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 Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine

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PostSubject: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:03 pm

I know I have a few 'proof of concepts' floating around, but this one has been around the longest, and I believe that now is the time to begin, especially since I have everything I need. The initial posts will be picture heavy, as I'll be showing what it is I am doing, along with the pieces I'll be using. From then on out, I figure one picture with a bunch of text per post.

Let's begin, shall we?

I intend to convert a Buzz Lightyear figure into a Warhammer 40k Space Marine. Huh? What?

Here... Buzz Lightyear. Please note the computer keyboard in the background for size.




This, then, is a Space Marine. Notice how small it is?



Now, the similarities are there. Just look at that body armor! What, you don't see it?



I'm not going to post a bunch of pictures of Space Marines. However, I suggest you go to the link below to see some armor, as it may help with the understanding of my next post.

Space Marine Armor

...
Just realized people checking this out would need to be logged in to see the link. For those people, go here > http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Power_Armour#.UJxV0uTLTTU]Space Marine Armor
...


EDIT: Screw it, might as well finish off on this initial post, and then do individuals, ehh?

Okay, here you see everything I need for my project, more or less (no sandpaper, paint)...



The cost of this project? Not as much as one might think.

1. The Buzz Lightyear toy, being the most expensive piece in all this, cost about $1.50 at a local thrift store. I have Buzz damn near dismantled to make my work simpler; it'll be easier to add details to this project in part instead of a whole.
2. The tank cost .99 at Goodwill. This tank comes with four buttons for various sound effects: machine gun fire, cannon boom, missile launch, and all of that plus someone saying "Direct Hit". Coincidentally, Buzz also had four sound activated buttons. I figure a swapping of electronics is in order.
3. The pump and tube, .99 at Goodwill. This was bought for the tube; some Marines have such hoses running diagonally on their armor, and I thought it might look good to cover those purple hash marks running from Buzz' chest to sides. Luckily for me, the tube has two mold lines, making it ideal to cut in half length-wise.
4. Stick of JB SteelStik. A tube costs about $4, maybe $5, depending on where you get it. This is going to be my contour putty, seam filler, and "clay" to sculpt typical Marine features such as skulls, books, purity seals, blah blah blah. Since I already had this stick lying around the home, for the sake of this project, it cost me nothing.
5. Plastic shell. You know the type, it's what the cheap toys come in from those quarter machines. This is going to be used as the frame work for the Space Marine's shoulders. Can cost anywhere from .25 to .75, but since I already have a bunch of these, for the sake of this project, the cost was zero.
6. Cute metal birds. Birdy birdy birdy. These are metal birds. Mmmmm, metal. Some Marines, you may note, have wings across their chest. Cut some wings off, layer them, and afifx to my Marine for a real nice look. Three of these birds (two shown) cost .99 from Goodwill.

Total cost? Between $4.50 and $10.25, minus sandpaper and paint.


In addition to Buzz being dismantled, I already have his electronics removed. I also have clipped a bird's wings. These are going to look really cool on Buzz...



I know, I know, from what I have seen, Marines with wings don't have hoses. This is going to be a matter of visuals when the majority of the project is done. Anyway, I believe this will be a simple build, especially with the extra pieces I've bought. As long as I keep up with it, it shouldn't even take that long. I won't be posting a picture tomorrow, maybe not even Saturday, as the longest process of this build is going to be sanding the paint off of Buzz.

Until then, questions? Comments?

EDIT EDIT: Found this thread to be a bit more informative with the varying Space Marine armors. Better picture quality, too.
Better Armor.

And then there is this last photo, of a green stuff decorated Space Marine. Definitely something for me to consider, as this does look amazing!
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PostSubject: Re: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:04 am

While sitting here busily working, I came across this. Holy shit! I have gained so many ideas for my figure from this article / pictorial. If anything, just give it a once through...

custom Space Marine

AND, as future reference, any links I post as reference I'll stick in this post. Seeing as how this is going to be a picture heavy thread, might as well save on the bandwidth when and where I can, right?

Links posted so far...

Space Marine Armor, detailed
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PostSubject: Re: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:01 pm

POWER ARM

No, not like the power glove of Space Marine fame, but rather a powered arm.

