Hair is one of the most difficult things to sculpt. Minimate hair is slightly easier than larger figures due to their simplified style, but it can still be a daunting task. Today I am going to show you how I sculpted the hair on the Wonder Girl minimate pictured at left.
I applied the face decal before starting on any sculpting, as it would be very difficult to apply the decal later. Also, once you sculpt a hair piece onto a minimate, it is almost impossible to remove without breaking it. There are some methods like applying baby powder to the surface beforehand that can work with larger figures, but they don’t translate as well to the minimate size.
I used Apoxie Sculpt, because of its strength and versatility. After mixing a small amount of the two compounds together, I let it sit on my desk for 5 minutes before I start working with it. Apoxie Sculpt can be a little sticky at first, but this rest period will help with that. Next, I made a thin, flat disc shape that is about twice as wide as a minimate head.
I set the disc on top of the minimate head, with most of the disc hanging off the back of the head. Then I folded it down around the sides. This layer is going to be the base layer, and I will be adding hair on top of this. The overall shape of this layer is not crucial, because very little of it will be visible in the final product. Make sure to keep the hair off the minimate torso, and higher than where the shoulders will be. Also, try not to touch your face decal in the front, as colored epoxy can stain decals. I used my fingernail to make the part in her hair. This is important, because all of the additional layers I placed on this piece started at this part.
For the next layer, I made a thin, flat, long triangle shape in my hand. I pressed the base of it at the part line, and draped it across the head towards the back. I flipped the end of the triangle up to give the hair a little bit of flow. This is how most of my layers were added. They will be in different places along the part line, and some will get more flips and twists than others, but they all started with a long triangle shape. I smooth them out as I go with a tiny amount of water. If you want to eliminate finger prints altogether you can wear latex gloves.
Here is the next layer I applied. You can see it was a very, very long triangle. I gave it even more twist and flow than the last layer. You can do this with your fingers, or twirl it around the end of a paint brush. Make sure to keep the hair higher than where the shoulder of the arm will be.
I continued to add more layers one at a time using the same method I described above. Here is a shot from the rear showing how these layers sit on the base layer. I used my fingernail to give some of the strands a little notch near the part for some additional detail. I also continued to make everything as smooth as possible without losing the overall shape of the hair. Wonder Girl has very loose and flowing hair, so I wanted to capture that with these strands.
At this point your hair piece may have pressed down against your minimate torso. You can slide a hobby knife in this groove and lift it up again. You should also double check that your hair isn’t going to interfere with your minimate’s shoulders. You should check this again in an hour or two, as the clay might have fallen slightly over time. After two hours, you won’t be able to make any more adjustments.
Here is a similar example of how I did Kid Flash’s hair. In this case, I started with a base layer, and then I only added four additional wide strands. I used my fingernail to add in the detail on top. Here the final product is pictured at left.
I hope you found this tutorial to be helpful. Sculpting your own hair can really open up the possibilities for new minimates, as many characters do not fit a standard factory hair piece. Apoxie Sculpt is my personal favorite sculpting material, and it is available in the Customizing Supplies section of my store. Good luck with all of your sculpts!
Article by ~ Luke Porter of Luke’s Toy Store