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Ashford Academy welcomes you!!

As does the School swimming team member, Shirley Fenette!!!

Those of you who have been following her progress regularly may have noted that her progress went in quite steep jumps and this post is no exception. From just a completed base to a completed figure in 2 weeks. It would have been sooner but I decided to redo the last part at the last minute.
This post is going to be a little pic intensive compared to the last few as there are a few more things to mention about this kit and also because the kit itself is incredibly boring!! Had I decided not to do the added effects, Shirley would have been finished in a week. 2 weeks tops!!

I guess you could say that it would make a very good beginners kit as there is very little to worry about in the build or painting process. No complex parts, very little issues with colours and, aside from the front hair section (which I will go into a bit later), Shirley was really easy to put together too!!

For those who missed the first (and only) build post regarding how I did the base, it can be found here.

Also, after last weeks post about recasts vs originals, I thought I would post this. Original sculptors will often etch their names onto the parts as a makeshift certificate of authenticity on the back of a part, usually the head, so you don’t see it when you put it together, although bubba marked his name on the top of the bunny dress in Haruhi.

In this case RyunRyunTei was scratched on the back of Shirleys head. So you know this is an original kit! Recasts don’t go the extra length to copy that, and if they did, it would be a serious insult to the original sculptor.

All my usual techniques were used, with only a slight change to how I did the eyes (the optical kind). After GameraBaenrae posted his technique on his blog, I thought I would see if I could adapt it to my own. So I went out and bought a rapidograph pen to do the blacks on my eyes. Be warned however, if you could rate how expensive something is, a rapidograph pen would go beyond prohibitively expensive and hit something along the lines of jawdroppingly expensive. In fact, even the guy who served me when I bought it was left speechless!! This is not something you would just pick up on a whim!!!

But the advantages are instantly evident. I don’t draw the whole outline of the eyes like GameraBaenrae but the pen allowed me a level of control and clean lines one just can’t get from a paint brush. As a result, Shirleys eyes are generally cleaner and more rounded than previous works and I think I’ll keep using the rapidograph pen for the eyes for now.

Above is a WIP pic. You can see esp on the outlines of the eyes that they are much cleaner than previous works and I also had less to worry about with regards to painting over them again to get the correct level of thinness.

And here’s a closer shot. The greater control on the blacks also means that I can be more adventurous and daring with the light/dark shading within the eyes, although they don’t show up as well here. I’ll see if I can make them clearer in later projects.

The pic above also shows the problem I had with the front hair piece, in that the hair wraps around Shirleys left hand and arm. It’s also molded in 1 piece so it made assembly a real pain with the constant threat of paint rubbing off. Luckily, I managed to avoid that scenario.

With that out of the way, I’m guessing the main thing which grabs peoples attention with this kit are the water droplets, or at least I hope everyone sees them as water droplets. orz

As I said before, Shirley and the extras I built around her were inspired greatly by this model by Cody Kwok.

After finishing the base, I figures it would looka little silly if Shirley was playing with her hair by the pool but was bone dry, so I figured I would try and make it look like she just got out of the pool.

One thing which Cody always moaned about when he did his technique is how difficult it was for him to capture the droplets in photos. But I didn’t really have any issues, having said that, I did make the drops a little larger than usual.

My first attempt at doing the droplets didn’t turn out too great as I made a lot of the drops far too big and made it look very unnatural. So I decided to wipe them all off and start again. For the second attempt, I made the drops smaller but increased the number a bit. I think I still have a long way to go before I make it look 100% natural, but it’s a start.

But I’m sure you’re curious about how I did it, right? Well, here’s how.

The first thing I did was to coat the entire figure with water effect from my local games workshop. It’s a slightly thick white substance which dries to clear.

And not a word from you people, OK? Unfortunately, due to the cohesiveness of the water effect and the colour, while applying it to the figure, it gave the look that Shirley had been Bukkake‘d

Things didn’t get much better afterwards since, after it dried, Shirley was left with a very shiny coat which you probably wouldn’t see without lotion like that seen in Japanese AVs!!!

But I digress, After the water effect was dry, I tried to layer some of it in order to create the droplet effect. Unfortunately, the substance proved to be too thin for the task at hand and did more harm than good.
Enter the last bits of scenic water I had left over from the base building episode!!
And for those who didn’t understand what I meant by indirectly heating, here’s a photo showing what I mean.

After around 10 minutes of heating to make the whole thing molten, I took an old brush and used that to apply the scenic water to Shirley. Word of warning though, make sure you use an old brush you don’t care about as you could very well damage the brush beyond use. In fact, I did! but in my defence, it was on it’s last legs already…

You had to be fairly quick with this part as the scenic water became solid again as it cooled so if you left it too long, it would become harder and harder to work with, and increase the likelyhood of you damaging the brush.

The application was very simple as the scenic water tended to clump on the tip of the brush anyway, so it was very easy to catch it and all that was needed to transfer it onto the figure was a light touch. Too heavy a touch would result in too large a drop so you have to take care about that.

But because scenic water tends to clump together quite strongly, it made it really easy to do some cool effects!

One part I was particularly fond of are the droplets I managed to form on the fingertips, I also added one on the tip of the left elbow, which you can probably see in earlier pics. The scenic water made it very easy to get those drops in place and it really adds to the wet look.

And, although they are not usually that visible, I also added a drop on the raised ankle as well as the poolside floor. Afterall, it would look really wierd if Shirley was dripping wet but the floor was dry!!

The Ashford logo on the swimsuit was a wet transfer which was included in the kit, so I kinda cheated a little, even if I do hate wet transfers. There was an unfortunate accident when applying it which resulted in a little of the blue ink used on the swimsuit rubbing off underneath the transfer. Unfortunately, I don’t have any spares so I’m left with that inperfection. orz.

