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August 20, 2008
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GK modelers represent a tiny but growing part of the anime-rich dA community.  Their work spans many genre of art medium, from traditional art (e.g., scratch-build anime sculpts) to arts and crafts (e.g., custom dolls) to photography to photo-manipulation, to name a few.

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:

Fig03-01 Urd Wings Kit Parts by ArtyAMG (this example is actually made from two GKs, but that’s another story… ;p )

Please Don’t 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’ :no:  Instead, please simply call them anime figures. :nod:

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:

Fig03-02 Urd Wings Putty Work by ArtyAMG 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.

Fig03-03 Urd Assembly Check 1 by ArtyAMG  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.

Fig03-07 Urd Hands Arms by ArtyAMG  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.

Fig03-08 Urd Face Foundation by ArtyAMG  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.

Fig03-11 Urd Green Eyes by ArtyAMG  Here, a reference was used for detailing the all-important eyes.

Once all parts are painted.  They are ready for final assembly.

Fig03-12 Urd Final Assembly by ArtyAMG  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. :D

Custom Urd Figure, Pose 1 by ArtyAMG  Custom Urd Figure, Pose 2 by ArtyAMG  Custom Urd Figure, Pose 3 by ArtyAMG
Half-Goddess Half-Demon Urd by ArtyAMG  Urd Beckons You On by ArtyAMG  Urd Black Wing by ArtyAMG
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.


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SHOWCASE OF CUSTOM-BUILT, ANIME FIGURES

:iconannya12345:  annya12345
Ikkitoisen resin kit by annya12345  Mikuru from Haruhi by annya12345

:iconartyamg:  ArtyAMG
Making of Beach Belldandy by ArtyAMG  Assembly of Beach Belldandy by ArtyAMG  Belldandy at San Francisco Bay by ArtyAMG
360-View GIF Joyful Belldandy by ArtyAMG  Joyful Belldandy in Sky 2 by ArtyAMG  Joyful Belldandy in Sky 3 by ArtyAMG
360-View GIF of Urd Singing by ArtyAMG  Goddess Urd by ArtyAMG  Rock Star Urd in Concert Light by ArtyAMG

:iconblade-of-the-moon:  Blade-of-the-Moon
Tenchi Muyo Ryoko Model by Blade-of-the-Moon  Hild Ace of Smite by Blade-of-the-Moon

:iconbluudy:  Bluudy
Midori Garage Kit by Bluudy  Guts Garage Kit by Bluudy  Shion Garage Kit by Bluudy  Kanu Untyou Garage Kit by Bluudy

:iconcelsoryuji:  celsoryuji
Lynn Minmay by celsoryuji  Faye Valentine by celsoryuji
WiP19 Viera red mage by celsoryuji  WiP26 Viera red mage by celsoryuji  Viera Red Mage painted 01 by celsoryuji

:iconjoyaffliction:  JoyAffliction
Tsuki ni Kawatte by JoyAffliction

:iconkhorgor:  khorgor
saber in attack pose by khorgor  Grey Knight marine by khorgor

:iconkyrastef:  Kyrastef
:thumb91491543:  :thumb91509096:

:iconmariust2007:  mariust2007
Hild by mariust2007  Urd in Purple Bikini by mariust2007

:iconmoonie81:  Moonie81
Pani Poni Dash Model Kit by Moonie81  Rin Kokonoe - KnJ by Moonie81  Sailor Moon Kit by Moonie81  Eternal Sailor Moon by Moonie81  

:iconnightengale5385:  nightengale5385
Souseiseki by nightengale5385  Mahoro resin figure by nightengale5385  Rei Ayanami by nightengale5385  Urd finished by nightengale5385

:iconpersephone-galea:  Persephone-Galea
Rio Joker Version by Persephone-Galea  Marie gathering herbs by Persephone-Galea  Sailor Mercury by Persephone-Galea  Sailor Chibi Moon Modelkit by Persephone-Galea

:iconresinmonkey:  resinmonkey
Big Yoko by resinmonkey  Emaretta by resinmonkey  Metallic Brat by resinmonkey

And last, but not the least, my friend, Master Modeler rvbhal :w00t:

:iconrvbhal:  rvbhal
Witchblade by rvbhal  Fathoms Aspen finished 3 by rvbhal  Red Sonja 16 by rvbhal

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Add a Comment:
 
:iconsourkiss:
SourKiss Featured By Owner May 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
where do you get your paint?
Reply
:iconwolfishbeast:
Wolfishbeast Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014
how do you measure out the attachment knobs and holes so that the parts fit well together after baking/drying the figure? Also, how do you get such a nice surface from handpainting?
Reply
:iconmikexstrike:
MikeXStrike Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Excuse me I have some questions I'd like to ask 

could this help me out in making a GK of  Iris Heart? 
( This Is Her:
static2.wikia.nocookie.net/__c…

And will this help me out with trying to make a figma of Purple Heart? 
( This Is Her: 1.bp.blogspot.com/-LW-5QN1jtOk…


Reply
:iconnapkinmouse:
Napkinmouse Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013
I have been trying to find someone who makes figurines. Maybe that way I could get a Tomoya Okazaki
Reply
:iconreinohikari:
Reinohikari Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2013
Where can one buy those garage kits? I have really wanted to make some anime figures lately...
Reply
:iconjoshpho:
Joshpho Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012
This is probably a newbie question, but how are the actual figures made? 3D printing? Or is it possible to forge a new figure out of reused parts?
Reply
:iconkiweetz:
Kiweetz Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012  Student Digital Artist
This is great! I would like to ask why its so insulting to call these figurines...a figurine is something that is statuesque and represents a "figure". The term figurine has been used for thousands of years to represent all sorts of magnificent artwork that is smaller than life-sized! :3
Reply
:iconmengky335:
mengky335 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Lot of name in figure modelling that I don't understand the difference -__-" thanks, this is help me

what is model kit actually?
Reply
:iconartyamg:
ArtyAMG Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011
A model kit is a set of parts that you put together and paint. The best way to learn it is to buy a kit and try it. Many buy their anime model kits from www.e2046.com
Reply
:iconmengky335:
mengky335 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
so that's it, like gundam isn't it?

if garage kit is resculpt and/or repaint figures, what we call figures that created from strach?
Reply
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