Wonder Woman: The Lynda Carter Model Kit : an article by: GF Willmetts

I mentioned the ‘Wonder Woman: The Lynda Carter Model Kit a couple times in my review of the 1976-1979 TV series so it would be rather remiss of me not to take a look at it with the possibility of building with modifications. The box cover notes it with her costume based off the WW2 design so I was already thinking in terms of modifying it for her 1970 version and what to do about the stars on her trunks. These are transfers, not stick-ons or plastic shapes so that gets around that little problem.

Had they not been, I would have sanded half of them down on her trunks. Other differences to the 1970s version is the WW2 version had silver bracelets and will be painted gold, as will her chest design and tiara. This looks like it will be a combination of acrylics and enamels. Although there is a gold acrylic, I am considering gold enamel simply because its likely to have the right glisten.

The instructions are detailed and shows variations for her to be deflecting bullets with bits of plastic or holding her lasso. There are two versions of the lasso here. One as a cord and one as plastic. Nothing says you can’t put the cord on her belt, so I’m already thinking ahead, although it will have to be looped to make it work.

The entire model kit is in pink flesh plastic and although it might be convenient to accept that as the skin colour, it would be easier to undercoat the entire model and get Lynda Carter’s more sun-tanned tone. It will also ensure that the costume colours has something substantial to cling to.

Thinking before acting cuts down a lot of problems in the actual modelmaking and although a figure kit is actually easy to make, you have to consider both painting and wiring the LEDs.


As everything is in two halves, there will be decisions as to when is it best to spray, more so as in instructions do suggest painting some sections before sticking them together. I’m going to assume some of you reading this have some basic model-making skills. Putting any model kit together, you use the instructions as a guide, not necessarily treating it as gospel. Indeed, model manufacturer Moebius themselves say be creative. I was going to be anyway. Rather than use their plastic flashes for deflecting gun fire, I intend to put in a couple flashing white LEDs into the bracelets and use the hollow interior to send the wires down to a hole in her left foot with a switch on the base and find somewhere to hide the batteries. I’m going to put a junction in the torso so only two wires go down to the leg. The base is rather flat so they might not go under it but does leave the option to put a rock on it to conceal it. Putting wires inside also means much of the body and limbs will have to be put together before any undercoat can be sprayed on. The limbs and head are click into place so there won’t be any give in their position.

I might well do her head separately as per the instructions before attaching to the body. There about 26 pieces all told, including the two lassos and flashes. Additional holes through the limbs will need to be drilled before any work commences.


Once the 3mm flashing white LEDs arrived, it was as time to take the principle parts off the sprue and see how they fitted together. There was a bit worry when the limbs wouldn’t clip together but the trick was to clip the hardest points together and a little rotating and they clip together. Actually, rather too well. May not even need glue but have to hope they can come apart as easy when I drill the holes to secure the LEDs and wires, although that changed later. The joints from arms and legs are rather immobile but a hole through the centre will conceal the wires. The limbs and torso still have to be opened to ensure the wires and connector are taped down to prevent rattling. The joints to the torso will have to be glued but other than a little sanding to remove the sprue connections and a primer undercoat.

I was only intending to put one LED in each bracelet to show the bullets bouncing off but will try for two on each instead. I’ll have to think about the star stickers placement.

Finding that it takes 2 AAA batteries to power up the LEDs means I can move forward. I’m not too impressed with the left arm’s pose for bouncing bullets and surprised Moebius hadn’t made a more mobile joint or at least two positions, especially if the inner core is cut out, it can still look smooth if raised higher. I’m a little nervous about doing it but the T-8000 glue would compensate for any joint loss. Wiring is the easy part, putting the right place for the bullet LEDs is a lot trickier but since whenever someone fired straight at Wonder Woman.

