Hi MFC, I am back once again and would like to take the time to share this special garage kit duo titled “Duality” featuring Phosphophyllite and Cinnabar from Houseki no Kuni with you all. This diorama was a project I decided on back in 2018, but took me around 2 years to conceptualize the idea and gain the confidence to paint it. Many more WIP photos are available on my social media and the full photo shoot is on my website, Plum Workshop: www.plumworksho...
I don’t want to ramble on too long, but this pair requires a little background. Cinnabar was first sold in WF Summer 2016 by the circle Komakkou, and during post-auction resales scalper pricing topped 40,000-50,000+ yen (nearly 7-8 times retail price) because only 10 copies were cast. Due to this exorbitant markup, I opted to purchase a recast. However, I was fortunate enough to come across an original figure of Cinnabar near retail price after a WF 2017 re-release. With this unique situation, I realized that it would be interesting to create an entirely different character. Phosphophyllite (Phos) is my favorite character and shares a close relationship with Cinnabar, so I didn’t hesitate in taking on this project.
Idea and Execution:
Many themes interplay throughout this series, and my goal for this piece was to touch on the relationship between Phos and Cinnabar as well as the world of Houseki no Kuni. “Post-winter” Phos from the manga is one of my favorite forms and few figures of them exist, so I chose to focus on this character design.The moon is also a major symbol throughout the series, so I felt obligated to include it as the base design. With these concepts nailed down, it was simply a matter of choosing how to position and best showcase the two figures.
Phos’s gold arms are their symbol of strength after a tragic accident, so I chose to focus on this aspect and use it as the support for both gems. It also felt apt to use this gold to grasp and reach out to Cinnabar, symbolizing what Phos does in the series before they realize there is a deeper truth in the world. The gold support is what took me the longest since it is fully built from scratch with putty, and it went through many iterations over the years. Sculpting is tough, some of you guys are so talented with what you do!
Because Phos and Cinnabar share a similar body structure, there weren’t too many other modifications needed to complete the transformation. Phos’s shoe heels and hair were sanded down to look closer to the character. It was also during this time that I cut a moon lamp in half and sanded it down to use as the base support. This moon is still capable of lighting up and is used this way in the photoshoot :)
From here on the painting process was pretty simple. This is a great kit for beginners looking to get into GK! Anyway, test spoons were sprayed to figure out exactly what color I wanted the shading and hair to be. The gems were then shaded lightly and coated with pearl pigment from the Mr. Crystal Color lacquer paint series. Phos’s arms were sprayed with Alclad II lacquer paint. The rest of the painting below is done with lacquer paint. Details are painted with enamel.
Rather than paint the outfits generic black, I decided to mix a custom dark plum color that would work well for both outfits and allow pre-shading to achieve a separate but similar color palette for each gem.The redder outfit is intended for Cinnabar, while the darker blue/grey is for Phos. Even the manga covers/illustrations rarely use pure black, so utilizing the eyedropper tool is a great way to separate yourself and get your figures looking closer to the character.
One interesting thing about these figures is their clear hair. Although I own a bunch of kits with clear resin, I’ve never worked with clear pieces before. It was a bunch of work sanding these from coarse to a fine polish. Each hair piece was slowly layered with clear paint until I achieved the desired color. My goal was to match the artwork’s color as well as the original gem, and overall I’m pretty happy with how they turned out.
Technically at this point I could have wrapped up with the faces, but I decided to push my painting a bit farther. There is a specific point in the manga (ch. 20-21) where Phos has their post-winter form and agate legs before they start powdering them. I love this leg design and chose to recreate it as closely as possible. I think it adds a much-needed color pop and interesting element to an otherwise simple design!
Lastly the most important part: the faces :) I’ve seen Cinnabar painted many different ways, but most builds don’t tend to follow the manga style with smaller irises. There’s a fine line between too large and too small, and since these figures have sculpted eyes I wanted to make sure they followed the frame of the face as well. Being limited to one face sculpt was an interesting challenge. I really love how each face conveys a different feeling.
Phosphophyllite is the showstopper here and who I care most about, so during post-processing I realized I didn’t take as many pictures of Cinnabar and slightly regret it lol. The downward angle these two are at is relatively difficult to photograph and to be honest a little unflattering at some angles. Oh well, sometimes less is more! From my perspective, they ended up exactly how I imagined which is a huge relief. Overall I am elated to pay homage to this amazing series. Thanks so much for reading and until next time ^^