Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Headswaps 101

I realised the other day that it has been an absolute age since I last did any kind of tutorial, fortunately an opportunity has rather presented itself...

My client has two of these rather handsome totally-not-Hugo Weaving figures and we were debating which head would go nicely on the spare. We had a few options and none of them were really going right. Fortunately, I solved that problem the other day:

Yup, we suddenly realised that the head that I sawed off the Cadian officer would make a somewhat compelling option on there and I figured I'd take some photos on the way. These days, you see, we have lovely cleverly designed head swap systems both in plastic and metal. But back in the day, this is the only way we had:

First off, poor ol' Hugo gets decapitated. You could use clippers for this, or a fret saw, but the razor saw is quite simply the best choice for this job. It's farcically thin but stiffened by the ridge down the back. If you don't have one I urge you to buy one. Sadly, most are designed for woodworking and have rather large teeth, you need one with tiny teeth like mine.

So we've now got a decapitated Hugo and a head orphaned from it's body. I cleaned up the head, removing anything that was connecting to the torso, collar or neck of the original. Make sure to trim the jawline as it'll look very fat compared to it's original sculpt.

Sadly though, the angle is horribly wrong for the simple option of "just glue it on". That's not going to help at all. Instead, you need to fabricate a new neck. Best option is a long pin.

Just like the normal pinning process, you drill into both halves and use a bit of paperclip wire to bridge the gap. However in this case you want to do the exact opposite of the normal process and cut it to length in order to hover the head above the shoulders. Position is important here, best option is to treat it as the spine and drill in to both the skull and the torso roughly where the spine would be. Aim the hole toward the crown of the head and you won't go far wrong. It's then just the normal posing conundrum of "where exactly should this head's eyeline go?"

Yeah, ok, slightly disingenuous. It isn't just posing. There's rather a lot of neck to fill in there. At this point it's time to break out the sculpting putty of your choice. I tend to use ProCreate as the final grey colour doesn't jar with the plastic/metal so it's easier to see that you've got it right. Green often retreats visually and can leave you thinking that you've done something wrong. Often only when you prime the model can you be sure you've got it right. For people who do it all the time, they learn to compensate for this... I hardly ever sculpt, I use grey.

And there we have it! Original flavour Hugo on the left, new Captain Snooty McMonacle on the right. Sadly, his head is slightly overscale for his body but only slightly. Not the worst we've seen by a long way. Painting will come soon, but for now, that's all folks, more shinies to come soon.


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