Exclu Workshop. By Isaiah Takahashi.
Cast your minds back to a time before the Hasbro Black Series Captain Rex figure, back to the dark times when Exclu creative Isaiah took it upon himself to deliver us one and heres how he did it!
I must be honest. I only started watching Clone Wars a little over a month ago when I heard it might be leaving Netflix. Before that, I could’ve cared less, and I knew nothing about Captain Rex. Even still, as of finishing this figure, I’m only halfway through Season 4! My eyes have been opened to my ignorance though, and I’m loving it! Once I started watching I knew I had to create my own Rex figure. I just had to think about how I was going to go about it. I’ve broken the process down into 4 stages that I’ll be sharing with you. Hope you enjoy it!
3D Modeling and Printing
If there’s one theme throughout this entire project that rings true, it’s that I have no actual talent with my hands. Of course, I’d love to be able to sculpt and paint like so many amazing artists in our community, but it’s just not within my ability. On the other hand, I’m pretty handy with 3d modeling as well as classic design. My initial thought was to just do a Phase 1 Rex. I’d model his pauldron, holsters, and blasters. I’d then paint his helmet and stripes, add a kama, and call it a day. Once I started researching more and realized that Rex’s Phase 2 armor was so unique and awesome looking, I knew I’d have to pull out all the stops and model his helmet as well. Now the fun begins.
The first step was to scan in the actual Phase 1 clone trooper body as reference for size and scale. Using a regular photo scanner, and scanning in at 300 DPI, you get close to true scale and helps you with final sizing. For the 3D Modeling I used 3DS Max.
Helmet. For those that don’t know, Rex’s Phase 2 helmet is a combination of the Phase 1 and 2 helmet. I used a basic Phase 2 helmet as the starting point. Reworked most of the geometry, as well as added in his Optics and the differences in his visor and faceplate. Here was the result:
Pauldron. This one took me a couple of tries. Using as much reference as I could find online. Including screenshots of the show, as well as the amazing Sideshow version of Rex I came up with this final model:
Belt and Holsters. This one also took a few tries. My first attempt actually had the kama (skirt?) built in with the holsters. Even though this did actually fit, it was far too restricting. I ended up modeling a completely new belt with space for a cloth kama and holsters built in. Here’s the failed attempt as well as the final belt:
Blasters. These were fun! Similar to scanning in the figure, I also scanned in a regular Black Series pistol to use as size and scale reference. Then modelled Rex’s DC-17 pistol on top. Here is the result:
Here’s a quick shot of all the pieces on top of the figure scan in 3DS Max. This way I can get a decent idea of size and fit.
Next step was to send it off to the printers and hope for the best! For this, I used the amazing service Shapeways.com. I’m sure many of you have heard of them. They offer many amazing materials and great pricing. Be sure to check them out!
A week or two later and I have my prints! Feels like Christmas morning when you open that box!
Continuing the theme of me not having any real skills, my main concern this entire project was how I was going to be able to paint those tiny details on Rex’s helmet. As I was considering my options, as well as possible alternatives, an idea popped into my head. An idea that initially came from my sister Faith (you’ll hear more about her later). Waterslide decals! Anyone who has ever done any sort of scale modeling knows at least a little something about these. As I started researching a bit more about it, I realized this could be a real solution for me. Let’s do it!
Materials. There are a few necessary things you’ll need for this to be successful. The first or course being the actual paper. There are so many different kinds, it was a bit overwhelming at first. I ended up finding some on Amazon that worked with my printer and did not require any extra steps after printing.
The next two things you’ll need are optional, but in reality, are an absolute MUST. They pretty much are the only reason this ended up working out in the first place. They are Micro Set and Micro Sol from the company Microscale Industries.
They specialise in high-end waterslide decals and solutions. This company is actually local to me. They really helped me out when I was having a hard time finding these solutions. If you are interested at all in this technique be sure to check them out at Microscale.com.
Ok, so now we have our materials. Next step is designing our decals. Using reference, a ruler, and after many test prints, I was able to get the stripes the size I wanted them. Also, since I already had the 3D model of Rex’s helmet, I was able to use that as reference to get the scale and placement of his face paint exactly where I wanted it. After all is said and done, I have a nice sheet of decals ready to be applied. I hope this works…
Next step, base paint. The prints were cleaned and lightly sanded. Next was primer, a few coats of paint, and then a clear varnish. Unfortunately, this was all done by brush. In the future, it would be nice to use an airbrush, but for now brushing worked just fine.
Ok, figure is ready for decals! Here are the steps as I understand them.
- Step one: Cut out the decal as closely to the edge as possible.
- Step two: Dip in water for a few seconds.
- Step three: Slather a bunch of Micro Set onto the model where the decal will be placed. This solution softens the decal a bit, as well as helps with adhesion.
- Step four: Apply the decal and nudge until it’s in place. Let dry.
- Step five: Apply Micro Sol on top of decal. Let dry. This solution softens the decal even more and allows it to conform to the surface below. This step can be done as many times as it takes.
- Step six: Once completely dried and cured, clean the model, let dry, and finish with another couple coats of varnish.
Here are a few shots of the completed decals. This ended up working out better than I ever could’ve imagined and really opened my eyes to new possibilities in the future.
Check back for Part 2 as Isaiah tackles Weathering, Final touches and Assembly. You can catch more of Isaiah’s work by way of his social handle @blksrs.