Friday, January 31, 2014

Toy Fiend Friday! Monster High Jane Boolittle Overview

Image of Monster High Jane Boolittle
Jane Boolittle and Needles
This week I'm taking a look at one of the newest Monster High releases, Jane Boolittle.  As a fan of all things dark, creepy, and a little spooky, I was really excited about a voodoo themed doll.  The fact that she comes with her own little voodoo doll sloth is just icing on the cake.

Her outfit is really cool, without being too flashy.  I really love the animal print, skulls, and bones.

Image of Monster High Jane BoolittleImage of Monster High Jane Boolittle

The one thing that annoys me, though, is that her feathered epaulettes keep falling off.  They're basically propped up and don't really grab on to anything.  Her color scheme incorporates all of my favorite colors.  I really love the blend of teal, pink, purple and red.  Her skintone is also very pretty, and will be fun to repaint.  It's a soft lavender with blue undertones.

Image of Monster High Jane Boolittle
Jumping right on the sloth bandwagon!
Her hair is also very nice, though I'm sure that ponytail isn't staying :).  It's made of soft fiber as opposed to the rough nylon most of the Monster High girls are rooted with.  It's very easy to style and combs out well.  I haven't decided how I'd like to repaint her yet, but I definitely want to stick with her jungle theme.  What do you guys think about Jane?  Have you picked her up yet?  Still looking?  Passing?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Toy Fiend Friday: Kotobukiya CuPoche Tomoe Mami from Madoka Magica

By now, you should know that I have an insatiable obsession for all things Tomoe Mami.  What you might not know is that I'm also a diehard fan of Kotobukiya.  I've been collecting figures by them since I was a weensy teenager.  When they started releasing their CuPoche line, I was ecstatic!  I can't really get behind collecting Nendoroids because of their horrendous posing, but these little figures are amazing and run in the same super deformed, sugar dripping sweetness aesthetics.

Image of Kotobukiya CuPoche Tomoe Mami
Even the CuPoche packaging is super cute :3.
Mami arrives with three faceplates, several sets of differently posed hands, her guns, a magnetic (!!!) stand and a miniature Witch Charlotte, in her first form.

Image of Kotobukiya CuPoche Tomoe Mami
NO SAD FACES FOR MAMI.  She's suffered enough!

She also comes with a variety of clear plastic clasps and hooks to display the guns and Charlotte.  These can be placed into the pegs surrounding her stand to create different scenes.  Her faceplates are very easily removed, but don't fall out or become loose without a bit of pressure to release them.

Image of Kotobukiya CuPoche Tomoe Mami
There... that's better.  Pardon me while I go cry myself a river into my pillow T_______T.

Image of Kotobukiya CuPoche Tomoe MamiImage of Kotobukiya CuPoche Mami Tomoe

As I mentioned when I reviewed Madoka last year, I absolutely LOVE the magnetic stand.  It's easily concealed under a backdrop.  The magnets in her feet are very strong.  Perfect for say...

Image of Kotobukiya CuPoche Tomoe Mami
Later, dude!
...Punting a particularly evil little witch into the corner where she belongs >_>.

I ordered CuPoche Mami from my favorite figure store, Hobby Link Japan.  She's still available and in stock :).  If you haven't had a chance to check these adorable little figures out, you definitely should!  If you're not a fan of Madoka Magica, there are also several other characters to choose from.

Image of Kotobukiya CuPoche Mami Tomoe and Madoka Kaname

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Workspace Wednesday! Three new Monster High Repaints, Modifying Clawdia Wolf's Toothy Grin

I usually post an update every Wednesday over on Tumblr, but I've been so busy the past couple of days, I wanted to take a moment to go a bit more in depth with the new doll projects I'm working on.

Image of Clawdia Wolf Elissabat and Draculaura Monster High Repainted Dolls
NO PICTURES D:!  We haven't got our faces on, yet!
You might notice that Clawdia here is looking a bit different.  That's because I wanted to try removing her teeth with the cut and superglue method which has always been popular with Barbies.  I loved Clawdia's character and her doll is absolutely fabulous, but dolls with perpetual open mouth smiles are unsettling to me O_O.  Speaking of Elissabat and Draculaura, I posted a comparison video between the two over here on my Youtube channel, confirming that they are two different sculpts.

Image of Clawdia Wolf
NO, NOT EXACTLY, BUT EQUALLY TERRIFYING O_O.  This was a moment in the removal process that I found particularly hilarious.  I was laughing so hard, I messed up the first time trying to bond the lips back together with glue.  Sorry, Clawdia.

This is the video I posted for the method I used, though there are plenty of other tutorials available on the web:

Basically, you're just cutting out the teeth with an exacto blade, evening out the opening, adding a few drops of super glue, and then pinching it shut until the glue cures.  Then, you'll end up with how she looks in the first photo above.  One thing I need to recommend is that you use a craft blade instead of the straight blade I had to make do with.  I've lost my darned Xacto and have NO idea where it disappeared to.  It was too late to go out and find a new one, so I grabbed the blade from my scraper.  Kids, please don't ever use sharp objects on your own, always get a parent to help you!

I'm very happy with the way she turned out and can't wait to finish her makeup.  As I mentioned in the video, I ended up with a bit of discoloration from the glue (turning white as it cured) because of her dark skin.  This didn't matter to me, as it was painted over, but if you're planning on keeping her lip color, you might want to think about touching it up afterward :).  Thanks a bunch for reading!  Clawdia and Elissabat's customs will be available in my Etsy shop a little later this afternoon!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Toy Fiend Friday: Revoltech Hello Kitty

My love of all things Hello Kitty is rivaled only by my love of coffee.  Seriously, come have a look at my apartment sometime.  The amount of Hello Kitty related paraphernalia borders on ridiculous, my friends and relatives only feed my addiction.  When I read that Revoltech would be releasing a tiny, posable version of Sanrio's princess, I completely lost my sh-... Er, I was super excited >_>.

Image of Kaiyodo Revoltech Hello Kitty
Revoltech Hello Kitty
I mean, holy cow, just look at it.  It's friggin' adorable.  I preordered her with the speed of a thousand grabby fists. 

Image of Kaiyodo Revoltech Hello Kitty
The little playset is pretty cute, if a bit lacking in accessories.

The set itself is pretty simple.  She comes with an easel, crayon, apple, stand and an extra winking faceplate.  The articulation is there, but I don't expect any dynamic posing capabilities here.  Of course, given her dimensions, how flexible could Hello Kitty possibly be?  The little crayon is magnetic, so that she can hold it in her hand.  You could also use other similar scale magnetic accessories.

Hard at work!

I ordered her from Hobby Link Japan (of course), but sadly, she is out of stock and has been discontinued.  I'm sure you could find her from a secondhand market, though.  Mandarake usually gets a lot of like-new items in stock shortly after their release.  I don't know if the Revoltech Hello Kitty had bootlegs produced, but if all else fails, you could try eBay.  Just make sure you're buying from a reputable seller (check the feedback, if they're conning people with fakes, you'll see it there).

Image of Kaiyodo Revoltech Hello Kitty
Winky face!
I plan on carrying her with me in my bag for impromptu photos while I'm out and about.  She's tiny and capable of standing without her stand thanks to her huge feet, which is always a good thing in my book.  I think die hard fans will enjoy this set, but if you'd like a bit more complexity in your figures, you might wanna pass.  Though... lookit that face?  How could anyone pass up on that face?! :D 

Thanks for reading!  Toy Fiend Fridays are back on schedule and I'll be reviewing a new toy each week!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Super sweet accessories and jewelry with clay molds from Padico

About a week ago, I came across the scratch building section of one of my favorite places, Hobby Link Japan.  I primarily use them for new figure and doll releases and, somehow, it never crossed my mind to browse their crafting goodies.

