Reports of my death (or of this project's demise) have been greatly exaggerated....
I've just been taking a bit of a breather lately.
But getting back to business, today I purchased this handsome fellow (well, maybe not this exact one, but one like it) to convert into a nicer looking Dhugal MacArdry McLain:
I've also been reading up on a method of "dyeing" doll hair (actually, more like tinting with a very thin acrylic paint wash) that is supposed to be safer on the doll and less likely to ruin the vinyl skin if done properly. So what I'm hoping to do, rather than pulling out all that hair and trying to reroot it, then forcing the resulting thick mass of hair into a Border braid, is just tint the figure's original hair to a nice "copper bronze" shade, and then only remove a row or two of the short hair at his nape and reroot in longer doll hair in a shade (or actually a blend of shades) that will hopefully closely match the newly-dyed hair on top of his head. Any inexactness of color matching, I'm hoping to hide with the binding cords in the McLain colors that will be wound around the Border braid to secure it.
So to that end, after consulting off-forum with KK to find out exactly what color it is she had in mind when she described Dhugal's "copper bronze" hair, she said that the "Copper Auburn" or "Copper Penny" shades on this doll supply website probably come closest to what she has envisioned for his haircolor:http://www.dollyhair.com/saranhair.htm
Since I suspect that the reddish tinting that I am hoping to achieve over the new figure's original brown hair is going to end up having some brownish lowlights (shadows) peeking through the translucent paint tint, I ordered a blend of doll hair that is 50% Copper Auburn (the darker of the two shades KK selected, which will serve as my "midtone" color), 25% Copper Penny, which I'm hoping will look like natural sun-lightened highlights, and the remaining 25% in Russet Brown, to match the more shadowed tones I suspect will end up in the dyed hair. Hopefully that blend will come very close to matching whatever shade the dyed hair on top ends up being, but if not, I can reserve the hair for a different doll project and order a better matching blend. (Or try re-dyeing the hair, though I wouldn't want to add too much paint wash to it, no matter how thinned out, for fear of making it too stiff. I'm not aiming for Punk Hairstyle Dhugal, after all!
Of course, I do plan on testing the paint-"dyeing" technique on a spare head first, but fortunately I've got Duncan's original head set aside and all ready for testing. I'll see how well I do with shading that sandy hair a darker shade of medium brown, and if I get good results from that (and assuming the color stays where it's supposed to and none of the pigment rubs off on his face), I'll dare to try it again with my current Duncan's hair. By then, I ought to have received the new figure and supplies needed to get a start on the replacement Dhugal.
In the series, Dhugal is depicted with a mustache but without the beard, so when I repaint his eyes amber, I may go ahead and swab the beard off with an acetone dampened cotton swab at the same time. Though since KK is going to be at Dragon*Con this year, I'll probably leave it as-is until she has a chance to see what he looks like at that point and decide for herself whether to "shave" it or leave it on. After all, he may well decide to try growing a beard by 1136.
Unlike my other figure, this facial hair is only painted on, not molded into the facial sculpt as well, so it should wipe off much more easily, and it's easier to clean excess paint off a doll's face than paint facial hair on and have it look good, so that's why I shopped around until I found one with decent looking facial hair already painted on.