Hi everyone! Today I’d like to share my finished garage kit and some work in progress photos. This is a Catgirl by Grimrock that I purchased from Mandarake. I’ve always been interested in this character but never really had a reason to buy her…but lately I’ve been impulse buying quite a few kits haha. This blog is pretty PICTURE HEAVY and has a long description of eye painting so please bear that in mind.
This is the package she came in. It’s very small and included a parts sheet as well as a kit reference photo.
This kit has 11 parts and was a pretty simple build but she was much smaller than I expected. I knew she would be small but her face is around 2cm! Without the base she's 11cm. She’s probably the smallest I’ve built. The pieces were overall cast pretty well – there were seamlines along almost every piece but they sanded off very easily.
Red lines are where seamlines are, arrows are pieces of flash/tabs from casting
All the pieces were OK except for the base. This is the bottom and I didn’t feel like putting that much effort into fixing it so I decided to make my own. Maybe I’ll use this for something else later.
After I sanded down everything I decided to draw on a test face. I usually don’t do this step so early but I had a very specific vision in mind and wanted to make sure the face would work. Catgirl has an incredibly small face with a giant forehead and many people decide to give her razor thin eyebrows (probably because Grimrock painted her that way? Idk). I am not a big fan of that look on this kit because her forehead is pretty large and it magnifies that so I decided to take inspiration from Cara Delevigne.
Cara Delevigne, supermodel and actress
I’ll let you guys in on a secret: I LOVE nice eyebrows (I feel like I’ve mentioned this before lol). They are one of the first things I look at on people and figures. I don’t really have a problem with anime eyebrows since they fit the general face shape and big eyes but this kit has such small eyes that I wanted to really cash in on that forehead space.
Test drawing of face in pencil. Graphite is great because it washes off pretty easily.
I don’t have any progress photos of the washing, pinning, and putty steps. These steps were easy and the only thing I had to correct was a gap between her panties and right leg (they didn’t fit together properly, sculpting issues).
I pinned her together to make sure that she sits correctly. The yellow parts are Tamiya masking tape holding the pieces together.
Before I paint an original character I like to mull over the color scheme. Color coordination is very important to me but I also try to make the kit fit whatever vision I have in mind. Since I was inspired by Cara Delevigne and rich, shiny things I decided to go with “supermodel cat.”
This is the color scheme I decided on. I like the idea of the little black dress but I also wanted her eyes and hair to stand out and be somewhat catlike.
After a nice coat or two of white primer, she was ready to paint. I rarely use grey primer anymore unless I’m painting a piece black. Grey primer is great at showing imperfections but if you are painting very light colors on it (skintones, pastels) it takes more coats and your colors will look a little dull.
Skintone before sealing and shading. There is some light shading work done with my airbrush.
Testing the black dress with her skintone. I forgot to mention I also cut out the sides of her dress with my X-acto knife to make it more fashionable.
One of these days I intend to do a painting tutorial with my airbrush. Once you get the hang of it it’s really easy to use and makes painting a breeze. I still prefer to hand-paint details like eyes with craft acrylics though :) I use Tamiya acrylic paints to airbrush but I’ll be making the lacquer switch soon.
Some random photos during the painting process. None have been shaded. I outlined the eyes with a darker pink to help them stand out more.
Before painting the eyes, I had some trouble. At some point, I dropped the head and some of the paint on her neck chipped off -_- I ended up correcting this with craft acrylics but in order to make everything match I had to add in some darker pink shading along her collarbones and the dress straps (you can tell because it looks like a line – it should be a gradual blend of color). This is one of my least favorite parts of the kit but luckily it’s mostly hidden by her hair.
After everything was mostly painted I attacked the face. An important thing to keep in mind is that as long as you seal your work underneath and you’re working with a paint that will wipe off easily you can correct your mistakes. Nothing has to be permanent! I made quite a few changes during the eye painting process and will try to explain them as best as I can. Working at this scale was quite interesting – I wanted to add as much detail as possible but her face is so small there’s only so much you can do x_x
I started out by outlining the eyes with a fine mechanical pencil, similar to how I drew them before.
I painted the iris first in my base color (see right eye). I painted the pupil and eyeliner next with a very fine brush in dark chocolate brown. I find black is a little too harsh on most kits especially if none of your other pieces or the hair are black. In this case I wanted a catty eye so I drew the pupil a little smaller than I usually do. The cat eyeliner was also very important to me and what I imagine a supermodel cat to have :)
When I think of cat eyes this is what I imagine. There are many types of cat girls…
Testing the hair with the current eyes without eyebrows. At this point I added white for extra shine but this felt off to me. Actually, both eyes felt off at this point but that’s probably because NO EYEBROWS.
