Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'll be back.

So my epic Terminator hunt ended Sunday afternoon. I have been hunting a 3.75 inch tall Terminator action figure for weeks now. Everywhere I looked online people were talking about these guys being on shelves, but I couldn't find them anywhere. I dreamed of having a teensy tiny Terminator to harass my GI Joe figures. It’s less than a week from the opening of the new movie and none of the stores anywhere near me have any of these figures…

…until Sunday. I stopped by Wal-Mart as usual: nothing. Then I went to good old K-Mart and lo and behold, there on the shelves were the bestest leetle plastic robot skeletons a guy could ask for. Not too shabby in the price department either. In an age where pint size superhero toys cost 8 bucks and come with nothing, these guys are 6.99 and come with two guns and a collector card. OK… I don’t really care about the card, but some goober might like it.


Toy Line: Terminator: Salvation
Figure: T-RIP: Resistance Infiltrator Prototype
Producer: Playmates
Action Feature: None
Height: 3.75 inches
Retail Price: $6.99


Very nice! This guy is jam-packed with detail. From the teeth in his mouth to the sculpted joints in the bottom of his feet, this guy is crammed full of detail. The sculpt is a little soft, but it’s a really small figure-- so I’m willing to overlook some of that. I was impressed by the sheer amount of tiny sculpted details they crammed into this figure. He seems a little thin when you look at him from the side, but then you have to stop and think, “These guys are robot skeletons… duh.” He is kind of stiff looking, but that has more to do with the articulation than the sculpt. His mouth is sculpted open, and that kinda bugged me. Very rarely do you ever see the Terminators with their mouths hanging open. Maybe the ones in the new movie are slack-jawed. Who knows at this point? He also has super-long monkey arms. This is not a good thing for a Terminator to have if he wishes to disguise himself as a human.


Very, very nice. It’s molded in silver plastic with a painted base coat of silver paint and a dark wash of black paint. The effect is REALLY nice and serves to bring out the detail like crazy. It’s not overdone in the slightest considering most toys that have washes these days look like crap. His eyes are the only real paint application that requires any precise placement, and they did a pretty decent job on him. Others I saw on the shelf didn’t look quite so nice, so be careful and make a wise choice.


Well… I’d like to tell you that he’s articulated like crazy, but he’s really not. I knew this going in, but I had plans to fix that. He was a real fixer-upper (keep reading… part two covers that project). He had pin and post joints (functionally a ball joint) in his shoulders, elbows, and knees, and he has swivel jointed hips. That’s it. 10 individual points of articulation. It’s pretty useful articulation, but not the best by a loooong shot. He can’t turn his head or his waist, so he’s really stiff. His torso and head are essentially one, unmoving unit (although it is made of at least three parts glued together). The joints are nice joints; they aren’t loose in the least and have a full range of motion.


He comes with two guns and a card. The card’s pretty nice… Topps. Yeah. Yawn. One gun is a pistol, and the other is a rifle that looks like a super soaker. Neither really look like anything the Terminators had in the future scenes in the other movies, but I haven’t seen the new one, so I don’t know about that. They’re very nicely sculpted guns. My Glyos figures like them very much. I gave my Terminator a GI Joe gun, so he now kicks all kind of plastic butt.


He’s a 1:18 scale figure, and he fits in pretty well. I’ve read a lot of reviews online where people are complaining that he looks too small. Well… he’s a freaking skeleton. Skeletons are rarely as large as the people they inhabit, even the Governator’s. As you can see in the pics he’s pretty well-scaled to the Star Wars and GI Joe figures I have. Not 100% perfect, but who really gives a crap?

Overall, he’s a pretty nice little figure. He was the cheapest figure in this scale that I saw at K-Mart, so that’s always a good thing. Kids should dig him, because—HE’S A FREAKING ROBOT SKELETON!!! Enough said.

Now… on to part two:

The fix is in…

I bought this guy knowing he was pretty much a chunk of plastic with arms and legs that moved. I took him out to the shop and performed cruel and unusual acts upon his tiny, lifeless form. I cut off the head, cut the wedge of plastic below the upper jaw and under the chin, cut a thin slice of plastic from the top of the wedge, and glued it back in place to essentially close up the mouth. I trimmed the sides of the neck (the back of the neck was pretty flat due to the fact that the neck is sculpted with the wires sitting tightly on the sides of his neck ) so that the head could rotate. I dremeled a hole in the upper body where the neck would be and inserted a plastic rod into the hole. I dremeled a hole in the head, added a ring of plastic to the neck to replace the space taken out by the mouth wedge, and put the pieces together. The result is a head that has a closed mouth and a swivel neck.

I cut off the two pistons on his waist and cut him in two at the place where the spin meets the thorax. I again dremeled a hole in both sides to connect them with a plastic rod. I also dremeled holes in the bottom of the thorax and in the tops of the hips to attach the new pistons. I used the rubber O-ring from a GI Joe figure for the pistons. They aren’t silver like the rest of the figure, but it works for me.

I cut the arms near the wrists and took out a small chunk of each one to reduce the insane length of the arms. I used this opportunity to turn the left hand to better support a rifle. I also added swivel joints in the ankles to give him better stances.

He turned out pretty much ok for me. He's not articulated like my new Microman figure, but he does just fine for my purposes. It was an easy fix for a few small issues with the figure.

The results are as follows:


I've added these extra illustrations that I made during a conversation on 4chan's /toy/ page. I hope they help with folks' customizing of this figure's troubled head:

The above image shows how to cut out just the part that needs to be trimmed out to eliminate the open mouth. You'll start by removing the head along the line under the jaw. Then you'll need to make two cuts to remove the entire jaw, then another cut to remove the inside of the mouth and the sides of the mouth. Then you can glue the two remaing pieces of the head together and reserve the fixed head for the next step.

The above image shows the concept behind using a Dremel tool to drill into a part and then using model runner (the plastic that is the frame that model kit parts are molded onto) to either strengthen a weak joint or fix a broken joint. This concept is key to the next step which is making a simple swivel joint by doing the following:

The above image shows how you can use the concept from the second illustration to make a simple swivel joint. This is key to making the Terminator's head swivel. Dremel a hole into the head that you cut off in the first illustration and Dremel a matching hole into the neck stump on the body of the Terminator. Use a piece of model kit runner to fit the two pieces together. This will give you a simple swivel joint that allows for side to side movement. Another cool thing is that it will allow you to remove the Terminator's head whenever you want to!

I hope these little simple illustrations help! If not, let me know!

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