Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Happy Holidays everyone! :D

No im not leaving for good ;p haha! Just gonna be on a break for Chinese New Year until mid February :D I'll be back! In the meantime being very busy doing repairs on SIC figures for a friend :) learnt some new tricks to repair them too hehehe

In the meantime, here is to a very Happy Chinese New Year and To my non-chinese friends, Happy Holidays!!!!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Tutorial Kiwami Tamashii Den O Wing Form

One day I was rifling other customiser's photos on facebook and happen to come upon a sight that immediately gave me inspiration! This friend of mine created a den o wing form using a Kiwami Tamashii Den O Gun form body! It was so simple Ididnt think about it! However, he didnt make wings for his custom den o wing form which I think is a crucial part for a wing form custom. I thought I could go to a hardware store and start buying small wheels, metal parts etc to form a pair of miniature wings for the custom but that was so much work for such a small custom! I let the idea hang in the air for a few days until one day I was walking around in a shopping mall and my kids wanted to go Toy R Us. We strolled around until i came across something that I see will work quite well as my custom den o's wings! I bought it without hesitation costs me about $18 but its ok, I can always resell it at a loss later. You will gtet to see what it is i bought later but needless to say, my custom was made and here is the tutorial for it :)
Firstly, lets talk about the materials required for this custom:
1) Epoxy putty (of course)
2) Liquid transparent putty (this could be a big problem as this material cant be found in Singapore or Malaysia, not that i know of anyway. I bought mine from the UK via ebay. Just search for "Devcon 5 min epoxy syringe)
3) Oyumaru resin (this is a must and unfortunately this is even harder to find compared to transparent putty, (thanks to a friend who managed to locate it for me, you can find it here: http://www.singahobby.com/?q=node/26856. The price stated there are outdated, it has almost doubled half a year ago -_- luckily i already bought some before the price hike)
4) blade from stationery shop
5) line engraver
6) cup of water
7) white spray paint
8) brass, white, black, metallic silver, metallic blue, clear blue paint from Mr Color (or any other brands you are comfortable with) plus primer spray can
9) washer paint (for linings, generally easy to find but not that cheap)
10) bits of plastic sheets (can use those plastics cut off from plastic water bottles)
11) super glue
12) metal wires
13) toothpicks and my trusty ear digger ;p
14) topcoat clear
15) Hand drill
16) 2 Revoltech 8mm single joint
17) secret materials you will find described below. Not a necessity if you have time to spend to made sculpts of the visor and the wings
From the looks of the above materials required, it looks like a lot of stuff!! However, I can't stress enough the importance of some of those materials to make your custom more crisp, more lasting and more detailed. You can skip some of the above materials such as washer (if you dont want to do linings), or metal wires (if you dont want your wings to be tougher and harder to break from shelf dives), or topcoat (if you dont want your paint colors to be protected and lasts longer) etc etc so its up to you.
Now for the custom steps itself:
Step 1 : Visor and belt buckle.
My second objective (my first is always to only make customs that looks cool or sends a message) of any of my customs is to always make things simple and fast for me. I know for a fact the hardest part to sculpt would be his belt buckle due to the size and details. If I were to do it myself, I will need to really make sure the details are there plus probably need at least 3 layerings of putty to make sure each part of the belt buckle stands out. I got lucky for this custom as I already have something in my possession that can help reduce the work necessary for hte belt buckle and that thing is none other than a Motion Revive Series Den O Wing form figure :D (see photo below). Its about 3.75 inche tall and super articulated. I recommend anyone who likes 3.75 inche figures to buy it. Its a good substitute for figures not covered by Kiwami Tamashii line.

Using Oyumaru resin, I cast a pair of epoxy putty visors (see "A" above) and belt buckle (see "B" above) from the Motion Revive Series (MRS) figure, see photo below. (For the uninitiated pls see link on how to use Oyumaru resin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHmk6kgYA-w, its very simple). On hindsight I should have cast the belt buckle using clear epoxy, would have been slightly cooler.