I was trying to determine where to best place the buttons for the sound chip; I very well couldn't utilize the buttons that were located on the chest, due to the fact that the golden wings would be in the way... (not actually glued on, just placed for visual)...


I then thought of placing the buttons on the back of the figure, where the backpack (duh) and wings are, but the more I thought of it, the more I disliked having visual buttons. It would look too much like a toy, and that is something I don't want with this project. And then it came to me: I would have the buttons on the gauntlet; this is perfect as the chip is the same length as the gauntlet. And, because I didn't want this project to look cheesy by having "conduit" running on the outside of the armor for no apparent reason, the wiring would have to be all internal...


All I really needed to do was some sanding (thank goodness for dremel!) and create some holes for the wiring...


A couple hours later, mainly because I had to file and sand and cut a path for the wiring through joint fixtures, all the while maintaining the flexibility of the figure, I had achieved success. Because the original wiring wasn't long enough, I used telephone wiring to make the length (it is of the same thickness, so I wasn't worried about burn-outs)...


I would have loved to show the path I used for the wiring, but it was too much of a pain in the ass to keep the wires in place while holding the camera. Let's just say it worked, and leave it at that, hmm?

Lastly, after doing some sanding to the speaker housing (I'm using the tank's speaker, less splicing that way) because the speaker being used was a wee bit bigger in thickness and in diameter, splicing the phone lines to the sound board, and then soldering the wires to the battery unit...


I performed a successful test! The arm retains all joint movement without hindrance, and the arm is able to move without pulling wiring from either end (shoulder or gauntlet)! Yay me! Now, I will admit that I rather lucked out on this. I was fortunate enough to have acquired a tank that had the same number of buttons as Buzz, so if I had to use the chest, I could have done so by swapping out the chip set. Also, both the tank and Buzz used the same number of batteries, so there wasn't any need to really do any additional wiring.

I have no idea what I'm working on tomorrow; all I know is I really love the head from the custom Space Marine link I provided above, and in order for me to do that, I'm going to need some appropriate wire.
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PostSubject: Re: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:57 pm

Came to the conclusion today that using the JB weld stick for filling in gaps and for general decorations / piece building was going to be an expensive endeavour. I couldn't even tell you how much of one stick I used to blend in and rough shape the gauntlet that has the buttons on it! I can't image making all the skulls and symbols and decorations for the armor with this stuff anymore; the set time is too quick, the putty sticks to the fingertips (unless dipped in water first)... it would just take too long and be too expensive in trying to keep this build simple and cost effective (using stuff commonly found around the house). I'll still use this to fill the seams and screw holes, but for more serious application I've decided to go a different route.

Today I ran to Wal*Mart and picked up a nice sized one pound box of Sculpey Oven Bake Clay for about $8.00. With a bake time of 15 minutes at 275 degrees, I may not necessarily want to put this on the figure before casting it, but at least I'll be able to make what I want without worry; plus, I can always super-glue the piece on. Also, with the Sculpey I keep the over all weight down, which is a big bonus (I swear, the gauntlet tripled in weight, at least!).

But, I think I'm done for the day; not in the mood for modeling (dang kids).
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PostSubject: Re: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:25 pm

@soothsayer wrote:
I may not necessarily want to put this on the figure before casting it, but at least I'll be able to make what I want without worry; plus, I can always super-glue the piece on. Also, with the Sculpey I keep the over all weight down, which is a big bonus (I swear, the gauntlet tripled in weight, at least!).

Correct. Do NOT apply the stuff first and then bake! The plastic won't melt into little globs, but it will deform more than a little. The sculpey has it's down sides, but it doesn't shrink much in the oven... "much" being it's almost unnoticeable to the nekkid eye. Another thing to keep in mind, though I don't think it will be an issue with this project, is thickness. Sculpey items over 1/4 inch thick (or thereabouts), will bake "funny", with the outside getting brittle, and a chance of the insides becoming flaky, which isn't a big deal unless you need to drill, sand, file, or cut the pieces after baking. Also, when you first pull the pieces from the oven after the 15 minutes, they will still be a little pliable!!! Do not bake them until they turn hard... that is over done and the outside will be brittle (probably discolored).

