Articulated Hands for Your Kitbash06/11/2008
You'll need to pick up some packages of 'Flexible Pipe' from HLJ.com. There are three different sizes from small (3mm), medium (4mm) and large (5mm). I find that the small fits the voyager and medium to large fit voyager to ultra/leader class depending on the character. When in doubt, measure across the back of the hand and divide by 4. That will give you the mm range you need to go with. There's also a way to make really tiny hands for deluxe figs using springs wire and finger segments but I didn't get the springs yet.
You'll need one flexible pipe pack per hand and they run about $2 depending on if you pick them up from HLJ.com or your local hobby shop. Each segment is made up of two pieces, a post and a socket. You glue the tiny post into the back of the socket and then plug it on to another ball post, repeat until you make the whole pipe. If it looks like these things are tiny it's because they are! Prepare to lose some if you're not careful. I suggest jewelry making pliers to hold the parts when you glue.
Now that you have your fingers and thumb it's time to remove the old non-moving fingers and thumbs from the hand you're using. Here's where it can get tricky because many Transformers have closed fists with a hole through the middle. It's rather hard to cut just the fingers off and leave the hand looking nice so I'll replace the whole hand usually using a Front Mission Gundam or other spare hand. You can even make the palm of the hand yourself using styrene or spare parts but that's up to you. Here I'm using a Gundam hand and you can order spare hands from HLJ.com as well.
Cut the fingers off where the knuckle meets the palm and right past the second joint of the thumb. See the four spare plug bottoms there without the ball-post glued on? Those will be buried in the palm as the final joint in a moment.
Drill 4 holes where the base sockets willl fit into. Sometimes you won't be able to get the holes close together in which case you may just need to carve a trench across the palm and lay the base sockets in. Make sure you test-fit everything before you glue! If the fingers are too long drill deeper into the palm. You can always cover up around the base socket sections later because they had to sit so close to each other.
Now glue the base socket sections into the palm and attach the fingers. Each segment is made to pop on and off so be very gentle when posing the fingers. Test out how they pose now. You can't quite make a fist but the fingers do curl in and can grip weapons, make hand signs and look fairly natural doing so.
Now comes time to finish your hand. Use some Apoxie Sculpt or epoxy gel to cap off the ends of the fingers rounded. Depending on the character you may want to glue something on the back of the hand like we did here using a strip of styrene to hide the base plug sockets and make a knuckle guard. Paint the whole thing with your choice of gray or silver and you're ready to attach it. How you do this is up to you. I like to keep these hands removable because they can pop apart easy. Refer to my other guides for adding ball joints/magnets to the wrist and you'll have plenty of ways to use your new hand.
Like always, the original post on this tutorial can be found here, along with Jin's extensive archives on past tutorials and amazing kitbashes.