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K-Rex - Customising a Kidrobot Vinyl Toy

A custom vinyl toy based on a Kidrobot Kracka figure. This was built for the Dragons show at the SHO gallery in Cardiff, which features customs by fifty UK artists, each using the same base figure to raise money for Diabetes UK.

The first job was dismantling the base figure. Most parts just pop off but I also needed to slice off the tail, which was the only part or the original I ended up not using. I cut the head in two following the mouth shape I wanted and lined the roof of the mouth with sheet styrene.

I formed a basic shape for the tail using aluminium foil and then finished it with a layer of Milliput. Using steel rod, I made an armature for the extended legs and supporting pins to hold the head in place. I then built up mass with aluminium foil before adding the finishing Milliput layer. I tried to use shapes with similar curves to those on the donor figure. The arms were reversed to make smaller tyrannosaur-style limbs and were trimmed and sanded to fit.

The rex was primed, given an airbrushed base coat and was then detailed with a fine brush.

I cut basic panel shapes for the jeep from sheet styrene. I then adjusted the angles to give it a slightly arched look when assembled. Milliput body-work was added over the styrene to soften the lines and give it a more cartoony look. Plastic wheels were salvaged from toy cars. They were sliced and fixed back-to-back to produce wide off-road style wheels.

In retrospect it might have been better to paint the jeep green and yellow like the electric 'visitor' cars in the movie as that is the colour scheme everyone remembers, even though the vehicle in the chase scene is a grey and red 'staff' car (The jeep in this scene also shouldn't have a roll-bar but I thought it looked better with one). I considered printing decals for the jeep but opted instead to hand-paint the signage.

I experimented with various paint techniques and refelective materials to use for the wing mirrors. I finally settled on the chromed domes that are used to cap the mounting screws on bathroom mirrors. I cut rectangles from the domes using a cutting disk in my Dremel. I then slightly straightened the curve to make the fish-eye reflection a bit less extreme.

The passengers started out as Kidrobot 'Bub' zipper-pulls. It would probably have been simpler to make them entirely from scratch but I wanted to keep to the spirit of customisation. It proved to be quite easy to slice off the arms for re-posing them. I added minor personalising details to the head of each character and extended their waist and legs. I couldn't resist giving Jeff Goldblum the outrageous reclining centrefold pose he uses later in the movie. I always seem to underestimate how long it takes to paint small figures like this, and getting a reasonable likeness is a challenge at any scale.

For the base, I cut a piece of wood to size and built a simple Milliput landscape on it that would hopefully link the jeep and the rex and give the finished piece a sense of movement.

There are more pictures of the finished piece here.