Custom Vinylmations

Walt Disney vinylmation
Another custom on small 3-inch platform, this time on Vinylmation. Disney has created a range of Vinylmations specifically for Create Your Own, there is a wide selection of products available.  There are 9inch blanks (and one with Mickey logo’s on to fill in) along with 3inch figures.  There have been Juniors CYO sets released in Japan but aren’t yet available in the US.  There is also a Glow in the Dark 9inch figure available plus a Lightening McQueen Car’s mold.  And if your artist skills aren’t as good as you would like, there are sticker sets for your CYO’s.  The blank toy was sent to me over the ocean by Linda from the USA, the very first person who trusted me with a commission. She bought me this gift in Disneyland in California.

I decided to paint it as Walt Disney and keep him on my desk as a tribute to the man who pushed the art of animation to the next level and shaped entertainment and toy industry all over the world. I know that the world he created is full of colors, but I made him black and white to match my Albert Einstein figure.
John Lasseter Vinylmation
My second custom was the tribute to John Lasseter, the man who created Pixar and pushed the boundaries in computer animation technology and storytelling with every movie coming out from the studio. I painted him on  3inch Vinylmation with his signature Hawaiian shirt illustrated with characters from Finding Nemo. He owns few hundreds of Hawaiian shirts, check this short interview on Youtube. He also collects toys and keeps them his office which looks like the toy shop.

I wanted to do something with Mickey’s ears. The first idea was to paint Luxo Jr playing with the ball. At the end, I decided to model them as 3-dimensional sculptures.Vinylmation Animation Visionaires

Here he is standing next to my previous Vinylmation Walt Disney. Both of them created first full length animated movies revolutionary in their technologies of that time and most successful of all times. I am always waiting impatiently for every new Pixar film.

Vinylmation portrait1
This is custom Vinylmation commissioned by Richard from the United States. He runs at races and already has an impressive collection of medals hanging on walls. He also collects vinyl figures, one per each trophy. They look really cool together, what a great idea for extra motivation. Richard asked me to paint him wearing his team colors and logo on 3-inch Vinylmation. I even modified Mickey’s feet to form actual running shoes. The rest was painted on top of the original figure. Portraits are tricky, but I agreed to give it a try and we are both happy with the end result.

Wish you all the best and even more gold medals!

Tutorial How to customize Vinylmation toy, Tips and tricks
What you need:
Vallejo paints
Clear coat
Sculpey, milliput
There are as many ways to customize toy as many artists doing that. Here, you will read the way I am doing it after many attempts, my own trials, and errors. Take this information as and advice, but do your own experiments and try to find your methods.
Let’s start with Vinylmation. I check it carefully for imperfections and seam lines. I sand them carefully especially on hands and sides of the body. If there are tiny holes, I will fill them with putty. I give the whole figure light sanding with fine sanding paper so to give it nice and even matt surface. When I  spray white primer it has something to hold on. At the beginning, I did not use primer and it worked fine but after few times when I accidently removed paint with the wet brush, I started using it. Especially on Vinylmations which are quite smooth.
When I add sculptural elements, I rough the surface in the area I am adding elements. If they are big, I would screw small screws which will later anchor the piece firm in place. When using Super Sculpey, It often slides off the figure when hardened. It’s usually not a big problem, I later superglue it in place. It sometimes cracks so I need to fill the spots with filler.
I like to use polymer clay when sculpting something organic and searching for shapes because it gives me unlimited time. When I want something durable or I know the shapes from the beginning, I would use milliput which only gives me 2 hours working time, but later can be sanded to very smooth finish and sharp edges. You can also use it to fill the holes and cracks and it sticks very well to the toy or hardened parts.
When priming or spray painting the Sculpey parts, check it on the small piece, is can often create sticky surface impossible to fix. I had this problem with Montana paints and few automotive primers. The same paints would create perfect finish on the vinyl toy or milliput parts. The same happens with sprayed clearcoat at the end, what can ruin your piece. In general, I clearcoat the Sculpey pieces with brushed acrylic varnish.
I paint my pieces with brushes and Vallejo acrylic paints. I usually make small figures so painting it with the brush makes more sense. When working with the bigger piece, I could use the airbrush to get the smooth finish without brush marks. If you are patient, you can get rid of them just using few layers of thinned paint and right size of the brush. When I started, I used round and very fine brushes for almost everything. I wasted time and got visible brush marks. Now I use the big and flat brush on bigger areas and don’t try to get finished color in one pass. I make 2 or 3 passes of watered color. I like Vallejo paints because they have good consistency and the great selection of colors right from the bottle, so when painting several times, I always get the same consistent color. Another advantage of bottles, they last for years without drying, what happened with my paints in jars. Over the years I assembled the rich palette of colors, adding few new bottles at the time when needed on a new project.
When I am painting the portrait on the Vinylmation, I start with research, I choose the best photo and open it in GIMP (open source photoshop) with the picture of a blank. I stretch the photo, cut and paste eyes, nose or mouth and modify it quickly to match the shape of Mickey’s head and check if it still looks similar to the person. I use this later as the reference to paint it on the figure.
When a figure is ready, I clearcoat it 2-3 times using gloss or matt finish.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *