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 Post subject: Re: Mentalpower's customs -NEW- Element Lad! - pg.6
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:35 am 
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Daniel Pickett
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These are all so well done. Thanks for posting. Looking forward to part 8.


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 Post subject: Re: Mentalpower's customs -NEW- Element Lad! - pg.6
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:33 am 
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proverbial old fart
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LONG LIVE THE LEGION!

Wow! Element Lad looks just amazing!

Looking forward to another group shot of the Legionnaires!

Thanks for sharing!


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 Post subject: Re: Mentalpower's customs -NEW- White Witch! - pg.7
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:11 am 
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ABS
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Posts: 253
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Dear all:

This is a long-delayed post to close the series on my custom entries to last year's Legion of Superheroes Challenge (http://customjustice.dchallofjustice.com/forums/index.php?topic=3524.0) in the Custom Justice website. I started writing these lines 10 months ago, days before my little precious girl was born... and since then I've never been master of my time again and never found the time to finish it... until today...

Ok, so this Part 8 is devoted to a Legion of Superheroes member that has got a lot more interesting in the last years as she has become darker...

White Witch

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For this custom I chose her looks from the 80's. I used reference pics mainly from Greg LaRocque, who gave her a more etherial, faerie look in the comics. The challenge was to try to pass this etherial look to plastic.

It took some time to find the right pieces for this custom. The easiest pieces to choose were the hair, that comes from a Mattel JLU Silver Banshee, and the arms, that come from a Mattel JLU Harley Quinn and have the hands open in a gesture more compatible with spell-casting that the standard, closed fist arms. The rest needed a lot more careful thinking and planning. It was clear to me that for this custom the standard JLU female buck, with the spread legs was not adequate, as in LaRocque's depiction of the character she tends to stand up, levitate, fly or even spell-cast in a very rigid position. So this reduced my options to either a JLU Hawkgirl or a JLU Wonder Woman. I ended up choosing a Mattel JLU Wonder Woman (version 1) that I had available, with the aforementioned JLU Silver Banshee hair and JLU Harley Quinn arms. You can see the piece break down below.

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The first step was to adapt the hair-less Wonder Woman head to the small, narrow hair cavity. As I was planning to trim down the top of the hair to make it more rounded, I decided to cut the head down to fit in the existing hair cavity instead of expanding the cavity for the head to fit in. The result once putting all the pieces together can be seen in the photo below.

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The seams between the head and the hair were filled with putty. Then I took some time to carefully sculpt the top of the hair down in the plastic itself, giving it a more rounded shape. Putty was used again to re-sculpt the hair line on the sides, giving it the right proportions.

The body needed also some adaptations. The waist was sculpted down in the plastic, to remove the belt. Also Harley Quinn's wrist bands were cut off and sanded carefully. For White Witch's dress I first made a pattern made on paper which I improved until it had the right shape. It was during this dress-shaping process when I realised that it would be better to sculpt a higher waist line in the body, to serve as a base for the dress piece. I sculpted that in putty, taking as guidance the shape the dress piece formed around the waist and filling that space.

The rest of the body was sanded too to erase boot lines, mold lines and imperfections. Some lines such as the boot ones needed some extra putty to hide them. The result of all these modifications can be seen below, with and without the paper dress template:

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Then I focused on smoothening the base figure. I sanded down the chest to decrease its size (White Witch is not suposed to be as voluptuous as Wonder Woman). I also sanded down the legs a bit more, widening the space between the tights to avoid the paint being scratched when legs were moved. Lots of extra sanding was made in the hair, wrists and ankles, to smooth their surface. Finally I added some extra putty on the legs to re-shape them a bit, and the neck gem was sculpted in putty.

As in previous LOSH customs, a ring was added from a small plastic piece in my custom fodder.

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From this point on I had to paralelise the work in the different areas and layers of the custom that were left, otherwise I would not make it to the LOSH Challenge deadline. This meant, for instance, to start already painting the legs and coating them with varnish prior to adding the skirt piece.

In parallel I looked to the material to use for the skirt. Looked into several shops here in Barcelona but noone had vynil with the appropriate thickness. But then one day while doing some cleaning at my office I found a folder separator that seemed made of vynil (or something similar to it). I brought it home and then made two quick tests on one corner of the folder to check 1) whether paint could stick to it, and 2) whether suplerglue could glue it. Both tests were positive, so I dedided to use it as the material for the skirt.

