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Custom Pullips (and Taeyang etc) 13 Jun 2013 16:31 #1

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A short overview of the smaller customizations and repairs my Pullip family dolls went through.

The first victim is Kurt (Jimmy X), the bassist of my band. His original wig is just awful in my opinion. It's not just that drastic contrast in length between left and right, it's also how sloppy it is cut, not even forming a smooth angular line. It just had to go.
Let's face it though - it's tremendously hard to find a wig for male dolls, unless you want anime bishy boys with girly hairdos. Nothing against those but I wanted something else. Unable to find ANYTHING though, not even a short bob that wasn't styled for girls, I tested this mohair wig I got for free with a used doll. Lo and behold, it looks good! I have the same wig in medium brown but I actually think the blonde suits him very well and looks much better with his light eyebrows than a dark wig did. Also his eyes shine much more this way. It even looks good when he wears his hat, so I'll just do something about the visible rim beneath the hair and keep him like that.

Another problem of this doll is that one of the legs is very loose which makes him very unstable. Unable to fix this on the body itself I wrestled together a white tight underpant for him. That only helps a little bit but every little bit helps, heh. Luckily his pants are of a very thick and stiff fake leather so I hope with both garments on the little guy will be able to stand straight.
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Custom Pullips (and Taeyang etc) 13 Jun 2013 16:32 #2

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Poor little Nareen required some repairs for the reboot of the doll story. As some of you know I used a brush-on sealant for her as advised by the clerk at the craft store. That was the most awful decision ever as she became more and more sticky and in the end even looked quite dirty from all the dust that clang to the sealant. In addition she always looked greasy. Do yourself and your dollie a favour and never ever do that. Get a can of proper Mr. Super Clear or some other brand that's actually recommended by a fellow doll lover.

When I took off her wig I was in for a shock - it left a big stain on her forehead which is too deep sank in to remove. Luckily Nareen will never become a different doll and she'll always wear bangs so it's no biggie but I'm still peeved that the sealant didn't prevent this.
I removed her eye mech and eyelids and then started to remove the old sealant as good as possible.

It's not as clearly visible as I hoped but the sealant came off in flocks. For the most part it was enough to scrape it off with my fingernails, which I did on the whole back of her head. I scraped the remnants from the folds in her ears with tools. As for her face I used very fine sandpaper on the parts that are not painted, so that I wouldn't create visible edges between raw doll and doll with sealant. I was very aware that I wouldn't be able to get it all off, after all. When that was done I gave her a very throurough wash with warm water and soap to get the dirt off from the remaining sealant.
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Custom Pullips (and Taeyang etc) 13 Jun 2013 16:33 #3

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After letting her dry I gave her a coat of Mr. Super Clear and after that was dry too I did a bit of work on her face. I added some powdered pastel around her eyes to add depth, also applied some to her chin and to her nose since she had fallen on it and since then her nose had always been a little bit milky white. Then I had to repaint most of her eye makeup and added fresh golden shine to her eyelids.

Since her eyelids also recieved some updating I had to give them a layer of Mr. Super Clear which would have stained her lashes. So I removed them and added a fresh double layer of new ones after sealing.
Last but not least I worked a bit on her mouth as I had done slightly sloppy work on the corners of her mouth back in the day.

It took some days but now Nareen is a happy little dollie again and prettier than ever now that the greasy shine is gone.
In addition to her face I also worked on her body a lot which also recieved the terrible brush-on sealant back then. Wherever possible I removed that stuff and used Mr. Super Clear instead. Her arms and torso are mostly fixed now, also part of her legs. You don't want to know how much lint I had to scrape from her back, grr.

Still, I'm not sure how much more strain her Obitsu body can endure. It's just not made for such a heavy head, especially with the added mass of superlong hair. She will have to retire from the story one day and most likely I'll have to buy her a new body and replace it before she goes to the showcase.
I even pondered about leaving her out of the story reboot altogether but I just couldn't think of a different main character besides Eternia. They are such good friends and I want Nareen to stay until Eternia moves out.
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Custom Pullips (and Taeyang etc) 13 Jun 2013 16:33 #4

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Eternia also required repairs to be ready for the new photo story but hers are less obvious.

I did some work on her face. She had some shiny spots right out of the box, especially a scratched and dirty cheek. That was never obvious on photos but it always annoyed me so I wanted to fix it. She had also suffered some more shiny spots from brushing her hair and changing wigs and such.
Sadly clumsiness met an accident and so I ruined her chin in the process, which is - thank heavens! - not visible on photos either. I will still try to fix it once I get my hands on a bottle of Mr. Color Thinner (colour remover).

