Mass Effect 2 – Samara … or Morinth

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6 comments on “Mass Effect 2 – Samara … or Morinth

  1. Subliminal!

    And don’t take this as insult to your earlier Mass Effect custom figures, but the paint job on this one looks seemingly a lot cleaner and more professional!

    I am really jealous of your skills, mostly because I plan to get into the figure creating business as well, soon, and I’m sorta anxious. However, I really want to get to making some articulated figures. Javik for one.

    I want to go with 1/6th scale-ish, to go with the Play Arts Kai Mass Effect figures, which I’m also planning to buy and recolor to look better (they have bad paint jobs)

    Any tips? Hinters? They would be welcome!

    • Sure, and thanks so much for your nice comment 🙂

      It’s all about progression and only after doing almost 10 Mass Effect figures I finally got around having something as good as Samara.

      I remember back when I though Garrus was the best I could do and only with proper practice and doing this 100 times it gets good. That’s the thing about art or anything for that matter, once you do it a lot, you have no other choice but to get better with time, at first you suck, then you get better and that is probably the hardest lesson to learn for any beginner.

      We might not become the next Caravaggio or Spielberg, but it shows what is possible to do and the people who do those almost impossible things only got to that level by comitting to it for such a long time.

      Anyway, apart from “just do it a lot and a lot and a lot until you get better and better” here’s some advice 😀

      – Don’t be scared to start of smaller, doing a 1/6th figure will cost you a lot more than doing a 1/12th scale like I do

      – Garrus, Samara, Aria, Mordin and many other figures were all sculpted from the same base, the Street Fighter C.Viper figure

      Her size fits most of the Play Arts Mass Effect figures and the articulation is also decent for the price you pay

      If you look at my Collector figure, you should see that I could have also easily turned that one into Javik

      – Also, Tamiya Epoxy Putty is by far the best epoxy I have worked with, instead of dishing out lots of cash to do a 1/6 figure, I recommend start smaller and do a Javik from the C.Viper body and then think about how you would approach a larger figure.

      – In terms of paint and brushes, I use Citadel Acrylic paint, for this Samara figure I mixed the Acrylic Paint with airbrush colours. Airbrush colours are a lot less stick and more liquid, but if you mix them right you get a wonderful tone that is not to plasticky and a lot more natural

      – Also, Citadel brushes are a bit pricey, but if you get 2 fine brushes for details like eyes and highlights, you should be fine, any other brush can be used easily for what you might wanna do.

      In retrospect, I would still want to do an even better job, but then the figures would probably never get finished 😀 so all we can do is make sure the next project turns out even better. Don’t be afraid to try new things out and remember that you only get better and develop your skills by doing it a lot.
      – The PAK figures certainly have great sculpts, but I agree, many paintjobs can be improved, check out this older Devil May Cry repaint

      😀 Now to the most important part, the actual painting of the figure:

      With Samara I wanted to try out some new and different techniques.
      If you look at my Dragon Age Hawke figure, you see that I basically did the same paintjob for his brown leather armor. Samara’s red armor isn’t really that different.
      Start with various darker shades and paint the entire figure several times and then simply mix lighter and brighter colours and add highlights.
      In the end I went into the sculpt with another dark shade just to add more detail and have those highlights pop out more.
      So it really is only about adding layer after layer of a brighter colour.
      While Hawke has a less diversified palate, I wanted to go way deeper with Samara. You see that there are really dark parts on the figure, but also a lot of brighter ones, it really is about not being afraid to try out new things and developing a proper tone for the figure and mixing different colours.

      A thing that is different from adding layer after layer of different colours was what I had in mind for her skin.
      Instead of just waiting for the darker paint to dry, I decided to add a lot more airbrush colour and try to do the same job of adding highlights but with almost liquid paint that nearly felt like ink.
      As a result the transition from the darkest to the brightest part of the blue paint happened a lot more natural. The only challange comes via having to decide when enough is enough, but after many attempts and several overhauls it seemed just perfect

      • Hey again! I haven’t had much luck in the way of being able to do interwebs stuff, but better to reply late than never, I feel.

        No problem at all. It’s only a small compliment, I feel, but dragging it out just makes it seem like buttkissing.

        You are right. It’s just “doing it” instead of “talking about doing it”. It may seem like an overly short answer, but it’s the truth. Your mind, your hands and everything in between needs to get used to doing what you do.

