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TSCC: Custom Action Figures PART 3

In a feat of amazing skill and bravery, I took Dremel with cutting blade to Sarah's neck and was victorious in converting a newer style GI Joe neck to an older style one. *takes bow*

This was pretty freakin' tricky to do. I was worried I was going to slice straight through the neck. I didn't though, as you can see from the pictures below. Basically, what I had was this round ball neck base and I needed to sand it down to a tubular shape and then carve in a slot all the way around. Did I mention this was tricky? First thing I did was pry off the hair since it was going to be in the way. Next, I used a couple grinding stone attachments on the Dremel to get the tube shape and then thin the neck overall (it was fatter than the old style necks even without the ball on the end). And then it was time to make the slot. After marking a pencil line around the neck, I used the cutting blade on the Dremel and made lots and lots of slow passes around the neck. Once the slot was deep enough and wide enough all the way around, I did some finish sanding and fit the head in place. (BTW, the Dremel Stylus is an awesome tool).

I'm not putting the hair back on because I'm not sure yet if I'm going to use it or sculpt new hair myself. So for now, Sarah will remain bald. Unfortunately, removing the hair revealed a ridge above the eyebrows that helped hold the hair in place. I can't sand it down without also sanding away the eyebrows, so I'll just have to contend with it and hope that if I do make new hair, I can mostly hide that ridge.

I've got everyone's clothing all worked out in my head except for Sarah, so opinions are welcome. It's really just color I'm undecided on. Brown leather jacket or black? Brown boots or black? Black jeans or khaki cargo pants? No visible pockets, though, so I'm thinking I'll make the pants be jeans. So, black jeans? Any color thoughts for the button-up shirt?

Next, I have to do all my sculpting, which includes making ball shaped bottoms for John and Charley's necks (reverse issue from Sarah's neck - they need to go from old style neck to newer style neck) and making hair for the chicks. I really really just want to start painting. I'm so impatient.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10: The Unveiling


( 9 comments — Add a comment )
Jul. 4th, 2008 01:48 pm (UTC)
Dude! This is so freakin awesome :D

I agree, black jeans for Sarah, and probably black boots (since that's what she wears all the time)
Jacket would probably look good brown :O
As for shirt colour, she seems to like khaki or white :)

(do you take orders? I would kill for a Sayles action figure! :P)
Jul. 4th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Sorry, but I have no plans to do a Sayles figure. Although, a 4-horsemen series of Derek, Sayles, timms and Sumner could be cool :)
Jul. 4th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
It's definitely coming along nicely. I've done modelling, painting, and assembly for Warhammer miniature wargrames, so I can appreciate good dremel work. Being able to cut without over compensating is always the hardest part for me.

Painting is the part of the process that I want to see the most, as that's what I focused on in my own hobby work. Do you plan on working on getting the shading in with highlighting or inking? What brand of paints do you plan on using?

EDIT: My other question is what where you doing up at 5am to post this and the update on schronicles? Get some sleep, woman!


Happy July 4th, Roxy.

Edited at 2008-07-04 03:55 pm (UTC)
Jul. 4th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
Happy 4th to you too Isaac. I'm heading down the block in a few to watch my town's Independence Day parade :)

Yeah painting is what I really want to get to because that's when the characters will really come into focus. I've never tried my hand at shading or highlighting and without an airbrush (or the skillz to use one), I think it's unlikely I could pull it off. So, expect solid color painting from me. But I'm quite skilled with a brush and I custom mix all my colors, so I expect them to look quite good when I'm done. I use the Tester's Model Masters Acryl acrylic paints.

What kind of paints do you use and do you use an airbrush?

I'm usually up until 5am - what can I say, I'm just nocturnal.
Jul. 4th, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
I used a lot of the Games Workshop brand (they're good and thick and have some unique colors) made specifically for modelling and also I'll grab some generic non-name brand acrylics from local hobby shops to fill in base colors (white, red, etc). I don't own an airbrush (money issue) and so I've always painted by hand. Larger surfaces require larger brushes (tanks, so forth).

Quick example of mixing and highlighting: http://pics.livejournal.com/cisaac/pic/0000qq4z/g1

That's a black leather trenchcoat that the model is wearing. I started out with a matte black to get the base color and then over the folders I used a 3:1 black:camo-grey mix with thick strokes. I then went 1:1 with a thinner brush, then followed by 1:3 to get the final highlight.

