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1  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Barbara on: January 12, 2015 08:02:24 AM

Dominatrix flora that can be encountered in Namco's 1991 Marvel Land Sega Genesis video game (said title is an enhanced port of the 1989 arcade game of the same name and is also known as Talmit's Adventure in Europe). Barbara's moniker is a pun on the thorned rose that her head resembles as well as her weapon of choice, a prickly lash. This femme fatale's attack strategy consists of simply advancing on the protagonist, Prince Talmit (whose name is "Paco" in the original Japanese version), while repeatedly snapping her spiked scourge before her. Barbara's not nearly as fearsome as she looks though--a single hit, either from bouncing on top of her petaled head, or striking her with Talmit's Bunshin Whip (assuming you have said power-up), will instantly destroy her and net the player 300 points.

An animated gif that I made from Barbara's game sprites:

Barbara's "defeated" sprite, after you successfully vanquish her.

Below are a few screenshots depicting Barbaras, from Areas 6 and 7, respectively, in World 1, as well as her listing in the credits, which play after you successfully complete the game.

I began this project by experimenting with the creation of a paper rose, following a three-step pictoral tutorial that I had photographed out of some book/magazine years ago (saving instructional information like that, even if I have no immediate use for it, often pays dividends down the road). I cut out a long strip of white paper, from an envelope, and carefully wrapped/folded it into concentric "petal" tiers around a screwdriver shaft until I had the shape of the flower. Next, I made a simple stick body armature out of newsprint and white glue (no wire was used at all in this project).

Here's the body bulked up with additional paper padding and layers. If you're wondering, the darkened areas are the result of using a wood burner to shape/smooth/dry the form.

Barbara's prickly whip was next, which consists of a hollow cylindrical handle connected to a paper "snake" lash. The undulating business end was then coated with glue and tiny barbs were applied to finish the look. For her head, I already had a blue marble, covered with a coating of papier mache, that I had made months ago and never used, that just happened to be about the right size (again, it pays to hang onto stuff), so, I simply added a few more layers of papier mache, to increase its circumference slightly, then I attached a pair of lips, cut the hollow sphere free from the marble, and then modified it further by excising the mouth opening, adding a hole for the neck post, and cutting off the crown of the head to accommodate the flower structure. Finally, I made and glued twenty-one individual teeth into her gaping maw.

After some test fitting, I decided that my original folded blossom, while it looked nice, just wasn't working out, so I tried to make another . . . several attempts later, I found that, for reasons I can't explain, I just couldn't get any of my new paper roses to come out nearly as good as the first one. Thus, I reluctantly gave up on that approach and made another flower using a different technique, namely gluing rings of concentric individual petals around a cylindrical core shaft, rather than folding up the entire structure from a single, long strip of paper. In retrospect, I should have made the petals more durable by making them 2-or-3 ply thick, instead of just one layer of paper, as the relatively delicate shape of the flower got somewhat distorted during the subsequent painting/handling process.

Pictured are the fully-colored head and lash mounted on the unpainted figure. While the changes aren't too apparent, the body was also reworked fairly extensively at this point. I felt that the right arm was too long, in relation to the left, so I cut it off, excised a section out of the wrist and biceps to make it shorter, and then reassembled and glued it back onto her shoulder again. I also put a veneer on her high heel shoes (to emphasize their shape), added more mass to her frame/musculature, and dressed her up in a 3-ply paper bikini top and bottom.

Finally, here is the finished product. Barbara's top heavy, and balancing on high heels to boot, so she couldn't stand unassisted, as such, for stability purposes, I super-glued her feet onto a stand that I cut out of a sheet of transparent plastic.

Newsprint, an unused papier mache sphere from a previous project, white paper from a notebook and envelope,
tissue paper, white glue, acrylic paint, super glue, and transparent plastic (base only).

6.3 cm (2.5") wide x 5.2 cm (2.0") high.

