Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Tutorial Custom SIC Hyper Zabee / Hornet Part 1

Awhile back I have been asked to make a Hyper Form custom from the Kabuto series and I thought it would be nice to make a Hyper Zabee.

And the whole custom actually took a little more than 3 weeks! One of the longest custom ever but then it was more because I was tied down with other stuff. Having said that, I did intend to take more time making this as I want it to turn out at least an ok custom. As it turns out, I think he's just ok with some hits and some misses, I'll let you be the judge as I post the complete version photo gallery at the end of this tutorial (which will stretch to probably 4 parts due to its complexities and multiple workstreams).

To start off the custom, I would like to state down the special materials you need (aside from the usual such as epoxy putty, blade, water, paint, clear putty, oyumaru resin etc etc). You will need:
1) A Punch hopper figure (you are free to use other kabuto figures if you like really so long it has  standalone shoulder pad joints)
2) A Hyper Kabuto Hyper chest armor
3) A spare Kabuto belt (for those square connectors on its sides, or you can replicate them instead)
4) An SIC Alternative Zero belt (you can forgo this if you want, explained in later part of the tutorial)
5) A Kabuto cast off armor helmet
6) A kabuto blade
7) A pair of Kabuto wings
8) A gundam shield (mainly for the holder but again you can use other materials to replace this)
9) A candy toy armored core figure (this is also elective, I used this to make this giant Perfect Stinger, you can always use other parts to make his stinger, for example, cut up a Perfect Zecter and reform it into a stinger)
10) A gundam laser beam sword
11) Some gundam leftover sprues (I always use these as connectors)
12) Some rubber wires and an antenna from Macfarlane robot (again an elective, you can replace these with other easier to find stuff)

The very first thing I did was to draw out a rough sketch of how I wanted Hyper Zabee to be. And the result is as you can see below except that the actual custom didn't exactly came out looking like it ;p oh well Here's a comparison as requested by WalauWei :)
1) Belt mod
First thing to do is a simple one, add some stuff on his belt. Punch hopper's belt doesnt come with those side squarish connector thingie. So you have to add them on. I cut those part from a spare half kabuto belt I have lying around. Then I cut grooves into punchhopper's belt for those square thingie. See photo below.

I then glue those square connectors onto Punchhopper's belt. The other thing to do is to cut that half ZECT logo from punchhopper's belt buckle and reglue it back facefront. See photo below.

You will need to sculpt the remaining lower half of the logo using putty. Real easy, just slap a piece of putty on the lower half side and smoothen it as a surface for the lower half of the logo.

Let that dry then slap very small piece of putty to form the edges and the lower half of the ZECT logo. To obtain those sharp putty edges, wait for 2-3 hours to let the putty dry more before carving 90degree edges with your blade on them (and removing the unwanted putty parts). The results will be as below:

2) Front armor mod

One of the main workstream is the front armor mod.

First thing to do is cut off punchhopper's front armor leaving only a pair of small piece of armor that connects to the shoulder pad joint and the back armor. Replace the front armor with Hyper Kabuto chest armor (cut Hyper Kabuto chest armor's top part enough to prevent hindrance and prevent the Hyper Kabuto chest armor to fully connected with Punchhopper's body).

Now here comes the more complicated part. You need to resculpt his Hyper Chest armor into a more bee-like design. First thing I did was to cut up Hyper Kabuto chest piece like the photo below:

I then need to add putty details on it. Before I add the putty on it, I used transparent food wrappers to protect the  inner piece of the chest armor so that the putty wont stick on that and only on the moveable upper chest pieces.

Now how to sculpt very 90degree edgy armors using putty is a matter of timing your cuttings on the putty and you will achive such details as seen on the photo below:

First thing is to slap a crude piece of putty on the upper moveable chest pieces first like on the photo below (I didnt snap a photo between sculptings of the top chest sculpt so I'll show the 2nd chest sculpt instead). It doesn't matter if the putty overflows at the sides as you can cut these off later. What is important is the top surface will need to be smoothen out as you won't be cutting the top surface, only the sides. So shape the top surface as smooth as you can and to the angle you wanted it to be. Let the putty dry for about 2 to 3 hours MAX. Remember to remove the plastic food wrapper.

