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Steff84

1:1 Custom Gremlin with Uzi / Step by step included

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Alright, time for me to go from “read only” to be an more active member of this board 😉

 

Firstly, if you only want to watch the images, that’s totally fine. But if you are interested in my original thoughts and the way I went to make this piece, get some coffee (or tee) and strap in.

 

Also I’m not a professional, that said, there might be better solutions to my work. Please let me know! And don’t take my words as the way to go. It just worked (mostly) for me 😉

 

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Where everything began:

When I was 9 years old, I saw the movie gremlins 2 and was fascinated by the creatures and fell in love with them. From this day on, I always wanted a 1:1 Mohawk Gremlin. Lets fast forward 16 years, when I found some vinyl model kit Gremlin on ebay. I didn’t know much about those kits, I only had planes and tanks as a kid. Well, I was so excited I bought 2 kits, only to find out a little later, that they were recasts. I thought they were not worth the time and effort to build and paint, but somehow, I tried anyway. Even though I finished the first one I never felt good about it. It was just not “the” mohawk. 8 years later I found the second kit in the basement and thought why not search again for the real deal. I found an original Kit, but unfortunately the seller was not trustworthy. I don’t spend 2500 on a kit when I don’t get actual and new pictures of it. Anyway, I decided to make this darn recast my own model. I believe Steve Wang once said a good paint job can safe a bad model and a bad paintjob will ruin a great model. So I just had to do a good paint job 😉

 

My initial Plans with the kit:

I’m sure everybody has seen some of those gremlin kits. To me, they all look kind of lifeless. All have the same out of the box pose, the eyes are dead, the paint jobs don’t match my likings and the kit has a little smile/grin. I wanted to create a more dynamic pose (as far as vinyl will allow it), more realistic eyes, open mouth and somehow, he needed to have an Uzi because I love the scene where Mohawk grabs the Uzi in the lab. But I also wanted to be able to remove the Uzi and the spines. For looks and for transportation. I figured magnets would be a good idea for this kind of removal. For the Paint job I wanted to mix steve wangs original design with my own and keep the main pattern screen accurate, since I love how it looks in the movie, not the real puppet. The biggest problem were the eyes. I wanted to be able to move them. I don’t like that the eyes are fixed in one direction. If you move your piece it might look into the wrong direction.

 

Building process:

The feet are the foundation to a good stand, so I heated them, pressed them on the ground and cooled them off with cold water. The legs were bent to create the illusion of carrying weigh and being in motion rather than standing upwards and almost stretching the legs. To make them fit the feet, I heated them again and pressed them against the feed and cooled em off. Again, and again and again, till it all lined up the way I wanted.

 

I’m sorry about the image quality for the how to process, they mostly are still exports from the videos.

 

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I did the same with the torso. Find the position of the torso, cut and trim the legs and heat and cool them until they were the way they would carry the weight.

 

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Always test the pose and stand before going to the next parts. This goes for all the parts: Arms, hands, fingers.

 

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To give it more strength while building and preventing the vinyl from warping later on, I decided to fill the gremlin with plaster. The first 5cm I used hobby building plaster. After that I went on the more expensive but sturdier material called Art Stone. It really gets hard and heavy.

 

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I filled and remodeled all seams with Apoxie Sculpt. Easy to work with and super strong when dry.

 

For the empty hand I wanted a more aggressive pose with slight curl in the fingers. I cut pieces out of the joints to be able to bent the vinyl. Later I filled those gaps with Apoxie Sculpt and remodeled the details.

 

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I bought a Airsoft Uzi (plastic) and emptied it out, so it would be as light as possible. To make the hand fit the gun, I cut off the thumb, put good portion of Apoxie Sculpt on the hand and pressed it against the Uzi grip. Let it dry, remodeled the rest of the hand and put the thumb back on.

 

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To make the fingers removable, I cut them off, put in magnets into the hand and fingers and remodeled the knuckles to hide the seam. I used cling wrap to prevent the apoxie to bond with the other part of the hand. I used the same method for the hand and uzi part.

 

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I also put 3 magnets into the palm and 1 into the arm. Those magnets are holding the Uzi. I drilled holes into the Grip and stock of the Uzi and fixed the magnets with apoxie. I used the strongest and smallest magnets I could find. One should hold around 900g.

 

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Since I wanted to fill the whole model with art stone, I had to make sure the plaster has something to grip on between the parts (I hope you understand what I mean). I used metal rods so the hand wouldn’t slip off when somehow damaged. Also keep the opening smaller.

 

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I had to do stuff ghetto style… ^^

 

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Left hand attached to the arm. Looks way more dynamic.

