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Note: This article was first written on my old forum in 2012 when I only knew one single customizing guide and had no clue about any details. It gives a nice overview of how much work making Nareen was but it is also full of wrong decisions that I would not make again these days. Please learn from my mistakes and do it right the first time.


How Nero turned into Nareen Demetri

nareenpullip01This is Nero. Nero is a Pullip, a Korean limited edition fashion doll for collectors. She is roughly the same 1:6 height as Barbie but has a large 1:3 head with movable eyes. I bought Nero used on Ebay to customize her. She was supposed to become Giselda, but when the doll that was supposed to become Nareen didn't look as expected I had to change plans.

Over the next months I will try to customize this doll to make it look like Nareen. I say "try" because I never did this before. My only experience with Pullips so far was to change the eyes on one. I do have experience with assembling, modifying and painting tin miniatures though.

The main problem about Nero is that she isn't what I expected. I wanted a type 3 doll (type 3 and the new type 4 is what most of my other Pullips are) but she is very old and type 2. Type 2 Pullips have a soft upper body - with formidable breasts, obviously. The soft part often dislodges from her hips. Her arms are ugly too, although I do like the ball-joints on her wrists.
Of course the hair, the makeup and the eyes are all wrong too, and she needs some clothes.
Turning this into Nareen will be way, waaaay more work than anticipated.

The main reason why this conversion will take so long is that most parts of Nareen have to be ordered from Ebay sellers from Hongkong and Taiwan.
So, let's go!


Making-ofNero's body is useless for this project. Nareen has a very boyish body with almost no breasts and since this doll is made of rubber and it's hollow there's really nothing I can do about her big boobs.
So the first thing I do is order a new body for her. We'll talk about that later.

Since her body will be replaced I can't start making her outfit yet - the measures would be all wrong.
Let's take a look at the part that I actually CAN modify at this point: her head.

The eyes are a pale green or yellow. It's hard to say since they're covered with some ugly patina. It doesn't matter though since Nareen has gray eyes. I visit the online store of CoolCat, a Taiwanese powerseller on Ebay who specializes in customizing material like this. From hundreds of eyes I choose the right ones for Nareen (and order some for Giselda too, postponed is not abandoned!) and order them. This will take 2-3 weeks, which severely limits my current actions.

Anyway, the first thing that has to go is Nero's wig. So let's take care of this first.



Making-ofYeah, it looks so innocent, but you have no idea how hard I fought to get this wig off! That was war!
Since the doll is so old her wig is old too. The very old wigs have a tendency to fall apart, and indeed - this wig was glued on so firmly and the base material was so weak that it ripped in half a dozen places.
That is sad because I'd like to use the wig on my other Pullips but I might be able to fix it later. For our Nareen project it's irrelevant. All that matters is that with the help of a scalpel and a ton of pulling Nero/Nareen is now bald.

With the scalpel and some rough sandpaper I remove the worst glue stains. There's still some hair clinging to her head, eww.


nareenpullip04The next step is to remove the scalp. The head of a Pullip consists of three parts. A front, a back and a scalp. Front and back are connected by three screws and I can't get to the upper screw as long as the scalp is in place.

With a scalpel and a flat screwdriver I carefully crack the glue that keeps the scalp in place. After some serious prodding (geez, this doll uses more glue than my previous two together!) the scalp finally gives in to me.
I put it aside for a moment.

Those strange buttons on the back of her head are for the eye mechanics. The one in the middle makes the eyes move from left to right, the other two are for blinking. Nareen will be a nifty doll and I giggle like a maniac when I imagine all the photos I'm gonna take of her.
Err... better get back to the present now and stop daydreaming!



nareenpullip05This is what a Pullip's head looks like after the three screws are removed. I carefully remove the body and put it aside. It won't be needed anymore.
I also remove the pins for blinking (they're just stuck into the eye mech) and put the back of her head aside. The front with the eye mechanics is what I'm gonna work on next.



nareenpullip06To get to a Pullip's eyes three more screws and two elastic springs need to be removed. I already did this twice by now so I have a little bit of experience.

This eye mech is less advanced than what I'm used to but it still works nicely. It's just a bit more wobbly to work on so I take extra care not to break it.

nareenpullip07With a scalpel I prepare the doll for her new eyes. I lead the knife carefully between the eye globe and the iris to cut the glue. When I start to prod with a crochet needle from behind the eyes start to splitter like broken ice. This is highly unusual and once again I wonder what this ugly patina may be. I decide not to think about it too hard else it might creep me out. These eyes will just go in the trash bin and not into my stash of replacement stuff.

Once again Nero proves to me that old Pullips don't like to be customized. The glue is super hard to remove and it takes me a very long time to remove both irises and all glue stains. If there's still glue left the new eyes won't fit flushly, so I do my best.



nareenpullip08The next thing I take out are the eyelids.
Nareen has very thick lashes and thick eyeliner too. Although she doesn't have black eyeshadow in the comic I decide to give some to the doll. Since I will have to draw on a lot of her eye makeup I don't want her to look stupid when she closes her doll eyes. So black eyeshadow it is.

After some thinking I also place a second order with CoolCat. This time I order a pair of thick eyelashes because Nero's aren't thick enough for our dear Necromancer. To save on postage I also order some purple boots for her. Shoes are the only clothes I can't make myself, so these were on my list anyway. While I'm at it I choose boots of the magnetic variant. That means Nareen will have plateau soles, but those soles have a magnet inside. So if I put a metal plate inconspiciously under a blanket Nareen might be able to stand on her own with no doll stand, which would greatly improve any photos of her. It's worth a try and the boots - while of course not exactly like their comic counterparts - are cute and fit her dress well.



nareenpullip09And here we have the finished eyelids. What an odysee!
First off I roughed them up a little with fine sandpaper so they would take new colour. Next I tried to paint them with pastel pencils but they didn't stick. Seems like my sandpapering wasn't thourough enough (or I was too scared to sand too deep).
So I had to use acrylic paint, but then her eyelids were completely black (with some purple).

In the end I scraped some dust from flesh-toned pastel chalk with a knife, added some black and purple dust and smeared that on the acrylics with my fingers. This gave some texture and looks like some skin is shining through. Phew!
As a last step I added some gold wax to the area above the lashes.
With the lashes protected by some masking tape the eyelids got a layer of matte spray varnish. They are done now and wait for their new lashes.

(Note from 2013: It is always better to basecoat doll parts with Mr. Super Clear matte sealant so they better take new paint. If the parts are new and unpainted it might be a good idea to wash them in warm water and some dish washing liquid. The Make It Own sets do feel like they're still a bit covered in mould release agent.)


nareenpullip10Today is Saturday and huzzah - Nareen's new body arrived!
It is a 25cm ball-jointed body from Obitsu. I never saw one before but I'm very satisfied. The trunk is made from soft material, the arms and legs are hard plastic. It is incredibly posable and even has two spare pairs of hands with different poses.
Now the old body can be put away.

(Note for Europeans from 2013: The webshop of Plastikpop has a big selection of Obitsu bodies so you don't have to import those from Asia.)


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