Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Adapting Inexpensive Minis project

So I just showed the monkey that I adapted from a resin chimpanzee in my last post, but he is part of a larger project which I started over the winter. I really enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, as you can (hopefully) tell from this post! I wanted to make a miniature or two that was related, without spending alot of money. I just kept getting new ideas, and it kept expanding. The way it was going for a while, I might have made the entire Royal Navy chasing Jack!
I started out just trying to make a doll that looked like Jack Sparrow. I'm not fond of dressing dolls, so I took far too many shortcuts with him. I used an inexpensive Town Square doll ($10). I stripped the doll down (using nail polish remover to remove the painted features), and then went to work.

I repainted his features with acrylics, re-dressed him, and wigged him. His beard and moustache were a bit of a challenge,but I'm quite happy. His clothing on the other hand was a rushed job, so I'll continue to fiddle with it. Jack was holding a rum bottle, which helped disguise his clumsy hands, but he seems to have dropped it!

I found the boat at my local dollhouse shop for $12, and knew that it would be perfect for Jack. I did a lot of sanding, painting, and even burning to age it, but I'm just glad I didn't have to build the boat! I even managed to add barnacles to the boat bottom, made from painted dollhouse gravel.

I also added props from the three movies to the boat. The original map was seemingly backed with thin wood. I used a heavily textured fabric instead. The pistol is a metal miniature that I adapted slightly and painted. I made the open compass (the black dot sitting on the map) from layers of card. There is also a piece of cursed "Aztec gold" on the map.

I had to make Jack's weather beaten leather hat as well. I'd never made a pirate hat, or a hat from leather before, so I didn't really know what I was doing. I just kept fiddling until it looked right, and bugging my brother (who loves vintage hats) for information. I set the boat on a (aged and distressed) frame from the thrift store to make a display base. Oddly enough, the resin for the "ocean" was the single most expensive part of the whole project, at $20 for the bottle. Altogether, I think I spent about $50 on this project. I've still got a few more touches to add (the sail is still a bit too new, and I'm dissatisfied with Jack's clothing) but I'll wait until I'm really in the mood to fix those things.


  1. I love this scene so much! Wonderful work on Jack's face and whiskers.

  2. haha - the monkey is perfect!!! Could it be one of jack's delusions from being without rum for so long?!?!? haha! love it -ara

  3. Wow - the detail is incredible! I think you did a really good job capturing Jack's likeness.