Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last Day of 2016

So, 2016 has been a roller coaster for most of us (including me).  Some really great things have happened, and there's also a lot of things that were bad.  I'm not entirely sure if 2016 was exactly bad for me though.

At the beginning of 2016 I had been in my 'new' position at work for about six months, doing the same work I had the year before but for almost 2/3 less pay.  I was miserable.  I didn't have to deal with the regional manager as much, but things were falling apart at work and I was on a job hunt, trying to find something else that might make me happier.  I was depressed for a good portion of the beginning of the year.  Eventually spring hit and things got a wee bit better and I spoke to my doctor about the possibility of taking medicine.  What I discovered though, was that a lot of my bad mood was between medicine I was already taking and the lack of creative things to keep my mind busy.  So during the spring/summer I was still sort of miserable, but learning to cope.  I got into following the political race and watched the news regularly and started to learn more about things that were going on around me.

Mind you, I was also stressed out about a ton of things and it was still mostly miserable, but I coped, I got through, and even though my candidate lost the election, I felt like I tried and that was good.  On the plus side, we still had Obama through 2016, so in reality, 2017 will probably be worse.  But I digress....

Life did get better or maybe worse at the end of 2016.  I got my 'old' job back, but with less pay, but with the option of eventually making that same amount again given enough time.  I lost a bunch of co-workers (including the regional manager) so things changed quite a bit.  The stress of Christmas and the holidays still weighs on my shoulder as we try to get over the hump and get going on our next season, but I've found I can work at fighting my depression a bit better than I had at the beginning of the year.

Looking on the bright side of things, since Pokemon Go came out I've walked a whole lot more.  The summer was a pretty fun time for me and I met a lot of people out on the streets.  Not so much now, but that's okay because I got out and walked.  Even now that it's cold outside, I'm still walking.  I'm down 16 pounds from spring and I can see a definite change in my photos from a year ago.  I still have a long way to go, I'd still like to lose another 20 pounds and see what it feels like to be 'skinny' and I'm planning on starting up my exercise routine again come the new year.

I'm not making it a resolution though, I'm making it a 'health decision' as 2016 has thrown a number of things at me such as sore wrists (from something like carpal tunnel) and also a bad elbow (most likely arthritis) and a bad heal (bad shoes...can't seem to get that one right yet) and a hernia in my lower intestine (which I have a plan to talk to my doctor about in the next couple of months) and this strange heart murmur thing when I have gas buildup in my stomach (thanks acid reflux!) so I'm not even 40 years old and it feels like my body is already saying 'enough is enough!'  So that's why I think getting into something low impact like yoga and my Pokemon Go walks is the right way to go.

Where will I be a year from now?  I'm not entirely sure.  I hope 2017 will find me in a good place, but I may have to just drop off from following politics for awhile and sort of ignore the world for awhile.  Maybe 2017 will be a time for ME and getting myself centered as a person.  I felt that I was always a happier person when I'm creating things, so working on that might be the way to go.  At least giving myself meaningful projects (I was given a dollhouse to work on this year) might be something that I can work on to keep my mind busy.

As the sun sets in about an hour or so, and the last few hours of the year draw closer, I do hope that I can make a good attempt at enjoying my year in 2017, and I will wave farewell to 2016 and hope that it doesn't prove to be a better year than we had thought.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My Life With Anime Figures - Part 9 (Nendroid Snow Miku 2014)

My obsession with Nendroids started a few years ago when they first came out with a few characters from Sword Art Online (Kirito and Asuna).  After that my husband and I started collecting random ones from other series that we liked, only here and there, because even though these little characters were cute, I wasn't quite taken with their chibi looks and giant heads.  If you look at some of the early Nendroids on the Goodsmile website, you'll see that they have gotten cuter with more detail and more possible poses.  We had about five or six of them by the time I got my first Hatsune Miku.  Actually I got a set of mini Nendroids pretty early on, and then a friend of mine ordered me a Miku in a kimono for a birthday, and suddenly I wanted more of them.