Five days: January 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9 in 2015.
2  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Fastitocalon-F on: December 30, 2014 08:19:31 AM

Colorful, fish-like monsters that can be randomly encountered (usually three-at-a-time) in Squaresoft and Electronic Art's Final Fantasy VIII Sony Playstation (1999) and Microsoft Windows (2000) roleplaying video game. Contrary to their appearance, Fastitocalons live on dry land, not in the water. They can be observed rapidly tunneling through beach sand, or other fine debris, with only their large dorsal fins visible above the ground (given this behavior, it's not surprising that the locals often refer to Fastitocalons as "Land Sharks"). When the creature is struck, the fish suddenly erupts from its sandy habitat and takes to the skies to attack. Yes, folks, defying all logic and reason, not only does this flamboyant critter not live in an aquatic environment, but it can also fly! While aloft, the Fastitocalon-F effortlessly "swims" through thin air and charges at its prey to deliver painful slaps with its spined fins or bites with its sharp teeth.

The original Japanese name for this creature was フォカロル ("Fokaroru", which romanizes as "Focalor"). Duke Focalor is the forty-first of seventy-two demons catalogued in the Lesser Key of Solomon, a 17th century grimoire. That infernal fellow was said to have power over the winds and seas, but looked like a man with griffin wings, not a fish (and, curiously enough, that particular fallen angel actually had aspirations to return to Heaven, but, after waiting a period of 1,000 years, Focalor was ultimately denied redemption). Fastitocalon, on the other hand, is another title for the sea monster Aspidochelone (Greek for "Asp Turtle"). Said legendary creature was so gigantic that its back was often perceived as an island by passing sailors--a case of mistaken identity that often proved fatal when the malicious beast dragged both men and anchored ship(s) beneath the waves to drown. Some writers claim that Fastitocalon is actually one of Satan's many forms--perhaps that's why Square gave their interpretation of the creature a fiery color scheme, to suggest the burning flames of Hell. Aspidochelone/Fastitocalon is usually described as being either an enormous whale, turtle, or fish, so, while the FF8 monster is nowhere near the right size, at least it's in the ballpark, anatomically.

As it turns out, in the game, this specimen is actually a "fake" (hence the "F" suffix to its name); the true Fastitocalon is a larger (although still a dwarf compared to its namesake), and nastier, armored fish. To be honest, before doing research for this project, I had always just assumed that they were masculine and feminine variations of the same organism (I figured that the "F" was simply an abbreviation for "female"). Given real world examples of mimicry, it does make evolutionary sense that a smaller species of fish might evolve so that the most visible part of its anatomy closely resembles that of a more dangerous creature in order to deter potential predators. Unfortunately for adventurers, unless you pay careful attention to their distinctive cries (the larger variety has a deeper roar), it's impossible to tell which creature lurks beneath the sparkling sands, the real deal or the imposter, until the organism reveals itself, as both species share identical dorsal projections. So, before you go down to the shore and start poking those colorful, meandering fins with your gunblade, you might want to think twice, as you might end up disturbing a shark instead of a guppy . . .

Square's official artwork of the Fastitocalon (left) and Fastitocalon-F (right):

Below are some screenshots depicting three of the player characters (Squall, Selphie, and Zell) facing off against a trio of Fastitocalons.

Here are the fin patterns that I drew by hand in ink. Some of the designs went through several modifications until I had something that I was satisfied with. All of the fins are made from 2-ply notebook paper with cardboard spines glued onto their surfaces. From previous experience, I knew that fabricating seven fins was going to be tedious work, so that's why I began with them (whenever you have a job to accomplish, I recommend doing the part that you like the least first, if at all possible, to get it out of the way). During the process, I also took a couple of not-so-fun snow shoveling breaks to avoid getting burned out on fin construction.

Pictured below are the finished fins. As there isn't an actual body yet, they're obviously not attached to one another at this point, but I took a shot of them orientated correctly, between my fingers, to give myself an idea of how the finished fish would probably look.

During the next work session, I constructed the body, attached the fins in three phases, and built up progressively more detail in the features as I went along.

Finally, here is the finished product. It took several hours, but I think that this is one of the nicest-looking paint jobs that I've ever done.

Cardboard from a cereal box, newsprint, lined white notebook paper, white glue, acrylic paint, and gloss nail polish.

9.5 cm (3.7") wide x 4.2 cm (1.7") long x 11.5 cm (4.5") high.

Three days. I made all of the fins on December 21st, finished modeling the fish on the 25th, and painted/sealed the figure on the 29th.

