Action Figure POC
Posted in Custom Workstation
I had tons of action figures growing up. I have a fondness for some of these older toys, so when ReAction issued the previously un-released ALIEN figures, I thought it was an exciting idea. I was even more excited when I found out that they would be producing retro-styled STAR TREK figures, something I would have killed (or at least maimed) for when I was a kid. Unfortunately for me, though, the sculpting across the various ReAction lines was a bit hit or miss. They nailed the "retro" styling, but in some cases the figures themselves suffered a bit. And as happy as I was that there were now 3 3/4" STAR TREK figures, I just didn't like them as much as I thought I would. The upper bodies were a little too wedge-shaped, and the arms a bit too noodle-y. That started me thinking, though. Since there were literally dozens of different styles of action figures when I was growing up, what style would really work for something like STAR TREK?
I've always been fond of the Fisher Price Adventure People. Sturdy, well-constructed, with deceptively simple sculpting; loads of every-day character types. This, I thought, would make a nice base for a random STAR TREK crewman proof-of-concept. Since I knew this was going to be a test of sorts, I didn't want to re-invent the wheel. I chose an appropriate FP figure, pried it apart, and cast bits in Smooth-On plastic.
This was my first time casting in plastic, so there was a bit of trial-and-error, and a number of miscasts before I got what I wanted. Once I had decent casts of the pieces, I began grinding them into the shapes I wanted with a Dremel. So much grinding... I took a comparison shot from early in the process; along with details, I re-shaped the chest, back, and hips a bit, although I did not think to take more pics of the process.
Grinding and re-shaping complete, I started adding putty to the figure.
Many of these are cellphone pics, so their quality isn't as great as it could be.
I basically build up detail on the blank I had created, including whipping up a face in about ten minutes.
From the completed sculpt, I made a series of new molds, and once again cast in white Smooth-On for testing purposes. I assembled one test figure from the white plastic bits, then began to add tint to the plastic. Tint was also new to me, and required more trial-and-error, especially in the flesh tones:
It took a bit of work, but I was eventually able to get something less bubble gum pink for the head.
Color casting complete, I began painting the details, but ran into another small snag. For the life of me, I couldn't find my primer. I instead opted to apply the paint directly to the un-primed detail areas, then to use a plastic sealant to keep the paint from rubbing off. That proved to be my downfall, as I applied the plastic sealant too heavily, and all my careful brush work on the head and face ran like I had doused the figure in thinner:
The final product was...close...to what I had initially envisioned. There was a bit of a learning curve getting to the final figure. I also think that to continue to pursue something like this, injection-molding might be more beneficial than gravity-pour molding. It was definitely a fun project.
Minor update, I've cast up and painted a newer version. I'll be posting full pics of that one in the customs area.
Posted by Talysman
on Saturday, May 19, 2018 - Updated on Tuesday, July 10, 2018