Hatsune Miku (a Vocaloid) has really captured my attention over the last few years.  She doesn't really have a 'story' she's really just a computer generated diva.  And there are so many Hatsune Miku Nendroids that I started finding myself wanting to buy one after another.  The first one that I took great pains to get was the Halloween Miku from 2014 and ordered her straight from Goodsmile.  And I passed up getting Snow Miku of the same year but ordered her from Crunchyroll.  I regretted that decision after I didn't get her until July of the next year (2015).  I was really looking forward to getting some outdoor shots of her with snow and flowers in the late winter, but seeing as though I got her in the middle of Summer, there wasn't much I could do with this little gal without setting up an indoor stage.

But, I can't stand putting so much effort into staging when I have a perfectly wonderful backyard!  So winter of 2015 finally came...but the snow didn't.  It was finally in late winter, in the new year of 2016, that a light fluffy snow finally fell and I had time to take this sweet little Nendroid out for her first snow photo shoot!

This photo to the right is one of my favorites since you can see her clear pigtails, and the snow is just light and fluffy and fresh.  I also got to take her base out and bury it in the snow, so that was fun.

The trees were coated too (although this snow would literally last one day and be melted off the next morning by a warm rain), so I had to act fast that morning.  The sky was bright enough that her pigtails just glowed in the tree and the snow glittered.  I wish that were better captured in this photo, but I liked it anyway.  This Hatsune Miku, after all, is supposed to be something of a snow fairy, so having her up in a tree was sort of a natural setting for her!  Her bunny friend didn't make it up into the tree though, he was waiting patiently below!

Now, unfortunately, even though it snowed so late in the winter that it was getting close to spring, I don't have access to snow drop flowers.  Actually, if you Google "Snow Drop" flowers you'll notice there's a problem with them...they don't look like Miku's flowers!  However, if you look up "Lily of the Valley," the flowers are actually closer.  But...unlike snow drops, lily of the valley don't bloom until the middle of spring.  So, I had to wait longer.

My patience finally paid off!  I planted lily of the valley years ago, probably about four to be exact (long before my Miku was created).  The first few years I barely got any blooms, but this year the flowers sprung up in a big way and had tons of little blossoms!  I was super excited to see them and hurriedly rushed my Miku outside today to finally get her photos with these pretty little flowers.

I decided to take her leaf umbrella out with her today and since she has little water droplets everywhere, I did a little staging and squirted the area down with the hose so there would be other water droplets around.  Unfortunately it didn't make a huge difference in the final photos, but the idea was solid.  This first photo I tweaked only slightly (a few stray water droplets I didn't want) and you can see her clear pigtail.  And the lily of the valley are so cute and small.

For giggles I got a few more shots and decided to tweak the colors a bit.  (Above is in the original colors)  This photo I just liked how green the lilies looked when Miku's hair was blue.  I also liked how tiny she looks hiding among all of the flowers.

Miku's shawl is removable as well, so it fit for the warmer weather and giving her a chance to walk outside in the spring without overheating.  I debated tweaking the snowflakes off of her since there isn't any snow, but it was cute nonetheless.

I will finish up today's blog about anime figures with the last photo from today's shoot.  I really liked this one, and tweaked the color up to show the yellows a bit more.  Hatsune Miku just looked very sweet hiding in the grass as a little winter fairy will do.  She seems pleasantly pleased by the weather and her work on the flowers! I hope you enjoyed today's blog!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Walking the Cat (Short Story)

