Last modified: Saturday, July 28, 2001 7:23 AM


Think of this figure like you would any other articulated figure-- you can always dress it up, make replacement heads or masks, create boots & flesh-colored hands or gloves. Those aren't easy things to do, and that's what Takara did with it's original line of Henshin Cyborgs. There are already a few outfits made specifically for this Neo HC line, with more to come. However, that's beyond the scope of this article. Here, we're just going to look at some of the things you can do to modify the base figure, keeping it within the clear-bodied "Cyborg" look. I don't have a lot of ideas yet, but I'll amend this as I come up with new ideas.

At this time, I'm experimenting with the 97/98 version of the NHC because I've got plenty to spare. They're easy to come by; you can pick them up on Ebay for as low as $25.

JOINT TIGHTENING I've mentioned this before, but here it is again. The feet & knees may need to be tightened, and you won't be able to do it by tightening the screws. Instead, unscrew the joints and put a tiny drop of hot glue in the joint. When you reassemble it, the glue should give enough resistance to make a very tight joint. No big deal at all. Because you can disassemble the entire figure (except the hip joints), this shouldn't ever be a problem.

ARM FLEX RANGE This is a lot bigger deal. The 97/98 NHC's flex range is less than 90 degrees, and it's a major limitation, in my opinion. You can modify it for greater than 90 degrees, but you have to do some major grinding, and the result doesn't look pretty. The plastic is nylon-ish and leaves a very messy edge, which doesn't sand well. The good thing is that it's such a detail-busy figure that the marring isn't very noticible. Plus, you can polish it down. To make this modification, you'll need to grind the lower surface on the hinge face, round out the remaining surface , and cut a groove into the top of the forearm piece (top pic, right). As you can see, you get considerably more range with this modification, but it's not what you can get with the Cyborg 99 figure. (I'll experiment with constructing a double hinged joint later.)

CLEAR BODY TINTING This is pretty easy if you've got "the right stuff": Tamiya clear color paint. They make it in Smoke, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. Great stuff. It dries to a completely non-tacky finish more quickly than most of their regular paints. I disassembled the figure completely and airbrushed most of the parts on the inside. A few pieces (forearms & shins) aren't screwed together, so it's easiest to paint them from the outside. It's a good match, although the texture is different. Like I've said, it's a very busy figure so you can't really tell, and tinting is a pretty subtle thing. Pic: identical figures, but one tinted in Smoke.

PACKING THE BODY This is wide open. You can add a number of home-brew parts to the interior, but the chrome torso & hip pieces are part of the figure's structure and can't be removed. The most obvious thing to do is add wiring detail. If you're more adventurous, you can grind out portions of the chrome structure and add your own details. Another fairly easy modification is to cover the main hip-torso rubber band with a bellowed hose. I used a mimeograph machine's rubber pump "nipple" (have one of those handy?), but I think an automobile cable conduit would work. I also replaced the band itself with a steel spring.