By now the putty has harden to a state that it is not TOO hard that you can't cut it with your blade and not TOO soft that when you cut it, the putty shape become distorted or bent to the cuttings you are making. This make it very easy to cut sharp edges on the putty.

First cut the sides into the shape you wanted. Thats the easy part. Make sure you make one-off straight cuts, this ensure that the side surfaces are just as smooth.

The slightly harder part is to form those very sharp grooves you find at the edge of the surface of the putty. They are actually easier to sculpt that you think. Just very slowly and carefully use your blade and cut horizontally just a little below the surface of the putty. Do it in a sawing motion and cut only less than 1mm into the putty. Next cut vertically onto the surface of the putty at the edge of the top surface. Again cut less than 1mm into the putty. By now the edge of the 2 cuts you made would meet and that part of the putty you have cut off will fall off leaving you with a very nice very small line of groove along the edge of the putty surface. Do this all around the edge of the putty surface to form the shape seen below:

Repeat the process above to form the lower part of the chest sculpt. See photo below:

Remove the transparent food wrapper and let all your putty sculpt dry completely. Now to add designs on the chest sculpt. Use some pen or liner to draw the design you wanted on the chest piece like so:

Use a line engraver to carve those linings out like so:

And there you have it a completely different Hyper Chest for Hyper Zabee which is also removeable and poseable (thanks to those transparent food wrappers):


3) Back and Wings

I would love to resculpt a different more bee-like wings for him but I have ran clean out of clear putty and I have a spare Kabuto wings handy so I'll settle for that.

First thing to do is to drill 2 holes onto punchhopper's back armor. Use your blade to cut further into the edge of the drilled holes. This is to allow the back armor to fit in socket joints. I am talking about those ball/socket joints you can find on HLJ website. Real handy to make connections between stuff and allow movements too. Glue the socket pieces into the hole like so:

Next you need to mod a bit the ball joint. Cut the ball out of the double ball joint like so:

Use a handdrill and drill a hole in the ball. Use a pair of pliers to hold the ball steady while you drill it. Remember to use your blade to mark down the spot where you wanted to drill. It makes the drilling more steady that way too.

Next cut the connector on the wings to make it smaller so that it can be wedged into the hole on the ball joint.

Super glue the ball joint onto the wings.

After the glue has dried, add another layer of super glue on top of the first and let it dry again. Lastly, add a layer of putty between the ball joint and the wings as added connection.

Cut off punch hopper's horns on his shoulder pads. Connect the other ball joints and glue it onto those horns. They will act as something to block out those ugly socket holes when the wings are not being put on the back.
Test the wings. Make sure to glue the ball joint very securedly onto the wings otherwise it might be pulled out and get stuck on the sockets on the back of the body.

Now cut off those 'wing-like' sculpt from punchhopper's head. Glue that onto the wings as additional details for them. Add more putty details on the wings as well like so:
Those bolt hole designs you see on the putty sculpt are created by that diamond drill. Just power on the drill and press the tip onto the putty (when its dried!) and let it stay there for a while and it will produce those neat little round holes.

It should look like this when its done:

All right! Thats it for part 1 of the tutorial!! See you all again in the next part in a week's time!!


  1. Wow! Very easy to follow tutorial on customizing the figure! I like how you split the custom into body, belt etc (along with clear image that is). BTW, you mentioned at the early part of the sketch of your intended figure to look like. If you could put that sketch side by side with your base figure. It'll helps in guiding the reader where you're heading to ;).

    Coming back to the figure, maybe i havent seen how zabee hyper form looked like so, the details at figure looks breathtaking. However, in general the figure looks a bit weird. Maybe the size of it's head & shoulder pad are oversized compared to a smaller/shorter/thinner body.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents :).

