I wasn’t planning on doing the grand unveil but since Yik outed it in the last post after I told him about it in person, I didn’t see the point of holding it back. Here’s what the finished base after some serious bits of work…

And here’s the figure that will go with it!

This particular Shirley kit was sold at the summer wonderfestival 2007 and I snapped it up at a (relatively) cheap price. It got a fair bit of attention at the event too, probably because it’s a really cute interpretation of one of the better Geass girls. Even Danny Choo got into it!

Unfortunately, once I actually got my hands on it, one thing became painfully clear. The kit, while very cute was also very VERY boring!!! I really have to wonder about the school swimsuit fetish after this one.
Anyway, after being heavily inspired by this model by Cody Kwok, I thought I would try and spice up the figure by making a custom base to suit the figure. And thus I embarked on my most ambitious mod to date!

Want to know how I did it? Read on!

Just one more pic before we get started…

This little project was started almost immediately after I finished Ignis, so about a month and a half ago. The base itself is made mostly of styrofoam so I had to go out and get that, and a tool to cut it at the same time.

In the end I settled for this Freehand hot wire cutter I bought from a nearby model shop along with the styrofoam.

The pros of using this as opposed to a larger, tabletop cutter is that it was much cheaper, £10 compared to £100, and since I am only planning on using it for this kit, it didn’t make much sense to splash out on so much.

The cons were that 1) it breaks easily. In fact, it died very close to the end of my cutting. (luckily I was able to finish the job off). and 2) Since it’s freehand, it’s really hard to do good geometric shapes so the base isn’t very circular…

But since I wasn’t going to pay £100 for a tabletop hot wire cutter, I had to make do. Luckily, the guys in the model show allowed me to use their display model to cut the very large styrofoam box I bought into a size closer to what I needed, so in the end, I got several blocks, which I thought would be useful in case I screwed up badly and had to restart. Below is a pic of the blocks and figma saber for a size comparison.
Look out for Saber in a future review.

The other side of the block is smooth due to the hot wire cutter so didn’t have to worry about the rough surface.

After that, I cut out a roughly circular shape out of the above block. I measured the diameter of the raised section of my usual black display base and used that as the size for my cut.

Next step was to cut the block above into thinner discs. The plan was to stack them on top of eachother to gain height where needed.

Also, the black base needed some attention. As there was going to be a water effect on the kit, having a totally black base would not be good as the black would make the water look very dark and absorb any colour I was thinking of adding. So I taped the outer edges and sprayed the raised section white to allow more light to be reflected back.

The above pic shows the base half way through the preparation. Once the edges had been completely covered, I used a modelling knife to cut away the excess tape. The left half above shows that part done while the right still needed to be done. Once the excess was cut, I sprayed the base with white primer.

And here’s what the bits looked like when all was said and done. A section of the styrofoam discs were cut off as that was where the water was going to be.

Next up was painting the stryofoam to get the tiled effect. Paintwise, I mixed a very small amount of brown wash with lots of acrylic thinner and then white paint last. Strangely, if I did it in a different order, I would end up with a colour much darker than I could use.
In any case, the ultra light brown paint was then sprayed over one surface of the Styrofoam discs. Now here’s the clever bit. Taking a page off Cody Kwok, I stuck some sandpaper onto a ruler and then used the ruler to etch some grooves into the painted styrofoam. The resulting lines gave a similar look to the caulk seen between tiles.

Again, the etching was done freehand so there are some minor discrepancies. Not all the lines are equal distance from eachother, but they are parallel. Finally, one more section of one of the discs was cut off and the exposed side painted and etched like the rest. That was to provide the step for the poolside base.
All the above took us to the point which I posted last week.

To stick everything together, I used UHU POR glue, an expansive glue which doesn’t react with styrofoam and melt it, like a lot of other glues. Also, since it was expansive, I was able to use it to fill in a few gaps in the connections between parts.

Now for the fun part…

In Codys example above, he used resin to create the water effect. The only problem is that resin is expensive and can only be bought in quite large amounts. It’s also toxic and difficult to handle. So after talking to the guys in the local model shop, I got a tub of this:

Basically, this is a material which has the consistancy of Jelly (or Jello, for those of you on the west side of the pond). You indirectly heat the stuff inside the tub (basically you place the tub into hot water to let it melt. The same technique used to melt chocolate in cooking) and it becomes molten and can be poured. It’s then allowed to cool and become solid afterwards. So I heated up the material, poured some into a separate container and added a few drops of blue wash to give it some colour and then poured it into a makeshift trap on the base itself.

As you can see in the pic, some of the material leaked out. see? FUN!!!

Unfortunately, the blue proved to be too deep a colour so I added some more molten material to try and dilute the colour a bit, which half worked.
The blue was made lighter but the colour became uneven and so you can see lines of blue on in the water block as it didn’t diffuse out enough. But to top it off, I added a further, totally clear layer of scenic water material to raise the level a bit and to make it a little more realistic, since water only gets darker, the deeper you go.

The hand rail was simply an aluminium rod bent to shape. A small hole was drilled into the styrofoam step to hold it in place while the Scenic water solidified and provided further support.

And that is how I made the custom base. In total, I think I spent around £40 for everything, including the tools, The experience was very evil and will make me reconsider any harebrained schemes and mods I will think up in the near future.

As for Shirley herself, at the time of writing this post, she has been cleaned, prepped and primed awaiting her paint job. She was prepped in record time owing mainly to the fact that she’s an official kit (they always require less sanding and preparation compared to recasts) and she only has a very small number of parts. 10 pieces in total. Just to give you a reference, Ignis was around 27 parts and  Yoko was 20.

In any case, there’s a good chance that I will be able to finish this kit and enter her into the e2046 winter competition. I don’t think I’ll get very far but it’ll be fun.

On another note, I purchased 2 kits from e2046 and they arrived last weekend. I’ll post up first impressions soon-ish as they highlight one of the main points why I tend to go the extra mile and get official kits and not rely on recasts: the quality roulette.

Oh, and I’m also playing Super robot wars Z. BIG O!!! SHOWTIME!!!!