3  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 105 ENTRIES / Kuchisake Onna on: December 08, 2014 07:21:13 AM

Kuchisake Onna (口裂け女, literally "Slit-mouthed Woman") is a Japanese urban legend that was first reported in the late 1970s. The particulars of her story vary, as myths have a tendency to do, but usually she's described as having once been a beautiful young woman that was driven insane after an operation or accident left her mouth horribly disfigured. The psychotic Kuchisake Onna now spends all of her time hunting the streets of Japan for solitary individuals to vent her rage upon (no one is safe from her predations, night or day, but school children are her preferred victims). With her damaged face concealed behind a surgical mask (which is not at all unusual in Japan, as many citizens wear them in public to prevent spreading, or catching, viruses), she corners her intended prey and then asks of him or her, "Do you think I'm beautiful?" If they answer "No", they are immediately attacked, if they reply "Yes", Kuchisaki Onna then leans in, removes her mask, and shrieks, "Even like this?" At that point, you're almost certainly doomed, regardless of whether you reply in the affirmative/negative, attempt to flee, or most likely of all, just stand there gaping at her in horrified silence, as nothing, except bloody violence, will satisfy Kuchisake Onna now. The enraged butcher immediately proceeds to either kill you outright or slice open your mouth until you resemble her, utilizing various edged implements (typically scissors, a sickle, or a knife).

 Outrunning Kuchisake Onna is nearly impossible, as her superhuman speed is legendary (she's capable of sprinting 100 yards in 3 seconds--some versions of the story explain this to be a result of her having been an Olympics-level athlete before her accident). However, there are several ways to thwart her. The first, and easiest, is to answer her "Am I beautiful?" question with, "You're average or so-so", instead of "Yes" or "No", as non-committal replies confuse the deranged lady, giving one time to escape. Similarly, you can frazzle her by ignoring her questions altogether and asking one of your own, such as, "Do you think I'm pretty?" In other words, Kuchisake Onna has a very one-track mind; she has difficulty in dealing with individuals that won't play into the role that her ritualized attack process requires. Kuchisake Onna also loves sweets, particularly hard candy, so she can be temporarily distracted by giving her some of those if you happen to be carrying any when you meet her. Finally, Kuchisake Onna absolutely loathes the smell of hair Pomade (supposedly because the doctor/dentist/lover responsible for her disfigurement reeked of it) and will flee if she so much as catches a whiff of the stuff--some even say that just chanting the word Pomade three times can drive her away.

I purchased a bunch of secondhand toys from the local St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift store on Black Friday (11/28/14), including a 2011 Spin Master Liv Spa Makeover Sophie fashion doll for fifty cents. The gimmick with that particular assortment of figures was that their lips, eye shadow, finger/toenails, and the streaks in their hair all change color with the application of hot/cold water. Here's what Sophie looked like when I bought her, and before her transformation into the infamous Slit-mouthed Woman:

I removed Sophie's dress and wig cap, completely covered her head with plastic wrap to protect it, and then began to build up a gory, slit-mouthed veneer over her lower face using newsprint, white glue, and cardboard. Once I had it modeled to my satisfaction, I painted it with acrylics, enhanced the outlines of the teeth with ink, and then sealed it with transparent gloss nail polish to give the gash a nasty wet look. As it was modeled directly onto Sophie's face and conforms to her features, the new mouth stays on via friction alone--no tape, glue, etc. is needed to keep it in place.

The plastic wrap also ensured that the new mouth could be easily removed when I was finished working on it, as white glue adheres very poorly to that material.

Here we have the unassembled newsprint handle and cardboard blade of Kuchisake Onna's kama (sickle) accessory (a commonly-used gardening/weeding implement in Japan). The finished weapon has an aluminum foil veneer on the blade. Like most fashion dolls, Liv figures' hands really aren't designed for holding accessories very well (the shape of the hands are usually optimized for sliding in/out of sleeves more than anything else), so, I ended up securing the weapon into her grip with a transparent rubber band (which is typically what toy companies do for display purposes as well). If you really want to go through the trouble, it is often possible to tweak the grip of a toy's hands with the old hot/cold water trick (heat them up in boiling water to make the plastic more pliable, bend/flex them into the new configuration you want, and then plunge them into cold water to "fix" the plastic into its new shape).

