Saturday, December 31, 2011
I sometimes forget how much time has passed and when I did things. For example, this young lady is Tina. I met her at the Chiller Theatre show in the Meadowlands, New Jersey way back in April 2000. It's eleven years later and there she hangs, still gracing my wall, captured in time and not aging a day in my recollection or imagination. I remember her as very sweet. She was with a glamour photographer who had a table at the show, in a rather cramped corner as I recollect. I wanted a picture with her as well as the autographed photo and she was nice enough to sneak off and change into the little black dress for me. The photographer sort of "art directed" the picture, which was fine but I would have done it a little more conventionally. Still and all it's not a bad picture and it preserves a very pleasant memory. I tried to go back to the Chiller Theatre show twice this year, but had car problems in April and weather issues in October. Maybe I'll try again in the spring. Not that I'm looking for Tina, but I have rather fond memories of the show and wouldn't mind going back. Ah well, maybe this coming April. Anyway, from the Nauticusnow Blog here's wishing you all a Happy and prosperous New Year.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Joan Wayne began her career as a superheroine back in the 1940's in the pages of comics by Holyoke Publishing. Back then she was known as Miss Victory and apparently her powers and abilities sort of changed from issue to issue. Revived in the 1970's by AC Comics, Joan continued her career, now known as the more politically correct Ms. Victory (figure on left). Now her powers, which were substantial, were induced by a vitamin called V-47, which had also extended her life, youth and beauty. Then, as with a lot of heroic people, she had a turn to the dark side and assumed the persona of Rad. When that happened the government went looking around for a replacement and came across her daughter Jennifer Burke (her married name). Apparently the V-47 formula would work best with someone who had the same genetic makeup as Joan. Anyway, Jennifer became the second Ms. Victory (figure on right) with a modified costume. When Joan rid herself of the Rad persona Jennifer kept superheroing - it sort of gets in your blood I guess. Joan is normally the leader of Femforce. I used two Toy Biz Jean Grey figures for these conversions. I removed some belt detail from the original figures and made the star tops to Joan's boots from paper glued in place. Two busty babes for the price of one - what could be better.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
AC (short for Americomics) Comics is one of those small comic book companies that seems to soldier along on the strength of a limited but apparently devoted following. They were one of the first to recognize that there was still interest in some of the Golden Age heroes and heroines and to reintroduce them into the current continuity - maybe more on that later. However, their principal "bread and butter" property is Femforce, a group of superhuman women, from both this planet and others, battling bad guys in and around Planet Earth. One of the members of Femforce (in fact one of the earliest, going back to WWII) is She-Cat. The evil cat goddess Sekhmet attempted to enter and take possession of Jessica Hunt, but the plucky girl - don't you just love those plucky girls - fought back. Sekhmet found her/itself in the predicament of neither being able to take control or depart Jessica. On the plus side, Sekhmet's presence has given Jessica extended life, superhuman agility and speed, an acute sense of smell, night vision and deadly claws. She also can get her blood up when provoked and struggles sometimes to keep the dark side in check. I used a Toy Biz Invisible Girl figure, cutting the mask from a piece of thin plastic sheet. The biggest problem was cutting the hair so I could get the right mask spike through it.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Following World War II there were two Iowa class battleships still on the stocks, one of them, the Kentucky, which was nearly 80% complete. During the 1950's there were various schemes for completing the Kentucky as a missile ship and over time I've carried out a few of those conversions in 1:2400 scale. In the top picture at top there's the more austere design with the after gun mount deleted and a SAM (surface-to-air missile) launcher in its place. Next from the top is a more ambitious conversion using part of the superstructure of an Albany missile cruiser but cut back so that the Kentucky still retains the two forward gun mounts. It has a long range SAM system back aft and two short range Tartar launchers along the sides of the superstructure. Then the one at bottom is a full-on conversion with the whole of the Albany superstructure and no gun mounts remaining, just SAMs fore and aft. As for the bottom picture - well that's by own scheme for a nuclear powered battleship with an Enterprise/Long Beach style superstructure and all three triple gun mounts. And no, there were no schemes for that design, just one of my little fantasy projects. All battleship hulls are from Superior Models while the Albany superstructures are from Seabattle. The "nuke" Iowa includes a Superior modern Iowa hull and the island from a modernized Enterprise.
