“In the summertime when the weather is hot, you must build right up and play with toys.”
Since summer is not the most productive season for me and packed with conventions, I didn’t plan for another summer themed picture after I finished my Bilibili project. But then I got an idea for another summery setup and was motivated to pull it off, so that I had something to submit for a local figure photo contest. I submitted the picture in the category “straight out of the cam” but keep in mind that the pictures you can see in this blog entry are already slightly edited. The photo did well and I was able to win first place in this category. But I have to admit, that’s mostly because figure photography is a very niche hobby in my area and I don’t know many people around me who are interested in building sets and taking pictures of figurines. I hosted the contest myself for the past two years and being spoiled by all those awesome people on MFC and Instagram, I found most of the entries we received a little underwhelming.
About the figure:
PLUM manufactured this 1/7 scales figure of Gotou Jun back in spring 2018 and to this day there are almost no other figures of her available. I bought her simply because I liked the color pallet and thought she looked cute. Jun is now one of my few summer/bikini figures I own. Normally I’m not a huge fan of those releases, since they mostly cost the same if not slightly more than a regular scale figure with the same size and quality. I know that almost every Anime show has at least one obligatory beach episode and I can understand why those figures exist, but why order a mostly plain looking figure, when I can get also a fully dressed figure with lots of details for the same money. And of course, when taking photos, getting skin tone done correct is also much harder than bright, vibrant Anime cloth colors.
At least this figure of Jun has a more detailed top and a somewhat interesting hair style. I know that there is also a variant color option of her, where they simply dyed the bikini black. Looks terrible if you ask me and gives me instant Evangelion figures ptsd. If there is one thing more unnecessary for my collection then bikini figures, its variant color versions of the same figure, yet alone variant colors for bikini figures.
About the series:
As stated above I’ve never watched the series and maybe never will but from a distance it looks like just another “cute loli girls do cute things” type of show. I could just copy the plot summery from MyAnimeList but honestly, I think you can do this by your own. Personally, I’ve no attachment to the show.
Thoughts about the picture:
When I first had the idea for this picture and decided to build a small swimming pool, I wanted to buy this Aoba figure from New Game for the shot. Since I like New Game a lot but don’t own any figures from this series (mainly because they decided to release their cast in stupid looking costumes first before doing regular or casual outfits) this seemed like a perfect opportunity to get one. I should also mention that the motto of this year’s contest was “summer sports”. But then money ran short and I had to use Gotou – one of my few bikini figures as a stand-in.
The idea to build the pool came to me when I realized that I still got many blue glass tiles form my Shiki project left. Finding a suitable container as the base of the pool wasn’t too hard and a wooden frame from an IKEA photo frame made for a pretty good border. I was genuinely surprised how well the tiles fitted in all three directions of the pool. I could have sworn that somewhere there will be a gab and I have to somehow slice those tiny glass tiles in half. On top of the tiles I placed a line of LEGO pieces that should give the impression of those plastic grids on a pool, where overflowing water is caught and brought back.
The most effort was put into the small wood pieces around the pool and the two palm trees in the back. Even though such a paper palm tree will take some time to craft the materials I used are cheap and the results are pretty convincing – especially for a prop in the background. The stem of the palm tree is just the cardboard core of a kitchen roll wrapped with a cord and the leafs are made out of colored paper and some wire. I used the exact same technique for a very old photo of mine but this time, since I used a cardboard core, I was able to give the stem a more natural looking curve.
However, the background was challenging. Since I used a wide-angle lens, I had plenty of background to fill and no idea how to do. I was thinking about going outside and using a real background for once but then I recalled that I don’t have any battery powered lights. Shooting outside would have required a power source and I don’t know many pools, beaches, lakes or other nice places with a socket. Therefor I went with a larger softbox and layers of tissue paper in it for a more surreal looking background.
I was really happy that in the end all the tiles I glued to the plastic container of the pool withstand the poured in water perfectly and since I also lit up the pool from underneath, the water surface added a few nice reflections to the scenery. I have to admit that the pool isn’t very large. With only seven centimeter depth and the size of a DIN A4 paper sheet it might be more suited for Nendoroids, but since I don’t have any of those Nendo bikini body’s I went for a scale figure instead. However, since it’s easy to store I separated the pool tub from its surroundings after the shooting. Maybe someday I will have some swimsuit or bikini Nendos and will do another photo session. Don’t forget: There is always another summer.
Canon EOS 80D, 16-35mm lense / ISO 200 /Exposure time 1/40 sec. /aperture: F/6.3
Time and effort: As mentioned before the small wood chips for the floor and the palm trees where the most time-consuming things to do on this set. All together I would assume that I spent 20-22 hours on the whole project.
Costs of the props: Since I used leftover tiles, I only had to buy the plastic tub for the pool and the cord for the palm trees and some wood strips. So, the initial costs for this setup was like 15 bucks or less.