Toy Customisation: Beast Hunters Starscream to TFA-ish Slipstream

Hey there, it’s AddAltModeB here, and I’ve been at the workbench for a bit to make something a little bit special for our display cabinet of toy robots: something specifically for AddAltModeR, who I should remind you has been known to dress like this:

Photo credit: Damian Pudner

Photo credit: Damian Pudner

Now, regular readers will know that we at AddAltMode are very fond of Slipstream: AddAltModeR has been building a cosplay of the character for some time, and I felt that Slipstream’s absence from our toy-shelf was a glaring omission, made only slightly more excusable by her extreme rarity (the only released of this character is a collector’s club exclusive.).

I’d had my mind on this project for a while before starting it, but I decided I had to finish it completely in time for AddAltModeR’s birthday (today). The plan was to create a custom Slipstream toy out of a Starscream mold – preferably one that’s not already in AddAltModeR’s collection of Starscreams. I had a mold in mind, and I knew that the mold I was thinking of had already been used for this purpose by some fellow Shapeways users – who had done a great big chunk of the work for me already…

2013 brought us some delightfully spiky Transformers molds, which were released as part of the Triple Combination: Transformers Go!  franchise in Japan and as part of the Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters line in English-speaking places. There’s a rather nice Starscream mold in that line, that looks like this;

Beast Hunter Starscream couldn't decide which coulour he wanted to be, so he chose all of them.

Go! Hunter Starscream on the left, TFP:BH Starscream on the right. No prizes for guessing which one I prefer: It’s the one without ALL THE COLOURS.

As you can see, the only real differences are in plastic colours and paint applications. As is usually the way with this toyline, the Japanese version has a very restricted palette of colours, and looks quite good, and the US/UK version is rather gaudy, with a bit too much going on. In my opinion, this is a fairly common difference between Beast Hunters and Go! versions of a figure. I tend to prefer the Go! versions with their mostly cartoon-accurate colours to the garish Beast Hunters versions. The photo doesn’t show it too well, but those pink bits on Beast Hunters Starscream are actually marbled plastic – there are dark red veins running through all the pink.

Still, the US/UK version could be obtained very cheaply  from discount shops of late (less than a fiver for a deluxe-sized figure is pretty good, they’re often up to £15 when they’re new), which made it even more suitable for this project. I do like the knee-spikes, and this has to be the scrawniest, wiriest Starscream ever.

Way back when, I’d seen a really nice custom head for this mold on Shapeways, designed by a person or group called Tecrom Designs.

My printed copy came out looking like this:

A 3d-Print of Tecrom's Slipstream Head in Shapeways' "Frosted Ultra Detail" plastic. It's in two parts which clip together over the ball-jointed neck.

A 3d-Print of Tecrom’s Slipstream Head in Shapeways’ “Frosted Ultra Detail” plastic. It’s in two parts which clip together over the ball-jointed neck.

I also felt that no Slipstream is complete without her blasters. I had a few very specific requirements: Firstly, I wanted the guns to fit in the 5mm circular in Starscream Slipstream’s forearms. Secondly, I wanted to evoke the silhouette of the finned blasters mounted on Slipstream’s shoulders in Transformers Animated. Thirdly, I wanted to put smaller fins or vanes on the sides of the blasters that would fit into the slots on her wings where the missiles clip on when she’s in her alt-mode.

My first draft was this:

A collage of screencaps from Blender, showing the custom-made blasters from 3 orthogonal directions.

A collage of screencaps from Blender, showing the custom-made blasters from 3 orthogonal directions.

Which really didn’t need much re-working. More by luck than judgement I’d got everything right first time. Printing in Shapeways’ purple plastic gave me a more bluish finish than I’d like – but it was nothing a quick coat of acrylic paint couldn’t solve.

(The blasters are on shapeways here.)

So, having obtained all the parts, I got to painting; here’s the obligatory work-in-progress shot.

Slipstream's Part on a the workbench, partway through painting.

Slipstream’s parts on a the workbench, partway through painting.

So I gave the various parts of garish Starscream a lick of black primer, then painted them in Slipstream’s purple and teal colours using Games Workshop paints. The silver parts are done with Rowney’s silver acrylic, with a black ink-wash. Last thing, I gave the whole thing  a coating of Baufix Spray-On Lacquer to prevent any scratches.

Here’s a faceshot of the end result:

Full body shot:

A full-length shot of Slipstream.

A full-length shot of Slipstream.

Get a look at these guns:

What did you think I meant?

What did you think I meant?

A groupshot with her fellow Seekers.

Slipstream's taller and more slender than her "brothers" - the other Seekers.

Slipstream’s taller and more slender than her “brothers” – the other Seekers.

And finally, here’s a shot of Slipstream as she is posed on the shelf – is she even arguing with Starscream in the display cabinet?

Starscream; Slipstream:

Imagine this scene, and you’re on the same wavelength as we were when we posed these toys.

So, happy birthday AddAltModeR! Enjoy your Slipstream!

5 thoughts on “Toy Customisation: Beast Hunters Starscream to TFA-ish Slipstream

  1. I love looking through these – You guys always make them look so professionally well done. Just a quick question: is there a benefit of using a spray lacquer over painting it on finely with a brush?


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