OK, so I've wanted to make a Duncan action figure for quite a while, but hadn't found the ideal doll or action figure to base it on. There was a decent looking Anakin Skywalker 12" action figure that looked like it could be modified to look Duncan-like, and it had nice articulated joints suitable for action poses. It was, alas, $65 at the very cheapest, and I wasn't quite that
obsessed with having a dress-up Duncan McLain!
So this weekend, I found a Ken doll on clearance at Walmart. At only $10, I figured if I messed it up, I wouldn't be too heartbroken. The hair color was all wrong, but hopefully it can be dyed darker, and the eye color is right.
Yes, it's an "Ultimate Boyfriend Ken." Yeah, go ahead and laugh. I certainly did!
There was a brown-haired male doll on clearance as well, but it from the Bratz Doll series, I think, with an oversized head that put me more in mind of a Bobblehead, and dark eyes that might have been vaguely blueish, but certainly not the "striking blue" mentioned in KK's books. So Ultimate Boyfriend Ken it was, especially once I realized that he talks! Yes, he's got this heart-shaped button in his chest that you can push to record a 5-second phrase, and then if you push one of three buttons on his back, he will parrot it back in either your own voice, a deeper "male-sounding" voice, or a high-pitched child's voice. Yeah, guess who spent the morning recording Latin phrases and playing them back at all three pitches?
OK, so once he was home and out of the box, it was time for the makeover to begin, because really, who wants a cheesy looking Ken doll on their Deryni shelf? I found my sewing kit and some leftover fabric from my Servants of Saint Camber costume, and began work on a tiny T-tunic that could serve as either an undertunic or an alb. And while rummaging through my supplies, I also found some ivory ribbon, so that and a small metal ring became a belt.
Tunic/alb and belt
Wearing tunic and belt
The tunic goes to just below the knee, which makes it a perfect length to wear either under a shorter dress tunic (probably paired with some hose or trews once I get a chance to make any) or else under some gray Camberian robes. If I make two white tunics, I will probably use some narrow ribbon to make sleeve trim on one of them, as I found several lovely shades of ribbon that are too narrow to do much of anything else with but which would work admirably as trim for a miniature tunic. Or if/when I get around to making full bishop's kit for Duncan, a plain white tunic could double as an alb worn over the cassock and under the chasuble and other regalia. I don't currently have any fabric suitable for trews or chausses, so for now he's stuck with the "indigo-dyed trews" he came with. I suppose I could cross-garter them with ribbon for a more period look, though he really needs a pair of boots instead of plastic loafers. If I can find some scraps of thin leather and/or leather-look fabric, that might be the next accessory on the list.
Once he had some decent starter clothing, it was time to work on the hair a bit. When he came out of the box, his hair had been shaped and was coated with something that made it rather helmet-like and...um...crunchy? It was like he'd had it heavily hair-sprayed. Since I plan on trying to dye it brown, I wanted to see if I could wash out whatever it was that was holding the hair in place, and hopefully fluff it out a bit so that the dye could get between the individual strands better. Once I did, he looked like this:
OK, that was a little bit of an improvement, but still, the haircut looks too modern. Should I try cutting the bangs (aka "fringe," for those of you across the ocean) before I dye it? Of course, if I mess up the haircut, it won't grow back out again! Decisions, decisions.... But upon careful inspection, it does look like that modern fringe could be clipped back just a tad to resemble a more medieval-looking bowl haircut. But I don't want to overdo it, because I'm really not a fan of that over-shorn Norman look, never mind how apropos it is for the 12th Century!
Will post more pictures once I've tried modding the hair. In the meantime, not pictured are a spiffy new leather belt made from a piece of leather bootlace and a brass jewelry finding, and also some twine I'm soaking in red and blue food coloring in hopes that I can make a Servants of Saint Camber cincture for his Schola robes. I'll take a picture of both and upload them here once I get a chance, but as the subject line says, this is an ongoing project.