I've become slightly obsessed with collecting Funko Pops over the last year or so. I check their blog for new releases and if I fall in love with a movie I immediately hop on Amazon to see if there are any Pop Vinyls to make my love more official. I'm really bummed that they don't have the license for Jurassic Park or Jurassic World, I mean I *NEED* an Ian Malcolm pop vinyl. It is essential to life. And while I didn't expect them to release Pops for The Man From U.N.C.L.E., I was aching for a set of MFU dolls nonetheless.
A lot of people customize Funkos (they even sell a set of plain white ones that you can paint and sculpt yourself!) so I decided to try my hand at it, too! I read up on how this works and watched a ton of tutorials first, but I was still really nervous about trying it (I'll explain why in a second)
I really want to make a Gaby doll, too, but for now I just did Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. For Gaby I think I'd have to actually sculpt hair and an outfit since I can't find any existing dolls that resemble her in any way.
To make my custom dolls I bought Fry from Futurama to use for Illya's body, Andrew Clark from The Breakfast Club to use for Illya's head, Agent Smith from The Matrix for Napoleon's body, and Superman for Napoleon's head. That last one was a no-brainer since Henry Cavill plays both Superman and Napoleon Solo!
Okay, now this is the part that I was really nervous about. You need to put the dolls in BOILING WATER. It sounds scary, right? I was positive I was going to melt them, but it actually works! I put water on the stove and brought it to a boil. Then I held one doll at a time in the water (you really only need to submerge it up to the neck) with a pair of tongs. After about 1-2 minutes you can take it out, let it cool just enough that you don't burn yourself when you touch it, and wiggle the head off the body. If it's being resistant you can put it back in the water for a few seconds to loosen the glue again. I made two sets of these dolls, so I had to remove 8 heads from bodies (now there's a sentence I didn't think I'd ever be typing...) and almost all of them came off pretty easily.
After they've cooled down a little you can pop the heads onto the new bodies. What worked best for me was putting the head upside down on the floor (or a table) and then pushing the body into it with a lot of force. I read in a lot of tutorials that people will glue the head back on with super glue, but I had such a hard time removing the heads and replacing them that I figured I didn't need to reinforce it, these heads are definitely staying on.
Napoleon was good to go without any extra customization. Technically he doesn't wear a black suit in the movie (at least not that I recall) but I thought it looked like him enough without having to paint the suit grey or blue. What can I say, I'm not a perfectionist. Illya definitely needed painting though.
The first time I painted Illya I didn't put the head back on until I had finished painting, but I found the second time around it was much easier to attach the head first. I was able to hold the head while I painted the body, for one thing. And also I didn't have to worry about messing up my paint job during the head-re-attaching process.
The last step was painting Illya's body. I painted over the white shirt and gave him a black turtleneck. Then I painted the jacket brown, the pants dark grey, and the shoes black. Lastly I added a small scar next to his right eye.
I'm really happy with how they turned out! I probably should have stopped there *but* I made this set for a friend and I felt like I should probably put them back in their original boxes before I mailed them. And then I thought I should probably customize the names on the boxes. One thing led to another and I ended up designing entirely new packaging. Between you and me, I was supposed to be working on tax stuff and that's basically a guarantee that I'm going to create a project to procrastinate as long as possible. Honestly writing this post is just another way for me to put off working on tax stuff. I just really don't want to do it, okay.
But look how pretty the boxes turned out!
filed under: diy