How to import skeleton for modular pawn?

First, I tried to import each piece (Head, Hands, Chest, Legs, Feet) individually with the skeleton (all bones for each part). Doing this, I noticed I could only add the other parts to an existing part. Using the head as a base I added the other 4 parts and got them to loop the same animation in sync. The problem with this is I wasn’t able to swap out the head mesh. A fully enclosed helmet would replace the head. I’ve heard that if I toggle the visibility of the head and apply a helmet over it, it still uses resources/draw calls because it exists in the world still.

The animation section I’m posting this in says skeletal meshes in it so I think this is the right place to ask around about this. Maybe I’m missing something totally unrelated though. Anywho…

  1. Is it bad to import the skeleton of each part? I’m pretty sure each individual piece was using it’s own skeleton, not sharing the same 1. I don’t think I can import a skeletal mesh without a skeleton.

  2. Is there a way to import a skeletal mesh and then remove all mesh data from the skeleton so it is blank and I can add parts as I want to?

  3. Should I just import a single poly with the skeletal mesh so it will work, then just cover it up with the other meshes? That seems like a crappy way to do things.

I’m not amazingly familiar with UE4 and I don’t program, this is just manually dragging and dropping meshes on a skeleton placed in the world. If none of these are good options, what should I do? All the info I find is like swapping out a single part, but always keeping the main body or something. I don’t want to be forced to keep a mesh that won’t always be used. Once I get this figured out I can just sit and add content and I’ll be happy for a while. Any help would be greatly appreciated~

Did you try “Set Master Pose Component”? As far I know this is the only solution that works without any render-lags (like they could occur if you use sockets). With this method just export your hole skeleton for each body part. If you need the head, remove everything from the mesh except the head but still export the hole skeleton and repeat for each part. You could add more than one mesh in your character-BP. For example a skeleton-mesh component as parent and further ones below for each body part like head, shoulder, …
Afterwards everytime you have to put some part on or off do some “Set Skeletal Mesh” and set the head-mesh you would like to your head skeletal-mesh-component followed by “Set Master Pose Component” with the head component as target and your parent-mesh-component as new master bone component.

I had not used any blueprint. I was adding them manually in the editor/world. I checked out the “Set Master Post Component” thing, but it seems to be the same, needing a mesh to be the base/unchanged. From what I can tell, you need to plug a mesh into the Master slot and then the rest into the Target slot. I’m trying to get each part/mesh to be interchangeable. Odds are I’m just not understanding it, but from what I’ve seen it still needs 1 (Master) to remain at all times. Am I just not understanding how it works?