Drilling the holes, I used a 2mm bit and broke it half-way through them and had to order up some replacements as my power drill only had one that size. However, my first order muddled the decimal point and ended up with very fine drill bits of 0.2mm. I’ll sit on them. You never know when they might be handy. I didn’t just drill the holes that size but widened them a little around the edges with the drill but be careful not to get them too wide, just enough for the cables. Be careful with flying plastic and use protective glasses if you can.

At this stage, I decided it was now time to unclip all the parts and give them a proper wash, an essential thing to do before putting on a primer undercoat. The LEDs and wiring then have to be put in and glued together with my now favourite adhesive, T-8000. The LEDs need to be covered in blu-tac or whatever you have available so they aren’t caught in the spray. I had to glue in the end to ensue the arm pieces closed around the wires. The supports inside any model kit are there for a reason so always be reluctant to remove them.

The real test now is to see if the electrics fit in. Two of the LEDs wouldn’t but that was down to angle and just needed a little more opening. Don’t forget, these 4 LEDs have to stick out as bullets bouncing off her bracelets. The big connector will be the abdomen. Although its tempting to just have wires all the way down, a junction box takes away from some of the strain on the cables and anchors them. The final cable will come out under her right foot. I’m still having some thought about where the batteries will finally be, let alone the on/off switch but you’re here to see the thinking process and you might have your own ideas at this stage. The same kind of wiring will also apply to any of the Iron Man model kits with an extra large LED in his chest. It was a toss-up whether to use flickering or flashing or both but ultimately decided flashing alone would be better.

The important thing to remember throughout the wiring is the short LED wire to the next long wire LED and the outer lagged wires down the arms to the torso to the junction box and then test them to make sure they work. No sense having a dud LED. Once happy, the lagged wires down the leg ready to go through the hole in the base and test again.

I know model kits are supposed to stationary, but I do wish the joints had a bit more flexibility in choosing their positions before gluing them into place. Having the left arm down to waist level seems limiting when stopping gun fire. The classic Lynda Carter pose is to have her arms protecting her head.

A Mistake To Learn From

My original plan was to put some traditional unsleeved LEDs in series to economise on wires but they short-circuited so it made sense to sleeve the LED wires. Don’t believe the photos on-line that heat-shrinking them can be done with a match or candle. I tried that and they melt rather than shrink so I got a proper heater tool for the purpose and it burnt the LEDs out, despite the fact that it came equipped with a metal adapter to confine the heat and two heat levels but that didn’t help.

I would have preferred something with more temperature variances but didn’t spot one. Ensure you hold the combined LEDS in a pair of pliers than in your hand because it will get hot. One set of LEDs was already in the fist and although I was careful, some of the plastic melted and gently heated to put some of the shape back. Remember also, I’m doing this as a prototype and you’re reading here to avoid similar mistakes. I think if I did it again, I would probably do this outside of the fist. A little bit of filler will have to correct this mistake rather than buy another model. Even making the LEDs together with unheated sleeves still didn’t work.

Well, that was the plan except the LEDS connected were too dim and even with the insulating they were still shorting out. I decided to leave the above here in case you decided to attempt that way with maybe a more delicate touch. This is where I went wrong but am giving the details so you can compare which way is easier.

What Works

Instead, I got some pre-sleeved flashing white LEDS. It meant I couldn’t risk connecting them in series but could put the wires directly through the arms. Foolishly, I should have made the holes a little wider with this switch.

Oh, selecting which wire gets the black or red sleeve is rather simple. Touch the battery holder wires to the LED wires and whichever matches, that’s where they go. When you connect the LED wires to the longer wires, you just follow from there on. Once they’ve been soldered together, use similar coloured insulating tape to cover the exposed wire to avoid short circuits. If you are considering taping the wires inside, cellotape will eventually dry out.

The trickiest bit is cutting the wires to the right length. I’m inclined to cut them a little longer . Using a connector junction’s main advantage is in linking the wires from both arms than messing around soldering at that point and then a single length from the connector junction down the leg. I’m still pondering about battery and switch placement although I’m figuring under the base for both of them, even if I have to put some short legs under the base.

