Yay ninja girl 🙂
Mizuki is based on illustrations by Tsukasa Bullet, masterfully replicated in 3D by Cerberus Project. The sculptor French Doll is one of the best real-type human figure sculptor, and I just love how he worked TB’s figure to almost perfection. The figure is nude, and the armor pieces are separately cast – which resulted in a whooping 52 piece kit. It’d be simple to do a paint-and-snap-on, but I wanted to try out some giant full-back tattoo/irezumi on Mizuku’s niiiice back, so I decided to make the armor detachable. I’ve detailed the tattoo application in this blog post. Following Masa’s suggestions, I’ve also extended the tattoo pattern a bit by hand, and it didn’t seem too difficult so I may do an even bigger tattoo pattern next time to be closer to traditional Japanese full-body irezumi. The way it is now, though, I have no complaints, she looks nasty 😎
If I have any complaints about the sculpt it’d be her pose. True that it’s a nice stance – you see that often in sentai shows But it obscures her face and front from some angles. It’s also hard to place her on a base with the way her left leg is posed – it’s up, but the sole was pointing backwards, so she’s not standing on anything flat. The kit provides a neat samurai helmet and mask for her to step on, but for whatever reasons I didn’t think it works. So I imagined her standing on a tree like a ninja would. Initially I was thinking of making a tree-branch sort of diorama, but it’d look plain. In the end I used the vines I bought a while back to create a spiral of flowers on vines that she can step on. TB’s illustration had her posed with flowers as well, though they were water lilies (?), so I thought Mizuki would blend in well with them; and the pink petals will give the scene some variations, since Mizuki’s armor and uniform are quite dark. I thought it’d be a snap to just twist the vines to the desired shape and I’d be done, but the thing has no structural support so you need to provide some. Thus I spent a couple of hours twisting and painting long brass pins to hold the vines in place, and hide them by strategically placed petals and camouflage paintings. Oh one final complaint is that her neck is too long. I think the sculptor did that so that the armor can go on better, but in the nude it’s a bit odd. But extending the tattoo helped mask that a bit.
I don’t know why I wanted to write the following but here it goes 🙂 The uniform is a 50/50 mixture of Mr. Color olive drab + 25, which I think is closer to the TB’s Mizuki than the Cerberus Project build up which had her in very dark sleeves and leggings. I used Eva 01’s weapon color to shade it 😛 The armor surfaces are done with Gunze’s copper. May be it’s my bottle, but I had a hard time getting metallic-looking finish out of Gunze’s Copper, but it might just as well, since now it has the reflective properties of TB’s illustration. There are 3 types of chrome/silver used, mainly Alclad’s Chrome which always does wonder. Then there is bumper chrome that I used for touch ups, it’s actually very very chrome, not as insane as Alclad but miles better than Gunze’s silver, which I also use for areas that requires paint film toughness. The armor trims are done with Gunze gunmetal. I used to sing praises for a gold leaf paint that has very rich gold colors, but I just couldn’t get a very metallic finish out of it anymore, so I switched to spraying Krylon 18k gold into a bottle and hand brush that. For her hair, I thought the kit works well with dry brushing because of the way the hair is sculpted (ridged strands), so I did my pearlescent highlights by mixing my highlight color with brilliant gold pearl pigments. One problem with some of my older works is that the hair was too pearlescent and looked a bit like a helmet 😛 So I’ve been trying different ways to strike a balance.
I’ve gotten some inquiries about the eyes. The way to paint them isn’t so different from the normal anime eyes, I laid down the basic eyes as in the article, and then did additional detailing using artist oil. Enamel would also work. The iris were given radial strokes of cadmium yellow on the lower halves of the iris with a little bit of blending. The eye lashes were quick light strokes of ivory black + mars brown oil paints; if you screwed up you can actually dip the brush in thinner and make “reverse strokes” to simultaneously wipe away your mistakes and leave proper eyelashes. It’s very frustrating to make these strokes ending in sharp points (as eyelashes are) without a good brush, so make sure you have a nice brush with a proper end. I used Winsor Newton’s Series 7 brushes for this type of detailing. Busendo brushes work as well, but I found my Tamiya cheapo brush lacking since it couldn’t hold a fine tip properly. Anyway… a little bit of reddish flesh color at the tip of the eye sockets gives you something pretty realistic. The eyebrows again were done with oils. The shape of the brows were draw, then blended to feather it, and then I gave it a few additional overlaying strokes in the middle of the feathered brow to properly define its shape.
The frontal nude shots are available in the thumbnail gallery; here I just highlighted the bare tattooed back.