copyright by J. A. Flores. All rights reserved.
Hua Li – 8 Inch Action Figure

I’m not positively thrilled with this figure, certainly not near the level of excitement I
have for the Kain, Nancy, and Noknor Book I version figures. It’s okay, but not great
and not even close to what I feel Li deserves in a toy. This one is a product of multiple
issues, not the least being that it was a rush job and I didn’t have access to the materials
I normally do (more on that in a bit). Still, it’s really not too bad, all things considered. I
really love how her Dragon Claw came out.

Like all the other figures, I had wanted to make a Hua Li figure for a long time. I really had
no idea what action figure I would use as the core figure except that something along the
lines of a Chun-Li Street Fighter 2 doll would work out pretty well. Although Hua Li is not
based on the Street Fighter game character in any way, I figured the Chun-Li action figure
would work because a) they’re both Chinese, b) they both know kungfu, and c) thereâ
€™s a ton of Chun-Li figures to choose from ranging from completely cartoony to more
humanesque. Obviously, I wanted one more humanesque, but I had to go with cartoony for
several reasons.

When I finally got around to making this Hua Li figure, I was a few weeks away from a
PitchFest convention, an event put on by my publisher Xlibris’s parent company where
they teach you to pitch your book idea as a movie idea to Hollywood producers; well, their
interns anyway, but if you’re good enough it goes up the chain. Anywho, I was set to
attend and I had wanted to showcase my Quest action figures to the producers. I had
Noknor in his box, Kain, and Nancy, but I also wanted a Hua Li figure to really push the
mixing of Chinese and western fantasy themes. Now a few weeks may seem like a long
time, and it is especially considering that I probably made both Kain and Nancy in four or
five days all told, an hour here, ten minutes there over the course of a couple of weeks.
However, knowing I actually had a deadline really made me feel rushed and so I was more
impatient than usual; I don’t deal with deadlines well. Also, during construction of this
figure, I was in Beijing (and still am as of writing this sentence, on the bus actually, headed
home to my apartment). There aren’t a whole lot of Michael’s and Hobby Lobby
craft stores, none actually, and finding halfway decent art supplies is more than a wee bit of
a challenge here. When I made the move to China I did have the rare foresight to bring with
me a small amount of polymer clay and a few different paints. I did find the Chun-Li figure I
ended up using, a Capcom Queens Beauty Fighters, a line which included other female
Capcom mainstays Cammy from Street Fighter 2 and Lilith and Hsien-Ko from the
Darkstalkers game (alas none are part of my personal collection).

Although not what I wanted initially, the Capcom Queens Chun-Li was about the right height
(8 inch scale), had removable clothing, was articulated, and within my budget. Everything
else I found was either a statue with no articulation or was out of my prince range. The
removable clothing was helpful in that it allowed me to design my own costume on her. Oh,
and Chun-Li has a bun hairstyle typically wrapped in white cloth; with this figure you could
remove the buns.

The body of this figure is made of rubber, and much like Uhura’s rubber skirt and shirt
from the Nancy Viccon project, paint won’t stick to it. Thus, instead of simply painting
the arms and legs for a shirt and pants, I had to make Li’s clothes out of polymer clay;
another reason was that this Chun-Li was uncharacteristically Barbie doll thin, the thick clay
added some substance to her figure. I rolled the clay flat, cut to basic desired shape, and
molded it onto Li’s body. After letting it dry for a day or two, I painted it a light blue
color. For the armor I was thinking a traditional Chinese style, so I molded polymer clay on
her body and shaped it. Once dry, I painted it a dark blue. It was only then that I decided I
wasn’t liking the blue color scheme. See, originally I wanted Li to match Kain and
Nancy, but then I realized (too late) that Li is not Arcainian so she wouldn’t wear
Arcainian colors. I also realized that Li needed to be separated from Kain and Nancy so that
she would stand out on her own. I decided to switch to a red and gold color scheme since
red is a lucky color in China as is gold. I had to whitewash the clay clothing and armor I had
painted with white paint before going back over it all over again with pink, red, and gold. It
was a pain, but well worth it. I really it, the gold makes the red pop, the red makes the gold
pop, and it all makes Li really pop.

Li’s armor skirt is also polymer clay, made up of four separate pieces: a front, a back,
and two smaller side pieces. I cut the pieces from a rolled out piece of polymer clay; by the
way, I use sharp scissors to cut the piece and then a razor to trim it and clean up the edges
as the scissors leave a chopping, ragged edge in their wake. I painted the armor skirt pieces
with the red and gold color scheme and then superglued them to Li’s waist. A painted
clay belt wrapped around her waist hides all the unsightly edges.

The Chun-Li figure had light brown hair, but Hua Li has dark hair so I painted her hair black
and gave her a braided ponytail of clay; I rolled the clay into small snake pieces and hand
braided them. I also added a jade hair ornament to keep the braid from unraveling before
supergluing it to Li’s head and painting it all black to conceal the edges of the clay on her
head.

Although I feel so-so about this version of Hua Li’s action figure in general, one thing I
am really excited about and quite proud of is her Dragon Claw weapon. This one is
completely handmade, and if I do say so myself it came out beautifully. The Chun-Li figure
came with interchangeable hands, three different ones if I remember correctly: a fist, a flat
palm, and a victory-V/peace sign which is the one I used as a base so Li retains the
interchangeable hands. I took her hand and shaved it down a bit with a razor, enough to thin
it out but not enough to lose the socket to snap it onto her wrist. The fingers as well as the
tubes holding the Dragon Oil on the arm are from a miniature Halloween skeleton, the same
type I used to make Book I Noknor’s crown of King Edward’s skull and bones. The
claws are each cut separately from a sheet of dried polymer clay and let me just say it really
was a pain to work with something so small. I used a razor to shape each claw and painted
them gold, using a pair of tweezers to hold them. I had to paint one side of the claw, let it
dry, and then paint the other side otherwise it would be glued to whatever surface I was
using to dry them (as I learned the hard way). For all the pieces of the Dragon Claw,
everything was premade and then painted before sticking it all together with superglue. Due
to the fact that when superglue dries it leaves a white residue that is very noticeable, after I
was sure the glue was dry I had to do paint touch-ups with a very fine brush.

I also had to make her boots since I had lost the plastic boots she had come with. That was
the really good thing with the other figures, the boots their action figures wore worked
perfectly well with my figures so there was no need to change them. Making Li’s boots
was probably the most time-consuming and difficult aspect of making Li. I sculpted them out
of polymer clay, trying many different routes including making them separately, making
them in pieces, and trying to find some other toy’s boots. Nothing worked, so in the end
I had to mold the clay around her feet and work it the best I could into shape. They ended
up clunky and awkward, so I tried to trim it a bit with a razor and cover up the cracks with
paint. The buckles and trim are gold with a touch of glossy pewter while her steel toes are
glossy pewter for a shiny metal look.

As I said, I’m not thrilled with this figure. After making seven other figures before this
one (Book I & II Noknor, Final Battle Noknor, and 4� and 8� versions of both Kain
and Nancy) and after how awesome those all came out, you’d think this one would have
fared better than it did. But like I said, I was rushed and didn’t have all the supplies I
really needed. All in all, it’s not my greatest work, but it’s Hua Li and I love her all
the same. Eventually I’ll get around to redoing her figure with something much more
worthy of her awesomeness.