Celes Chere figure (polymer clay)

In 2005 I made a 1/20 Celes Chere sculpture (from Final Fantasy VI) for a friend as a birthday gift. The recipient liked the “traditional” Celes but not the Amano artwork, which left me with very little in the way of reference material. So the details are more or less my own invention.

I built this figure from Fimo (bakeable polymer clay) over a 5 day period. I started with a rough sketch in actual size, on which I based the wire frame (made from paperclips).

The frame was covered in aluminium foil to improve adhesion of the Fimo. From my past experiences, I had learned that one of the keys to success is to bake early and often, so I baked one leg before creating the other leg, and baked the detail on the body before adding the arms. Celes being a general, I made her fairly muscular.

Before adding the hair, I wanted to do Celes’ cape in such a way that I could bake it as a separate piece and attach it after painting (one of the other keys to success – work with separate pieces).

So what I did was cut a half-circle from aluminium foil (semi-circular cape) with a radius slightly less than the height of my Celes, then rolled out a thin layer of Fimo on this, and trimmed it to the size of the foil. With the aluminium foil as a backing, I could easily shape the cape part (at least for simple straight folds) and it kept its shape very well. After baking, the foil was removed – I wasn’t sure this was going to work, but it did.

The cape had warped a little where it was to attach to Celes, so I trimmed it a bit before adding Celes’ shoulder armour. The whole was then carefully removed before baking as a separate piece.

Next step was to add the hair. I was so pleased with how well the cape had worked, that I decided to follow a similar procedure for the hair. I shaped some aluminum foil over Celes’ head, rolled out a thin layer of Fimo, cut some indentations in it, scratched some hair in it, and then carefully shaped it on the foil – this formed the part of hair flowin out behind the head. This bit was baked first, and only then attached to the head, at which point I sculpted also the bangs on the left and right side of her face and the hair on top of her head.

For painting, I primed first with a layer of latex paint (having bad experiences with oil paint on Fimo), then painted with the figure with regular model paints. I was a bit at a loss about how to make the hair color stand out from the skin color. I tried a wash with thinned gold paint, which looked rather nice after I covered the gold in the shadow parts with ochre. After finishing the model, the cape (painted in a mix of white and pearlescent latex paint) was superglued in place. The whole was covered in floor wax (Sols Plus it’s called here), and finally a cedarwood disc was added as base.

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