-shelf toy from Hasbro released back in 2002. I took the toy apart and painted it completely, I added some styrene plates to the toy and 5 LDS. 4 LDS were used for the trusters and one is loose inside to provide some light on te pod’s window. All LEDs are fed by 2 AAA batteries. I used Acryl Light Ghost Gray to paint and weathered it with Acryl Rust diluted with water. I hope you like it!

Imperial AT-ST Walker from Hasbro

Also known as a “chicken walker” because of its shape and walking motion, the AT-ST was a heavily armed light ground combat vehicle, and able to trek various environments. It was equipped with a chin-mounted double medium blaster cannon, a concussion grenade launcher on the starboard side of its head, 2 durasteel feet with claws, and a blaster cannon on the port side. It was designed to be a recon hit and run vehicle. It was lighter than its bigger brother the AT-AT walker and could withstand standard blaster fire, but was vulnerable to heavy laser fire and missiles as well as physical attacks to the legs and the side of the head, as seen by the Ewoks destroying AT-ST’s by logs ramming the sides of the heads.

They also could be forced into by species with great physical strength, like a Wookiee; as seen by Chewbacca forcing his way through the top hatch and taking control of the walker. Properly thrown grenades could be thrown into the window hatches, as well.

The chin guns had an effective range of two kilometers and were used for anti-vehicle attacks, while the blaster cannon and grenade launcher provided close-range protection against infantry and light emplacements. AT-STs were piloted by a crew of two drivers.

Note from the Author
Below you will see the pictures of a Hasbro AT-ST modified from the latest Walmart Exclusive release back in 2009.