Friday, 27 June 2014


I thought I'd take a quick test photo of the skull, even though I'm only halfway through the process of affixing it to the base. Here's the result:

Thursday, 26 June 2014


I wanted to emulate the screw that attaches the jaw to the skull from T1, but despite wanting to achieve a screen-accurate look, I didn't like the Phillips-Screw head of the one used in the movie, and so used a Hex/Allen Screw instead (requiring me to drill holes through the jaw and into the skull for mounting).

I wanted to replicate the T800's jaw screw, but opted for a slightly different Hex/Allen screw head

After this I began to assemble some of the smaller parts, namely inserting the eyes (and mounting the LEDs in position within them), the eye ball struts & ball-bearings, and the jaw pistons.


Despite all of the commercially available reproductions of the T800 skull featuring a braided hose topped with a curved (90-degree) elbow joint, my research pointed towards the original T800 skeleton featuring a hose that attached vertically to the underside of the skull, without an elbow fixing.

The original T800's steel tendon was vertically connected to the base of the skull, without an 'elbow joint' at the top

After some research, I came to the conclusion that the best options to replicate the T800's tendon was a Steel-Braided Flexible Monobloc Tap Connector. Another option would have been a Steel-Braided Motorbike Brake Cable, but the ease of obtaining the tap connector over the bike hose led me to purchase the former (although I believe that the bike hose would more closely match the diameter of the T800's hose/tendon).

Steel-Braided Flexible Monobloc Tap Connector

Steel-Braided Motorbike Brake Cable

Compression Reducing Set

For the rear piston, I raided the supplies at the same DIY store that I obtained the pair of Steel-Braided Hoses from, and ended up buying a plastic pipe and a wooden rod that snugly fit inside the pipe. In addition to them I also bought a couple of packs of 'Compression Reducers' to act as a cap to the piston. Finally, I glued in position a marble at the top of each piston to act as a simulation of the ball joint. Although not 100% screen-accurate, I felt that the pistons were a close enough reproduction to do the job.

The piston parts after being coated with primer

And a coat of the same Gloss Black Enamel Paint as used on the other skull parts


As mentioned in one of my earlier 'Research' posts, getting the eyes right has been a key component of the build, and proved to be quite a challenge. I wanted to achieve the eye/lens aesthetic of the T800 from the first film and opted for the lens to have the appearance of being clear when unlit (as opposed to red). Additionally, I stumbled across a great post by Max (Sio's T800 Project) where he has a great idea to utilise a clear marble as the lens, and mount the bulb/LED behind it. So I decided to follow his example and purchase some cheap marbles from eBay, and mounted them inside the eye balls. I also stippled some black paint onto the back of the marble from the inside of the eye ball, to dim the effect of the red light passing through it, and to also give the lens a darker 'empty' appearance when not illuminated.

For the light source itself, I purchased a couple of clear LEDs from eBay (again!) and used the information I collected from a few sites to create the necessary circuit. With my original (decade old) build of the skull, I had used a battery source to power the lights. I decided to trawl the internet to see if anyone had an easy method for using USB as the power source, and discovered the following tutorial: How to build a USB powered LED light. For wiring up the two LEDs I found this page: LEDs for beginners. And finally, to work out the kind of electronic resistor I'd need in the circuit, I came across this site: LED Series Resistor Calculator, and this one (which also handily draws a diagram of the circuit out for you): LED series/parallel array wizard. This final page might prove useful in understanding how the circuit should be laid out: LED Circuits.

The marble (and stippled paint on the back) helps reduce the glare of the LED, and provides a slightly softer and flatter glow. It also has the added effect of providing a slightly blotchy appearance, which resembles the red glow we see on the eye closeup scenes in T1.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014


Now that the Alclad II Chrome had been applied to all of the parts, I glued the acrylic teeth into position. It required a bit of tweaking to select suitable teeth from the set and to the get them positioned successfully. Note: you end up with some teeth left-over as I discovered a Terminator doesn't feature a full set of human teeth due to the chrome blocks at the back, where wisdom teeth would normally be. I'm not totally happy with the final result, as there's a bit of a gap between the upper and lower front teeth - I had already reduced the height of the lower rear teeth to help reduce effect of the gap at the front and felt further trimming might be pushing my luck (ie I might damage them irreversibly).

There is a massive visual improvement gained by replacing the original vinyl teeth with this acrylic set; they are incomparable and are something I would strongly recommend to anyone considering making one of these vinyl Endo Skull model kits. Actually, one problem is that they are too good; I'll need to grunge them up a bit so that he doesn't look like he's been visiting his dentist regularly.

You may also notice that I've started to paint in some of the finer detailing (eg panel gaps) and ageing/weathering into the recesses on the main chrome parts.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


Following the base-coat of Gloss Black Enamel Paint, I airbrushed the Alclad II Chrome onto the skull (see previous posts for more detailed explanations), with the following results:

Sunday, 22 June 2014


After the gloss black base coat was fully dry (I gave it 24 hours), next up was the Alclad II chrome lacquer coat. I set the air compressor to approximately 15-20PSI and held the airbrush at around 10-15cm from the parts being sprayed. Application was the same as with the gloss black base coat; using a steady 'brushing' motion over the surface until I achieved the desired reflective finish.

Alclad II chrome is a lacquer comprising of small metal particles. I found that it dries almost immediately upon application. I recommend a 'less is more' approach when applying Alclad II chrome - if you spray on too much it actually starts to dull. There is a 'sweet spot' to find when airbrushing the lacquer - immediately stop as soon as you achieve a nice reflective metal finish. NOTE: Alclad seems to brighten up even further after you have finished application - it actually happens before your eyes over the course of a few seconds. I believe this is caused by the metal particles in the lacquer slowly settling. Additionally, once fully dry (it doesn't take long at all) the chrome finish can be (gently) buffed up with a soft cloth (eg a glasses cloth) which wipes off the fine dust that tends to appear on the surface. You end up with a very reflective, metal-looking coating.

The results of Alclad II's chrome lacquer on the vinyl jaw piece

The individual neck pieces after being 'chromed'

I also applied primer, gloss black base-coat and Alclad II chrome to the jaw pistons

The super-shiny eye balls

I painted each of the mounting pieces for the eye ball and jaw pistons