*REVIEW* ThreeA – DOTM Optimus Prime

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INTRO

We’re spoiled.

Every one of us. Spoiled rotten.
That was the 1st thing I thought of when I removed Optimus Prime from the sleek ThreeA packaging.  I pulled Optimus from the safety of his cut foam coffin and was surprised when I felt an almost passive reaction to him.

Not in an unimpressed or poorly received way.. just a “Yup, it’s another ThreeA toy”
Which translates to, “Yup, it’s another highly articulated, insanely detailed, fantastically painted and weathered giant robot toy from ThreeA”

Sigh.

Let me explain. Think back to the kind of toys we had growing up (unless you’re still growing up, in which case.. get off my lawn!!”) Simple toys, unrealistic, cheap plastics, sloppy paints, limited articulation…. Back in our day, there wasn’t anything like the collectors market for action figures and pop culture collectibles like there is today. We were happy and impressed by the simplest Transformers Hasbro, Mattel or Kenner pumped on the local toy aisle. I mean, those are all still awesome in their own way.. a lot of the classics are absolutely beautiful to me.. but considering where toys are now.. particularly in articulation and engineering, it’s really hard to compare.

G1 TOY Optimus Robot1

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The Workshop – Personalizing and tweaking a figure by Paul Benson

INTRO: It’s been a little while since the last one so I’m very excited to be able to share with you today an all new Workshop! It comes from someone who’s no stranger to the halls of Rad Toy Review. Yes, Paul Benson is back with another great Workshop for those of you out there hungry for knowledge. Get ready to learn a few tricks and techniques that can help you squeeze the most out of your custom toy builds! Paul told me this workshop is more of a “tweaking” of a figure than a full on custom, but when I looked over it, I was blown away by the various techniques he uses to achieve the final figure. There’s a lot of great things going on here that you’re bound to learn something. If you have any questions about any part of the process, don’t hesitate to comment and we’ll get back to you with an answer as quickly as possible. Happy tweaking! – Knives

I don’t think I can describe this workshop as the putting together of a custom figure, it is possibly more about tweaking a figure!  In my mind a custom figure is put together from completely new and scratch built parts, very little of it is from one particular original figure.

Tweaking is something I am completely into!  Buying a figure and then putting it straight on the shelf is great, but it is also possible to make it a bit different.  For me, that might involve adding a few bits of equipment, swapping out clothing, adding a different headsculpt and/or painting bits a different colour. Perhaps creating a different character.  So, that is what I have done here, having taken a ThreeA TK and ‘tweaked’ it!

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THE WORKSHOP: Casting Wooden Bats in Resin by Michael ‘Bubo’ Reilly and Simon ‘Goatballs’ Be

A while ago we posted a step-by-step workshop provided by the ever talented, Simon ‘Goatballs’ Be! To this day, it’s one of the most popular we’ve ever featured. It seems folks can’t get enough of his 1/6 scale wooden bats! Well, today we’re excited to post a follow up, this time by our friend Michael ‘Bubo’ Reilly who worked to cast and produce copies of Goat’s original bat sculpts in resin. 

I’m personally very excited for this little walk-through as it talks about a process that I’ve been interested in for a long while. With a little hand-holding.. I might be brave enough to finally try it myself.

Welcome back to RtR’s  Workshop, and enjoy!

– Knives

Alright, here’s a list of some of the materials you’ll probably want to track down before you get started.

Materials:
  • Foam Core, for building mold walls. You can also use legos, acrylic plastic, or any other non-porous material of your choosing that’s stiff enough to form a wall.
  • 1/8″ thick or thicker wooden (or plastic) boards, to evenly distribute tension on mold when bound.
  • Super Glue (CA Glue), for gluing gates/vents onto model (bat) & onto mold floor.
  • Hot Melt Glue (& gun), for gluing walls of mold together.
  • Toothpicks (or long sharp pokey thing), for getting air bubbles out of silicone mold
  • Electrical tape
  • Disposable cups
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Rubber gloves
  • Monojet Oral 10ml syringes

.. and here’s some of the tools I use, also worth looking into.

Tools:

  • Razor/Ruler, for measuring & cutting mold box
  • Hot Glue Gun, to glue mold together
  • Scale, a gram scale to weigh out materials
  • Air Compressor
  • Vacuum Chamber & Vacuum pump, to de-gas silicone
  • Pressure Pot, a chamber that eliminates any remaining bubbles
  • Old sander or piece of vibrating equipment (to vibrate pressure pot)
  • Flat Chisel & Scalpel (x-acto knife), for cutting mold open

Before we begin, let me say that this is but one of many ways to build a mold. The construction of your mold will depend on the piece you are making a mold of, what kind of process you’ll use to cast it, and what material you will be casting with. For the sake of this project, the item being molded is a toy, it is small and the mold form is very simple. Continue reading

THE WORKSHOP – Custom 1/6 Sword by Paul Benson

We’re back with another workshop by the might Paul Benson!  Paul brings his technique in creating custom swords for all your 1/6 army.

