There was something a little off with the recent Conan head that was designed to go with Kaustic Plastik's Masterclass Warrior set (reviewed HERE). Apart from some possibly questionable choices in the paint, the most obvious problem was the sculpted hair. While it was decently (not super finely) sculpted, it looked like molded plastic (which is admittedly what it was). Mr Toys had just released their own Conan set (reviewed HERE) which, while largely based on earlier work by Kaustic Plastik, broke new ground by offering us a Conan with "real" hair. Between this and my earlier attempts to create an Arnold Schwarzenegger-as-Conan head sculpt (using one of the Hot Toys Terminator heads), and my recent modification to the Hot Toys Jason Momoa Aquaman head sculpt (replacing the sculpted hair with "real" hair -- see HERE), the next step was obvious. But this was going to be a slightly more ambitious project, because it involved not only removing the plastic hair and replacing it with "real" hair, but also filling in and repainting likely or potentially visible grooves in the head sculpt, detaching, modifying, and repainting the headgear (so it would be both screen accurate and removable, not to mention so that I could put in the hair properly), and also partly modifying, repainting, and remounting the necklace ornaments on a more sensible string that would allow the necklace to hang about right.
This time I took more photos to illustrate more of the steps, in case someone finds this helpful for modifying this or a different sculpt.
Just in case I did something horribly wrong, I managed to get myself an extra Kaustic Plastik Conan head (1). As I had noticed before, the hair was made of soft plastic, and divided into sections (two side locks and a larger back piece, separated by the headband from the crown of the head hairpiece, which last was actually part of the head sculpt), just like Hot Toys' Aquaman head. So, I heated up the head sculpt a little with a hair dryer (not much was actually needed), and gently pried off the large hair piece covering the back of the head (2).
Then I proceeded to dislodge the headband, which was (if I recall) divided at the back of the head on one end of the sculpted strings holding the two parts together. I heated and gently pried off the headband from the head, into which it was ensconced by virtue of several sections fitting into indented grooves that were parts of the head sculpt (3a-5). One of them was right in the middle of the forehead (4-5).
With the headband off, I gently pried off and removed the two side locks of hair (4-5).
With the headband and all detachable hairpieces removed, it was necessary to remove almost all of the molded hair that was an integral part of the head sculpt at the crown of the head (4a-4d). I left in place a little hair over the forehead, since that can be a challenging transition between sculpted face and "real" hair.
After a failed experiment with Vallejo acrylic putty, I filled the visible grooves in the forehead and temples with Kneadatite Blue/Yellow Epoxy Putty (the kind that comes in a tape and you mash and knead it together into a malleable green substance for sculpting and filling -- a skill I learned from members of OneSixthFigures) (5). It was my first experience with this material, but I think it worked reasonably well. Someone with greater skill and patience, would have done more in the way of sculpting bone and flesh structure and gotten the filling to sit completely flush and seamless (with filing down). Since this was going to be obscured most of the time by the headband (for the classic look), I didn't worry about it too much, though I wanted it to look ok even when exposed. Once the Kneadatite had cured overnight, I painted it with Vallejo Acrylics, trying to get as close as possible to the head's skin tone (which is perhaps not ideal itself, but I didn't want to repaint the whole thing -- which might actually have been the way to do it); I also took the opportunity to fix the hairline and darken the eyebrows. As far as painting the head, that was it (6).
Then came my "favorite" part (I'm being sarcastic), the application of the hair. I picked a warmish milk chocolate brown, because that is pretty close to Arnold's appearance on the screen during the film. Using as a basic guide the technique outlined by Morezmore (HERE), but also taking some shortcuts and utilizing superglue, I basically went in rings around the back and sides of the head, starting with a level above the edge of the head sculpt's neck and making my way upwards (7-9b).
Having gently removed as many loose strands of hair as I could, I gently rinsed it with water, gathered it backwards, and let it dry (10a-10c).
After this I cut the hair to approximate Conan's appearance in Conan the Destroyer (since that is where we see the matching outfit and accessories) -- I didn't cut as short as I should, just in case I made a mistake -- and filled up any visible "holes" (there were surprisingly few) with either more hair or acrylic marker (11). Then it was time to add the headband and the necklace and complete the modification (12).
I had shaved down the inside of the headband (especially the parts that were designed to protrude so that they could fit into the grooves in the head sculpt) to make it thinner, so that it would fit more easily around the modified head; I glued it shut at the back, and when the glue had cured, it fit the head like a charm. I had also repainted the pyramidal ornaments on the head band in brass, to match the film appearance. The ornaments on the necklace were all correct (except for the color of the "sun" or "wheel" pendant), but the necklace did not work at all. I had to remove each ornament and glue it onto a thin leather string which could hang a little more naturally (it is also malleable, if needed). I made sure to place the fangs correctly (both for appearance and so that they no longer attempted to bite into the body), and glued their now purely decorative fastenings in place. Similarly, I made sure the pendant sat ("hung") correctly, glued on a couple of pieces of string to match the screen appearance, and repainted it in brass, for the same reason (12).
Here are a couple of comparisons: with the unaltered KP head and necklace, and...
with the Mr Toys head (the necklace for that set has the wrong pendant).
I don't know if I would call it perfect, but I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. There are some additional things that can be done, for example a shampoo+conditioner treatment to create more waviness in the hair. For this shot I put the modified head, headband, and necklace on the rest of the KP set, but that would require some additional minor modifications to be completely movie accurate. I suppose it is a work in progress.
What do you think?
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