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Songbird custom


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UPDATE: Final images now at the bottom!




Hey all,


New here and working on my first action figure custom (exciting times)... I picked songbird because her costume is simple and tight with a few simple additional elements on top which seemed like a good and easy choice for a start.


I'm trying a bit of a different approach using 3d printing in the hope to get more options and flexibility down the road. I've printed some of my work before like http://dl.dropbox.co...d292db757_c.jpg but doing an articulated action figure always seemed rather daunting. I'm in the middle of some vacations so I happen to have time to try things out!. Resins seem to be getting better with different types and properties to pick from so I think it should be doable.


I don't have a print with all the joints I've done so far, only from the first test with a knee joint.

I didn't bother printing head and arms as there was nothing there to see yet. I'm still trying out different materials seeing which one will work best. This print one was done with the default resin, not the best detail fidelity and smoothness but slightly cheaper than others. Turned out better than I thought it would.

Since it was just a test it was all printed as 1 piece. Later, things like the Belt would be separate with a peg to attach it to the body, that way it should bend up when needed rather than restrict leg movement, plus I like the idea of separate layers and depth to make the figure look more 3d.



I was worried about the joints (still am about some). I wanted to create the same type of joints regular figures have (without the holes on the sides) and the pieces had to pop all in place, stay there and be tight.

To my own surprise it worked, joint popped in well (used some hot water just in case) and is as tight as they are on your average new figure.



Her height will be around 17cm / 6.7 inches with hair which felt about right to work with DC, MOTU, Marvel Select and the old larger Marvel legends (not a big fan of the shorter and spindly newer ones).

Since her parts are just printed, she can be scaled to any size, as long as the joints are still strong enough. After Songbird I'd like to do some larger ones like Skadi from Marvel's Fear and Titania, that would be anywhere around 18-20cm or 7.3'' - 7.87'' that would look proper with other larger Marvel Select figures.



I took some time today and gave her a quick paint job with regular acrylics to see what I was getting into and how the resin took on the idea of getting painted. Didn't wait for the paint to dry so coverage is meh. That aside, paint adheres to it better than it does on regular plastics so far.



So, by now the joints are all almost done, currently working on shoulders, then neck and wrists will be next. Hands are not posed yet.

The goal with the figure is to have a base on top of which I can model and sculpt any hero or figure of my design that I want, and then just print it out without much fuss. Also I'm trying to find a good balance between articulation and body outline, I'd rather be closer to MOTU than the current marvel legends where the human form is simplified and disregarded too much.


The original model I made is rigged so I'll have different posed, swappable hands and premade hair styles that can be pegged on her head.

Also, I sculpted an additional version with pronounced musculature that I can gradually turn on or off to get the physique I want for the current character.

I can also transfer any gear/chothes etc to the rigged version and print out a posed bust... if I wanted that, takes some minor work and faces would need more than a neutral expression.


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And Songbird so far, leg detail still missing and everything was modeled for the rigged version originally, so the costume details flow over the joints atm, I'll fix that at the end.

Her hair was done but was limiting head movement too much so I have to redo that after the remaining joints are done.




That's all for now I think... I'll update if there's anything interesting to see, which may not be that soon.

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Almost done with Songbird...


New hair should allow enough head movement. Costume has been broken down to work with articulation.

Shoulder pads still need tweaks to not block shoulder rotations... legs and feet are still missing some details.

Waiting for second print to see which/if joints need more work.



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quite a lovely sight to behold, Strangefate, thx for sharing this project with us. the sculpt looks really nice, and i dig that you're using 3D to sculpt and print. what software application are you using to design your figure? is it just one app, or are you using a combination of different ones? also, what 3D printing service, if any, are you using, or do you own your own printer?


at some point, i would love to take time to learn how to digitally sculpt, engineer, etc. my action figures. for now, i prefer doing it "old-school" and learning the sculpting fundamentals, as well as the more subtle nuances of scratch-building a figure. still, your work is amazing to watch, so glad you are sharing your journey with us. please keep on updating with lots of pics, please, thx!




the "new"/current page...AFR Studio

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It's all being done in modo ( www.luxology.com ) and printed through www.shapeways.com


Don't have much to update right now, I've done some more stuff on Songbird fixing shoulder rotations with those pads and added some detail on the shoes but the rest needs to wait until all the joints work properly on the base figure or I'll be doing some things twice. Takes anywhere between 2-4 weeks to get a print back so it's a bit of a waiting game.


These are all the pieces that make up the base figure and how they get printed:




And in the meantime I figured I'd start on Skadi while I wait, she'll probably need slightly longer legs to give the right image, but that has to wait until all joints are confirmed working too.


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  • 2 weeks later...



All joints done and working. Some of them need minor tweaks (takes too much strength to plug them in etc).




She has a decent range of motion matching what I saw in 3D, the torso and neck were the only ones I couldn't really test out. Neck has a pretty decent range in all directions but the torso is rather limited, I'll have to see what I can tweak there now that I can see what the issues are.

I'm overall happy with the posed results, she has a decent range without sacrificing looks.





And that's it for now, I'll do tweaks over the next few days and order another print next week...


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  • 1 month later...

Glad you like it Joe!


I forgot to mention that the figure is on shapeways too: http://www.shapeways.com/shops/Strangefate


I need 1 last print to tweak some joints that were too hard to plug in (had to use a small drill to widen the wholes slightly) and after that I'll make some simple instructions about the assembly (don't plug left arm in right shoulder etc) and let people order their own prints, so everybody can have their own custom!.

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Thanks captain!



I painted and assembled the second print. This one was closer to 7 inch lines. First custom I painted so there were some things to learn... but after many painting accidents I got her done and coated.

The eyes I ruined and had to redo, don't look as good anymore :/


Having all details sculpted in, made it rather easy to paint otherwise, which of course did nothing to prevent my many, many painting accidents.


Some pictures below. There's some stepping artefacts here and there from the printing orientation which I hope will be fixed when I upload the (hopefully) last version to shapeways with some further joint tweaks, 1-2 small fixes to prevent paint rub and the print orientation thing... I just haven't been paying much attention to that one.








I've also updated the shapeways entries: http://www.shapeways.com/shops/Strangefate


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  • 2 months later...

thx again for keeping us updated on your custom 3d figure work. been a while since i visited your thread, so it's nice to get caught up a bit. Songbird came out reasonably nicely. i noticed the figure appears to have a texture to it...is this roughness typical in shapeways' 3d prints, or was it something you designed into the figure?



AFR Studio

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