Another week, another scramble.
Stupid holidays. Really threw me this week. I woke up thinking it was Tuesday, which means I haven’t bought my Powerball ticket yet, which means I might be missing my chance to quit the day job.
I’ll be at 7-11 later today.
A couple weeks ago, I posted my first Star Trek custom toy, ‘Red Shirt Retro Freddy’. It’s based off a Retro Freddy figure made by Funko. Funko, if you don’t know, started off making wobblers (bobbleheads) and then blew up with their Pop line of figures. If you haven’t seen a Pop figure, you’ve been pretty much living in a cave.
Even 7-11 carries them.
Last week, I decided to finish the second of four planned Trek Freddys. Obviously, with the first being a Red Shirt, two of the next three are mustard and blue so I can complete the TOS color scheme. The last one I figured I would have a little fun with.
Meet ‘#1 Fan’.
#1 Fan is based on a t-shirt I saw at ComicCon a couple years ago. I’ve seen the shirt online in a couple of places, just haven’t picked one up yet. When I was thinking of ‘fun’ customs, this one always bubbled to the surface. I didn’t do anything with it before now because Funko hadn’t released a figure with enough real estate to do the shirt logo justice. The space available for a graphic was always too small, or wasn’t flat enough for the logo to present well. But that’s no longer a problem. Retro Freddy has a nice, large, detail-free shirt to muck up.
Once again, the donor figure is a Gemini Exclusive Retro Freddy. Since I’m removing their logo from this piece, I figure I owe them a shout out. For those counting at home, reduce the edition size by one more. I usually boil the figure to soften the plastic and the glue so it’s easier to take them apart for repainting and applying the graphics. Freddy comes apart into a lot of tiny pieces. The shoes, pants, shirt, arms head, crown and the little balls on the crown are all separate. You don’t have to take the whole thing apart, but once you pull on the pants and the shoes come off, or the crown and the balls come off, you’re committed.
Word of warning: don’t lose your balls.
After that everything is pretty straight forward. Pick your colors, prime and paint. For this piece, the biggest challenge was the logo. I thought maybe I’d hand-paint it (no f-n way), make a screen for printing (too much money for a one off), a sticker (not a fan) or custom decals. I’ve never made my own decals before. I’ve seen lots of others do it. I’ve even advised people to do it. Never done it myself, mind you. Turns out, not as hard as you think.
I’m good with Photoshop and Illustrator so making the logo wasn’t that big of a deal. I downloaded a ‘Star Wars’ looking font and set my type. Finding an image of the Enterprise that was clean, easy to read, and somewhat cartoony took a while. The graphic from the original shirt becomes a blob at small sizes (the artwork is a little bigger than 1” by 1”). Many other images that I found either pixelated or became unreadable when reduced. I finally found a clean graphic based on the “Quogs” designs that came out about the same time as the first Abrams ‘Trek’ movie. If you’ve never seen Quogs, look them up in an image search. They were cute. And maybe a touch cynical. The Studio said it was a way to reach younger audiences. Critics said it was a way to capitalize on TOS without having to pay for using the actor’s likenesses. Either way, they didn’t work.
Except for me.
My biggest fear with decals was the fact that you print them on an inkjet printer. I’ve spilled water on inkjet pages before. I figured this would be a disaster. I had a hard enough time finding a clean, cartoony looking Enterprise for the shirt logo. I didn’t want to go to all the trouble of applying a decal only to watch it dissolve into a tie-die print. I wasn’t all that sure that the detail would reproduce to begin with anyway. But I tried it, and it worked. My advice, follow the instructions that come with the decal paper. Use the Setting and Solvent solutions as recommended. Also, watch lots of videos on water-slide decals. Most importantly, be patient. Do everything that you’re told to do to be successful and, amazingly, everything works as promised.
Since I held my breath the entire time I messed around with the decals, it was quite a relief to breathe again after everything set and I was happy with the results. Then it was a matter of clear coating everything and putting Freddy back together. Since I know longer require the help of the king’s men and king’s horses, this goes pretty smoothly. Apply glue, stick together, wait for the glue to dry. You do have to re-boil Freddy’s shirt to reattach the arms, which is not that hard, just be careful not to dip the decal back in the water. And you’ll have to boil the head to reattach it to the shirt in a way that the head still moves. I suggest boiling the top of the head when you put the crown back on so you can apply a little pressure and get a better bond.
And then you’re done.
Enjoy the irony or just plain smart-assery.
Whichever. I’m off to buy lottery tickets.