See photo below.

Since the MRS sculpt for the visor and belt buckle isnt detailed enough, I carved more details on to the belt especially on those wings around the round belt buckle symbol. For the visor I cut up parts of it to make it less bulbous and more angular and made 3 lines across each of the visors.

Once I was satisfied with the shape of the visor, I used Oyumaru resin to form a mold for the resculpted visors. I then mix and pour transparent putty on the resin to form transparent visors. I have to perform this 3 times as the first two didn't form well and have bubbles. Once its done, paint the transparent visor with clear blue at the front and metallic silver at the back (to reflect light). Leave the visors alone for now to be attached to the head later on.

Step 2 : The Wings

That THING i managed to find at Toy R Us is actually a transformers toy ;D Called Skystalker. When I laid eyes on his wings I knew i have found the right sculpt to fit on Kiwami Den O Wing form ;D

So, once I was home, I used Oyumaru resin again to form a mold from Skystalker's wings. I then cut up several pieces of metal wires to act as a skeleton for it (see photo below). The wires will protect the wings in case of shelf dives which may crack the putty and shatter it if it wasn't reinforced with wire skeletons. See photo below.

Once the above are done, take out all those wires from the resin mold. Then push in epoxy putty  onto the oyumaru resin to form the wings, see photo below. Then before the epoxy putty dries, push back in those wires into the epoxy putty wing. Use your nail or toothpick to firmly push the wires in as much as possible then use your finger to smoothen back the surface of the epoxy putty wing to hide the wire skeleton.

To attach the wings to the back, I used a revoltech 8mm single joint and plug it into the putty wing before it dries. When it dries it will firmly attach to it. To make it attach better, you should use your handdrill anddrill a tiny hole on the stick joint of the revoltech joint, glue the wire skeleton on it before plugging it onto the epoxy putty wing.

You will also need to drill 2 holes (width must be same with the width of the stick joint on the revoltech joint) on den o's back for the revoltech stick joint to be inserted in.

Now if you look at the photo below you will notice some of the putty are missing certain small notches or holes or some tiny bubbles have formed on certain surface. You will need to seal those holes/ notches/ deformities up with putty again once the wings have dried.

Step 3: The shoulder pads

First, you need some foundation to stretch the shoulder pads sculpt from his shoulders to across his chest. I used some small pieces of plastic sheets as a foundation. I glued these plastic sheets on the shoulder pads itself forming extentions (see photo above). Use putty to form wings like shapes on the shoulder pads. The plastic sheets will act as the foundation for you to lay your putty on. See photo below. Use line engraver to form details on those wings. You are all done with the sculpt itself. Time to paint the figure.

Step 4 Painting

Ok painting this guy is a joy since there is not many type of colors required and i love painting brass/ gold colors. You however will still need to do the basics first i.e. sanding and priming it first. Sand the surface first then use a primer can spray to cover the body, makes surface a little smoother and paint easier to stick on later.

I didnt need to repaint his lower legs or his neck so i used some celaphone tapes to cover those areas while priming.



Next comes my favourite part, painting everything super metallic silver. This will give a better shine.

Once the base colors are done (primer + silver). Next paint the outer colors which are gold and white. Before i paint the gold on his belt buckle i painted the insides metallic blue first. I also painted that front part of his thigh pearl white silver to make it stand out from the white of the thighs. Touched up his head with metallic silver, gold and black as well.

Finally you are almost done. Let everything dry, do touch up on overlaid colors where necessary. The next part is the coolest yet challenging; using your tamiya washer to do the linings. I found that even the washer brush are too large for certain linings on kiwamis so there will be parts where the black paint splash on the surface instead of the crevice/lines. You will need to touchup again later to remove these black stains. I did lining over his entire chest, shoulder pads, his abdomen, belt buckle everything!

Next I wanted the wings to appear as if it was airbrushed white. I still dont know how to use my airbrush so i used my white color spray can to spray white over the edges of the wings, see photo below. Painted the replicated weapons too.

