Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Weapon Modding Ninja Turtle Style

OK I know what you are thinking...Ninja Turtles? What does this have to do with miniatures? Well everything. Modifying action figures was my intro to the hobby of scale models and basically how my obsession carried over to gaming miniatures as well. I had the Turtle Fever back in the 80's and well into the 90's...heck I even paid to go to their musical concert as lame as the premise of it was. But now being a parent of a boy who is just discovering Spider-man, Super-man, and all the rest of the Marvel and DC universe I had to pick up all 4 turtles from the new upcoming Nickelodeon TV show to give a new generation the Turtle Fever. These figures are probably one of the best renditions of the radical 4 turtles Playmates has ever brought out. The articulation is above average for action figures in their price range. The one main draw back came with my second favorite turtle Michelangelo. His nunchucks were terrible. They were very stiff and the plastic stressed as soon as you made him hold one with both hands. It took 1 day of my 3 year old playing with them till one of them  finally snapped :(.
Well lucky for my son, his dad is a hobby nerd and unfortunate things like this are more of an opportunity to improve on the original design intent. So I broke out my tools and got to work and ended up with the result in the photo:

Much better wouldn't you say? Well now that one is fixed might as well make a matching pair with the other nunchucks. It's a rather easy modification, you can find all you need at the local Hobby Lobby or Michael's and the end result will insure durability for even the roughest of fights against Shredder and his Foot Clan.

You will need the following tools starting from the top: Pin Vice with a small size drill bit(sorry I didn't know the exact size but it's fairly small), Hobby Shears/Cutters, and Hobby Pliers. Not shown in the photo is a hobby file with a 250 grit. You don't really need it but it makes it easier to drill the top of the nunchucks later.

You will also need the following materials both found in the jewelry section of the craft store:
A necklace that looks like a chain roughly to scale of the action figures( I don't know off hand what scale they are but take one of the nunchucks for reference). 2 miniature eye-bolt screws. I found these attached to some potion bottles in the jewelry section. These might be harder to find locally, but just in case, you can find them here. Be sure to buy 2 since 2 come in one package and you'll need 4 of these. 

Yeah you'll be shopping a lot in the jewelry section and if you are a guy, the lady shoppers will probably stare at you with a puzzled look on their face wondering why you are in the jewelry section. I get a little self-conscience at times but the jewelry section always has some of the best items to use in a model miniature scale. It's worth all the stares from the ladies to shop for those things ;).

Now it's just a matter of snipping the plastic chains off. See how the tops look bumpy? Here is where your file would come in handy just to make the tops more even.

After sanding the tops, take your Pin Vice and drill the top of the nunchucks just enough to get the eye-bolts situated. You will need to try your best to get the pin vice centered but if you are off just a bit, you won't really notice with the end result.

Once you can get your eye-bolt situated on the hole you just made, you can then just screw in the bolt by hand till it's flush with the top. Got big hands? The pliers also work as long as you don't use too much force. Now rinse and repeat the steps with the second nunchucks handle.

So once you have something similar to the top photo, it's now time to get these nunchucks chained together and ready for some Ninja Turtle action! 

Next you'll want to grab your pliers and necklace and basically start at one end of the necklace and open one of the necklace links at the length you need. I started out with 6 chain links on the nunchucks but then it looked too long so I cut it down to 4 links and it looked better. I found the second time I did this I can open the chain link with my finger and thumb and then close it with the pliers after I get them situated. So once you get one side connected, the other side is a piece of cake

And you are finished! Like I said it is a fairly simple mod and your kids will love it now that Mikey's nunchucks look like the ones on the show. The nunchucks are now pretty durable and if they break again, you have plenty of necklace chain left to fix it again. My son is currently on day 3 of the new nunchucks and they already lasted longer than the stock ones

Cowabunga Dude! I think Mikey likes it. I also plan to modify the other extra chained weapons that were included with the turtles. I think Donatello has a chain-like bow, and Michelangelo has a chained hook. So my work isn't over just yet. 

Perfect fit. I recommend you pick up a set of the 4 turtles if you are a fan. You won't be disappointed. Of course you can also just hold off and wait since the Turtle fever seems to go dormant for 3 years after the TV show gets canceled then comes back in full force again :P. Now to go kick some shell!
Keep on playing!