Saturday, December 29, 2012

Customized MADAME HYDRA!

Arnim Zola Series Madame Hydra - Hasbro's Marvel Legends 2012

Madame Masque was one of my biggest disappointments of the year.  Finding out that we were getting such a cool second-tier character as a variant was amazing news.  The prototypes looked wonderful.  Then, the actual production samples started showing up.  Suddenly her face looked pinched and pulled into a very mannish exaggeration of what we were shown before.  I almost didn't buy the figure, but then I thought how it would be a fun chance to experiment with customization.  I rarely do customizations unless it's a subtle altering of the same character.  I may break from that pattern some day, but it keeps my goals in check for now.  I reviewed both Madame Masque and Madame Hydra earlier this month and within the review, I challenged myself to fix her as best as I could by the end of January.  The fact that Hasbro casts their figures in flesh-colored plastic is actually a blessing in this case.  You can sand down and buff that plastic easily and really alter a figure with minimal effort and damage.  Check out the step-by-step photos below.

Okay, for a refresher, here is the production face compared with the prototype on the right.
You can see why everyone was disappointed.
The first thing I did was pop off the head and remove the hair.  The hair is anchored into the top of the head with a big rubber tab.  It is actually pretty difficult to peel back the hair and slice through the tab with an Xacto.
Next I took my Dremel tool and started sanding down her brow ridge, her squared-off jaw, her entire bottom lip, and I tried to smooth out her cheeks.

I wanted to retain the nose, ears, forehead, upper lip, and eyes.  Unfortunately I slipped and accidentally sanded away her left eye.  The beauty of sanding and buffing this unpainted flesh-colored plastic is that it will require no painting.  Painting fleshtones is my absolute least favorite parts of customizing.  I'm never happy with the results.
Next I used Apoxie Sculpt to form a new bottom lip (and to fix her eye I destroyed)
Next I painted her lips, eyes, and eyebrows.  I also decided to paint a hairline to make her hairpiece have a more shadowed look.  Sorry for the blurry cellphone pics.

The final step was to paint a light "satin" gloss over her face and glue her hairpiece back on.  I'm unhappy with the sheen of her skin right now.  It's not so noticeable on my shelf because of the shadow of her hair, but in the photos it is way shinier than I planned.  I will either lightly buff her face or paint a matte layer to remedy it.


Here are some before and after comparisons




  1. That looks soooo much better! Great work.

    There are some figures I would like to customise, but I've never done anything beyond re-painting a hairpiece or two.

    1. Thanks! It's intimidating to try to fix a figure, especially if it was hard to come by. Painting always stresses me out, but I've found I always have the best luck with the cheapest paint.. go figure.