The addition of 1/7th scale Vocaloid Megurine Luka to my figure collection came as no surprise considering how much of a fan I’ve become of the music she has been featured in (Just Be Friends, anyone?). In some ways, a 1/7th scale figure feels like homage to my first ever figure purchase of similarly scaled Saber Lily ~Golden Caliburn~ back in September 2010. Whereas Saber Lily sparked quite the fan in me for future nendoroid purchases, Luka may just reignite it. And where I used to take casual photos of the figures I acquired, I now have a better sense of understanding of how creative I can take those photos. Check out more of them after the break to see whether I really was able to step up to the (in Luka’s case, vinyl) plate.
I originally teased this figure in other photos for quite some time now, showing only details such as the microphone in her hand to the near-transparent strands of her pink hair. I find it relieving to finally be able to show a head-on photo of her. As you can tell from this angle, the vinyl record she stands on has transparent supports that lock into the bottom of her boots so that she can maintain the pose while keeping the record base sturdy. From then on, posing possibilities really open up depending on which side you view her from.
With off-camera lighting focused properly, you can see how much light passes through the ends of her hair. Amazing! And with a proper crop, I really like how you can see just her smile (or smirk), which adds a playful vibe to the shot.
The lighting from this angle really shows how much smooth curvature there is in the lines that form the wrinkles in her dress to the strands of hair that remain permanently tossed around in the air. You can even see the separate microphone piece that she holds in her right hand.
This marks the first time I have ever used a macro lens on a SLR camera before (Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 macro) and the results were stunning. The detail found in just the microphone itself was astonishing to me. From a macro perspective, I decided to place the focal emphasis on her mic with diffused off-camera flash to the right; it really brought out the bronze color.
Depending on lighting conditions, Luka’s skin tones can wind up being anywhere from a contrasty cream color to an ever slightly tinted-orange look. In this case, underexposing helped to preserve as much definition as possible and reduce blown-out highlights at edges like where her hand rests closely to her face.
Conversely, shadows cast appropriately reveal Luka’s graceful pose through details such as her boots and dark leggings. In this image, you can see how her legs almost get lost in the photo but are eventually defined again by the bronze coloring around them, along with the lighting that casts a reflection near her right knee and thigh.
The base itself has the usual details of a pressed record, with nicely carved-out grooves for the vinyl and a figure identifier in the form of a record label sticker.
One thing I’ve always been excited about this figure is that it really shows (at least from illustrator Tony’s perspective) the details in Luka’s clothing. I’m sure cosplayers who were interested in dressing up as her never really had such detail to work with other than from other creative works such as PVs, fan art, and live concerts both in Japan and here in the U.S. Especially when Luka only appears for three or four songs in a whole hour or longer set, it makes it difficult to get consistent source material. Well, the wait (at least as of last year’s release of this figure) is no more!
Another in-focus front view of Luka facing her audience!
I am still very impressed at what photos this figure is capable of producing. Yes, it does help that I was able to collaborate with Tran of Transcendental Flowers to help design the background lighting effects (our intent was to mimic the look of an audience; we wound up getting an audience and a stage backdrop effect). No, it doesn’t really help that the background was an almost pure black. Had it not been for off-camera flash, her outfit would have been completely lost in the background. Technicalities aside, this figure is definitely worth an investment if you are a fan of the Vocaloid franchise in any sort of way. The original illustration for this figure was brought to three-dimensional reality with such skill that it is sometimes hard for me to believe it was two-dimensional to begin with, as is usually the level of expectation in quality associated with Good Smile Company’s figure lineup (in this case, Max Factory as well). The box even comes with a removable orange background with “Megurine Luka Tony Ver.” printed in white on one side for posing and photo opportunities.
I find that non-figma/nendoroid are typically harder to pose because variation only comes in the form of varying the background and changing angles. Luka has a very flashy pose from the get-go, so photo opportunities are actually broader than I anticipated. The addition of a dark background with lights helped show attention to what is otherwise a star of a figure in her own right. If you are contemplating on purchasing this figure, I highly recommend it! It makes a great addition to any figure collection as long as you have space and (optional) context to surround the figure in. Because of the scaling, however, just be prepared to almost dedicate an entire IKEA Expedit shelf section to her if necessary. She certainly deserves it.
Flickr Photo Set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeremyrafanan/sets/72157627131156105/
Special Thanks: Victor for helping acquire this figure when in Japan; Tran for putting together a fantastic background to use; Antonio for letting me borrow equipment to achieve these shots; Good Smile Company/Max Factory for yet another great product; Vocaloid fans; fellow bloggers/readers!