Eternia looks much better now and I finally overcame my inhibitions and exchanged her lashes. It's funny - or not - how hard it is for me to "destroy" the original look of a doll. It just doesn't get easier for me and I wish there were legit blank Pullips to buy.
Now Eternia has a new set of thick and long eyelashes, much prettier than the sparse originals, and I think she likes how expressive her eyes have become. One of the things I always loved about Eternia is that she has no lashes drawn on, so she definitely benefits of having more real lashes.

I also tried to modify the eye mech further to allow for half-closed eyes too (did the same with Nareen) but I think that effort failed. If I'm lucky I might be able to persuade her eyes to keep that pose on rare occasions, but certainly not regularly, for that the change is too flimsy. There is only so much I can cut away from the eye mech before it breaks, after all, and these old dolls weren't even made for blinking so my options are limited.

Eternia's main problem are her frail joints though. Over time she became very worn out and since she's tanned (by Pullip standards...) there is no other body I could buy for her. The worst was her weak knee and I wasn't able to fix this professionally. All I could do was fill some white glue into the joint, move it while drying so it wouldn't get stiff and hope that enough of the glue clings to the inside of the joint to make it move harder.
Her upper arms are also very wobbly but that can be fixed by simple wrapping some thin yarn around the joint pins.

I put her up on a metal plate and told her to prove to me that she's fit to star in the story now. So far she stands up straight for 3 days without falling backwards, despite the long wig she already wears for chapter 1. So I'm happy so far and hope it will stay that way.
Eternia still needs to jump into her jacket and maybe a hair clip and an armlet, then she's ready for the first photos.
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Custom Pullips (and Taeyang etc) 13 Jun 2013 16:34 #5

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This is an Angel Gate head, a cheap (?) Pullip rip-off from China. The only difference is that they are only two part (no scalp part) and there is no eye mech so you have to use static glass eyes. There are eyelids but you have to glue them into place once you're happy with their position. They also come unpainted. I hate to buy them and only did so twice but sometimes I just HAVE to make a custom doll and I really can't bear to modify my originals. Again, I would love if there were unpainted Pullips for this...

In the upper left corner you see the acrylic eyes from Mimiwoo I want to use on this doll. She's going to become the sales clerk in the vegetables and fruits shop and I want her to be a busty elf. I have an Obitsu body for her which fits the skintone quite well and a long burgundy wig. Due to the missing eye mech I hope she will keep her pose better than Nareen, as that takes a lot of weight off the head.

Anyway, after working on Nareen with acrylics this time I looked up how the pros do it and used powdered pastels. Actually I tried the same back then but it didn't stick. And actually it didn't stick well this time either. Although I was able to get the basic shapes done I couldn't get the colours as dark as I wanted.
Until...
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Custom Pullips (and Taeyang etc) 13 Jun 2013 16:34 #6

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... until I watched a Youtube video and learned the secret to using pastels. The doll requires a layer of Mr. Super Clear first to make them stick, and subsequent layers of sealant every time you added more layers until it's as dark as you want it.
So here's the more advanced version. The pastels were applied with q-tips and brushes. I also used some non-oily makeup to add some shine. (At least I hope it contains no oil, there was nothing listed in the ingredients. Oily colours sink into the plastic and can never be removed again.)

When I was halfway done I recieved two used Taeyang dolls out of coincidence and one of them was missing his eyelids. I thought wtf, if I have to glue the eyelids in place on my salesclerk doll why not sculpt them on directly and use the eyelids on the poor guy who actually has an eyemech and can make use of them once I can find some tiny springs.
Said, done. I ordered some medium pots of Apoxy from an Amazon merchant. This is two-component modelling stuff and the only brand recommended for working on dolls. Contrary to green stuff it can be ordered in white, contrary to Milliput it is better to work with (in my opinion) and contrary to Fimo it dries on air and doesn't require baking (which would melt the doll's faceplate). It is also non-toxic, doesn't irritate my skin and it doesn't shrink (also contrary to Fimo). Since I had to sculpt elven ears too I had planned to order this anyway.
I worked some pastel powder into the mass but it didn't work out well. Some time ago I had been told that acrylic paint can be added to Apoxy to give it the right colour but I was too much of a chickenshit at that point to try it. (Honestly, won't that create one hell of a mess? Acrylic paint is WET, I can't believe it won't stain my fingers, the tools and then the doll when I touch it... I'll try that one sunny day when I don't have to succeed right away.)
After drying I sanded and filed the sculpted eyelids. They are extra wide since I wanted smaller eyeholes anyway. They were painted and I applied pastel powder and makeup to them too.