I got each LED separate from each other and no short-circuiting this time. Using the T-8000 glue, I secured the arms. Any gaps can be resolved with putty filler or paint, especially if you’re using acrylic top coat. Ensure you make the holes big enough for the wires. Changing the wires like I did, I think I should have made the holes a little bigger at the shoulders. I know I’m repeating myself a few times here but this article was built up as I was working on the model so you’re essentially reading my concerns so if they come up a few times, you can bet they will when you work as well.

I think I could have made the hole in the wrists a little wider but having a hole in the shoulder was a godsend for putting the four wires through and helped positioning the wires inside the arm. I elastic-banded all points but already expected to do some fixing.

I used Deluxe Materials Perfect Plastic Putty putting it in position with a matchstick. Squeeze the putty on a piece of paper so you can stir it but don’t throw it away after because you can use it test when its dry than maul the arms themselves. When properly dry, sand it smooth. I switched to the tip of an open paper-clip for further work but as long as you can get the putty into any holes that are left. Even so, check when completed because there will always be holes missed.

Undercoat And Overcoat

When it comes to painting, don’t be surprised if you have to do a couple coats, if only to correct where the paint shrinks. An undercoat acrylic white primer or, because I only had grey, used a white aerosol is a must. It’ll also point out where you missed with the plastic putty which still needs to be filled. I ended up hanging the main body of the model by its wrapped in cellotape wire off a washing line to dry. The tape, came off on its own later while I was painting.

A key annoyance with any model work is the painting running. On this one, I tried both ways but opted for mixing the paint with PVA glue and it stayed put. It also dried a lot faster. The only thing you have to be careful of is if you rub it, especially to remove accidental smears, it tends to remove the first layer of paint as well. As you might probably be doing an extra coat of paint, you just have to do it again. I decided that the metallic gold paint would be done in enamel. Although there is gold acrylic, it isn’t always so good. In fact, it won’t even blend with PVA glue. When you use enamel, just use it fairly dried out so it doesn’t flow over the over colours. I used an enamel red for the bracelet and tiara jewels.

I can also understand why Moebius suggested keeping the head separate while painting details, although found this was more a problem with the hair than face. I put some blu-tac over the bracelet LEDS so they don’t get covered in paint.

You’ll have to make do with your own paints. If you use Liquidtex, then I used Napthol Red Light for the boots, corset and lines around the words on the base, Cernalen Blue Hue for the trunks. Titanium White for the white trim on the boots. Cadmium Orange is the right colour for the inner letters on the base. I ended up using an Ultramarine Blue for the main part of the base but think I might try a different colour on the second version.

Skin colour is a diluted burnt sienna. As Lynda Carter was never a real brunette, wearing a wig as her hair grew for the part, you might find a burnt umber as suitable colour choice. Do the delicate eyebrows before you tackle the hair with a broad brush. I chose to use a fibretip pen, like those from Pentel, to create the eyelashes as they were too fine for a brush. Doing it again, I think I would also use it for her eyebrows.

Once the painting was finished, I decided to check the bracelet LEDs once I removed the blu-tac. I knew there as was a fault on one of the LEDs on the right gauntlet but found both there not working. The raised left arm gauntlet, surprisingly, was fine. I’m still not sure what went wrong other than squeezing the wires through the torso shoulder hole. The right arm had a separate gauntlet fist so the squeeze could happen there.

As this is a learning curve for you to learn from, hence I’m going to do a second version. The fault could be anything but probably a damaged wire or two. With the second version, I’m going to make the holes in the arms and torso a little bigger and probably bring the left arm closer to the face. The wires in the arms did make it easier to manipulate them into the shoulders but the smaller hole on the right shoulder might have been too squeezy. At least the second time, I won’t have to put everything together to see how it fits this time.

If there’s any consolation, if you plan to do Iron Man in a similar way, there’s only one LED needed for each palm so essentially a lot easier to build.