Walking the Cat
A Short Story

     Mraow!  Mraow!  Meeeeoooowww!  The sound reverberated through the house and the small cat bounced off chairs and over the couch and landed squarely on the rug in front of the door.  Out!  Out!  It seemed to say, no, she did say, as she bounced back the way it came as I walked toward the back door where her leash was.  I'd had the windows and back screen door open all day and after just a few attempts to scale the screen mesh, the little bouncy creature had mostly left the door alone.
     But now, now that I had my shoes on, she wanted out.  I reached for the leash and then went through the motions for the next few minutes of chasing the little cat around the kitchen until I could finally grab the thing, little gray hairs flying all around us as I scooped her up and wrestled the harness over her head.  "Gotta put it on if you want to go outside."
     The rules were the rules.  Too many idiot drivers out there to let the cat go out on her own.  First moment she'd step into the street and she'd probably become a cat pancake.  Just thinking that thought, and it was punctuated by one of the insane drivers out front barreling down the street with an engine that sounded like it came from an old Army Jeep that had too many miles on it and not enough oil changes.  It passed around the corner of the house and I could see the Jeep in question, covered in mud, revving around the neighborhood just to make noise.  He came to a sudden stop, turned around, and sped off down the road again.
     "See?  You could have been a pancake just now."  I plopped the cat, newly harnessed, onto the floor and opened the screen door to the back porch.  MRAOW!  Freedom!  She took two steps, plopped down onto the paver stones and rolled around.  Got up, moved another few steps, plopped over, licked the harness, stared up at me as I closed the back door and meeeeeoow!  I'm outside!  Yay!
     And I followed the little shedding beast through a similar routine for the next five minutes or so around the back patio.  Plop, lick, meow, roll, walk, plop, lick, meow... over and over until she finally decided to venture into the dead winter grass.
     Only on days such as these where it reached over sixty degrees, and today it had gotten to at least seventy, only a week into March... no, global warming...never.  El Nino, maybe.  My mother kept quoting the one newscast she heard sometime early during winter, "It's a strong El Nino this year," she mused, "Didn't even get much snow up here in Michigan until January, 'cause of El Nino."
     Didn't matter much to the cat though, she just wanted to be OUT.  Didn't matter what the temperature was, but I didn't like to stroll along behind her when I could lose the feeling in my nose after a minute or two.  We didn't exactly cruise around the yard at top speed or anything.  A leisurely -5mph maybe, if she didn't decide to backtrack.
     Already she was headed around to the gate, so I headed her off, opening it before she'd slip through the slats and we went up to the front yard.  Quiet night thankfully.  Trains and loud cars tended to cut our walks short.  Didn't the first year, she didn't seem to mind the train at all, but something spooked her on year two and since then she'd stare out the windows of the house at the first sound of the train horn and just stare and stare... like at any moment that loud beastie would come right off the tracks for her and get her.  Nope, on days when we walked and that train would blow its horn, I'd have to dash after her as she high-tailed it to the nearest door to the house.
     Quiet today.  She only stopped about five or six times to roll around on the driveway before making it to the sidewalk, then only another ten or so times down the sidewalk until we made it to the long stretch around the house.  Eventually cutting over and walking back down the fence line to the back of the house.  Made it, only had one or two people notice that I was walking my cat on a leash.
     Kid on a bike said something like, "Nice," and another car passed by, but I don't think he even noticed the cat.  I would have thought after two summers of regularly walking my cat around my yard that someone would have said something about me, that maybe I'd be mentioned in the neighborhood social group that there was some crazy lady who walked her cat.  But, nope.  Not a word.  A few kids noticed from time to time, either welcomed by my cat for pettings, or shunned as she would poof tail and head toward the nearest exit, aka. the back yard.  No one walks cats, right?  Dogs, sure, tons of them, every breed in this neighborhood, but not one cat, except mine, of course.
     Safety of the backyard again and we cruised the patio, watched the birds at the feeders, trailed off to sniff at the cat poop in the backyard - from one of those neighbors who didn't care if their cats became pancakes - and then down the other fence line.
     At first I didn't even realize what I was hearing.  A few neighbors screamed at each other regularly, so I was rather used to that sort of thing, I suppose.  Screaming.  Maybe a loud TV.  Maybe something... my cat stopped dead in her tracks and so did I.  I came out of my thoughts; which weren't a whole lot seeing as though you can't really think about much while walking a cat.  Screaming.  A woman's voice.  Then dogs barking.  Babies crying.  My eyes lifted from the fence line and my cat, the foot I'd just stepped down onto the pricker plant that I'd have to weed from the lawn, I stepped on it with my foot and was thinking about when I came back out again, and oh I needed to scrape the bird poop off the fence too, it was piling up in little hard mountains where they'd sit between raiding the bird feeders.
