My original attempt at action figures turned out to be a failure just like my initial Dr. Mario
attempt. My original plan was to actually sculpt the entire figure. My idea was to use the same body for every figure and have different paint colors, head/hair and accessories to add individual characteristics to the figures.
I started by making small joints out of wood and metal for the elbows, knees, hips, shoulders, wrists, ankles, waist and neck. After that, I used the modeling clay to sculpt the body. I did a decent job, but I could not get a good head at that scale. I also ran into proportion issues. After putting a lot of time into this figure, I put all the parts together and decided it didn't look as good as I had hoped.
After abandoning my other attempt, I went to Wal-Mart and looked through their G.I. Joe figures. I found one called "Tunnel Rat" that looked like he was in street clothes. I bought the figure and took it home. I divided the figure up into pieces and made a plaster mold, because I still was going to use my idea for keeping the figures with the same body. Having a mold of it would mean I could reproduce the figure's body as many times as I needed.
After I made the mold, I sculpted five heads for the figures. I tried to keep everything similar in size to the original. They didn't look that good, but I thought after being painted it would look better. I then made a separate mold for the heads out of plaster.
Instead of purely white plastic, I wanted to make the arms and faces first, so I mixed in some plastic dye to make a skin tone. This was on Christmas morning along with my failed Dr. Mario, and it suffered a similar fate. I found out the hard way that apparently plastic and plaster fuse together. I tried desperately to pry the plastic out of the mold, but it was no use. (An expensive mistake).