Whew! This one was an undertaking. Following previous figures, this is my third resin figure and also the third resin figure from the same Taiwanese seller on eBay. This figure is also available at e2046.com, although it’s currently out of stock and ‘pre-order’, which I’ve learned only actually gets ordered when they have enough people pre-order it, so really depending on popularity you may or may not be able to get it from e2046.com.
Another e2046 vs Taiwanese eBay Seller Rant
A quick side note before I get started – during the time I was constructing this kit, I also learned about e2046.com and ordered my first figures from there. My #1 recommendation – look there first before elsewhere. The figures they sell are beautiful and require so much less work than these cheap Taiwan kits it makes any small savings in initial cost well worth it. This figure took me 25-30 hours to do, and I would say 80% of that is due to all the extra cleaning, taping, gluing, etc. that must take place because of the poor quality of the kit. There really is that big of a difference – I didn’t believe it myself until I got kits from e2046, but they essentially arrive *nearly* ready for painting out of the box. While I haven’t completed one yet, I actually worry they may be a bit too clean and simple – too easy of a build! I do like a challenge…but yes, the difference is huge. It’s not just the quality of the resin, but the fact that you can essentially glue pieces together after painting because they fit like they should and have strong joints out of the box. All three kits I’ve done have been cheap kits and require a lot of sanding, cleaning, and gluing of parts together just to try and get stuff fitting and staying together, essentially all before painting, which makes painting even more difficult.
Anyways, this will be a pretty straightforward WIP without too much talk. Most of the work on this kit was simply cleaning and gluing to get parts to fit together rather than spending a lot of time on detailing or more interesting things for a WIP. Things got a bit more interesting when painting, although still fairly straightforward.
Overview and Cleaning
Outside of the skirt / stomach area not too bad. Pretty decent fit between upper body and lower, using just a couple simple pins for support.
One of the most difficult areas to clean was inside the skirt where the legs attach. There were huge globs of resin that were quite hard to remove and get a good fit for the legs. Even after removing them, the legs didn’t quite fit well and require some putty later on to fill in gaps.
Upper torso decent, although as you can see not really any good joint for arms and these will also lead to a seam to remove. You can faintly see where the connections were supposed to be, although with the low quality the little guides they do have for the arm joints are pretty much useless.
Same goes for legs – no good joints or anything…lots of glue and putty in the future…
Missing thumb, no idea where it is either – didn’t see it in the package. Oh well.
In Comes The Putty
So after cleaning up the extra resin as best as I could, moved on to putty to try and fill in some obvious gaps. These are mainly around the joint for legs, on buttcheek, etc. Also pinned the arms and filled in seams.
Top of boot cracked since it was pretty thin, so had to putty to fix that.
I found the strap slightly too short to fit well, so I created a little extension to add in and make it a bit longer.
Paint on some primer, resand needed areas, rinse and repeat. As you can see I’ve also nearly glued the entire thing together by this point as well, because the parts were pretty hard to get together with little seams that I really just needed it glued together, puttied more, and sanded more before I could start painting. It wouldn’t have worked out too well for me to try and paint these and then glue together (except in a couple minor locations).
Up until now, I was planning on just following the default color scheme, but then an idea struck me. I wanted to do a Chivette (The Chive). Who could resist? One of my co-workers is constantly checking out The Chive and a huge fan, so I thought I’d gift it to him as well. Unfortunately I also realized his Birthday was only about 5 days out when I was in the process of gluing pieces together, so I had to put it in overdrive and try and finish in time with limited daylight hours after work for painting. Let’s get started…
We can also see that the leg has already fallen off due to lack of enough glue / good connections. I hadn’t opted for pinning since I thought there was enough surface area to glue to, and it did have a couple small connection points that helped a bit. It actually worked out decently though, because it fell off cleanly and would glue back on cleanly. This gave me more access to painting inside of the skirt.
One of the more challenging tasks here was creating the text for the shirt. I certainly cannot hand paint it – I can hardly write well with a pencil and paper. Luckily, my sister has a machine called “Cricut Expression” which can cut out shapes and letters down to 1/4″. Technically it should be “Keep Calm and Chive On”, but I couldn’t cut an ‘and’ small enough so that had to go. After cutting out the letters, I simply used the remains from the paper, glued them together, and on the shirt they went. It wasn’t the easiest task, and it does have flaws with some of the letters due to the rougher surface of the shirt, but overall I think it turned out ok for a first time trying this kind of thing.
The only thing I couldn’t really figure out is the shading for it. I had done some pre-shading before painting the shirt green, but when the white text on it was pretty bright and shading of text doesn’t quite match the rest of the shirt. Something to work on next time…not sure how I would accomplish it though.
Hair seam that we get to fix. This is one that I figured would be easiest to fix after painting. The seam is in a pretty reachable area and the alternative would have been to do it before painting and then deal with trying to tape up the hair / face while working on those areas. Due to time constraints, I needed to get the putty hardening for the hair so I could sand and paint it before the Birthday arrived, but I didn’t have time to paint the entire skin, so I just did the head and arm saving the rest for the following day. I usually require about 24 hours for the putty to get hard before sanding, but in this case overnight would have to do. I applied the putty, sanded, reprimed, and repainted the area. Turned out to be easier than I thought.
I also used some sticky tac to cover the eyes while painting the skin (they had been painted white already). Just a note, don’t use fresh sticky tac as I did. It was a pain to get off. I also tried to use it on the hat to do a pink / white camo type thing, but that didn’t look very well when complete and the tac was also difficult to get off. I think I will save the hat for another day and leave this one without – I like it as is. I also decided to scratch the shoulder strap since it covered up the Chive t-shirt.
For the skin, I tried a new technique. Previously, I just grabbed a Mr. Color flesh color and used it as is. While researching skin tone techniques, I ran across this thread and decided upon using Mr. Color clear orange for pre-shading and top it with Character Flesh 1. I had both colors so I was good to go there. Since it was my first time, I had no idea how much to use for shadows and whatnot nor where to do them. So, a little more research turns up the stop sign rule as seen in Shepard Paine’s “How To Build Dioramas” – a brief overview of the rule can be found here. This did help open my eyes to where to shade, although pulling it off was a little harder. I found getting a consistent level of shade for each “angle” difficult, and some turned out darker than others. I tried though, and I think with practice it will get better. I’m also still learning on correct ratios between paint and thinner for the airbrush to get a smooth stream which would help a lot. I also wasn’t sure how to work the ‘stop sign’ rule in with how parts relate to one another – for example, the legs under the skirt are the same angle as the stomach, although I imagine they should be fairly darker since they are under the skirt. So, I made them darker. Who knows.
I also think I need better lighting. I was doing most of this the last hour or so each day before sunset, on a shaded balcony. I don’t really have a good painting setup currently. At the time, it looked too dark and too orange. I later ended up putting on more layers of Character Flesh 1 rather than a quick gloss over, but looking back I feel like maybe I overdid the Character Flesh 1 because a lot of the clear orange shading isn’t visible or noticeable on the final product…I guess practice will make perfect!