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91  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Nemesis Papercraft Diorama on: June 16, 2014 07:34:20 AM
My newest B&W Gameboy papercraft diorama project is from a shmup (shoot-em-up), the third, Moai-infested stage from Konami's 1990 Nemesis (a.k.a., Gradius):

Here's a brief look at the construction process for this piece:

Original reference screenshot (sprite layer disabled for clarity).

This is the sheet of game assets I put together and printed out.  I fudged things a little bit by sticking a faded-out SNES Gradius III stage 3 stone background in there, because, it is a rather plain-looking stage.  I made the front/back of the Moai heads by editing the side view sprites, and likewise the top/bottom view of the Proteus 911 (which, for some reason, is what the Vic Viper is called in this game).

This is a shot of all the components that I made on the first day of work, the base, two of the Moai heads and the Proteus 911 starship. The Moai are a bit too blocky for my tastes, but I didn't want to spend a lot of time designing, and assembling, more complex geometry for them, so, it'll have to do.

Here's a closer look at the tiny Proteus 911 (a.k.a., Vic Viper). Rather than a flat 2-Dimensional sprite, as I did with the previous Christopher Belmont and Mega Man figures in their respective dioramas, I decided to make the starship 3-Dimensional (actually, it's more of a 2.5D affair, but close enough).

Here's a test shot on the background. The faded SNES rock graphics didn't print out well at all, so that was a wasted effort on my part (maybe I should have made them a bit darker, but I didn't want that design element too noticeable, as they technically don't belong there in the first place). I kind of like the idea of the ship flying out of the diorama, towards the viewer, but, for the sake of accuracy, I went with the expected side view in the final version.

Here's the finished product:

Cardboard, game graphics printed out on white paper, white lined notebook paper, white glue, newsprint, tissue paper, permanent marker, a brown paper grocery bag, and a wire twist tie (mount for floating elements only).

9.1 cm (3.6") x 8.2 cm (3.2") [widest point x highest point]

Two days: June 10 and 12, 2014.
92  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Glasses & Sandals for Sophie on: June 10, 2014 09:03:12 AM
Here are some sandals and glasses I handmade as accessories for my Spin Master Liv: School's Out Sophie doll, who stands 11.6" (29.4 cm) tall (without a wig).  Please note that I only made the glasses and sandals, nothing else.

Glasses (wire twist ties, newsprint, white glue, acrylic paint, and transparent plastic)
Sandals (cardboard, brown paper grocery bag, white lined notebook paper, white glue, and acrylic paint)

Two days; the glasses on 6/7/14 and the sandals on 6/8/14.


Preliminary paper test pattern.

Test pattern on Sophie's head. The size checks out, so it's full steam ahead!

Wire armature with the arms of the glasses covered with strips of newsprint.
Aside from providing support and defining the shape of the glasses, said wire is what allows the arms to bend/fold.

Test fit on Sophie's head.  The arms are the proper length to reach behind her ears, so all is well.

Glass frames completely covered in newsprint.
A second wire segment was added to create the shape of the bottom half of the lens holes.
Aside from some sanding and final adjustments, they're ready to paint.

Final check on Sophie's head before finishing adjustments and painting.
They're a bit asymmetrical, but the overall fit is good and she looks classier already!
After the glasses were painted, I cut out lenses from a sheet of transparent plastic and embedded them in the
frames, completing the accessory.

The finished product.


The first thing I did was trace the outline of Sophie's foot to make a pattern for the soles of the sandals.
The bottoms of the sandals are 4-ply thick cardboard: three layers glued back-to-back, and then the sandal straps sandwiched in between that stack and one more layer.

In order to work on the shoes without damaging Sophie's feet, I covered them in plastic and transparent tape.
That thin protective layer also ensures that there will be enough wiggle room so that the sandals won't become too tight after they're painted.

I wrapped strips of paper, from a brown grocery bag, around her feet to create the sandal straps, and then glued the soles onto those.

Here are the rough sandals on a doll's bare feet.  The fit is pretty good--loose enough to slip them on-and-off, but not so loose as to fall off.

These are the finished sandals, with small decorative bows added to the front straps, just prior to painting.

The finished product.

93  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Mega Man 3 Papercraft Diorama on: June 06, 2014 08:55:52 AM
My recent Castlevania: The Adventure papercraft diorama came out well, so, I was eager to get started on another one. This time I selected a scene from the Snake Man stage in Capcom's 1992 Mega Man 3 Gameboy video game (original Japanese title: Rokku Man Wa-rudo 3, which translates to Rock Man World 3 in English--Rock Man is Mega Man's original name in Japan, if you didn't already know).

Here's the reference screenshot I worked from:

Mega Man vs. Big Snakey:

More photos/information:

Cardboard, game graphics printed out on white paper, white glue, newsprint, permanent marker, and a wire twist tie (mounts for floating elements only).

8.4 cm (3.3") x 7.5 cm (3.0") [widest point x highest point]

Three days: June 3-5, 2014.