Yes! We are finally done! Once all the paint dried, spray a layer of topcoat gloss over everything to protect the paint job :D And here is the gallery portion, enjoy! Scroll all the way down to see whats next ;D

The photo below will show you where i drilled 2 holes on den o's back where the wings can be inserted. To make it better you can chose to drill a 3rd hole somewhere right in between the 2 holes to allow 12 inche display stands to be attached on it to reduce the weight pressure of the wings on the den o legs.

I was suppose to add more details to the wings by adding in wires and mechanical stuff but got lazy so i left it in the skeletal state below. Also the wings was getting heavier and heavier nearing the point where the body wont be able to take the weight anymore.
Next tutorial: Kiwami Fourze Fire State

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Tutorial custom kiwami tamashii Agito Burning Form

I'm on a roll here ;p I just wanted to complete my agito kiwami set so here goes my last agito custom: Burning form!! (ok techincally there is still that white agito guy but I dont have spare agito figures left so this is going to be my last agito kiwami figure so yeah).
Since making my custom kiwami shining agito, I realised i can make a few additional adjustments to a kiwami agito custom to make it nicer and with more details. One such adjustments would be those horns on his head. Instead of letting it have the normal 2 dimensional horns of kiwami agito ground form, I decided to make it into proper 3D horns. I have also decided to add more details on his belt. Anyway enough with the random chat and on with the tutorial :D For this custom i used a Agito trinity form. You can also use a agito ground form (which is better actually but i ran clean out of this already).
Step 1: Cut cut cut
This is actually my least favourite part (yet strangely theurapeutic ;p) of the process due to the fact that you can get cut anytime if you are careless, your blade breaks or the plastic/rubber give way too fast. You must be extremely cautious in this no matter how simple the cut is. Believe me i should know, got stitches done on my hand before due to continuous bleeding from accidentally cutting my palm up. The trick is to get somekind of leverage when you are cutting, perhaps a piece of wooden block to put the item you are cutting on it and aim the blade downwards towards the block. The block (instead of your thumb/hand) act as a foundation so that the item wont move. I use a cheap SGD2 wooden chopping board for this purpose these days.
So yes, you gotta cut away the unnecessary bits:
1) The shoulder pads
2) part of his belt buckle
3) Part of his lower shoulder (part of those those golden bracelets) and
4) part of his back (those small wings of his mainly)
For easy reference please see photos below:
Before the next step, you have to change the shape of his belt buckle from ground form into burning form, so follow the steps i did in changing the belt shapes as described in my custom kiwami shining form tutorial (the immediate previous tutorial i did).

Step 2 Putty time
You will need to do a few layers to complete the sculpt. so the first layer basically is to form basic shapes of burning form. I start by putting layers on his chest, shoulders, shoulder pads, lower arms and the front and sides of his belt. See photo below. 
The next part to add putty while waiting for the rest to dry would be the upper legs. Before you begin this putty adding part, prepare a couple of tools first:
1) toothpicks
2) pimple needle
3) ear digger (which i occassionally use to dig my ears in between sculpts ;p)
Ok this part needs detailed sculpting works done on the first layer (you really dont need multiple layers on this). Use your ear digger to form shape on the edge of the putty patch at the top of the thigh to make it flare out a bit. First thing first, apply the putty over the legs on the front and sides thinly. Leave the putty there for half an hour to cure. The reason for this is that by allowing the putty to cure a little, its easier to manipulate it for sculpting purpose.
Once the putty has been left to cure for half an hour or so, staart using your pimple needle to make the bigger lines on the putty. The way to do this is not to use the sharp end of the pimple needle and start poking it into the putty. Hold the pimple needle like you would a pen and then slide the pimple needle over the putty (in a similar way you would a water color brush). This will form crevices over the putty instead of thin cut lines (which is useless in this case). If you would refer to the photo below, those major linings are made using this way. Make lines along most of the edges of your putty patch on the legs. Then make vertical lines at the sides of the legs.
After you are done leave it to dry for a while say 15 mins? I cant remember but its about there ;p The period you should leave it to cure depends on what kind of putty you use, each of them have different period of time to cure.
After this second period of curing, use your toothpick to make smaller lines vertically along the bigger crevices to form details like those you see in the photos below. Feel free to explore new ideas on how to form details on them or just go wild and make your own designs on the leg armor. The main objective was to make the thighs bulkier since burning form agito suppose to be bulkier than other forms.


