Saturday, December 9, 2017

Smart Doll Melody's First Photo Shoot with Trains

Since purchasing my very first Smart Doll at Anime NYC in November, I have been dying to take Melody outside for photographs. Last weekend, the boyfriend and I got to hang out at the New Hope, PA train station and I got to put her telescopic stand to the test.

Jordan's a big train guy, so in the past few years, I've found myself getting pretty familiar with all sorts of steam and diesel engines. I've photographed my dolls with trains before, but this was my first time bringing a doll around a live steam train, however!

I really love Danny's concept and design of the telescopic stand, but I always wondered - did it actually work? Could you successfully hide it in photos?

The answer?

Oh yeah - the telescopic stand is sturdy enough to keep your doll steady and compact enough to hide behind one of their legs. Melody was perfectly balanced and I was able to get these shots of her on and near the tracks quickly before the train came through.

Since 2005, I've lugged around heavy resin dolls and more often than not, elected to risk balancing them on their own rather than deal with cumbersome stands and extra PhotoShop work. The SmartDoll telescopic stand is a breath of fresh air for a traveling doll photographer such as myself. I only wish I could get something similar for my other dolls!

Overall? I had a great time adventuring with Melody. I decided to name her Rinko and will changing up her styling a bit over the next few months. I have my eye on some fun option parts for her too - mostly a large bust part, option hands, and flat feet (please, Santa?).

Sunday, October 22, 2017

GBWC 2017 || HG Z'Gok + Acguy: The Arctic Front

Last year, I dampened my feet in the vast ocean of gunpla with my Z'Gok diorama titled, "Imaginary Sky." This year, I decided to build on the concept of ice and snow with a more complex diorama. 

My inspiration came from the Russian Lake Baikal with its brilliant turquoise ice and vast glacier-esque mountains. I wanted something reminiscent of the Eastern Front during World War II and the brutal Russian winters.

I really love the arctic. There's a trend here. Although not perfect, I am proud to call this piece my own and I hope you will love it just as much as I do.

Without further adieu, I present The Arctic Front. I encourage you all to look closely at the little details.

Materials used:
- Wooden base, foam, and jewelry chains from Michael's
- Liquitex Heavy Gloss Gel
- Foam sculpting tools by Hot Wire Foam Factory
- Citadel and Mr. Hobby paints

I will be putting a work in progress blog together on the construction of this piece shortly as well!

Thank you so much to everyone who approached me at NYCC because they either loved my diorama or recognized it from my progress photos on Instagram. You made this year so much for meaningful. I am determined to improve and do even better for 2018.

'Til next year, everyone.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Third Time's a Charm: Obtaining Unoa Lusis (Again)

The Unoa Lusis sculpt has always stuck with me through the years of doll collecting. It's something about the beautiful shape of her eyes, her button nose, and especially the dainty hands that sculptor Gentaro Araki is famous for.

As of this month, I've owned three Unoa Lusis dolls. All of them, the same character: Miss Reina Amura.

Reina's first incarnate was around 2011, during my second year of college. I had purchased a Unoa Sist, since they were much easier to find (and to some extent, cheaper) and a Lusis faceplate separately. I remember when I got her, I had my hair dyed the same color and I cut my bangs. We were twins. She was, in a small way, an extension of myself.

She actually made it to California with me when I moved there to continue school. Ultimately, somewhere along the way, tuition and rent got tight. I needed to eat. So I made the hard decision to let her go. Honestly, I was devastated and maybe am still, just a little.

This was long before the accessibility and reasonable prices of Unoas today. I can remember a time when a Lusis could easily go for $800 (or more). I never figured that I'd own her again... but then Unoalchemy came along. The first Unoa I snatched up again was Yusuke, a Sist boy (thank you, Unoalchemy!).

Later, I finally got Reina back - or so I thought. I adopted her on layaway from a friend who had recently gotten one from Unoalchemy too. I submitted my down payment. I did a little dance of joy. My friend (who is a complete saint) let me take her home early. She was blank, but we bonded. I bought her eyes and clothes. I dressed her up.

Then, my car died.

I had to give her up again. Handing her back over and cancelling that layaway was the hardest part. But, let's fast forward again almost half a year later.

While browsing Den of Angels, I came across a Lusis with a certain glam, a certain style that resonated with me. She was adorned in light, realistic freckles, with a dewy, glowing face-up and stunning back tattoos. I never thought Reina to have tattoos or freckles, but she was perfect. I honestly thought I had found the perfect vision of the character I had been missing for so long, even if both of them looked nothing alike.

There was really something about this particular doll, painted by Rianne, that stuck with me. Is she the same doll, just repainted? Maybe. My original Lusis had a Sist box and so does this one - so it's possible.

Long story short, I've come full circle back to a Lusis again, whose character seems stronger and more vibrant than ever. I'll have to share more of her story in depth, but for now, here are a few fun facts about Miss Reina Amura:

  • She greatly enjoys toys, dolls, and Gundam
  • Her favorite ice cream flavor is banana
  • She loves to learn new tech
  • She's a low energy lady and often enjoys reading and watching Yusuke work
  • Often mistook for being shy, she is rather fierce and outgoing
  • Her favorite Gundam series is Zeta Gundam (and she loves Amuro)

Monday, May 1, 2017

NYC Gunpla Builders Meetup at Kulu Desserts

As if Saturday wasn't awesome enough with Tamashii Nations in town, Jordan and I got invited to a local Gunpla builders meetup in NYC (thanks, Poh!). I honestly wasn't sure what to expect - I am quite the casual Gunpla builder and didn't have anything painted to bring, so I brought along my snapped Origin Zaku I just for fun.

The meetup was held at Kulu Desserts in Elmhurst, NY with ample table space for us Gundam enthusiasts to spread out and share our work. Kulu Desserts features lots of yummy food like dumplings, pudding, and bubble waffles (I really must try one next time for sure). They also offered free Thai tea (YUM!) drinks to the builders, which I thought was really sweet of them.

Overall, the atmosphere of the meetup was awesome. I felt right at home and was welcomed right away. I didn't realize it at first, but the owner likes to build gunpla too! He had an impressive case of models he has built, including some gorgeous Saint Seiya ones. My favorite though, was of course the Kulu Custom RX-78-2. :) If you're in the area, definitely check them out, especially if you're a Gundam fan!

One of the greatest aspects of the gunpla hobby for me is seeing all of the finished models and how different they look! Even the same exact kit can look totally different painted by someone else. In that respect, it is sort of like the doll community, where one doll sculpt can look completely different, even though the base is the same.

Check out some of the amazing kits I got to see:

 Two Grimgerdes: left by Raymond Liu, right by 00gundamreviewsv2 (ED).

 Gundam Berith by Blindmech Plamo, Gundam Heavyarms - I did not get the name, I'm sorry!

 Black Tri-Stars Zaku II, Zaku II Head by Squee's Workbench, Gusion Rebake by Rxsunahime.

At the event, they raffled off a generous amount of P-Bandai kits and everyone who brought an assembled model got to take home a Petit'GGuy in the color of their choice (pink, blue, yellow, or red)! I think little Garma has claimed the Petit'GGuy as his own. They look so cute together, don't you think? I will have to turn it into a Garma Zabi Custom Petit'GGuy now. :)

Be sure to check out the rest of my photos from the event on Facebook!

I want to thank our friend Poh as well as Hangar Bay Toys for sponsoring the gunpla prizes and of course JaySon of Kulu Desserts for hosting the lovely event. Seeing so many amazing models has once again inspired me to keep building. Thank you for such a fun time and hope to see you all next time! ♥

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