94  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Castlevania: The Adventure papercraft diorama on: June 02, 2014 08:24:42 AM

I've been wanting to make a papercraft diorama of a video game screen for a long time, utilizing two-dimensional sprites and background tiles, and, at long last, I finally scrounged up the ambition to actually get it done.

I don't own a printer for my computer, and it costs a dollar a page for color printouts at the library in the neighboring city (our local library only has a black and white printer), thus, because I'm a miser, and I'm not always in the mood to travel to said municipality anyway, I decided to focus my efforts on a game for the original Nintendo Gameboy, which only had 4-color, gray-scale graphics (perfect for a black and white printer).

Here's the reference screenshot, from the first level of Konami's 1989 Castlevania: The Adventure video game (original Japanese title: "Dorakyura Densetsu", which translates to "Legend of Dracula"), that I chose as the subject matter for my papercraft diorama:

I took separate screenshots of the background tiles and sprite layers, using an emulator, and then further separated and edited the individual graphical components utilizing various art programs (Microsoft Paint, IrfanView, and GIMP).  I also doubled the resolution of everything (i.e., anything that was 16 pixels tall on the game screen, is 32 pixels tall in my diorama). This is the final PNG sheet, containing all the graphics that I needed, or felt I might need, to construct my papercraft diorama (feel free to save/print it and use it yourself if you like):

My plan from the beginning was to make the diorama's geometry separate, out of cardboard, and then apply the game's artwork, like decals, to those finished objects, which is why I didn't orientate all the images so that they could simply be cut out and folded up as-is. That approach has the benefit of allowing me to squeeze more stuff onto a sheet (remember: miser), because objects that will touch one another in the finished product don't have to be physically connected to one another on the printout.

Please note that I didn't actually use everything printed on the sheet. Some of the stuff is just there as extras in case I made mistakes or had accidents (which I did, and I always do).

The figures are Christopher Belmont, the whip-wielding protagonist, and a Ji-Zi- (that's what their titled, in the original Japanese instruction manual, but, hell if I know what that means), which are small, vulture-like humanoid enemies only found on the first stage.

Cardboard, game graphics printed out on white paper, white glue, newsprint, and permanent marker.

9.9 cm (3.9") x 8.4 cm (3.3") [widest point x highest point]

Two days: May 31 and June 1, 2014.

If you'd like to see a bunch of photos of how I built this diorama, visit the page on my site:

95  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Original TMNT Splinter figure robe replacement on: May 27, 2014 11:27:29 AM
Alas, when I found this secondhand Playmates 1988 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Splinter action figure, for fifty cents, at a thrift store, he was naked, except for his black belt. Truth be told, the thrift store actually had two copies of this Splinter figure the day that I bought mine, which was rather unusual. Only one had its belt though, so, I obviously bought the more complete version (and, no, I didn't want twins), as they were both the same price anyway.

An unclad Splinter isn't something I enjoy seeing, so, I decided to make him a replacement robe:

The first thing that I did was search for a photo of the original garment, laid out flat, so that I could copy the pattern. The person who was selling this item was also kind enough to list its width, 4.5" (11.4 cm), which was very helpful for sizing purposes.

Next, I scaled that reference image, on my computer screen, until it was the exact dimensions that I wanted. I then placed a piece of tracing paper onto my moniter and carefully traced the outline and neck hole of the garment.

After that, I transferred the tracing onto a piece of sturdier paper, a page from a lined notebook, and cut it out to use as my pattern.

I affixed the pattern to an old, red T-shirt, with transparent tape, so that it wouldn't move around on me while I was cutting it out. The fabric used for the original robe was more of a magenta color, but, I don't have any clothing of that hue, and I wasn't going to go out and buy something just for a quick little project like this, so, I made do with what was on hand. Splinter is often depicted wearing a crimson robe anyway, so, it's not like it looks out of place on him.

Finally, I cut the robe out with a pair of very fine, sharp scissors (fingernail trimming ones to be exact). Note: to cut out the "T" opening in the neck, fold the fabric in half, along the center of the "T".

And voila, here it is. If I had to do it all over again, I'd make it just a smidge bigger/longer, but, all-in-all, I think it came out very well.

96  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Antlion Larva on: May 19, 2014 08:39:23 AM

Giant, immature insects that can be encountered in ASCII's 1992 Wizardry ・ Side Story II: Curse of the Ancient Emperor (ウィザードリィ・外伝II:古代皇帝の呪い, Uiza-dorii ・ Gaiden II: Kodai Koutei no Noroi) Nintendo Gameboy roleplaying video game (rpg).

Normal antlions are tiny and only prey upon equally small invertebrates, but, in the desert kingdom of Almarl, gigantic specimens can be found that are large enough to feed on humans and demihumans. Like its smaller cousins, an Antlion Larva should undergo metamorphosis, to become a winged adult, upon reaching maturity, but, to date, no such change has ever been documented, nor has anyone ever seen a giant winged antlion. As such, some sages have speculated that the Antlion Larva's prodigious size is a result of magical manipulation, not evolution; they further contend that the enormous doodle bug is permanently trapped in its immature state--no amount of eating or growth will ever trigger the change into adulthood.