That's as far as I've come until now. Next up I have to paint the eyebrows but with my own eyes failing so often lately I didn't have the nerve to do so yet. It's very delicate work. The mouth also needs some more work, possibly a bit brush work too.
After that the face can be sealed and real lashes added to the eyelids but I also still have to sculpt and paint the elven ears before I can assemble the doll at last. I might have to order some bluetac or putty to add in the glass eyes too but maybe I can simply use Apoxy since I have no plans to ever remove them again.
Oh, and of course the doll will need some clothes because I don't have anything fit for an elf or for that Obitsu body. It's just the medium bust size but even that is bigger than a Pullip's boobs by far.

So stay tuned for the next steps!
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Custom Pullips (and Taeyang etc) 13 Jun 2013 16:35 #7

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Last one for today!

Although I hadn't planned to Mao also got some minor modification.
To cut it short, he has the worst eyes I have ever seen on a Pullip (or related) doll. Ever. And it's not the design itself, the colour is actually very nice and I like it much better than the weird eyes of e.g. Taeyang Nosferatu.
The problem about Mao's eyes is that they have no back! Both photos suck a bit but I hope you can see that you can actually look straight through his eyes into his head! That looks awful, in reality AND on photos.

Since Mao will become one of the main characters in the new photo story he will get a lot of closeups, so these stupid eyes couldn't be allowed to stay.
I decided that instead of replacing them I would just remove them and add some glittery foil to their back before putting them back in. Because as I said, the colour was actually nice and I didn't want to place another order for CoolCat eyes that quickly after my last.

The hardest part was to get his wig off. Honestly, never encountered a wig that was glued in place this tightly. Usually you just look for one loose spot at the back and then you can pull it off quite easily but not this one. I fought with several tools for almost 20 minutes. Anyway, getting his eyes out was rather easy then because they're hard plastic and I just had to push from behind.

My problem was that I couldn't decide which glitter foil I liked better then, he he he. The golden one was ugly, silver made his eyes too pale for my taste. So I tested blue and green and loved both. In the end he got mismatched eyes, kind of like Suiseiseki and Souseiseki.
The foil even has little stars on them and I like the look. The only thing I don't like is that both foils also have a tiny square pattern carved in. That looks a bit... dunno how to say it, techy? Mechanical? Like he was a robot?
If it becomes too obvious on photos I might open him up again to change it one more time but if it doesn't show up I'd like to keep him as is - especially as I glued his wig back on and that was quite a fight too, ha ha.
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Custom Pullips (and Taeyang etc) 12 Jun 2014 16:17 #8

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This is elementalist Sinistra, second main character of the new Dolltopia, in her almost completed outfit.

I made all of her clothes myself, including the sewing patterns! (Except for some tiny peeks I took into a book to get the blouse right!)

Sinistra wears a very fluffy petticoat, a skirt, a buttoned blouse with puffy sleeves, a vest and some kind of corset/skirt thing. I still add some fluff and decoration here and there but overall she's ready for the story.
It took me over two days to make the blouse and for the whole outfit about two weeks since I had problems gathering the tulle with a gathering stitch and messed up the petticoat twice. In the end I gathered the folds by hand.
Of course it mostly took me so long to make because I had to make up the sewing patterns and take measures all the time. Making a second outfit would be faster. :)

I'm quite satisfied. Not completely, since she looks more like a Rozen Maiden than like a sorceress and I think I should have replaced one colour of fake leather with a different, more fantasy looking fabric. The fabric for the blouse is a bit thick which made it hard to work with too. But overall she looks exactly like my sketch and I can always make more clothes for her. She's a POOR elementalist in the beginning, after all. ;D

Err... since she's not featured here at all yet (weird!) some more info: She's a Make It Own blank Pullip that I painted myself and I gave her an Obitsu body. Her boots are magnet shoes made by CoolCat and her eyes are also from CoolCat with custom gold foil. Wig is from CoolCat too, badly cut by me. Lol. Still have to get her hair in shape a bit, I got special doll wig hair wax. Let's hope it helps.
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Custom Pullips (and Taeyang etc) 12 Jun 2014 20:38 #9

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Well, I think Sinistra looks quite good.

I am looking forward to Dolltopia starting again (of course after you are well (enough) again...) ;)
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