I'm not much of an action figure girl, but the moment I saw the designs for the new Ninja Turtle figures, I was head-over-heels:
In fact, they were my very first pin on my Toy Wish List over on Pinterest. I used to watch the show every day after school, and I remember going to see the first movie with my mother. (We both still have a penchant for cheesy kids' movies.)
Then I stumbled across these mind-blowing re-paints of the figures by John Harmon of Mint Condition Custom, and I fell in love so hard it hurt:
So on Friday when I spotted an end cap of TMNT toys at Target, I decided it was finally time to unleash my inner hero in a half shell. I grabbed Donatello first for The Great Painting Experiment:
I've never tried painting an action figure before, so I was both surprised & pleased by how well regular acrylic paint sticks - no primer needed. In fact, it sticks SO well I had a hard time getting it off the areas where I got a bit sloppy. Then John, the wise and all-knowing former painter, told me to use alcohol. A-HA! That worked like a charm.
Here's my first tentative try at aging Donatello's foot wrappings:
Here he is roughly half-finished:
And finally, here are my finished beauty shots, along with pics of the figure straight from the package for comparison:
I've learned some things that I'll do differently for the next three,
but even so...what do you think? Did I get anywhere near Hamon's
Personally, I'm really happy with this for my first try, and I'm pretty much hooked on painting toys now. I've since done a slightly larger project which I just finished last night (look for those pics in another day or two) and I can't wait to go buy the next three Turtles!
If you want to try painting some action figures yourself, here's the general technique:
- Paint on a darker version of whatever color you're covering on the figure
- Wipe it off.
You'd think a two-step process like that wouldn't take me a solid three or four hours, but it did - and I'm not even done with his weapons yet. There are a lot of small areas, and you really need to work in tiny sections since the paint dries so quickly. Have tons of q-tips and paper towels on hand, and use a tiny brush dipped in alcohol for touch-ups.
For the belt I applied several layers of a black-brown, rubbing it off with a Q-tip in-between, and then I used a light tan on the tiny X stitches and a brighter liquid gold leaf on the front ring.
The part I messed up is that I used brown to cover D's skin instead of a darker green. It still works, but for the rest of the Turtles I plan to use shades of green, so they won't look quite so grungy.
The weapons that come with the figure are made from a different plastic that paint won't stick to at all, so I'm having to prime those first. You can expect another photo shoot once I've finished them all, and the difference should be really dramatic, since they're just a solid reddish-brown right now.
Well, even if you never plan to paint your action figures, I hope you enjoyed seeing how I spent my Friday night! :) Stay tuned for something I think more of you will find squee-worthy.
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