Making of Mina Majikana

Making of Mina Majikana Copyright (C) Cody Kwok


New character from the latest version of the game, Samurai Spirits Zero. This little hottie is one of the highlights of 2003, and there’s only a little mod in details to make her even saxeya.

The original kit, great on its own, making it pretty hard to think of fun mods to do on her. The main idea of my mods are to make the skirts drap lower like the in original SNK character drawing of her, except even more exaggerated. What I want to depict is Mina has just fired an arrow, with her body momentum swinging counter-clockwise.

Well I was a bit late in taking in-progress photos, so here we’re already in the middle of somewhere. The yellow Mori^2 is the place where the old panty string used to be, but was removed. So was the left top part of the panty. Nice butt! Too bad much of it was hidden in the original kit.
Also the kit was cast pretty poorly with many pinholes, there are quite a few cycles of priming/puttying/sanding. The dark grey patches are areas of pinholes.

The division of parts in this kit is rather unconventional. The breast/neck area is a part, sitting on a “tub” part which is the shoulder/outer breast/back. As usual, the vest is cast as the same piece as the chest area. Like Mai, I wanted to show the hollow between the vest, collar bones and breast.
Here I removed the top of her vest so that I can reconstruct the body underneath.
I cropped the top portion of the skirt. I have never seen pieces of clothing like this cast in such thickness! It *looks* thin, but it’s a trick that’s often employed by sculptor – simply make the edges really thin, then it’ll look as if the piece is thin. In the end a lot of dremeling was required to thin the piece properly, and heat and bend the skirt to adhere to the body.
Happiness! She’s taking shape.I tried to think of ways to not obscure the lower butt, but it seems it’ll be really hard, since the arrow case has to be somewhere around that area. I think revealing the top part of the butt is fine enough, don’t wanna get stuck into thinking about this too long.

The skirt was in 3 pieces, and because of its thickness it was impossible to heat and bend to shape. So I did some hack and slash to arrange the pieces the way I wanted while minimizing the amount I have to putty. I really wasn’t too thrilled with this, and it’d probably be easier if I just sculpt my own.Anyway the flying skirt gives new balance and dynamism to the kit; now she’s more horizontal.

Not to mention more legs are shown ^_^

Yikes what’s that on her butt ^_^;;Here it’s a bit clearer how the pieces were held together. The thinner green strip was the original junction between the left skirt and middle skirt. I sawed off and reshape the middle skirt piece to elevate its angle. Then the right skirt was attached at a more oblique angle to the middle piece. Fun fun fun. NOT.

There’s almost no way to glue the skirt in place, so when I attach the piece, in addition to the two “butt-pins” I drilled 3 more pins at various sides of the skirt. Boy was it securely held with that arrangement ^_^;;

Continuing with her hair, the “sideburns” are split into separate ends, heated and bent to create a sideway flight. However there’s no way to make every end bend at the desired angle, so some of them were cut off and rebuilt with polyester putty. Her giant pony tail is attached at an oblique angle to create the sway. Since this head-ponytail junction is rather weak, I used epoxy putty to build up a little volume around this area for reinforcement. Finaly I think she can benefit from a little stray hair threads, so I installed a few segments of fishing lines for that.
At the last minute I decided I want to change the angle she’s holding her bow. I didn’t really like the original angle. It’s quite cute, and has the advantage of making the kit look bigger by extending the horizontal span of the kit. However it obscures her midriff, which I like. Also I thought the original pose was exaggerating her firing action. But look who’s talking…

I had no idea what to give her as a base. In the game she fought in a sakura tree garden, so one thought was to make a ground filled with sakura leaves, which is pretty but not very interesting. Then I have this flash of her in snow… yes it’s too cold for such a costume ^o^ but Mina is a tough girl! I think I was affected by both Nakoruru and her sister, both characters in the game, wearing white costumes and fighting in a snow background. Somehow their garments blend very well with the snow. Combined with Mina’s dynamics I decided to give her a splashing snow base. Haven’t seen anyone done that, so it’s making it up as I went along. The idea is that Mina fired some special move, her feet skid a little bit, and snow splashed from her ki (haha) as well as the motion from her feet.
(1) As usual the groundwork was done with celluclay. I wasn’t too sure what I wanted for the splashed snow. Originally I thought I’d go with a wire mesh and then attach cotton on it. Well couldn’t do that since I couldn’t find my leftover piece of mesh ^_^;; so instead I just “sculpted” the splash from celluclay. Actually the snow splashes all around Mina so there are multiple wave-fronts. Before the celluclay dries, I put Mina down to create her foot-hold. A person doesn’t float on top of snow but the feet immerse in it a bit. In addition, to add a little variety to the scene, I dried some dead tree branches and laid them into the snow.

