Instructables

Homemade Action Figures

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Thank you for the featured status!  I am glad to see my work was appreciated.

I decided that for Christmas last year I was going to make my family something special. I settled on the idea for a video game-based statue for my Mom.  But what awesome thing could I make for my brothers and close friends?  I decided to make homemade action figure versions of them (and myself).

Here is a list of the supplies I used:
-Base figure
-Modeling clay
-Wax + Melting pot
-(Optional) Hot plate/Individual burner
-Paint (I used Testors model kit paint)
-Paint brushes (Should be obvious)
-Dremel
-Sharp knife of some kind
-Super glue
-Baking soda
-Urethane plastic mix
-Silicone rubber mix
-Sculpting tool set
-Slight sculpting skill
-Hot glue gun and glue sticks
-Heavy duty page protectors
-Heat gun
-Card stock, or thick paper
-Creative use of materials
-TIME (Possibly the most important thing)

(By the way, if you ever plan to make homemade gifts, be sure to start before November. Learn from my mistake.)
 
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Step 1: Initial attempts

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).
tdavis68 months ago
Expensive mistake seal plaster by coating with vaseline as the parting compound. THe how to make your own blister packs is about to save my life I have done a bunch of figurines total to be 500 in the end and I need packaging. Thanks for this great information!
skittlespider (author)  tdavis68 months ago
Yeah, that was an expensive (and time consuming) mistake ... but you have to learn that way sometimes.

I am glad the packaging I came up with will help you out though. Maybe you can play around with some different materials and figure out a way to make them look more like professional blister packs.

If it works out, be sure to make an instructable about it. I'd love to see some of your figures!
cgreer61 year ago
Do you think sculpey would work? Because I have lots of sculpey and I want to make a action figure of a cartoon character...but I dunno If that'll work...
skittlespider (author)  cgreer61 year ago
Yeah, sculpey should work just fine. I've never really used it myself, but I am sure it would be fine.

Also you could just use the sculpey itself and skip the mold making part too. I just really wanted my parts to be made out of plastic.
coolin19992 years ago
it is a lot easier to use hot glue
iamde1233 years ago
i got some Urethane plastic mix and i made a mini me
:) awsome
skittlespider (author)  iamde1233 years ago
Nice! It is pretty awesome, isn't it?
iamde1233 years ago
Urethane plastic mix is expesive
skittlespider (author)  iamde1233 years ago
I agree, but the results looks very nice.
Sonic speed3 years ago
I would make one of my self,see ya!
skittlespider (author)  Sonic speed3 years ago
Yeah, I did make one of me. It was a fun process, but with something like this it is easy to get carried away. It is hard to finish one of yourself, because you can't get everything perfect. (Unless you are really good at sculpting)
dehlome3 years ago
Wow, that is some awesome work. You have made me want to see this comic now.
skittlespider (author)  dehlome3 years ago
Thanks! I'm glad you liked them.

I wish I could show you the Skipper Drive series, but unfortunately the only season was lost due to a failed hard drive years ago. We attempted to recreate it, but had another hard drive issue. (Maybe that series is just cursed)
Well, Im sure it was funny. But a great instructable none the less!
skittlespider (author)  dehlome3 years ago
Thanks again!

If we ever try to make it a third time, I'll let you know.  We just need to remember one important thing next time: Make back up copies of everything
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