Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mattel Batman vs Superman Wonder Woman Makeover

                Hey, everyone!  Doing something a little different with the blog this time and am showing you the process of repainting an action figure.  If you’ve watched my YouTube channel, you know that I have repainted many dinosaur figures to put on display as a backdrop and that I've mentioned we watch a lot of Cosplay Chris in our house (If you haven't watched his stuff yet, WATCH HIS STUFF).  While I do love me some dinosaurs and they’re fun to paint, I decided that I wanted a challenge and to step out of my comfort zone.  So while in my travels, I came across this:

                This is the basic Wonder Woman figure by Mattel from Batman vs Superman and I thought to myself, “Now there’s a challenge!”  This is fine as a basic action figure but imagine if someone were to put more details in the armor, add some character to the sword and shield, make Diana not so pale, etc.  I have never repainted a human figure before and while I’ve made it no secret that I was underwhelmed by either cut of BvS, Wonder Woman was one of the better parts of it and again, I want a challenge.  Basically, we’re gonna take this…


                …and try to make it appear something more like this

                …in terms of coloration, anyway.  I don’t know how to put in more articulation joints for better posture or grind down the sword for a better length.  This is strictly a cosmetic upgrade for a figure that has potential but just needs more attention to it.  This is going to be a very picture-heavy post so if your browser of choice is effected by that sort of thing, my apologies in advance.

     So what do we need?  First, we wash the figure with hot, soapy water so we have a clean surface to work from.  Next, we need paint.  Use acrylic paints too because they just clean up with soap and water and the alkyd paints just seem to flake off too easily from the final product.

                I’m starting with the armor using these metallic gold and silver paints.  This stuff works well but it is kind of a pain in the ass to apply as it goes on so thin, opting more for sheen than color so don’t be surprised if in your projects if you have to do multiple coats to get the color you’re looking for, especially with the gold.  So we take the gold and start brushing over the golden lines on her leg armor to give them a more metallic feel to them.

     The leg on the top has the paint added onto it and you can already see the sheen coming out and livening up the gold.  In order to get the full effect, I had to put about...three coats, I think.  So once Those were done, it came time to add gold to the other parts of her boots.

     This is where that "pain in the ass" thing I mentioned earlier comes in.  The furthest leg has had some gold added to it and while it does have the neat optical illusion of making the red on that boot seem darker, you can still see how much of the red is still bleeding through.  In order to get the full effect of the gold here, I think I had to put something like five or six coats and then leave it for a couple of days.

     Up next was Diana's golden lasso and this was pretty easy to do.  The lasso was originally colored the same as her golden belt and boot accents but I wanted the lasso to stand out so I just took the same yellow paint that I use for painting theropod eyes and covered the lasso.  Thankfully the plastic on this part was pretty flexible so I could pull the lasso away from the skirt so that the yellow didn't smudge onto the blue.

     Okay, so what I'm doing here is dry brushing some of that metallic silver paint around the edges of Diana's skirt to give it that worn metal look.  In order to get this effect, you basically need to have very little paint on your brush and just gently swipe at the edges so that it looks like the color has worn away.  Once I had finished the skirt, I looked back at the reference pictures and saw that I didn't need to dry brush every single edge but fuck it, I like how it looks.

     Earlier I had mentioned that I found this figure to be very pale, like it really needed to go out and get some sun.  If you're coming from Themyscira, you're gonna have some color to your skin and even Gal Gadot is not that pale.  So in my travel, I acquired some flesh-tone paint and recoated all of her exposed skin with the color.

     However, since this figure is articulated, I came across this particular problem.  No matter how long I let the paint sit, it would just come off once you moved the articulated joints so I came up with the idea of putting Wonder Woman on a stand in a fixed pose.  No movement, no paint removal.

     So I found a few pieces of wood laying around from past and current projects (we're cannibalizing some old wood to make book shelves above Scholar's desk right now) and put this together.  I put the little block on top with a piece of splintered wood on the back and held them in place using a combination of model glue and little nails that protrude enough so that they will fit into the holes in the soles of Wonder Woman's boots.  Once the glue and flat grey primer set, I used our jigsaw to cut the base into a more manageable size.

