“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. – Voltaire”
Poor little Miku got shipwrecked on a deserted island but apparently, she isn’t particularly concerned about it. Maybe she will turn this island into her own Caribbean paradise of music and joy.
About the figure:
This Natsufuku version is another seasonal themed prize figure of Miku from Taito, that was released back in 2017. I saw her someday at a convention and immediately was hooked on the design. Since most summery figures are wearing a bikini of some sort and I’m not a big fan of those, I was happy that this Miku mixed things up a bit. Also, for a prize figure those Taito releases are well done in terms of quality. Of course, you can’t expect a paint job and level of details like with a state-of-the-art scale figure but for a three-year-old prize toy this one is still quite nice.
Mikus hair have those translucent tips and since she is wearing a white sailor dress there isn’t much paint job to critique. The classic red and white lifebuoy is a nice eye-catcher. My only gripe is the giant “MI KU HA TSU NE” lettering on it. In my opinion they have chosen a terrible font and it feels very misplaced on a figure that is otherwise very much grounded in reality. Her facial expression is friendly and upbeat while her base design is the same as with all of these seasonal prize figures: Translucent with printed ornaments on it.
About the character:
When I started this blog format, I never thought that I might do multiple photos of the same character and therefore also write multiple “about the character” sections on the same one. But since this is now the fifth article on this site featuring a Vocaloid character I might spare you the details. I would rather use the opportunity and share my thoughts on the current state of Miku (figures) with you.
Naturally 2020 isn’t the ideal year for anyone who is into collecting figures, since most of the current releases are still badly affected by delays and cancellations. But somehow, I have the feeling that the waves of new Miku figures are getting much calmer these days. I’m now wondering if the Vocaloid craze of the last decade is coming to an end and if Miku and her entourage slowly getting replaced by VTubers. Lately I definitely see more and more releases concerning those new online entertainers and even if I haven’t got into the fandom – mostly because I don’t understand Japanese and because I’m not a big fan of live steaming, if find the designs for most of them very intriguing and fresh.
Thoughts about the picture:
I haven’t written a lengthy figure photo article for two months now because for my last projects the behind the scenes stuff wasn’t that interesting and I only took the one feature image I had in mind. So, there wasn’t much content to fill such an article. But for this project I can finally share some insights with you again.
I started the preparations for this setup with crafting the rowing boat in the back, because I couldn’t find one that matched Mikus scale on sale. Honestly, I had no idea how to build a boat and since I also didn’t find a guide for it online my only reference point were people who actually build real life boats and I simply scaled all the elements down. Since I don’t have access to a laser cutter, sawing the wooden pieces for the frame was quite cumbersome but eventually, I ended up with a frame that looked like this. Before I started the woodworking, I also tried a version made out of cardboard and foam plates.
After I finished the boat and two oars it was time to craft the palm trees. I already made palm trees for two of my older pictures but this year I modeled them a bit more realistic. The process was still simple but cutting and gluing each part of the leaves individuality was much more work. Here is a quick comparison between this and last years trees. If you see them side-by-side you can clearly note the difference.
The last major component for the setup was the shore and since I don’t live in an area where I’ve access to a nice-looking beach, I had to craft this part of the picture as well. Therefore, I went all out and decided to work with clear resin. I took a wooden board, painted a nice turquoise blue gradient on it and then poured some resin over it.
The resin ensured a glossy finish for the sea and where it hits the bank it mingled perfectly with the sand to create this washed up beach look. I don’t know if the watery resin effect comes across well in the final composition but it sure looked very nice on the board. In the end I’m glad I did it, even if the material is expensive and working with liquid resin is always a bit messy, especially if you work on a plain surface where it can run down the edges.
The last bit of trivia regarding this picture I can share with you: The background used for it is a long piece of printed paper with some low-resolution clouds on it. Ok, so far nothing special. But this roll of printed paper was a leftover from the days when I worked on a model railway system with my dad. I was still a child and the year was like 1999. So, for over two decades this background waited patiently in the closet to be featured in a figure photo.
Sony Alpha 7R II, 55mm lens / ISO 640 /Exposure time 1/50 sec. /aperture: F/7.1
Time and effort: This project easily joins the “fifty hours” club since the palm trees alone took my 7-8 hours each. Combine this with the handmade boat and the fact that I had to take the picture in my old studio it was one of the more elaborated builds this year.
Costs of the props: The most expensive part of it was with out a doubt the resin. I used about two liters or in other words I spread 25 bucks onto a wooden plate. For the boat I had to buy some wood but altogether the total costs for this project stayed under 50 Euros.