I used similar techniques for the front:

Drybrushing (get a dark base color over a model or an area, then take an old -- never use a new brush, ruins them -- brush and dry it lightly against a paper towel and then brush back and forth over a raised/bumpy area to scrape the drying paint out over the surface great for quick shading over a large area) for the dirty look on the tank:

I need to get an example of inking photographed as well, but it's probably the technique I use the lease.

EDIT: Other, really good, model acrylics are Tamiya brand (usually found at any RC/model shop) and Privateer Press's P3 Paints (found at gaming and miniature gaming stores). They're thick, mix well, but are a little pricey coming in at $3 USD per 6oz bottle where you can get 12oz of non-name brand for about $2. The name brands take longer before they harden/coagulate, restore better after they do, dry slower (allowing for blending), cover in fewer coats, and come in a wider array of color choices.

Again, for solid colors like black, white, blue, etc... go with the cheapo stuff. Metallics are something I always buy the high qualities for. The difference is like night and day since the cheapo stuff is all runny and can't cover for shit.

Edited at 2008-07-04 04:27 pm (UTC)
Jul. 4th, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC)
Wow, nice painting Isaac! You clearly have da skillz. Those are some fine examples of your work, but I checked your gallery and everything is really nicely done (especially considering the size - those look like pretty small figures).

If I was making my figures from something other than the 3 3/4" GI Joes, I might actually try that, but I don't know how much realism I can actually bring to such unrealistic looking action figures. Eh, maybe I'll try a little shading and highlighting anyway. We'll see.

I've been pleased with the Testers Model Masters paints. I've been using them for years on action figures (they work especially well on the harder plastic of the Joes). Also, I like how they behave - they mix well, dry very quickly and it's very easy to scrape off any overlap mistakes. Also I have lots of them.

With regard to Dremel skills, I have to show this off. This is a pinewood derby car I made last year (my young adopted brother's in scouts and his pack has family races in addition to the scouts' races).

And now for the bragging: I took 2nd place in the races (my husband's pathetic looking car got 1st) and I won 3 voting categories, including all-around favorite :)

Jul. 4th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I appreciate it. My average figure that I paint is approximately 30mm in height. About 2 inches. Tanks and vehicles are usually on the same scale. Making them about 5 inches tall and about six long usually.

That derby car is utterly adorable. Great job with that. It makes me think of the 'Wolf' character used in Loony Tunes from the 30s (the one always wolf whistling at the pretty ladies and wearing a zoot suit).

And shading and highlighting can make anything look better. Some Games Workshop and wargaming miniatures are very caricatured versions of reality. A lot of painters go with a *much* cartoonier version, but I prefer a grittier more realistic style (hence the guys in the heavy overcoats that look mudstained and dirty).
Jul. 7th, 2008 05:41 am (UTC)
They're coming along awesomely.

For coloring... perhaps the all-black option like in this shot?
Jul. 7th, 2008 05:57 am (UTC)
Originally I wanted to put her in the outfit from the Queen's Gambit prison transport break (brown jacket, white shirt, cargo pants) which is why I went with the arms with pushed up sleeves. But it's not really going to work because of the shirt, so the photo you linked to is more of the look I was leaning towards now. Maybe I'll just swap her arms for full length sleeves and go with that exactly. Hmm, wonder if I can mold a second belt on there to complete the look? That would be fun.

I'm at a standstill right now because I need to get some sculpting clay. Hopefully I can go get that tomorrow so I can continue on.
( 9 comments — Add a comment )


roxy burglar
Roxy Bisquaint

Roxy Bisquaint...

Is self-indulgent. Over thinks everything. Tweets too much. Looks really good in these jeans. Wants to eat butterscotch. Makes herself laugh. Obsesses about aging. Does some crunches. Lives with two ghosts. Procrastinates daily. Measures once, cuts twice. Hates Foo Fighters. Drinks lots of coffee (keep it coming). Puts spiders outside. Brings balance to the force. Draws a perfect curve. Enjoys dark chocolate. Bangs on the drums. Always gets in the slow line. Orders from a menu. Hopes to be reincarnated. Speaks fluent Sarah Connor. Cooks tasty crack theory. Loves a good storm. Dances like a dork. Picks some locks. Tips well. Refuses to share the popcorn. Dreams about the future. Ignores the clock. Sings off key. Has a superpower. Shoots the paper bad guys. Needs some eyeliner. Goes to bed at dawn. Can't resist good smut. Quotes movie lines. Eats whipped yogurt. Lets the story tell itself. Maintains a rich fantasy life. Knows all the mysteries of the gods and of the universe.

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