Finally luxurious eyebrows. I outlined a sketch in pencil first and then followed up with a slightly lighter brown than the eyeliner. The bushy part of the eyebrow took me longer than I’d like to admit lol. I drew on an eye crease with a fine micron pen and added bottom eyelashes with a very fine brush. The white shine is still present. At this point the face is almost done.
I decided to paint a lighter brown on the edges of her dark chocolate eyeliner to give the illusion of makeup and make the eyes pop a little more. The face is now shaded with pastels. Extra pastels were applied to her eyelids to look like eyeshadow. I removed the white shine since it was too harsh for me and followed up with a light green shine instead.
It was at this point that I seriously fucked up – in my quest for perfectionism I noticed a fine speck of material that somehow made its way onto her cheek when I sealed my kit. I attempted to sand this off with a very fine grit sandpaper (2000 grit). The good news was that I managed to take off the speck but the bad news was that I ended up sanding off too much of the paint on her cheek resulting in multiple white spots ;_;
I attempted to airbrush over the spots but the thing about airbrushing is that it will continue depositing color on top of an area so unless you can pinpoint an exact spot the surrounding area will continue to be saturated with color, thus altering the color of the kit (exception is if you already saturated the entire piece). Basically, the more that you spray the thicker your paint layers get. If one area of the figure has multiple coats of airbrushed paint while another has only one or two your figure’s color will look uneven. The “clear skin method” that many Japanese modelers use operates off of these principles – they apply very thin, even coats of clear paint onto a white or clear base. After the base coat is laid down shading is achieved by spraying the same paint color or a very similar shade onto areas of interest (e.g. cleavage, knees, etc.) to give them further dimension. This takes an incredible amount of skill.
Anyway, I refused to wipe the face and start over so I decided to work with the skills that I possess. I proceeded to give my kit a complete makeover with craft paints. I ended up contouring the sides of her cheeks with a slightly darker skintone and highlighted her cheekbones and below the eyebrows with a lighter skintone. I can’t tell you how I knew which colors to blend nor can I tell you how I accurately mix my colors…my knowledge of color theory is something I’ve just acquired over the years. If you’re interested in skintone recipes I do have a few and there are also guides available online.
At this point the kit’s face is fully contoured and highlighted. I also added a gloss sealer to her eyes and lips. Gloss sealer helps you achieve that white eye shine (that reflection is directly from the camera).
Finally all those makeup tutorials I watch became useful hahaha :’) The whole correction process took 3-4 hours and painting the face probably took at least 6-7 hours. I work slow because I want to make sure my lines are as fine as possible.
The last thing I wanted to do to make this kit really stand out was give her a new base. A supermodel cat deserves only the best and because this kit is so small I wanted something that immediately grabs the viewer’s attention. What better way to do that than A GIANT DIAMOND?
I started by looking in thrift stores for the perfect base. Height of the piece was important – I didn’t want something too stubby and it had to fit the scale of the diamond/kit. This piece was attached to a little glass cup (fancy shotglass? Idk) which I melted off. There are a surprising number of tutorials on the internet on how to cut glass. The rough edges on top were sanded down with a low grit sandpaper (200-400 grit).
I sculpted a little base out of Milliput and made sure my giant diamond fit in it. After it dried I sanded it down a bit, glued the piece to the base, and primed the whole thing in grey. The piece was sprayed with generic black Krylon paint. Since it’s all one color I didn’t really care about using my airbrush or painting by hand. The base was sealed with Future Floor Wax to give it that extra shine.
Glossy and black. Diamonds are this catgirl’s best friend (especially if they are bigger than her entire body). I’m also getting ahead of myself, I started sanding another kit already lmao
Finally, I glued the diamond to the base. Usually I drill into the base and insert a pin to give it some extra support. However, glass requires an entirely different set of materials (special drill bits, either diamond-tipped or carbide tipped) and I don’t even know if they make them at this scale so I decided to risk it and just glue the pieces together. My catgirl was glued on top (praying that this kit never falls over lol :’) ).
That’s it! She has a few flaws overall but I’m pretty happy with how she turned out and she feels very fancy to me ^^ If you’ve made it this far thanks for reading. Below are a few photos of my finished catgirl. There is a complete set of photos available on my Facebook page as well as my profile on here: www.facebook.co... I don’t write very detailed WIP posts on there but I do enjoy sharing my new kits and progress photos. If you have any questions/comments about the GK building process or this kit, feel free to leave a comment or send me a PM! Thanks and have a great day ^^