Custom 3DS: Fatal Frame 4
By AntonCaptainSeagull. Wednesday, February 8, 2012 6:00:00 PM
It all starts with my Bloody DSi, which is a black one, one I wanted to create an original skin for it that no one else could have, until they saw mine and ripped the idea off anyway. So shortly after getting it at launch I thought of making it look like a Zombie Survival DSi by covering it in blood spray. I guess it could be any ferocious survival DSi, like a Baboon Survival DSi or Arm Stuck in Machinery Survival DSi really, as long as it creates blood splatter you can imagine I had my DSi with me when it happened. Well, I set out with Contac paper, two different shades of red spray paint, and a old toothbrush and created this bad-boy (which still looks just as awesome and hasn't peeled one bit).
Then the 3DS came out which was something I obviously needed or I might die, so I got that too post haste. Again, I picked the black one, but still wanted something custom, but because of the complex shapes of 3DS it would be a lot harder for me to do a DYI job like last time. So I just sat around until I read about how many cool custom 3DS models were available elsewhere, It was almost tipping point for me to do something. The straw that broke the camels back was the Snake Skin model Konami is offering a select few in Japan. Something just had to be done now.
I wanted to pick a franchise that was on the 3DS, and looked at what was out, and what has been confirmed for release, and much to my surprise the Fatal Frame series spin-off Spirit Camera was actually going to make it's way to North America unlike Fatal Frame 4 - which I have been playing via the fan translation patch and an imported copy of the game. I love Fatal Frame 4, it's a freaky ghost game with the eeriest ambiance I've ever come to know in a video game. This was what I decided I was going to skin my 3DS in, Fatal Frame 4, I know this title wont be on the system, but since the series would be, I thought it would be ok. This was also a perfect choice because early on I decided I needed a skin with a majority of the color being black, so that where the edges of the skin stop, and the system shows through, it would be less noticeable with good blending. I chose my favorite ghosts, created an image for the inside featuring some characters in masks with candles that repeated so it looked like more and would fit the entire inside of the system, and went to Gelaskins gaming section ready to craft it up! I compared options and prices of Gelaskins, DecalGirl, and SkinIt, each with pros and cons. Let's just say that for the price, customization tool, and amazing amount of system coverage Gelaskins was the winner.
Gelaskins offers many different device skins, so check the website out thoroughly for any devices you want custom and or scratch protected. They also have a ton of amazing pre-made designs to choose from already positioned perfectly for your device showing a fluid coverage all they way around, featuring great artists. I went straight to the device customizer to upload and use my own images, a great tool letting you resize, rotate, and position multiple images on your skin for perfect placement. One plus point is that it tells you when your image is going to look like crap because of the image quality or if you expanded it by too much - it'll let you use it if you want, but it's nice to know it's watching for you. One minus point is that when you get a visual preview of the skin on your 3DS, it shows only the inside, and not the outside skins you made - a real bummer. I finished my design, and placed my order for "Subtotal $19.95 + S&H $4.95 = Total $24.90 USD" - a price that was seriously on the edge for me, another 11 cents and I would be out, but because DecalGirl doesn't have a custom designer application, and Skinit covers less of the device for even MORE money, Gelaskins was the way to go. They say wait 15 days to get it in the mail (unless you choose more pricey shipping methods) but I got mine in about a week, maybe a couple days more.
Unboxing: It comes packed in a good cardboard envelope with red letters letting the post-people know "Do Not Bend", and inside a protective plastic sleeve. Make sure your 3DS is wiped COMPLETELY clean of oil and any little dust particles, even the tiniest one will show up as a bubble when your skin is on. I wiped mine down and started with the front cover.
The top wasn't too hard to put on, I used a needle to pull the camera cut-outs off before I removed the skin from it's page. I did leave the cut-out for the cameras pink light on though, I wanted to cover that light up. I then lined it up using the two cameras as my points of alignment - use 2 points always for projects like this. It's kind of tricky to get it on smooth, but luckily it let's you peel off and place down again a few times. The top cover was no sweat for me. Then I did the bottom, which again wasn't too damn difficult, make note though that the skin for top and bottom wrap around the edges of the device too, so the bottom piece will not let you have access to your battery screws anymore as well as completely covering up your serial number.
The inside bottom pieces should be done next, and are the easiest pieces to put on because they are smaller and don't wrap around any curves, again I removed the cut-out pieces before peeling the sticker off the page. The top screen is a jerk, it's just so freaking hard. Use your needle to pull the speaker holes and camera hole out. Maybe it's better if you leave the screen cut-out on while you peel it? I dunno, I peeled that out too right away then tried getting it off the page, it felt like it was difficult this way though. Make sure your screen is open all the way (into the double joint "click") and try putting it on, I started at the top, trying to align the camera hole perfect, while at the same time making sure the edge was straight against the top frame. The great thing about the Gelaskins is that they cover as much as possible of the device, which looks really cool, and offers great protection, it seriously goes from edge to edge, but it also means there is less room for error when installing the skin. It's difficult but I got it on and now it looks great.
The skins so far have not peeled at all, they are made of tough but thin vinyl for great protection, are glossy, and do have a smooth but textured cross-hatching inside, I believe these are part of the industrial design by 3M to improve the strength of the skin, the pattern is slightly visible, but not displeasing at all, in fact I like it, though I'm sure others may or may not. The skins also do not appear to be collecting any dust or pocket lint from being carried around either, and I have been using them for about a week now. Gelaskins claims that the skin will come-off without leaving any residue on your devices, which is great for if/when you want to remove them for any reason, but I think after being on for a little while, you will not be able to stick them back on if taken off. During installation you have some leeway to stick, peel and re-stick, just don't go overboard. I know I will be going back to them if/when the 3DS gets a double slider-pad model. Oh, and yes I did die in Resident Evil: Revelations before snapping these photos! Stupid infected wolves!