Hey everyone, it’s great to ‘meet’ you all here!
I just found this thread and figured I might as well introduce myself (but brace yourself, it's a long one, lol... )
I’m an American living in the UK, married to a Yorkshireman. I have a background in art history, literature, historical linguistics, and medieval studies, and have previously worked in an art museum as an assistant to the curator of decorative arts. It’s been a little while now, but I also used to do some reenactment and living history (mostly Viking and Anglo-Saxon eras) in the UK and Scandinavia. And prior to that, back in the US, I was an avid equestrian, though again, it’s sadly been a while. These days I spend a lot of time hiking in the Yorkshire Wolds with my husband and our two wolfdogs:
me and my fur-kids
When it comes to the 1/6th stuff, I’m still quite ‘new’. I’d only ever been a lurker at OSW, and only a fairly recent-ish one at that (over the last year at most). Like many though, my interest in this sort of thing has always been there since I was a kid, albeit manifesting in different ways, whether it be my childhood fascination with dollhouse miniatures, to historically accurate American Girl doll accessories (it was the 90s, lol), to creating elaborate backyard dioramas with my sisters as settings for our toys, to the most prized possessions of my childhood….my Breyer horses.
Fast forward through the years, through several back and forth overseas moves, getting married, then moving house countless times in the last decade, ending up with two crazy fur-kids, and well… until fairly recently, I didn’t really have the time or space for collecting, or for elaborate arts and crafts projects (not to mention the funds, lol). I have, however, been extremely active in online fandom over the last two decades, and especially in the last ten years or so. No matter what fictional stories, characters, or pairings I’m into at a given time, I love to pay homage to them via writing extensive meta-analysis, fanfiction, and creating various other types of fanworks. For years now, this is how that sort of residual childhood urge for imaginative play has manifested – via my participation in online fandoms. It has become an essential part of my life, and one that can be very therapeutic for me.
That said, there are also times when involvement in fandoms can cause me great stress (and distress). As is pretty obvious by now, I am huge SW fan, but in Dec. 2015 I was left incredibly upset and devastated by the first of the so-called ‘sequel’ films – so much so, that for many months afterward I felt cut adrift, and honestly thought that Star Wars was lost to me forever. I was beyond distraught and depressed by the whole thing, as Star Wars is something that has been precious to me since childhood and which I associate strongly with my own sense of spirituality and with my bond with my father. It look many months of reflection and analysis, along with an intensive re-watch of the REAL saga (aka the Prequels and the Original Trilogy), along with The Clone Wars
animated series, to help me get to place where I was able to fully re-immerse myself in the Galaxy Far, Far Away again, and come to understand and feel staunch in how I personally define Star Wars, and what it means to me. [**NOTE: this is an extremely sensitive subject for me, and one I’d rather not get into here, so I ask people to respect my wishes not to discuss the sequels or anything related to that side of things. I'm really neurotic about spoilers and try to avoid knowing anything and everything about Disney's live versions of Star Wars, as almost ALL of it upsets me WAY too much (other than Rogue One, which was great, lol). I’m only sharing this to give context so people will understand why I approach collecting and customization in the way that I do.]
Once I came to that place of understanding, I began to heal a bit more. It was during this time that I started a Star Wars sideblog
on tumblr as a safe space for me to share my ‘feels’ about all of it. In order to have a constant stream of original content for my blog, I eventually began taking pics of some of my small 3.75” figures, and likewise started collecting in earnest again. So, for the past few years I have been focusing mainly on the traditional 3.75” figures (both loose and carded), as I was living in a tiny house in the countryside, and had only a small Ikea wardrobe/cupboard in which to store everything. Aside from a few ‘higher end’ figures (namely, the Anakin and Padme 6 inch S.H. Figuarts that were released back in 2017, and a couple Kotobukiya figurines), I hadn’t ventured much into other scales, let alone the more expensive 1/6 stuff. But then came the announcement of the Hot Toys Anakin
figure….and so it began. ;D
Anakin Skywalker is one of my all-time favourite fictional characters, and the main focus of my collection. There was NO way I was going to miss out on that one! But I couldn’t justify purchasing it outright, so I did the pre-order with a payment plan thing. I finally received it this past summer, only to find out a few days after it arrived in the post that….we had to move house! This unexpected and stressful house move ended up taking up a huge chunk of time and energy during the latter half of this past year (2018). It also meant that, instead of unboxing him and displaying him, I had to immediately pack away my Hot Toys Anakin (along with all of his smaller fellows) into plastic storage bins, with no idea of when I’d finally be able to unpack them all and set them up again. : (
Now, I have this thing where, if I have a figure or doll of a character in a certain scale, I NEED to have a companion for him/her. I cannot abide them being all on their lonesome. Since there weren’t any other Hot Toys characters from the same era out yet, I had already for a while been researching how to potentially create some companions for him. All my other Anakin figures have, at the very least, a Padme figure (sometimes several), and an Ahsoka to keep them company (‘Anakin and his ladies’, as I call them, lol). So, my aim for a while now has been to do the same for the 1/6th scale.
