I got a chance to do a little modeling this week. It was a lot of fun and a very relaxing task for the evening. I was also really thrilled with the results and i want to do a lot more of this.
You start with a set of pieces as above. They are very rough and take a lot of working before you can even begin anything else. There's a lot of excess parts that you need to remove (like that bizarro forehead growth on the head below), and an exacto knife works really well here. Then you want to smooth out a lot of the model because the plastic will have seams from the molding. As you can also see, some peices are warped. I recommend soaking those parts in hot water to make the plastic more malleable, then fix things up. Then let cool for quite a while before working on it. Also, before painting put all the peices together to check all the connections to make sure that they fit together well. If they don't, repeat the above process with hot water. If that still doesn't work, then modeling putty is great for augmenting the model. After you paint over it no one will be able to tell what you did.
Individial peices look like this. The head is a little smaller than the end joint of my thumb.
I start by painting major portions and the solid colors. Some colors, like blue, only take a couple of coats wheras some colors, like white, take an enormous number of coats (like 10+). You then let dry overnight, and move to the parts that you missed (like the parts that were resting on the table while the top dried). All in all it takes a few days. You could do it quicker, but then the job gets much more difficult. Acrylic paints are happy to pick up things like finger paints, or the smooth surface of a table, so it's best to just be patient and only handle the peices once they're totally dry.
(a few of the peices joined). I'm starting to work on the face now and it's extremely difficult (for me).
To do the face you have to use brushes that are smaller than anything you would have ever imagined. Think about a brush with 1 extremely stiff bristle at the end. That's usually what's best when you're trying to make precise strokes (like an eyebrow). It also helps to steady your entire hand and just paint by exerting the slightest bit of pressure on your thumb and forefinger.
Slowly it all starts coming together and you see the personality coming through. I epoxy the connections so that the peices will stay together forever. However, you have to be very careful with epoxy. It will eat through acrylics like no one's business. It also dries to an ugly color (at least all the epoxy i know), so if there is any excess remove it (using an exacto knife) immediately! If you don't, then it's there to stay.
Almost complete! All that's left is the blade. That turned out to be the hardest part.
It made from several small peices that had to be joined together with connections no more than a millimeter large. Even epoxy was difficult to use at this level. If i had it all over again to do, i would have melted these connections with a soldering iron and joined the plastic. I would have experimented on the tree that the peices came on first to ensure that that would work, but i do think it would have been far more successful. Connecting the blade to the hands was also quite difficult and i was unhappy with the results. Fortunately, from most angles it's not noticible, and you can only tell that something doesn't look quite right if you're a couple of inches away from the back hand.
The final figure! It measures about 5 inches high and 12 inches wide.
Another view of the figure taken from the blade. I've since cleaned up the blade and decorations on it
Mounted and complete. I actually used one of my candle holders since it was a perfect size and was extremely heavy. Very helpful when your characterit standing on the balls of her feet and her balance is being held just barely.
So, anyone know the character/series? For any other fans of this sort of thing, do you have any more advice on how to make this easier and improve on the results even more? Or do you have any links to other great models out there that would be fun to work on. My next one is going to be from DearS and i'll show images when i'm done.