Voracious ambush predators, Antlion Larvae view all other organisms, including people, as food. The creature completely buries itself under loose earth, at the bottom of a large, sloping, conical pit if spatial conditions permit, where it then lies in wait for prey--concealed in this fashion, it is nearly impossible to detect the monster's presence until it is too late. When the Antlion Larva senses vibrations nearby (i.e., footsteps), the arthropod erupts from its hiding place and immediately attacks with its barbed mandibles. However, if a party is fortunate enough to encounter a specimen that has recently fed, they may be allowed to pass unharmed. Antlion Larvae never associate with any other monster species, but they are known to form small packs with their own kind [1D2+1 (2-3) individuals] in areas where prey is particularly abundant (i.e., a dungeon).

As lowly Level 2 creatures [they only have 2D6 (2-12) hit points], Antlion Larvae, despite their size and appetites, aren't much more than an annoyance to experienced adventurers, but, the injuries that their mandibles can inflict [2D4 (2-8) points of damage] can prove fatal to novice dungeon explorers. An Antlion Larva's chitinous exoskeleton is relatively soft, and the insect typically wages battle from a stationary position (the abdomen is usually left buried in the sand when it emerges to attack), as such, they are fairly easy to strike with almost any type of weapon (an Antlion Larva has an Armor Class of 8; note, that in classic Dungeons & Dragons rules, which Wizardry is based upon, the lower your AC number, including negative values, the better--for comparison purposes, a normal, unarmored human adult has a slightly worse AC of 10). The desert-dwelling insect's natural resistance to heat (it only suffers 1/2 damage from flames) will also likely frustrate beginner practitioners of thaumaturgy (the lower-level, damage-dealing spells from the Mage's school of magic tend to be fire-based).

Newsprint, tissue paper, white glue, and acrylic paint.

7.0 cm (2.8") x 3.9 cm (1.3") [widest point x highest point]

Two days: May 16 and 17, 2014.

Here's what the Antlion Larva looks like in the game:

And the horror that is a real antlion larva:

97  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / X-men Toy Gun on: May 15, 2014 10:53:50 AM
On a toy-customizing forum that I belong to, a member wanted to know how they could make custom guns for these enemy characters from the Konami 1992 X-men Arcade video game:

I told them that they could modify a basic cylinder shape to create guns like that, and then, because I have no life, I proceeded to make the top one as an example.  Here it is, constructed entirely out of newsprint, white glue, tissue paper, and acrylic paint:

I resized the reference image above until the characters were about six inches tall, then took my measurements for the weapon directly from that.

Marvel Legends: Faceoffs Leader and Littlest Pet Shop "Scooter" Blythe.

The original Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredder.

Marvel Legends 9 War Machine & Marvel Legends 10 Mystique (which is appropriate, considering that she's a boss in that X-men arcade game).

Marvel Legends 4 Beast.

I might give the gun a black or dark blue paint wash, but I kind of like the bright, cartoony video game colors too.
98  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Fairy Kitten on: May 12, 2014 07:52:54 AM

This "Fairy Kitten" figurine is a calico cat with attached antennae and wings made from papier mache. It's based on a "lolcats" photograph from the "I Can Has Cheezburger" web site that I like. I made it as a Mother's Day gift.

Newsprint, tissue paper, white glue, a wire twist tie (antennae only), and acrylic paint.

5.1 cm (2.0") x 5.3 cm (2.1") [widest point x highest point]

One day: May 11, 2014.

This is the photograph, from I Can Has Cheezburger, that I based my model upon.
99  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Papier Mache Creature Figurines on: April 14, 2014 08:48:31 AM
Heres my latest assortment of miniature papier mache sculptures:

If you want to learn more, click on any of the animations below to visit the figure's respective page on my web site.

Chimera Lizard (Super Famicom 1996 Wizardry Side Story IV: Throb of the Demons Heart)

Ostrelephant (Gameboy Advance 2006 Mother 3)

Makara (Sega Saturn 1997 Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers)

Scare-case [OMFG Series 4 character submission (original artist/designer unknown)]

Cursed Demon (Sony Playstation 1998 Shadow Tower)

Centaur (Super Famicom 1995 Princess Minerva)
100  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Papier Mache Monster High Jewelry on: April 11, 2014 08:14:50 AM
This is some papier mache doll jewelry (three rings, three bangles/bracelets, and a necklace) that I made for my Monster High Create-A-Monster Werewolf & Dragon set. With the exception of the black sewing thread I employed to hold the necklace and the red-and-gold bracelet together, everything is made out of paper and white glue. All the pieces are painted with acrylics, except for the woven sky-blue/pink/yellow bracelet which was braided entirely from colored paper "snakes" of those hues. Those tiny rings are incredibly easy to lose--I had to get down on my hands and knees and hunt around on the carpet, with a flashlight, more than once after dropping one, an exercise which was accompanied by a great deal of profanity.

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