Saturday, 4 May 2013

Custom Albino Joker; not hard yet not as easy as one thinks

Some time ago, I bought a cheap spare Joker armor set with no body base at sgd10. I wasnt sure what I was going to do with it but it has a lot of pointy bits which i thought could be real useful. Over time, I forgot about it until a year ago when i was in HK and I found the SPC shop. I waited an hour for the grouchy owner of the shop tocome and open his shop and he finally came around 5pm plus. By then I have visited all interesting shops in Richmond Plaza ;p

The owner was quite a grouchy guy who will give you one liner responces close to sarcasm when you ask him about his stuff. I bought a couple of hibiki type character figures (habataki and another guy with a fish on his head, cant remember his name ;p) and he lighten straight up and got friendlier ;p

Saw a Blade type spare body for sale for about SGD20+ if i remember correctly. I didnt really check on it until i went home and only then did i found it to be superbly fragile and the joints incredibly loose T_T oh well. I didn't use it to house my blade king armor so I can watch it do shelf dives every other day.

2 weeks ago, I found my long forgotten Joker spare armor in some corner and realised I could make an Albino Joker out of it with the spare blade body. I dont really look forward to making it as it contains the 2 colors I abhor painting the most: White and Red. Why? Coz white are very hard to paint on any surface except for white itself. I once repainted a kuuga decade edition into his white armor, took 8 layers of white paint to do it and the red paint underneath keep coming off and mixing with my white producing a pink layer instead, much to my daughter's delight T_T On the other hand, red paint also seemed to have a tendency (in my experience anyway) of making other layer of dried paint to mix with it.

So yea two of the colors i am very afraid to paint on. Luckily ive been doing customs for a year now and i have since learnt ways to ease the pain ;p so lets proceed with the custom steps and enjoy the process ;)

One thing to note is that i did one wrong step during the custom. It wasnt major. I proceed with the primer and white paint spray first before i make sure the armor is as it should be as albino joker. I'll explain this as i go along so watch out for it and make sure you read the entire tutorial first. Dont start making your own custom right off the bat when you read this.

The first thing i did was of course sand all the armor parts and the spare body. This is to make sure the first paint coat sticks better as welll as to get rid of the black color as much as possible.

The next part was to use paint remover (or thinner, it doesnt really matter) to remove as much clear green paint as possible from the transparent parts. The transparent half globe at the centre of his cheat can be removed to show his transparent green heart. That green paint on the heart needs to be removed as well. Use tissue paper or cloth to wipe thinner/ paint remover on them. For the hard to get edges, use cotton buds or tissue and your finger nails to scratch them out. You dont need to get it entirely blank transparent, just as much as possible. Now, paint clear red over them. For the heart part, to make it shine through the transparent clear globe, paint metallic silver on the heart first followed by clear red. It shines better. Other parts use only clear red to retain their transparent nature.

Now the easy part. Spray everything EXCEPT the transparent parts with primer coat. Protect the chest piece transparent parts by putting a layer of blue tag above it when you spray. I didnt want to waste my blue tag so i used play-doh plastecenes my daughter dumped. After that its a few layers of white spray paint. The grey primer coat actually resolves the problem of the white paint diluting with the lower black layer. Problem is the white paint doesnt appear smooth when you first spray on it. This may be because either I was using a very smooth primer or I diluted the white paint too much. If its the latter, thats no problem, I wanted to spray / paint a few layers of white on it anyway, which i did. And the result cn be seen on the photo below.

After spraying everything grey and white,I sprayed a sprinkle of red over the areas that are suppose to be red. When the spray red paint dries, color the tips of the red parts with clear red to make it shine more. Then, i finally got around trying the joker armor on d sparebody and i finally found out i missed a crucial step!! Lets have a look at the photo below and see if you can spot what is the problem with doing this custom and isit really just a full repaint only kind of custom:

I thought albino joker will be just a straightforward repaint but real rider fans will immediately know i was quite wrong about this ;p You can se this from the photo above. Albino Joker is a mirror image of Joker(or so i think anyway) so his armor positions are left side right compared to Joker as in his left armors are now his right and vice versa. So back to the customs, I thought hey that isnt all that hard, I just switch everything right side left ;p. The lower arms and thigh armor were easy, they can be switched just like that. The shoudler pads slightly harder; I have to drill connecting holes on the shoulder pad joints to allow it to be invertedly connected to the body armor. The lower leg armor was the biggest problem.

The lower leg armor can't be switched or the directions of the thorns on it will be pointing facing front instead of to the back :/ This have got to be done the old fashion way: dissassembling everything and rebuilding them up again. I cut up the lower leg armors into their individual thorny pieces. Then I cut up the leg armor somemore to change their positions. Stick the leg armor on the leg first. Put a thin layer of putty on the surface where you want the thorns to be to form a layer that will support the thorns when you put them on. Add the thorns back on facing backwards. Use toohtpicks and blade to shape the putty surface to make them as part of the thorns. Lastly, the leg metal "armlets" located near his feet will not fit when you repositioned the leg armor right side left. So you need to add a section of putty to connect the "armlets" to make a full circle cuff. Sand the edges of the putty parts of the cuffs (see right side photo below, you will notice the putty part of the cuff). Now you have a new right side left armored leg ;)

With that finally done, the rest was easy. Easy but tedious. I still need to paint (not spray) another couple layers of white over it to make certain parts more white than other parts to show depth and contours. Then I paint a layer of clear red over the red parts to make them shine out.
You now have a nice red white Albino Joker. But it need more layer of paints to make it stands out. After all, most people except for pure diehard rider fans will think this is just another repaint. So you need to add in more detailed paints, makes it more realistic:
1) Recolor certain parts of the figure (the skull on his knee, the armlets near his legs and upper arms, the nails around his bodies, his face and  the edges on his back armor as well) with a pale brass layer. I did this using brass paint, silver paint and white paint mixed in the right proportion.
2) Dilute the same pale brass paint with more thinner to make it less opaque. Use this paint to make fine lines all over the grooves around his body, these will be the grooves between his muscles, those corners between layers of his armor, between linings etc.
3) Dip your brush on the same paint in (2) above and wipe it on a cloth. Do weathering on the small edges of the armor to make 'shades' and 'shadows' Do that on the back of the thorns as well.
4) I used a grey lining pen to do some linings on the edges of grooves, muscles, corners etc on the armor and the body base. I then use a black lining pen to do linings on some of the edges to make them stand out as deeper linings. This will give you a lot more shades, shadows and colors on an otherwise plain white red figure.

I also add a small dap of super glue on the faceplate so that it will stick to the face as it keeps falling off at the slightest touch (even from wind ;p).

So yea, after a whole day of painting, you get Albino Joker ;) Hope you enjoy the tutorial. Any questions, just ask. Enjoy the restof the photos I have taken of him ;)

The last photo is a comparison of Albino Joker to the original Joker. You will notice 2 distinct facts:
1) My albino joker seemed to have a different belt than Joker's. This is correct because I cant find a spare Joker belt and didnt bother to replicate one ;p So the belt i used is wrong ;p
2) The Joker looks a bit odd. This is because I didnt use a Blade body to house it. I custom a hibiki type spare body (Zanki's to be exact) to house Joker armor which is cheaper.

Well, thats it for now ;) Tune in again for more customs and stuff!! ;D

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