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Glad-tea-ator and Tea-ger - Lunartik Customs

I was happy to be invited to contribute to the Fans of Tea 2015 Series. I decided to make a pair of customs inspired by the movie Gladiator.

Matt Jones' Lunartik in a Cup of Tea figure breaks down into several interesting component parts and is made from a nice plastic that responds well to tools.

The Glad-tea-ator used the Lunartik's head as its body. One of the requirements of the project was that the figure had to fit in the cleverly designed 'takeaway drink' packaging that is standard for Lunartiks. I had planned to use the neck joint from the donor figure to make it poseable but I found that even with the head removable, it became too tall for the packaging. I ended up using simple pins to keep it secured while allowing it to be detatched for transport. I lengthened the arms with wire and sculpted them in a simple style that matched the look and feel of the original piece.

For the helmet, I extended the curve of the cup over its base to form a continuous dome and repositioned the handle to make a crest. Although most of the face would be covered by the mask, I decided to sculpt the whole thing so that the visible areas would look as convincing as possible. After the face was formed, I applied mould release to it and sculpted the mask over the top. Once dry, I popped it off so that I was able to paint mask and face separately before gluing it all back together.

I was tempted to paint the shield with all the decoration seen in the movie but decided it would distract attention away from the face, athough I did end up including a few bits of patterning on the body armour. I wouldn't normally apply lacquer over a metallic finish but it was one of the specifications set for this project in order to protect the figures in transit.

The tiger used the channel on the top of Lunartik's head as its mouth and the hands as ears. The rest of the body was built in Milliput on a wire armature. The trapdoor was based on the disk that originally formed the surface of the tea in the cup. I tried to give the cup and saucer the look of the dusty sandstone amphitheatre.

Both customs will be available as part of the Fans of Tea Series at ToyCon 2015