Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Star Trek: The Next Generation and Dr. Crusher

Around the time that Star Trek: The Next Generation started airing back in 1987 or so, Playmate got the toy license and started producing four inch figures in the vein of Kenner (now Hasbro) Star Wars figures. They were about eight years behind on the technology - but whatevs.

Here's my little group shot:

Here we have the six inch Shuttlecraft (fits in better than the four inch one IMO), the main characters in their Season One appearance, and my custom made Dr. Crusher. I find it amusing that of the female characters Playmates picked to make, they went with the chick that gets killed in the first season. Oh well.

Dr. Crusher is made from the body of a Tasha Yar figure, the head off some Medieval looking chick, and a scrap of cloth. I need to trim off some of the threads, but the overall effect is good I think. I planned on making Deanna Troi first but I found the head better matched Crusher and I wouldn't have to paint the hair. I put the "pregnancy-hiding" lab coat on to make her stand out a bit more.

In the future I plan on making a Deanna Troi, putting a beard on Riker, and probably a Barclay.

The Original Joes

Here's another shelf display I put together for my '82-'83 GI Joe action figures. I added some of the '84 that I particularly enjoy.

Most of the figures are complete and in good condition. Zap though has two broken thumbs AND is missing the figures on his left hand. I guess that's what you get when you work with explosives all day. Grand Slam in the background has a replacement waist.

Here's a custom figure I made of Ace.

I took the head from the V1 flightsuit version with the body of a badly tortured Hawk V1 figure. The arms came from Cobra Commander V1. I had to repair the sculpt a bit on the torso as a previous owner had engaged in some rigorous interrogation methods.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Group-shots and Backgrounds (Part 2)

As promised, I'm back with more. Today I'll start off with Metropolis:

This one I created by using buildings from several different cities again, just like Gotham. I added in an artistic fence to give the impression of being on a rooftop. I'm most happy with my Brianiac though. I used some dome from an ice rink or something, some cartoon tentacles, and the skull from the Punisher. Like the Bat-Signal in Gotham, I wanted something that really stood out of just a normal backdrop.

Here's Metropolis over-crowded with the super-folk.

You'll notice that I added a side-image to this shelf:

I made this basically the same way as I did the background except I added the "Daily Planet" symbol. This was accomplished by cutting the plastic bubble from a DC Direct Jimmy Olsen figure and painting the inside. I first painted the letters black. Then I painted several coats of gold before putting on a thicker coat of white-yellow mix. Basically it's the reverse process of painting you'd do anywhere else because the first layer of paint you put on is shown on top - so letters (details) first, then gold ("top layer") next, and finally the primer coat.

Here's the original side image:

This one you've already seen, but I don't think I showed the original background - the Green Lantern Space Scene. (I know - catchy title)

This is actually the first background image I did. The various parts of the space scene have wildly varying resolutions. I probably would change that if I were re-doing this one. Regardless I still like it.

Here's the groupshot - battle-damaged Manhunter, new Abin Sur, and new Tomar Re from the recent DC Direct box-set are all added.

Here's my first venture into the Star Wars universe: Yavin.

Yeah, I like it too. I used a couple of different ruins for the main temple and the larger temple in the background. Images of Saturn and Neptune make up the sky. I tinted everything slightly pink to make it appear like an alien world. Fog made the larger temple in the background seem more distant. I cobbled together some antenna and radar dishes to add a technological contrast with the Mayan temple.

I haven't set this shelf up yet - but it will be New Jedi Order Era on one side, with a little space on the other for the Young Jedi Academy-ish period.

That does it for now. If I suddenly come into a lot more free time I'd like to start in on some Marvel backgrounds. Well, until next time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Group-shots and Backgrounds (Part 1)

Here are a few group-shots of figures I currently have on display. I usually don't have the shelves so crowded, but recently I've been getting figures faster than I've had time to really enjoy them or store them as orderly as I'd like. Originally, I had the figures on the plain black bookcases but that got to be boring. Everybody's doing the plain black bookcases these days! Using photoshop I created some backgrounds and via my super-secret access to a plotter I printed them out.

First up, alphabetically I suppose, is my Batman shelf. Welcome to Gotham!

I created this image by combing a nature scene of a night sky with a few layers of cityscape. The buildings are actually from a number of cities and usually with daylight. I combined them and then darkened all the layers to look more like night. I tried to defocus some of the buildings in the background, but with varying degrees of success. The Bat-signal effect was from some poster or some such. It didn't have the beam, so I had to create that. There are a few mistakes, but this was one of my earlier pieces.

Here's the image with my Batman-related figures:

Next up - Hell and Hades!

I wanted a display for my bad guys of the DC Universe, but I couldn't figure out a co-hesive concept that worked for most of them. I opted instead to go with a cosmic background on one side and a destopian concept for the other. The "Hell" side is mostly untouched by me. I think it was an artist conception of a super-nova or something. The "Hades" side is a still from the classic silent film, "Metropolis." I thought it was suitably menacing in appearance.

Here's the image printed out with my Sinestro Corps on the left and a few of the more terrestrial villains on the right.

Welcome to the Hall of Justice - tours leaving on the hour. Do not stray from the designated tour route, please sign in with your tour guide before departure...

The Hall of Justice from the Super-Friends cartoon was based on Union Terminal of Cincinnati. I found it fitting then to find some reference photos and go to work on that material. I added some clouds and did some creative remodeling on the facade. I tweaked the color in places, but unfortunately it's not exactly what I had in mind.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had my Justice League figures on the left and my Justice Society figures on the right. I got too many to fit on the shelf so the JSA took a holiday to Storage-Land. I hear the weather's nice there. The Bizzaro gang moved into the vacant space, though just for now.

