Articulated Non-Buff Chewbacca
What makes this custom unique is that he has articulation joints halfway down the upper arms. These joints allow the arms to turn inward toward the body and outward away from it. This makes for a versatile figure that's good in many different dioramas. If figures like the Classic 8 Vader and Ben can have upper arm articulation, why can't the rest?
The base of the figure is the Classic 8 Hoth Chewbacca; I used that because it was an extra non-buff chewie that I could get my hands on. A Chewbacca as Boushh's Bounty or a Mynock Hunt Chewbacca will probably do just as well, if not better. The true challenge to getting the figure to happen was figuring out how to do the articulation. There were many possibilities, but I ended up using the joints in an old GI-Joe figure. As you can see below, I carefully cut the joints off the GI-Joe arms between the elbow joint and right above the upper arm joint.
I then made a clean, straight cut with an X-acto knife on each of Chewie's arms. Next I used a Dremel to hollow out the inside of each arm so that it could properly hold the joint. This was the really hard part, since I had to continually check if the hole I was making was deep enough. When all was ready, I glued the joints in place. The only evidence that the figure was customized was the two cut lines on his arms.
After the glue had dried, I sanded down under his arms and around the lower arms where they might rub against the torso when turned. The challenge was in going back after that and reproducing the "fur" look with a pointed metal file.
Next, I had to get rid of all the snow marks on Chewbacca using acetone (which is really great for removing paint). I went ahead and stripped all the paint off the figure, except for the face details. When I did this I noticed that the Hoth Chewbacca might not have been the best for this job because some of the snow details were molded onto the figure. For example, there was a little clump (to simulate a clump of snow) that was part of the mold on top of his hip pouch. I filed that area smooth, but the rest of the snow details I left alone; they are really only noticeable when compared to another Chewie figure. I will say that the good thing about the Hoth Chewbacca mold is that Chewie looks a little "mean," which works well when he's got the binders on.
After that, I repainted his bandolier and pouch. I then gave him some dark grey and black fur highlights. Since the acetone tends to make the harder plastic of the torso shiny, I finished off the whole figure with two layers of dullcoat.
The inspiration for this figure came from looking at my Death Star Montage diorama and seeing that ugly Detention Block Chewbacca that came in the '97 Death Star Escape 3-Pack. If you know anything about the collection I strive for, you know that I can't stand those disgusting muscular figures that Kenner churned out in the early POTF2 days. Detention Block Chewbacca was marked for termination, and it was only a matter of time before I got to him.