I have known Piotrek Czajka for a few years, not only do we have our hobby in common but I share his passion for music too, so it has always been easy for me to talk to him. He and the other Polish painters have helped me so much with my personal development as a figure painter and we have struck up quite a good friendship, you should check out their Facebook page HERE! Some time ago he spoke to me and mentioned his dream of starting his own line of busts. A few weeks later and I was being shown secret concept sketches, I always take this to be a compliment and an honour that so many people feel comfortable and confident to show me their plans from the start.
C-Girl Akito is the first release from Neko Galaxy. It is a 1/10 scale, polyurethane resin bust digitally sculpted by Bulgarian artist Miroslaw “Dorimster” Dimitrov. Piotrek explained the difficulties in bringing a new brand to market, even finding reliable concept artists or those not so busy was a difficult task.
“The process of finding an appropriate illustrator (or the one who will answer to my email) to draw a nice concept art was a real road through hell. I’ve sent literally over 250 emails … I was particularly down about how it works and thought, I don’t care anymore, I have almost zero motivation left and probably finding a sculptor would be even harder. So in the end I decided to send only few mails starting from the “BIG” names out there, if it won’t work, I give up. One of the first messages I sent was to Miroslav and BANG, he was so stoked about my idea he decided to work with me without any doubts! It’s important to mention Akito was his first model sculpted for printing and casting”.
It is Piotrek’s hope that Miroslaw will collaborate on all future releases too and seeing the quality of his work on this bust I can understand why!! The kit consists of just three parts the torso and two arms, included you also get a high quality “business” art card and a sticker (we do love our stickers!!). The parts were packaged within a bag of tiny foam balls, which was a right nightmare but this was only a temporary packaging setup and will change in the future.
I asked Piotrek if he could shed some light on the concept of his brand as it looks particularly unique and original.
“I always wanted to make things totally different than other people will do. First I looked at the design of the other miniature brands. Almost every one is grim, dark, horror influenced etc. I was like, no more stuff like this, I want mine to look like cotton candy and be funny and colourful. Next step was finding a name that would fit the thought of a company like this. Not lying, most of the names do not even make any sense so mine didn’t have to either. What’s cool, cute, and sci-fi at the same time? Answer is simple, cat in a cosmonaut helmet!”
SCULPT AND CAST
Before I look at the parts I was curious to the sculpt and casting process. Here is what Piotrek told me.
“It is digitally sculpted, to be honest I didn’t even consider a traditional sculpt. In my opinion it’s much easier to work with digital sculpting. You can always change anything you want no matter how far along you are. That was the main reason for me to produce it this way”.
“First wave of the casts, were being sold as promotional pieces at Hussar painting competition and some have been sent some to a select group of painters, these were cast by a company I won’t name. I was not happy about working with them so I decided to find someone else very quickly, who would make it for me. As far as I know, after talking to some friends, finding a good caster, who is available is always a time consuming and awkward experience. The actual copies of the product now are made by Oskar from White Tree Miniatures“.
Quite simply the bust is stunning! I love everything about it, this is a classic femme fatale, sexy, powerful, dangerous, with an added twist. Miroslaw has done an incredible job, this is clearly a digital sculptor at the peak of his powers.
Her hair is cut with straight fringe, long straight locks framing her face, reminds me of neo punk influences such as Blade Runner or sci fi operas such as The Fifth Element. These sort of similarities are present throughout the various elements of the kit. Her head is dipped, looking slightly to her right, with mouth partially open. The detailing to her facial features is exquisite with well crafted eyes and fine eyebrows, something that is regularly omitted on busts of this size.
Her throat, jawline and cheek bones are sheathed in what could be considered a protective layer, maybe a communication device or some other type of expensive, high society scientific, body modification.
The strip across her nose is another unique touch. Around her neck we have a bird skull, fetish necklace, this piece of natural material is in stark contrast to the rest of her appearance, maybe it is a reminder to her of a time long distant in humanity’s history?
Her “hoodie” is unbuttoned, exposing her muscular frame beneath, rounded cleavage supported by a bikini top. It is sexual but not overly so, there is no sexual objectification here, our girl is way too powerful and dangerous to be perceived in that way. The necklace and tie for the bikini show sharp undercuts and the jacket itself is full of details.
The hood has nice folds and seams, with nicely detailed draw cords. The jacket boasts seams, trims, buttoned pockets and some rather tasty looking spikes, the jagged edges of her cut off sleeves could also be painted as metal too.
