This year for my friend Doug’s birthday, my wife and I hooked up one of the best customs that we’ve ever worked on together.
About a year ago I found Doug’s signature flight jacket on ebay … only it was a 1/6 scale version. Instantly I thought, my god I must make a Doug toy.
Then, about 4 months later Angel (my wife) and took a trip to Ireland. Being the toy fiends that we are, we discovered what apeared to be one of Doug’s out fits, only it too was a 1/6 scale. A hip modern Ken (of barbie fame), apparently sports a brown shirt with a yellow screen print of a dirt bike and rocks dark denims.
In an intense 2 days of sculpting I manged to finsh the head just in the nick of time and presto! Doug is born (again)!
Coming at’cha! Gundum fused Optimus Prime!
I made this “kitbash” fig from an Optimus bust and old Gundum kit and two pencil lead cases (the thighs). He represents a sorta Cybertron Optimus Prime. I imagined that basic tractor trailer look that Optimus always has, but thinner and little more dynamic than the old school fig.
So, for this year’s Comiccon (July ’07) I did this Proto-Lobster Johnson.
Essentially I was chatting with Mike Mignola at some event, and I mention how I loved the Blackhawk design and additionally how cool the “Lobster Johnson” take was. At some point I also mentioned how I wanted to start making limited edition 12″ figs based on iconic pop culture characters. Of course Lobster Johnson is my first choice for something wicked, and Mike seemed really enthusiastic.
When I showed him this almost a year later … he was, well … Not enthusiastic. I think he was having personal troubles, so I didn’t want to harass him, but I was definitely disappointed. He didn’t even want to touch it, and his only comment was “looks like he’s been underwater for too long.”
I’m not exactly sure what that meant, but it wasn’t good. Pale paint? Giant swollen head? Not sure but maybe someday …
I mentioned something about POPprolific doing a project with his company, but unfortunately the only other thing he said was “Yeah, I don’t think we’d do a figure cause there’s already one out there.”
So sad …..
Here’s a Robin Custom I made. Everything is made from other toys. Super-deformed Teen Titans Robin head, Daredevil Mego sized costume, Ghost in the Shell boots, gloves from a Paulo Parente Dust figure and a belt from a 6″ Dark Knight Returns Batman. The cape I made from an old leather coat (with some armature wire sewn to the inside), and most likely I’ll remake it and the shorts out of vinyl.
Now on the inside, for all the parts you can’t see. I wanted this figure to be in scale with the 13″ DC Direct Batman. However, I wanted Robin to have that young gangly teenager look. That being said, I used a standard medicom RAH body, with one major exception.
Let me get one thing out of the way before I go any further, the body I used cracked where the arm swivels on a peg connected to the chest. As do most of the nude/blank RAH bodies. Personally I’ve bought 2 nude/blank and I’ve seen quite a few (as I used to work in a Japanese toy store), and let me tell you they all crack somewhere due to the high rigidity of the plastic that Medicom uses. I’m not dogging all their figs, but honestly, you guys need to use a softer material. Especially if you’re gonna pay 35-45 dollars for a nude/blank body or 100-160 for a clothed licensed character.
On a separate note I have the Rocketeer 2.0 and the Metal Gear Brown Camo Snake, they seem a little more dense than the nude/blank bodies. I gotta say, if either of those broke I would flip out. I bet one will brake now that I’ve said something, gah … any-who …
As I was saying I wanted him to have a gangly teenager look. So, I took my RAH body apart. Now I have lot of toy’s laying around for customizing, So I used the chest piece/upper torso from a Mezco 8″ Hellboy figure. It had the perfect dimension, to it I added the lower body and legs to the chest piece with bolt covered in cotton. I also added the Medicom RAH arms with plastic fasteners and good old 1 inch wood screws. Which went up through the chest from underneath, after I had made some appropriate holes.
To my delight, I’ve finally found the Vincent Price Fig from Neca. It’s old and limited but I got it! The face sculpt is so amazing. it reminds me of Alfred from Batman. Or The flash from the JSA Liberty Files Elseworlds comic
Unfortunately his clothes were a huge disappointment, so I made some new ones. I’m not sure how many 12″ Doll style figures Neca has made, I know that they’re cornering the market on posable 12″ action figures with fantastic laser scan sculpts (and limited movement).
I wanted to make a Blackhawk inspired costume, so I having just acquired some nice shiny black vinyl I went to town, completing the whole sha-bang are some Destro styled boots. As far as this figure goes the clothes definitely downgrade the toy. I would say the original clothes make this figure feel like it’s a 25 dollar fig, but that’s beside the point.
Here’s birthday gift for a dear friend of ours
He’s sort of a variation of the Bushman design (which is based off of the Goon designs from Thimble Theatre):
The finished Mr Netter!
He ended up more Punk than I originally had in mind, but aw….. well, God Save the Queen! He’s better than I imagined, I really got into this piece. It was fun to sculpt something that I didn’t directly create. Even though I had a lot of input and freedom with this, I wanted to be faithful to the character’s initial concept and design.
