Using Nonstandard Parts
Over time, if you’re like me, you can get a little bored just doing the usual “human” customs and want to do something a bit weird and freaky, or maybe you’ve decided that the world of GI Joe could use some spicing up with a visit from, oh, creatures of fantasy, such as a chimera. Whatever the reason, there’s no reason not to try, and with this article I’ll show you one relatively simple way to go about creating a human/creature hybrid using easy to obtain parts and methods.
I should also like to add here that I’m a relative novice at this—real credit for creations like this goes to the like of Cap or Kambei who have created things that would blow your socks off. It is from them that I learn and draw inspiration!
Now, without further ado, I give you: how to make a hybrid.
- Something to poke a hole with; a nail, awl or similar tool.
- Drill (or Dremel). Hand drills will do.
- ¼” drill bit
- A soldering iron OR a Dremel with a burrowing bit
- A pair of needle nose pliers
- Sharpie or marking pen
- Green stuff, epoxy or Sculpey
To do this you’ll need the following:
- Waist (broken crotch is ideal here)
- A rubber insect such as a scorpion or spider
- 1 t-bar (found in every O-ringed GI Joe)
- 1 O-ring (I recommend ½” O-rings instead of standard ones for easier assembly, but it’s not mandatory).
In this case a slightly messed up Comic Pack Zartan will be my unwilling (or willing, I mean, he IS just plastic) test subject. The crotch you see is a broken one from a V1 Tripwire. It happens to be a perfect fit for the torso, so I’m using it.
First thing we’re going to do is get the waist piece fitted to the body. If you’re using a waist piece with a broken crotch you’re halfway there! If not, the idea is the same, you just have to do more cutting/grinding.
Begin by removing all the plastic below the top of the hip socket (front and back of the crotch typically, and you might have to grind the sides a bit too). You don’t have to get right up to the top of the socket but do try to make it as level as you can all across the bottom of the waist piece. The end result should look like the pic below:
Now, place the waist piece centered just behind the head/eyes of the insect body; the idea is when this is done, to make it look like a centaur. (You don’t have to do this; if you want it further back, go ahead. Don’t be afraid to be imaginative!) At this point it might be a good idea to mark the position of it using a Sharpie or similar marker, so you know where you want it positioned later.
T-bar and O-ring Preparations
Now, holding the waist piece firmly in place, poke a hole into the insect body dead center (or close as you can) of the waist piece; this is where the O-ring and t-bar will come up through. Make sure the hole goes all the way through. Run the awl through a few times to widen out the hole so it’ll be easier to find. While doing so cackle maniacally and imagine you’re in some really B-grade giant insect horror movie, and you’re the nerdy-but-handsome scientist (you know, the dude with the thick black glasses and hair that never musses) killing the mutated insects while saving a hot chick who swoons and screams a lot. Or don’t. Really, it’s fun if you do!
Next up you’ll drill through that hole with a ¼” drill bit (you can go smaller if you want, but you’ll have ages of fun trying to fit the O-ring through it!). You should only have to make one pass to get an agreeably sized hole. Don’t laugh maniacally, though. You’ll get flying rubber bits in your teeth.
Attach the O-ring to your t-hook and fit it up through, pulling the t-hook snug against the lower body. At this point if you laid the waist piece on, the top of the O-ring probably won’t come up high enough to easily reach the peg inside the torso. We’re going to fix that.
Using your Sharpie, mark a line the length of the t-hook underneath, and remove the t-hook.
Using your soldering iron (or Dremel with a burrowing bit) melt/cut a small groove the length of the mark you just made. You might have to go sort of deep, though just how deep is a matter of the insect body you’re using. Essentially you’re going to need to cut it deep enough that when you push the O-ring up through, at least ¾ of it is poking out of the hole. It’s pretty much trial and error in doing this, so be patient.
And try to be careful not to cut the groove too deep; you want some tension on the O-ring. Basically when you’re done your t-hook should be seated in fully something like this:
Once you’ve got your groove cut and you’re satisfied, thread the O-ring (attached to the t-bar) up through the hole if you haven’t already done so, using the needle nose pliers to pull it up tight. Flip the body back over and apply glue to the underside of the waist piece, then press it to the body where you want it. The result should look like this:
Now at this stage, we can fill in around the base of the waist piece to make it “flow” into the body; or you can wait until later. If you’re using Sculpey doing it now saves you having to take the torso/head/arms off to boil it (you’ll boil the entire insect body and waist piece), but it’s your choice. So do that if you want, and move on to the next phase.
This, of course, is the easiest part—simply assemble the torso, arms and head as you would for a normal figure. Add Sculpey/Green Stuff around the base of the waist and over the t-hook underneath (if you want) as desired, paint if you want, and you’re done!
As you can see here Zartan has been turned into a suitably monstrous (if somewhat low-riding) human/scorpion hybrid. Guess that’s the last time he’ll ever poke around Mindbender’s lab…