Hello MFC, it’s Muntoe back with another garage kit blog and longer WIP this time;; 2020 has been off to a busy start for me (what is even happening with this world) and I’m hoping to keep it that way! Today I’d like to present the lovely Cyber Connect 2-chan by the circle Jamming Off I painted recently for a special client ;) This was a unique opportunity and she was in my “painting wishlist” for years, so I’m so happy I was able to take this project on. As usual, more WIP and finished photos are available on my social media pages and website Plum Workshop.
Cyber Connect 2-chan (CC2-chan) is a mascot character for the company Cyber Connect 2, a game developer in Japan who created the .hack series. Although CC2-chan is primarily a mascot, she has also shown up as a DLC character for the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. This particular figure is based off an artbook image from 2012, and as you’ll see I will attempt to replicate most parts of this while bringing in a few other elements from her main character design.
This garage kit had a very smart parts breakdown and there were barely any fitting issues, but a few pieces had bubbles of varying sizes. All of the pieces also had seamlines, so the prepwork for this figure took a good chunk of time.
This is what most of the kit looks like after an initial test pinning
I’ve also been experimenting with N52 neodymium magnets for some of my recent builds. Substituting traditional pinning with rods for the magnet method is becoming popular in Japan since it makes shipping and assembling a garage kit much easier. It is also a good way to minimize stress on a piece and/or eliminate glues which can become brittle over time. Because CC2 is a relatively dynamic build, I decided to install magnets in the lower half of her body. This helps me during test fits and shipping but it also helps the client minimize damage during assembly. I still haven’t given up traditional pinning yet though, so the majority of her is pinned and glued!
Before I started painting, it was very important to me to make sure CC2-chan’s body designs (tattoos?) were well-planned and perfect. This character has a distinct look because of the tattoos, and there are lots of them all over her body in various patterns. Some of them are also not present in the artbook reference image! Because of this, I worked closely with the client for this portion to make sure the size and placement was as close to the character model as possible. Many of these pieces with tattoos also required other colors, so I wanted to make sure I’d be happy with them right away or else I’d need to re-do entire pieces.
The tattoo/body designs were first created by drawing a rough shape on masking tape molded onto the body. The tattoo was then copied onto a piece of paper to create a “master template”. This master template was used to draw the shape onto a piece of parchment paper, and that template was used to copy the final design back onto a piece of masking tape for placement onto the model. It all sounds convoluted with a lot of steps, but the parchment paper step was needed so the masking tape wouldn’t stick to the piece of paper and mess up the master template. If I needed to make any changes, I was thus able to alter the parchment paper or master template without worry.
This is the final tattoo placement. There are also small tattoos on her shoulders and face (not pictured)
With the body design locked down, I was finally able to begin painting. This figure had a particular painting order, but in general it went white → skin tone → black + grey → greens → details and misc. pieces (gold etc.). I usually airbrush with Gaianotes surfaceless skintones, but this skin was painted using the Mr. Lascivus series from Mr. Color. I found the CL-01 White Peach color was perfect for the tattoos, and a mixture of CL-03 + CL-05 gave me the light reddish tan I was looking for.
Tattoos in various stages. Top left is base-coated with CL-01 white peach
There are many more steps to painting which I won’t show here, but in summary I worked with one color at a time, making sure that all pieces were progressing at the same rate. Working this way saves me a lot of time and correction of mistakes before proceeding to the next color. Little bike shorts and some minor changes to the top were also added to make CC2 look a little closer to her other character design.
Various pieces in stages of prep
Those who follow my work are probably aware that I save painting the face for last. I do this so I can solely focus all my energy on recreating the character as close as possible without worrying about the other parts of the figure. CC2-chan had relatively complex eyes with a lot of colors - in the end, I used 9 different colors to paint these haha;;
Lastly, I created a simple but effective base by using a clear acrylic plate with a decal of the company logo and some paw prints I made in Photoshop. Holes were drilled into this base and acrylic rods (1/16” and ⅛”) were installed to give the figure the illusion of floating.
That pretty much sums up this WIP, so final photos are listed below! I also kept this secret until the very end, but parts of her outfit were painted with UV-reactive paint so they glow under a blacklight. I’m still learning to use it effectively so the job is a bit rough, but it’s a fun feature for a kit who lives in a cyber world and it made for some cool photos. Thanks for reading!