Little Wrong Neighbor Hood

“Pro tip: Make a prop, take your time and then put it in the back where nobody can see it.”

The singing girl dressed in red velvet strayed away from the straight and narrow into a realm where she feels out of place. Still in a jolly mood, she doesn’t know what lies ahead when someone follows an uncertain path…

About the figure:

This prize figure of Miku in her Red Riding Hood dress was released in May of 2021 by manufacturer Taito. I guess, Taito is starting a new series called “Wonderland Figures” where they put Miku in different classic fairy tale outfits. Right now, there is also a Snow-White version and an upcoming Rapunzel and Cinderella figure down the line. They all look great but I’m still a bit disappointed that all the characters are just Mikus and not some of the other Piapro characters. But I guess she is the most popular one and as a prize figure manufacture you have to move some units by the end of the day.RedRiding006

The figure itself is very charming and has a good overall design. I do like that the small picnic basket is a separate piece that looks fairly detailed and also that they used a relatively simple outfit and didn’t put on some unnecessary fancy elements.  Of course, it’s still a prize toy, therefore the material feels a bit cheaper when compared to high class scale figures and you also will face some cast lines, especially on the front of her legs.

RedRiding004The paintjob is good but you have to get along with her cross-eyed look. I will also do a video review for the figure later this year. Once available I might edit in the link but for now I would say this is a very nice model with a good color combination and a natural looking pose.

About the series:

Well, it’s another Miku figure in a cosplay, so once again I wasn’t quite sure what to write for this segment. But then I noticed that apparently there was a major shift in the company structure behind those mascot characters. Crypton Future Media decided to move away from Yamaha’s Vocaloid Software towards their own software.

RedRiding005Therefore, Miku together with Rin, Len, Luka and MEIKO are now called “Piapro Characters”. I don’t know if this will have a lasting effect on the franchise because I never quite understand the innerworkings of the whole chiptune scene, nor do I care about the music software behind Miku. All I know is, that at this point those characters are so far dethatched from their source material that they can slip into any role and are more a cultural icon rather then a mascot for a product or a company.   

Thoughts about the picture:

It is always a blast for me to work on those Halloween themed pictures. I do like the colors of autumn and also that you can go a bit crazy with lighting and harsh shadows. If you follow my work long enough you might recall that I already did a photo with another Little Red Riding Hood figure that had a similar premise. In fact, I was worried that the two might look too similar but luckily, they turned out different enough to stand on their own.RedRiding002But if the picture from 2017 and that one has one thing in common it is the massive amount of time and dedication it took me to craft those trees. You probably never thought about this dilemma but as far as I’m concerned there are no deciduous trees in a scale big enough to match 1/7 or 1/8 scale figures. Other than fir trees that a widely available in all shapes and sizes – especially around Christmas, there are no pre-build broad-leafed trees you can buy of a shelf. Or at least I don’t know any. Therefore, if you want to have a tree featured in your figure photo you most likely end up building it from scratch. Of course, there is always the option to just pick up some branches and glue them together but you might still end up with the problem of not having the right scale and also it would still missing all the leaves.Makingof003For this set I decided to build the tree trunks out of tin foil covered with glue-soaked toilet paper. This worked well but already was quite time-consuming, since I had to work my way slowly to the top of the tree while pausing several times for extended periods of drying time. After all the stems were painted, I wanted to have the trees in the back covered with colorful autumn leaves, well knowing that this would be a ton of workload. I don’t know the exact number but it’s fair to assume that roughly 20.000 small papercut leaves had to be glued to thin wire in order to make this scene happen. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself since you might only see roughly a few thousand of them in the final shot. 

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The rest of the surroundings are pretty standard: A baseplate covered with moss and some modelling clay together with Halloween light strings and two Schleich animals. My main intend was to have a warm and cozy looking background and a much creepier looking foreground to emphasize the “straying away from the right path” of the fairy tale. I know the additional Halloween theme is a bit of a stretch but in all honesty, it was either this or a Nendo picture (for me the true horror) with all my Little Witch Academia figures, since I don’t own any other characters that would fit the spooky season.

RedRiding007

Sony Alpha 7R II, 55mm Sony lens / ISO 200 /Exposure time 1/20 sec. /aperture: f/6.3

Uhr

Time and effort: This is one of those “you better don’t count or you might get frustrated” pictures of mine. I’m glad I made it though and it was a welcomed distraction during the month of October where I punish myself with a no-sweets diet. 

Costs

Costs of the props: Someone would think that this is a fairly cheep set to make but all the paint, the glue, the clay together with some decorative elements like the animals or the mushrooms added up pretty quickly.

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