Air drying resin clay is something I've wanted to try creating things with for a while.  It's super soft, lightweight and dries with a hard, waterproof finish.  The two brands I picked up were Mermaid Puffy and Hearty, though there are other brands available.  I opted to get the white clay because each brand is easily custom colored using acrylics, watercolors, or inks.  I swirled a bit of paint in with the clay for the ice cream scoops to create a marbled effect and kneaded the color evenly to make solid color macarons.

Image of faux clay macarons and ice cream scoops
Faux macarons and scoops of ice cream using Padico molds and Mermaid Puffy clay.
While browsing the clay selection, I also came across Padico molds.  There are two types: soft silicone and hard plastic.  I prefer the silicone because it's much easier to pop out the molded piece.  If you swipe a bit of mold release (or baby oil) onto the hard plastic, the pieces are still very easy to remove.

Image of Padico Silicone and Hard Plastic Clay Molds
Padico Silicone and Hard Plastic Clay Molds
They have all kinds of cute molds available for making breads, macarons, ice cream scoops, cakes, and more.  They're the perfect size for making jewelry and accessories.

Image of Padico Silicone and Hard Plastic Clay Molds
Resin clay Blueberry Ice Cream and Pistachio Macaron, destined to become cute rings!
Padico also makes a decoden whipped creme, but I'm using plain ol' GE white silicone here.  I like the moist look and squishy texture once it cures :3.

I've already added a lot of my recently made items to the shop, which you can check out here.  These are some of the other items I've made for myself and have yet to list:

Image of faux resin clay foodImage of faux resin clay food
Image of faux resin clay foodImage of faux resin clay food
 Chocolate creme waffle hair pins, key lime tart hair pins, miniature ice cream cone earrings, and heart macaron rings.

I'm having so much fun making these items.  If I had half as much enthusiasm about making real food as I do for faux food, I'd be dangerous in the kitchen, haha.  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Monster High Repaint Highlights of 2013, Taking a look back.

Two posts in one day!?  I know, it's craziness.  I was in the middle of migrating my files to our cloud storage and came across all of these photos of repaints from the last year.  It didn't seem like so many until I found myself staring at the hundreds of photos in my folder.

I really worked hard on coming up with a definite style this year and though I tend to deviate from the norm from time to time, I'm pretty happy with how far I've come.  In those folders, I also found pictures of some of my very first Monster High repaints...

 My second Monster High repaint and my most recent.  Three years apart.

I remember being pretty happy with this Gloom Beach Clawdeen when I finished.  She was the second Monster High repaint I'd ever done (from 2011), and the first doll I'd painted in years since taking a break from the hobby ages ago.  I was seriously out of practice, but the job market was absolutely horrible and I was grasping at straws trying to find some way that I could contribute monetarily.  So, I began customizing dolls and toys.  I enjoyed it and people were buying my customs. 

I was so elated that people out there liked my artwork enough to buy it that it fueled me to keep going.  It wasn't a fast or easy process, Monster High was quite new back then and the dolls were so hard to find in stores.  I've met so many amazing people and the community has just been fantastic overall.  Of course there are trolls sometimes, but the good infinitely outweighs the bad. 

I'm still far from finished and nowhere even remotely close to perfect, but I'm content?  I think that's the best way to put it.  My techniques have changed, my materials changed, even the way I approach a repaint has changed.  Three years can really make a difference.  Thank you guys for sticking with me through the awkwardness :).  I hope this year's repaints will be even better than the last!

Happy Birthday, Majokko Shop! TINY PANTIES GIVEAWAY!

The Pure Neemo girls' blog over at The Majokko Shop is turning two!  To celebrate two years of magical cuteness, they're giving away some very special underpants :3.

Azone Japan Pure Neemo Gashapon Panties
Tiny pantsu!
These ridiculously cute doll panties are only available at special gashapon machines located within the Azone shop in Japan.  You can check out the details for the giveaway over on the Majokko Shop's blog.  Good luck with your entries and a special thanks to Heather!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New girl! Pure Neemo Mami from Puella Magi Madoka Magica

I've waited patiently (against my will) for almost two full years trying desperately to find an Azone Pure Neemo Mami from Puella Magi Madoka Magica.  I kicked and kicked and kicked myself after I missed out on her during the Hobby Link Japan sale and I couldn't bring myself to pay scalpers prices.

