Preparing a new TTL Action Figure Body


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Before I assemble a figure based on a TTL body, I prefer to prepare the body:

In addition to this, I prefer to do some modifications:

After doing all that, the final step is to restore the surface of the sanded and modified plastic parts.


Flattening seams

shaving seams
Uneven seams between joined body parts can best be leveled by shaving the seam with a used loose hobby knife blade. I prefer using an old X-Acto Nr.10 blade as this has no sharp point that could dig in and make scratches.
Take care not to create any flat spots.


Removing sharp or uneven edges

removing uneven edges
Misaligned edges not only spoil the looks but can also cause clothing to snag and get damaged, so I prefer to trim any misaligned or sharp edges using either a hobby knife or some fine sandpaper.





Functional modifications

Tighten plug joints

making plug joints more firm
Most joints (shoulders, axial elbow joints into both parts of the arms, axial knee joints) are of a plug type.
The good thing about these joints is that these can easily be taken apart, however this type of joint will quickly wear and become loose.
Check if each joint will hold its pose. If not, take it apart, wrap a small length of cotton string around the plug and insert it again.
Note: better wrap the string around the solid part of the plug rather than around the forked part to avoid the forked parts breaking.

Elbow hinges can be taken apart and made more firm as described on a separate page.

I do not do anything about joints that make sqeaky noises as anything that cures the sqeaks also make the joints lose friction.


Trim wrist posts

notches on wrist posts
The wrist posts have 4 small notches in the locking groove (top of the picture, notches indicated by violet arrows).
As far as I can tell these notches serve no useful purpose but they do limit the wrist rotation to 90 degree steps, so I usually cut the notches down to achieve a continuous groove similar to that of a CGv1.5 hand (in the center of the picture).


Trim rear edge

trimming rear edges for extra leg range
The legs hit the edges of the buttocks, which limits the range of motion.
Slightly trimming the edges between the arrows in the picture (by about 0.5mm, following the contour of the leg) allows the body to stand more upright.





Modifications to improve looks

Trim edges of arm sockets

trimming edges of arm sockets
The sharp angled front and top edges of the arm sockets will show through tight clothing, which looks unnatural.
edge of arm socket showing
I prefer to sand down the part between the arrows on the picture, to create softer edges (as shown on the right in the picture).


Trim lower edge of ribcage

trimming edges of ribcage
The lower edges of the ribcage show through tight clothing, which looks as if the figure is sucking in its belly.
edges of ribcage showing
Fortunately these edges are out of thick solid plastic, so these are easy to sand down.
The picture on the right shows the original body (left) and the sanded down edge (indicated by the arrow).


Trim bulges of elbow hinges

trimming elbow bulges
The elbow hinges have a bulge at the side of the lower arm, which looks a bit odd when the arm is stretched.
These bulges can be carefully trimmed down without harming the hinges, which is described on a separate page.
The picture shows an original TTL elbow on the left and a trimmed elbow bulge on the right.


Crotch mod

before and after crotch mod
The look of the lower body can be improved by tucking in the crotch, which is described on a separate page.
The picture shows an original TTL body on the left and the modified body on the right.


Trim the top of the thighs

before and after trimming thighs
A more subtle modification is to sand down the slight bulge in the top of the thighs, this is described on a separate page.
The picture shows an original TTL body on the left and the modified body on the right.




Final finish

final finish
After all parts are trimmed, shaved and sanded, I polish the plastic using a microfine sanding sponge.
Finally I polish the plastic using a small felt wheel on a motor tool running at a slow speed until the plastic has an even satin sheen.



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