     "OH MY GOD!!!"  And then it came again, "OH MY GOD!"  And again...again...over and over.  Screaming.  Blood curdling baby cries.  Dogs barking.  Some out of fear of the screaming, some from something else...were there two dogs?  My attention snapped up to the house next door to ours.  They were always quiet, always calm, barely making any noise or even talking to us much at all.  We'd seen the husband, and seen him with his wife.  He used to have a dog, a pretty spotted thing, white and black.  But then they'd had a baby boy, and the dog disappeared.  And then they had another boy.  And then someone, not sure who, moved in.  And then a regular visitor who had scrubs.  And a black dog that she'd throw his poop away in the trash container that now permanently resided between our houses.
     More screaming and I picked up my cat and thought to walk back into the house.  Didn't need to hear this...did I?  Yes, sort of, I did.  I hear more screams, baby crying, and suddenly the voice turned into, "I need help!  My dog bit my baby!"  An address, oh, called the squad or 9-1-1.  The dog's barks had calmed down but the baby still was crying.  I knew now why, but how?  I wasn't sure.
     It was an odd situation, these neighbors.  They seemed to be our age, but not very friendly.  The first 'wife' we'd seen with our neighbor was definitely different than the one with the babies, and this one just looked different.  But who owned the dog?  Couldn't have been the one with the baby...or were their two babies?  A second one from the woman with the dog?  I wasn't sure, I'd never be sure.  I went inside and told my husband about what I heard.
     We waited to hear sirens.  A paramedic showed up and two men went in to attend to the baby.  I thought about what I would have done with a baby bit by a dog.  I unharnessed my cat who MRAOWWWW'd her dissatisfaction with our short walk.  She followed me around the house as I watched to see if they'd send out animal control or something to take the dog away.  I realized that if my dog bit my kid, if I'd had a kid, I probably would have just taken him to the ER rather than calling for a paramedic.  Just imagine the bills...  No one came, no dogs were taken away, but no one else showed up either.
     I sat down at the window, wondering if the guy who was watching someone down our street would show up again.  He was there yesterday as I sat at my computer with my cat in my lap, then off my lap, then on my desk, then plop, lick, mraow, back down on my lap again, fur everywhere, and I wondered about this man out in the car in front of our house.  I could only see his hands and occasionally a phone and then a notebook.  That was yesterday, and today there was a different truck out front, that one had tinted windows and I couldn't see anyone in that one, but when I opened the windows I could hear the engine running.  It drove away and was replaced within a minute by the original guy.
     The first guy had shaggy blondish hair to his shoulders.  Did he have facial hair?  Maybe.  I wasn't sure, the glimpse I got of him was brief.  He did the thing with his phone again, grabbed his notebook out, and then sat with his hands on his legs as he watched someone down the street.  I hoped it wasn't my house.  I wouldn't know what it would be about, but ever since my own brother had been the object of surveillance outside my mom's house when we were still living there, I was paranoid about stuff like that.  The government wants you to think that they can't watch you and dig into every aspect of your life, but they can.  I remember seeing that dark car parked across the street with that little red light and ever so often someone would light up a cigarette and flick it out the window.  And I wondered why the heck someone would be watching our house because we were the whitest straight family...
     At least until I'd moved out and the year I got married the FBI busted down my mom's door and dragged my brother off to prison for 25 years over child pornography.
     I was still paranoid that something could be happening under my nose and I'd never know it.  So what was this going on now?  Drug ring?  Pedophilia?  Illegal immigrants?  Something else? They guy drove off long before I was willing to take the cat out for her walk.  If I were a different kind of person I probably would have gone out to ask him who he was watching.  Maybe he even would have driven away before I finished approaching the car.  But I didn't take the chance.  I wasn't that kind of person.
     I was the kind of person who would rather have cats than kids.  I was the kind of person who freaked out when my cat fell down off a shelf and limped for a week, and took her to the vet to have her checked over.  But I was also a person who probably would have blamed the kid for stirring up the dog to bite him.  I would have scolded him, wrapped up his wound, and taken him to the ER myself if, and only if, it was deep enough I would have thought it needed stitches.  But that crap is expensive, insurance or Obamacare or not.  Band-Aids and Neosporin, that was the way of it.  And if the kid would be afraid of dogs for the rest of his life, good!  At least then he wouldn't stir the stupid thing up into biting him.
     My cat looked up at me solemnly from the rug by the front door.  "Not going back out there again tonight, too dark," I told it.  She MRAOWed, not happy, made some kind of meow-grumble sound as she walked out of the room and I grabbed a cookie out of the container on the counter.
     I was the kind of person who took my cat for a walk outside on a leash.