 

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It was tedious and very time consuming to merge the lower and upper arm together. Cut off a lot of material of both parts, find the posing, taping it, marking it, rearrange, tape again, cut, and so on. When I finally found the position I liked, I marked both pieces so I would know how to rotate and place it exactly. I bent steel rods and filled it partially with art stone.

 

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To get the arms fillable I posed them, glued them (for temporarily fix) and remodeled the gaps with apoxie sculpt. This way I would have a hard and seamless shell for the art stone.

 

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For the eyes itself I used the base idea of Fairysnmypond . I used Glass marbles (I think I used 25mm) and dremeled out the iris part. Instead of painting it, I designed the Iris in Photoshop, printed it out and glued it in place. To blend in, I painted the edge of it black, so the paper would not show a white line. After that I filled it with resin to reshape a nice dome.

 

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I painted it red and the veins in dar red/brown. I finished up with a high gloss coat. (not shown in this picture). I used Damien canderles design of the eyes as a reference. I always loved those eyes more than the ones in the movie.

 

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To make them movable I came up with a strange solution. I would be interested if you have any better ideas. It works but I for future projects I would like to have a better one.

I made a cup style socket and glued some padding in. this way I can push the eye a little bit in and turn it, without it getting scratched. It had to be waterproof because I was gonna fill all up with art stone…

 

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To get the open mouth the way I wanted, I had to cut off the lower jaw and a good portion of both pieces.

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For the Gums I made a a base out of wire, wrapped it in aluminum foil. I used water-based clay to build up the gums so I would not waste apoxie sculpt or super sculpey. While modeling, I pressed it into the jaws to get a perfect fit.

 

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For the teeth I used fimo translucent. I simply didn’t want to spend so much money on acrylic, make molds and so on. Just to make acrylic teeth it would have cost me around 250$ for the material. Art stuff is expensive here (Switzerland). The fimo I used looks like real teeth after the clear coat. And it cost me around 4 bucks. I modeled all the teeth and finished the gums.

 

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I painted the gums and teeth before the rest due to the fact that I would not be able after assembling everything. I made the tongue out of translucent fimo too.

 

I use transparent colors so I can mix it on the model itself too. The teeth got a yellow/brownish tone at the base on the final paintjob.

 

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Next I found the position for the mouth and glued it with epoxy in place, after I heated the outer part of the vinyl to get a fit as close as possible. Again, just temporarily. You can see how big the gaps and missing material was.

 

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I remodeled the inner and outer part of the mouth/jaws.

 

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After the face was done, I took care of the ears. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the process. I flattened, bent them the way I wanted, cut off material to get the bend I wanted and filled them with art stone. I used metal rods that would go into the head, so the art stone could grab something. At the same time, I closed the mouth on the inner side. That way no art stone would come out while pouring the head.

 

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I wanted him to have a more upwards position. The original kit has a monkey like neck that goes to the front. I don’t like that. Also I wanted to tilt the head a little bit, creating a more dynamic pose.

 

I filled the whole with paper and modeled a basic shell out of water-based clay. After it was dry I took out the paper and added the details on the outside with apoxie sculpt. This way I get a strong outside bond.

 

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To secure the head even more I added a steel rod

 

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After remodeling all the seams and blending the parts together the building process was finished. Or was it?

 

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No it wasn’t! I noticed some stability problems in his legs. Over time he woud bend slights forward, because of 2 problems.

 

1.       The upper and lower legs had no stabilization in them

2.       Since everything is filled with art stone, the arms are pulling a liiiiiiittle bit.

 

To fix those problems I made the tose slightly angled to the back and drilled holes through the legs and added steel rods to prevent them from bending.

 

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After 3 months of building, it was finally time for priming and painting! Yey!


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The Uzi I painted with a mix of steel effect spray, light and dark grey. Hard to describe. I used reference images and tried to replicate it. Weathering was veeeery subtle. I used some green, brown and blue. Very carefully. The scratches were done with a nail file stick (those bendables), sprayed on with chrome and scratched of the edges. This way it will actually scratch the surface a little bit and give it a more realistic look.

 

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Painting the Gremlin!

I don’t have a lot of pictures, I’m sorry. I will list some of the steps but can’t go into all of them. It took me 2 weeks (every day working for 5-8 hours on it) to finish it. A lot wont show on pictures (as you know).

 

I started with a very light beige base color. Again, I work with transparent colors and mix everything myself so I can’t tell you exact colors. I work with Schmincke airbrush colors.

 

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Followed by a darker skin tone. Always checking the reference pictures. I don’t just spray it on. I go over with circle motions and leave areas out that should be lighter. Belly, arm parts and so on. I don’t like the look of painted hard shadows into the folds and muscles. In most of the cases it looks not realistic.

