Next to Rand, Nynaeve might be my favorite figure overall, even though I do have tiny problems with it. Harriet actually called it beautiful when I showed it to her, so it has that going for it. Nynaeve was always one of my favorite characters, even if she does get somewhat... cunty at times. Cunty isn't really the right word, but its made me laugh since it was first uttered years ago by Paulie Walnuts, and its my blog so that's the word I'm going with. Anyway, you've read the books, you know what I mean. At this point in the figure making process I was buying two and three of every Toy Biz Hercules and Xena figure I could find (and luckily the Toys R Us shelves were rife with them at the time), because with the amount of woman characters I was planning on making, it was great to have such a plentiful source of "sword and sorcery" type female action figures out there to pick from. Even if each and every one of them is molded into some weird awkward pose (seriously, look at the Xena figures some time, not one of them is standing naturally nor in some dynamic "action" pose. Instead its like they're all molded mid step in some bizarre tribal dance). I chose the Velasca figure for Nynaeve because she looks angry, and at that point in the story Nynaeve had only just overcome her block, so I wanted my Nynaeve figure to be able to channel (just in case I ever wanted to play some pre-Crown of Swords adventures). Of course, I also dressed her as an Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah, and that only JUST happened for reals in Towers of Midnight. Oh well, my figures are timeless, son!
I'd probably be pissed off too if I had to wear skimpy leather underwear...
Anyway, obviously Nynaeve wouldn't be caught dead runnin' around all leather-clad, with what appears to be her bra peekin out on her right boobie, so I needed to do something about that. Fortunately, I had already learned from creating the Moiraine figure (which you guys will get to see in the upcoming "aborted and attempted" figures article, later this week) that these little scarves that the Gap was selling at the time made for fantastic action figure dresses. So I bought a whole bunch of those, not knowing how many I was going to need when all was said and done with this little project. And by bought of course you know I mean "robbed handfuls of", because even with an employee discount, I wasn't gonna spend like ten, fifteen bucks on tiny squares of cloth. Or have the cute cashier girls wonder what the hell I was doing with so many ladies' accessories. Wait, where was I? Oh right, Nynaeve's dress.
The first decision I made was that Nynaeve's dress would NOT be yellow. One of the reasons Moiraine is in the "attempted" figures pile (and one of the reasons I HATE the Elayne figure, see below) is I made it too much all one color. There's very little variety to it and it ends up looking too uniform (and in Elayne's case, I think, kind of wacky and superhero-ish). I picked the sky blue scarf for Nynaeve's dress because it was a cool color that would offset the warmer yellow for her shawl and belts. I didn't do any sewing, the dress his held together by Krazy gluing the seams. The shawl and belt are also held on with Krazy glue at key points (wrists, shoulders, etc.) so that movement at her points of articulation is still possible.
The blue scarf had these tiny floral accents stiched on, which I took and ran wild with, adding new ones with acrylic paints. You really can't tell the difference between the paint and the stitching unless you feel them with your hand, which I'm particularly proud of. Obviously the Flame symbol on the back of her shawl and the surrounding flowers are entirely hand-painted as well. The Velasca figure's hair presented some challenges. Despite the fact that the toy had those two little braids hanging down, obviously her hair style was all wrong for Nynaeve and her very distinct Two Rivers braid. I pried off the soft plastic portion, and the braids came with it. Only the front and the top of the figure's hair was actually molded onto the head. It took a lot of cutting and sanding to get her a normal looking hairline, and to get rid of that braided cord across her forehead (which coincidentally looks a lot like Lan's Hadori). There are still little tiny imperfections on her forehead and hairline which is one of the aforementioned problems I have with the final outcome of the toy. Another is the wrists. Velasca had these ridiculous bracers on and it was just too hard to get rid of them, so I just painted them silver and figured they'd pass as jewelry. I don't think Nynaeve had her "bracelet and rings" angreal yet when I made the toy, or I likely would have tried to turn one of those bracers into that. Once I figured out how much of the figures' molded hair I was keeping, the next step was to figure out Nynaeve's braid. I ended up using a length of cord that they gave us at the Gap to hang a laminate around our neck for some dumb promotion or another. You know I pilfered that shit too. Anyway, I painted it brown, "tied" it at the end with a piece of ribbon and a rhinestone, and viola, a respectable Two Rivers braid. The figure can even reach it with her right hand for simulated tugging. All in all I'm pretty happy with the results. Oh, and lastly, the ki'sain on her forehead is a very late addition. I added it when I was getting the figures prepared to be shown to Harriet and Brandon after I was chosen to be a Tower Guard, and the Nynaeve figure's face needed to be repainted because of some chips and stuff.