Friday, February 26, 2016

My Life With Anime Figures - Part 8 (Nendroid Kitchen)

     I'll be the first to admit, I'm pretty jealous of some of these figure photographers I've been following online.  If it weren't for the fact that I just don't have the funds (or time) to do the amazing stuff they do, I'd probably start my own Facebook page and try to get a following like they all seem to have.  And maybe eventually I'll have enough photos to try to do it myself.  Perhaps even enough to produce a book and try to get it funded.  Nah...  Well, a girl can dream, right?

     Anyway, today's "My Life With Anime Figures" surrounds the creation of a little kitchen for my Nendroids.  Why a kitchen?  Because I could get decently sized furniture from the Calico Corner toy series, and the kitchen set was adorable.  Plus, I love miniature food.  Today you won't see all of my collection of tiny food, but will probably bring out the rest eventually in the upcoming months as I try my hand at more of these.  I also have more Nendroids to photograph and will probably do more changes to the furniture itself in the future too to make it more unique.  But for now, these are mostly test shots as I decided to build a 'stage' for my figures.

    So I had furniture, food, and figures, but I didn't have a room.  I considered making a room out of a cardboard box but I realized over time it might break down from use and I also wanted something stable enough that I could move it out of reach from my cats.  After some hunting I found a sturdy unfinished bin I was able to cut the front off to give myself two corners of a room.  I've seen some setups with only one corner, but I wanted to have some opportunities to switch sides of the room (which you'll see in the photos to come.

     Now that I had a blank room, how to decorate it?  Paint it?  Cut holes for windows?  I finally landed on scrapbook paper since I could tape it on and remove it as I pleased.  I found an adorable set of paper called "Olivia's Kitchen" at Hobby Lobby that had plenty of old fashioned food themed papers and also had some types of repeating patterns that would look good for flooring.  I settled on the checkerboard design because even though my Nendroids aren't in the old days, I like the old fashioned style look in kitchens.  Plus the furniture, especially once I get it painted, will probably look more old fashioned anyway so it will all fit in.

     Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the room by itself with just wallpaper and the window, or with furniture installed but no Nendroids.  But I'm sure you came here to see photos of the figures anyway, so here's one of the first setup photos as I was testing lighting.  I realized pretty early that because of the three walls there wasn't going to be a really good way to get natural lighting in this space.  The flash washed it out terribly, and closeup photography kind of needs natural lightning.  I tried turning it to the window, but the shadows appeared in strange places.  So I pulled out a couple random lamps, one from IKEA which gives a sort of natural glow and another LED spot lamp that was just too focused.  But I do think perhaps it might be of some use in the future.

     As you can see in the photo of Umaru on the right, the soft warm glow on the right side of the room was from the IKEA lamp sitting inside the room.  The light focused on the fridge is the LED light that was just too hash and pinpointed.  I think maybe it'll be useful for the glow from a computer screen or something, so I'm keeping it nearby just in case.  Unfortunately no matter where I put the soft light of the other lamp it just didn't light up the room as I wanted.  So I snapped various photos while moving it around to different positions and then headed to bed that night.  During a bout of insomnia, it finally hit me that I could 'float' the lamp above the box if I built a strut-like system on top.  (Again, I'm glad that I splurged for the wooden container as opposed to a cardboard box which wouldn't have held the weight of the lamp and strut system).

