It has been a full month of hard work which is impossible to exactly describe in words. Still I suggest you to read through all what I wrote. Maya was one of the most challenging and hard figures I have ever made and I am sure this reading will help you.

What can I say about this figure. I love Katanas, I love women and I love "Oh great's" Manga art especially the Manga Tenjo Tenge (literally translated Heaven and Hell) from which this character Maya Natsume is taken. Besides that I love girls with katanas and I do not know why Maya is one of the most beautiful characters I have ever seen drawn so I had to have this figure. Even if this figure is only found as original already completely painted I had to paint it myself so I resorted to a recast but can you tell the difference? This is definitively not a kit for beginners it requires a lot of experience before trying it out if one wants a good result see pre-assembly for details.

Cleaning: Cleaning this figure was quite a challenge especially the hair parts and the jacket belt which can be easily snapped so pay a lot of attention here. Thanks to the excellent quality of the recast the rest was quite simple to do.

Pre-Assembly: Another great challenge here. The main hair part was divided in 2 at the middle and also presented many individual hair strands. I had to go through a week of work to make the gap between the two main parts totally invisible at the middle section where they attach. Another week of work went for the same reason on the jacket which is divided in 3 parts at it's side. The final parts I preassembled where the 3 hair strands with the front part of the hair.

Painting: Painting this kit was yet another major challenge especially the hair. Grey is the name of the game here so read carefully. Since Maya's hair is Grey I had to balance the tones I used very much in order not to make her look old if I used too much white or as if she had solid hair if I used too much shading with such a light base color. I also tired another new method on the skin tones of which I like the result very much.

Continues.

JAPANESE GARAGE KITS.
Name:
Series:
Scale:
No. of Parts:
Produced by:
Finished
Maya Natsume
Tenjo Tenge
1/8
26
T-Systems
12 May 2003
Full frontal view.
Full back view.
Full right view.
Full left view.
A beautiful and dynamic pose.
I just love how the hair warps around Maya.
I hope you notice the katana's handel detail. ^_^
The Katana in all its glory. I jsut love it.
The face is very similar to the manga in this figure.
My personal signature for this figure.
Painting: Maya is also wearing a very short Grey jeans shorts and an even shorter Grey top which from the reference I have of the original art look like made of some synthetic material. Once again I had to take extreme care in the tones I used to make both the shorts and top different in tone and material look and once again both of them had to look different in tone from her hair. It was not easy at all I had to go through all my Grey tones and even mix a lot of them. I had also to use yet another grey tone for the stone slabs that form the passage Maya is kneeling on so you can image the effort and preplanning I had to go through. For her jacket and boots I based my painting on the black to blue fading I had on my reference in order to rest as close as possible to the artist' original work. I only varied the emblem that Maya had the back of her jacket in order to personalize the kit so as everyone can know that it was done in Malta and that I did it. See specials. Also I did my best to produce that special shiny metallic effect each true katana have. See specials.
Assembling: Yet again another major challenge was the after paint assembling of this kit. It took me 6 hours straight to assemble her. The main problem here was the connection of the main body - inner arms - jacket connection. After even my extensive test fitting Maya right arm jacket connection could not fit and I had to be extremely caution when pressing it in because the jacket parts could easily break out. Another major issue was the good fitting of the main hair part which is huge in respect to the figure and even warps around it but luckily this time my test fitting was right One must also pay attention to the leg - boots connection which caused me quite a bit of trouble to get right.

Specials: I could never had left such a great figure without personalizing her with my personal touch.

First in line was the back emblem on Maya's jacket. I could have easily done that I had on the reference but beside it being too plain I did not like it at all and what better place to put my personal sign on this kit. I passed week during the assembly and painting period thinking of a good emblem which could conjugate the Maltese flag and the hell/heaven theme. This is what I came up with: Hell is usually represented by devils (red is their color), Heaven is represented by angles(white is their color). Luckily white and red are also my countries flag colors. I happen to love both Tenjo tenge (the Manga) and my country very much So my emblem for Maya was done. A red devil's wing on the left (the devils side), a white angle's wing on the right(God's side) and a heart(symbol of love) with the left half white and the right half red. This added with a small cross representing the George Cross on the white part is exactly the color sequence of Malta's flag. As one can see the color sequence of the flag is directly in opposite with the wings' color.To make sure everyone knew where this figure was painted and the emblem meant I also hand painted the word MALTA on to of the emblem. My only regret is I forgot to take a photo of the emblem before I added the hair part so now it is partially covered. See photo.

Second in line came the katana. I absolutely wanted to capture that special shine every true katana has. I also wanted the handle design to show out so I painted the inner design gold not black as the original reference. This was the only part where I did not follow the reference but I think it is much more visible as I did it. Always hoping "oh great will forgive my arrogance ^_^".

Third in line was the base. I had it specially made for me by a local Master Carpenter. I had to wait for two week (a real torture) but I am very pleased with the final result. Again inspiration for the base came from the reference I had of the original art where Maya is drawn behind a lot of cheery trees in the flowering season. A must in Japan. So the idea came to my mind to replicate this as well show Maya in a cheery tree garden full of flowers. I first modeled a stone slab passage from normal modeling clay which I hardened. (Again putty is a rare thing for me here so I have to use what I have). After the passage was painted I added the grass carpets on both sides. Naturally I could not add whole cherry trees so I found a suitable small tree branch from my garden a paintely added every single cheery flower which I first drew then scanned and Cged with my PC. As yet another touch to indicate the flowering cherry trees I added a lot of individual flower pink petals around the base. As a final touch to give a reason why Maya is kneeling with her head looking a bid downwards I painted the words TENJO TENGA on the front of the passage. Maybe it is a secret code which the school gangs use^_^.