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Topics - DefenderDarko

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MST3K Related Props / Pearl's Microbus, the Widowmaker!
« on: January 13, 2016, 01:15:09 PM »
This one is pretty basic and I'm not the first to do this...

I started with a five inch pull-back car I found at a Hastings store. It's partially diecast and partially plastic. I cleaned off the hippie logos and peace signs from the red portions and touched up the paint, adding scratches and wear here and there.

For the overall design, I decided to combine elements from the small model replica and the large-scale bus used in the show.

The radar dish and some of the rockets were from an Ecto-1 model kit. The main body of the rockets were PVC pipe.

The license plate was cut from styrene. I designed it in photoshop and printed it.

I painted it all up and here she is!

I plan to hang the SOL and the Bus above the desk...

MST3K Related Props / My Satellite of Love model!
« on: January 13, 2016, 01:08:36 PM »
Hey guys, I just completed my SOL this morning. It's about 20 inches long.

I started off by assembling four papercraft soccer balls. If any of you are familiar with Pepakura, you'll know what I'm talking about.

I then folded and printed the two large shafts that connect the four spheres(See how I averted that joke?)

Once they were glued together, I brushed the whole thing with polyester fiberglass resin. Afterwards, I did what BBI did. I just took random pieces of model kit parts from various cars and started gluing them to it. I added some wooden dowel rods for the central pipe, a candy machine container for the escape pod hatch, and the radar dish and various other parts come from a Call of Duty block builder set.

The whole thing was then painted over with dark gray Plasti-Dip to lock it all together and give it an even surface. It was then hit with some gray Tamiya primer and speckled with black. The final touch was the little window in front, which has a picture of Mike and the bots, as a reference to the Sci-Fi intro.

Hey guys....I've done quite a lot of studying of these puppets. Being experienced at prop making(although these are my first MST puppets), I think I've managed to figure out a few things that I still see a lot of questions about.

For one, the wrists. The current popular wrist cast I see on the market is not accurate to the show models from what I've seen. The common wrist cast features a wide wrist area with a narrow stud that is tapped and bolted into the 'guitar pick' shaped joint at the front...

The show models actually have two versions. First is the Comedy Central era, which was a long wrist with a double bolt(it is bolted in front and back at the top of the wrist joint).

In addition to this, all versions of the Crow puppet feature rotating wrists. In most episodes, Crow's wrists are rotated to hold items and sometimes they're just rotated by accident. The wrist basically rotates in a small cuff made from a small piece of PVC pipe. This results in the wrist of the puppet being wider than the elbow and shoulder joints. The other two wrist joints are just offset using washers or nuts on each side of the two wrist struts.

The second version I've found is the Sci-Fi channel version. Like the Trace era wrist, it features a large PVC cuff that the hand is inserted into and it also rotates. The main different is that it is only bolted at the front of the guitar-pick, allowing the wrist to move up and down, as well as rotate.

My best guess is that the show version's hands were just shoved into the cuff, but I created a more durable version using a screw and a shallow resin fill inside of the wrist cuff to serve as a backstop that you can drill into for the screw to be inserted.

Onto the rest...

I've noticed that people always have questions about the eye movement mechanism, with some people incorrectly reporting that Corbett's puppet didn't have the full range of eye movement like Trace's did. This is not true. They're actually mostly identical.

For the pulley inside of the 'skull', Bob Bukoski has basically cracked it. It's just a rope that double overs a pulley wheel that connects to the eyes and two ends of the rope go down inside of the inner pipe and come out of a hole that is designed to allow for a paddle, where each end of the string attaches like a see-saw. The outer pipe is cut out so that the paddle can go up and down, and also rotate side to side about an inch. This is the method that Trace created and Bob has reproduced perfectly using resin kits.

Trace's was more hand-made and crude than Bob's resin kit. His paddle was actually a plastic spoon or spatula handle with the end cut off. You can see in most pictures that its rounded with a hole where the utensil was hanged in the kitchen.

It's just a big plastic spoon!