 

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To give the skin more pattern, I went over and di a loooooot of this veiny looking lines with a dark brown. They will not show so dominant at the end.

 

Later I would go over and do red veins and some blue and green ones. On top of that comes a coat of the base skin tone to blend it in. this way It will look like the veins are really under the skin.

 

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Moles

 

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Another technique I used was splattering the skin with brow, red and blue. It will give the skin more texture. Those splatters will lose intensity after the top coat of skin tone.

 

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As I mentioned I went in with reddish for some veins. I also layed out where the thin skin parts would be and more blood vessels would show. Hands and feet are more reddish for example.

 

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After the base skin was done, I started with all the spots. There…..are…..sooooooo many of them. I recommend doing them with the airbrush. On my first gremlin I used a brush and the were too clean and sharp. This time I used a 0.15 needle and very close to the surface. This way they would look natural and not too sharp, but not just sprayed on. I hope you get what I mean 😉


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More dots

 

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More details

 

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I layed out more or less the original pattern of the ears. And started finding the right color. Always the same process. Finding the right color, adding details like veins, moles and other texture.

 

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With every layer of details, I found something more I wanted to add or fix. For example, the greenish tone of the majority part. I was too green so I went over with grey and corrected with blue to get a more screen accurate color.

 

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But at some point I had to call it and clear coat it.

 

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After the clear coat was dry.

 

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All parts layed out.

I did the spines the same way as the fingers. Wrapped everything in cling wrap, remodeled the spines and added apoxie sculpt at the base to blend in to the back/head. I used 2 magnets for the had spines and 3 for the back part.

 

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Finished! Or not?

Oh, there was another thing. I made a temporarily stand to make absolutely sure he wouldn’t fall over 😉

 

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Finished!

 

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Even though I couldn’t show you everything it felt like closing this project. I have hours and hours of video footage. First, I thought I would do a complete tutorial but I doubt people would really be interested in it and it would take weeks over weeks doing it.

 

Thank you very much if fought through all of this 😉

 

I would really like to hear your opinion, questions and tips. Critique is always welcome. Without it I could not grow. So be honest.

 

Kind Regards,

Stefan

 

Edited by Steff84

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Stunning piece of work and a great write up.   Thanks for sharing.

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To be honest !! i like it a lot....

Maybe i should have used chicken wire and paper clay to keep the neck light and strong and then finish it as you did...

Paper clay is very light and sturdy product when dry and also easy to sand..

Your  result is stunning  i neve would have done it better ...

 

cheers, Jan

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You surely turned this one into a gem... Those veins in the ears are fantastic...

 

Looks like it ran away from the movie. I don't know nothing about painting figures, monsters and the like, but I like what I see here... Somebody on another forum paints mostly Predators, and he uses another technique for the skin tones: 

 

https://www.modelbrouwers.nl/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=50533&start=10

 

Thx for sharing...

 

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Wow, thank you all for the very kind words! I really appreciate it! 

 

@janneman36 oh boy, not only for the neck, the gum base would have been faster and less bulky with it! thx for the input, I didn't even think about it when looking for a solution ^^

 

@Silenoz, wow thx for the link. very interesting, even though I don't understand dutch ^^ (hearing maybe, but not reading). It looks like he doesn't go with a complete different method. to me it looks like base color, pattern under the skin, top coat skin color and from there adding more and more details to the "upper" skin. maybe I have to translate the stuff ^^. I did a female predator and wasn't really sure how do it on this scale. I will save this link for sure for future projects! thx again.

 

@Josip haha, too kind! I appreciate it but I'm surely not qualified for it :D

 

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I thought this was the Ready For Inspection forum, not the Work In Progress 😡

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Obviously a true Labour of love,with a fantastic end result.

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What a way to break out of the shadows! Superb piece of art :clap2:

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@Carts Thank you, you really nailed my intentions.

 

@Mike, :D  thank you, I appreciate it! I will try to stay out of the shadows as good as possible ^^

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Amazing work!! A truly excellent result!

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Wow.  He looks so real any reasonable person would turn and run if they saw him.

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That's incredible, way to make the best of a dodgy recast. The layers in the skin are just amazing.

 

I'm guessing he must weigh an awful lot?

 

Will

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@badger Thank you very much!

@Natter I hoped so, but the kids (not mine) are not scared, they actually like him. But I can't blame them since I had the same when I was that age ;)

@Will Vale Thanks Will, that is very nicely said hahaha. I still have not given up on a original Kit. he weights around 14.5kg (32lbs). Pretty heavy, but no chance of warping :)

 

Stefan

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