Blue rubber and Vaseline!.

Picture Gallery 2-Production

May-June 2005

I could write a web page or two just on how I made the molds for each part of Jazz, but mold making tends to be a very dry and boring topic despite all the Vaseline and latex gloves involved. I doubt you'd learn much from how I did anything anyways because mold construction methods are very project-specific ordeals. I will say my methods and their results have improved a bit since the Bumblebee project. All that is important is that I started making the molds sometime around late May and I began casting the parts the first week of June. Mold making and resin casting are very messy processes. My work area was a total mess for weeks! But it's a lot of fun making part after identical part over and over again multiple times. Hold on-did I say that was fun?

seven of the eleven total molds raw castings and trimmed parts the first color model assembled what a mess!

Greg originally wanted 15 Jazzes for the convention, which was only half of the number of Bumblebees I made for 2004. So I cast enough parts to make 25 units. I always make a few over the number ordered because there's always the possibility that I might screw some parts up during construction or certain castings might come out flawed. Since each Jazz had 12 parts, that meant a total of 180 parts needed to be cast to fill the order, and I exceeded that number by 120 because of the 10 units worth of extra parts I cast. So I ended up casting 300 parts not including the replacements for the ones that came out bad. In the pictures above you can see the very first unit I assembled and painted. I put it together to give me a guide for what color scheme I was going to eventually use and to give me hope that all this work was going somewhere.

inner mechanisms were the first parts mass produced dyed inner parts Are you ready to dye? I've dyed and gone to the table!

Once I had all the parts cast I had to trim all the flash off and make sure all the parts fit together. Then I had to dye the legs, heads, inner mechanisms, torsos, backplates, and feet all black. They're the parts most likely to get moved around and painting them black wouldn't work because paint would chip off during transformation. I left the arms all white although I wish I could have made certain areas of them black. It just proved to be too tricky to partially dye them and keep the white parts totally white.

doing this was hell no reward is worth this!

Here was the most mind numbingly, carpel-tunnel inducingly hellishly laborious part of the whole project-drilling the screw holes with a pin vise. I didn't have a dremel bit small enough to make the screw holes so I had to do it manually with my pin vise. Holy hell I thought my hand was going to rigor mortis and fall off from the intense cramping. Drilling fifty holes aint no joke! At this point I must thank Richard for finding screws small enough for the project and sending them to me all the way from Washington.

strange the things that make me smile color model, final prototype, and leg test testshot

Once I had the screw holes drilled I could begin assembling the parts to ensure everything fit together good before I painted everything. The most important part of the whole transform was getting the legs to extend and making sure everything stood up good. The very first unit I practiced the leg transform on is the white one with black legs pictured above. That one was just my guinea pig to figure out where I needed to drill the holes in the feet to connect the legs properly. Getting that right was a big milestone in the project. Once I figured out where to drill the holes so everything lined up properly, I made a template and drilled the holes in the other units' feet. Thankfully these didn't need to be small as screw holes so I used my Dremel. Oddly enough, I hadn't inserted the pins in the rest of the units in these pictures. They're standing just off the tighness of the fit of the legs in their sockets. Getting everybody standing up made me feel great!

one coat of primer one coat of primer after sanding

Then it was time to prep the parts for painting. I masked off the feet and torsos where I didn't want paint to go on the black areas and then I primed them along with the spoilers. Then I sanded the primer down and primed them again and sanded them again.

painting painting painting the blue stripes went on last my dinner tray doubled as a painting platform silver paint apps on the faces

I always say to myself I'll be so happy to get to the painting because that means I at least have something to paint. It means all the parts manufacturing is behind me and all that grinding and cutting and fitting is done. I watch a lot of television while painting but because I'm busy painting I don't change the channels when I should and I get stuck watching crazy stuff. Consequently these Jazzes will always remind me of that Joan of Arcadia show and various episodes of Lizzie McGuire. Even though I'm not good at it, I always look forward to the painting. And boy do I suck at it. I apologize to everyone who feels they got a shitty Jazz. But hey, if you really hate them there's always ebay...

one of many uses for coathangers blue sticker paper=love

Once the painting was done it was time for final assembly. I cut up a coat hanger to make the pins that would hold the feet in place. In a bit of serendipity, I found the blue sticker paper I used for my very first kitbash years ago (which also happened to be a Jazz based project), and I used it to make the windshield and headlight decals for these Jazzes. So things kind of came full circle for me on this project. My first kitbash was a full sized Jazz, and my latest one ended up being these mini Jazzes. If I never do any Transformer based stuff again I'd be happy with where I stopped.

the first fifteen units almost done Why does this remind me of fish?

For something that was primarily white, Jazz sure had a lot of paint apps. I had to paint the hands black, the heads needed silver and black, there were the blue stripes on the hood and rear deck, various grey highlights, and the of course the black dyed parts and cyan blue stickers. I wanted to color in the ridges on the arms black, but I never could quite get it right. After a few failed attempts I stopped. There was one unit that ended up with an all black grill while the rest of them had grey grills. This is because after I painted all the grills I broke a set of feet and used a replacement pair that didn't have the grill painted. I didn't notice it until I had finished everything.

Counting the metal hardware, each unit actually had sixteen pieces.

Main Jazz page

Picture Gallery 1-Developing the Idea-Here's the wacky behind the scenes look at how I originally envisioned the Jazzes and how that developed into the prototype from which the molds were made.

Picture Gallery 3-Finished!-A look at the finished products and the variations thereof.