The sculpey website has tons of tips and tricks (the stuff above I never read, but got through trial and errors). Another thing I picked up which may or not not be useful... if you bake on a cookie sheet like they say, your pieces will come out feeling roughly the same (texture) as before baking. BUT, if you bake on a piece of glass (on the cookie sheet for safety), the sculpey in contact with the glass will come out SMOOTH.

No matter what, remember due to texture and consistency after baking (sorta flaky) it's much easier to shape the pieces as close as possible before baking than to rely on carving afterwards.

Oh, and your seals and buttons and the like... it IS possible (and time effective) to make custom molds from sculpey, bake them, then use them to press sculpey into for the official part. I have read of people using water, baby oil, and olive oil to make sure the unbaked sculpey doesn't stick to the baked mold. Might save you some time!

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PostSubject: Re: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:54 am

For a brief moment I was going to toss in the oven a couple Buzz pieces, to see how they could hold up. I know they wouldn't burn or melt, I wanted to see if they could withstand the time duration, especially since this is thicker plastic. But, reality kicked in, and I decided not to go about doing this.

The one thing I am curious about, though, are the shoulder guards. With the plastic 'egg' being cut in half, it won't be quite long enough. *thinking* I was originally going to make a flat piece of JB and just roll it on to give it the length, but as explained above, JB is too costly. Then I was thinking about the Sculpey, but how would I get it to keep shape? Can't put the egg in the oven, as that definitely would warp all ways this side of Tuesday. Put a coffee mug in the oven? No, the diameter is all wrong. But, as I was typing this, I came up with an idea: you know those cheap binders, the ones that are bendy? Cut that and use it!

I still have to figure what I'm going to do tonight. If anything, I'm going to grab one of my bendy binders and begin cutting; I'll also be using this technique for the gauntlet with the buttons (I want to make a shield / buckler out of this arm).
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PostSubject: Re: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:53 pm

Again, checking the sculpey site will be very helpful. Some of the items recommended for holding shapes during baking include such everyday stuff as wood, glass, already baked sculpey, and my personal fave: aluminum foil!! They also recommend foil if you have to model an object thicker than 1/4" because you can shape the foil, put a thin layer of sculpey over it, and bake it with no problems!

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PostSubject: Re: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:00 am

Thought of a way to do the shoulder guards. By cutting a piece of bendy binder in an L shape, I could super glue the bottom of the L to the [cut in half] plastic egg, and then bend the vertical part of the L over so it matches the egg's curve, then glue.

Except, that's a pain in the ass. While struggling with this, I realized I could achieve the same result by cutting a cap from a can of spray paint in half, and just glue the egg on that. Yes, I'll have to add to the width? length? of the pad, but at least I'll have a ticker piece of plastic to work with.

BUT... after figuring all this out, it dawned on me: why the hell am I doing the shoulders? Even if I work it through, I can't apply them as the torso isn't complete. Can't do the torso until I work on the head. This whole build falls onto the head!

So now I am left with a bit of a problem... keep the Buzz Lightyear head as it is, use Buzz' head with some additional modifications, or go all out and make a head?

Opinions please! I'll leave this for a couple days, work on some odds and ends, but seriously... looking for opinions here!
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PostSubject: Re: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:19 pm

Lemme get this straight... your project is at a standstill because you need to get a little head? Suspect

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PostSubject: Re: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:23 pm

Yes, exactly! Nothing gets the juices flowing better... but do you think the missus will go for it? Probably not. Seems only the artist sacrifices for his art...
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PostSubject: Re: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:06 pm

Just a quick add here... that link I provided in the second post? The one with the fully custom Space Marine? Follow this link to see it painted, as well as the other things this guy has done. His giant killer is freaking amazing!

Gallery
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PostSubject: Re: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:01 pm

CONSTRUCTION TIP

Let's say you want to make some model conduit or rope or braided wire. Here's some things I just learned and taught myself, and that I'm certain is already online... but it's cool that I learned this myself!

For the sake of this build, I'm using 18 gauge wire; use larger numbers for thinner results. Wal*Mart sells green crafting wire which is real thin.