     Here's an unedited photo of what the room looks like lit with the lamp from above.  I also added a fun window and painted clouds and gave it a night shine.  Attached it using double sided tape, so again, I can change it and move it where I want.  The lighting it sort of like you'd see in an old kitchen like this where they really didn't put many windows and there was usually only a little tiny light above.  I'd love to add upper cabinets someday, but we'll see.  I also added a second "wallpaper" to the right side of the room to make the seating area a bit different.  Eventually I'll fix the seam, but for now it does the trick.

So now that I've got half-way decent lighting, I have a kitchen, if not completely finished, and I've got some Nendroids hanging out, I thought I'd have a little fun with it.

Umaru raids the kitchen!

Hanging out by the cool fridge on a hot summer day (with Nyanko-Sensei)

 Snow Miku (2015) Hangs out in the Dining Room.

Tsukiko is munching on steamed buns she brought over.

And finally... Umaru raiding the kitchen in the middle of the night!

     This finally photo was actually my favorite because I got to play with Photoshop and do some color changes to make it look like it was night.  I'm very excited to be able to do more with this kitchen as time goes on and hope to expand it by adding photos and curtains and other fun things as time goes on.

     I hope you enjoyed today's blog!  Please feel free to comment below and follow me!  ^_^

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My Life With Anime Figures - Part 8 (Room for Improvement)

I wasn't exactly sure if I'd have enough topics to keep this series going more than a few parts, but in today's installment of "My Life With Anime Figures" I decided to cover a question that I know any collector will normally hit upon from time to time.  It's one of the most important questions, second only to "Should I take a figure out of the box?  Or should I keep it pristine in the box?"  And obviously this question will only arise if you have taken said figure out of the box:

"Should I modify my figure in any way?"

Today's installment will go over the three main questions that I hear about figure modification:

1.  Should I glue my figure together?
2.  Can I modify or paint a small part to fix it?
3.  Is it okay to completely remake a figure into something else?

In the spirit of pros and cons, I'll first cover a few brief points on whether you should even take a figure out of the box.  Here's a few points you should think about before you take a figure out.

Will you want to re-sell the figure at some point?
Do you want to play with your figure?
Are you only collecting or are you enjoying the figure?
How will you store the figure in the box?  Do you have room?
Can you even see the figure inside of the box to enjoy it?

Okay, mostly people who keep figures inside of the box plan on selling them some time in the future.  Most likely they are perfectly content on just owning the figure, and are too worried that dust or handling will somehow diminish the value of the figure.

To those of you who are in this category, this following blog is not for you.  Most likely you will cringe with what I'm about to show you because to me, figures are not about re-selling, but playing with, enjoying, etc.

Okay!  Now that we have that out of the way and your figure is out of your box, what will you do with it?  Put it on a shelf, or a desk, or somewhere you can look at it and smell the plastic of your new treasure.  Maybe you bought a cheap figure that you had to put together (like a gatchapon) and you're having trouble keeping it together.  Mind you, most well made figures will not have this problem, but sometimes figures like Nendroids and Figmas will have parts that loosen after being played with for a bit and you might find yourself asking this question:

1.  Should I glue my figure together?
        No.  Well, that's the short answer, because most of the time you're going to get glue everywhere and all you'll see is glue everywhere and you won't be happy with your figure after that and it'll get stuck up on a shelf somewhere because you glued it to the point where you can't play with it anymore.  Now you can't re-sell it even if you did want to get rid of it because no one's going to want to look at that icky mess you just created.
       Yes.  That said, there are times you might have to glue it.  For instance, you may have played a bit too roughly with that Figma and an arm fell off.  Oops.  Okay, pinning and gluing might be necessary to make it fine to play with again.  Watch videos on YouTube and practice gluing without getting the glue everywhere - use tiny amounts!
       Maybe.  Occasionally I say you may just want to glue the whole bugger together if it won't stay together long enough to even stand on a shelf.  If, for some reason, your figure was one of those less than ten dollar figures that came in a bunch of pieces, most likely you'll need to glue it at some point just to keep it together.  Just watch how you do it and be careful you glue the pieces together correctly or you'll get something that looks like it's out of a Picasso painting.

