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Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019)

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GubernatorFan

GubernatorFan
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Part I: "slides" 0-19
For Part II see post 16 below; for Part III see post 31 below

Until fairly recently I skipped out on heads that were sculpted with a permanently attached neck for my customs, as I tended to use bodies like DAM, World Box, HT muscle, Phicen/TBLeague, which generally already had a non-removable neck. With some encouragement from OSW forum members, I eventually tried it out, and haven't stopped de-necking heads since. Apart from greater compatibility with action figure bodies of all kinds, a neck-less head has an additional point of articulation at its base, so I do this on principle with very few exceptions. (Thus there would be two points of articulation in the neck -- one at its top and one at its base; that said, the design of bodies, inside neck connectors, etc, makes this a matter of theory more than practice in many cases.) I cannot claim superior skills and expertise, and my results have varied over time (though given enough patience and persistence, they could have been pretty flawless). But at the urging of some of you, here is my procedure in cases like this.

I had a second Sullivan Stapleton Galac-Tac head lying around (the first one, which I had used in the Spartan Goddess of War review was not one of my best conversions), and it made do for the little tutorial that follows. Stopping to stage and take photos made it less than ideal, I nearly made some mistakes, and did a somewhat hurried job of it, but it should make do as an illustration. It is pretty simple and there are some alternatives to choose between.

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck10

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck11

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck12

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck13

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck14

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck15

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck16

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck17

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck18

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck19

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck20

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck21

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck22

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck23

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck24

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck25

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck26

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck27

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck28

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck29

Hope this was useful.

Update: addendum in post 16 below.

#head #headsculpt #custom #modification #tutorial #body


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One seriously bad ass tutorial!
I have a couple heads that might get this treatment soon!
Thanks!

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GubernatorFan

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Thank you, Pontiacvan! Glad it is encouraging you to customize. Just take your time and be careful not to cut something too much or nick yourself. I've done that. Smile


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Thank you so much Gubernator for sharing this great tutorial. I love the way you layout the procedures/pictures, it's very clear and easy to follow (not to say that it's an easy task, but you've done such a good job, you make it look easy Smile )

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Top tutorial.  Very clear and practical.  Your point about the angle of cut is important.  How the neck diameter, peg height and insert depth all come into play here.  I’ve bought new head sculpts that got it wrong with too high a notched cut.  It’s horrible because you either see a gap, or it looks like he has no neck.  I find there are four broad styles: straight cut, high notch, low notch and curved.   What looks best depends on the transition point variables.  Well done as always!

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Rogerbee

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Great tutorial,

One of my major bugbears with neckless heads is when they look awful from the side. My Indy head is like that, but, I think it may be down to the thickness of the neck on the body more than the head. You look to have got this down to a fine art. Always best to have a few naff heads around to practice on, then you don't charge in and ruin the prized one that you might not be able to replace.

CHEERS!

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Many thanks GF, This is veeeery informative and helpful, I am gonna try that tonight on a few heads!
Btw I really liked the pics on the tutorial, there is always a sparkle of fun and storytelling in your photos, which is very cool, I smiled seeing the figure on a chair like in a waiting room!

Thanks again for the great tutorial!

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Stryker2011

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Very thorough and excellent tutorial. Really appreciate all the time and effort you to put into showing things clearly. Now I might be more tempted to get some heads with necks and try this.


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Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) TCFITBi
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Well presented. Thank you, sir.

I've never done it with an Exacto (always used just the Dremel), but will give that a try as the cuts are fine and straight.

As usual, the headless body sitting there waiting on his head to be done made me chuckle.

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GubernatorFan

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Fox915 wrote:Thank you so much Gubernator for sharing this great tutorial. I love the way you layout the procedures/pictures, it's very clear and easy to follow (not to say that it's an easy task, but you've done such a good job, you make it look easy Smile )

You are very welcome, and thank you for your kind words. If I can do it, it can't be that hard -- just remember to go slow and careful if you are new to it (if you're not, I should not be giving you advice). Smile

MarkEl wrote:Top tutorial.  Very clear and practical.  Your point about the angle of cut is important.  How the neck diameter, peg height and insert depth all come into play here.  I’ve bought new head sculpts that got it wrong with too high a notched cut.  It’s horrible because you either see a gap, or it looks like he has no neck.  I find there are four broad styles: straight cut, high notch, low notch and curved.   What looks best depends on the transition point variables.  Well done as always!

