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Marvel Legends Silver Surfer
Re-release Mod

"Correcting the mistakes of the factory"

Concept Phase

There are a number of issues that the Surfer figure has that keeps him from being as great as he could be.  Those problems are easily fixed without too much effort, which is why this is just a mod and not a full blown custom.  Even still simple changes to a figure can do wonders in making your collection shine.  This Surfer will be adjusted to closer resemble his movie counterpart.  His four issues are: head sculpt, shoulder placement, paint job, and board.  I'll go through each of these in turn.




Construction Phase

First off let's tackle the horrible head sculpt.  The character has long since shed this look, what he needs is
a more human face.
Enter Archangel.  I had an extra head sitting around  and he was perfect as he doesn't have
any hair to sand away or unique features.  And yes he has ears but so did the movie Surfer, so deal. 

Next you can plainly see that his shoulders are awkward at best.  This is because of
his lateral joint that allows him to adjust the ball shoulder joint he has.  The factory
didn't construct it to allow the joint to sink deep enough, therefore... awkwardness.



The fix is actually a quite simple one.
First, you need to crack open that torso.  The easiest
way to accomplish this is to have a small slot screwdriver
on hand and wedge it into his armpit area.  Gently wiggle
back and forth until you hear a nice crack.  This is the
loosening of the glue that holds the two halves together.
  Now make sure to go to the other side and gently get
another "crack"  If you attempt to open the torso from
only one area you will greatly chance breaking the
inner pins and maybe more.  After getting the two
cracks there should be a gap that you can run the screw
driver down and carefully wedge the two apart. 

Once inside you can see just how hollow the guy is. 
Take the arm (lat joint and all) off the peg and prepare
your dremel for a little sanding.  You want to remove
the area where the lat joint was rubbing against.  But to
be able to test that well you must fix the lat joint first. 
They made them too large and they don't sink in far
enough.  Dremelling off the square tip of the joint will
allow it to swivel further inside the body and thus
allow the shoulders to take a more natural position
down along his sides. Don't go too crazy.  Remember
the lat joint also houses the peg for the shoulder
ball joint.  Also make sure to not damage the hole that
the peg will go through or you will have a loose or
damaged joint that is nearly impossible to fix. 

This will go a long way to fixing the shoulder , but that
isn't the only thing that needs dremelled down.

 Now is the time to dremel down those arm pit areas.  You are just
 shaving off about a millimeter off of the inside arc.  Be very
 careful of the peg holes on the back and the pegs themselves on
 the front.  As long as you avoid those don't worry about going a
 little crazy on the rest because we can always fill the extra gaps
 with Apoxie Sculpt.  Once you are happy with your dry fit, place
 the lat joints back where they belong (do make sure to match the
 left and right arms up) 
 Dab some super glue on
 the pegs and along the
 sides being careful to
 avoid the joints. 
 Remember a thin coat will
 dry faster and hold
 better than a thick one. 
 Now push the two halves
  together and press down for about half a minute to ensure the tightest bond. 
  You can now see how shoulders should look on a figure.




Now we've taken care of the head and shoulders , construction phase for the figure itself is complete.  Now we must...

Hold on a second.
little punk


Clay Phase

Obviously, the clay phase is all about the sculpting.  You are saying to yourself (I bet) that I'm just modding a Surfer into a Surfer what the heck am I sculpting? 

Ah we shall get to that in a second, but first we must prepare the "clay" in this case we are going to use Apoxie Sculpt.  This
awesome product allows me to sculpt fine detail work and
is very sturdy once cured.  You have about 2 to 3 hours to use it
so that is plenty of time as long as you don't make too much at
a time.  It is a two-part air drying epoxy that can be smoothed
with water or oil. 

Today I'll be using my Silver/grey apoxie.  It should be obvious why.
The most important part of using this stuff is proper mixing.  Too much of either part will cause the clay to be too weak or too brittle.  It is also very very important to make very small amounts at a time.  You'll be surprised at how little you need at times.  Remember you can always mix up a little more but you can't unmix excess apoxie. 

