Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Merchandising! Merchandising! – Nancy Viccon 9in scale Action Figure

Nancy Viccon 9in scale Action Figure

Nancy Viccon is one of the main characters in The Quest Saga. She is the younger sister of Kain Viccon, the Grand General of the Army of the Kingdom of Arcainia. Nancy is fourteen years old and Arcainian/Chinese; her father Richard Viccon was Arcainian and her mother Hua Fang was Chinese, making Nancy and Kain half-siblings and Nancy and Hua Li blood cousins. Nancy is an adorable, fun teeny-bopper kind of gal, her cuteness balanced by the fact that she is a skilled and highly proficient fighter (how and where she honed these warrior skills at such a young age is something you'll have to find out about in The Quest Saga). As I said, she is one of if not my favorite character.

As for her action figure, I crafted this 9” scale at the same time that I did the Kain Viccon one. When I say the same time, I mean the exact same time as I went back and forth between them as I worked on both. Thus, the processes are more or less the same. Like Kain, I had wanted to make a Nancy toy for a long, long time but holding me back was the lack of a suitable core figure (a preexisting toy used as the basis for my figure). As I stated in my previous post, finding a core figure for Kain was difficult but as least I knew what I was looking for: a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson WWE figure. For Nancy, I was completely at a loss; not sure if you know this or not but there’s not exactly an overabundance of teenaged Asian girl action figures out there, much less teenage Chinese girl action figures. Making a Nancy Viccon action figure indeed seemed to be a nigh impossible feat.

One day I was shopping at Toys ‘R’ Us; I think it might have been the same trip that yielded my Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson figure that I used for Kain Viccon. While browsing about in search of anything that might be useful to me, I stumbled upon the action figures for the Star Trek movie, J.J Abrams 1st edition. Low and behold, a Uhura figure:

I had found my Nancy core figure.

Now Uhura was played by the incredibly lovely Zoe Saldana who is neither Chinese nor a teenager; although born in Jersey, her family is originally from the Dominican Republic and she’s a year younger than me (thanks Wikipedia!). Funny thing about her toy, though: I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s the scaling down and loss of details or whatever, or something about the sculpting, but this toy actually looks preeeetty close to how I’ve envisioned Nancy. I’m not the only one, either! Everyone I’ve polled has asked roughly the same question: Where’d you find the Chinese girl doll? So, while there’s no chance Zoe Saldana could play Nancy in the film (that honor would go to Chai Wei if I ever get that winning powerball ticket), her non-Neytiri figure certainly can. Perhaps because the Star Trek line is a smaller scale, maybe 6” or 8” scale, her height is completely in scale with the Kain, Noknor, and Li figures. Funny how these things work out sometimes.

Okee, so I have this Zoe Saldana Star Trek toy. How do I turn her into Nancy Viccon? The toy was dressed in a rubber Starfleet skirt and matching shirt, although the sleeves are molded plastic. I took the skirt off because Nancy wears pants in battle and found that Uhura wears Starfleet issued panties. How do I know her underwear is official? Because there were a bunch of Star Trek emblems raised up all over it. I knew it would show up on the finished product, so prior to painting her legs and underwear blue to act as pants, I had to file down the Star Trek emblems. You read that right: I spent the better part of an afternoon rubbing Zoe Saldana’s butt with sandpaper until it was smooth. Yeah, that’s not creepy or anything.
I thought I would save some work and clay and simply paint her rubber blouse, but unfortunately I quickly found that the painted just flaked right off as soon as it dried; you can kind of see what I mean in the picture. I cut the shirt off and discovered she was wearing a sports bra, but luckily no raised Star Trek emblems this time. Hmmmm, sports bra and panties? Playmates must have anticipated the creepiness of Zoe Saldana fans (I wonder if her Gamora figures have the same problem). Even though I knew the sports bra wouldn’t be visible under Nancy’s armor, I painted it blue anyway.
Just like Kain’s armor, I molded Nancy’s breastplate (chainmail and a thin steel plate sandwiched between heavy leather) from air-dry polymer clay, Makin’s Clay. I rolled out a flat sheet, cut out the vague shape, and then molded it around Nancy’s torso and trimmed the excess.
I painted it the same cobalt blue as her pants (and Kain’s shirt and pants) to give it a dry, dusty look. Like her brother, I gave her the crest of the Kingdom of Arcainia on her chest: a white star with an eagle battling a rattlesnake atop a cactus (in case you forgot or didn’t read it, here’s Kain’s action figure description which goes into more detail about that). I gave her a turquoise scrunchie by just painting the black band keeping Uhura’s black hair in a ponytail and gave her a manicure with turquoise paint for a little extra pizzazz.
Nancy has a few accessories, though not as many as Kain; no real reason other than she simply doesn't carry as much crap around as her brother does.
Her belt is leather cut to shape and glued on. I gave her a Makin’s Clay backpack with the same button clasp as Kain’s to allow it to easily snap on and off. She has a blowpipe (blowgun), basically clay rolled into a snake and painted silver. The backpack has a small eyehook where you can put the blowpipe for storage, although in the book Nancy carries it on her belt. She can hold the blowpipe in her hand, although with limited articulation in the arms, you can’t place it to her lips. Her Rajima steel sword is completely made from Makin’s Clay, blade, hilt, and handle all formed, painted, and held together with superglue. A thick needle runs hilt to blade tip for support.
I particularly like her silver faery shield; in the book, Nancy is given this magick shield by faeries and it is completely indestructible and will move on its own to protect her. I cut a circular piece of dried Makin’s Clay and then wrapped it with aluminum foil shiny side out to give it a silver mirror surface that I don’t think photographs well but really does look cool. I lined the edge with more clay, added a pewter faery and roses that were designed for charm bracelets, and covered it all in silver paint. Fun fact: I originally had painted the edge, faery, and roses gold. Shortly after, I checked in the book (my own book that I had written, mind you) and realized that there was no gold on the shield; it was supposed to be completely silver. Woopsie-doodle! That little FU cost me some time as I had to tear the shield apart and start completely from scratch. Luckily, I was able to save and repaint the faery and roses.

I considered giving her more, but like I said there’s not a whole lot to give her. One day I’d like to make a Barbie style toy with different outfits she can wear as described in the book. All in all, I’ve very proud of my work. I really feel like Nancy’s toy came out very well, capturing the heart of the Quest Saga toyline. Like the Kain Viccon and Noknor figures, this Nancy is detailed, articulated, comes with a bunch of neat-o accessories, and is totally playable.
How fitting that my 13th post on my 39th birthday would be for my favorite character.

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