Something that complicated matters further was that, around the same time, right before the house move, a friend of mine had very kindly offered to send me this cute 11” Ahsoka doll. But then, I was faced with yet another conundrum: now, I needed to find some companions for *HER*.
Again, there weren’t any other dolls from that ‘line’ that were from the same era as her or who were wearing the right costumes to match her, so I became determined to find, customize, or even make a more stylized, animated version of Anakin and Padme to go along with her, as well.
To try to sum up an already way-too-long story: rather than just putting aside my action figure obsession until my house move was complete, like a crazy person I instead embarked on several projects DURING this time. To cope with the stress of it all, I’d go online and read up on customizing advice on forums and search endlessly for the right 1/6 parts and materials. And even though our house move is now complete, I still don’t have a proper display area or set up for my figures just yet, so they remain packed away in storage boxes. Well, other than the ones I’ve been slowly, gradually putting together over the last couple of months.
So, ironically, even though I was really depressed about the house move at first, in in the long run it actually spurred me to finally get started on something that I’d long been only just dreaming about – customizing dolls and figures. (I can't bring myself to use the word 'kitbashing', as honestly it fails to adequately capture the essence of what this hobby means to me.)
And while I’ve now gotten heavily into 1/6 scale figures (and am very much enjoying it so far!), I still don’t necessarily view them as the ‘be all and end all’ of collectible items. My main reasons for getting into them are that a) there was a void in my collection that needed to be filled, b) 1/6 parts are some of the most readily available and easy to customize for SW figures, and c) I love that you can use ‘real’ clothes and gear on them (as opposed to trying to sculpt them onto the smaller figures, which never really looks all that good to my eyes, no matter how skilled a customizer one may be).
So, even as I have come to appreciate the immense appeal of 1/6 figures, I still don't necessarily view them as ‘the epitome’ of all figures or scales. I still love all my tiny little 3.75” figures and will always have a soft spot for them. I just happened to get into 1/6 scale recently out of sheer necessity and due to availability. Likewise, my approach to 1/6 is not solely about ‘realism’ – obviously, if I am putting together something that needs to work with a Hot Toys figure, for example, then of course I will be aiming for that same kind of hyper-realistic style. But since I currently have projects relating to both the film versions *and* the animated versions of several of these characters, the levels of realism I am going for with each varies greatly. I also still love things like dolls, for instance, and sometimes my preferred aesthetic is to try to combine the better qualities of dolls (such as high quality, detailed female garments, etc) with the aspects of action figures I prefer (such as the more realistically-scaled and more articulated bodies, etc).
Admittedly, for a while now I have been quite hesitant to share too much about my various WIPs on any of the forums. In part because of the Star Wars issue – outside of my close fandom circles, I have avoided bringing up that subject in public for years now, as I do not like to risk discussing SW with people I do not already deeply trust. But I was also concerned that I would probably not ‘fit in’ in the 1/6 world – not because I’m female (as there are plenty of other female posters), but because my approach is not quite as…focused on 1/6th figures as it seems to be for many, and I felt that perhaps my take on it would be seen as somehow ‘lesser’. I participate in this hobby mainly for the same reasons I participate in fandom in general – to express my love for my favourite characters and stories to the nth degree. But after encountering some delightfully unique takes on this 1/6th stuff here (ReverendSpooky
’s work have been particular highlights thus far!), and receiving a very warm welcome indeed, I am starting to feel more at ease. ^.^
That said, I still feel little a bit shy about sharing my pics here, as I don’t have any fancy backgrounds or dioramas, and my camera is literally just a crappy phone. Not to mention that most of my figures are works in progress at best. These projects are also extremely personal to me, and I'm doing them largely as a sort of 'art therapy' for myself, rather than to meet some kind of hobby 'standard'. But as soon as I have something that I feel is worth sharing here (and can get up the guts to do so), I will.
So, thanks everyone who has so far been extremely patient and helpful to me as a relative newbie here. You’ve made it a very pleasant experience so far, and I am grateful.