When Phicen announced that they would be doing a Red Sonja figure, I had really mixed feelings. There was a lot that looked great in the promo pics, and a lot I kind of hated. Once she got released, I started looking at finding the figure parted out, and planned to pick up just the stuff I wanted. The boots, gloves, sword, and dagger looked great. Phicen had developed a more muscular, toned body that they have yet to release as a blank by itself, so it was only available with a few boxed figures. And after looking online for a bit, it looked cheaper to just pick up the full boxed figure and throw out whatever I didn't want, than to buy the pieces I wanted separately.
Once it arrived, I was glad I did. I didn't like the head at all in any of the the pictures I saw, and had every intention of swapping it out when I got it. The face looked kind of just... I don't know, just not right? And the hair looked brighter, cheap and plastic-y, and just a kind of uniform color, like a cheap wig. I had planned to swap it out with a Scarlett Johansson head, because come on, how freaking great would she be in a Red Sonja movie?!
But I was surprised how much I liked it when it came in. The hair is actually pretty nice, and I love the face. It isn't the what I was originally pictured for her, but I really loved it once I had it in hand. I'm still tempted to pick up an alternate head, but also pretty content right now.
Everything else that I kind of hated from the promotional pics, I felt the same about once they arrived. The ax handle is too thick, and looks cheap, plastic-y, and toyish. It also looked like it was a bit warped, and when I tried to bend the handle a bit, it just immediately snapped. I don't really like the shield, and I can't picture Sonja ever using a tower shield. The cloak looks like it's made of cheap materials (I think it might be the same material as the boots, but oddly looks way better on the boots). And I just hate the plastic chainmail armor. Hate it. The shoulder armor isn't terrible itself, but why they made the straps out of molded silver plastic instead of leather is beyond me, and should be an easy fix by replacing them with actual straps.
So, 1st order of business was the chainmail armor. I'd actually seen a number of other people do custom Red Sonja, or Red Sonja inspired figures use this metal mesh material, that's usually used for jewelry or purses. I tracked down a small silver purse, and set to work chopping it up.
I replaced all the chains on the original figure with leather straps. I liked the look better, and thought it just it made more sense. Or lets be honest, about as much sense as could be applied to a chainmail bikini. I also wanted to do something to add a little complexity to the design, so added some extra design in around the waist with rings and string.