Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tanya Roberts - Sheena

I mentioned in an earlier post that, apart from Gena Lee Nolan, I had met another actress who played Sheena, the jungle queen. That actress was Tanya Roberts. Although the 1984 jungle film did not receive very good reviews I rather liked Tanya in the role and she certainly looked good. She had previously done a few films and was in the last season of the "Charlie's Angels" TV series. In 1982 she appeared in the sword and sorcery film "Beastmaster," which spawned a couple of sequels. Then in 1985 she appeared as the "Bond girl" opposite Roger Moore in "From a View to a Kill." That was sort of the zenith of her career, although she did appear in "That 70's Show" between 1998 and 2001. I met her in 2004 and found her to be very nice and reasonably chatty.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Target & the Targeteers

Niles Reed created a flexible metal weave that could stop bullets, so when his brother was framed for murder he whipped up a yellow and black costume made of this metal fabric and busted the brother out of jail. However, the brother ended up getting killed so Niles vowed to track down the framers of his brother using the costume as a disguise. Later he's joined by two other young men named Tom and Dave with their own motives for battling crime. Equipped with identical costumes except one is blue and the other red they join Niles in his crusade against crime. I have it annotated that Dave wore blue and Tom red but I have a hunch it had more to do with the whim of the artist than anything else. Target is also one of the few (maybe only) superhero character to be named after an already existing comic. Target Comics from Novelty Press had been published for nine issues before Target himself came along and was published for ten issues after the three had disappeared from its pages. Target appeared from November 1940 through October 1948 so he was one of the more successful heroes of the Golden Age. Aside from a bullet-proof costume Target and the Targeteers possessed no super powers. All three were made from Toy Biz Daredevil figures. The target design on their chests, as well as the crest on top of their heads, changed over time, again probably at the whim of the artists.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Queen Bee and her Minions

Since I first saw Queen Bee in Justice League of America No. 132, dated July 1976 I found her very interesting. She had always been on my "to-do" list but I hadn't gotten around to her. Then they came out with a PVC set of a number of JLA villains and Queen Bee was among them. Great! I got the set and was happy with that. But I had also wanted to do her minions, her Bee-Men, who were really artificial bodies containing masses of her trained bees. When some of the 3 3/4" DC Universe figures came out I thought that would be a good opportunity. Using a mix of Alex Luthor and Atom bodies and some heads from the new Star Trek movie figures I did four of them. I also liked her beehive spaceship so I checked out the craft store and, low and behold, found a wooden beehive and mounted it on a wooden disk, which I painted appropriately. It made for a nice mix of projects.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

13 & Jinx

I was looking for something appropriately "turkey" to present on Thanksgiving Day but nothing really jumped out at me so I decided on a character that was, well, a little lame. Harold Higgins always had a talent for getting things to go his own way - a person who seemed to have luck on his side (unlike most of us). However, when Harold's parents were killed when he was 15 he decided to turn his skills to tracking down killers. Although Harold had established himself as a private detective when he became an adult, that apparently wasn't enough so he took the next step and became a masked vigilante, calling himself 13. Keeping an eye out for others with a talent for good luck he discovered 16-year old Darrel Creig, who he took on as his sidekick Jinx (another cradle robbing superhero). 13 and Jinx - now doesn't that seem like a lucky pair? Well, they must have been because they ran in Daredevil Comics (from Lev Gleason) #3 to 17 for a total of 15 issues between 1941-43, beating the number 13. 13 was made from a Toy Biz Captain America body and the head from a Professor X. I've seen several versions of his costume but I rather liked this one the best. Jinx was made using a Secret Wars Captain America figure and the head from a Superpowers Collection Robin. Hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving day and eat lots of good food.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kaanga and Ann