Anyway, for conduit what I did was this: cut a length of wire, to match the size you want; cut a second piece of wire, roughly twice the length as the original; line up two ends, and put in vice grips; start twisting the longer wire around the smaller one by hand; once you have a loop or two, twist the vice grips in similar fashion (this makes it easier on your hands, trust me!), with your other handing holding the longer wire firmly against the loops made and the shorter wire. End result? A very flexible length of wire that looks like conduit!

For the rope or braided wire look, what you will need is wire, a vice grips, and a power drill Very Happy

You can either cut a piece of wire twice the length that you need (recommended) or cut two lengths of wire of similar size (that you need). Let's talk about the double length one first.

Fold it in half, and pinch the folded part as close together as you can. Fold that end on itself, I'd say about an 1/8 inch should be good, as this side needs to be a bit thicker as it is going into the power drill (if wire slips out, fold again). The two loose ends you want to line up and pinch / hold together with the vice grips. With wire pulled tight, press the drill's trigger. Allow your vice gripped hand to move towards the drill as the wire twists, but don't relax the tension! When the wire snaps at the drill end (right at the chock), you're done! Or, let go of the trigger and visually inspect the wire... it may have to be wound some more.

If you cut two lengths of wire, just loop an end of each wire (to be inserted in drill) and repeat as above.

For a thicker braided wire, just use more pieces of wire!

Now that I think about it, a bench vise would probably be just as effective, if not more-so in the twisted look. ANyway, there ya go, coduit and braided rope / wire done easy!

...EDIT...

A two wire braid looks like the decorative rope used for uniforms. You know, those loops that go around shoulders, for capes, etcetera. A three wire braid looks like what a real rope would look like. Six strands of crafting wire used within the 18 gauge 'conduit' gives the same diameter as my method above; used this so that I could put individual 'probes' into a body part, while maintaining that scifi look.
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PostSubject: Re: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:53 pm

DISASTER!

Disaster struck today as I assembled the head / arms / torso. While trying to fit the two chest pieces together, one of the wires got pulled out of the circuit board. Luckily, I was able to shave off enough of the outer wire coating and hold it against various contacts until sound came through.

With the increased diameter of the speaker, I wasn't able to attach the circuit board the way it originally was, so I have it just freely within the chest. This in itself is not a problem as there isn't too much room for it to move about in, but what is a problem is the screw that is at the base of Buzz' head (the crew holds a plastic washer in place, with the torso piece being sandwiched between the washer and the head). Seems that the screw would touch the circuit board and cause random noises. Easy enough to fix: a nice piece of duct tape covering the bottom of the area that the head attached to. Yay, duct tape!

Today I also ground off Buzz' face, and applied the remainder of my Green Stuff from years ago to make my own face. Well, not my own face, but its own face. Anywho, I think I did an "okay" job with the face, especially considering what I was limited to with tools and product. For tools, I used a toothpick and a plastic spoon, and with the putty being a couple years old and never really properly sealed, it was rather hard to work with. But, I got a good start, anything else with the face can be remedied with filing or with skilled use of an Xacto knife.

When the face dries completely, I am going to drill little holes in the head and torso so I can attach my cabling. Only when that step is done will I post new pictures; showing an exact step-by-step is wonderful and all, but really isn't needed. These little posts seem to be just fine.
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PostSubject: Re: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:24 pm

Been a while, but here's pictures of the head with the cables.



As you can see from the above, I have drilled the head to insert the wire coil. Although 18 gauge wire is about 3/64 thick, I used a 1/8 drill bit for the holes. A 3/64 would be fine if I was inserting just the wire tip, and leaving the coil out, but when I tried that, it didn't look right; a 1/8 allows for the coil itself to be inserted. The next part of this would be to use some JB Weld stick to mold a plug into the flesh. The next picture is just a profile shot, nothing really going on there.



The last picture for this set is a frontal (ooh lah lah). Doesn't seem as if the detail is really visible. Anyway, I'll be using an etching bit with the dremel to get the fine details of the face, as well as to smooth out some of the roughness. Buzz' right eye (upon viewing, your left) is battle damaged; there's a scar running across that eye. I'll be using JB Weld stick to make a bionical, which will also have its own cable attached.

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PostSubject: Re: Proof of Concept: Buzz Lightyear, Space Marine   Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:07 pm

Very impressive!!! I can't wait to see the final project! Uber Xcited Thumbs Up Uber Xcited
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