    1. oh and if you are wondering why is it that the shoulder pad in my sketch look so much way smaller than the actual one i did, thats because once i start making the custom i ditched the sketch and didnt really follow it ;p I should.. eheheh

    2. Hmm ... the sketch looks cool too! I would say you've nailed the final figure as per your target.

    3. Nah not really :/ his head, cheat is diferent. The gun is completely different. Initially i wanted to make a railgun thingie with a giant gundam lightsaber in front but gave that up being too unlike zabee and very unwieldy. Personally i thought the chest sculpt turned out better than my initial design but the shoulder pads not so :(

    4. Yes, the sculpting on the chest plate (edges) is really a good job well done. Those clean cut really takes experience to achieve.

      The ball joint at the wing, i'm a bit skeptical about the super-glue part. Is it strong enough to hold on to the wing? I mean pushing in & pulling out of them takes great stress on the balls. :D ... didn't sound right but you know what i meant.

    5. Actually with some practice and understanding how the putty texture are during the drying process, those chest plate edges are easy to form :)

      As for the ball joints, you are right, they have the risk of having the ball joint broken from the wing if you simply pull it out from the socket as the ball and socket joints are really hard.

      To prevent this, I added super glue and then a layer of putty as well to connect the ball joint to the wings. PLUS and this is very important: I don't simply pull the wings out by force. I lever the wings to the side until the ball joints simply pops out of the socket :) It works very well as I have been inserting and removing the wings from the body for a number of times during custom and photo taking and it is still very much intact :)

    6. oops i just realised my tutorial didnt explain that i included a putty layer between the ball joint and the wings ;p ill correct that now ;p sometimes with so many steps in a custom i forget certain steps I did ;p

    7. Hmm ... i think i get what you mean. But when the join is weak, the ball get detached (broke away) from the body too :D. At least not as intense as pulling straight out.

    8. BTW, i've got myself a pack of oyumaru resin to experiment. I've made myself some mold of my rider's guns. Any "cheaper" epoxy putty that you could recommend for me to start off with my virgin custom? ;)

    9. well just becareful everytime you pull it out should be fine.

      woa you bought a pack of oyumaru resin?? Where??? The place I used to buy it from no longer exists so I have been surviving on leftover oyumaru resins which I have been using for multiple times already. So I would really appreciate it if you can point me to your source! :D

      As for epoxy putty, just go to a hardware store and look for "bondite". Its a 2 part putty, not the liquid type. It costs from S$5 to S$8 for a sizeable pack :) very cheap hehe

    10. Sure bro. I bought from eBay (link: http://www.ebay.com.my/itm/Oyumaru-Reusable-Molding-Stick-Instant-Moulding-stick-Various-Colors-6-pcs-/251271738205?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var&hash=item3a80f6735d&_uhb=1) for RM23 a pack (six sticks). I'm not sure is it cheap or expensive but I just tried one first.

      The seller also offer 2 packs @ RM40.32 (free shipping too). (link: http://www.ebay.com.my/itm/Oyumaru-Reusable-Molding-Stick-Instant-Moulding-stick-Various-Colors-6-pcs-/251271738205?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var&hash=item3a80f6735d&_uhb=1) Got it bro, will drop by hardware store later and grab one :).

    11. woa nice! thanks! I didnt know they were selling it on ebay! That price is about the same as I bought it in SG so I think its reasonable :)

  2. oh yea the design paper sure thing, I have edited the post to show the original design :) Its quite different ;p

    And thats a very valid comment about the oversized shoulder pads. Thats one thing about sculpting 3-dimensional stuff that I still have not got the hang of, I get so consumed with the shoulder pad process that I didnt realise I made it too big :( Im still learning in this aspect. As for the head, I intentionally made it slightly larger to accomodate the bee sting motive at the back of his head :)