“5 stars out of 5 – Would buy again!
Or maybe not, since you are broke now…”
About the figure:
For marking their 15th anniversary, Good Smile Company teamed up with Kodansha and Clamp in order to release this astonishing 1/7 scale figure of Sakura Kinomoto. When this figure was open for pre-order back in 2016, you could have chosen between two different versions. Once there was the solo figure sculpted by Kawahara Takayuki and the other version was the exact same figure, but with a massive contraption, that represents some kind of solar system. And when I say massive, I mean massive. In fact, with a stated height of 45cm (17,55inch), it is my first figure that won’t fit into one of my showcases without adapting the shelf plates.
When looking at her release price, the solo figurine had a reasonable 13.000 yen (roughly 95 euro) price tag. And the “Stars bless you” version cost almost a hundred euros more. You know it’s funny, because normally I’m the one who takes a “naked” figure and builds a set around, that is almost every time as expensive, as the figure itself. This time the scenery already came with the figure. How convenient!
When unboxing this figure, I was sweating blood and tears. You have to be very careful when unraveling the (tons of) protection foils, because of the many delicate details that can break off very easily. Also I had a very hard time placing Sakuras shin onto the base, as well as adjusting the banner around her. The peg holes were extremely tight. It took me around half an hour until I could finally start to build the rest of the scenery.
About the character:
Sakura Kinomoto is the main protagonist of a magical girl series called “Card Captor Sakura” in which she has to find and capture a bunch of tarot cards called “Clow Cards”, who escaped from a book in the very first episode. This might sound like an easy task but each Clow Card has an unique ability and a guardian within, that Sakura has to overcome, in order to obtain that cards power.
Card Captor Sakura had its original run back in the late nineties and shaped the genre of “magical girl” shows for years to come. The anime series was bases on the original Manga by famous artist group Clamp who also did the box art for this masterpiece of a figure.
Since we are also celebrating the 20th anniversary of Card Captor Sakura, the fandom rejoiced about the fact that a sequel story, starting at the point when Sakura enters junior high school alongside her friends, got an anime adaptation by studio Madhouse in January 2018.
Thoughts about the picture:
Being a figure photographer is getting harder and harder those days. Every single sculpture that is currently released, is a little masterpiece of its own. Each time I get an impressive one like this, I’m always thinking to myself “How can I do her justice”. Or better: Can I do her justice? This project was especially hard to realize, because I was forced to keep all of Sakuras surroundings. Normally If a prop or base plate doesn’t go well with my vison I can mostly remove or just cover it. But here it was different. So I decided to go the “easy” way and just recreated the artwork done by Clamp.
I used my jigsaw to saw the basic shapes of the clouds and then I covered the plywood with foam rubber. Fun fact: It was the first time ever that I used foam rubber in one of my projects. For some reason I didn’t really like that material this much but after doing this build, I might consider to use it more often. My first intention was, to once again cover the foam rubber with some papier-mâché and paint over it. I tried it and it looked terrible. The papier-mâché got too much wrinkled and took away some of the structure.
Luckily VikiBuNNy gave me the advice to just have the white foam rubber painted directly. I applied 2-3 layers of acrylic paint and lots of opaque white to the clouds. I also sprayed some white dots on them for a nicer finish. I was also lucky to found some fitting gold stars that I applied on the clouds and on the figure as well.
After building those clouds (sorry, I once again forgot to take “making off” pictures) I arranged them carefully around Sakura and used a sheet of tissue paper for the main background. It was the first time using my new bought camera and I immediately took advantage of the swiveling display when arranging the scenery. It was such a great feeling not having to jump behind the camera every few seconds just to see what’s going on. I also took a second shot with my old camera to see if there is much difference.
Canon EOS 80D, 90mm Macro lense / ISO 200 / Exposure time 1/50 sec. / aperture: F/8
Time and effort:
Another great motive that didn’t took me too long to prepare. I spent a few hours when sewing and painting the clouds but overall it might only took me about 5-6 hours for crafting.
Costs of the props:
Since the figure alone cost me over two hundred euros, the budget for the props was very limited. Luckily I had most of the things I used in this one already lying around. I only bought the little gold stars and some additional foam rubber.