I'll warn you ahead of time, they aren't for sale. Sorry.
I tend to get caught up in good TV shows, fiction, and movies. My wife loves artwork, crafts, and sewing. Both of us tend to throw ourselves headfirst into whatever we're currently interested in. Last year our obsessions meshed: Teres started making me Firefly Barbies.
Each is handmade, with repainted (and, in some cases, resculpted) faces. She changed the hair on a few, and combed the Internet and the local toy shops for clothing and accessories. Next to our bed (on her side) is a massive heap of plastic weaponry, tiny little outfits, itty bitty jewelry, and assorted body parts. By this point it would be pretty much impossible to describe all the sources of the bits, but I'll add 'em if I know 'em. Here's who's finished, click the images for a closer view.
First up is our captain, Malcolm Reynolds. Basically a Ken doll with attitude, he also sports brown boots, shirt, and his familiar coat. A gun belt and holster hang below his leather suspenders, and he carries his service pistol (more or less). His hair was transplanted, trimmed, and dyed, and his nose was very slightly narrowed for that flared Fillion look.
Next to him is the lovely and lethal YoSaffBridge. Even Barbie's impressive attributes had to be augmented ("Whoa! Flesh!") and her simple shift conceals a heart of, well, flint.
Then we have the happy couple of Zoe and "Wash" Washburne. Zoe was once a Cali Girl Barbie before she joined the Independents, and is seen here with her shirt, vest, belt, holster, pants, boots, necklace, knife, and dogleg shotgun.
Once a "World Peacekeeper of the 21st Century" doll, Wash's head and hair were completely resculpted to more closely resemble our favorite pilot. He sports a jumpsuit, Hawaiian shirt, sneakers, and a tiny plastic dinosaur.
The man they call Jayne was also a World Peacekeeper doll before Teres got ahold of him and redid his face, added a handmade Blue Sun shirt, pants, boots, and enough plastic weapons to choke a My Little Pony doll (including Vera, made out of several other guns and some other parts). His cunning hat was a Maggie Burns special, bought and paid for. She's no longer making them but the patterns to make your own are available at her site.
Next to him is Kaylee. Not sure which Barbie, she was picked up in a tube of three dolls from Big Lots. Dyed and cut hair, repainted face, flowery shirt, jumpsuit, belt, boots, and a wrench completed her.
Say hello to the Tams. River, previously a generic Barbie, now has distressed and dyed hair, repainted face, homemade dress, combat boots, and a big ol' honking gun. We also have a bloody axe (from a KISS figure) to add, when appropriate.
Her brother Simon, a former Disney character of some sort, is styling with snazzy black shoes, a dress shirt and slacks from a Donald Trump doll — nothing but the best here — and a Teresa-made vest. There was a previous version but even after modifications he was a bit too swarthy and wild-haired for our doctor. He also has a stethoscope and operating apron for emergencies (not pictured).
Companion Inara Serra was once an Native American Princess Barbie before she was repainted (slightly) and reworked. Her dress came from eBay, Teres made and/or reworked her wrap, shoes, and belt. Her necklace was a thrift store find.
Inset is a pic of Inara having a heated discussion with Mal. The fact that she's holding his weapon should in no way be considered indicative of what the Firefly Barbies do when no one's looking.
Shepherd Book took the longest out of the main crew, mostly due to the Mattel Corporation's pathetic lack of any grey-haired African-American dolls with wise eyes and a moustache. No weapons, but he does have a bible ready to hand for when he walks the worlds a while.
She finally redid the hair from scratch and made do just in time for Ron Glass to see it at the FX Con. She still has hopes of making one with Exploding Hair Action (TM). Maybe the next one.
Here's Nandi from "Heart of Gold," resplendant in the finest fashions this moon has to offer; a handmade top and a reworked skirt, with added jewelry. No clue which Barbie she was originally, but she's had her hair and face redone anyway.
Teres has hopes for more guest stars — currently hunting around for a G.I. Joe-sized bowler hat for Badger, and we gotta have hands of blue guys, and then there's Early, and Monty, and Patience, and and and…
The Boss has been pretty heavily modified and comes nattily dressed in khakis, a T-shirt, and long-sleeve shirt, with on-location hiking shoes.
Barbie Joss also comes with director's chair, camera, clapboard, and the Oscar he won for Best Picture in a dream I once had.
He started out life as Jayne Mark One, but some problems with his head caused him to be set aside for parts. Then we saw some Fleck Stone stone finish spray paint, and inside our heads a hundred mudders cried for a hero.
This happens more often than you'd think.
Last Christmas she surprised me with an unexpected one: me. Complete with receding hairline, glasses, facial hair, paunch, Whedon's Bitch T-shirt, jeans, sneakers, a Palm Pilot, and a cellphone, I feel she has captured the essential me, except for one thing. No Teres doll. Plans are already afoot.
She has no plans to make these for sale; each one takes a fair bit of work and she can't really remember where she got all the bits. If you're interested in trying your own, check for customizing sites with tutorials like OOAK Fashion Dolls. We found a gun fairly close to Mal's at Marxman Armory (the 1860 Army Colt), more vintage weaponry at the Toysmith, and an excellent list to sites that sell loose G.I. Joe stuff at Six of One. Clothing, jewelry, and shoes were found in thrift stores, on eBay, or handmade.
To repaint a face, you should first remove the one that's there (either the bit you want to change or the whole thing, which looks really creeepy) with non-acetone fingernail polish remover as over time the acetone will damage the plastic. It's also more work, so Teres used acetone. Wash the faces in soapy water afterwards. Facial features can be "adjusted" with sandpaper (start with heavy grit and go finer as the doll gets smoother), X-acto knives, and Dremel tools. Scarred and horrific figures display our learning curve here. There are different types of modeling paste to use to add or build up features that will dry white, sand smooth, take a paint well, and blend nicely into the doll's skin. Teres used Sculpy modeling clay. Paint should be acrylic and mixed with thinner.
Then, it takes practice. And patience. And a good light. And steady hands. And an obsessive nature. According to Teres she has the obsessive nature and more or less faked the rest. But I have my Firefly cast (almost)!