A nice touch is also how pockets have a mix of those buttoned and unbuttoned. The “heavy metal” fabric patch on the rear will be a great opportunity to create some freehand.
The two arms attach via square pegs and the fit is perfect so need for any gap filling. Her left arm, which wields her futuristic version of a Katana is pretty much fully cybernetic, it reminds me of classics such as Blade Runner and Tron. There are embossed and etched details to the various planes of the surfaces, very crisp and accurate.
The weapon is a continuation of this cyber/futuristic detailing and fits the subject perfectly. There is a nice sturdy thickness to the blade, but mine was still a little warped and will need remedying with hot water or a hair dryer.
Her right arm is more human in it’s appearance but sports what looks like a mechanised implant or armour to the shoulder. Again some very nice volumes and surfaces, should make the painting experience varied, challenging and ultimately fulfilling.
The cast is very good yet there are excess pieces of resin that need removing especially at the bottom of the torso, there are also some plugs of resin on the elbows and weapon hilt along with a slight mold line or two, preparation shouldn’t be difficult at all. There are no major defects such as air bubble holes or casting slippages.
DESIGN AND ORIGINALITY
The concept art for this piece was created by French illustrator, Jessica “Sha-h” Heran, you can check out more of her incredible works HERE. Piotrek explained that he hopes “Jessica will work on at least the first three of his designs, to make it as a series and then see how it develops. Of course this is if she still has time for it. There are a lot of artists out there who are excited about the idea of their 2D art becoming 3D figures and busts.
So I thought about collaborations between the figure world and that of illustrators. Choosing already drawn illustrations and making busts out of them. However, I think the first three would be ideas of mine or my girlfriend’s for sure, then could be 50/50 or split it into two series: originals and collaborations. All depends how big Neko would be after those first three releases, but we’ll see how it all goes”.
During my conversation with Piotrek I delved a little into the inspiration behind his ideas for Neko Galaxy and in particular Akito.
“First of all I was very upset I can’t find any nice female, sci-fi busts on the market, or even a not so nice one, so I decided to make one myself. That was the very beginning. Since then, every day I spend a lot of time browsing through artstation and deviantart and downloading pictures of sci fi “chicks” that I like. That time spent on those sites gave me the overall look on the things I think are interesting and the concept for the world I’d like to create.
That had to be something original, something fresh, not another copy/paste steampunk girl or traditional sci fi. To be honest I have many ideas for the different characters on my mind but with the first three I’ll stick to my main idea for the universe and see how it develops.
It’s very hard to write about the world itself. I’d call it post apocalyptic without any apocalypse. Some desert planet, some desert punks, trashy cities but with hi technology and some other sterile “Mirror’s edge” like hi technology planet. I know that sounds like a bunch of weird things for you, but that’s my vision of it”.
The design is really well thought out, the composition is balanced and for a bust the pose is particularly dynamic. The anatomy is accurately rendered with a good eye for detail. Within a community that is awash with new figures and busts being released almost on a weekly basis, I remember Piotrek expressing concerns about his project, he shouldn’t have worried! This is an original concept with a WOW factor thrown in for good measure.
This bust made its first appearance a month or two ago at Hussar in Poland and sold the first casts very quickly. It is my opinion that as other painters publish their versions up on the internet, more people will be inspired to try the bust and sales will flow in. Some top painters such as KAHA, Komets, Carlsson, Cexwish, Loler etc will currently be painting their vrsions, there is even a rumour that Kirill Kanaev has a copy but to date we have no news on when he plans to paint it.
The bust is unique and aesthetically beautiful, the sculpt is exceptional, it is full of details, textures, planes and surfaces. In my opinion this will be highly sought after.
For now it’s a pre-order (first come, first served) but at the end of the month, or the beginning of December Neko Galaxy hope to have enough copies to sell it without any waiting time. The price for the bust is 55$/49€ + 6$/5€ worldwide priority shipping. You can order it by sending an email to email@example.com
Here is what Piotrek had to say when I asked about their website:
“Sure I will create a website, Facebook is not a platform for selling products and not having any page or web-store is not reliable for some of the customers. Unfortunately I can’t tell when. The only answer is as soon as possible, maybe when there will be one more product to sell.
Neko Galaxy is D.I.Y and I have like zero experience in things like that so everything can take longer than it should. I hope that’s not a problem for you guys as NEKO is doing its best to deliver you highest quality product, you will be painting with a lot of fun!