Hot Toys: The Dark Knight Rises, DX-12 - Articulation Modification

 

This fantastic tutorial was written and supplied by one of our readers Chi-lenn Wong who bravely took a knife to his brand new Hot Toys DX-12 figure in a bid to improve the lower articulation, and with great sucess.  He shares with us the process he undertook so you may also attempt it, AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Step 1:

Take off the head, neck peg, hands, gauntlets and boots (two parts as the foot comes off at the ball joint at the ankle and the upper boot slips off easily) until you are just left with the body.  Notice the mesh fabric suit has glue on the sleeves at the hand peg/ball joint (green arrow).  Slightly, and carefully rub that glue off to free the mesh from the true type body.  Do the same with the ankles/calf as that is glued down too, sorry not seen in picture, but this will allow the ease of removing the fabric mesh suit later.

Step 2:

Removal of the Kevlar Armour

Use a scalpel or sharp craft knife will do, and look at the back of the body. Under the armpit area is a plastic strap going from the lower breast area to the back of the armour tucked under the back shoulder plate.  This is where I made a cut to remove the armour.  Only place I found that can be removed without damaging the Kevlar armour and keeping it intact (see picture two).  Put the knife under to free the glue from the armour and with some slight force it should come off, now just un-slip the armour off.  Easily done now as the shoulder pieces have an elastic strap for articulation which makes it easier to take off.

This is where I inserted the scalpel to remove the upper torso Kevlar armour (RED ARROW).  As you can see there is glue here but at this stage this is done later, but here is a visual reference of where it is glued for later and where to cut to prise open the plastic strap under the armour.

Step 3:

Removal of the Fabric mesh suit

Turn the body around and look at the seam it goes from the neck/collar all the way down and curves around the butt and back round to the other side of the collar. You do not need to remove the whole seam/stitching, I only done one side to remove the suit.  I loosened the seam on the left side as that was 'less stitched' than the other side, for mine anyway, it may differ on other bodies.  Either cut or slowly remove the thread/stitching but be careful not to cut the suit or cut too deep in to the inner foam suit underneath (for safety I used a needle to undo the loose threads and a scalpel to cut the loose threads), refer to yellow arrow.

Ok once done you can see the inner foam suit.  Now this part is the hard part.  You must remove the outer fabric mesh suit, easier said than done.  This requires patience and a lot of pushing and slight pulling.  I started with the top (neck and shoulders) and slowly slipped the fabric suit down, whilst slightly tugging and pushing downwards at the legs.  Eventually it will come off.

Ok take a break...I did :D look at the suit, make a cup of hot beverage whatever and pat yourself on the back for going this far in the mod with a expensive figure all for articulation (which should have been there in the first place!) and authenticity's sake.

Step 4:

The inner foam suit cut

The inner suit as you can see looks very strange...like a male ballerina.  Ok sorry on with the mod.  Notice that the whole suit is glued down and held at the top with black spandex/lycra material.

My mod differs here to many others as I didn't want to complicate it by removing bits or take away any of the foam suit.  Also hearing from some once you remove it and put the mesh suit back on, the belt is very loose although you may get a lot of articulation I rather not do this and create more problems for my figure later.  Also the padded out look is I think what Hot Toys put in to give the figure more definition of proportions, a 'muscle' look and less sagging of the fabric mesh suit if there wasn't a under-suit.

On with the process; I have drawn arrows (refer to YELLOW ARROWS) to show where I cut the foam suit.  Using a scalpel (or craft knife) I 'scored' where I drew the lines on the picture.  These are where the joints and points of articulation are on the True Type body.  DON'T cut all the way around there is no need, just cut to where I indicated with arrows.  This way your suit is still held in place by the glue.  You only need to do this as it free's up the joints and gives better articulation.  Now once scored with cuts move the joint so the legs and articulation points work (back and forth).  Now turn the body around and onto the next step.

Step 5:

This is the same as step 4 with the scoring and cutting of the foam under-suit.  You can see I cut it in this picture just under the buttocks area (refer to RED ARROWS), the back of the knees (YELLOW LINES) need to be done in the same way as the previous front side but remember not to cut all the way round, leave the sides, move the joints so it can articulate well like before. Also as you score certain parts of the under-suit there will be parts that may hang or come loose, for me it was the underside groin area (refer to GREEN ARROW) this I just stuck back down with glue onto the black True Type body.

Step 6:

The foam under-suit should be fine, time to put back on the suit.  Another hard part, remember to be careful and patient.  Slowly slip on the fabric mesh suit over the true type with foam padding.  Ok happy with the way it looks to you?  Futz and adjust the suit to get creases out or anything that looks odd like alignment etc then onto the next step.

Step 7:

The sealing of the seam

This is another hard part for me as you need to sew up the seam.  I'm not good at sewing but decided to sew it up as that was how it originally came as before the mod.  Talk about making thing's hard for myself :)
Anyway I have seen other customiser's or modder's use glue or fabric glue, that is fine too just to seal the seam.  You must pull the suit at both ends of the seam so the 'Spine armour' aligns well with the lower bottom armour (Backbone? armour).  On here it looks misaligned after sealing it up but I futzed with it and the flexible fabric suit positioned itself after.  OK all dried up/sewed up?  Last part now...

Remember the sleeves area where the ball joint is located and the suit had glue you removed?  You need to re-glue that area again.  Be careful not to use too much glue as you don't want to damage the fabric suit by having it seep through.  Do the same for the legs/calf area too.  This holds the suit when you pop back on the gauntlets and boots and stops the fabric suit from rolling up plus it holds the suit in place too.  All done now to pop back on the Kevlar shoulder armour and glue the plastic strap back on the underside of the back shoulder plate area (refer to RED ARROW in picture 2).  Also remember to tuck the grey straps under the Kevlar armour on the fabric suit as on mine they were not stuck down.  Now wait for everything to dry and you are good to go!  Pop back on the gauntlets hands, boots and neck and head of course.  It should be complete and the lower articulation is vastly improved.

 

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