My apologies to anyone out there who may have wondering where I've been and why I haven't posted anything in a few months. Anyways, we're back with a new two pack of Joes: Snake Eyes and Scarlett. These two have always been favs of mine, and I really wanted to do them in a modern composition. Hope you enjoy, and stay tuned; I've got plenty more where they came from!
It's been awhile since I've posted anything new, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been hard at work! Two huge projects are currently underway: a twenty figure series in the Marvel Universe ( I just completed number eleven) and a ten figure series in the GI Joe Universe (four are done so far, with two large custom vehicles on the workbench as well!). This is my take on a modern warfare version of Beach Head. I really enjoyed outfitting this guy with weapons and gear, and I especially enjoyed painting the camo on his pants (my first attempt at camo patterns). Anyway, leave your comments of props, criticisms, advice or questions. I love hearing from everyone. Enjoy!!!
It's been two months since my first posting of work in progress shots of Revan; Darth Revan: "Sith Wars", my first commissioned custom action figure, is finally complete, and I don't think I could be any happier with how he turned out.
I went with a flat black, silver and blood red color scheme, as was requested by my customer. He didn't want the traditional Revan look, of dark browns and maroons but something a bit more Sith Warrior-esque.
The mask and hood is a one piece, and removable. Creating the mask and hood from scratch was the absolute most difficult part of the entire process, and I don't think I will ever do it again! Well, maybe...
I made the mask before I tackled the hood. Cutting apart a clone trooper helmet I glued what was to be the base of the mask to a "sacrificial" Loki in order to get the facial size and proportion correct, since I was going to use the Loki head sculpt as my Revan unmasked. Next, I cut off the entire bottom portion of the mask and glued the bottom half of a mandalorian bucket to the upper half of the clone trooper helmet to achieve the proper sweep and shape. The details of the mask are styrene strip, cut and glued, with a crap-ton of sanding between each step within the process. Making the mask alone took me two weeks to complete.
The hood is scratch made, and I'm rather proud of how it turned out. Using aluminum foil, I shaped the basic look of the hood around the head and mask. After cutting, trimming, bending, and folding the foil, (and swearing a lot!) I finally came up with a decent base that could be folded and unfolded back into shape. I then glued cloth over the foil, bent it to shape around the mask and glued the whole assembly together.
The Jedi warrior was a bit of a last minute creation, really made to be an accessory to Revan. What kind of Sith is worth his dark holocron if he doesn't take on the servants of light in a duel to the death?
The Jedi was created out of spare GI Joe parts and a custom cast head I bought awhile back. He was originally destined to become a part of an upcoming project of mine, "Mercenary Joe: Outcasts". He looks pretty decent as a Jedi though, don't you think?
Here's that good looking mug we all love. I've seen quite a few images of Revan's face, some where he has a goatee, a full beard, clean shaven, brown hair, black hair, and one image of him as a wavy blonde. The blonde Reavan was one of the images my customer sent to me, and I felt it was the most unique take on Revan as I had seen.
Some Sith lightning made from jewelry wire and hot glue.
From this angle you can pick up the details in his hair a bit better.
Die, Jedi! Suffer the unyielding power of the dark side of the Force!
Hope everyone enjoys the photos of this crazy custom figure journey as much as I did! Leave your comments and questions, I love hearing from everybody!
Darth Revan is shaping up into quite a good looking figure so far; no real major issues yet (knock on wood!) and should be complete in a few more weeks. As you all can see, the cape is completed, and the lower body robes are all but finished, besides some last minute additions I have planned out. The center red robe is a piece of plastic cape cut down to size, shaved in back for a smoother fit, and glued into the top belt for stability. I went with a blood red tone, a mix of guards red and british crimson. The cape is hand cut and hemmed at the neck; it took me about three capes worth of work before this one did the job. Most of the time spent on making the cape was devising a method of attaching it to the figure,and cutting and fitting patterns out of paper to get the right proportion to the figure. The magnetic shoulder armor really helps with the lay of the cape, and also provides a pinch point which can be used to pose the cape at the shoulder. I had planned on sewing a wire into the bottom so the cape could be posed around the figure's legs, but found it was unnecessary and decided to leave it out of the final cape.
This will probably be the last work in progress photos I will post before the final reveal in a few weeks. Stay tuned for "Darth Revan: Dark Lord of the Sith, Sith Wars Edition"!
Here's Darth Revan so far. Still a ton of work to do, but I think he's coming together pretty well.
The customer for this commission requested a Sith-War era Darth Revan figure, and relinquished full creative license to me. I could make him however I envisioned, as long as I fulfilled the small list of must haves. I was really happy to have this freedom, and one thing I felt Revan really needed was bigger, more awesome armor! Now, most of you can recognize this armor as belonging to Mercenary Wraith from the GI Joe 25th line. What a beautiful sculpt, but not without it's downsides. Mainly, the armor is one piece, prohibiting movement of the arms above mid waist.