Thank you very much! That is why (in part) I like having a loose inside neck connector -- so I can manipulate the height of the head on a neck and over the shoulders (also important when you dress up the body). Doesn't solve every potential issue, but it solves a lot.

Rogerbee wrote:Great tutorial, One of my major bugbears with neckless heads is when they look awful from the side. My Indy head is like that, but, I think it may be down to the thickness of the neck on the body more than the head. You look to have got this down to a fine art. Always best to have a few naff heads around to practice on, then you don't charge in and ruin the prized one that you might not be able to replace.

Thank you, Roger. You are right that in some cases heads don't look well on necks, though not always. The stuffing of the neck (if it has a stretchable seamless covering) and the thinning of the "walls" at the base of the head are intended to help with that, but obviously that cannot be applied to each and every body variation. You can make a (stretchy rubber) neck thicker, but you can't easily make a thick neck slimmer -- unless you are super good with shaving parts off, smoothing, and repainting (and repaint does not rub off). With the heads that come with an integral neck, the basic look is better indeed (especially when they have a very short hair or "phase" at the back), but for me they fall under the statue category and I resent the limitation in articulation on pure principle. Like DVD regional codes. I can't be the only one that resents the notion that if I want some DVD that doesn't happen to be distributed in my region, it might not be able to play on my player (I do buy re-programmable players and set the region code to 0 -- it allows me to play most things, although some functions are often limited). Just like that with the heads -- a neck-less head can be used with both basic types of bodies (like a non-region specific DVD should play in any player).

blackpool wrote:Many thanks GF, This is veeeery informative and helpful, I am gonna try that tonight on a few heads! Btw I really liked the pics on the tutorial, there is always a sparkle of fun and storytelling in your photos, which is very cool, I smiled seeing the figure on a chair like in a waiting room! Thanks again for the great tutorial!

You are very welcome and thank you for the kind comments. I appreciate that you liked my silly attempts to infuse some humor. If this were a GIF, you might have noticed the body in the chair tapping his hand on his legs impatiently while waiting for the head to be ready for it. Smile It did occur to me afterwards that in the process the camera did not always focus on the head being converted (oops).

Stryker2011 wrote:Very thorough and excellent tutorial. Really appreciate all the time and effort you to put into showing things clearly. Now I might be more tempted to get some heads with necks and try this.

Thank you very much, Mark! A little encouragement sent me on my merry way into this, so I am glad to pass it on to you. Just go slow and careful and I'm sure it will be successful.

dadrab wrote:Well presented. Thank you, sir. I've never done it with an Exacto (always used just the Dremel), but will give that a try as the cuts are fine and straight. As usual, the headless body sitting there waiting on his head to be done made me chuckle.

Thank you kindly, Sir. Maybe I am not good enough with the Dremel, or maybe I worry I have less control (though one could still mess up with the X-acto knife if one hurries). And there is still a place for using Dremel here too, just mostly on the inside. If you are new to using the knife for this, the main thing to remember is to make sure you are working on a suitably warm/soft plastic, that would allow you to apply less pressure and therefore have more control. And like I said in the tutorial, err on the side of caution, you can always shave off more later (that said, I often wish I would remember my own advice). Also glad it made you chuckle. Smile


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Perfect tutorial. Like the rest of the crowd here, I love the humor and comic style, making it as entertaining as it is informative. I have pretty much the same approach, right down to the inward angle around the bottom inner walls. I like the idea of the hot water for the softer plastic heads. For most of the heads I've done, they seem to be cast in a really hard resin material, so an exacto knife won't cut it, and I have to use a dremel with a rotary blade. If anyone does work on one of the harder heads, fair warning that it kicks up a ton of fine resin dust, which I hear is REALLY bad for you, so make sure to wear some kind of mask or respirator.


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Rogerbee

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Good points,

I specifically chose my current DVD player because there was a way to convert it to region 0, it plays region 1 discs flawlessly!

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ReverendSpooky wrote:Perfect tutorial.  Like the rest of the crowd here, I love the humor and comic style, making it as entertaining as it is informative. I have pretty much the same approach, right down to the inward angle around the bottom inner walls.  I like the idea of the hot water for the softer plastic heads.  For most of the heads I've done, they seem to be cast in a really hard resin material, so an exacto knife won't cut it, and I have to use a dremel with a rotary blade.  If anyone does work on one of the harder heads, fair warning that it kicks up a ton of fine resin dust, which I hear is REALLY bad for you, so make sure to wear some kind of mask or respirator.  