Close up shot of the paint on the vinyl leggings I made. These leggings are of course based on Destro (of Cobra fame), as I’m planning on making Destro and the Baroness soon (most likely by the beginning of next year), I’ve been making a bunch of these “proto-leggings” to see the different things I can do with the pattern. So far, I dig the skeleton look.
Fr that look, I made a mixture of Iridescent Silver, Titan Buff, and White paint, then added a coat of Glow in the Dark acrylic paint over that. Then finished with some black to clean it up. I was happy to see that vinyl fabric takes acrylic paint very well. I experimented with a scrap of vinyl first and then twisted and rubbed the fabric to see how resilient the paint would be. Very well I’d say.
Here’s how I made Mr. Netter:
I started off with a light weight Dragon body. It’s not a neo 3 but it is one of the newer body types they have. After Removing the head I used the existing peg with a half sphere on the bottom to mount my polymer clay under structure.
From there, I added the base of the horns with more polymer clay and a heat gun to cure it on. I was very skeptical at first to do this and I experimented with at least 4 pieces. I find that by sanding down the cured clay and then heating the surface just a little, the new layers of clay adhere extremely well. I’ve dropped things and they don’t break if that tells you anything. keep in mind I do not bake my stuff in an oven. Every oven I’ve used makes my sculptures too brittle and dry. When I use the oven, they always crack, chip or flake. When I boil the pieces or use the heat gun they work out perfectly.
So I build layer after layer until I have the piece where I want it.
Finally comes the horns. They are so thin and so pointy that I wanted them to be more flexible than the polymer clay can afford (afterall this is going to be displayed by an 11 year old, so she should get to play with it to some degree, and I don’t want them to snap off). So, I used a 2 part epoxy and shaped them with a rounded scultping tool and after it cured I carved away at it with wood cutting tools.
I haven’t been keeping up on the blog, mainly because we’re so busy. Geez, we have all kinds of stuff going on, and it truly never ends.
What are we up to right now you say? Well, other than being kinda sick and unable to accomplish as much as we’d like to, I’m personally crafting a one of a kind figure for an awesome little girl.
It all started about 2 months ago. Like most artists, I have a part time job click clacking away at a computer and watching the elevator door to make sure that no strangers go wondering around our office.
A coworker brought his two daughters into work, and I happened to be working on some toy things. We got into this conversation about making toys and how much fun it was.
One of them showed me this insanely awesome drawing that she had done of a man with a sort of admiral’s uniform on, and a thin Bull skull for a head (something in-between a cow shape and deer shape). The uniform was torn and had these exposed pieces of bone and stuff, and I thought it was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen from an 10 year old.
As we talked I sketched out her character real quick and she was pretty happy with my version. Right then and there she offered to pay me to make her a custom figure. Of course I’ve never had a 10 year old offer me job, so I sat there kinda stunned, and I just couldn’t think of a way to say “Well no, I don’t want to take you money.”
I told her I liked it a lot and though I would like to make it, I didn’t have time due to my other projects (which in fact is all true, because I was working on my Cobra Commanders and Pierre toys at the time).
A few weeks pass and her father has brought up the drawing and the concept of making it into a figure nearly everyday. So, finally I agree …..
As I assumed The Invisibles turned out to change in a radically wild direction. I sincerely was hoping that it would and thank goodness. There are some amazing stories and characters. There’s even a little homage to the EC Comics style of “Tales from the Crypt” era books.
The homage is not so much a direct retelling or anything of that nature, but more like in the tone of a twisted tale that ends in ironic horror (or a horror tale that ends in an ironic twist – whatever you favor). Being a huge fan of that type of story telling I was hooked then and there right in the middle of “Apocalipstick” the second volume of the Invisibles.
For anyone following what I blather on about here, my inspiration for the first part of this blog was based on a conversation my wife and I were having with an old friend of hers. Basically, we were trying to describe the similarities between Tim hunter from the books of magic and Harry Potter to some else who wasn’t so familiar with Tim Hunter, but like so many of you has read all the books. I just can’t bring myself to read it. I don’t even want to like it. I’ve seen maybe 2 or 3 of the movies, and they work great for a young audience, but they are so … ridiculous is the only thing that pops into mind. For a number of reasons they are ridiculous to me, too many to list, and honestly I don’t want to waste any more internet space on it.
But, I will say three things:
1) To me, the main difference between Tim Hunter and Harry Potter is that one goes to school (Harry) and the other seems to be rather … well, homeless (Tim).
2) I am always happy to see a created hold the reins (well, for the most part anyway) of there creation in various incarnations, while essentially reaping most of the rewards as well. The way JK Rowling controls the Harry Potter juggernaut is commendable and ushers in a new era of creators who won’t get screwed out of the income generated by their own properties. It’s very reminiscent of George Lucus and his control over the Star Wars franchise. I know that the studios still get their Bucks, but, well, I digress …..
3) The last thing I have to say is that J K Rowling’s series has inspired so many americans to read. And for that, I thank you. It’s so damn cool to see kids reading these thick ginormous books on the subway here in New York. PSP’s, Video IPods, Portable DVD Players, all those things are cool, but books, ah …books. They’re so great because, well, you can’t beat imagination.