I hadn’t planned on watching Squid Game when it first appeared on Netflix. I kept hearing great things about it and then my brother, who knows my taste in movies and things very well, sent me a rare text demanding that I give it a go. I’m glad I did because it was one of those shows I had to keep myself from binging so the novel experience of watching it for the first time could last. I spent several days living in the violent and very upsetting Squid Game universe. As soon as I laid my eyes on the Killer Robot Girl I knew I had to paint the set.

The show is about 456 people who are deeply in debt to play a series of children’s games for a chance to earn a huge cash prize. Sounds innocent, right? WRONG! It’s far more sinister and horrific than what the players had originally thought. The show is rife with symbolism with an unwavering motif of how the wealthy control the masses.

As there are far too many characters to fit into a traditional nesting doll set, I decided to make a “shake ’em out” or a “Trojan Horse” set. These sets often allowed me to defy the laws of physics, so I went out of my way to look for accessories to make the entire Squid Game experience.

First up is the Killer Robot Girl, which was an easy one to paint, but I had trouble deciding on how to make her little pigtails. In the end I sculpted it, having an absolute horrible time but they’re done and dusted.

Next, I picked the essential characters: Main guy, Gi-hun (456), his childhood friend Sang-woo (218), Sae-byeok (063), Ali Abdul (199), Il-nam (001), Frontman, Jun-ho, and the guards. And then I decided to add the baddie Deok-su (101), the crazy Mi-Nyeo (212), and the adorable Ji-yeong (240).

Gi-hun, Sae-byeok, Sang-woo, Jun-ho, Frontman, Salesman
Il-nam, the guards, Ali Abdul, Deok-su, Mi-Nyeo, Ji-yeong

As with my side projects, this one took about six months to execute. Every night I looked forward to making a little bit more progress than the last.

As for the accessories, I spent some time tracking down these miniature tins to create the Dalgona Challenge, wherein if the contestants break the paper thin honeycomb treat, they are executed on the spot. The business cards were a lot easier to source, but I had trouble initially finding the right size marbles and bag that will fit into the doll. In the end, everything came together.
While I was emailing my brother, I decided to make two more totems to represent the remaining games: Tug of war and the hopscotch game involving tempered and non-tempered glass steps on a (gulp) bridge. For the uninitiated, you can guess where the loser ends up.

Apparently, if you are to ring the phone number on the card, you will reach a bakery somewhere in South Korea!