Lo and behold, a week or so ago, my dear friend Heather of The Traveling Twig and The Majokko Shop sent me a link to an auction for Mami!  She was very reasonably priced, but had no buy it now option so I bid and crossed my fingers that I was the only one desperately seeking this girl.

Image of Pure Neemo Tomoe Mami from Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Azone Pure Neemo Tomoe Mami from Puella Magi Madoka Magica
I haven't even finished watching the show, to be honest, but I fell in love with Mami and Madoka's characters.  I've been a fan of magical girls since I was a little girl myself, back in the days when Sailor Moon was my favorite Saturday morning cartoon.  Without going into any spoilers, though, the reason I love this show so much is that it takes the idea of a magical girl to an entirely new, incredibly messed up level.  You see these sweet girls with cute faces and expect another sugar coated pastel love story.  Oh, hell no.  Mami's story in particular is very tragic and the brutality of it all is probably why I latched onto her character so fervently O_O.  I just want to save all the Mamis T_T.

Image of Pure Neemo Tomoe Mami and Kaname Madoka from Puella Magi Madoka Magica
There are no demonic little rats or witches here, just tea and sweet things and puppies and kittens and fluffiness.
 I daresay Madoka looks excited to be reunited with her friend :).  I hadn't seen one of the Large size Azone bodies before, either, and I like that they used the body with a more mature bust to match her character.  Her torso is quite a bit beefier than my other Azone girls, but luckily she still fits into most of the clothing (except for the ones specifically made for S and XS size bodies).

Image of Pure Neemo Tomoe Mami and Kaname Madoka from Puella Magi Madoka Magica
The Mami and Madoka Army!  Cu-Poche Mami is still making her way out of Japan :3.
 Hehe, Madoka looks so tiny next to Mami, even though she's kneeling.  Madoka is on a S Flection Advance body. The Pure Neemo girls I had before Mami arrived all recently got updated to the new bodies, and I'd still like to order one for Mami.  The extra poseability makes such a huge difference, but I still want her to have a Large body :3.

Image of Pure Neemo Tomoe Mami from Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Mami and Mini (Figma) Mami <3.
 I'm so happy to finally have this adorable girl in my collection.  She was definitely well worth the wait!  Thank you all for reading!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Custom Monster High CAM Vampire Repaint, Tess

Custom Monster High CAM Vampire Repaint

Tess is a custom repainted Monster High CAM Vampire girl.  She features a custom made dress by DollsAhoy! and Tibetan lamb's wool hair.  She's available for purchase over here in my Etsy shop.

I wanted to try a few different stylistic techniques with this girl.  I usually draw a much bigger, darker, and solid pupil, but I've recently become a fan of more softly blended eyes.  I think it gives them an almost glowy, dreamy look :3.

Custom Monster High CAM Vampire Repaint

I also tried a softer look for her lips.  I gently blended the lines up and out and added soft, subtle touches of darker pigmentation.

The Vampire mold is usually harder to work with for me.  Once you remove the default paint, the sculpted eyes underneath are farther apart than the paint indicates.  In the past, my Vampire girl repaints ended up looking angular and harsh, but I wanted a much softer, sweeter look for this repaint. What do you think?  Did I manage to make her look sweeter than my other vampire girl repaints?

I'm working through a backlog of base-color painted dolls at the moment so I can get on with the newer goodies I've recently found (Clawdia, Elissabat, Gigi!).  A lot of times, to optimize my airbrush usage (since it can be a pain to clean), I line up about five or so blank girls and give them their shading, eyeshadow, and lip colors so that I can come back and add the details when I'm inspired :).  I hope you've enjoyed this girl, I really love the way she turned out.  Thanks so much for reading!