Step 3: Making those blades on his arms
First you have to add putty on the outer part of his lower arm to form his burning form armor. Once you have made the initial shape of the armor, poke a vertical crevice in the middle of the armor. This slot will be used to insert the blades later.
To make those blades, I have decided to use plastic sheets as their foundation. Not only will the plastic sheets makes the blade stronger and harder to break later, it act as a foundation for me to make proper sculpt of the blades. I cut up a piece of plastic sheet like the one shown in the photo below:
Once the armor on his lower arm cured. measure the plastic sheet on the hole you cut in the middle of the said armor to ensure it can be properly inserted later on. The plastic sheet shown on hte photo below was not the piece i used in the end as i feel it was too small and i cut another piece of plastic sheet to replace it.

To form the shape of the blades, you need to form each blade one piece at a time. This is because its too small and if you try to sculpt it all at once, you will most likely mess up the sculpt of the earlier blade(s) you have made while making another. So what you got to do is to put putty on the plastic sheet and then form one blade on both sides of the plastic sheets and let it cure first. Then the next and the last.
See photo below on the half formed blades and the crevice i made in the armor on the lower arm to allow the blade to be slotted into the arm later.

Once you have formed all the blades properly, super glue the blades on the crevices. Once the super glue dried, add a small amount of putty at the edge between the blades and the armor to cover up the exposed plastics. Using my pimple needle i created organic vein-like details on it. See photo below for final sculpt:

Step 4: The chest!!
This is the most complicated part of the custom. Several putty layers are necessary to make this.
Just a side note here: I have chosed to sacrifice poseability on the arms by sealing in the shoulder pads with putty. This is necessary to display the shoulder pad and chest piece as a single piece of armor for burning agito. Alternatively you can choose to isolate the shoulder pad with the chest piece to allow the arms to be lifted higher and be more poseable at the sacrifice of details and esthetic. Its really is up to you.
Right, so you would have done up an initial layer bu now. You have to add more layers on top of that to form 'muscles' like armor. Add small pieces of putty on the armor to add muscles. Use that pimple needle to shape crevices by 'brushing' over the putties.
There are 2 distinct sculpting tricks here you should know:
1) forming those tiny lines around the armor
2) forming the veins at the cracks between armor
I will descrite how this is done. Its rather simple actually.
1) tiny lines around the armor
For those tiny lines (see photo below left shoulder pad for those lines that runs along between major armor parts), there are 2 ways to go about it. The easy way would be to use thin wires to form them. No need to sculpt. I bought some ultra bendable wires from hong kong some time ago for this purpose. They are as small as those lines you see in the photo below, very bendable and durable. The 2nd way is to form them using putty. Since those wires i bought from hk is extremely rare here i didnt want to use it on a kiwami custom, so I did the 2nd way i.e. putty lines.
Now form a small putty ball no bigger than 1 cm in diameter. Roll that putty ball into a roll of puttyof say 1/3 a cm in diameter. Let it cure for half an hour or 45 mins (depending on the type of putty you use). when its being half cured, cut that roll of putty into a couple of parts. Dip your finger into water and use it to roll thse putty parts into very tiny lines. Since the putties are already half cured, they are more durable and less prone to breakage AND they dont stick too much to other surface (yet). If you find that your lines are not small enough but it has gotten very long, cut the putty line up and continue to roll your putty into tiny lines. You have a limited window to do this as once those putties touches your wet fingers they geta little sticky and sticks to any surface making it hard to disengage them for usage later. Now once you have a thin enough putty lines, put them on the chest armor at the cracks you wanted them in. You dont need to be very precise with the position when you put them on since you can always use your pimple needle (wet with water) to reposition them properly.
You have to do this process fast before those putty lines started to become too sticky or too dry. Once you have placed them in the right places let them dry. There will be instances where the end of your putty lines sticks out of the armor. Use your pimple needle to push them onto the armor.
2) veins at the cracks between armor
To make the armor look more organic plus to seal up all those areas that was not reached by the putty armor layers, i chosed to create vein like sculpts on these areas.
To create these veins, form a small piece of putty and slap it on the crevice/cracks/area you wanted those veins to be in. Leave it to cure for say 10 to 15 mins. Use your pimple needle, hold it like a brush and push it on the putty. Then then push your pimple needle on the surface of the putty but away from the non-cured putty area (like what you would do if you use a knife to put butter on your bread). Repeat this step on the putty surface right next to the hole you created on the putty. If you do the 'brushing' near enough to each other you will form veins in between the 'brushings'. Simple yet workable! :D Repeat this process all over armor to create a bio organic armor for burning agito.