(2) The next step I painted the groundwork white. It really doesn’t have to be very white, just enough so that most of the celluclay’s greyness is hidden. Some areas are also given a very lightblue for snow reflections. I also painted areas trodden by Mina earth color.

(3) Then I brushed diluted white glue onto the groundwork and then sifted baking powder on top. It looks really like snow! There were reports that baking soda may yellow over time, and then there were others that said sealing it would last very long; so I seal it with hair spray. I sifted two layers of powder and it was able to completely obscure the groundwork. For the areas I didn’t want to cover completely like the dead branches and earth exposed by Mina’s skid, I took a wet brush and wipe away the powder. Let dry a bit.

(4) Then I needed to create puffy areas of the snow, which are from fine snow particles flying around. In fact the splashed waves should be rather puffy. Again I use the diluted white glue to stick some cotton onto the wave fronts, pulling and shaping them in the process. Then I sprayed and brushed some white glue on top of the cotton and sprinkled some baking powder on top to “whiten” the cotton. When you spread cotton it typically becomes less white than the sparkling whiteness of the baking powder, so this tries to fix that. It also adds little snow chunks to the very fluffy cotton for realism.

(5) Finally a thin layer of hair spray to seal the base. Yay. Now the base is done and it smells good!


Now some arrows for our archer girl… the kit didn’t come with any. I saw a buildup with putty-sculpted fletching and another with plastic sheets, but neither looked very good. So I thought I’ll give real feathers a try. For the shaft, I thought I’d try toothpicks – it’s easy to split and the scale looks ok. Though in retrospect is too thick, but still works ok since I hide most of each arrow in her bag.(1) We first split one end of each toothpick. It took me a few tries to get it right – use a very sharp knift, and push it little by little. If your knife swayed from the middle, you can start from an earlier point to adjust it. It seems I should split almost twice as much as I need for the fletching, so that you can comfortably install the feathers. Be careful and slow in pushing the knife since the knife can suddenly slice of chunks of wood and very likely your fingers.

(2) When you knife reaches the desired depth, don’t pull it out yet but let it hold the split end wide open. Cut off a section of feather with a very thin shaft, and whiteglue it into the opened end. Don’t worry about the shape of the feather yet since you can reshape it later, but trim it using a pair of very sharp scissors so that it’s not difficult to handle. Put more whiteglue on each side of the opened end, pull out the knife and close the end. Use a paper clip to hold it for a few hours. Don’t get glue onto the feathers!

(3) One problem with feathers is that they can easily splay and look ruffled. To make the feather stay in shape I put hair spray on them, being careful not to spray too much or the feathers will get soaked and clump together. After a few layers of light mists, let it sit for a few hours, after that clamp the feathers between a pair of paper clips as shown. This will flatten out the feathers. I let it sit overnight, then you can use a pair of very sharp scissors/pliers to trim the feathers into shape.

(4) Then I painted the shaft to the desired dark grey color. In retrospect I should’ve painted the toothpick first! It’s tedious to try to avoid getting paint onto the feathers, which is very hard because the feathers draw paint by capillary action. Also instead of toothpick I might be better off using brass pipes instead, more to-scale.

Done!

7 Replies to “Making of Mina Majikana”

  1. Thanks! I’ve got that asked a few times… should’ve put it in the article 🙂 It’s pretty simple, just cut a stencil out of masking tape, and then airbrush, with darker edges and lighter middle. Then I freehanded the patterns in the centers of the sakuras, the stems and the leaves. Then lightly misted the base color so that the patterns are blended in.

  2. That’s an awesome job you did with this kit!! I’m just starting to get back into doing figures again, and I was wondering if you could tell me if the Mina Majikana kit is still available, and where it could be purchased?? Any info would be appreciated!
    Thank You!!

  3. Great idea. Using toothpicks and real feathers as as arrows. Thanks.
    Will incorporate that into my own kit later. :mrgreen:

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