You ever have a project you mean to do just for fun get really out of hand?
That was Ren here. I’m a massive RWBY fan and my favorite characters by a long shot are Ren and Nora (closely followed by Jaune and Pyrrha because I’m complete JNPR trash). I’ve been hoping for quite some time to get a custom Pullip of Nora made, either by myself or by another customizer, and I felt she would be incomplete without Ren. When I saw Maguna, something about him just seemed perfect for the character, so I snatched one up from Tuesday Morning via a fellow DollyMarket forum member for just that purpose. So Ren was initially supposed to just be a rewig and a rechip with a custom outfit, solely for my own gratification.
Then I realized that I’d have to custom make him a wig because of his distinctive pink streak. And I realized that no matter which version of his costume I picked, it would be quite detailed and complicated. And I decided I didn’t particularly like how much eyeshadow Maguna had for Ren. And the timing was right that I was working on all my other PUDDLE dolls, and thus my partial customs contest entry was born.
A good deal of Maguna’s factory faceup is still intact. His lips and eyebrows were both left as-is, and his eyelids had nothing removed from them either (just added to them). Mainly I just sanded off his faceplate eye makeup and blush, and replaced both with my own work. I also added Ren’s lotus emblem to his left eyelid, because I thought it would look nice.
Speaking of eyelids, that was another area where “this got way more complicated than I was expecting” ended up applying. Due to lack of a good storage system or work place at the time, I actually lost one of Ren’s eyelids between when I did his faceup and when his eyechips came in, causing me to have to get really creative. I pretty much tore the house apart looking for that darn thing to no avail, and I was glad at least that it was one of my personal dolls and not one I’d been making to sell. For a while, Ren had two layers of custom eyelashes glued into his eye sockets directly on the faceplate to try and disguise his lack of eyelids. I had him fully assembled like this for a while until my roommate discovered that our cat had hidden the eyelid inside our couch and it was successfully retrieved, at which point the lotus emblem was added to the left eyelid and Ren was disassembled to remove the faceplate lashes and give him proper lids. I decided to leave his stock eyelashes on the eyelids, in part because I wanted to include more of the original doll but also because it was fairly close to PUDDLE when the missing eyelid was rediscovered and eyelashes are fiddly so I didn’t want to mess with them.
Ren’s wig was my first ever attempt at making a wefted wig, and if you were keeping up with my PUDDLE prep posts over the months preceding PUDDLE you saw some of the progress on that. Believe me, it wasn’t for lack of searching that I wasn’t able to find a wig I thought looked good– I was very nervous about making one and wanted to avoid it at all costs, but I couldn’t even find a solution I could simply add the pink portion to. If I wanted it to look the way I envisioned a handmade wig was my only option, so I ordered some wig wefts from CoolCat BJD.
The good news is that the process was not nearly as complicated as I’d been led to believe and it turned out more or less exactly how I was imagining it to look. There is a slight bit of poof right where the pink is sewn in, but it’s not too terribly noticeable. The cap itself is made out of white knit fabric and was sized using the glue lines on his head from his stock wig. 🙂
And then we had the clothes. Oh, goodness, the clothes. If you’re not familiar with RWBY, there was a short time jump between seasons three and four, complete with wardrobe changes for the characters, so I had two different options to choose from for Ren’s clothing (and wig) design. If it were Ren alone, I probably would have picked his season 1-3 design, because I like it better, but since the intention is to go for a matched set with Nora I picked the season 4 design. I like Nora’s updated design a lot, and I also like where the characters are in their development a little better in season 4 so that led me to make my decision. Both of Ren’s outfits are pretty detailed, but I think the season 4 one is just a tad more involved, so that was fun.
And because of the uniqueness of his clothing, as with the hair, I was kind of on my own. I heavily modified the EAH boys’ school uniform pants from DGRequiem for Ren’s pants (like, a lot) but pretty much everything else I designed from scratch. I’ll do a whole other post on my method on that shortly, so do keep an eye out for that in the near future, but suffice it to say I did almost everything on my own on this one. The result was that the jacket came out almost too tight, but I was determined to make it work!
Ren’s outfit has a lot of detail work involved, from the two-colored jacket to all the silver trim and knotwork. The trim is all just silver fabric paint on my doll. It’s been a while since I’ve used puff paint the way it’s intended to be used, and I had trouble controlling the weight of the stream, so the details in it didn’t turn out quite as neat as I’d like, but they still look pretty good. The knotwork was fun to do. The parts hanging from his undershirt were pretty straightforward, just tying small bits of cord around a larger bit and fraying them, bu the for the back knot on his jacket I actually looked up a tutorial for Chinese decorative knotwork and followed it. It turned out a lot better than I could have expected, and while it’s probably bigger than it should be in scale it’s so pretty I couldn’t bear to make it smaller. If I’m honest with myself, it’s about my favorite detail I put on any outfit on any custom doll I’ve done to date.
Ren’s shoes and sleeves both involve craft foam details: the soles on the shoes and the “metal” cuffs around the top of the sleeves. Ren’s costume design calls for a black-to-pink ombre on the sleeves, and that wasn’t a fabric I could readily find, so I attempted to replicate it with black paint on pink fabric. It’s honestly probably the detail I’m least fond of in execution on this doll, but it’s not terrible I guess. The sleeves stay in place on the back of his hands using sewn-in clear hair elastics.
I have not yet made Ren his weapons, because as I’ve mentioned before I’m not great at sculpting and I kind of ran out of time. I do have some Apoxie putty now so I may try my hand at them with that at some point, but for now I think he’s done.
Ren was my entry for the partial custom contest at PUDDLE this year, a category I’d never participated in before. There were tons of great entries for this category this year and as a result Ren didn’t take home any prizes, but I’m still incredibly proud of the work I put into him and really am thoroughly happy with how he turned out! I can’t wait until I can get him a Nora to keep him company!