Ever since I heard about Good Smile Company’s Nendoroid Doll line I got a huge brain blast of attempting to make my OC/blog-mascot-that-is-rarely-seen com to life by making a nendoroid doll in my OC’s image.
The future is now folks.
This post will be part review, part spotlight and part DIY project. I hope I can do more DIY projects, or stuff similar to it… honestly I just want to use my creative juices lol. But also I would like to learn the art of sculpting in the process (even if it might be self-taught, so there’s a chance I’ll fail from learning things wrong 😆 ).
—So What Is A Nendoroid Doll?
Basically, it’s a doll-like version of a Nendoroid. It’s joints/limbs are more articulated than regular Nendoroid joints that are limited to how many directions the joints can bend. Bonus addition for these dolls is that you can place almost any Nendoroid head on top of the base body and can dress your favourite character in any clothing your heart desires.
They are about 10cm in height (without Nendoroid head) and come in standard female and male body bases. There are currently 4 skin tone options: Peach, Cream, Cinnamon* and the newest skin tone Almond Milk.
*Oddly, skin tone cinnamon is exclusively for boy body base
There may be more additions to the skin tones for body bases and face bases.
There are magnets at the bottom of a Nendoroid doll’s body base feet as well as official shoes made by Good Smile Company so you can have your doll stand tall on magnetic surfaces without any support stand.
Good Smile Company also makes some official outfits for Nendoroid dolls to wear, from sailor outfits to maid outfits as well as outfits based on existing characters. You can check out some outfits and other doll-related products here. Good Smile Company also encourages to mix and match official doll clothes, especially when giving girl dolls boy doll outfits and vice versa.
You are also encouraged to make your own outfits, and you can also sell your own original Nendoroid doll outfits (as long as they are not unethical and you display your contact information, according to Good Smile Company). Good Smile Company has also made a pattern book for Nendoroid doll outfits as well as step-by-step instructions. Sadly the book is sold out in most online stores, however Amazon Japan seems to be still selling it. I think GSC will be making more outfit recipe books in the future.
Customising A Nendoroid Doll
So first thing you’ll have to know is that buying a Nendoroid doll does not necessarily mean you’ll get everything you need. In fact, despite the promotional pictures, the Nendoroid doll body and head are sold separately (for an odd reason).
The differences between girl and boy body types is the sizes in the torso (chest size, shoulder width, waist and hips girth). In terms of height, limb length there is no difference. Currently girl doll bodies have 3 skin tones while boy doll bodies have 4 skin tones.
—Making The Nendoroid Head/Face
If you would like to make your own customised nendoroid head to create your OC or fav character that doesn’t have an official nendoroid head into a doll you have 3 options.
Option 1: You could buy a customisable head sold separately.
Currently they are only available in 3 skin tones. The faces are intentionally left blank for you to create your own face (be it by paint, pencils or deco stickers). This head comes with a back plate and a top plate along with the face plate, this is so you can create custom wigs to secure onto the head via the plates.
Option 2: Use GSC’s official Nendoroid face maker.
—They always update the face maker with new eyes and other features so be sure to check it every so often.
Unfortunately the website is only available in Japanese and also ships the faces to residents inside Japan. I really do wish that they would roll it out to international customers as it’s very nifty. But if you’re still up for it you can use a forwarding service to forward the faces to you.
Here is a guide on how to use the face maker. Whether you would like to use DEJAPAN as the guide says, or another forwarding service is up to you.
The nifty thing about Nendoroid facemaker is that you can choose between making two original faces for 1,480 yen or one original face and a blank face for 1,080 yen. By original, I mean a face made by you! Usually the blank face option is good for when you want to really customise the face but there aren’t any face options available on the website that fits your artistic vision. Either way the website has extensive options such as eye shape, eyelids, pupils, eye shine, nose, mouth eyebrows… honestly you could spend hours upon hours customising your own face.
Usually it takes about 14 days to create your face and will arrive to your doorstep depending on what shipping option you chose with your forwarding service.
