HFTD Highbrow – Arm Mod Guide

Hunt For The Decepticons Highbrow is an interesting TF. It’s got an alt mode that resembles a conglomeration of WWII ‘flying wing’ style aircraft, right down to the light blue camouflage on the underside of the alt mode, and that carries right over to the bot mode where there are a lot of old flightsuit stylings. It’s even got a flip down battle mask that resembles old pilot gear.

And chaingun pistols. CHAINGUN PISTOLS.

So why does it get complained about so much?

The screwy arms, of course! Just look at those things.

I haven’t seen limbs that broken on a TF since FOC Kickback’s grasshopper legs, and those were at least game accurate. What excuse does HFTD Highbrow’s designer have? Maybe the propeller gimmick?


But either way, there is a fix for it, and not only is it is easy but I can show you how to do it. This arm mod guide also works on GDO Powerdive, so if you prefer the Generasians exclusive you can mod the arms on that one too.

The main problem with HFTD Highbrow (and GDO Powerglide) isn’t so much in how the arms sit, but how the hands sit. They’re at an awkward perpendicular angle to the forearm, which makes the arms look wrong in just about any position you put them in.

But if the hand could fold forward more and be more in line with the forearm, then you’d get longer arms that look more in proportion with human features. And instead of having hands sit to the side of the forearms with propellers on the sides, you get a cool Baraka-esque effect where the propellers are pointing forward on an angle.

Like this!

Insert obligatory YMCA joke here.

If that doesn’t look better to you, take another look at the stock version.


Step 1 – Disassemble Forearms

Some of you are going to be nervous about this step. Doesn’t taking apart the forearms expose the propeller gimmick?


But don’t worry, I’ve got pictures to show you exactly how it looks when put together. Just make sure you pop the forearms apart when you’re over someplace that tiny bits won’t get lost, like a carpet or a campfire.

In fact, I recommend you take your time and read this entire guide before you decide to do the mod. Get familiar with what the internal parts of the forearm look like before you take it apart and put it back together.

Starting things off, here’s what the forearm looks like.

Unscrew the screws.

See those three screws? Those are the ones you need to remove.

Once you’ve done that, carefully take the top half off and set it aside, and carefully examine the location and look of the internal bits of the propeller gimmick. (Don’t worry, there’s a picture of that later on in the guide.)

It’s mostly a pin with some gears on it, so the parts you have to watch out for are any springs or the part that drives the gears when the button is pressed.

Once you have a handle on where those parts go, carefully set them aside.

So that’s the two halves of the forearms and the bits from the propeller gimmick.


Step 2 – Forearm Top Half Trimming

To get the fist to fold forward, plastic needs to be trimmed from the inside of what look like vents on the outside of the engines. Don’t worry, this barely affects the look of the alt mode, as the sides of the vents are part of what the hand is attached to.

And on this half of the forearm you just use the outside of the vent as a guide, trimming off the inside. Here’s a picture, where I’ve colored in pink the part that needs trimmed.

Trim Pink Section


And here’s what the result looks like.

Forearm Top Half After Trim

I used a pair of flush cutters to trim most of the plastic that needed shaved, and then used a razor blade to clean up the rest of it.


Step 3 – Forearm Bottom Half Trimming

This section is a little more difficult than the previous one, but that’s mostly because the confines are a little closer in what you have to get around to cut. The pin for the hand is in this section, so leave it there but slide the hand off the pin to free up some of the area.

The hand is still attached in this picture, but I colored in pink the section that needs trimmed. Remember to only trim the inside of the vent, not the outside.

Trim Pink Section


When you’re done, it should look something like this.

Forearm Bottom Half After Trim

That’s also the picture that I mentioned earlier, that shows how the bits of the propeller gimmick fit together.

But don’t put those bits back in there just yet, because the next step is…


Step 4 – Trim Outside Vents

I kept saying not to trim the outside of the vents, but that didn’t meant there wasn’t a step where they get trimmed. :) It’s just easier to do this part after you’ve got the inside of the vents trimmed.

The first thing for this step is to reassemble the forearms with the hand attached but without the internal bits for the propeller gimmick.

Here’s what that should look like so far.

Before Inside Vents Trimmed

After Inside Vents Trimmed


Next, try to move the hand forward.

See how the outside corners of the vents get in the way?

Those need trimmed off.

Here’s a picture to illustrate, with the parts needing trimmed colored in pink.

Trim Pink Section

Outside of unscrewing those screws, this is the easiest part in the whole guide. You don’t even have to have the forearm apart to do it!

Just take a pair of flush cutters and snip a bit of the corner of the vent on each half, fold the fist forward, and if it needs trimmed more then do it.

But how much needs trimmed and what should it look like?

That’s answered in the next step…


Step 5 – Test Hand Clearance

All we’re doing for this step is just testing to see if the hand folds forward enough.

Here’s some pictures to show what it should look like.

Before Mod

After Mod

After Mod


Step 6 – Fully Reassemble Forearm

Now that the forearms are trimmed so the hands can fold forward, its’ time to reassemble them for real, including all the propeller gimmick bits.

Use these two pictures for reference.

This is what C3P0 looks like under the faceplate.

R2D2 Cross Section


Screw in those screws and the arms should be fully modded.

With the hands able to fold forward, now the arms can straighten out and look a lot better proportioned.



Some of you may have noticed in the previous Action Pose with HFTD Highbrow, the hip flaps were flipped compared to the stock transformation. I think it’s better to do that because it gives more room for the arms to sit at the side and because I also like the idea of having missiles holstered on the hips should Highbrow want to grab one and throw it. :)

But then where do you store the chaingun pistols?

On the back!

Highbrow Weapon Storage


So that’s the HFTD Highbrow \ GDO Powerdive Arm Mod Guide.

If you enjoyed the guide, and especially if you did the mod, leave me a comment and let me know!

Otherwise, what’s your favorite kind of cheese to wear? Casual or formal, of course.

~Matt Booker

3 thoughts on “HFTD Highbrow – Arm Mod Guide

  1. I liked the altmode, but I had passed on every version of this mold because of the arms. I finally ended up with it in the BotCon 2013 set, though. I was going to sell it on, but now… I will be doing this mod, and if I like it as much as I like your pics, I’ll actually keep him :)

  2. Glad to hear it, Bosh!

    Thanks, DeeJay. At the very least, you can sell it for more and call it a custom. :)

    ~Matt Booker

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