el'Nynaeve ti Al'Meara Mandragoran Sedai
I have much less to say about the Elayne figure, because as I mentioned earlier, I kind of hate it. Ok, maybe hate is a strong word, but I definitely don't like it as much as the others. For one, and this might be the fruitiest thing I've ever typed, but I think her dress color is all wrong (and if you have a problem with what I just said, this might not be the blog for you... either way, Louis C.K. explained my intentions there far better than I ever could, so if you didn't like my verbiage, click the link, laugh, come back and continue reading). Anyway, when Jordan wrote that a dress was "slashed with color" I didn't know he meant the dress was literally slashed, as in "cut", to reveal a fabric of a different color underneath. I thought it was just a way of describing what I did in the pictures below, literally slashes of color, in this case green and cream. Another problem I have with the figure is Jordan always describes Elayne as having "red-gold" hair, which I picture as strawberry blonde. Well it turns out, strawberry blonde is really friggin hard to paint, and the result on the figure is more of a blondeish-orange with hints of red layerd in, and it just didn't come out the way I envisioned it in my head.
Elayne was made from the Callisto figure from the Xena Warrior Princess line. I chose her for Elayne because she has a slightly girlish look to her but appears to have a regal bearing at the same time, depending on your angle. Step one was to hack off most of the extra stuff on the toy; the scale mail loin cloth, the the leather "armor" and shoulder pads, and the extra crap on her boots was all easily removed soft plastic. Unfortunately, like the Nynaeve figure, Elayne also has stupid looking leather bracers molded onto her forearms, which only add to my dislike of the finished toy. I just painted them green and figured they were sleeves of some kind, even though that doesn't make much sense when the rest of the figure is taken into account. I kept Callisto's hair, because it looked curly enough and I couldn't quite figure out how to mold sculpey into ringlets.
Elayne's dress is, again, a Gap scarf that was a basic plain white. I then went to town with the green and cream colored paints to create the color-slashed effect that I think looks kinda dumb now. The hems of her dress, and her belt, are also just green paint. I tried to make it look fancy by adding silver designs on her hem and belt and a gold "lion" on the belt as well. I consider this attempt to be one of my greatest failures of all time in the history of me as a person. I used the same pattern and colors for her shawl, only I added the gold border, I don't know, to make her look... queenly, I guess. The one thing I do like about this toy is the Aes Sedai flame that I painted on the back of her shawl, it came out pretty cool. Actually, I lied there are two things I liked about this figure, the other being the use of tiny rhinestones as jewels. The bustline of Elayne's dress has them, as does the necklace I sculpted for her, which add a noble (rich, uppity) touch the toy, I think. Needless to say, if I were doing this figure again today, its design would be way different (or at least her clothes would be). For an accessory, I gave Elayne an A'dam, because story-wise at the time, she had just figured out how to make one. The A'dam is two ring shaped pieces from an accessory from the COPS toyline, joined together by piece of silvery decorative ribbon. Neither of the clasps open, making it a mediocre accessory for a mediocre toy. Next!
Nope, even a palatial background with lion statues can't make me like this toy more...
The body itself didn't require much alteration at all. I dressed Thom in shades of brown, but gave his boots, shoulders and sleeves a little bit of silver scrollwork to make them a little fancier. I also painted his hands and chest a more believable shade of flesh tone, since the plastic was a little too pink and shiny for my liking. Next I chopped the little bit of Autolycus' hair off and sanded the head smooth so I'd have a "clean palette" to work with, upon which I sculpted Thom's hair as you see it. I gave him a big bushy moustache, outfitted him with a few of the daggers I had lying around from other Xena figures, and that was pretty much it, a perfectly serviceable Thom Merrilin figure.
And there you have it, all of my custom Wheel of Time action figures. The ones that made it to completion anyway. As I hinted (and outright told you) throughout these posts, there were close to ten figures that didn't make the final cut. Some made it to completion but I hated the final product, others never got out of what would be the "prototype" stage if I was a real toy company and these were a real toy line. But make no mistake, I had plans, or at least ideas for Loial, Birgitte, Egwene, Moiraine, Lanfear, another Rand, more Trollocs, a Draghkar, and Sammael some of which I will highlight later this week in the Part 5: What Almost Was and What May Yet Be... but til then, here's a teaser collage for you!