Next, I played MacGyver to whip up her surgical mask. I cut out a rectangle of white material from the pocket of an old pair of dress pants (there were already holes in them anyway), affixed medical tape to both ends of the fabric, to add strength so that the strings won't rip through the quartet of holes that I subsequently punched through the material/tape sandwich with a large sewing needle, and then threaded carpet fibers through the four holes and tied them off to make the strings (the other day, I cut some loose fibers off of an unraveling carpet, so our cats wouldn't chew on them, and stuck them in my pocket, figuring that I'd find a use for the threads, and sure enough, I did).

While Kuchisake Onna can potentially be encountered wearing any sort of attire, I always think of her as wearing a trenchcoat, because that's what she's wearing in Shin Megami Tensei If . . . (Super Reincarnation of the Goddess If . . .), a 1994 Japanese Super Famicom (SNES) video game that I like (and besides, everybody knows homicidal weirdos wear trenchcoats). Raiding the wardrobes of my other sixth-scale figures, I ended up putting my Kuchisake Onna's outfit together using garments from X-Men 2 Nightcrawler (armless trenchcoat), G.I.JOE: Spy Troops Snake-Eyes (jumpsuit and shoes), and a Power Team Elite soldier (belt). Finally, as most Japanese have black hair, I swapped out the blonde color-changing wig that Spa Makeover Sophie came with for an ebony one (with a purple streak) from one of my other Liv dolls.

The final result:

4  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Roc the House on: December 01, 2014 08:13:58 AM

Phantom Birdhouse, a.k.a., Roc the House (I prefer the latter name to the former), is a character concept, designed and submitted by forum member "Eastwestkid", for October Toys' OMFG (Outlandish Mini Figure Guys) Kickstarter-funded toy series, that I decided to model in three dimensions. I believe that the "Phantom Birdhouse" title is a reference to the name of one of the OMFG series 1 figures, the Phantom Outhouse, and Rocs are giant, mythological birds, hence the word pun on "Rock the House". Visually, one could also draw comparisons to the Slavic witch Baba Yaga's chicken-legged house.

This is the illustration of Roc the House, posted by Eastwestkid, that I worked from. I love the design as-is, but I did decide to add tail feathers protruding from the back of the birdhouse, both to make the rear view more visually interesting (which would be rather plain otherwise) and to have the avian erupting from its home motif represented on all four sides. I also briefly considered having an eye peering out from the entry hole, but I think it looks cooler and creepier with nothing there.

Here are some photos from the construction process of this figure. I began by making the two legs and bird house structure. I think that just those three elements, all by themselves, result in a neat-looking monster too.

On the second day of work, I fabricated the wings, mouth, and rooftop bird ornament. The extra pair of wings that you can see in one of the photos below were leftovers that I didn't use (I'm going to hang onto them, as I might be able to employ them on another figure someday). I felt that the creature looked neat with a quartet of wings, so I shot a picture of it.

Here is the finished, but unassembled, figure on day three. Prior to painting, I made the tail, added another row of feathers to the wings, defined the legs/feet a bit more, and then went over everything with a wood burner to smooth out edges, add/deepen details, and harden/temper the paper/cardboard.

Color-wise, I had bluebirds on the mind, so that's what I went with. Originally, I had envisioned using brown, yellow, or white for the plumage, but ultimately opted for something more vibrant. I also considered black, which would have given things a more sinister vibe, but I was concerned that the feathers wouldn't show up very well in photographs if I went that route so I didn't.

The finished product:

Cardboard from a cereal box, newsprint, lined white notebook paper, white glue, and acrylic paint.

6.1 cm (2.4") wingspan x 6.1 cm (2.4") high. While it's purely coincidence in this case, it pleases me when a figure's maximum height and width end up measuring exactly the same.