As for Corbett's puppet, nothing was removed from it. It was only improved. Instead of using the big gaudy spoon handle, Corbett's puppet was changed to have a thumb wheel instead. It fits in the same exact spot and is threaded with string the same way, it's just much smaller. This is allowed Bill to hold the main rod with one hand and puppet the eyes with his thumb. He could roll the wheel up and down to raise and lower the eyes and flip it back and forth for the side to side movement. His other hand was free to move the mouth.

Bill using the thumbwheel in his left hand...

Here are the diagrams I drew to explain how to build either versions. I think it will make sense to most of you. I have already created the Sci-Fi era wrist cuffs and I'm working on the thumbwheel.


Crow T. Robot / Crow wrists/hands upgraded! Sci-Fi era style wrist cuffs
« on: January 08, 2016, 07:33:02 PM »
Hey guys, I just wanted to post this as an update.

First off, have any of you guys done this? In most of the Scifi episodes i've watched, Crow has a thick wrist and his hands sort of peg into it. His wrists joint part is actually about 1/4" wider than his elbow and shoulder and it seems to be balanced out with spacers.

I really liked the way it looked and I wanted Crow's wrists to turn.

To start off, I'm using Bob's awesome hand casts.

I started by shortening the wrist peg on Bob's cast and I then measured about half an inch up the larger part of the claw and used a rotary tool to smooth it down so it would fit into a 1.5" inch cut of a small pvc pipe. I spent some time sanding it by hand to make it smooth and even, then I started on the wrist piece, which was cut from some pvc drain pipe.

Once it fit and rotated smoothly, I stuck the pvc wrist piece on the handle of a fork(exactly the same size as the peg I shaved down on the back of the claw) and poured white resin in the opposite end, also about 1/4" deep. I did this to create a backstop for the wrist joint so I could tap it and run a screw through it. This is what allows the wrist to turn inside of the pvc wrist joint I made.

You can see in the photos below. After everything was done, I mounted it with screws and used some brass spacers to even out the width of the wrist joint. I also noticed that the brass finisher/spacers would be awesome for the outside of the arm joints for people who have scratchbuilt their flat joint pieces and may want a raised circle to run the screw through. Lowes carries a great brass finisher that is the perfect size.

Anyhow, one last thing I added was a rubber grommet between the collar and the top of the Floralier. I didn't like how the collar rubbed the paint off the top as the head/torso was turned, so I placed a rubber grommet there to stop it.

Anyhow, here's updated Crow!

Buy / Sell / Trade / WTB MST3K Janus model kit or DVD pack-in figurines
« on: December 31, 2015, 09:31:27 PM »
Hey fellow Msties! Like the topic says, I'm looking for the MST3K Janus model kit. It doesn't need to be the original, I'll go with resin copies or a garage kit. I plan to use the parts to build custom action figures of Mike, Joel, and the three bots, instead of just assembling it as a static model kit.

Alternatively, I'm also looking for the three robots that came with the Rhino home video releases. They're like five inch figurines of Gypsy, Tom, and Crow.

If you can help with any of this, please let me know!!

Tom Servo / My second bot build, Tom Servo!
« on: December 31, 2015, 08:03:03 PM »
***Crow is posted in the Crow builders forum

Hey guys, first post here. I've been lurking around for awhile...

I've been an obsessive MST3K fan since about 1994 and I always wanted a pair of the bots.
I'm actually a prop builder(mostly Ghostbusters stuff) and statue/figure maker guy, so I have plenty of tools and experience, just not with the bots.

For Christmas, my awesome wife bought me the Bob kits from ebay. Best Christmas ever! Despite having the flu, I went to work on the 26th and had them finished three days later. LONG HOURS.

I followed his guides mostly, but I added some of my own techniques(paint types, adhesives, etc).


Tom was my second robot to make. Tom is way easier to make than Crow. I'd say Crow's head alone is harder to make than Tom. Tom just fits together so much easier and his parts are simpler. Anyhow, he's pretty basic. I followed the directions and used the correct parts. The ony thing I added was a thick washer under the hover skirt to get a tighter connection so the head doesn't pop up withn you hold him by his rod, which he appreciates. The washer makes the head rotation smoother underneath, too.

