Thursday, 31 July 2014

Back online...

...with the headache from hell.

I bought a friend for Phin. I know I've mentioned it once or twice, and I finally had the ransom demand from customs via Parcelforce last Friday.  I went to the site and paid the charges, my brain registering the VAT as £25.00 which looked normal enough.   Once I got the Parcelforce receipt though, I was horrified to see I'd been charges £250 for the VAT and the whole total came to over £300.  The doll was only around £110.   I phoned customs and they told me that the value on the customs declaration was calculated at $1900.00.  I nearly flipped. I suffer from the most awful anxiety and it's made me ill all week.

It was either the senders fault, or Custom's fault.  Once the parcel arrived - surprise, surprise, yes it was actually UK Customs fault.  What a nightmare. They've cleaned out my savings account and I'm left with nothing but the forlorn hope that my claim for  refund will be approved. UK Customs have massive powers, more so than the police I believe. And the little person gets trampled.  I'm so angry I can't see straight.

But. Anyway.  I've posted my claim and just have to hope they don't behave like jerks over it.

It was doubly nerve-racking all week too, because Ubuntu broke my computer.  My lovely homie helped me sort it though, and now I have a shiny new wireless card - some other seemingly unrelated issues were solved at the same time.  So children, let me warn you - don't touch Broadcom wireless cards with a bargepole, if you're running Linux.
The doll ... I'm pleased to say is lovely.  I won't let this ruin my enjoyment of him.   I've called him Lucas, because it just seemed to fit, once I'd done a bit of work on him.  I managed to start yesterday because the computer was well on the way to being fixed, and today I've got the Customs thingie out of the way. So I feel like I can breathe.

First off.... that horrendous moustache had to go.

Much better. It took a little Winsor and Newton brush cleaner & restorer, cotton buds, and some very careful cleaning, but off it came.

His faceup is a lot better quality than Phin's was. So I'm leaving the lip colour and will just retouch his eyes, and change the eyebrows.

Next, I prised off the glued-on wig.  These wigs are surprisingly nice, and easy to style, but I wanted brown hair for Lucas.  Phin's can remain black though. I had a fur wig that I've been playing around with that was too small for Xander (my Iplehouse Ryan) so I put it on him and started trimming.

It never ceases to amaze me how the hairdo can change the whole face of a doll.    I had to damp the wig down - it's a good way to style and to cut into shape without making loads of mess.

NEVER do this on a resin doll though. Or a doll with sealer on their face-up. The sealer reacts and blisters. Believe me, I've had personal experience.  I only put wet wigs on vinyl dolls with factory faceups.

He looks kinda sexy, all dripping wet...  ;)

Once I'd finished trimming, the wig was drying out a bit. I decided to stop before I ruined it, because it really was looking very good.  I think fur wigs are the way to go on these larger male dolls. The scale of the fibres is right for them, and I've seen some beautifully styled fur wigs around.

I know I still need to sort out thos eyebrows, but I'll try and make him look sweeter and more innocnet than Phin.  who could also use a bit of a retouch here and there. But I like the hair colour and style on him.

Once the wig dried, it looked a little too bouffant again - but I'll try and find a styling product to hold it in style. Wet-look gel or something. I often use el-cheapo human hair gel on my dolls and their wigs. It washes out just fine... but I refuse to be held responsible if anyone else tries it and ruins their doll.  I've ALWAYS tested my ideas on old broken dolls or wigs I hate and won't use before trying them out on the good stuff.

Not to be outdone, Phin had to have a trim too.   I like his wig very much, but something about the style made him look a bit slimy in my mind. I've given him a more modern cut and it's made him a little more handsome and possibly more youthful too.  I'm very please I didn't screw up, but with the spare wig that came with Lucas to fall back on, I felt brave enough to try.

One word about wet hair and faceups - I've used Tamiya acrylics on Phin, with a little sealer, and so far he's been wet quite a lot but the sealer and paint has shown no sign of reaction.  I'm pretty impressed, but wouldn't recommend anyone to take unnecessary risks.

And with a little hair gel:

He looks great when he's dressed.  I still feel I need to work on his brows though.  I'm not so good at them really.

I'm still ploughing on with the pants/jeans pattern for this sized doll, and now my beloved computer feels like it's brand new, I'm able to get on and finish it. God, I love Linux Peppermint.  <3



  1. Oh Tess what a horrible thing to happen with the Customs I'm not surprised it's made you ill.. have everything crossed that you can sort it out and get a refund -if you've got paperwork that shows what price you paid then I don't think they have a leg to stand on.... but no doubt this being HMRC it will take time to get your money back and they won't apologise or give you compensation... sorry rant over ...... Anyway back to the dolls.... Phinn and Lucas look splendid! Lucas looks so much better without the tash - truly dreadful it was!!!

    1. I know, they're just pure evil and I'm really not friends with them atm, lol. I sent loads of paperwork and everything they asked for, I just hope it reaches them okay and that it doesn't get lost in the system. I used to be a civil servant so I don't trust the workings of govt. departments at all. I doubt I'll even get an apology as you say.

      But yes, at least my dolls are looking good, haha.

    2. And yes. BAD moustache.


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