Enjoy!

– Knives

How to make a 1/6 sword

What you will need:

You will need a sheet of 2 mm and 1 mm styrene sheet, masking tape, scalpel, sharp scissors, nail file, sand paper (various grades) and/or nail files, cyanoacrylate (commonly sold as Super Glue or Krazy Glue), Dremel with tool kit (optional), matt black paint and metallic paint (preferably as spray paints), acrylic paints of various colours (depending on the colour of the handle tape [see below]).

I am writing this up, in the hope it might be useful to folks. I am no expert on swords so please excuse any little inaccuracies that are due to my lack of ‘sword knowledge’ or being unable to scale details down to 1/6 scale.

Nothing new under the sun here, but as a little set of techniques that could be used to make a whole variety of things e.g. knives, axes, tools etc. Wrote them up as a set of stages to follow through.

STAGE 1
As a starting point find a suitable picture online, using an image search. I chose to make a Japanese Katana. From the found image find out the actual size 1:1, which you can get from the website who are using the picture.

Copy and paste the picture and then crop and resize to 1/6 scale using Photoshop or another photo editing programme. If you don’t have Photoshop or something similar, you can do this by trial and error, printing out and then measuring the length of printed sword and then resizing.

STAGE 2
Print the sword picture onto card and cut out to use as a template.

STAGE 3
Draw around the template onto 2 mm thick styrene sheet. Cut out the sword outline with sharp scissors or a fine modellers saw. After cutting out the sword blank it may need to be flattened slightly as the cutting process can distort the plastic. This can easily be remedied by immersing the sword in boiling water or use a hair dryer and hold flat whilst it cools.

STAGE 4
To create the cutting edge for the sword blade use any or a combination of scalpel, nail file, Dremel and various grades of sandpaper. Start off by removing the square edges. A scalpel can be used at to shave off the plastic to make the cutting edge. Final corrections can be done with coarse and then finer grade sandpaper. Depending which figure you are making the sword for you may need to thicken the sword handle. That is certainly the case for example for ThreeA Tomorrow Kings and Queens. This can be done very easily by adding further strips of plastic card glued to either side of the handle.

STAGE 5
The guard can be made by drawing a small suitably sized oval onto 1 mm styrene sheet, cut out with scissors. A slot then needs to be carefully cut out with a scalpel the same width and thickness as the blade next to the handle. Slide this onto the sword and glue in place with super glue. The blade collar is just masking tape cut into a 4 mm strip and wound round the blade. Once on the sword to keep the tape in place and to harden it, ‘paint’ it with super glue. Some super glue containers come with a brush in, very handy.

STAGE 6
The handle was also wrapped around with a 4 mm masking tape strip gradually wound down the length of handle. Japanese swords, of course have a tape wound round the handle in a particular way. I have done the winding in the simplest way possible! To get the 4 mm strip, if you have one of those green soft artist cutting boards, the tape can be run along a line on the board. Mark off 4 mm along the tape and use a ruler and sharp scalpel to cut a strip around 40 cm long. When done, again it was painted over with super glue.

To paint the sword it was first sprayed with matt black using Humbrol acrylic aerosol paint (enamel paint would be fine). As the sword was light it was held in place on a piece of waste board whilst being sprayed with a small blob of Blue Tack. When one side was dry, the sword was turned over and the other side sprayed. The blade was sprayed with Humbrol acrylic polished steel metalcote. After the paint had dried and been allowed to harden for a few hours it was rubbed with a soft cloth to give the ‘polished steel’ finish. The sword can of course be sprayed with another suitable metallic paint. The handle was lightly dry brushed with a dark brown, mid brown and then a light brown. What colour you use for the tape is of course up you. The guard was dry brushed with silver on it edge.

Being the ninny that I am, I forgot to photograph this sword before I sent it off to someone! The pictures below are of several swords I have made. The sheath shown was made from styrene tube carefully and evenly squashed with pliers to make an oval cross section. The tube was cushioned with a cloth to stop the pliers marking the styrene. I drew round the ends of the tube onto 1 mm styrene sheet and cut out the ovals with sharp scissors. With one of the ovals a rectangular slot was cut out with a sharp scalpel slightly larger than width and thickness of the sword blade collar.

So that’s it! Again, this can be applied to a wide arrange of melee weapons. Trial and error is part of the fun! Thank you for reading and see you next time!

We hope you enjoyed the latest Workshop. Big thanks once again to Paul for sharing his techniques with us. 
 We’d love to hear from you and check out what kind of customs you’re working on! Send us a shot of your latest custom work with a brief description to radtoyreview@gmail.com. 

Hit us up on Facebook or Twitter pages to stay updated whenever we post new Workshops and epic toy reviews!

Until next time!