Another important thing to solve was the eyes and eyelashes. A first thing to decide was how to make those thin curved eyelashes, which should be far thinner than Chameleon Boy's antennae. The second delicate issue was a chromatic one: having a pale skin, while eyelashes and white eyes looks great in comics, but translating that to plastic was tricky, as it all would look white. I first tried to make eyelashes a light gray, as some other people has in their customs, but to me that looked wrong: eyelashes had to be white and seamlessly connect to her elfic antennae. So the only alternative was to make the skin tone slighly darker around her eyes, the eyelashes in a pure white and the eyes a bit darker. The latter I achieved by adding a stain of blue to the eye. It is subtle but enough to mark the border between eye an eyelashes.

Each eye antennae is made from a single copper wire, coming from a standard electric wiring. In the corners of her eyes I made a tiny hole in the head's plastic directly with a pin, then inserted the wire some milimiters in the plastic, added some glue, cut the wire to the right lenght and turned the tip of the wire to form a round mini-egg-shaped tip, that would be improved later by adding many coats of paint.

Below you can see a photo of the custom at that point, just after I glued the skirt to the figure.

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While doing the photo I also realised that I needed a different background to take the final pictures, this was an extra item into my to-do list.

Few days were left before the LOSH Deadline so I had to use any moment available to finish this custom. In one putty sculpting session I hide the skirt connection to the body and sculpted the sleeves. The sleeves were a tricky thing to sculp, as I wanted them to look right both with the arms down and up, while avoiding crashing them into the skirt when the rms went down. I was very inspired that night and got it right in the first attempt.

Just a day before the deadline the final touches of paint were made to have all the details crisp and clean. After some varnish applications, the final result was the one you already saw:

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With this post I close the series on the entries that made it to the Legion of Superheroes Challenge. Next post will show some curious facts about how did I organise the multiple customs in parallel and those entries that haven't made it.

_________________
Wanna see some of my custom figures?

Check http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14514 (New entries! - July 10, 2012)


Last edited by mentalpower on Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mentalpower's customs -NEW- White Witch! - pg.7
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:35 am 
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proverbial old fart
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Absolutely amazing White Witch! Really enjoyed the pictures of work-in-progress too! Thanks so much for sharing your outstanding talent!


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 Post subject: Re: Mentalpower's customs -NEW- White Witch! - pg.7
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:08 pm 
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obsolete and uniquely stupid subnic
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Awesome! Love it.


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 Post subject: Re: Mentalpower's customs -NEW- White Witch! - pg.7
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:45 am 
shirtless hugger
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Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:30 pm
Posts: 1266
Location: Orlando, FL
Beautiful. And thank you for your detailed synopsis. It's very instructive.


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 Post subject: Re: Mentalpower's customs -NEW- White Witch! - pg.7
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:53 am 
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Shudders at the Thought of Swamp-Crotch Chafing
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Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:30 pm
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Location: Rochester, NY
:shock:

AWESOME!!!

What a beauty that figure is.
I am so in WANT of that...

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I was Geek before it was Chic


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 Post subject: Re: Mentalpower's customs -NEW- White Witch! - pg.7
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:47 am 
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ABS
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Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:27 am
Posts: 253
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Thanks guys for your comments. I am indeed very happy with this custom.

And before I receive many PM's:

- No, I'm not selling it
- No, I currently accept no customizing requests, as I have no time for customs these days...

Bryan Long wrote:
Beautiful. And thank you for your detailed synopsis. It's very instructive.


Good that you enjoy them, sometimes I'm afraid I write too lenghty posts that noone will ever read.

_________________
Wanna see some of my custom figures?

Check http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14514 (New entries! - July 10, 2012)


Last edited by mentalpower on Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mentalpower's customs -NEW- White Witch! - pg.7
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:29 am 
shirtless hugger
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Quote:
Good that you enjoy them, sometimes I'm afraid I write too lenghty posts that noone will ever read.


Well, I can't speak for everybody, but I read them.


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 Post subject: Re: Mentalpower's customs -NEW- White Witch! - pg.7
PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:46 am 
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ABS
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Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:27 am
Posts: 253
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Guys, thanks for all your kind comments.

Today I'll do an atypical post, one that I had planned already last year, as a wrap up to the series of posts about my entries to last year Custom Justice Legion of Superheroes Custom Challenge (http://customjustice.dchallofjustice.co ... pic=3524.0). I even had a sketch of the post written down before my daughter was born. So today I sat down and finished it.

All my 8 posts about the customs I made for that challenge have showed the customs more or less in the order I finished them, but that is nothing like how I had planned them originally. Some took a lot more time than originally planned, some of them took a lot less, and some were done bit by bit until one day I realised it was almost finished.

