Fans make bespoke Nendoroids from their favorites

Howl Pendragon, the handsome young wizard from Howl’s Moving Castle, may steal fans’ hearts, but the dreamy heartbreaker does not yet have its own official Nendoroid. This is where fans come in: build their own by buying Nendoroids and mixing and matching the parts to create their own custom shapes.

These palm-sized chibi figures made by Good Smile are a popular choice among collectors and fans. Since the first Nendoroid was released in 2006, Good Smile has listed 1,800 different versions of its big-headed characters, with characters from anime favorites such as My Hero Academiavideo games like Overwatch, Disney franchises and more. There are still plenty of characters who do not have an official Nendoroid, so fans use the parts from characters that Good Smile sells, as well as individual parts from unofficial retailers, to bring their favorite characters to life.

Kate, who follows Rose.Arrow online, is a 21-year-old student from Texas who started making custom Nendoroids as a hobby in early 2021. She runs a TikTok account and an Instagram page where she posts her characters. Since the beginning, she has shared custom Nendoroids with characters who do not have them yet, such as Howl Pendragon, as well as characters from games such as Genshin impact.

“The process starts with studying the character you want to make. It really helps to know what their outfit, hair and face look like before buying parts,” she told Polygon via Discord. Nendoroids have replaceable parts, so you can switch features like faces, clothes and hair between different characters.

Although there are tons of places to buy Nendoroid parts, this first step can be difficult, according to Kate. “The hardest part of the process is really finding the right parts to use,” Kate said. “Sometimes I have had to buy an entire Nendoroid for a single part. Although I try to avoid this as much as possible. “After mixing and matching Nendoroid parts to get as close to a replica as possible, Kate modifies the figures with air-dried clay, which she later paints on.

How long it takes Kate to make each one depends on the level of detail. “Howl’s jacket took me quite a long time with all the little lines!” she said. “But I also made bespoke nendoroids with much simpler re-colors, which took me significantly less time, such as Tomoe from Kamisama KysKate told Polygon that she typically pays anywhere from $ 90 to $ 120 for parts and materials, but the number can go a long way if she has to buy an entire Nendoroid for just one part.

Kate got the idea to make them after seeing another TikTok user, Apeachbun, post a video showing a custom Tartaglia Nendoroid. Kate felt inspired to take on the hobby herself: “During this time, I was completing a college semester all online, so I wanted something fun to do from home!” From there, she was able to get support from custom Nendoroid groups and Discord servers, and she has since gone on to make characters from series like Ouran High School Host Club, Kamisama Kysand more.

As for her favorite, she said it’s hard to choose. Characters like Xiao, Razor and Haruhi will “always have a special place in her heart”, but “some of my absolute favorite Nendoroids are characters from books! There really are no official nendoroids from books outside of Harry Potter, so I love to really have them! ”