This is the last step for the chest piece: Use a tamiya line engraver (this will cost ya, they dont come cheap and i cant find an alternative tool to do this ;p) to form cracks along the front of the chest and the shoulder pads plus lines for the lower abdomen.

You will get the resulted sculpt below (post primer):

For the back, I use pieces of putty to form muscles over them and then added some tiny putty lines in between muscles. See photo below:

Step 5: The transparent head!!

As any kiwami collectors would know, the agito ground form head is not transparent. Plus those red color on the eyes cant be removed to be replaced with the yellow/orange eyes of burning agito.

This means you will need to re-create the head. First thing to do is add putty on the horns to make them more stylised. I again use my pimple needed to form shapes on them.

Once this is done and the putty is dried, use oyumaru resin to cast a mold for the head. Then use devcon 5 min epoxy putty to create a transparent head! Simple! When applying the devcon 5 min epoxy try to make it as thin as possible. This is to allow the eyes to shin better, I'll explain this later. You will get a head like the one on the left in the photo below. Cut out the original face of the agito head (see photo below on the part to be cut off). Before you glue in your transparent head, paint the entire back of the transparent head silver. The silver reflects light off it making the face and eyes shiny. Now glue the face onto the head plus add putty to the areas where the face and head meets to seal any cracks in between. Let everything dry.

Now color the face with clear red paint and the eyes with clear yellow (or orange, i chosed yellow as i dont like to paint clear orange, very hard to handle). If you form the clear head with a thin enough layer of 5 min epoxy, the light will shine better on the silver layer on the back and gives off more light to the eyes.

See photo below. Notice that i retained the lower 2 original horns that act as a base to glue the transparent head's horns in.

You are finally ready to paint the figure!!!

Follow the instrutions below for the painting process:
1) Paint all the parts that is suppose to be red with super metalli silver paint first (see photo below). Use tamiya paint washer to color the lines on the chest and those small tiny areas between veins black.

2) Let the super metalli silver layer dry then add a clear red layer over the areas that are suppose to be red in burning agito form. You will form a glossy red surface thanks to the metallic silver underneath.

3) Paint those area that is suppose to be black in color with dark iron paint. You will need to apply 2 to 3 layers of dark iron on these to make sure you cover the areas properly.

4) Paint the piece on the middle of the chest with clear yellow.

5) Use tamiya washer to form lines on the crevices all over the figure

6) Use black/ super metallic silver paint to cover up any overlapping paint areas.

7) Paint those tiny putty lines around the chest and shoulder pads with dark iron paint. Again you probably need to do a couple of layers to make sure the paint shows.

Remember to let the paint dry properly between every layers

And there you have it: KIWAMI Tamashi Agito Burning Form!!! Pls enjoy the restof the finished product photo gallery ;D Until the next time!!

A comparison between the earlier shining agito custom and the new burning agito custom: