Last month I was mugging around China Square Central (commonly known as CSC) on a sunday to look at the toy bazaar since I have not been there for a while and found a guy selling this interesting SIC Detective K. No box but it comes complete with his plastic trays and accesories. I have been interested in SICs for a long while but not the older non-poseable ones and this one comes non-poseable except for his arms which provide limited articulation. But this guy sort of attracted me and even when i walked off from the seller's booth i was thinking about it as i walk around CSC, this SIC kept creeping back into my mind like a bad song that wont go away. Ultimately, I went back to the booth and decided to buy it. Thank God it was still there ;p
I negotiated with the seller who didnt want to budge with the price but his starting price was already good as is at SGD25. Later, I would find out the price is actually not only good but extremely so since this was a limited rare powered up Detective K version and not the silver normal version. Good thing I didnt know this fact until I was already cutting him up otherwise my hands will be trembling more than usual. I did accidentally cut my thumb all the way to the soft folds of my skin between thumb and pointer quite badly in the process of cutting him up ;p
Out of the box, he's a good character. I didnt know I can open up his chest pieces to display his innards and to insert all those guns on him until i was fiddling with him. Some guy told me a detective K costs about HKD300 which i thought was not high so i decided to keep him and turn him into a poseable version (later another friend corrected me and told me a powered up gold version of detective K is much rarer and the price a lot higher than HKD300 ;p oh well too late for that bahahaha).
See below for a photo of his full body before i start cutting him up. As you can see, his legs are in a half walk position. Not very heroic looking and in fact somewhat gay if you don't put on his overcoat and place him on the stand so that he looks more like he is walking hunched over and being all serious trying to solve a crime (his base has some blood red paint on it proving he is at some crime scene or an abattoir maybe). I don't like that, non-poseable figures bothers me a lot especially when he is already semi poseable with his arms (which is articulated in a way that his shoulder can be moved up and down limited to about say 180 degree as it is blocked by his shoulder armor. His elbow can only swive but again limited by the upper arm designs. His waist and below are a statue). So I decided to go about making his legs and waist articulated.
First off, I have to decide on whether I should just try to stick joints in him without using a spare body to replace parts of him to make him articulated. I felt if i were to try to just stick joints in him, there will be extensive drillings and hollowing out of his parts to actually make him poseable and not appear to be a tall stick man with joints sticking out of him every where and huge gaps appearing between joints.
So I decided I will use the ever useful Hibiki type body as a surrogate for some of his parts. In this case, I used a Zanki spare.
Next question was how much of Zanki's body to use? I have decided to remove Zanki's arms which will be useful in case my original Zanki's arm joints crack and continue to use K's original arms. His body was also not used as I have decided there will be too much drillings to empy K's body to fit in an ab crunching Zanki lower abdomen. In fact it may prove to be very risky to do that since it will spoil the internal innards of K's.
Third question was how do i cut up K's legs and waist to make it poseable yet prevent huge gaps between joints. I have then decided to cut him up as shown on the photo below. There is no ball joint on the feet, I just tried poking a zanki joint in the hole on the feet to see if I can avoid cutting my zanki's legs for the joint holes. Turned out i need to otherwise Detective K will be prone to shelf dives.
I tried a few alternative methods on reducing gaps between joints as well as using more tougher joints than Zanki's. Some of them was to replace K's upper legs with Zanki's. This definitely reduce the gaps on the joints right below the waist. It is definitely do-able since Zanki's thigh is slightly smaller than K's which mean I can lay putty over it to form K's design over Zanki's thighs. However, this also mean a lot of sculpting and getting the exact color match as K's becomes very important since the thigh area is quite large an area. Ultimately, I decided against this as the purpose was to make things simple. I basically cut a large hole on the upper end of K's thigh, drill an inner hole to stick in Zanki's waist joint.
The other alternative was to use revoltech joint for his knee joints. This will make him a lot tougher to prevent future cracks or loose joints on his knees. The problem with that was the ball joint on the revoltech joint is way too large to be hidden by K's legs no matter how wide a hole i carve into K's leg to hide the ball joints. I saw a friend shaved his revoltech ball joints so I tried to do the same. The result was disastrous as when I shave the ball joint the mechanism holding the joint together fell apart! Laterr my friend told me he actually didnt use a revoltech joint but a gundam joint instead ;p I tried stuffing the shaved revoltech joint into the hole I created on K's legs anyway and it sort of hold it together. The tightness of the hole prevent the revoltech joint from flopping around a lot. However, I feel this is not a long term solution so finally I decided to cut off Zanki's joints and the holes the joints to be fitted on K's legs.
Ok, so once all the decisions was decided, its on to the real custom steps:'
1) First remove all the ball joints from Zanki. There is a double ball joint holding the legs and feet together and there is a knee joint part (see pictures below). Cut up Zanki's legs to get those socket parts that holds the ball joints (see the transparent parts on the joints in the pics below). Cut off or remove Zanki's knee pad/ armor from his knee joint. Shave/cut the surface of the knee joint where Zanki's knee pad originally was to reduce the surface from protruding too far out when you glue K's knee pad/cap on it (see next step).
2) Next, I start to cut K's leg in the shape indicated in the photo I showed earlier (see above). I also cut out the knee pad of K's. Be very careful when you cut those small knee pad/caps out to minimise damage to them cause you will be using them later to attach on Zanki's knee joint (see pic below). In my case, I still cut off in the wrong way and chipped off some of K's knee pad/cap. This was rectified in later steps.
3) I then cut, drill and gouge holes in K's leg stumps I cut earlier. I cut it to a size where its almost large enough to allow the socket parts for the joints to fit in. Don't try to push the hole parts into the leg stumps directly. Use a hairdryer and heat up both K's leg stumps and the socket parts for say 20 seconds. Then stuff the socket parts into the leg stumps. I made sure the holes in the leg stumps are deep enough so that when the joints are put in, there will be minimal gaps around the joints.
4) By now you will have a decent looking Detective K. Test the joints and poseability of the joints so to know if they are ok before the next step. If you are not satisfied with hte depth of those holes on K's leg stumps drill them some more until there are very little gaps between joints. You will end up with something shown on the pic below. Notice that there are not a lot of gaps between joints that will make him look wierd like a skeleton or too tall.
5) Cut out K's front waist details from his pelvic part. Hmmm I realised i didnt take a photo of this D: Darn. But you';ll know what i mean in the next step/ couple of steps:
Ok we have reached a point whereby we can just stick K's knee cap on Zanki's knee joint and stick in K's cut off front waist part on Zanki's belt and be done with it. You will get something like this:
Advantage? He's a Detective K already, every bit of him. You just need to paint those exposed Zanki greenish parts near the waist into black and thats it. However, the downside is you won't have those nice K's black rubber-like lines between his waist and his thighs as Zanki's pelvic part is not that kind of design. Also, if you werent careful like me, his knee pad/cap will be sort of half damaged/complete. So, if you wish to just make him a little more complete, please continue to read the following steps:
6) Now we need to cover up all those joints and that obvious Zanki waist and belt. First glue K's front waist part on Zanki's belt. Cut off some of the upper part of Zanki's belt so to allow better ab crunch movement later when you join K's upper half with his legs and waist.
7) Look at K's waist/pelvic portion that you have cut off earlier. Look at the back, you will black line patterns between his butt and his waist. Cut those out. In my case, I accidentally cut wrongly and cut off some parts of those black line pattern parts (along with my thumb T_T). If you did what i did, you will need to repair it. Use a very thin plastic sheet you find in plastic bottles cut it in the shape of the missing black line pattern area and stick it underneath. Apply putty over it and sculpt line patterns over it (see photo below). Glue those black line pattern parts on to Zanki's belt on either side of K's front waist design. Apply more putty on the side of Zanki's belt and sculpt line patterns on them (again see photo below). Apply putty on Zanki's butt to make him more smoother instead of a leather type pattern.
8) Now you need to add putty on those half damaged knee pads/ caps. Sculpt them to complete the knee pad/ caps like what you see on the photo above.
9) And we're almost done. Paint over all the putty areas and Zanki's parts based on K's color scheme and we're done :)
You will find yourself with a nicely poseable Detective K as shown below. Enjoy the photos ;)
As an afternote, I should have resulpted the back Zanki's belt, which I didnt as I wanted to move on already. Also I should have resculpted Zanki's butt better instead of leaving him a bit rough. Lastly, I should not have reuse those small bits of dried up paint in my brass color painting/ mixing. It actually mess up the butt and back of Zanki's belt color paint (see photo below) :( oh welllll
Also, don't think this is very easy. Its true that once you have a strategy on how to make it, it becomes quite straightforward but its time consuming with all the carving and cutting and drillings with the frequent in between testings of joints fittings. You can imagine the work being done by looking at the photo below of all the crap i cut off K and Zanki to make him. The photo show only half the stuff i cut off ;p