Exactly correct on the hard resin.  Messy and potentially toxic stuff.  Goggles and mask/respirator for sure.   The Exacto is neater.  
Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) 5fc0aa10

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GubernatorFan

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ReverendSpooky wrote:Perfect tutorial.  Like the rest of the crowd here, I love the humor and comic style, making it as entertaining as it is informative. I have pretty much the same approach, right down to the inward angle around the bottom inner walls.  I like the idea of the hot water for the softer plastic heads.  For most of the heads I've done, they seem to be cast in a really hard resin material, so an exacto knife won't cut it, and I have to use a dremel with a rotary blade.  If anyone does work on one of the harder heads, fair warning that it kicks up a ton of fine resin dust, which I hear is REALLY bad for you, so make sure to wear some kind of mask or respirator.  

Thank you very much! Yes, I should have noted more emphatically that this is about plastic (PVC) heads, not resin ones. Those are harder to work with, and a Dremel may be a must (I have used it to remove a neck and, more frequently, to create the hole into the head). Agree on the smelly and potentially harmful resin dust -- so I avoid resin heads when I can, especially if I know they would require modification.

MarkEl wrote:Exactly correct on the hard resin. Messy and potentially toxic stuff.  Goggles and mask/respirator for sure. The Exacto is neater.

Agreed, as above. One thing I do whether using a Dremel on the PVC or on resin (if necessary), is place the head in a deep transparent plastic bag, hold it through the bad, and insert the Dremel so it is entirely enveloped by the bag as I work with it. It cuts down on the bits and pieces and dust substantially (just make sure there are no holes or tears on the bag). You can actually see my Dremel in the bag in one of the photos, but only a little is showing and I did not explain about it.


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GubernatorFan wrote:Agreed, as above. One thing I do whether using a Dremel on the PVC or on resin (if necessary), is place the head in a deep transparent plastic bag, hold it through the bad, and insert the Dremel so it is entirely enveloped by the bag as I work with it. It cuts down on the bits and pieces and dust substantially (just make sure there are no holes or tears on the bag). You can actually see my Dremel in the bag in one of the photos, but only a little is showing and I did not explain about it.

That is an EXCELLENT idea, and something I need to try. I am not always as careful as I should be with this sort of thing. And I never even think about what it's made of when ordering. Whatever shows up, I assume I'll just figure out then what I need to do.

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GubernatorFan

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Part II: "slides" 20-24
for Part I see post 1 above; for Part III see post 31 below.

Addendum to the Head Conversion Tutorial

Once again, I want to emphasize that this is about plastic (PVC) heads; resin heads usually require more effort and reliance on Dremel, and produce smelly and possibly harmful fine resin dust.

With the help of my lovely... err... studly assistant, I want to point out a few variations I have run into, although the basic suggestions above largely apply all the same.

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck30

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck31

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck32

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck33

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck34

And then you can put it on any neck or body, like this:

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) M3590c10

I hope this was useful.


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useful and fun!!! Thanks a lot for that continuation of the tutorial! (starlord makes a great animator showman lol)

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GubernatorFan

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Thank you blackpool. I'm very happy you liked the addendum, too!
This Star-Lord is a reconstituted figure (one of several where I have bought a few of the pieces from the boxed set and put them together) that doesn't have its own box so is usually lying around. So it is an easy go-to when I need a figure to use as an example or prop or to borrow a head (now that I've made it swappable).


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Great choice, I recently grabbed him and he is very cool, very lifelike, the head has great potential... I started doing the same as you for some hot toys figures, waiting for a part out and grabbing only the most important bits, I made my harley quinn this way

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GubernatorFan

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Blackpool -- the problem with reconstituting figures is that if you end up choosing/having to buy a lot of parted-out pieces, in the end you will pay more for less (i.e., you might as well have bought the boxed set when it was still readily available and relatively lower in price). I learned that lesson recently with HT Anakin Skywalker (a figure I had not planned on getting, since I am not a fan of the Prequels by any measure -- and that is putting it very very positively).

