There are a ton of things that fans never get to see when a show is canceled after 13 episodes. With a few notable exceptions (sidebar: Firefly fans are so spoiled!), 13 episode shows never get good media coverage, behind the scenes featurettes, timely DVD releases, or that all-encompassing word for everything that fans enjoy throwing money at, merchandise! Birds of Prey left a giant, birdarang-shaped whole in my childhood when it left because I knew I would never see any cool figures, shirts, comics, or even coffee mugs with my favorite characters on them. Over the years I’ve managed to put together a respectable Birds collection, but the kid in me was still hoping for some actual toys. I customized a few action figures during the show’s initial run of Huntress and Oracle and Harley to varying degrees of success, but it was a friend’s recent fascination with Funko’s POP! Vinyl line that made me think of another project. So, after way too much time on the Funko website and a some research into customizing the little devils, I went about making my very own Birds of Prey POP! figures.
Wanting to make a Huntress and Harley Quinn figure, my first step was to decide what base Pops I would use to Frankenstein the characters together. I knew I wanted to find heads that I wouldn’t have to change, since any alterations to the heads of these toys seem to always be very obvious. For Harley, I chose the head of the Bride figure from Kill Bill and the body of Willow from Buffy. For Huntress, the head of Emily from Bioshock fit perfectly, but the body was a bit tricky. I searched the entire POP line for the perfect body, but nothing jumped out at me. Knowing I had to get creative, I realized the upper body of the Emily figure was spot-on to what I wanted Huntress to be, right down to the corset and choker necklace. So, I took a gamble and decided to use the top of the Emily figure with the legs of the Bride figure I was already buying.
Before I started working on the bodies, I removed the heads by placing them in boiling water for a few minutes. The heat weakens the plastic and the glue around the neck, making them plyable enough that you can pull the heads off. Once decapitated, I got to work using a two-part resin called Magic Sculpt. I’d never used it before, but it worked perfectly. For the Willow body, I just filled in the V-neck collar so there would be a smooth surface on the front chest where I would ultimately paint the character’s diamond design. Huntress, however, was a bit more complicated.
I started Huntress by cutting both the Bride and Emily figures in half at the waist so that I had the legs and torso I needed. Then, using the resin, I joined the two and filled in the gap with the character’s belt. To create the coat, I used a piece of cape from an old Justice League Unlimited Superman figure and heated it with a lighter to shape it to the figure’s body. I then glued the cape in place and used the resin to smooth it all out. The result was a little assaulting to the eye, but ultimately right were it needed to be.
Thankfully, paint and sealer saved the day on both of the figures. Then, I just had to reattach the heads and voila! The Birds of Prey figures that never were! I’d love to tell you I’d figured out a way to make an Oracle figure too, but I don’t have anywhere near the sculpting skill it would take to come up with a mini wheelchair. So for now it’s Huntress and Harley, standing side by side on my desk, waiting to see who will throw the first punch.