Below you can find a timeline I've constructed from the notes I keep about my customs and the dates of the WIP photos I've taken... Also by the date the custom was finished you'll find a day counter from start date to end date.


Jun 30, 2009 - Dream Girl custom started

Nov 5, 2010 - White Witch, Sensor Girl and Dawnstar customs started

Feb 26, 2011 - Shrinking Violet custom started

Mar 24, 2011 - Dream Girl finished! [633 days]

Apr 11, 2011 - Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy and Solar Boy customs started

Apr 18, 2011 - Chameleon Boy finished! [7 days]

---- Apr 25, 2011: LOSH Challenge announced ----

May 5, 2011 - Bouncing Boy finished! [30 days]

May 12, 2011 - Solar Boy finished! [31 days]

May 25, 2011 - Element Lad and Invisible Kid customs started

Jun 6, 2011 - Element Lad finished! [8 days]

Jun 9, 2011 - Shrinking Violet finished! [104 days]

Jun 11, 2011 - Sensor Girl finished! [209 days]

Jun 23, 2011 - White Witch finished! [231 days]

--- LOSH Challenge deadline extended ----

Jun 24, 2011 - Silver Slasher custom started

--- LOSH Challenge deadline ----



I think it could be fun for some of you to see the backstage of the customizing process, how several projects are open in parallel, how attention may switch from one custom to the other, and so on. The timeline above shows that, for instance, Dream Girl was the customizing project that was open for a longer period of time (633 days) although it wasn't the most complicated custom. The explanation here is that many other custom projects asked for my attention (for instance the CSA Superwoman project started the same day as Dream Girl, but was finished earlier).

The timeline also shows how, when a custom picks your attention because you see how cool it is evolving, it may absorb you so much that you end it in a record time (Chameleon Boy and Element Lad are examples of that, it took only 7 evenings in very busy weeks to finish them, and actually lots of patience to spend 3 of those evenings only in trying to get crisp painted lines in their costumes). Gone are the days with no responsibilities, when I could do 4 customs a weekend.


If you take a careful look to the timeline above and keep track of the started customs and the finished ones, you will notice there are three missing customs... these are the ones that haven't made it for the LOSH Challenge...

Invisible Kid II
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This guy almost made it to the LOSH challenge. If you look to the images above you may say "Hey! it is finished already!". Well, not really: it needs to go through my 3 evenings of QC, going once and once again on those lines and that yellow until it is all crisp and bright.

The base for the figure is a Mattel JLU Tomar Re (its head was used for my Romat-Ru custom) and a JLU John Stewart head. The hair was sculpted the same night I sculpted Element Lad's one.

Silver Slasher
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If I had finished the Invisible Kid II custom, the next one in my plans was Silver Slasher. The base is a JLU Cheetah body with a Tala head cast by Stew. I had started to sculpt the head details and trimmed down the feet, but there was still quite some work to sculpt the bare feet, some costume lines in the body and then paint it all in silver.

Dawnstar
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As in the case of my Starfire custom (see page 1), this is one of the customs I have planned for more than 10 years. Dawnstar is one of my favourite characters in the LOSH, so this custom should be not good, but great.

The custom project is composed by an eclectic combination of pieces... the base figure is a Mattel JLU Wonder Woman (version 2) with ToyBiz Marvel Greatest Moments Elektra hair and Kenner JLA Zauriel wings.

Although I started trimming down the Wonder Woman body to eliminate the costume details, it was clear to me while I was busy finishing both the Sensor Girl and White Witch customs that I would not get enough time to finish this one, as it requires quite some issues to be solved, including the wings being a tad too long for the body, the hair clashing with the wings and the need to sculpt the wing attachments to her back.


In the ten months since Esther was born I've been unable to sit down and work on any of these action figure customs, not even on Invisible Kid. The only custom work I've been able to do is smaller, simpler projects... but that I will reveal in another post...

_________________
Wanna see some of my custom figures?

Check http://www.actionfigureinsider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14514 (New entries! - July 10, 2012)


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 Post subject: Re: Mentalpower's customs -NEW- White Witch! - pg.7
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:52 am 
shirtless hugger
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Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:30 pm
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Interesting stuff. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only person who has several customs in various stages of completion at all times. Sometimes, I just lose interest in a particular figure for a while. Eventually, I pick it back up (well, mostly).

The other thing that has improved my "productivity" is the end of the JLU line. I hate wasting time and effort on something that Mattel eventually makes, and I've done it a LOT. So now that I know exactly what they're releasing, I can focus my efforts on actual holes in the line, rather than spending time working on a Grundy or a Captain Marvel that Mattel then releases (both of which I did, along with many others).


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