Custom Korner: Red Sonja

By bill - January 18, 2013

I don’t tend to do commissions, but I’ve customized a fair share of gifts for friends over the years.  That’s how this 6″, Marvel Legends-style Red Sonja came to be.

I made this Legends-scale Red Sonja over the Fall of 2011, as a Christmas gift for my Sonja-loving friend Jason.  One of the things I run into a lot buying gifts for fellow collectors is, we tend t buy the things we want fairly quickly– I wouldn’t dare buy a game or DVD for most of my friends, because if they want it, they probably already bought it.

So custom toys ends up being an ideal solution, allowing the freedom to make a toy based on just the right subject, in just the right style, and also guaranteeing it’s one that they’re not gonna but elsewhere.  Jason dug the hell out of Dynamite’s recent Red Sonja series, and he’s into larger scale figures, so I felt 6″ was the fair size to go for, to maximize the amount of parts I had to play with.

I started with the Habsro female Marvel Legends buck.  I know this body is hotly debated and quite controversial, but I think it’s fantastic.  It’s well-articulated with great proportions and some excellent sculpting, especially on the torso and abs.  Yes, the legs might be a little skinny, but I felt a lithe, slender looks would work for my warrior woman.

The gloves and boots came next… one much simpler than the other.  For the boots, all I had to do was swap out some Eowyn Lord of the Rings shins at the knee.  It’s an easy swap– just boil or heat the plastic of the knee, pop out the pins, and replace.  The gloves were a bit more tricky, as not many figures share the half-ball elbow joint of the ML base.  I cut off the forearms halfway down, and did likewise for the gauntlets on LOTR Eowyn’s arms.  Then, I drilled out the gauntlets to make them hollow, being sure to Dremel only enough for the thinner ML arms to plug in place.  As it is, I got it right, and the gauntlets slid on and stayed in place tightly, so I didn’t even have to glue.

I was originally going to sculpt Sonja’s iconic chainmail bikini, but after looking through my LOTR parts bin, I decided to cut the bikini shapes out of old armor, and fasten them with thread, like the warrior’s actual comic look.  After a maddening few evenings, I was able to get the costume pieces in place and tied off.  It literally took days of trial and error, and I am very proud of myself for not breaking down and throwing the figure across the room in frustration.

For there, I added a ML Black Widow long hair head, which I think works well for the steely Red Sonja, and dug up some random armor bits and bands to fit on her shoulders, biceps and thigh.  A full paint job and dullcote finish later, Red Sonja was ready for gift-giving.

Sonja here was one of the more elaborate customs I’ve worked on, but she’s also one of the ones I’m the most proud of.  Sometimes it pays to go big, and I think this figure was an example of that.

Check back next Friday, as we continue showcasing some new and old custom figures.  If you have a custom figure you’d like to see featured here, email me—  Your figure may be the next one featured on Custom Korner!

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