I have to confess I was nervous about the star transfers, mostly because ones I’ve done in the past can wrap over each other and tear. I cut off strips of the two sizes I wanted, soaked briefly in a dish of water and they slid off. Even the stars in the dish didn’t fold over and were quickly placed with tweezers. Best experience ever. Let them dry over night I decided against varnish and used PVA glue on both the trunks and exposed skin. Be careful with the inked eyelashes.

I decided the battery box would go under the base and used some of the plastic sprue to raise it enough and balance the base. A simple matter of putting an on/off press button there as well or on the side of the base. I drilled out a hole on top of the base for a switch that I bought a while back. It has a screw top to keep it secure. I drilled the hole through one of the underneath struts but think you might find it easier to drill in a more smooth area.

Soldering Wires

At this point, the rest is more a matter of soldering the wires together and wiring the switch across one of the wires. I did consider putting the plastic sprue to give it a balanced height but it was too low but making legs if needed should be relatively easy.

You would think. Bear in mind you have to cut the wires off the battery and switch short as well as soldering onto the two wires through the base hole out of Wonder Woman’s foot so everything is both upside and hanging becomes an action of doing things quickly. During and after doing the wiring, I realised I only need to have kept part of the black battery wire to connect to the switch wire and then use the other switch wire to the black wire from the black foot wire.

It minimalises the number of wire soldering. The old computer adage, ‘Keep it simple, stupid’, also applies to wiring. I will certainly apply the most simplified way on the second version. I blu-tacked the battery to the centre of base bottom initially and then changed to glue. I tried gluing Wonder Woman’s feet to the base but suspect I might have to blu-tac at least temporarily. There’s still a need to put some legs on the base for stability but its getting there. Before you ask about putting the battery pack on top of the base, you still have to conceal it and there isn’t that much space.

That T-8000 glue is pretty effective. I stuck the battery pack holder on the base ridges and, as the photo here shows, the plastic sprue with the plastic ‘legs’ down to give the necessary height underneath. I’m sure you’ll find different ways to get around that problem but I chose to use what I had to hand. All you have to do is hold the parts in place for 5 minutes and they are tacky enough to stay put until dry.

Objectively, making Wonder Woman a second time means I can focus on what went wrong to the LEDs in the right bracelet. I do think I’m going to bring her left arm further over. The pose is an improvement on the original model. The paint looks better at a distance than close up so will have some thought on that as well but better in mind that an even tan doesn’t necessarily look realistic, the verdict is out on that. Where the putty is concerned, try flattening it with your fingers while its still damp to see if that improves the look. I got a new multimeter recently and it can test and light LEDs to make sure they work and going to double-check everything.


I did this one over a couple weeks, mostly waiting for replacement LEDs, but I reckon you could easily do it in a week. There are a lot of figure model kits that can have such a treatment. I know its been done with Iron Man and if you are thinking that way, constructing Wonder Woman first might give you the needed practice. I do think model manufacturers should consider a couple choices of poses to pick from let alone, here, selecting between the 1940s and 1970s versions. Having the wires going through the arms does make it a little easier to adjust the arm pose. It’s a lot easier to change the position of the arms than the legs, although granted you need some stability to the pose. Moebius’ square peg connections would certainly allow some flexibility to pick your pose before gluing down.

As I said, at one point both LEDs in the right arm were working, then one and then none. Without tearing the model apart, it would be hard to work out what went wrong. Considering the problems of pushing the wires through a smaller hole than I should have had, I could have damaged the wires or even damaged the connection. The fact that it worked so well with the left arm was helped by the fact that the bracelet and fist wasn’t separate from the arm and you have to wonder why it was made that way. I think I can do a lot better the second time.

I’ll show the second version next month. Even with this prototype, there’s a certain satisfaction in seeing it come together and, if nothing else, I’ve got bookends. The same approach will work even if you don’t want LEDS. Cue music.


© GF Willmetts 2023

Construction is yours to follow if you choose

Any liability is yours not mine.


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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