That's enough for now, kiddies. I'll post some more shortly.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Three Marvel Customs and a Tweak

When Toybiz created their dog-faced Ultron for the Legendary Riders wave of figures, initially I was very excited. That is I was excited until I saw the monstrosity - and I call it that not in a good way. That figure was horrid. I needed an Ultron though so I took a XMC Ruby Laser Cyclops or whatever he was called and sculpted a new head for him. Initially I tried to retain the red light feature from the Cyclops figure, but there was no way to harden the sculpting material without wrecking the electronics. I used some plastic tree parts from a model kit to finish off the head and I have to say that I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I painted him with a gray primer coat on the metallic red, then used a liberal coat of silver paint on top. I put a few spots of red on the eyes and mouth to finish him off. He's supplied with the glider from the Toybiz Ultron figure.

Next is my take on the US Agent character. I used an extra Cyclops figure from the ML9 wave of figures and the head and shield from ML1 Captain America (I got him for like $3 from a junk shop). He was pretty straight-forward after that - red parts, black parts, and then "flag" pattern on his torso.

I'm surprised that there's no recent Crimson Dynamo figure either from ToyBiz, Hasbro Marvel Legends, or even the Iron Man movie line. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before one comes out. I'll demote my Crimson Dynamo down to a proto-type version or something if it's a good version.

Back when KB Toys was still around they'd have figures from obscure toylines that I had never seen nor heard of anywhere else. I picked up this base figure from some video game line or something. I stripped off some superfluous parts, then created a new head from sculpting material. I chopped up the chain-gun/blaster thing he came with and created his jetpack/backpack from it. It worked out rather well.

Last up is just a tweak - I wanted a Sentry figure that actually resembles the character as he appears in the comics. I put on some long hair, cured it, then painted it with a few different colors to give it more life.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Beast Wars and Stargate

The '90's brought us many great things - Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hyper-color, and grunge. Lost to many folks however was the fantastic CGI TV series Beast Wars. This was the follow-up so many Transformers fans had been looking for since the end of the Generation 1 cartoon. The Beast Wars took place centuries after the Generation One series ended. The Autobots and Decepticons have evolved into the Maximals and Predacons. The two races have been living in relative peace on Cybertron until a young Predacon took up the mantle and mission of the original Megatron. The new Megatron gathers a band of like-minded Predacons and the embark to create havoc in the Universe. Optimus Primal and a group of Maximals take off in pursuit. They get lost in time and end up on prehistoric Earth. Forced to take on the form of indigenous lifeforms to protect themselves from electric discharges, they began the Beast Wars!

Oh man did I love the Beast Wars series. It's actually what got me into collecting toys as an adult. the first one I picked up was a Transmetal Megatron. Over the years I completed my set of figures - at least all the characters that appeared on the series. Here's my group shot of the original group of characters:

I threw in an updated version of Black Arachnia from the TF: Animated series. There are new versions of Dinobot and Cheetor that I'd like to get, but I haven't had the extra cash when I've spotted them in the stores yet.

My first full custom Beast Wars figure is Slimius Maximus here:

I created him in the image of one of my cats, named Slim. He's made from a Cheetor base with a vintage G1 Opimus head and a modified blaster rifle from a Voltron figure.

I got a couple of junked Optimus Primes from a lot of TF parts on eBay. I snapped the head off of one of the ones in worst condition. I then popped the head off the Cheetor figure and super-glued Optimus's in place of it. After ensuring that he could still transform, I began the long process of applying paint. I began with some primer coats for the sliver and red portions. I got deep into all the grooves and joints that would be visible in robot mode. I transformed him into beast mode and liberally applied a black base coat. I figured that I would want the beast mode to be the more realistic appearing of the two modes. The robot mode could show potions of the beast in keeping with the other figures in the line. Back in robot mode, I applied a couple of coats both red and silver in order to get the kind of coverage I wanted.

After I was satisfied with the interior I transformed him back into Beast mode and began dry-brushing him with various colors to achieve a pattern that resembled my cat's fur pattern. He won't hold up to many transformations so before displaying him I put him back in robot mode and touched him up. Done.

Eventually, I'd like to touch up the paint on all my Beast Wars figures to be more accurate to their TV appearance. Man, I've got a lot of projects planned.

My local comic shop had a special on some Stargate SG-1 figures a while back so I picked up three of the Serpent Guard figures. They come with alternate heads so I made one into an Apophis figure. It was a very easy custom - painted it gold.

That's all for now - more later.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A few more customs for money...

...I guess that makes me a customs whore. Oh well.

First up is a figure I made years ago - I had the extra Wolverine from the Legendary Riders wave of Marvel Legends figures. There was a comic a while ago that showed Wolvey here on the cover wearing a skull shirt popularized by the ol' Frank Castle.

Here's a comparison shot with the Astonishing Wolverine and Classic Punisher figures.

Here he is on the 'Bay:
Wolverine as Punisher

Next up is my take on the Juggernaut:

He's made from the World War Hulk or Planet Hulk or whatever the eff that first Hulk in the Hasbro Marvel Legends wave was called. I wasn't reading that series at the time so I didn't have much interest in the figure. Also I missed out on the "monkey arms" Juggernaut made by Toy Biz so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and make a proper Juggernaut. I used a bit of sculpting material to cover his bare feet and give him some arm bands. I tried twice making a helmet for him and neither one turned out well. My Juggernaut morphed into a Cain Marko custom then.

The arm bands didn't hold up as well as I thought they would, as you can see here:

Still he fits in well with the other folks, as you can see here with Cyclops and his step-brother, Charlie Xavier:

I made him a while ago, but now that the Spider-man Classics version came out I decided to go with him and try to make a buck with the custom on eBay. Here's a comp shot between the SM and custom versions:

Here he is on the 'Bay:
Juggernaut, aka Cain Marko