Anyway, I've been converting more heads, including the one below (another thing I had not planned on getting). An odd little kitbash is coming up soon.

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck35


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Rogerbee

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I fell into that trap with my HT Godfather, just getting the head, hands and gear cost me more than the boxed figure would have! I spread the cost, but, I was shocked when I found out my total spend.

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GubernatorFan

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Rogerbee wrote:I fell into that trap with my HT Godfather, just getting the head, hands and gear cost me more than the boxed figure would have! I spread the cost, but, I was shocked when I found out my total spend.

I know your pain! Smile


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Very educational and useful, thanks! Smile

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I honestly wouldn't have known how important it was to heat the head, I really appreciate this tutorial because I see this in my future Very Happy Thanks @GubernatorFan Very Happy

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GubernatorFan

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Adeno wrote:Very educational and useful, thanks! Smile

Thank you, glad you found it so!

Peaches wrote:I honestly wouldn't have known how important it was to heat the head, I really appreciate this tutorial because I see this in my future Very Happy  Thanks @GubernatorFan Very Happy

Thank you, glad it will come in useful!


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this was helpful in my first de-necking! especially the tip of filling the head with sticky sponge
THANKS!!!! Very Happy

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teamweapon wrote:this was helpful in my first de-necking! especially the tip of filling the head with sticky sponge THANKS!!!! Very Happy

You are very welcome, glad it worked out!


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My bank account will not be thanking you, but I am. Very Happy

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GubernatorFan

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Aria wrote:My bank account will not be thanking you, but I am. Very Happy

You are very welcome! Glad it was helpful. And tell your bank account I am sorry. Smile


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Fantastic ! Thanks for showing, very helpful.I did it with the Rowan Atkinson Sculpt, because i need different emotions for a figure. Yes i know much work, but it was before we use the face App Laughing

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Pjou5810
Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Cehrl910

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GubernatorFan

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Part III: "slides" 25-31
For Part I see post 1 above; for Part II see post 16 above

By popular demand, the tutorial is extended to address a slightly different type of head that is somewhat more difficult to modify than the examples in parts I and II above.

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck10

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck11

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck12

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck18

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck14

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck17

Head Conversion Tutorial (updated with Part III - June 2019) Deneck16

Why the silly storyline? Check out the Star Wars A Negative Body Image Story thread HERE.

Hope this was useful.


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Ahhh, brilliantly done! Thanks so much for taking the plunge and trying this out. As always, excellent photos, easy to understand directions, and delightful humour. This is the tutorial I’ve been waiting for! :’D

I also appreciate how you cleverly avoided the mechno arm situation in that final pose. Very Happy


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Stryker2011

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Nicely done on the Anakin head. Having the pieces be separate, though glued together, makes the job that much easier.


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GubernatorFan

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skywalkersaga wrote:Ahhh, brilliantly done! Thanks so much for taking the plunge and trying this out.  As always, excellent photos, easy to understand directions, and delightful humour.  This is the tutorial I’ve been waiting for! :’D I also appreciate how you cleverly avoided the mechno arm situation in that final pose. Very Happy

Thank you and you're welcome. It was bound to happen sometime -- on principle. Glad you found the humor delightful, too. And that clever avoidance of the mechno arm situation -- totally planned ahead! Actually sometimes one gets lucky without being clever. I noticed that in all the photos where it would show (here and in the photo story), I had inadvertently hidden it behind something else -- so when I remembered about it and looked, it was a relief.

Stryker2011 wrote:Nicely done on the Anakin head. Having the pieces be separate, though glued together, makes the job that much easier.

Thank you very much. Yes, it is a specific and in this instance helpful subset of head sculpt types -- HT does them this way to have more realistic hair. If the head and hair were one piece out of the mold, this would have been an entirely different story which would probably not have been told. Smile Mind you, I did modify the head sculpt used to recreate your fireman in the New Superhero Revealed? thread that way (but that did not involve denecking)...


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GubernatorFan

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Problems with fitting the head onto the action figure's neck pin?

Apart from the foamies solution illustrated above, you can check out additional ideas in the Neck Connector Adjustment Tutorials:
http://onesixthfigures.forumotion.com/t1859-neck-connector-adjustment-tutorials

Part I in post 2 (replacement for a neck connector that is too loose in the head cavity)
Part II in post 13 (fixing a head connector that is too loose in the head cavity)


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