I don’t think we had even left PUDDLE last year when I realized that Haruhi and Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club were the perfect candidates for custom dolls for this year’s PUDDLE. After all, what better dolls for a tea party theme than characters who basically spend all their free time serving tea?
Besides which, I’ve been a huge fan of Ouran for years and just thought it would be pretty fun!
It was roughly PUDDLE time last year I got really into the idea of Isuls as girls, too, and with Haruhi’s androgynous nature I figured she would be a fun doll to experiment on. (Not long after that I bought Jayni, another custom Isul girl, and I recently turned my Souji Okita into a girl too, but I digress). Once Isul MIO kits came back in stock, I picked up a couple and got to work.
Haruhi’s faceup honestly turned out pretty much exactly the way I wanted it to. It’s cute and feminine with the right clothes, with just the right amount of androgyny to pass as a boy in her male uniform. Her eyechips, as with all the eyechips I used for PUDDLE dolls this year, are from CoolCat. I also gave her eyelashes from a set of human falsies I bought on Amazon. After lots of looking around, I settled on a wig from Angell Studio that I thought looked pretty good for her. Her girl body was ordered from Mimiwoo. I went with a 25cm small bust obitsu because I felt it had the right amount of youthfulness and flatness to pull off the looks I needed for Haruhi.
My biggest challenge with her ended up being the rebody itself. I knew from experience with Marty (who’s on the same body as Haruhi) that the 25cm could be pretty floppy, but I didn’t anticipate the level of neck floppiness I was going to get with her. I luckily was able to work with one of the included neck pegs, but it wouldn’t screw in tightly enough to hold the neck hole on the head in place firmly, so after a great deal of trial and error I put several pieces of craft foam over the body’s screwhole before screwing in the peg and adding teflon tape. It’s not as sturdy as a stock body, but it’s holding up okay for now at least. I also added foam to her body to help stabilize it following this deflopping tutorial.
I wasn’t as lucky with the MIO restock on Tamaki as I was on Haruhi. While Taeyang MIO’s did get a restock after I’d made the decision to make Tamaki, it came at about the same time I’d blown my dolly budget ordering things like wigs and eyechips and other supplies for all the dolls I was working on for PUDDLE and by the time I could stretch the budget to get my doll for Tamaki, they had gone out of stock again. Luckily, my local Tuesday Morning still had a Taeyang Alberic knocking around and I had already gotten a little bit of sanding expertise from removing the faceups of the two Dal Charlotte’s I had purchase, so I picked him up to become my Tamaki. Tamaki was actually the last faceup I completed out of the PUDDLE dolls due to my stalling on getting a base doll for him. I’m not quite as in love with his faceup as Haruhi’s– I went a little overboard on the painted eyelashes and all of it’s a bit paler than I had anticipated– but I do still think it turned out okay, and am especially fond of his lips.
As with Haruhi, Tamaki has CoolCat eyechips (in the perfect shade of violet), and his wig is likewise from Angell Studio. His eyelashes are from Tata’s Paradise BJD, which is also where I ended up getting the two paper roses that accompany the dolls. For anyone not familiar with Ouran, all of the members of the host club have an associated rose color, and roses are featured frequently throughout the series, so I felt it was only appropriate my two host dolls would come with their appropriately colored roses. In regards to his eyelashes, I do think they’re a bit pale for my liking and I might have gotten a better match for the character with a light brown instead of a blond, but they still look relatively decent. I think overall Tamaki ended up paler in a lot of ways than I would have liked (faceup, eyelashes, wig, etc.) but I’m still pleased with how he turned out.
Tamaki obviously had to wear the iconic Ouran boys’ uniform for his outfit. I’ve had DGRequiem’s EAH boys’ school uniform pattern for quite a while now, and it worked like a charm for the pants, shirt, and attached tie, and only needed a few slight modifications to make a great blazer jacket as well (the most obvious modification being the creation of a blazer collar, which is the one piece I drafted myself for the jackets). The boys’ jackets are one of the things that only happened due to the magic of fray check; I knew I loved the sky blue linen-like fabric I had as the closest thing I could find to the appropriate color but there’s no way that would have held together without fray check.
Haruhi’s most well-known recurring outfit in the series is her boys’ uniform as well, and I did, in fact make her one. She almost never wears the school’s girls’ uniform in reality, but I decided to make her one of those as well for several reasons: first, since she’s going as a pair with Tamaki, whose fantasies often feature girl-uniform-Haruhi, I felt she could use it for photoshoots and things. Second, since I was playing up the boy-vs-girl juxtaposition of the character with the male face sculpt on a female body, I thought having both outfits would be good to emphasize her different aspects. Third, and most practically, with both Haruhi and Tamaki entering into the full custom category at PUDDLE and effectively competing against each other, I didn’t want them to have identical outfits.
Haruhi’s clothes also heavily utilized DGRequiem patterns, especially the Barbie Princess Pack. A 25cm obitsu is quite a bit smaller than a barbie body in a lot of ways, so there was a good deal of tweaking involved in that, but the dress was made pretty much entirely from this pattern (with Barbie Renaissance sleeves thrown in and cuffs of my own design) and it actually formed the basis for her boys’ uniform shirt and jacket as well. I’m much better at modifying patterns than making them from scratch, so a starting point, however strange, was a good thing to have. The tights were directly from the MH sized super stretch pattern, and the pants were Blythe/Hasbro Princess basics pants, somewhat shortened to fit the body.
Three pairs of shoes were required for these two dolls, and all three were handmade using pleather and craft foam. They’re probably the best shoes I made for any of the PUDDLE dolls, especially the two pairs of loafers for the boys’ uniform. Making shoes is fiddly and some of my other PUDDLE-related attempts proved I still have a long way to go, but at least I know I can make something halfway decent.
Both Haruhi and Tamaki competed in the full customs category at PUDDLE, under the male doll subcategory. It wasn’t ideal, maybe, to have two dolls in the same subcategory competing directly against each other, but I do know that there’s never that many boy dolls competing for full customs at PUDDLE so I figured at the least they’d have less competition all around. That proved to be slightly less true this year than others; there were tons of boy dolls in the full customs! Neither Haruhi nor Tamaki took home a prize, but they did receive plenty of compliments!
At the time of this writing, Haruhi and Tamaki have not yet found new homes. If you’d be interested in adopting one or both of them, they are currently listed on my etsy here for your consideration!