Papercut Forest

“What an elaborate scenery you have!”
“All the better to shoot you!”

About the figure:

This approximately 20cm tall figure, manufactured by Alter in co-operation with Happinet belongs to the POP Wonderland series. The line featured known fairy tale characters such as Alice, Thumbelina, Cinderella, or for this instance: Little Red Riding Hood or Akazukin – the Japanese name of the fable. It was released in September 2008 in Japan.

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If you think about the figure quality back a decade ago, it’s pretty impressive how much this one still meets today’s standards.  They did a great job of capturing POPs pastel-colored illustrations into this tiny piece of PVC.

Especially Akazukin’s pick nick basket filled with a winebottle and cake is absolutely lovely. The transparent bottle adds a nice mix of material and matches great with her green eyes. They even managed to sculpt it that way that you can remove her red hood. Making her only a “Little Riding”.

In addition to her overall pastel colored and soft appearance she also got a very fitting base shaped like a forest road.

Overall it’s a great figure and definitely the finest the POP Wonderland line has to offer so far. With the additional advantage that unlike her Alice counterpart her prize kept on a reasonable level.

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About the series:

Well, since this figure isn’t really based on any anime or game series and simply refer to the folk tale from the 17th century about a little girl that didn’t stay on the path like her mother told her to, I will use this segment to tell you a little bit about the artist behind her desgin.Rotdetail_005

POP is a self-professed illustrator who made his debut in 2003 with the character design for the English language study series Moetan. Despite of being one of the major influential figures in the moe boom in Japan, running strong even until today he seeks to distance himself from todays use of the term “moe”.

In an interview I found in “The Moé Manifesto” by Patrick W. Galbraith he stated, that in his eyes the current word “moe” simply refer to “cute girl” and only  became a selling point for companies in order to promote their products.  Accordingly to his believes he would only apply this term whenever a significant amount of heart was put into someone’s work.

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Thoughts about the picture: 

The intention for this photo was to only use cardboard and colored paper in order to create a surreal and fairytale-like look. I dare to say that all of the entire figure photos so far, this was the one I spent the most time creating the surroundings. I was very concerned about the overall composition and that it might not be as powerful as I have planned. I revolved it in my mind to make the extended base out of colored paper, but that looked hideously and wasn’t “moe” at all. So I changed our plans and molded the ground out of modelling clay. Since I couldn’t imagine the finished scenery completely I ended up crafting way more props than needed.

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Behind the scenes:

Based on templates I found on the internet I put a large amount of preparation time into making serval paper trees. On the template it was suggested to glue only a few leafs on it, but since I wanted them to be way bushier I went all out and attached nearly 150 leafs on each tree.  3 trees and 4 small shrubs in total. I cut an awful lot of leafs… Same applies to the mushrooms that were also part of that composition.

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I previously mentioned that the original plan was to have the forest path also made out of paper, but since that didn’t work well I decided to use air-hardening modelling clay. To create an expanded base, I rolled the clay flat and applied some structure and bumps to make it look like the original base but bigger. Then I had to let it rest for at least 24 hours.

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When the clay finally dried up I painted it with acrylic color and applied some extra leafs on the ground to match it with the original base.

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After that I combined the new extended base with our paper cut trees and bushes. This way I made my lovely paper crafted forest happen.

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Canon EOS 5D, 90mm Macro lense / ISO 100  / Exposure time 1/8 sec. / aperture: 9.0

UhrTime and effort:
A lot! Even when only considering the props that are visible in the composition I spent 30-40 hours on crafting all those paper objects.

Costs

Costs of the props:
Not that much. The paper and the modeling clay together were about 15-20 EUR plus a few extra Euros for some hot glue gun sticks.

 

 

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