First off make two small spheres of approximately the same size.

          Let's begin the twisting....

a little more, almost there

Completely integrated           

You can begin using this right away.  But the heat from your fingers will more than likely leave it very sticky and difficult to work with, especially for detail work.  Letting it cool for a few minutes will do wonders.  You have around 3 hours to use it so a couple minutes won't kill you.


As to what we are doing, sculpting on the Surfer, well part of what happens to a figure when it is made articulated is that the original sculpt is compromised.  Holes are poked here and there to allow for pegs which allow for movement.  The mass production process does not easily allow for these joints to be less noticeable.  That is where we, the humble customizer shall step in. 



 Push a small ball of clay into the "peg pit"  This won't stop the
peg movement at all.  Just fill in the hole and smooth over the 
 whole thing with a finger
 dipped in  water. 

  Now you can see the
  difference. Make sure
  to get all of them.  This
  works best for pin
  joints, it is an optional
  step but it is these
  little touches that will
  help make the figure
  move "beyond a
  kid's toy"


Once you have your figure smoothed out it is
time to focus on his big accessory and bigger
disappointment with the original figure....

 His surfboard.  

First you'll want to find some strong magnets.  Rare Earth magnets are the best by far for their cost and size.  Just do a little eBay searching and you can find some great deals.  I filled the peg holes in the figure's feet with two small
disc magnets (make sure to match those polarities.  You will want them right on the surface so do not cover them with clay, only around them.  A thin layer of superglue will hold them down.  Make sure the feet are cured and the magnets are secure before going onto the board
(it will make the whole process a much less frustrating one if you do) 

Now with the board I went with larger discs to give him some options
of where to stand.  I placed the magnets closer together as the pegs
were so far apart he had to do the splits all the time.  You could go
crazy and put up to 8 of these guys on the board but I stuck with
only two for now.  Again you want these guys flush with the top
surface of the board.  Super glue those suckers in place (again extra check those polarities) In fact, just make your life easier and ensure
that the polarites for the feet are all the same and the board's are
opposite polarity of the feet.  This will help not restrict your poses later.



Now you can see that he can stand naturally on the board and the magnets hold him fine.  They are even strong enough to hold him upside down. 




A last bit of "Matt-gyvering" will be getting that board airborne.  Take an old ML flight stand and remove the top joint (unscrew it) Now glob some Apoxie sculpt at the center of balance for the board,  poke the top joint into the stuff and smooth it out.  Make sure there is plenty as it has to hold the figure and the board

With that cured you can reattach the flight
stand and you have a board worth riding on. 
And you can't tell in the pictures, but I also
filled in the lines on the board with sculpt and
sanded them smooth once cured.  The movie
surfer's board was smooth as silk, plus it
helps hide the magnets that were added.

Coating Phase:

   And now is the time for paint.  I used an automotive
chrome spray paint.  It was designed to paint trim and
details so it works for plastics.  Make sure to use chrome
to get this awesome mirrored effect.  Remember many
thin coats are better than one thick one. 

Just see the difference.


Make sure to get those joints as well.  It is best to tape off the flight stand when painting the board.  If you sanded it really smooth you should get a nice mirrored effect. 

Completion Phase:

Do a double check of the joints and all the angles.  There really isn't much left to do with this guy.  He shouldn't need a sealer for the paint as that will just ruin the chrome finish anyway.  I also had an extra energy accessory in my fodder box which looks awesome with the surfer. 

While this was not the hardest mod I've ever done he was by far not the easiest.  With no details to hide behind every bit of his sculpt had to be smoothed and near perfect.

But I believe I pulled off the naked silver space
dude on a surfboard pretty good. 

Matt Ashbaugh 7/14/07


DC Comics images copyright 2006 DC Comics or Respective Owner. Marvel images copyright 2006 Marvel Entertainment or Respective Owner.
All other images copyright 2006 Respective Owners.