Pantone Project
October 5, 2009

 - Project Date:November 28, 2008

If it isn't already totally obvious, I like things that glow. From LEDs to bio-luminescent sea-life, if it emits light it is good. I also like things that are transparent. Actually translucent is a better word. If light can pass through it, it is good.

I decided to combine those two fascinations into this Pantone project. There was a set of translucent Kubricks that sold for silly money. I couldn't warrant spending huge funds on a Kubrick item, I decided to spend funds on making a Minimate version. Then I made it glow.
This post is pretty much copied verbatim from a MMMV messageboard post where I first displayed this project. If you've read that, you've read this. But you can look at the pretty pictures again if you like.

Pantone is a company that provides a commonly used color chart. It's basically a de facto standard that allows companies to specify exactly what a printed color will be. For example, DST uses it on their control art, check out the Deadpool specs. It doesn't just say Deadpool should be red, but that he should be colored Pantone 1797c.

Anyway, a couple years ago Medicom produced a series of Pantone Kubrick sets, where the color labeled on the figure exactly matched the color of the figure. One of the products was a set of 30 translucent Kubricks. It was expensive from the start, but I didn't realize how much I liked it until it was out of production and going for a lot more on the secondary market.

When the Wolverine/Iceman packs showed up at Target I figured that would be an easy way to pick up some transparent Minimates to create my own version. Unfortunately those sets didn't have the market saturation to make that feasible, so I was again left wanting. Then came the eBay sellers with their factory discards. I picked up a couple lots that included a fair amount of Twilight Frodos. After several hours of tampo-removal I had an army of transparent Minimates.

Next came the coloring process. I remember people using Rit dye to color transparent plastic on Xevoz parts and found that it worked with Minimates as well. The only problem is that these transparent Minimates are made of two different kinds of plastic and they took the dye at different rates. Some parts would have to be in the dye longer than others. After some experimentation I came out with these:

Next came the case. Originally I was planning on making my own clear acrylic display with that could be backlit by hanging it in front of a window. But after looking at some of the darker Minimates that wouldn't look like I wanted it to. They had to be lit at all times. Enter the magic of LEDs.

I purchased a bunch of these at a local BigLots and started disassembling them. Of course the little stands wouldn't turn the way I wanted so I had to make some custom clips to attach them to the case.

Mmmmm solder resin. :)

I then rewired the whole lot into a pre-made shadow box and created a logo panel. Here's the end result in a darkened room.

Now I don't know the Pantone numbers for any of these 'mates, and I really don't care. :P I just love the glowing, translucent Minimates.

It's still not absolutely completely finished. :) I have to find a way to keep them from toppling when I replace the batteries. Probably a few LOTR bases hot glued to the LED stands should work. I might try to create a new front panel as well. I'm not satisfied with the green 'mates either, so I'm looking for more Twilight Frodos to sacrifice.

Here are a few more photos, click for larger versions.

In the year or so since I completed this project there have been no improvements.