Option 3: Get creative and sculpt your own Nendoroid head/face or find a freelance hobbyist that specialises in making custom Nendoroid faces
If you’re confident with your sculpting/artistic skills then why not jump off the deep end and make your own Nendoroid head/face. Though it would be best to have an new and official Nendoroid head as a reference as some of the parts that comes with the Nendoroid Doll body only fits Nendoroid heads.
The second part of this option is something I think may exist but haven’t exactly checked out. I’m sure there are hobbyists out there possibly accepting orders for custom nendoroid faces/hair… if not then they’re missing out on a lucrative business.
Bunny Has A Go At Customising Nendoroid
So, for reference this is basically the OC/mascot character I would like to have a go at creating a customised doll:
It’s Theo! Long time no see (I haven’t been drawing for more than a year so this is all the material I got). Even to this day I am unsure what his official outfit should be haha.
Personality wise, he’s basically a very scaredy-bunny who can get quite anxious but smiles brightest when happy (when he smiles he always closes his eyes). To make a doll of him means I’ll have to try my best to capture his personality when making the face, that’s how everyone expresses themselves after all.
For me I chose the Nendoroid face maker. At first I was going to get the original face plus blank face so I could make my own face considering I’m peculiar about his eye colour but after playing around in the maker for so long I decided to make a second face.
After a couple of weeks it arrived and ta-dah. It was a bit roughed up during shipping so the neck joints when flying everywhere insinde the package but the faces are safe.
For comparison this is what they looked like in the maker:
Very accurate and a clean job. Though my only problem is how the light reacts to the face… According to the site I think they use UV inkjet printer for the face, which is a process of curing ink through UV light, so maybe that’s why it has that strange texture with light? Not quite sure but it doesn’t seem to have the same look as other official Nendoroid faces have.
Another thing about Nendoroid face maker faces is that the profile of the face is not as defined as official Nendoroid faces, though it does give off that chibi look. For reference I compared the profiles between the face maker face and a Sakura Kinomoto face (released in 2014):
More or less official Nendoroid faces have more details, while the face maker faces are often round. Also I don’t think they sculpt mouths open like Sakura’s. Which is why hopefully one day, when I have the guts and time, I wish to sculpt my own Nendoroid head, especially when I want to give Theo so more expressions. Though the only problem is to work out the correct skin tone to pain my hand-made Nendoroid head so it matches the body 🤔
Some closer looks at the head by itself:
The top of the head has a little Nendoroid seal to show that it’s legit.
Now the head attached to the doll body that I bought during my Japan trip in the middle of this year.
Ignore the fact that I have no clothes made yet nor any hair or haven’t changed out his hands (there are two other pairs of hands that comes with the body base I think but you can buy a bag full of different posed hands separately). Also, for some reason the magnetic base just fell off? The glue that was keeping it together with the plastic just became dry? I have no idea how that happened.
The head can’t stay on the body with just the face plate alone so prolly best to have some hair sculpted so you can properly keep the head on the doll’s body. Reason why in the second pic I had to hold his face in place because it kept falling off lol.
I tried on some hair parts using my (coughbootlegcough) Ciel and Sebastian Kuroshitsuji nendoroids that had been collecting dust and I have been meaning to burn them in a fire. Though the closest one to Theo’s hair would be Ciel’s, so it’ll be there temporarily.
I would like to make some hair for Theo one day from clay, though unsure how to go about putting colour on it. Wondering if I should invest in getting an airbrush or just straight up painting the clay by hand 🤔 I’m also thinking about shaving off his ears lol. Cruel to say but the no. 1 mistake most artists make when drawing humans with animal ears is that they draw characters with both animal and human ears 😂 So I might have to shave some ears down to get some authenticity and make some bunny ears.
Been thinking of using the power of magnetism to create magnetised bunny ears so I can pop them off whenever, something that I’ve learnt from owning the Sakura Kinomoto Nendoroid (her cap and head has magnets, or at least magnetised so it can’t be knocked off so easily).
I’m hoping this will be a blog series, that is if I have time to do something to write about. Maybe next time I will show some progress and hopefully I can make Theo’s wig (from clay lol).
Thanks for reading! Maybe this post has inspired some of you all to customise a Nendoroid Doll (or at least think about making one).