Three days. I started this project on the morning of November 18th, resumed work on the 20th, and finished things off on the 25th. I'd estimate that Roc the House took about twelve hours altogether to complete.
5  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / King's Field S-Knight on: October 07, 2014 07:57:37 AM

Giant, mutant mollusks that can be encountered in From Software's 1995/1996 King's Field Sony Playstation first-person RPG (roleplaying game). It should be noted that said title is actually King's Field II, but, as the first game wasn't released in North America or Europe, the publisher decided to start the numbering system anew for those regions (likewise, King's Field III was retitled as King's Field II in said markets).

 This omnivorous gastropod is always hungry and has two options for bringing down its prey. If the target is close enough, the left head will simply lunge forward to take a bite out of its victim. On the other hand, if the potential meal stays outside of the mollusk's reach (and that's frequently the case, as the S-Knight moves very slowly), the right head will exhale a plume of acidic mist in their general direction, which, in addition to inflicting injury, will also poison the victim if it makes contact. It doesn't matter if this caustic vapor kills the target outright or not, because the toxin coursing through their system will shortly finish the job--all the S-Knight has to do is follow the trail left by its ailing victim until they inevitably succumb to the poison and collapse. While both of a S-Knight's attacks are relatively easy for an adventurer to avoid if they can stay near the sides, or rear, of the shell, where the creature can't easily see or reach them, particular care must be taken when confronting multiple monsters at once, as it's all too easy to get outflanked and sprayed by one S-Knight while you're trying to deal with another.

 As one would expect, striking a S-Knight's shell is an exercise in futility, as this natural armor is incredibly hard and durable, making it completely impervious to conventional weaponry. The creature's relatively soft heads and necks are what an adventurer should try to target when attempting to deal damage to this slimy adversary. S-Knights could hide inside their shells, for additional protection, if necessary, however, due to their large size and aggressiveness, very little intimidates them (armored humans brandishing weapons and spells don't impress a S-Knight in the least), as such, it's almost unheard of for one of these monsters to take a defensive stance when threatened. Slain S-Knights occasionally drop crystal shards but never gold pieces (snails have no interest or need for money, but apparently the slimes, fish, and man-eating plants in King's Field do--figure that one out).

 For comparison purposes, here are some screenshots of S-Knights from the game:

 This is what my papier-mch model looked like at the end of the first evening of work. As you can see, the snail's shell and body aren't attached to one another yet.

On the second day I touched the form up a bit, added a projection on the snail's back to connect with the shell, went over everything with a wood burner, glued some sand onto the shell (for texture), and then painted the figure.

The finished product:

 Newsprint, cardboard, white glue, tissue paper, acrylic paint, marker, ink, and sand.

 7.8 cm (3.1") wide x 3.6 cm (1.4") high

 Two days; October 3rd and 5th, 2014.
 The next day, I decided I wasn't satisfied with my paint work, so I redid and touched up some areas on the 6th.
6  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Shadow Tower Death Serpent on: September 22, 2014 08:08:50 AM

Unnatural horrors that can be encountered in From Software's 1998 Shadow Tower Sony Playstation 1 roleplaying video game. The creature's single giant eye emits spheres of searing light that are potent enough to melt steel and the Death Serpent's unearthly scream is so terrifying that it may instantly paralyze its prey with fear, leaving the victim completely defenseless. While these monstrosities slither about relatively slowly, they're quite large (almost ten feet tall), and their long necks give them a considerable reach, so, it'll take some artful dodging to avoid becoming a Death Serpent's next meal.

Death Serpents, three of them to be precise, can only be encountered in one area of the Shadow Tower video game: the Great Hall of Necron, which is located in the Beast World region. Necron is the "boss" of said domain and presumably keeps these squirming abominations around as watchdogs. Needless to say, an adventurer would be wise to destroy the Death Serpents as quickly as possible, because Necron knows some potent magic and is trouble enough without having to worry about his pets too. On a more positive note, slain Death Serpents may drop the Arm Guard of Composure item (armor for the hands that decreases fire damage and increases your magic speed when equipped).

Here's the unaltered papier-mch model. It's hard to tell, from the angle of the Creature Book screenshot, exactly what the posterior of the Death Serpent looks like (I don't have the game, and it's been a long time since I saw the monster in action in a YouTube Shadow Tower boss montage video). While I initially made the model with just a thick tail in the back, that anatomy looked kind of awkward to me, so I added another pair of "flippers" to balance things out--the creature already resembles a Plesiosaurus anyway.

