As I mentioned here: The Mighty Mugg Challenge part 1, I have received a blank Mighty Mugg from the mighty Jon Schindehette and I decided to turn it into a tiny Strahd Von Zarovich with a big head. (Edit: there is now a Mighty Mugg Challenge part 3 that can be found here.)
There were a few challenges, for one, we never get to see Strahd’s feet on the Caldwell illustrations, in fact, we don’t see a heck of a lot of his feet even in the more recent images. Also, I like Strahd because he looks dignified and melancholy, his whole point is that he made a choice that turned his existence into a tragedy, so even if some of the new Strahd illustrations are perfectly competent and enjoyable, I can’t imagine Strahd as a young punk in colorful clothes. It’s hard to speak of dignity and tragedy with a short big-headed cartoon silhouette but I’m doing my best. I also decided that Strahd is not Strahd without a billowing cloak, so I decided I would sew a tiny cloak for him. I’m a pattern designer by training but I have never done anything like that. We’ll see how that turns out.
I’m not convinced I will keep the Louis XIV style buckle shoes, I feel that they might clash a little with his end-of-the-19th-century type suit. Strahd was a forward thinker, always before his times.
I also did some research on DIY toys and found a lot of advise. But I’m not entirely sure the figure I have is vinyl, I don’t know much about those but I was under the impression they were slightly soft and rubbery. The little guy I have is hard plastic, he’s also light gray and not entirely all of the same color, unlike the blank Mighty Muggs I saw on Hasbro’s website. Maybe he’s a production Mugg who just didn’t get painted? Nevertheless, I have figured that plain gesso should do the trick as a primer. But first, he got a dunk in the sink with dish soap and a good scrub to make sure the chemical stuff that goes into mold to make the plastic release easily is gone.
The next step was primer. I used regular acrylic gesso that I already had instead of buying something specific that I might never re-use. I just brushed it on in 4 thin layers letting him dry properly between layers. Then I gave him a light sanding with 220 sandpaper and when he was cleaned of gesso dust and dry, I drew the lines on him with a colored mechanical pencil.
I never entirely assembled the figure because I didn’t want to pry it apart with a knife or something if it got stucked, but I did assemble it partly to have a good idea of how the parts fit. I painted him with normal acrylic paint. I was careful to mix enough of it that I wouldn’t have to remix the same color, since I wanted him in rather flat colors. His body parts were stucked on skewers to dry.
Painting precise lines on a curved surface is harder than it looks.Now I just did a layer of varnish and in the next installment, I’m going to show what he looks like assembled, and I’m going to figure out how to give him a cloak.
I’m also planning a complete Mighty Mugg how-to for Jon’s ArtOrder blog.