Special Event: Customizing Q&A with Omer Siddiqui
If you aren’t already familiar, Omer Siddiqui from OS the Cave has been creating custom sculptures and customizing action figures for quite some time. Many of you have either seen his work online or have purchased items from him in the past. He is quickly becoming a prominent fixture in model making and sculpting in Pakistan. Since I often get asked a lot of customizing questions, who better to pass these on to then Omer.
Here are the top 20 questions that were sent in and his responses below. Make sure to head over to his Facebook page to see more of his awesome work. A big thank you goes out to Omer for taking the time to answer all these.
OS THE CAVE Q&A
- What got you started doing custom figures & models?
Sheer passion to sculpt, character design and to create stuff from very early age, years and years of frustrating pursuit of a pointless career and having a job that didn’t mean anything for me. Wanted to settle down and start a life that I love to live.
- Where do I start?
As a sculptor? Well start with basic materials like Plasticine clay, some basic tools from Daraz (clay modeling tools) or any art supply shop and that’s it. Try making basic shapes first, then basic figures and carry on. I would suggest you watch a stop motion show called “Gumby” it will teach you a lot. Try making those characters again and again till perfection and you are ready for the next step.
- Which paints to use that are locally available in Pakistan?
Well almost all types of paints are available in Pakistan. But Acrylic paints are the most suitable, easy to work with and can be found all the times with reasonable price tag. Even there is local high quality brand exists under the name of Makro Classic, they come in 30ml container enough to use for long time or for big projects. Other than this, there is a 24 colors set that’s available in tubes, preferably Marie colors. So all you need is few brushes, acrylic paints, water to thin out paint and acrylic color sealer (preferably Marie).
- Where do you get your materials from locally in Pakistan? Or where do you import from?
As a professional sculptor and craftsman I need to have steady locally supplied materials. So there is no pause and my work goes with the flow. I have many suppliers for so many different materials. For clay and basic tools you can go to Daraz.pk you can literally find anything there. For epoxy resin and silicon you can check out crystalpoxy (insta). For very essential imported items like super sculpy and monsterclay, I either buy it myself when abroad, ask friends or family to bring along or get services from local agents who gets stuff from amazon.com etc
- What type of fabric should be used for capes?
It’s a tricky question as I myself have been looking for the best possible material for capes and costumes. For me, I use an actual cotton fabric and while shaping it I keep dropping GMSA (super glue) to make that shape permanent. BUT!! That’s very tricky and hazardous for a beginner I do not encourage anyone to try it. Another material is soft leather or Rexine but it won’t give you thid desired kinetic or waving effect. If you have access to amazon you can buy this material called Worbla that looks like a fabric, acts like a clay and can be shaped, by applying heat it gets hard. Best material for props and costumes. Check out its tutorials on youtube
- If we need to drill holes for cape insertion into a 6-7 inch figure which tool would be best?
I would recommend a mini drill with flexible shaft from any hardware store or daraz. It comes with 2-3 types of mini drill bits. It will serve you well. If you don’t want to invest in entire mini drill set then you can always get a manual hand drill from daraz again.
- Best or easy to acquire materials/tools that are easy for newbies to pick up?
Plasticine clay (easy and economical) to work and practice, type “sculpting tools” at daraz and you will get these plastic tool sets. Use them as the beginner, they are good.
- Does bulk production effects the details or quality of figure?
It does! Many aspects to consider :
- First off, your own model might have residues or uneven surface etc.
- Silicon mold while casting, could get bubbles and you can’t do much about to fix it.
- The Type and how the resin is poured in the mold.
- Absence of proper vacuum chamber.
- If you have casted as many as 30 copies from a mold then each time you cast from now on you will start to loose details and ruin the mold even more. So yeah there is a high chance that the quality might get compromised. But if you have managed to consider all aspects in correct manner. Than you can have a perfect product for sure.
- Any way to paint a diecast care? What would you suggest?
