Laragwen fait de magnifiques réalisations !!! Superbe travail sur la tenue Reborn !!
Interview: Laragwen’s Custom Tonner Creations
I first stumbled upon Laragwen’s beautiful custom Tonner dolls last year, and have been patiently waiting for the day that she’d debut her Tomb Raider (2013) tribute. Today is that day!
Laragwen has upped her game tenfold this time, with incredible detail going into Lara’s weapons and equipment. Take a look at some of her customs above, and learn about her craft below!
Can you Introduce yourself?
Laragwen: My nickname, Laragwen, comes from one of my cousins. It’s a mix of my name and that of Lara. I’m from the North of France, I’m 27 and I work for an advertising agency. I love Lara Croft and I collect everything about the Tomb Raider video games, mainly statues, and Lara Croft Tonner dolls. This passion has lead me to the customization Tonner dolls, and my favorite hobby is to do photoshoots in the same environment of the games.
How long have you been a fan of Tomb Raider?
Laragwen: It has been 16 years now that I follow Lara Croft in all her adventures and I’m not weary of that! Tomb Raider is part of my life since I was 11 years old, when my cousin showed us his new purchase, the PlayStation console accompanied by a new type of game - Tomb Raider! Even my family was surprised by the possibilities of the character, who was feminine and both strong and fragile. We were all there saying “Watch out! Don’t let her fall, you will hurt her!” or “WOW, she moves large stones, she is very strong!” And also, “What’s her name? - Tomb Raider, right?” “No, her name is Lara Croft!”
From was born my passion for Lara Croft. I always wanted to be like her, with a mind of steel! I got to know many other fans like me on the Internet who have become friends. I’ve gone a lot of times to Paris to meet fans. I’ve also met Alison Carroll, the team of Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics, and Robert Tonner, who has granted me a short interview about his dolls.
What inspired you to first start customizing Tonner dolls?
Laragwen: The video games Tomb Raider are my main source of inspiration! But to be more precise, I dreamed of having the classic outfit in my collection. Then a bunch of other outfits that Tonner hadn’t realize at the time. On the other hand, the price of a Tonner outfit is expensive and I admit I was disappointed with the Legend doll, because I think the accessories miss details and did not do justice to this wonderful Lara Croft doll. This is where I started doing my own outfits and accessories. I don’t work as well as Tonner but I’ve improved. I also designed accessories (backpack, holster, first aid kits) and then I realized that I doing a cosplay on a small scale!
What was your first custom project?
Laragwen: You’ll think I’m crazy, but the first outfit that I wanted to see on my doll was one of Tomb Raider Legend (because the doll come from Tomb Raider Legend), so I chose the beautiful black evening dress! I didn’t have to make shoes for the outfit, but it was still one of the more difficult to realize! On a 3D character it is easier to fit a dress, but on a doll, it’s a whole new dimension! It was only after the fourth time that I arrived at a satisfactory result. I am not a seamstress; I do according to my instinct. I switched from a single needle sewing machine and I ended up doing it by hand. Moreover, this dress has been so successful that now some of my creations are housed in Brazil, Netherlands, United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France…
What is your favorite custom doll so far?
Laragwen: This is a very difficult question because I’m never 100% satisfied with my customizations and I often call them into question to improve them. But if I must choose, one of my favorites is the latest – Tomb Raider (2013) – because it is one of the dirtiest, most detailed, and most realistic I’ve done! Yes, it is rare that I tear deliberately the fabric! I would add to the list the outfit of Tomb Raider Underworld, the wetsuit, and the Doppelganger outfit, because it is one of the most complete and detailed that I made to date.
Can you detail the process of making the Tomb Raider (2013) custom?
Laragwen: To begin, I painted her entire face like artists who practice OOAK “one of a kind.” A first for me, and I’m not completely satisfied! There are artists who do this much better than me! I also cut, smoothed, and restyled the hair of the Lara Croft Legend Tonner doll. I added rings in her ears. For the outfit, I used brown linen fabric for pants, a white lycra for the under wear, and a cotton blue for the shirt. I work every fabric directly on the doll because each fabric is different and does not work in the same way. The belt is brown leather and I used wire to do the belt buckle. The holster is made from cardboard covered with brown leatherette. The gun, watch, red ax, necklace, iPhone, GPS, and other small parts are designed with Fimo and some are painted. The bow, arrows, ax, and torch are made of twigs of the garden were washed and sanded. I used elastic strap for the watch and the bow. Finally, for the tip of the torch and all the bandages, I used gauze pharmaceutical. As for the boots? Well it’s the only thing I have not made for this outfit. I bought a pair made by an artist that I customized for Tomb Raider (2013).
What was the most difficult part of Lara’s new costume?
Laragwen: Everything is complicated, each clothing and accessories has its own difficulty. You just need to find the solution to each problem. For fabrics each design is different because each fabric has his unique flexibility. It took me the longest time to make the pants because the fabric is hard to work and because of details of pockets. The holster was also difficult to do, as was the watch because of all the small details as well as necklace.
How do you work on such a small scale? The watch in particular is impressive!
Laragwen: Lara has the survival instinct. I have the instinct to work on small scales! I do not know how to explain it, it’s natural for me… I use classic Fimo tools, but sometimes, to achieve my goals, I will use an object that may seem trivial for you, but can be very helpful for me! It can be a plug or a toothpick for example.
What do you intend to work on next?
Laragwen: I have many plans for the Lara Croft Tonner dolls. It is difficult to determine what will be my next customization. Indeed, to complete my collection I want to make all outfits of the Tomb Raider games and more! I need a lot of time to complete this project but I plan to finish it one day. Christmas is fast approaching, expect a few surprises!
You can check out all of Laragwen’s custom work on her website!