Fiction House was primarily noted for their jungle characters. These were mostly Tarzan wannabees, male or female, they were almost universally white and many of them had critter friends. I have previously featured Sheena, another Fiction House character, and also the actress Gena Lee Nolan, who played Sheena on TV. Today I'll talk briefly about Kaanga, jungle lord, and his "mate" Ann Mason. They are very Tarzan and Jane-like, cavorting around the jungle in skimpy clothing, righting wrongs and working for the better good. There are friendly tribes and not-so-friendly tribes, great white hunters who are always up to some mischief, and the odd renegade elephant, rhino or something else. I rather liked the picture behind the figures, showing Kaanga on the back of an elephant, struggling with a snake while one of two pots of some fiery substance spill down the elephant's side and Ann tips over backwards. Pretty well sums up the thrust of the stories. As for the figures, Toy Biz did a small group of Savage Land figures, including Ka-Zar and Storm in jungle attire. Kaanga is made from a Ka-Zar figure with the head from a Jurassic Park Muldoon and Ann is made from a Storm figure with the head of a Alfa Flight Aurora. I had to remove some sculpted jewelry on the originals and then paint them appropriately.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sasha Grey & the Kids in the Hall

As my regular readers may know I tend to go off on a rant now and then - it's one of my more endearing character traits I think. A news story caught my eye this week that really brought it home to me just how scared Americans are of sex. Sasha Grey, a former porn star with some hundred or more porn films under her 'garter' belt, but who is now retired from the adult film industry and pursuing a legitimate acting career, volunteered to participate in the "Read Across America" program at an elementary school in California. She was even using her real name, Marina Hantzis, which probably wouldn't have meant much of anything to anyone. She was not dressed like the picture I've included but in pants and a shirt (there are pictures online) and she was not reading passages from the Kama Sutra but "Dog Breath," which I must confess has not been on my reading list but appears to be a - wait for it - children's book. From the pictures it looks like both Sasha/Marina and the 1st and 3rd grade children were having a wonderful time. Well, the parents were outraged and the media jumped in smelling blood in the water. Sasha was invited to appear on "The View," where she admitted the situation could have been handled better, but then that probably wasn't her responsibility in the first place. Personally I think it was great that this young woman was interested enough in getting children involved in reading to volunteer her time to take part in the program. I remember that President Bush was participating in a similar program when he was told about planes crashing into the World Trade Center and he had just come off of stealing the 2000 election. At least Sasha isn't a convicted thief. Actually she hasn't been convicted of anything, other than pursuing a career in a field a lot of people are uncomfortable about. I wonder how many of the parents who were complaining may have seen some of her films. Maybe they were afraid they might have to explain to their 1st and 3rd graders what porn was and something about sex. No one ever explained anything to me about sex. Former porn star is a label that will probably follow Sasha around until the end of her days, no matter how many years are between her participation and the date it's uttered. I remember Traci Lords, whom I've met, who still gets described as a former 'underage' porn star and she's been out of the business for more than 20 years and made any number of legitimate films. I think Sasha shows a lot of character and gumption to be volunteering in such a worthwhile cause and I hope her former occupation doesn't stand in the way of her being able to perform those kind of charitable services - no pun intended - in the future. And I very much hope I'll have an opportunity to meet her one day and tell her so.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Too Many Superboys - Part 3

The last few posts I've been concentrating on the Hyper-Tension story arc in Superboy comics. I liked it because it gave me a lot of room for creative invention. Having already covered some of the nuances of the story I'd like to concentrate on these six figures. For the figure at lower right I used the body from a Toy Biz Riddler and the head from a Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Will Scarlett. Next left on bottom I used a Superpowers Collection Flash body and the head from a Batman Beyond figure. The upper figure on right was also made from a Flash figure, stripped of most of its costume details. On far left I used the body of a Secret Wars Magneto figure and a head who's origins elude me at the moment. On the lower left I used a Mego Pocket Superheroes Superman figure and the head from a Battlestar Galactica Starbuck. And on the upper level at left I used another Riddler body and the head from a Toy Biz Robin. An eclectic mix but it was a strange group of costumes. I'll probably do a few more of these in future.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Too Many Superboys - Part 2

