Putting Wild Willy driver heads on Osbourne action figures is not a new idea by any means - but detail on how to do so has been a bit sparse so far: this is my take on how to perform the required head swappery.
You need to look for the "Osbourne Family" 6" (150mm) vinyl figures made in 2002 (just as "The Osbournes" first appeared on MTV) - these still turn up on eBay now & then, even ones still on the original cards. They are often identified as part of the "Star Images" line (the UK importer), sometimes by "JOKS LLC" (stamps on their feet) and/or "MEZZCO" (small front packaging logo + stamps on their feet).
The "Jack" figure is the one most often turned into Wild Willy, but I've also seen the "Kelly" figure turned into Wild Wendy. There are also "Sharon" and "Ozzy" figures, the latter comes in two versions - one with bat wings (which need extensive modification, or maybe not?) and one without.
You'll also need some Tamiya Wild Willy heads. While the "full" version (part #54496) is IMO the superior moulding (the helmet halves match a little better, the back of the helmet doesn't have a screw hole in it, and there are a few more accessories to use on other projects, such as the winch and NOS bottle), it is more expensive than the "torso" type originally from the Willy's Wheeler (part # 54531). I would actually recommend the latter type if you're going to modify any of the figures other than Jack, as the internal structure is very useful later on ...
I started by pulling off* Jack's head - this left behind one end of a balljoint, and offering up the Willy helmet showed that some dremelling was need to the area that usually holds the M3 half nut, in order to fit around the balljoint. The "Jack" figure doesn't have a neck built into the body (instead being part of the head) so I added a collar of sheet styrene around the bottom of the helmet.
*Note: any double entendres are unintentional and are purely the result of the readers dirty mind ;)
At this point it was obvious that a more positive means of holding the helmet on would be required to stop Willy's new head falling off - this involved drilling a 2.5mm hole into the end of the balljoint, and using an M3 screw to hold down a spacer I made up from aluminium sheet (a big washer would have done) - small radio pliers are essential to stop the balljoint turning while drilling or screwing.
At this point Willy's helmet can be screwed together, and glued permanently.
Again, start by pulling the figures head off - this will leave more of a neck on this figure. The neck increases in diameter as it goes up - which we can make good use of.
The helmet needs the retaining nut area removing (I used a craft knife, patiently), and the base of the helmet opening up with a Dremel (or file, etc) until the helmet sits at a natural level on the neck.
The natural Willy nose is a bit too large for a female face, so I carefully reduced it (both length and girth) with a Dremel with a small round burr & finished off with wet & dry paper. The features can also be made a bit more "kawaii" by painting the eyes slightly oversize later. You might also want to have a go at emphasising cheekbones, but I saved that for the other female figure.
Up/down movement of the helmet can be controlled by fitting a strip of styrene to the underside of the screw mounting boss on the inside of the back half of the helmet before gluing the two halves together around the neck (see image 6).
"Sharon" Figure (Willy's Mother in Law?)
(It provides far more comedic opportunities if this is the case ;) )
Fitting and facial modifications are as for the Kelly/Wendy figure, but this time I added emphasis for cheekbones too (small round burr in the Dremel, run around the joint between face and bottom of helmet/helmet liner).
"Ozzy" Figure (Willy's Dad?)
Fitting is as for the female members of the family, just without any changes to the Tamiya face. I did however cut off the rubber cape, front shirttails, and batwings off the arms (attempting to sculpt them to a more normal shape with a craft knife). I also went back and reduced the length of the shirt collar, later.
Filling & Sanding
At this point you'll have a set of figures with holes in the back of their heads, and very obvious seam lines. My method is to fill the holes with pegs (made by gluing strips of styrene together, then turning down to the correct diameter), but any method that fills most of the void with solid material is fine - bits of sprue, etc.
Once the plastic has set overnight, it can be cut & sanded back (along with the helmet seams) & any remaining flaws dealt with by using a suitable plastic modelling filler/putty.
I think it's well worth spraying a suitable primer on the new helmets before painting, but given the number of moveable joints on the figures, it's more questionable whether or not to prime the whole figure. My figures got a Kraft paper shroud during priming (with white plastic primer).
It turns out that Tamiya acrylics brush paints (the reference numbers of the shades I used are in the table below) seem to stick really well so there's real need to minimise the painting - however I didn't know that before I started so Willy got a new shirt colour, Wendy got blue jeans & a less lurid jacket, Dad got a shirt colour not too far from the original shade, and Mother-in-law got pretty much left alone for the time being, other than repainting the "flesh" portions to match the face.
White helmet stripes in this case are hand cut from white self adhesive vinyl, using a printout of the original Willy's Wheeler stripes as a guide. Printing extra sets on paper helped no end in marking the helmets (in pencil) to guide where the common blue and detail colours should go.
|Kelly/Wendy||Jeans:XF-23 Light Blue, dry brushed with XF-18 Medium Blue & XF-2 White
Jacket: XF-4 Yellow Green dry brushed XF-3 Flat Yellow
Clogs: XF-57 Buff + X-22 Clear & XF-85 Rubber Black
Eyes: XF-2 Flat White, XF-18 Medium Blue, XF-1 Flat Black, X-22 Clear
Skin: XF-15 Flat Flesh + Flesh mixed 20:1 with XF-9 Hull Red, light wash with XF-9 Hull Red,
Nails: X-7 Red
Helmet: XF-2 Flat White, XF-85 Rubber Black, X-8 Yellow, X-4 Blue, X-22 Clear
|Jack/Willy||Trousers:XF-62 Olive Drab
Overshirt: XF-60 Dark Yellow, wash with XF-62 Olive Drab
Under Shirt: XF-69 NATO Black
Bracelet/necklace: XF-16 Flat Aluminum
Eyes: as Kelly/Wendy except iris colour is XF-6 NATO Brown
Skin: as Kelly/Wendy
Nails: X-21 Flat Base/XF-86 Flat Clear mix
Helmet: as Kelly/Wendy but detail colour of X-7 Red
|Sharon/Mother in law||Pullover:XF-69 NATO Black, XF-2 Flat White
Necklace: XF-16 Flat Aluminum
Eyes: as Kelly/Wendy except iris colour is XF-71 Cockpit Green (IJN)
Skin: as Kelly/Wendy
Nails: X-16 Purple
Helmet: as Kelly/Wendy but detail colour is X-16 Purple
|Ozzy/Dad||Shirt:XF-18 Medium Blue/X-25 Clear Clear/X-21 Flat Base mixed to match existing shirt colour
Eyes: as Kelly/Wendy except iris colour is XF-25 Light Sea Grey
Skin: as Kelly/Wendy
Rings: XF-16 Flat Aluminum
Nails: as jack/Willy
Helmet: as Kelly/Wendy but detail colour is XF-69 NATO Black
I'm not clear on just what the Willy Family business is, but so far it seems that it involves a change of clothing and working on laptops ...
Written by TB member Jonny Retro