2.  Can I modify or paint a small part to fix it?
        Possibly.  This question also goes back to whether you feel like what you're doing to the figure will make it better or not.  I've had a few figures over the years that bothered me to the point of 'fixing' them with paint.  Below I've included a couple of pictures to show you a Vash the Stampede (from Trigun) figure that I bought and 'fixed.'
        For those of you who have only seen the Trigun anime, you'll probably wonder why in the heck Vash has black hair.  Without going into too many spoilers from the manga to the anime, between the original Trigun manga and the Trigun Maximum manga, some of Vash's hair turns black.  I'm a fan of Trigun Maximum, and the image this figure comes from has Vash's hair black in the back.  The original figure did not.  Because of this inconsistency, I took it upon myself to fix the figure to correct it.

      As you can see, it didn't really diminish the look of the figure, it just changed it to look more like the original image.  And really, if this figure is going to be yours forever, or as long as you care to own it, why not like looking at it?  Why not do something you think you'll be proud of?
     Sometimes you'll also see problems in painting that you could fix, or perhaps a part of the figure has been scratched, or broken and can be fixed by a slight modification.  Always be prepared before you attempt to do something like this, watch plenty of videos (there are a lot of them out there) and make sure you've got all of the correct supplies.

3. Is it okay to completely remake a figure into something else?

     I've seen this particular thing done on various levels.  Most of the time those who do a modification or complete re-do will start with an inexpensive figure.  I worked on some smaller collectibles first such as My Little Pony Blind bags.

     Then I worked my way up to complete over-hauls (although this one could almost fall under the 'fix' category.  Princess Celestia appeared the first time as completely pink in pony form, so I completely repainted all but a few key areas (namely her eyes and cutie mark).

     Of course, now you're going, but what about anime figures?  Should I not touch those?  Well, it all depends on you.  Have you had experience painting in miniature?  Do you have skills with molding?  Start with a garage model first before you try to start something from scratch, otherwise you might regret something and you'll have ruined your figure.
     I have a coworker that re-makes POP! figures into other figures that they don't make (although I'm sure that's hard to do since there are so many of them) but giving them different color hair, clothing, etc, sometimes will improve a figure that you otherwise were "Eh" about.
     Take for example, my newest figure acquisitions which happened to be cheap, "backpack charm" figures of Hatsune Miku.  I don't have a picture of them before, except to say their hair colors were wrong, way more blue than aqua.  They were cheaply painted and I got doubles on accident which really got me angry seeing as though there are 6 varieties, I bought three, so dangit, I should have gotten at least half of the different types, right??  I spent a absurd amount on them - $7.50 a piece (if they'd been open package I wouldn't have spent more than $5).
     However, being enterprising and already out the money, I decided to fix them up.  The two below are cases where I did little tweaks and decided to slap a bunch of pearl glaze on them to shine them up a bit:

      As you can see, I used my manga for color reference.  Originally their hair was way more to the blue side of turquoise than it was aqua.  I fixed up some black splotches of paint on the right one's hand (from a bad paint job) and gave stripes to the left one's panties (because I'm obsessed that way).  I didn't do the pearl coat quite as smoothly as I should have, but now I think I'd be willing to go outside with them strapped to a bag or purse.

     The last figure which was a duplicate of the left figure, I decided to do a complete overhaul and completely take the backpack strap off of her and make her into a mini figure.

      I was a bit too heavy-handed with the paint on her face unfortunately, but I just didn't like having duplicates.  I completely sprayed a base coat on this figure and painted her from scratch, top to bottom.  Took a few days thanks to cat interruptions and the fact that I was working with such a small figure and had eye strain.  She only sits less than 2 inches high.  But, I think it turned out pretty cute, even if the only clear glaze I had at the moment was glitter glaze, so now she's sparkly, but Miku looks okay sparkly in my opinion.  I need more practice at painting faces, but I don't think she turned out too poorly.


How much or how little you feel there's room for improvement in your figures, make sure you plot out your plans in advance.  Do you feel that you'd be happier with a changed figure than the original thing?  And will you deal with the consequences of not being able to sell it (unless you modify figures for that purpose and sell them in which, go you!)  Think about your choices and then stick with them!  Sometimes we all need a little improvement to make us feel better about ourselves.