Smoothing and detailing done with a woodburner:

First coat of paint:

The finished product:

Newsprint, white glue, tissue paper, acrylic paint, fibers from a bath towel, colored pencil, and ink.

5.7 cm (2.2") wide x 5.5 cm (2.2") high

Start-to-finish, it took several hours to complete this project on September 21st, 2014.
7  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / ButterFly on: September 17, 2014 07:16:46 AM

ButterFly is another character concept, designed and submitted by forum member "Lazzy Lizard", for October Toys' OMFG (Outlandish Mini Figure Guys) Kickstarter-funded toy series, that I decided to model in three dimensions.

 This is the illustration of ButterFly, posted by Lazzy Lizard, that I worked from. Please note that I did some minor editing, for clarity purposes, as the original image was pretty dark and needed more contrast. The drawing itself looks great, but I feel that the piece would have benefitted from some color, to drive home the creature's buttery composition, as the insect's dripping body looks more like ice, gelatin, or even slime to me in gray scale. While the idea of a literal "butterfly" isn't new (consider the "Bread-and-Butterfly" from Lewis Carroll's 1871 book Through the Looking-Glass, for example), I can't say that I've ever seen the concept interpreted in this manner. Fully colored, and considering its rectangular shape, this particular design is also suggestive of an insectoid Spongebob Squarepants in my opinion.

Here are some photos from the construction process of this figure.

 I messed up laying out the lines of the grid pattern on the eyes (they don't quite match up with one another), but I didn't feel like going through the trouble of making a third replacement eye, and cutting the lines again, so, I decided that it was just going to have to be good enough. And, while we're on that subject, I should have put more lines on the peepers altogether, both horizontally and vertically, which would have resulted in a finer grid.

 Unless you have a specific reason not to, it's generally a good idea to put down a base coat of white, or light gray, before applying yellow paint, otherwise, darker colors (like the browns pictured here) have a tendency to show through that golden hue, which will then likely require the addition of several more coats of yellow paint to hide it. Had I left the body white and the peepers black, this could have been a frosted cake or marshmallow fly with raisin or chocolate eyes, but then, there wouldn't be any puns going on with the name, or at least none that I can think of offhand.

The finished product:

 Cardboard from a cereal box, newsprint, white glue, transparent plastic (wings only), and acrylic paint.

 2.9 cm (1.1") wide x 3.7 cm (1.5") high

 About a day. I started this project late at night on September 15th, 2014 and completed it the following afternoon.
8  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Fighting Simulator 2-in-1 Flying Warriors Papercraft Diorama on: September 12, 2014 07:55:49 AM

For my eighth Nintendo Gameboy papercraft diorama, I selected the forested area from the beginning of the first stage of Culture Brain's 1991 Fighting Simulator 2-in-1 Flying Warriors video game (original 1990 Japanese title: 飛龍の拳外伝, which romanizes as Hiryuu no Ken Gaiden, and that translates to Fist of the Flying Dragon Side Story). The "2-in-1" part of the moniker refers to the game's two modes: a traditional martial arts tournament and a much longer and more involved sidescrolling action adventure.

I've always been a fan of the "Mind's Eye" combat system of the Hiryuu no Ken games--in a nutshell, circles briefly, and randomly, appear on either the head, chest, or legs of your, or your opponent's, body and you must then quickly strike, or protect, the targeted region to inflict, or prevent, damage. It's a relatively simplistic form of virtual martial arts, compared to modern fighting games, but it still requires good reflexes and intense focus to win bouts. I bought this particular game, a little over two decades ago, purely on the strength of an advertisement I saw for it in a video game magazine--aside from being captivated by fighting titles in general, I imagine that the "two games in one" was probably a big selling point for the younger me.

Here's the same area, from the 2000 Gameboy Color port, which was only released in Japan and retitled 飛龍の拳列伝 or Hiryuu no Ken Retsuden (Tales of the Fist of the Flying Dragon). I wasn't even aware that the original black and white version got colorized until I started doing research for this project!