And I haven’t said anything about this yet, but is it just me or did Shirley get an upgrade on this kit from “modest” to “Weapons of mass distraction”? I mean, Look at them!!!

A shot of the “Grand Canyon.” I don’t think anyone is going to complain if she did get an upgrade, but when I first put her together, I did have a little (o_O) moment!

One more butt, I mean back shot!

And that’s pretty much all I have to share with the viewers for this week. Overall, Shirley was an interesting project. She is definitely one of my most ambitious, having created an entire base for her display. But I don’t think I’ll make a habit of doing such things. The only thing which really sparked the whole thing off was the fact that the kit itself, while cute, is really plain. For some reason, that made me really want to do something to spice it up a little.
Similarly with the wet look, If I think a figure is going to greatly benefit from it, or just plain suits it (like in this case with the swimming scenario) then I think I’m going to stick with the standard look.

It was fun doing the droplets (not so much the base) but doing another one is unlikely, and will go by a kit-by-kit basis.
I’m not sure what I’m going to work on next but there’s no shortage, that’s for sure… I think I’ll finally build my destiny gundam, given that Infinite justice should be arriving soon, and I haven’t done a mecha kit for a while.  Having said that, I don’t really get the same level of enjoyment from building a mecha kit these days compared to a figure…
And, of course, there are the video games! Yakuza 2, Super robot wars Z and now Persona 3 FES with Valkyria Chronicles at the end of the month!!!

And one more thing to add, Shirley is going to be my entry into the E2046 Winter contest.

Truth be told, I don’t think I’m going to do particularly well in the contest, judging from entries in previous contests, but it’s the participation that counts (at least that’s what GameraBaenrae told me when he coaxed me into it during the summer contest) and it will be interesting to see how others think of my works compared to the other entries.
According to the rules, the base will not be included in the judging. Perhaps that’s a good thing…

  • gamerabaenre

    Very nice work. Yeah, those stupid rapidograph pens are not the cheapest of tools. So take care of them! After use, I clean them in my ultrasonic cleaner, then store the tips in a small jar of alcohol. In my experience, this keeps any residual ink in the tip from completely drying and ruining a rather expensive piece of equipment.

    But glad it is helpful for doing eyes!

    And a very nice job with Shirley. I love the water drop effect. The base is great. And for the contest, yes, it is all about promoting the hobby (even at a recast site) It sucks to see the hobby dwindle, so events such as these and blogs that show the build progression help to keep things alive.

    This just serves to remind me that I need to get my butt into gear and start building too :D

  • gundamjehutykai

    Good idea on storing the rapidograph pens. I’ll have to do that!

    Yeah, it’s really bad that the hobby is dwindling. It seems even sculptors are moving out of it, which means fewer new kits to do…
    But even with the smaller numbers I still find people online with the most amazing skills in painting. I just hope that it continues so I can see more.

    but for now, I’m just really curious about what other people have up their sleeves for the winter contest.

  • http://meronpan.wordpress.com/ meronpan

    yum, that looks great! thought you had dunked her in water for the shots, the water looks so real!

    just finished code geass and wish there was a pvc shirley that grabbed my attention like this kit does.

  • gundamjehutykai

    I think Code Geass was one of the last big Hurrahs when it came to the Resin scene. There were lots of really impressive kits which outshone any PVC offering to date. Not sure why the PVC companies pretty much ignored it tho. Maybe something to do with bandai…

    But everything has died down considerably now. Nanoha StrikerS was the last show to really bring out some great resin kits…

  • Xenostripsis

    Great piece! water looks extremely realistic, after seeing this I’m thinking it would look great on an amphibious MS’ , or just as a gloss coat (I’ve gotta try that out)

  • gundamjehutykai

    The base was a special type of coating which I bought from games workshop called “water effect”
    It’s a little different from gloss coat but you may be able to get similar results.

    The droplets were leftover bits of the scenic water I used for the base. You should be able to find something similar in a good model shop.

    Hope that helps.

  • Xenostripsis

    Thank you. I know that the fake water is different than gloss coat, but it still would be kinda kewl to have it that uber shiny. but is the water more expensive than regular gloss coat?

  • gundamjehutykai

    Not that much so, mainly because the bottle of water effect is much larger than a single pot of gloss coat and will last much longer.

    It’s hard to tell because of that but I’d say that my water effect will last longer than the same amount of gloss coat.

  • Xenostripsis

    Figures aren’t really my thing, mainly because they look so unrealistic, but the water effects+ droplets you used look very real! I’d say the job you did on the droplets is very good.

  • gundamjehutykai

    Thanks for the compliment. I must admit that I’m not 100% happy with it, If possible, I would like to try and make the drops smaller in my next one as well as just try and learn more about the possible behavious of water.

    The water placement in this one was pretty much just random.

  • Xenostripsis

    well… water is usually random, and it like to run “downhill” *cough cough* that’s about it i think(pardon me for putting my 1.5 cents in)

  • gundamjehutykai

    i’m trying!! This was the first time I tried doing the water effect on a Kit so I really was just trying to wing it. I’ll do better next time, whenever that will be…

  • yosh

    excellent work, the only thing I don’t like so much is the blue water on the base, but the wet effect on the figure is realmly good, thanks for sharing

  • gundamjehutykai

    the blue didn’t quite turn out as planned. I wanted to try and get a graduual fading effect so it would be dark at the bottom and then lighter as it went up but it dried too quickly and the 2 never really mixed. Dammit… From certain angles it looks pretty nice but from others it really shows up the 2 separate layers. The blue ink I used was also too dark…
    Oh well, live and learn.