Today I bring you another photo-heavy episode in the annals of custom plushie making, and the first one that ventures away from Magic the Gathering and into the realm of video and computer games.
I recently accepted a commission to make a plush Zergling. Having never played Starcraft,* I had to do a Google search to find out just what in heck that was in the first place. And when you do a Google image search for Zergling, you get something like this:
*Not because I have anything against it, but because I’ve simply never sat down and played it. I’m too busy making plushies of creatures from games I don’t have time to actually play, it seems.
Pages and pages of results that, in a way, are not actually that helpful, since none of them look quite like the others. I looked at Zergling pictures until I was seeing little hordes of them when I closed my eyes, and still wasn’t sure how in heck to make one. So I picked the clearest picture, made up a pattern that very very roughly approximated a very very rough approximation of the shape of the creature in that picture, and just sort of went from there. Somehow, it all worked out. And now I need to actually go play some Starcraft.
Details and a bunch more photos
The commissioner of the item asked for forest green accents, although those aren’t the “standard” colours. I thought it was a nice choice to compliment the deep brown, brown appearing to be the only thing that nearly every single Zergling image has in common.
It wasn’t until I was nearing completion of the plush that I looked up Zerglings on Wikipedia (not even my idea – my boyfriend did it when I kept asking him if he knew why some of them had wings and some of them didn’t – why didn’t I think of that?) and I realized I had made a sort of conglomeration of Zerglings from Starcraft 1 and 2, from concept art and from actual gameplay images (and the commissioner and I decided to leave out the wings in the end, which are apparently an upgrade, so not all Zerglings have them anyway). The front limbs I made like the gameplay image, but then decided that the concept art version fit the plush better aesthetically, so I changed them.
And of course I gave front and back limbs some wickedly long and pointy white claws. Make you really want to get up close and cuddly with these guys, don’t they?
I did the backplates in more of a chunky V shape the first time, and then looked at more Google images and decided that wasn’t right, so I changed those too. I also added a bit more of the secondary colour in by using it for the underside of each plate. I’m quite pleased with the final result – the plates even have an (unintentional on my part) tendency to curl upward at the corners, giving the whole thing more depth. Good stuff.
The facial features had me a bit stumped, because they’d need to be too small to be cut from felt and stitched on. I was simultaneously having a similar problem with another project (the goblin shown below), where I couldn’t get the kind of bumpy, lumpy detail I needed on the face just by sewing. Then I thought to try needle felting, but with tiny scraps of the same felt I was sewing with, rather than wool rovings. It works BEAUTIFULLY. If other dollmakers are doing this, they sure seem to be keeping quiet about it. (Which is ridiculous – dollmaking is not some high state secret, but you’d think so judging by how little basic how-to information you can find online. Anyway, I highly recommend trying this out, it is SO good for adding detail and shape.)
So that was a long way of explaining that I needle felted the eyes and brows in place. I also needle felted the mouth, which was a piece of white felt cut to shape and needle felted down. The teeth are made simply by stitching back and forth over the white felt with black thread. I also used needle felting to make the bumps towards the front of the Zergling’s tusks.
Then there were the arial antennae/claws-of-nightmare thingies, which have pipe cleaners inside so as to be bendable. The legs on this guy are also moveable, and there are pipe cleaners in the tusks, more because that was the easiest way of filling them than because they especially need to be able to move.
So there’s my plush Zergling. And it may be the very first plush I’ve managed to make that is not just a widdle bundle of cutness, monster or no. Success!!