You can use acrylic paints. What you need is a Makro Acrylic primer, the marie acrylic paints, brush number 000, 00, 0, 1,3 and 6. (you can purchase them all from any art supply shop or good gift shop) And Bosny 190 gloss paint sealer (from daraz only)
- Which paint to use on figures if I want to paint the belt, for example, on a Batman figure? Marie acrylic paints?
Most definitely Marie Acrylic followed by Marie matt acrylic sealer (can be found at any good art supply store). Also try learning wash effects to give it some depth and weathering effect. Watch youtube videos on how to give wash effects on action figures.
- I have 3 gunpla kids and I want to install green leds on their heads but don’t know how – any tips?
Never installed an LED before so can’t help you with that.
Note from AP: I would suggest you check some videos on YouTube for led installation. You would need to use some sort of hot glue gun to attach and find an external power source via a small battery. There are a bunch of guides I have seen so that would probably help you best.
- What types of clay or material do you use when making models?
I use various materials from polymer clays to wax based clays like NSP Chavant, Monster Clay and plasticine to recycled materials like used tin, wood, board, paper, wooden sticks, rocks, sand, rust to super glue GMSA (nothing compares to that) to Epoxy Resin and Silicon. These are just the very essential and basic stuff that I must have, the rest is long story. Also a mini drill machine at my disposal all the time.
- What item have you made that took you the longest time to create?
I guess it was the 1000 Sunny Ship from One Piece.
- Do you create custom work for customers?
Oh yes buddy that pretty much I do for living. But I refrain from making a real-life sculpture model, because that is not my genre and facial resemblance is hard to get (for me) except for few cases where the person is famous and have prominent facial features and iconic getup that helps to get the resemblance.
- How long have you been making customs and models?
Professionally speaking, for the last 2.5 years.
- Do you use any machines or all simple hand tools?
I use machines and had been trying to mechanize my studio slowly and gradually. Main components of my mechanized work station are:
- Mini drill machine at my disposal with all of its bits within my reach.
- The other major machine is a 20 litre Hyundai air compressor and air tank that helps me work for long hours while painting via Airbrush.
- A manual pasta machine to get my clays mixed and ready, heat gun, blow torch and glue gun are some minor tools which are a must for any crafting studio.
- Baby 4” ginder for various operations
- A set of Driver/drill (power tool)
- Hundreds of self designed tools
- When painting a figure do we need to remove underlying paint first or paint on top?
You don’t have to, if you can paint all parts of figure then apply primer completely over it, if you can’t, then Mask the parts (which are not meant to be painted) with paper/masking tape apply primer to the rest of model. Primer helps you to get your paint more adhesive to the surface, plus it corrects the flaws, uneven surface and keeps the paint from chipping. After that you can apply your paints.
- How to remove paint from a figure?
I would not suggest you to do that, cause for that you need to apply thinner or isopropyl alcohol (99% Alcohol) and these chemicals will rub off the details from your figure, will literally melt it away. Best thing is to apply primer and then paint it over. Even for the small parts.
- What is your favorite superhero or character to create?
Any organic, monstrous, deformed, hideous creature with lots of organic details and huge out of proportion body will be my favorite model to sculpt. But to name some: E.T Jedi (my own design and have not been public yet), Yoda, Beast Titan, Cart Titan, Chewbacca, Guardian Ape and Predator.
- Anywhere in Pakistan to buy items to create a diorama? Such as trees or street lamps etc.
Yes, for Karachi you can go to Paras, Nazar brothers and Saeed’s Art shop where you can find various types of trees, street lights, cars and people. For other cities I can’t say for sure except for Lahore, where you can visit Arts & Crafts Lahore (also fb page) for huge variety of it. But I would suggest you try it on Daraz, simply type (mini trees for crafts) and see the results for yourself, same goes for street lights and other miniature stuff. Keep exploring it I am sure you will find it all in no time.
Thank you again to OS The Cave for taking the time to respond to everyone. Make sure to check out their Facebook page by clicking here.
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