Hello ladies and gents, cats and kittens. I'm in the process of making a few customized My Little Pony toys for a friend and myself, and since the process has turned... interesting I thought I would keep track of it and share my progress with you!
Customizing toys is a really fun art project. Working in 3D is not something I ever ever do so it's also a bit of a challenge.
I wouldn't mind constructive criticism from anyone familiar with clay/sculpey! It's a utterly new medium for me.
Let's get started.
Here are my victims, G4 Rarity and G4 Fluttershy. They are fairly small, about 2-2.5 inches in height. They aren't quite as bulky as their predecessors, but I think the sculpt on them is absolutely adorable. The wings are especially cute!
But as cute as they are, I still have no issue decapitating them.
Removing the heads was a huge pain
. They are small and it's really hard to get a good grip on them! I ended up using an exacto knife to cut out the joint in their necks, which means my ponies' heads will (sadly) be stationary
As you can see I also removed their hair. The tales come out easy as pie, but their manes are glued in. I recommend trying to grab the chunks of glue with needle nose pliers-- the longer the neck on your pliers, the better, because the holes in their heads are absolutely miniscule. Do not use acetone or anything else to dissolve the glue, it makes everything worse! It's really hard to grab the hair and in the end you'll end up pulling out individual hair instead of large clumps >< I made this mistake on Rarity and it ended up being a huge mess! Fluttershy went much much smoother.
I used nail polish remover to rid them of their eyes and cutie marks and it did a super shitty job.
I wasn't concerned, really, since I'll be painting over them with a few coats of acrylic paint (and a matte varnish to keep it from chipping), but if you want to do your own custom pony and can find one you don't want to paint, get some real acetone from the hardware store.
Here they are with their heads glued back on. I used hot glue since I was no longer worried about the necks moving. I would imagine that if I have salvaged the neck joints your best bet would be to use crazy glue to glue it back into the body and then pop the head back on.
Now a lot of pony customs 'rehair' their ponies with new synthetic hair, but I wanted some... familiar silhouettes and knew I couldn't capture them with actual hair. So I'm using white sculpley. I did some research and knew I couldn't bake the ponies (the plastic is incredibly soft and pliable, it would melt in seconds on even a low setting), so I will be boiling my ponies. Boiling for 5-8 minutes successfully hardens the sculpley according to my research, but I'll let you know how that goes when it's time to cross that bridge!
The first rough sculpt for Gabe! I ended up scrapping this one. It has a nice silhouette but there's no volume to it. I took a good hard look at the models in PAA and came up with...
These. This is the rough sculpt for Tycho, and what I am considering the WIP of the final sculpt for Gabe. The hair has a really nice thickness to it without being too heavy. I'm really quite pleased!
Tycho's hair is being refined. Tycho was a huge challenge, and in the end he's only going to look especially good from one side-- not like Gabe, who will keep his trademark 'do from any angle. Again, this is eyeballed from the PAA models. I had a rough in place based on Tycho's Poker Night model but it didn't quite capture Tycho's unique silhouette, which in the end was most important to me. Tycho's hair does some truly ridiculous Mickey Mouse-esque nonsense.
You can see I began work on Gabe's tail here. I'm using a stick that came with a goofy little prop in a Halloween bouquet, but any Home Depot or AC Moore should have wooden dowels you could use. I'll have to measure the hole but eyeballing it it looks about 1/3rd of an inch thick. The stick ended up fitting perfectly (lucky me!) and I am molding the tail around it to give it some much needed extra support. The tail needs to be trimmed, so to speak, as I don't want it 'dragging'. Gabe's tail will be a 'proper' length, emulating his hair, and Tycho's will be fashionably short and emulating his bangs. I plan on baking the tails separate from the ponies, painting them, and then gluing them in place.
Just a slightly more up-close shot of Tycho's mane. I am incredibly pleased with it so far. The sideburn actually looks better on the other side and I will be redoing this one to match, but I can't take a photo now as my mother has usurped my camera
Well that's all the progress I have as of now. Crits/comments are welcome, and I'll answer any questions you may have!