     Up next was the shield, which was completely flat grey.  I looked up a few reference pictures and found that the shield had a navy blueish base so I grabbed my bottle of dark blue and covered it entirely.  Then, I went over the bird and first ring with the gold paint (pictured above) and then went over the second ring and outer rim with the metallic silver.

     Speaking of that metallic silver, now it came time to add the silver scuff marks along the edges of her armor.  This was probably the most time consuming process because not only did I have to the legs but I also had to add silver to her belt, gauntlets and tiara/crown.  It sounds really tedious to have to gently swipe at the edges of all of those spots but it really does bring the figure to another level with these little details.

     Next came the face.  This was the part I was dreading the most because I fucking hate painting eyes.  Holy crap, I hate painting eyes, even on the dinosaur figures I repaint because nine times out of ten, they turn out cross-eyed.  However, the original figure just had eyebrows and the iris but no sclera or pupil so it looked very off.  So I held my breath, steadied my hand as best I could and repainted her eyebrows and iris while adding sclera and pupils.  As you can see in the picture above, it turned out a little cross-eyed so I went back and did it again and I think it worked out better...I think.

     I found myself at a bit of a loss as to what to do with the base because like I said, I didn't like Batman vs Superman (it was actually #4 on my Top Ten Worst Movies Of 2016) and I would've rather not sit through the final fight with Doomsday again.  However, looking at the flat grey of the primer, it actually reminded me a lot of the World War One footage from the Wonder Woman trailer so I decided to make the base look more like that.  I painted the front a sandstone color while painting the back splinter brown so that it would look like the broken piece of wood that it was and then I decided that I would cover the top of the base with dirt and stones that I had in my basement (it's an unfinished concrete basement so there's plenty to go around).

     So an interesting thing happened when I put the glue on the top to make the debris stick.  Apparently you can put paint over the dried glue but not the other way around because as I was brushing onto the sandstone block, the paint started to peel off with each stroke and revealed the primer underneath.  However, if this is supposed to be a war torn place Wonder Woman is fighting in, there would be blast and scuff marks along stone surfaces like this so I went with it.

     So after brushing glue across the top and sides, I brushed and placed some small pieces of concrete and dust along the piece to give it that look of debris and dirt tossed about from weapons fire.

     I thought the front of the base looked too plain so I painted the front, sides and underside black and basically turned the front into an ad for the upcoming film.  #pleasedontsuck

     Okay, so I decided that if Wonder Woman is going to be fixed onto the base, her pose might as well be as fixed as possible so this is just me brushing some glue onto the handle of the her sword (after I've painted it) so that it will always be in her hand.  I forgot to take pictures of a couple of steps so I'll add those in here:
     -I added some paint to her left hand gauntlet and the handles of her shield so that it would stay in place
     -I repainted her hair and leather strap she wears the same color as her eyebrows because her hair looked too dark on this action figure.
     -For the red torso armor, there seems to be noticeable black lines shown in the film where the plates meet but not on the action figure so I painted those lines as best as I could (I didn't attempt to take off the strap or her head because I would be good and goddamned if I got this far only to break the figure) and once the black had set, I went over her torso armor with a brush-on satin clear coat to give it a more shiny, metallic feel to it.
     -After testing the figure's stance, I added extra glue to the nails on the base as well as the soles of her boots.  Once putting the figure on and still finding it a little wobbly, I added more glue on the sandstone to ensure maximum hold.

     Okay, the clear coat has taken hold and I think we're ready for the full reveal.

     So there you have it!  I honestly can't tell you exactly how long this took because I did this over the course of a few weeks between work, family life and doing movie reviews but for my first human repaint, I'm actually pretty happy with how it turned out.  If you really like how this looks, hold that thought because what I'm going to do is take another look at this tomorrow with fresh eyes, do any touch ups as needed and then I will be putting this girl up for sale on my eBay store (along with maybe a couple other things I've repainted) so if you want to be on the up and up on that, make sure that you follow Coffee With The Cynic on Facebook and YouTube or Late Nite Scholar's Twitter.

     Thank you so much for reading, guys and gals and if you like what you see on this blog, you be sure to nudge that "Follow" button and stay cynical!

     -The Cynic