A real rootin', tootin', hi-falootin' super fellow is our Kid Kon-El, the Wild West's Superboy. Again from the pages of Superboy 60-64 in the Hyper-Tension story arc, this alternate universe Superboy rides a horse and packs a six-shooter, although I'm not quite sure why. All of these Superboys are clones of the original Superman, produced by Cadmus research when Superman was supposedly slain by Doomsday. The bad guy of the story arc, Black Zero, is trying to either enlist all the Superboys in his plot to conqueror the Multiverse, or at least eliminate them as competition. Kid Kon-El was particularly interesting to me because he was quite a bit different than the other Superboys. He was also hard to find the pieces for. I eventually used a random western figure's head coupled with various GI Joe body parts. He's a little different than the drawings but I thought he came out pretty neat.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Too Many Superboys - Part 1

In my last post I presented the sex change Superboy into Supergirl. This time around I present another entry in the Hyper-Tension story line (Superboy 60-64, March-July 1999 if you'd like to read 'em). The main earth Superboy is blasting (literally) around the multiverse and stumbles upon the Batcave. But instead of meeting Batman and his partner Robin, he encounters Batman and his partner... wait for it... Superboy. Robin is apparently dead and Superboy is training with the Dark Knight. This Superboy is wearing a knock-off of the Tim Drake Robin's costume, complete with black and yellow cape. Although I thought of just repainting a Tim Drake Robin in Superboy colors, I decided the heads weren't right so I took the head from a Superpowers Collection Robin and attached it to the Tim Drake body. Then I repainted it. (Bet you knew repainting would figure in there somewhere, now didn't you??)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Superboy Sex Change

Allow me to explain the title of this post. The modern (circa 1999) Superboy, who is actually a clone of the Man-of-Steel created by the research organization known as Cadmus, discovers there are alternate realities and that there are Superboys inhabiting most of them. On a journey to discover who's kidnapping the clones (actually a guy named Black Zero) Superboy goes on an explosive journey through the Multiverse. He discovers a number of these Superboy clones and even one who was genetically manipulated into a Supergirl (The Hyper-Tension story arc). Got all that?? Anyway, I wanted to create said Supergirl so I started with a Superboy figure like the one on left. I enhanced the chest slightly - any more would have looked funny buldging out of the jacket, and repainted the "S" sign. I also swapped out Superboy's head for one from a Jurassic Park Ellie (first one, not the later one that looked more like Laura Dern), and voila - Supergirl!!! It was my first real sex change experiment.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

300th Post - Linnea Quigley

I met Linnea at a convention in Baltimore back in 2001. She seemed very sweet and didn't scream once, even though she's a horror movie scream queen. She's been in a boat-load of movies with titles like "Where the Dead Go to Die," "Savage Streets," "Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers," "Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama," and "Beach Babes from Beyond." Born on May 27, 1958 in Davenport, Iowa she moved to California and was encouraged to get into modeling, which she used as a spring-board into an acting career, which she started in 1975. She's done a lot of nudity over the years and a lot of screaming. I saw her in a scene from the movie Guyver (1991) where she has a prolonged, single note scream that would probably have most people squirming in their theatre seats but it was quite a scream. I stood there for a few minutes when I met her and she was interactive with everyone and seemed engaged and intelligent, which hasn't always been the case with everyone I've met, male or female. I like Linnea and always wish her well.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Big Bang - Quizmaster

I couldn't leave Big Bang behind without featuring one of their villains. This one started out as Nestor Whitt, who writes the questions for a popular quiz show "What do You Know?." Jealous of the host and sponsor of the show, Lester Manly and Vernon MacKlan, respectively, he decides to hijack the show when Kid Galahad, heroic protege of the Knight Watchman, is scheduled to appear. He manages to capture Kid Galahad and place him in an electric chair attached to a lie detector. If the Knight Watchman fails to answer his questions correctly the Kid will be fried on live TV. But when the showdown comes Knight Watchman manages to sidestep the questions the Quizmaster asks until the final question, which is the secret identities of the Watchman and Galahad. However, the Kid has managed to work his way free and apprehends the Quizmaster. In the end the game wouldn't have bought the Quizmaster much since the secret identities of the Knight Watchman and Kid Galahad are... the Knight Watchman and Kid Galahad!! So there you are. I made the Quizmaster from a Toy Biz Riddler figure (what else would I have used), making a few little "Q's" for his glasses and belt buckle.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Patriotic Hero - G2