The hardest part of Tom? Taping off the engine block. I ended up just brush painting the silver pistons. For any red parts that peeled off or bled behind the tape(his beak, some of the motor), I just sprayed a portion of the red metal flake in a small sample jar and thinned it with paint thinner. I then brushed basic red paint over the areas, and I then brushed over with with that sample of red metal flake I sprayed into the jar, keeping it thin with paint thinner so it didn't clump too much. I then hit it with a clear coat sealer, which caused the metal flake particles in the brushed areas to distribute properly and blend in with the can-sprayed application. It worked out perfectly.

The other hardest part was gluing the trains to his skirt. The skirt is a poly blend plastic and hates glue. I ended up sanding it lightly and spraying it white to give the trains something to grip.

After 20 years, here's Tom!

Crow T. Robot / My first bot build! Crow T. Robot lives!
« on: December 31, 2015, 07:46:50 PM »
Hey guys, first post here. I've been lurking around for awhile...

I've been an obsessive MST3K fan since about 1994 and I always wanted a pair of the bots.
I'm actually a prop builder(mostly Ghostbusters stuff) and statue/figure maker guy, so I have plenty of tools and experience, just not with the bots. I've been 'studying' this forum for awhile to see what kind of mess I would be getting myself into if I tried to make the bots...

For Christmas, my awesome wife bought me the Bob kits from ebay. Best Christmas ever! Despite having the flu, I went to work on the 26th and had them finished three days later. LONG HOURS. Trial and Error, unfit painting conditions(ice storm here in Texas with flickering unreliable power).

I mostly followed the guides Bob supplied, but I added some of my own techniques(different paint types, adhesives, etc). Overall, he probably took about 15 hours of actual work time.

Here's my Crow!

Some notes...I did not use Testors "Metal Flake Gold". All of the big hobby stores in town did not have it and after inquiring, they told me that the paint color was no longer available. You guys should look into that. I instead used Testors Inca Gold. It's really close to the same color and under different lighting, it can range from that greenish gold tint to a warmer color. I really love how it turned out.

I prepped all of the parts using autmotive paint methods, instead of basic car model stuff. The base plastics were first coated with adhesion promoter(basically aerosol acetone for plastic car parts). Then white auto primer, then fast-drying automotive touch-up gold, then finally the testors gold. This method actually dries a lot faster than using Krylon and Testors products, which can take hours to days to finally dry. It's just not necessary. The automotive touchup paints by dupli-color cost a bit more, but they dry almost instantly, which cuts down on the hours. They're also perfectly durable.  Another good thing about the Inca Gold I used is that it is a 'one coat' paint. While this is not necessary true(It still took three coats), it doesn't run like classic Testors sprays, especially the old Lime Gold/Metal Flake Gold, which was sort of a tinted clear coat.

Moving on! The first construction work I did was to cut the bowling pin. I figured if I could get that done right, the rest would be easy. I used a carbon diamond saw for my rotary tool and carefully cut the line. To make it look nicer, I slightly beveled the edges of the beak to make them look cleaner and to get rid of any rough spots in the cut. I had a mishap cutting the neck hole in the pin, but it was easily repaired with superglue and sandpaper.

Next was the control rod, eye dish, torso, etc. I eventually had it all figured out.  One of the more annoying parts was the rivet in the neck for the pull string. I know some people don't use it, but I love how it looks, so I eventually had it shaved down enough that it didn't drag the string.

The eye mechanism ended up being way easier to make than I thought it would be. Getting the goalie mask to balance on the back of the bowling pin took more work.

One question....What is the right way to fasten the shoulder joints to the shoulder blocks? Bob's kit just uses a wiring head clamp pushed around the peg, but it falls off so easily. Did the show do this? I'd much rather put a screw with a washer on the end, if that's accurate. 

Anyhow, here's Mr. T. Robot! It took me 20 years, but I finally have them. He's fully functional, clean, and sarcastic!

Tom is posted in the Tom Servo sub-forum!

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