Custom Monster High CAM Vampire Repaint

Friday, January 3, 2014

Custom Repaint: Stella, the Monster High CAM Ice Girl

Custom Monster High Repaint

The Ice and Blob Girl has been my favorite release in the Create a Monster series to date.  I really loved their translucent bodies and vinyl.  They are both among my favorite Monster High girls to repaint.

The wigs were even better, imo, with these girls than the previous releases.  I was a huge fan of the vinyl wigs, too, and I loved the fiber for this one in particular.  When boil straightened, they become so soft and feathery, perfect for texturing the look with a razor cut.

This girl arrived without her default hands, however.  She was part of one of the multipacks from Costco, so it's just a packaging fluke.  Luckily, I keep a stash of all kinds of different parts and gave her these awesome purple gloved hands as a replacement, since they match the outfit I wanted to use :).  The pegs for these hands are smaller than the wrist of the CAM girls,  since they were intended for a regular release Clawdeen.  I don't know why Mattel wouldn't just make them all the same, but who knows?  I adhered them with a bit of flexible E6000 and they still have their up and down motion as well as a bit of rotation when twisted gently.

Custom Monster High RepaintCustom Monster High Repaint

Stella is available over in my Etsy shop.  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Mushroom Girl: Kinoko Juice Kiki

A very, very long time ago when I was almost brand new to the idea of doll collecting I stumbled across one of the cutest, most stylistically sculpted dolls I'd seen so far.  Unfortunately, at the time, there was very little information about the doll, it took me a great deal of searching to even figure out what the name was, much less the maker.

Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that not only were these dolls sold exclusively in Japan, they were also hand made and sold in limited quantities at very high prices.  At the time, I gave up on ever finding one for sale in the US, much less being able to afford it on the secondhand market.

That little doll was Kinoko Juice Kiki and I'd wanted one for as long as I can even remember.  A few months back, I stumbled across a Japanese auction for a dirty, damaged, and long neglected Kiki.  I didn't care and I bid immediately, hoping like hell not to be outbid.  To my absolute disbelief I won!  Three weeks later, she arrived and I couldn't wait to get to work.

I did not take progress pictures, as there are certain proprietary aspects of the doll that I wouldn't want exposed to anyone looking to copy.  Specifically the unique, handmade eyes that a copy would not arrive with. 

She arrived with a laundry list of issues that needed to be fixed.  Her eyes, which cannot be replaced, let alone even found on a secondhand market, were my biggest issue.  The material was cracked in one eye, right through the iris.  I have no idea what the artist uses to make them, but I filled it in with UV cured resin to blend the distortion created by the crack.  I ended up with a barely visible line and a few air bubbles, but I am very happy with the result!

Her default faceup wasn't salvageable, so I repainted her as close to the original style as I could, with a few subtle changes.  Her headcap was also stained pretty badly.  When I sanded the stains away, I discovered that she had yellowed pretty badly.  So, I took a magic eraser to the rest of her body and she cleaned up surprisingly well.  One of the connections on her hand had been worn almost completely away (or it was broken and sanded, I couldn't really tell), so I had to resculpt the piece back up to fit into her wrist with epoxy.

Unfortunately, she didn't arrive with all of her extras.  Only one of the optional hands was included, but I don't mind a bit.  It's been almost impossible to find clothes and shoes that fit her, but YOSD fits pretty well, though a bit large.  The dress she's wearing in these photos was made by DollsAhoy and was intended to fit Blythe, that's how teeny she is.  Blythe pants, though, won't fit because she has much bigger hips and legs.  I had several pairs of the shoes she's wearing in different sizes (from trying to find something to fit Hujoo).  They're a bit long in the toe, since her feet are very round, but overall, it's as close as I think I'm gonna get.

I still haven't finished with her, but the process of working on her has been so fun.  Most of my BJD girls have arrived as 'damaged' or 'junk' items.  I really love restoring them back to their original glory <3.  I still have heads in storage that I've been working with on and off for a while that haven't been photographed, haha.

I'm so, so incredibly glad to have found one of these amazing little dolls.  She's definitely a grail of mine, if not THE grail.  Thanks for reading!