I thought I would interrupt my Big Bang stream of posts in honor of Veteran's Day (11/11/11) for a character from the Quality Comics stable of heroes. I confess I don't have a lot of detail about G2, who in his non-costumed identity was Don Leash. In the one story I have of his adventures he's battling spies on American shores and then goes to England pursuing a woman who implies she's the ghost of Mata Hari. Don seems to be able to transform into G2 at will, and I suspect back again, but how he does it isn't explained. Otherwise he seems to be a fellow in terrific physical shape with a good head on his shoulders but nothing particularly super-powered. At one point in the story he gets hit on the head and knocked out, but that was in his Don Leash guise so I'm not sure if he's less susceptible in his G2 persona. At any rate he catches up with the bogus Mata Hari at the end of the story and finds her "ghost" act was some smoke and flash. Can't ever trust those spy women. I made G2 from a Toy Biz Daredevil body, the legs from a Captain America, the arms from a Hasbro Bruce Wayne, the head from a JLA Atom and the holstered gun from a Jurassic Park Muldoon - lots of parts and pieces. Hope you enjoyed it and again, have a pleasant Veteran's day or, for my international correspondents to whom it may apply, Armistice Day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Big Bang - Badge and the Rookies

The Badge is sort of Big Bang's answer to Timely's Captain America and DC's Guardian. Born out of the Golden Age, U.S. intelligence has captured a Nazi formula similar to that which created the Blitz. Of the volunteers the only survivor who took the formula is honest cop Robert Ryan, who emerges with enhanced physical and mental abilities. One night while breaking up a gang he discovers his twin brother Roger is in league with the baddies. Roger subsequently gets shot in the cross fire so Robert rushes him to the hospital. Robert volunteers as a donor for a transfusion, saving his brother's life, but the gang shows up and ends the Badge's career. Roger takes up the torch, and the Badge uniform, and now enhanced with the same abilities his brother possessed, goes off to fight crime as the one and only Badge. As it turns out Robert had two kids who end up battling crime alongside their uncle as the uniformed Trooper and Bobbie. Can we say, a little contrived?? Anyway, I rather liked this trio, using a Toy Biz Daredevil body and the head from a Captain America (how appropriate) for the Badge and Voltron Lance and Princess Allura figures for Trooper and Bobbie.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Big Bang - Whiz Kids

The Whiz Kids were Big Bang Comics answer to DC's Teen Titans. Two of these characters I've already presented but I thought I'd include them to be... well... inclusive. On the left is Kid Galahad, The Knight Watchman's partner and Big Bang's answer to the Silver Age Robin. In the middle is Moray, Atomic Sub's protege and sort of the female version of Aqualad. On the right is the character I haven't presented before. He's Cyclone, the Blitz's young partner, who came along a bit later. Starting life as Marty Eastman, your basically overweight geek, who's only claim to fame would be at the science fair. Seeking a metabolism enhancer to help him lose weight he accidentally stumbles onto the Blitz formula and gains super speed. The difference is that the effect isn't permanent and he has to keep popping his "Rocket Pills," which soon insure he's in top form as the adventuring Cyclone. He was made using an Animated Batman Robin figure, to which I added goggles using epoxy putty and ear pieces hole punched from plastic sheet.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Big Bang - Atomic Sub & Moray

Atomic Sub has an interesting background, starting life as Dr. Noah Talbot, who was working on a couple of inventions at the beginning of World War II. His first invention was a blood substitute that was sea-water based. The second was a prototype android into which the brains of severely wounded soldiers could be implanted, giving them a new lease on life. During experiments Talbot and his wife come to realize that the chimp they tested the blood formula on needed to live in sea-water to extract oxygen. Talbot has a heart attack and asks his wife to transplant his brain into the android, which she does. A passing Nazi U-Boat crew come a-calling (don't you hate it when that happens?) looking for new and interesting experimental stuff from the noted Yankee scientist. When they take his wife and the chimp back to their U-Boat, Talbot dons a handy jetpack he had been working on and rescues them, but discovers he also must return to sea-water in order to live. Assuming the identity of the Human Sub, Talbot fights the Axis during the war. Afterwards he changes his name to the Atomic Sub. He later joins the Round Table of America and still later his grand-daughter joins the associated Whiz Kids (more on them later). He sacrifices his own life during the criss-cross crisis to save the world. The Atomic sub was made using a Superpowers Collection Aquaman body and the head from another figure whose identity I don't remember off hand. Moray was made from a Catwoman figure and the head from a Playmates Star Trek Dax.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Matter of Scale

If you're into collecting model ships then scale is an important consideration. When I first started out collecting little model ships I was living in England and the scale that was readily available to me was 1:1250 from the German manufacturers. These were very well detailed and generally already painted, which was fine with me because at the time I was not painting models myself. But over the years the price of 1:1250 and even the near-scale 1:1200 got increasingly expensive. So I mostly converted over to 1:2400, but there are a few other choices. In the picture I've shown models of Titanic as an example of scale. The one at top is 1:2400, available from a number of manufacturers and there is a fairly nice range of models. Next is 1:3000, which are mostly only available from England, although they have a nice selection of models. Generally speaking the 1:3000 are not very well detailed but now and then they surprise me. There's even a few that are actually closer to 1:2400 so they fit in with my collection quite nicely. Next up is 1:4800, or half the size of 1:2400, which are also available from a couple of manufacturers, but some of them are pretty nicely detailed. And finally there is 1:6000, which is half the size of 1:3000 - see how that works - and they are mostly available from one source. They are fairly nice and come with bases, which I've excluded from this model, but they would probably help some people to better keep track of their identities. I've mixed scales when a particular ship is produced in one scale and not in another. You can fill out a convoy more cheaply that way. But the choice is individual. If you're wondering why I didn't have a 1:1250 Titanic it's because it would have cost me about $100 and I just didn't want to spend the money. You can call me cheap.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Big Bang - Beacon

The Beacon is Big Bang's answer to Green Lantern, but with a hard hat, from the 1940's Earth B. Geologist Scott Martin is exploring a strange, eerie cave when he breaks the light on his hard hat. Following a source of light he discovers an underground city, which is powered by a huge crystal. Captured as a spy, Scott is thrown into a dungeon with the deposed ruler of the city, a fellow named Zarkon. He had been overthrown by a tyrant named Tyrnos, who had gained fantastic powers by wearing a fragment of the Ko-Dan crystal on his crown. Using the tools in his cave digging kit, which his captors were apparently too stupid to confiscate, he escapes the dungeon and ends up defeating Tyrnos in a battle of wills during which the Ko-Dan crystal flies into the empty lamp casing on his helmet. He restores Zarkon to power and is rewarded with being allowed to keep the crystal. Returning to the upper world he assumes the identity of the Beacon, but doesn't really maintain a secret identity, despite the fact he's wearing a mask. He was financed by Texas oil tycoon Aloysius "Oily" Boyd so he can fight evil without having to maintain steady employment. I made Beacon from various GI Joe-type parts. The helmet was a British style WWII helmet I found at a miniatures show (never know where you might find useful items) to which I affixed a crystal (how appropriate!). The symbol on his chest is made from a small triangle of plastic sheet with a nail through it and the cape is T-shirt cloth.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Robin of Earth-2

