Monday, September 26, 2011

"The Guardian" Full Reveal & Review

I know it's been awhile since I've been able to share anything, but the time has come to finally show the full reveal of "The Guardian".

The village of Mikomi sits about one hundred yards from the twin trunked behemoth known to locals as ‘The Guardian’. The mighty tree once stood with both trunks intact and it was nothing more than a favorite lounging spot for the people of the village. That was until the night a massive storm fell upon the forests surrounding Mikomi.

Wind gusts picked away at houses while torrential rain soaked through thatched roofs. Villagers huddled next to one another as the clouds bellowed out earth shaking thunder. Flashes of lightning illuminated the terrified faces of the children before plunging them back into darkness. Village elders tried to remain calm, but even their hearts quivered with fear as the storm’s anger grew.

Suddenly a large white flash and an even bigger crack deafened the terrified villagers. Moaning and creaking were followed by the sounds of leaves and branches falling to the ground. As soon as the sound ended, the rain began to let up, but the villagers stayed in place. Deciding that there was nothing they could do in the darkness of night, they would wait until morning to assess the damages.

As soon as the warm rays of light began to fill the village, the people of Mikomi started to surface from their hiding spots. Mikomi’s shaman Opler was the first to discover what the large crash was that marked the end of the storm. The large tree the village had always taken for granted, had been struck with lightning severing one of it’s mighty trunks. Opler took this as a sign, that this tree had sacrificed it’s brother in order to protect the villagers. The base of the tree had become a cavern of charred remains and growth feeding the remaining living trunk.

Opler named the tree ‘The Guardian’ and began the tradition of paying homage to this protector. To this day the villagers of Mikomi pin sheets of gratitude and prayer within the cavernous trunk.

These are but a few pics that the person who commissioned me took. They also were kind enough to write up a review. All of which can be found on their blog Neath Grim. Stop over there to see the rest of the pics and the full write up!

Vinyl Prep Work 101

I had someone ask me recently what I do to my vinyl to get it ready for paints. They were having a problem with the paint not sticking and cracking off. I wrote up this mini 'prep work' tutorial for them and decided to share it with all of you.

1. Wash the vinyl off with either soap and water, 90% alcohol, or acetone (not the kind for nails but the kind for cars). Although only use acetone on western vinyl, if you ever paint a Kaiju toy it'll eat the vinyl. I prefer to use either alcohol or acetone for this step. What you're essentially doing is stripping away any residue oils from the vinyl that may be left from the casting process.

2. Lightly sand the vinyl with 1000 or higher grit sandpaper. Most of the time this kind of sandpaper is used for automotive stuff, it's a wet/dry kind. You don't always have to do this step though, since most of the time I have success after wiping it down with one of the aforementioned chemicals. What this process does it makes the surface slightly porous to help the paints adhere better to the vinyl.

3. If you want it to last, I would invest in a little higher grade of paint. You don't have to go all out, but I know cheap paints from Michael's, Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, etc... tend to chip and crack more. Although I know people use this stuff all the time, I don't know how much of a headache they deal with during the painting process. I have had success with using the cheaper paints as basecoats for larger pieces. I'll describe how to get the best results in the next step. I tend to use Citadel paints and I also like Golden paints a lot. Both can be costly but you can cut them down to make them go further and last longer.

4. Paint in thin layers and build the paints up. This is especially important for the basecoat, since this will be the what every other color builds off of. By doing it in thin layers you'll be able to let those layers dry and have a much better surface for the next layer to adhere to. As I mentioned above, you can cut your acrylic paints with either water or alcohol ( I tend to use 50% or 70% alcohol to cut paints with). This will help extend the life of your paints and make it easier to apply the thin layers I'm addressing.

5. After you do these easy steps the rest of your paints will have a solid base to build on. When you're finished painting, it's important to seal it with either a matte coat or gloss coat depending on what you're trying to achieve. Again, use small layers with 10-15 minute drying sessions when applying your sealant. This allows adequate time for the coats to set but not completely dry which will help avoid buildup and cloudiness.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comment area and I'll get back to you.