Mini-Moribund Mini-Moribund

The Birth of Mini-Peter
Action Figure Modification by Nikki, January 27-29, 2007

If I'd known that this project would turn out so well and that Mini-Peter would end up with his own website, I would have taken pictures as I was making him. As it is, I've done my best to go back and find the stuff I used to give you some idea of the process.

Mini-Eddie The First: Eddie Izzard
It all started about five years ago, when I made an Eddie Izzard figure. Military action figure were very popular at that time, so I just found one that already sort of looked like Eddie and altered him by adding extra hair (sculpted from hot glue), heating his hands with a lighter and forming them into gestures he often used in his stand-up, and I planned to make clothes. I never finished, as you can see. It just didn't look enough like him, so I got bored and gave up. Maybe I'll finish now, so Mini-Peter will have a friend. I suppose he doesn't look that bad.

Trying Again
A certain PG Eastoon got me thinking I should give it another go.
"Who wouldn't love a Rockpalast Peter Gabriel action figure?" I asked myself. I certainly would! I had fully planned to be lazy again, but this time around I couldn't find a figure that looked anything like Peter. In fact, I had a lot of trouble finding any action figures at all. Military toys have fallen out of popularity these days, I guess. But I did find this Navy Seal with gloves (the one on the left)...
Navy Seals

clay Making the Head
I'd never sculpted anything before... except for a life-sized nose in 4th grade that I swear looked just like John Lennon's... but the clay dried too quickly for me to finish his face. Anyway, that was 17 years ago, so it doesn't really count. Learning from my old mistake, I picked up some clay that wouldn't dry until it was cooked. I chose a skin tone but I ended up having to paint the whole head anyway.

Working at Work
I'm currently a projectionist at an 11-screen cinema. It's not a career, but the cool thing about this job is that once all the movies have started, there's only so much you can clean. I get a lot of reading and writing done, and Game Boy playing. I brought the clay with me that weekend and sculpted Mini-Peter's head over two nights, about five hours each night. Yeah... I have that much free time in an eight hour closing shift!! If you think about it, I essentially got paid to sculpt those two nights. Cool job, or what??

Mini-Peter came to work with me one night and learned his way around the booth, which can be seen in the adventure
The Mini-Projectionist.

iPod My Best Friend
I love my iPod a little too much. This was the other thing that made sculpting at work possible... I loaded up a bunch of pictures of Real Peter (okay, I confess, they were in there already), and used them as reference. I tried to use mostly screencaps from the Rockpalast show, but I ended up using various photos from about 1978-1983 to get all the details I needed. A co-worker came upstairs and saw me working, and he actually had sculpting experience, so he gave me some advice: "1) Take your time, and 2) it looks better than you think it does." I liked #1, anyway... I'm far too self-critical to follow #2. I took my time and worked until I felt I'd reached the point where if I tried to perfect it anymore, I'd just risk messing it up. There's no "undo" key in sculpting!! I did have to start over on the mouth once. I did the eyes last, and for some reason they were a lot easier than I thought they'd be. The nose was the hardest part, then it got smashed on the way home so I had to fix it, and it never quite looked as good as it had before. ARGH!

Tools etc.
I didn't buy any fancy sculpting tools because they were all way too expensive. I just used my fingers for shaping the head, and this tiny flat screwdriver was used for most of the detail. Here's where Action Figure Modification gets morbid... This is the head that came on the Navy Seal's body. I just yanked it right off, cut off the bottom of the neck where it attached to the body, and hot glued that piece to the bottom of Mini-Peter's head.
head and tools

paint Painting
I used acrylic paint and two brushes, and a clear spray-on top coat to protect it. This piece of wood was the "handle" on which I sculpted, cooked and painted the head, until it was ready to be put on the body. The gloves and shoes also had to be painted. There was a lot of mixing to get the right shades for everything, and I didn't have much experience in that, either, so I ran out of white and had to get extra.

The Clothes
I used scraps from one of my own old work shirts to make Mini-Peter's shirt, and I found that this canvas tote (on the left) was actually cheaper than buying fabric for the jeans. It had a good denim texture, too. I did have to hit the fabric store for the vest, though. I used the Navy Seal's jumpsuit as a rough guide for patterns. I'm not really very good at sewing, so I used hot glue. Have you figured out yet that hot glue is my friend? And I only burned myself once!

In January 2008, Mini-Peter got new clothes. They're pretty much the same as his old ones, except sewn. They look and fit better, and they're washable - a big improvement!

Mini-Peter and head The Final Stretch
On the third day (a day off from work), I was so excited about finishing that I worked for ten hours straight (not including first driving around for supplies for two hours). On that day, I got so involved in my project that all I ate was a hard boiled egg, a small cup of microwaved soup, and half an avocado (I had the first half the night before while watching the head cook). I only ate the egg because my grandmother gave it to me when I stopped by her house to pick up some white fabric I didn't end up using, and I only ate the soup to steady my hand for painting the face... I ate the avocado because I was getting a SERIOUS headache by about 10pm. I just couldn't bring myself to stop long enough to eat, which is yet another reason I have no plans to do this again. (I similarly "fasted" while sewing his Halloween clothes - you'd think I'd have learned my lesson, but nooooo.) Creative projects are not healthy for me! ;-) I finished at around 3am, took some pictures with my phone (which can be seen in the Bonus Photos section), and CRASHED OUT. I had to open at work the next day, too. Ah well... it was worth it. Don't you think?

The Cleanup
I skipped this part, and I paid for it with a stained carpet. I was so exhausted in the end that I just left the little paint containers all over the floor for a few days, until my next day off. Somehow, the dark blue opened and spilled. I really ought to do something about that... it's still there, over a year later.