Just finished this project and I'm rather proud of it so thought I would throw it into the mix today. For the uninitiated, the DC universe prior to the mid-1980's was populated with many different earths, all vibrating at various frequencies. The Silver Age Flash discovered this by tapping into his speed powers and visiting earth-2 where the Golden Age heroes and heroines were mostly still alive and kicking, although they had aged. On earth-2 Dick Grayson had not rejected his Robin persona in favor of Nightwing but had updated the look as he grew older. One version of his costume was the same red/green/yellow colors he'd worn as a youth, which Mattel has already done as part of their Infinite Universe collection, but another version was basically a modified Batman costume. I do not have all of his appearances during this period but as far as I know he only wore this particular outfit in a Justice League of America cross-over in issues 123 and 124 from October-November 1975. This also illustrates one of the things that alternately drives me nuts and pleases me - if you look at the two pictures at right from the cover you can see that the bat wings are on the outside of the "R" emblem, while the illustrations on left from inside the book show the bat wings incorporated inside the emblem. Which makes it more confusing when I'm researching but ultimately says to me I can do it whichever way I please. I used an Infinite Universe Batman for the body and a Hal Jordan Green Lantern for the head and cut the cape from T-shirt material.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Blitz Battles Oscar

Yesterday I blogged about Mack Snelling, the Blitz during WWII. Today I thought I'd feature one of his villains. If you remember, or even if you don't, Mack was a newsreel reporter and was assigned to covering the Academy Award Ceremonies. While he was there the giant statue of the Oscar comes to life and starts spouting Nazi slogans and taking a swing at everyone with his equally giant sword. Mack immediately shifts to his Blitz garb and battles it out with the giant robot statue, toppling the sucker and then capturing his inventor in the bargain. For Oscar I used a ten inch Silver Surfer figure, which I painted gold, along with a scale sword for him to brandish. I like it when I can incorporate a large scale figure in with the regular sized guys.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Big Bang - Second Blitz

Yesterday I presented the Blitz from earth-A, which is set in the 1960s, and today I'm featuring the Blitz from earth-B, which is set in the 1940s during WWII. This Blitz started life as Mack Snelling (wasn't there a German boxer during that period named Max Snelling?) who is a newsreel reporter in real life. While on assignment in Germany Mack is captured by the Nazis and on top of being tortured, he's also experimented upon. As it turns out the experiments are his salvation because they endow him with super speed. Escaping by means of his super speed, Mack returns to the U.S. of A. and assumes the identity of the Blitz, using a German word in vogue at the time to mock the people who gave him his freedom-fighting powers. It has been suggested - but not by me - that Mack was given his enhanced powers in the very same lab that Jimmy Travis stumbled into 20 years later but I have no knowledge of that. I made this Blitz using a Toy Biz Riddler body (which come in very handy I might add) and the head from a Secret Wars Captain America. The ear pieces were crystals and the goggles came from the spare parts box. The crest and the little lightning bolts on the sides of his boots were cut from card stock.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Big Bang - Blitz

Jimmy Travis is a successful race car driver competing in a series of races outside Monte Carlo in Europe when an East German competitor forces him off the road. Jimmy stumbles upon an abandoned subterranean Nazi lab left over from World War II where he finds a series of vials and a strange red and yellow costume. Only one of the vials still has liquid in it and when he accidentally spills it on himself he starts feeling very strange indeed. Removing his damaged racing suit he dons the strange costume and, when he's attacked, discovers he has extraordinary powers of lightning speed. OK, hold it a minute. So the Nazis left this suit and the perfected serum in this abandoned lab rather than actually using it to create a team of super soldiers to help them win the war. Sort of like the old stories of buried pirate gold - they didn't bury it they spent it on wine, women and song. Anyway, Jimmy Travis takes on the persona of the Blitz and hurries out to right wrongs and do good in the world. Don't ya just love it when that happens. The Blitz was made using a Superpowers Collection Flash body. I did make two mistakes when painting Blitz, which I just noticed when preparing this blog entry - can you pick them out? First I didn't connect the lightning bolts between his eyes as in the picture, and I also didn't paint the little lightning bolts down the front of his boots. I may have to go back and correct those little items.