Those of you who follow my photo shenanigans have probably realized by now that I'm a huge Kill la Kill fan. I've probably photographed the Kill la Kill nendoroids more times than any of the other figure(s) I've ever owned. So when the Fight Club Mako nendoroid was announced, it's needless to say that I was pretty excited. Once I finally got my hands on her, I knew I wanted to do something special when it came to photographing Mako.
So I made Honnouji Academy.
This is going to be a bit of a long post as I'll share the behind the scenes pics and how I went about creating the set. I hope you enjoy!
let's start at the very beginning... obviously I couldn't just sit down and build this thing in one shot. My main method when it comes to constructing something like this is to get some scrap pieces of paper and do some rapid prototyping. It's basically a game of trial and error, I cut & tape pieces of cardstock until I get the shapes right. While the art student in me wanted to start with sketching, when it comes to making 3D objects I like to get my hands dirty and keep working with it until I get it right.
Things are starting to look better after working at for a bit. The hardest part to get right was the center piece because of the curves, which took a ton of trial and error to get things looking decent. Now that everything looks decent, I can use my scraps as templates to move on to the final model.
With the sizing and scale determined, it's time to go into construction mode. I started with the side pieces since they were the easiest to build. I built them in sections, each having 5 sections (three big and two small). They're made by taking two pieces of Foamcore cut to size, with some scrap pieces glued in between to give the proper width.
After gluing the foam together for the side pieces, I added strips of bristol paper around the edge to finish it off. I like using Bristol since it's really thick, which is good for structure but also since I'm going to be painting the pieces later on down the road.
Working through the design to make final pieces to be painted. Still trying to find the best way to construct the center portion using only the bristol board.
Ultimately what I did was cut some notches in the 'nose' of the building to support the top and bottom portion, then cut some curved pieces to run along the sides.
No-one's allowed inside Fort Satsuki!
With the final pieces all cut and finalized, time to take everything apart again and add some color! I used Gouache to add some color to everything.
When painting, taping off sections you don't want to paint just yet can save boatloads of time. This was especially helpful when painting the windows here: using drafting tape I taped off the non window sections. This allowed me to get nice even lines across all four of the window sections.
Lots of things to be painted. I'm definitely not the best painter in the world, but luckily the background art in Kill la Kill had a painterly look to it which saves me the trouble of having to do intricate details.
With the main part mostly painted, It's time to start working on Satsuki-sama's tower! To get the curve of the tower I used strips of bristol once again, then joined them along the center spine having them flair out at the base.
Top of the tower is made using foamcore, with a strip of foamcore running along the back to support it.
Still lots of painting to be done. It's a time consuming process, but I find it to be quite therapeutic. Although there were some frustrating points along the way as well ^^
Detail of Satsuki's tower, pretty happy with how this bit came out. The antennas are made with bristol paper.
Getting towards the finish! I can pretty messy whenever I'm working on something, scraps of paper seem to get thrown everywhere.
With the center portion mostly finished, it's time to move on to the outer walls. Once again I use scrap pieces of paper to do some 'trial and error' to get the right curve. Once it all looks good I use the scrap as a template and move on to bristol board.
Obviously the curves need a bit more support in order to maintain their shape. Foamcore to the rescue!
Adding some paint to the walls to finish them off. Almost there!
After some cleaning up, Honnouji Academy has come together at last!
I don't think I fully realized exactly how big the final product would be, it was a bit of a challenge to determine the proper scale at first. If I made a true scale one it would have been huge, even at nendoroid size. I think I got just the right size so it looks good for photos which is what I'll be using it for anyway. Even so, it still takes up my entire drafting table. Guess I won't be working on any projects for the next few weeks lol.
Excited to have twice the mako! The sky image was something I did for my very first Satsuki photo: This why I always save everything I make, you never know when it might come in handy! I plan on making a bigger sky painting since this one is kind of small, and it would make photography much easier if I have a sky that can cover the whole set.
I hope you all enjoyed looking at my build for Honnouji Academy as much as I enjoyed building it! I'm excited to have a big set like this where I can take crazy photos of my Kill la Kill crew, look forward to more pictures in the future!
Thanks for looking!