Fluttershy, the bait pony for this operation.
I apologize right now to those of you who aren’t as into the pony posts as I am: this post is really going to suck for you. I ran PonyFest11 last year and offered the winner a custom pony of their character, and Amanda won with Tomohiro. Since Kalavista doesn’t dye ponies and I’ve had some experience with it I told her I would dye the bait and send it on to be finished by her. Easy, right?
Wrong. Oh so wrong.
Do you see the horrible nub? How annoying.
G4′s (“Generation 4″ – that’s what the pony community calls the newest line of giant-headed mutant ponies in stores today) are tough little suckers. The original line of ponies had heads that just popped off with little more than a tug, but these babies require exacto knives. Guess who doesn’t own an exacto knife (and was doing this with wine)? Me. But I do have push-pins! They’re sharp! Her head came off fairly easy and I ripped her mane out with tweezers. But there’s this funky little nubby thing on the inside of her neck so her head can turn, and that was glued solidly to her body. So I stabbed Fluttershy in the neck repeatedly until I could remove that nub to get her tail out (the nub is still intact and Tomo will be able to move his head).
Dyeing the pony, take one.
That took hours, so you know. I was planning to do it all in one night, but it took me so long just to behead and shave the pony that I decided to wait until the next night to actually dye it. I had a bottle of RIT dye in dark brown, a glass measuring bowl, and a pair of stainless steel tongs (plus some gloves from work that I didn’t end up needing except when I rinsed the pony off). I put the whole bottle of dye in the bowl with boiling water from the tea kettle and held the pony down until the bubbles stopped coming out of her neck.
That sounds so gruesome, doesn’t it?
I left her in that dye until it was cold, and guess what she looked like? Dark Yellow.
Dyeing the pony, take two.
So I quickly got online and did a quick search for dyeing G4′s (you think I would have done this beforehand, but I’ve dyed G1′s before and they turned out fine). Someone said that Fluttershy is a particularly difficult pony to dye for some reason, but that cooking her would work. So I dumped the now-cold dye into a pan and turned on the stove.
Half an hour later, after I repeatedly checked her color and a good centimeter of dye had evaporated from the pot, I finally gave up. Fluttershy was orange. A really pretty Applejack orange. She would have made an awesome pegasus version of Applejack, in fact, and I would love to see someone make a custom of that. But she wasn’t Tomo brown.
Well that’s it then, she’s going to need a full body repaint. How annoying. Repaints are fine if they are done well, but dyeing just makes the pony look cleaner. Still, I’m not buying another bottle of dye and cooking her for however long she needs to become the right color (plus there was a little section under her wing that didn’t dye at all).
Luckily for Tomo, I actually enjoy painting ponies. Much more than dyeing them, to be sure. And I have plenty of paints and brushes left over from my short-lived pony painting days.
First layer of paint. Why yes that is a chinese take-out menu underneath.
It took a little while to dig out all my supplies, but I finally painted Tomo last week. I was a little concerned at first, because the first layer of paint went on a bit messy around the wings (wings are hard to paint evenly!) and the eyes were clearly visible. But I mixed up a bunch of paint for the second layer to make sure I would have enough, and started again.
The second layer went on much smoother so I was able to even out the color, and once Tomo was dry I did a final layer just to make sure the brush strokes weren’t too visible. I’m afraid he dried slightly darker than I thought he would, but overall I think he looks fantastic!
Do you agree?
Tomohiro fully painted and ready to ship to Kal!
He should be arriving in the mail today, and Kal promised to take photos so I can put up a second picture-heavy post about the amazing job she’s going to do with the actual artistic part of him! Definitely be on the lookout for that.
You can also help Kal buy supplies by ordering a copy of her book. Or you can find the human version of Tomohiro in Amanda’s book, coming out later this year!