Spotlight On: Custom Vinylmation Artist Rust This World

I’m fascinated with trying to create my first custom Vinylmation, and being impressed with Rust this World’s tips last week, we invited him back to talk about a few more of his customs and how they came to be.

Destination Vinylmation: Looks like you solved the problem some designers have with drawing a duck beak on the Mickey canvas. Can you give artists out there some tips on molding parts onto a custom vinylmation like you did with this beak?
Rust This World: The duck beaks never quite worked on the Mickey face in my opinion. I usually object to obscuring the “Mickey-ness” by adding too much, and this started as just a weird little experiment I did. It turned out way better than I thought it would, honestly.

The great thing about sculpting onto Vinylmation is that if you want to stick with the soft style of Vinylmation accessories like the hats, you don’t need to be great at sculpting because what you’re making doesn’t need a ton of detail. There are several different sculpting compounds to use. Another option is Super Sculpey. Regular Sculpey is too brittle to use, and chips easily, but the Super variety is stronger. I don’t like Sculpey personally because you have to either bake it or bowl it for it to harden, and I hate risking the vinyl by putting it in an oven (not to mention that vinyl gives off toxic gases if heated high enough.) Another option is epoxy putty, but you have to get the right stuff. Don’t use the stuff at home depot that fixes leaky pipes, get something like Games Workshop’s “Green Stuff”. It’s a two part compound that air dries and holds detail very well. What I used on Donald’s beak, and is one of my personal favorites, and kind of a secret, is a kind of clay called Makins Clay. It’s a strong, yet pliable air dry clay that is water based. It’s easy to sculpt into a smooth shape, dries rock hard, and is tolerant of a wide range or temperatures. The only downside is that it doesn’t hold tiny detail well, so if you’re sculpting really intricate stuff, a good epoxy is a better bet. And do not use Crayola air dry clay, it is absolutely terrible.

In terms of sculpting tips, clay is clay. Work it around in your hands to get the basic shape, apply it to the figure, use water to smooth it, etc. You can always use sculpting tools to add texture or detail, but I sculpted Donald’s beak entirely by hand, so it’s possible to do something like that without a bunch of tools.

DV: Maleficent is so vibrant and detailed. As an artist working on such a small canvas, how do you get such smooth color and detail onto a face like that?
Rust: There are 3 things that help me with smooth, clean paint applications.

1. Get a good quality paint. I would swear my life on Citadel Paints as I have yet to find any model acrylics that even come close quality wise. They’re slightly expensive ($3.75 a bottle), but apply smoothly, have a long shelf life, aren’t too thick or too runny, and have very vibrant colors. Cheaper paints may save you a buck, but are much harder to paint with.

2. Apply the paint in small, light strokes. Maleficent’s face, because it’s a light color that was applied over a black base coat, took about 5 coats. I would paint a light coat and let it dry before applying another. I know the tendency is glop the paint on until you can’t see the color underneath, but if you take you time, it will look smoother.

3. Get a tiny brush. I use a 4/0 size brush, which is tiny, for 80% of what I paint. The key to getting tiny sharp lines is to have a tiny brush, there’s no real way around it. On 3″ figures especially, it’s almost all I use unless I need to fill in a huge area with color.

DV: We know all your customs are created for your personal collection, but you do accept commissions to recreate your work. Where can people go to see your portfolio and contact you?
Rust: Of course, I’ve done commission work before and would definitely be willing to recreate any designs, or even do something new, if someone was interested. My website is or you can email me at [email protected]