What is GK?
Garage kit is a term referring to the niche, cast resin models that are made in small quantities, often by hobbyist in his/her garage - thus, the name sake, garage kits. The subjects of GKs are diverse, from anime to realistic-looking models to animals, and even mecha. The focus here is the anime figures. Below is a picture of what a GK look like:
(this example is actually made from two GKs, but thats another story )
Please Dont Call Them Dolls
Anime GK modelers interests are as diverse as there are numbers of different anime/manga from Japan. But, if there is one thing universal amongst GK modelers, it would be that they strongly dislike their anime figures be called dolls or figurines Instead, please simply call them anime figures.
The GK Model-Building Process
GK figures are custom-made artwork, as opposed to commercially produced, pre-painted PVC figures. A typical anime figure takes at least several dozen hours to build and paint. The complex and highly detailed ones, like the one shown below, can take well over 200 hours. The process involves two major steps: Building, and Painting. Building involves extensive preparation of the GK part for assembly and painting.
Generally, as a first step, the modeler must remove/wash-off surface contaminants (such as mold-release agents), S/he then sand-off seam lines and patch up pinholes (from casting) and joint gaps, as shown in the picture below:
Surface preparation is very important to quality of finished work.
At the same time, s/he then pins the parts together to do fit-check. Some parts are permanently joined before painting; for other parts they are easier to paint separately, then assemble later.
Pinning is essential for providing proper strengths at joints.
The parts then get primed with primer paint, to detect any surface blemishes (because it is easier to see surface flaws if it is in uniform color or primer gray), and to prepare surfaces for painting.
The primed surfaces go through further sanding to ensure smoothness.
After all that (boring) preparation work, the fun part of painting begins. Many modelers use airbrush (for its speed and special effects), but some prefers hand-brushing (as does the author ArtyAMG ). Usually, many layers of paint is needed to achieve proper color coverage and saturation. Top-notch modelers almost always enhance the painted figure with shading.
This picture shows the foundation colors.
In anime figure modeling, the eyes will make or break a paint job. The eyes are what gives the figure liveliness.
Here, a reference was used for detailing the all-important eyes.
Once all parts are painted. They are ready for final assembly.
In this example, most parts are made to be removable via pinning.
After much pain, sweat, swearing, and tears of joy, the finished figure is ready for proud display.
This is Half-Demon, Half-Goddess Urd from the anime/manga Ah! My Goddess
To Learn More...
If you would like to learn more about GK modeling, please feel free to contact ArtyAMG.
SHOWCASE OF CUSTOM-BUILT, ANIME FIGURES
And last, but not the least, my friend, Master Modeler rvbhal