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Modding Morgaine's Face

From a thread I’m doing on DoA:

My first eye-opening, first mod, first faceup…and doing it on a Fairyland Chic Line.
Yup…I’m nuts. But hey, that’s never stopped me before.
I haven’t documented the process, but people are asking me now, so I thought I’d collect what I have into one place.
This is where I’m starting:

This is where I want to end up:

Morgaine is a character from the graphic novel I did years ago of CJ Cherryh’s Gate of Ivrel. She’s a very distinctive lady with strong features. Lishe has similar basic proportions, and features that are (I hope) large enough to successfully mod. I thought I’d start with the sleeping face, since her OE plate works OK, so if I screwed things up, I’d still have it to fall back to. As it turns out, the filled eye of the SP is probably just what I needed to achieve her signature “looking down her nose at you” expression.

I’ve been asked about size. Think 1″ from brow to chin. Here’s a comparison with the Evil Blue Fairy Barbie:


Morgaine is taller, but her head is proportionately smaller, so it’s just a little larger than a Barbie head.


My tools are nothing fancy:

superfine sanding foam. small files, tiny drill bits, magnifying glasses, fiberglass-rated dust mask, bowl of water to control resin particles, paper towels for when I spill the water. Dear Mine box, StarTrek and Bleach DVDs are optional.

I’m working on this while I watch TV at night. I’m sanding by hand and very slowly (One swipe too many and at this size, I could ruin the entire project.) I sand lightly, dip in water to wash dust away and sand again. This is a tiny face, no dremel involved, and keeping the dust contained is not that difficult. OTOH, this is probably not the smartest set up.

Using primarily this file, with the funky triangular cross section, I began slowly opening the eye:

I didn’t take pix as I went along, so I’ll do a little recreation on Vanye’s sleeping FP

I put the thin edge right along the eyelid line and began filing very carefully (Don’t get the nose!) making sure to stay in the center, leaving the inner and outer edges of the eye pristine (for now.) Once through the initial surface layer of the resin, I began using primarily the tip, alternating between the narrow and wide sides of the file, working both sides of the initial lid line, and slowly defining the opening between the lids.

I’m very familiar with this face, so didn’t even think to sketch the goal lines on the FP in pencil. Probably w/b smart to do that. (sigh.)

The opening is so small, this alternating technique only works to about halfway through the resin before you’re in danger of compromising the eye opening with a slip. I then used a fine screwdriver bit and spinning it between my fingers, worked that slowly through the resin, again alternating with the file, to work my way through the resin in a bit of a cone shape until the bit came out the back. Once I had that spot to work with, I began working from the back to file out the hollow for the eye, and thinning the lid area, slowly shaping the eye.

This was a long, boring process. To keep myself from getting careless, I took breaks to sand other areas: her ski-jump nose into M’s slightly roman nose, and with the help of another file her slightly cleft chin, and her cheeks to hollow them out to define her cheekbones.

So…my progress to date is this:
Day one:

Day two:

You can see her signature heavy lid starting to take shape…I used a more rounded file for that, again just working slowly and smoothing with the fine sand paper. The right side of her face (as you look at her) is slightly warped, but that’s OK. No face is perfectly symmetrical.

Day three:


Getting real close. major mods on her mouth, more on the cheekbones and hollowing out the eye holes.  I’ll refine the end of her nose and fine sand…and try to get some more out of the eyeholes. All ChicLine eyes sit farther back in the head than I like. I’ve got to be careful because I can lose the expression in a heartbeat.

12 comments to Modding Morgaine’s Face

  • No Dremel, all by hand and tiny and delicate, eh? Immense respect.

    Last night, I spent a heckuva long time getting eyes in. Funny, after it got the first, I did the second much quicker, almost a factor of ten.

    Took photos, will get the slide show done later today, with notes.

  • I didn’t realize you were modding the sleeping faceplate! That’s a lot of work!

  • The Lishe face is pretty but it isn’t right for Morgaine. I got the sleeping plates pretty much for this purpose…to see if I could even do it.

    • I could see you using the Lishe face for another character at some point – sharing the body.

      Maybe one of your characters?

      Oh! I started “WildCards” and I don’t know if it’s because I already know the universe or something else, but it seems the beginning has more info/description than I remember. I’m loving it!

      • Probably still not without mods. The ski-jump nose and super full, super pouty lips don’t work for me. She’s very pretty, but still too 20th C collagen queen for my taste. Almost all the adult dolls of any size or gender have that problem for my tastebuds. I’m not really into the smoochy bedroom look. 😀 I’ll need to take Vanye’s down as well.

        I saw an incredibly posable doll somewhere online that boggled my mind that would make an amazing Dancer, tho! 😀 Can’t remember where I saw it…which is probably a good thing!

        Considering how this worked out, I’ll probably mod the lips and nose and cheekbones on the OE face and have it for a wider-eyed, Vanye’s doin’ good look. 😀 Then, with a change of wig and eye-color, she could do Kiyrsten with no trouble.

  • Hey, hey! I have a Workbench Slideshow up, showing my first-ever attempt at putting in eyes and…and stuff!

    It also shows I’m not used to taking photos that close up of things that small. Heheh. Learning, though.

    Go see! http://www.shinyfiction.com/toybox/workbench/wb001/

    Also, there’s new stuff at the whole Toy Box Tales site.

    Go see! http://www.shinyfiction.com/toybox/

    You might notice a familiar guest visiting there too.

  • I discovered a problem with viewing on “smaller” screen sizes, so I’m redoing the layout and style of the slideshow and a couple of other pages. I should have those up before this evening.

  • Oh…and Wiishu takes a bow! 😀 That robe is darling. He’s played lazy author the last couple of days and just lounged around in it…knitting on his Dr scarf!

  • That photo of Wiishu is just awesome.

    Fixing the sizing problem turned into a mess. Waah, my nice five-column, clean, clear design just wouldn’t work at smaller, non-widescreen sizes. I basically redid the slideshow, and it’s no longer as simple and elegant as it was, and…my inner designer is pouting and arguing with the inner coder who needs to learn PHP and improve his JavaScript skills. But complaining aside, it works right again, and should be viewable for most visitors. I need to look into slideshow gallery apps hosted on a website instead of a blog or forum. This was mostly just tedious.

    The slideshow now works fine and should be viewable for most visitors. The images are now smaller, with a larger view when you click an image. Nothing fancy, and the floating boxes follow web page logic, not human sensibilities. I may style it further to try to get around the issues that still annoy me.

    * Visitors can now see the slideshow at the links given in my earlier post here. *

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