Friday, October 24, 2008

Article: Rescue Me!

Erin's asked me to write (and I wanted to write) a series of articles about customs and general toy work.

Part One: Rescue Me!
is now live over at The Clearance Bin.
Check it out for some how-to's about basic cleaning and repair of figures.

Comments? Questions? Comment Below!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Kami, the Cicada

Kami is a musician and dancer, a jester-type character. Her insect is the cicada. (Did you know that the 13 and 17 year periodical cicadas are genus Magicicada? No Kidding.)

Kami started with picking the right doll. Her base doll is a Barbie "12 Dancing Princesses" doll. She came in a pack as one of two "twins". I picked her for three reasons: her fun hairstyle, her elbow joints, and she's more like a Skipper than a Barbie, only 10" tall.

After removing her costume, I sculpted a number of details onto her with Magic Sculpt: a mask-like headdress (there's small antennae there, but you have to look close), a neck band and upper arm cuffs, and a ribbon motif along her lower arms, matching what she came with on her legs.

The wings were always going to be a big part of this project. I was living near DC in 2004 when Brood X appeared, and was struck by how beautiful cicadas' wings are. The wings are carefully copied from pictures of real wings. Sculpted lines of Kneadatite on clear plastic, cut out, and painted. The internal cells of the wings are painted in a mixture of gloss, paint, and "stained glass" paint, to vary the internal color of the panels. The veins are done in brown, glossed over with an orangy-gold. All four wings are screwed independently into her back, and may be individually posed.

She got a "tattoo" of paint patterned after a very pretty cicada I found a picture of, and the design on her headdress is also from an actual insect. I repainted her eyes and lips, and all of the sculpted elements.
Her costume is made out of ribbon, fabric, and silk flower leaves, with seed bead decorations

Since cicadas are notorious noisemakers, I decided to give her a tambourine accessory. It's made out of Kneadatite, with part of a handle of a Barbie hairbrush implanted to give her something to hold. Then vellum on top and bells around the sides. The base which she came with works better for her than a generic Barbie base, but it was a hideous pastel teal. I went over it with Sharpie and paint, and got a fairly nice effect.

Overall, I'm really very pleased with the final project. I had this one in the back of my mind for a long time, and now that she's done, she may be my favorite fairy yet. Completed Oct 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Alicia is an original character,
a gothish-punk vampire, who I played in a 2 yr World of Darkness campaign.

After working on Calendar Girl and Poison Ivy, I had a few headless Animated Witchblade figures. Looking at them I realized one would be perfect for Alicia, and that’s when I decided to make the figure in the first place (I had initially shied away from doing gaming characters.) She may have the dubious honor of being the figure who sat on my worktable in pieces for the longest time before being completed.

Witchblade Figure/In Progress Picture:

I carved down the right arm, and replaced the right hand with a JL Hawkgirl hand I had to spare.

The new head is from a B:taS Harley Quinn. I had to do a lot of work on the neck joint, since the original joints did not match at
all. I removed all the paint, smoothed down the mask lines (much easier said than done), and chopped off the jester hat points.

I used Kneadatite to give her a new hairdo and to form a new jacket cuff on the right arm.
This is the first figure I've used Kneadatite on, and I love the final effect-it's flexible and sturdy. I did find it challenging to work with, but I think I just need more practice.

I left the undershirt red, gave the rest a nice coat of paint, and she’s out on the town. Completed Oct 2008