One must have request made by the customer was custom sith lightning. But how can Revan hold his arms out straight to shoot his dark side lightning with his arms pinned down? I solved this problem by cutting the shoulder armor away from the chest piece, converting it to three piece armor instead of one. Now he can move his arms freely and can be articulated in virtually any pose. How exactly did I pull off such a feat? Magnets!
Drilling out a hole on each arm, I glued rare earth magnets into the holes, and a corresponding magnet on each piece of shoulder armor. Now his armor is not only seperate pieces for added pose-ability, but completely removable as well.
A close up of Revan's iconic lower body. The fabric piece was cut and sewn by me, believe it or not! I am no tailor, so don't ask for any sewing tips. All I know is the thread goes through the needle, and the needle goes through the cloth. He still needs the red fabric that hangs down from the center ring to the floor, a little paint on the upper belt straps and maybe a couple of buckles too, then the lower half will be complete! Next project: cape, removable mask and hood!
So here's one of those super cool, super articulated new Retaliation Snake Eyes figures we're all so hot on right now. And why not? He's absolutely amazing looking! So why would I saw a perfectly fantastic snake eyes figure in half, you ask? To do a super cool, super articulated Darth Revan scratch built custom action figure of course! Now, many of you out there may be pondering why I just didn't buy a Darth Revan Figure and articulate him out using said snake eyes joints and such, instead of building one from the ground up. Because A: This is my first commissioned project, and my customer wants to torture me, and B: Customizing should NEVER be easy! I am super excited about this opportunity to create a unique piece of art, specifically tailored to this collector's ideal. Lets take a look at some progress so far:
Here are a few of the materials I am using to construct Revan's Belt. The black lacing is going to be the base for the belt, and the anchor point for all the metal rings that go around Revan's waist. It's just some cheapo plastic lacing you can get at Michael's or other craft stores. I think it's used to make kid's beading projects. The metal rings are called jump rings and you can get them in the crafts section at walmart. They are used for jewelry making. The black tubes you see in the photo are heat shrink tubes that can be found at home depot in the electrical department. What I did is cut small sections of the heat shrink tube, bend open the slits in the rings, place the shrink tube on the rings, then bend the rings closed. Using a cigarette lighter, heating the shrink tube snugs the metal rings up to the belt, but not so tight that there is no play. Now I have a sliding mechanism I can use to adjust the placement of the metal rings on the belt until until I am ready to glue the entire assembly to the torso.
The center ring is held in place with a pin I made using some jewelry fodder I found at walmart. The pin is temporary, and will be cut away along with the lacing sticking out from the front of the center ring.
The belt with my favorite piece of soft goods, Luminara Unduli's skirt. My third figure using this piece, if anyone out there needs extra Luminara heads or body fodder, I have plenty!
Another piece of heat shrink tubing, this one is larger and will go around the figure's waist. It will hide the sliding mechanisms and bring a nice flush look to the lower armor.
All of the pieces waiting for the apoxie to harden, then assembly. Stay tuned for more progress coming soon!
Introducing the world's best Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious Star Wars Custom Action Figure Set! No, really, I am very happy with the way these two Dark Lords of the Sith turned out. I rescued Darth Plagueis from custom figure hell, as he was one of the first projects I had ever tackled in my customizing career. Early on, my concepts were solid, but I lacked experience and execution. I'm glad I got a wild hair to pull this one off of my shelf and give him an update. Sidious was a pet project of mine, as I believe hasbro has given us a tremendous amount of great Sidious fodder, but not one really great complete figure (just my humble opinion). Hope you enjoy the Master and the Apprentice, and be sure to submit any and all of your comments or questions. I love hearing from everyone!
Ok, so Darth Bane is my all time favorite Sith, and he was actually the first custom I had ever done just about one year ago this month. However, nothing from that previous figure remains here except for the head. I was just beginning my journey as a customizer, and didn't know very much about how to go about putting together parts that would complement each other, as well as be proportionate to each other. The result was a disaster. I used an absorbing man base with a Zartan head, which made him look like a pin-head. The soft goods were horrible and his belt didn't make any sense whatsoever. So, in a sort of way, I pay homage to that first mess of a figure by completely redoing him, the right way, based on the same original concept. Leave your comments and questions, I love hearing from everyone! enjoy!