        I wholeheartedly agree with your suggestion to start with cheaper, smaller figures. In fact, I need to get some figures, because I threw mine out long ago, and don’t have any leftover figures. I have only a few Play Arts Kai figures lying around.. and well, those are not really the kind of figures you want to test your skills on.

        So your advice regarding that subject is definitely appreciated. I was planning to actually buy Shepard and Garrus (Play Arts Kai) because both have great sculpts killed by the paint job. Not sure if you’ve ever seen them, but Shepard is an atrocity.

        However, it’s not the sculpt, but the paint job. The underlying sculpt actually is really pretty great. So if I get better at painting, I can not only customize my own figures but buy failed Play Arts Kai figures like Shepard and make them a lot better. That was my second motive for doing this. I mean.. it’s just a shame to let such a sculpt go to waste when it could be a great figure if you tweak it a little.

        For examples:

        Garrus without paint job:

        Not half as bad as Shepard, but still not great at all. Some of it looks really strange and awkward.

        Now two different people who worked on their Garrus:


        and 2:

        Did that startle you? It startled me the first time I saw it.

        In fact.. every time I see it, it surprises me just how brilliant the sculpt hidden underneath the bad Play Arts paint job is.

        Back on my attempt to start doing the same myself.. it’s probably not going to be easy, but I really appreciate the tips and will do my best. If I keep trying, I’m sure I will get somewhere.

        However — have you ever tried to sculpt a whole new figure from scratch? Even just to test it? It’s something I would love to try eventually. Probably, the materials would be the biggest hindrance. You don’t want to put together a great figure just for it to break apart at a slightest touch. When it comes to joints — that’s easy. There are huge packs/pots filled with joints. I’d just love to see someone construct a figure on their own — but frankly, I see only statues being created. Again, probably because finding the right materials and being able to utilize them at home is easier said than done.

        Your thoughts on it, however?

        Sorry that this reply is so brief, but I have to get hurrying again! It was good to be able to send something back at least. Hope to hear/see something from you soon again.

        – Kelras.

      • You should hit me up on facebook if you want to write more often 😀

        I actually traded a few times with Play Arts Kai figures. Which ones do you have left in your collection?

        I know pretty much every release they ever did, from the old FF figures to the current video game stuff.

        The newest figures really are hit or miss, things like Nathan Drake and the Arkham City Batman are trashy, meanwhile the Arkham Asylum and Deus Ex figures are awesome.

        Anyway, if you have Metal Gear or Devil May Cry 4 PAK figures left, you should think about selling them, just because they went up in price like crazy.

        Almost all rare Metal Gear, Devil May Cry 4 and especially Assassin’s Creed 2 PAK figure can sell for up to 300 bucks.

        PAK figures are actually a GREAT starting point to do repaints, there are a couple of really cool ones on Garrus, the Devil May Cry 4 dante and most other Mass Effect and Arkham Asylum figures online.

        Also, if you want to learn some tricks of the trade, look up BJDs, Ball Jointed Dolls.

        At first this might seem like the sickest and craziest paintjob ever, but closely look at that video, you will see that the actual technique is really simple.

        I myself am just starting to play around with this kind of paintjob.

        You will need Pastel Chalk (soft, not oily) and the video pretty much explains how to get a really cool paintjob done.

  2. Personally, I also prefer my own Garrus paintjob, I know it is almost a year old by now, but I still prefer to use more shading and get more crazy with it, but that’s just me, this really is a great paintjob.

    In terms of sculpting from scratch, some of my face sculpts are actually sculpted from scratch, I am still working on a very special one, but I will only finish it, if I get it just perfect.

    When it comes to sculpting an entire figure from scratch, take a look at these 3 figures I did:

    Now look at the arms and legs, you could easily replace them with a very thick metal wire and sculpt a bit over them, after that you would just sew the clothes on top.

    If I had the time, I would probably try this idea, since I really think it would work, but right now I got other stuff to take care of 😉

    • Hey again. By now, you’ve probably gotten used to my late replies. Sporadic life and all.

      And yeah. I get what you mean. If I get the Play Arts Kai figures, I want to make them as true to their in-game looks as possible. Either way, the pics just go to show that the Play Arts Kai figures have great sculpts; just a shame that they are ruined by bad paintjobs.

      Yeah, sculpting from scratch would be something I did for .. say, Harbinger or Leviathan (also from Mass Effect) because I couldn’t think of a good base.

      I can understand that it’s time consuming and a pain in the ass I guess. Nice results though!

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