This is the sheet I put together of ripped and edited game graphics (feel free to save and print it out if you want to try making a similar diorama). Technically, only the bat, sludge man (which were changed to rotting zombies in the Gameboy Color version for some reason), toothed worm, and clawed tanuki Dark Dragons monsters appear in the first level, but I put all of the standard enemy characters on the sheet anyway.

I've noticed that the tops of my Gameboy papercraft diorama bases have a tendency to warp in a concave manner, from the wet glue used to apply the "floor" graphics, so, this time I made a simple # shaped support structure and put that inside the hollow form in an attempt to prevent that. I can't say that it was 100% successful, but it seemed to help decrease the amount of warping that occurred.

The components aren't attached to one another yet, but this is what I had accomplished by the end of the second day: the base, the background, the two smaller tree trunks, the protagonist Rick Stalker (his name is Ryuhi in the original Japanese version), and the clawed tanuki Dark Dragons enemy. If you don't already know, tanuki are mythological Japanese tricksters that resemble a cross between a raccoon and a dog. The ones in this game are out for blood, but, historically, while they love to pull pranks and swindle their victims out of food, drink, or money, tanuki rarely cause any deliberate physical harm.

The finished product:

Cardboard, game graphics printed out on white paper (including some leftover bits from the Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins diorama), white glue, newsprint, lined white notebook paper, permanent marker, and transparent plastic (figure stands only).

8.8 cm (3.5") x 7.7 cm (3.0") [widest point x highest point]

Five days: September 4th, 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th (2014).
9  CRAFTSTER CRAFT CHALLENGES / Craftster Craft Challenge Theme Ideas, Etc. / Elemental Fury on: August 21, 2014 08:36:53 AM
My idea for a challenge theme is "Elemental Fury".  The object would be to craft something that incorporates/focuses on one, or more, of the four traditional elemental forces: fire, water, wind/air, or earth.  Your entry could be just about anything, so long as it has a strong elemental motif.
10  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Alice in Wonderland Ace of Spades Mini Action Figure on: August 08, 2014 07:07:28 AM

A playing card soldier that made his first appearance in Disney's 1951 Alice in Wonderland animated film, which was based upon the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass children's books penned by Lewis Carroll. Ace of Spades has the misfortune of serving the Queen of Hearts, which is a dangerous occupation, as the short-tempered matriarch is infamous for ordering her subjects to be decapitated for trivial, or even imagined, infractions on a daily basis.

 Here's a brief look at the construction process of this miniature action figure. I worked from two reference sources, this shot of the four aces from the film:

And the interactive polygon game model found in the Journal of Square-Enix's 2002 Kingdom Hearts Playstation 2 video game (I absolutely adore in-game bestiaries that detail all its' characters and enemies). You may have noticed that said game's version of the Ace of Spades has a flesh-toned face, black nose, and is armed with an axe, rather than a lance, but I stuck with the film image design, as I felt that looked better. The main benefit of the polygon game model is that you can rotate it to get a good look at Ace of Spades from all angles, which is immensely helpful when you're trying to reproduce something 3-dimensionally.

Once I had all the measurements and visual details I needed from the reference material noted above, I proceeded to lay out the front and back of the card body on paper and then modeled the feet.

Next, I made the arms and the spade-tipped lance. If you look closely, you can see the end of a tiny sewing needle sticking out of the bottom of the lance's handle--that's what I wrapped the paper around to create the two halves of the long, hollow shaft of the weapon (said needle was then removed, once the two lance parts were dry, glued together, and could support their own weight).

Finally, here's the fully assembled, and partially painted, Ace of Spades figure. The squiggly lines you can see in the body are the embedded wires that provide the articulation. I probably should have hidden the bulges created by the wires better, but, given how thin his card-shaped body is, that's easier said than done.

The finished figure. Other than the previously mentioned wire bulges, I'm fairly happy with how he turned out.

 Lined white paper, newsprint, white glue, wire twist ties, cardboard, ink, and acrylic paint.

 2.8 cm (1.1") x 4.5 cm (1.8")  [widest point x highest point]
* The numbers given are for a neutral standing pose; the values
will vary depending on how the figure's joints are positioned.

 9 Points: Neck, shoulders x 2, elbows x 2, wrists x 2, and ankles x 2.

 Several hours on July 13, 2014.
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