Cap is the same figure from the last post with a new masked head. I dremmeled out the neck post holes on both heads to make them much wider, and refitted them using hot glue to make head swapping a lot easier. Black widow, a project that seemed to be put on indefinite delay, is finally complete and I am very happy with the way she turned out. I picked up the movie Black Widow figure on a whim, not really sure how I was going to improve her. As I searched photos of Widow customs on the web, I began thinking how Hasbro has never given us a really great, sexy looking Widow figure in this scale. Marvel Legends always puts out dynamite ladies, so I began the task of creating a Marvel Legends style Widow in the 1:18 scale. Lots of sculpting, sanding, painting and waiting for the right head sculpt to finally show up in the mail ensued. When the proper head I had been waiting for finally did show up, she suffered from a serious case of man-jaw, so I sanded down the jawline for a more feminine look. I welcome your comments of props, advice, or criticisms as always, and welcome all questions as well. Enjoy!
After a 10 year comic book reading hiatus, I was recently bit by the bug once more when my younger brother, Justin, came to visit my wife and I with a stack of Avengers books for me. I was so stoked! I figured I could take a break from reading Star Wars novels for a bit, and so have become a regular at the local funny book shop with a growing pull list. The Ultimates have become a must read for me, and it was only a matter of time before I had to tackle them in figure form. Here they are, the Ultimates!!!
When I first started this project, I intended to only do Captain America, because I had a bunch of Cap parts lying around in the fodder bin. My intentions were to bust out a quick Cap and flip him on Ebay to make a small return on my large fodder investments. That plan turned out to be a complete pipe dream, as I ended up spending way more money to make the rest of the team! It seems to always end up that way, right? Cap was constructed using various bits laid over a night mission Captain America figure and painted with darker, more subdued tones, in contrast to the colors usually found on production figures. I wanted to make him look like you were looking at him on an old comic book page, where the whites have faded to a soft yellow.
Hulk, a forever favorite of mine, was a straight repaint. The base coat, an olive drab was heavily washed with flat black and then dry brushed over with medium green. I don't know if Bruce Banner has a closet full of purple pants or buys them in bulk at a discount outlet or something cause he's always hulking out and ruining them, but I'm not a fan either way. I went denim with the pants just because I like them that way. I really wanted to add height to the Hulk and thought about various ways to achieve this. I thought about sculpting spacers in the thigh joints, but that would of broken up the continuity of the beautiful factory sculpt. I thought of raising the mid torso joint, but I was worried about how that would affect the overall proportions of the figure. I even considered using a Marvel Legends Hulk, but he's so out of scale he would of appeared to be 30 feet tall! I eventually settled on putting him on a raised platform to create the illusion of greater height.
Thor wasn't ever at the top of my list of favorites as a young comic book fan; however, as I grow older and wiser ( I hope), I have achieved a much greater appreciation for the God of Thunder. The Ultimate version of Thor, from the current Avengers toy line from Hasbro, was pretty darn good right out of the pack, except for a few glaring problems. First off, his neck post and neck hole are sculpted in a way that he always has a downward head position. I fixed this by dremelling out the back of the neck hole so he has a more "straight ahead" positioning of the head. Secondly, Thor's hair piece was overly thick and sat with space in between the hair and forehead, creating a wig like effect. I removed the hair, sanded out the inside of the hair piece and thinned the bangs with a razor, base coated with a blonde mix and washed with a deep dark brown. The actual appearance of the hair is lost a bit in the photo due to the lighting ( really, the whole figure is a bit under-represented). To add a little height and ankle articulation, I cut the legs off at the top of the boot and substituted boots from Captain Britain. Articulated wrists were among my plans for a fully articulated Ultimate Thor, but sadly were never realized.
Ultimate Tony Stark/Iron Man, a straight repaint of Ultimate Iron Man, was the most challenging figure to accomplish from start to end. I began collecting images of Iron Man's myriad armor suits and selecting which ones I thought to be most appropriate for the project. Simultaneously, I accumulated a bevy of Iron Man figures from discount chains and started experimenting with different base coats, washes, dry brushes and top coats. I ruined about three figures and one very expensive (and not particularly well made) Tony Stark head cast during the process. Ditching the Tony Stark head cast (too Robert Downey Jr. for a comic book version) I settled on the Ultimate armor version, base coated in a gun metal/ silver mix, and bry brushed over with silver. After the dry brushing, I again used the base coat color to fill in all the Dark accent areas of the armor, leaving the silver dry brushed portions for the silver accents and as a base for the clear red top coat. I probably should have sealed the figure in a high gloss, but did not (and now rather regret it!). The head cast I employed was probably the most serendipitous bit of the project, coming in at the eleventh hour, just as I was about to leave Iron Man out of the project all together. I'm not going to say what head cast I used, I think it will be more fun to challenge all of you to recognize what head it is ( clue: a very ubiquitous figure from an extremely popular line.) Leave your guess in the comments section and I'll let you know if you are correct. Anyways, after the build and paint had been completed, a two hour session of snapping photos and editing followed, only to discover that Tony suffered from a bad case of go-go gadget neck. Could this get any worse? I trimmed the neck down and replaced the neck ball and head and snapped the whole session once again. I'm pretty happy with how the Ultimates turned out, let me know what you think. Enjoy!