Monday, December 26, 2011
There have been a couple of Huntresses in the DC Universe over time. There was the Golden Age baddie that paled around (I don't think people slept together in comics in the 1940's unless they were married) with the Sportsmaster, and then there was Helena Wayne, daughter of Bruce the Batman on Earth-2. This Huntress is a little more over the top, however. Born Helena Bertinelli, her father was boss (or Don) of the Bertinelli crime family. At age six Helena was kidnapped and molested but recovered alive and then sent off to boarding school to protect her. At 19 she comes home for a visit and is just in time to witness her entire family wiped out by a mob hit man. She then trains under another Mafia guy named Sal who teaches her to be less of a victim and more of a - well - Huntress. Running afoul of the police, the mob and then Batman, who considers her too violent, she campaigns to clean up the streets of a even more violent Gotham City. Later story lines mellow her out a bit and she even becomes part of the "Birds of Prey" female hero group. But this is the damaged, unrepentant, bad-ass, kick-butt Raven-haired vigilante I was so fond of. This was another Superior Models Sonya conversion, which actually required some sculpting around the boots and gloves and reconfiguring her dagger into a gun-handled weapon. I used felt for her cape because it always looked stiffer than usual in the comics.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Superheroes, action figures, Santa holding up a frosty Coca-Cola - these are a few of my favorite things. Of course then there's beautiful women, Popeye's chicken, etc, etc, but I could only cram so much in one pic. Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you may celebrate, to all the people all over the world who watch my blog.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
A Green Lantern has aged long in the service of the Guardians of the Universe, nearly 3,000 years. Now he has been directed to a small planet in the fifth sector of the globular cluster known as Valstan C5 where he is to find his replacement. However, search as he might the Green Lantern can find no sentient being to whom he can pass his ring and battery of power. Then he becomes aware of a hive intelligence existing in the midst of some orange puff ball creatures and when a bird creature is drawn into the central hive and absorbed the mental capacity of all is slightly raised. The Green Lantern now understands and he plunges into the hive knowing that his intelligence will drive the capacity of the hive and that each puff ball will become a living power ring. Thus the sector that once boasted of a single Green Lantern now has billions to keep the peace. It's kind of a nice story from Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #3, 1987. I found the puff balls (actually cotton) at a craft store and then printed out copies of the various sized emblems and glued the correct sized ones on six of the cotton balls. I took an old star ship base I had laying around, bent the wires and pierced the cotton balls so they stood out and then painted the base black. An inexpensive and creative solution to getting six new Green Lanterns into the collection.
Friday, December 23, 2011
In the late 30th Century Imra Ardeen, a telepath from Saturn's moon Titan, was traveling to earth to try out for the Science Police. As she disembarked she became aware of a plot against billionaire R.J. Brande. With two fellow passengers, Rokk Krinn and Garth Ranzz, she managed to foil the plot and rescue Brande. Sensing these were not ordinary teenagers Brande founded the Legion of Superheroes with Imra (Saturn Girl), Rokk (Cosmic Boy) and Garth (Lightning Lad) as the founding members. Cosmic Boy had magnetic powers and Garth had lightning related powers while Imra was a telepath so they made quite a team. Irregardless they began taking on additional members until the roster grew to over twenty, with some coming and going and a few killed off in various adventures. Imra and Garth eventually married and had twins. For most of her career Saturn Girl wore pants and a tunic but in the late 1970's and early 1980's she wore a more abbreviated costume, which I applied to this version of Superior Models Sonya. True, I took a bit of artistic license but then I'm an artist and can do that sort of thing if I like and in this case I liked.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Making her first appearance in the 1940's during the Golden Age Mary was part of the ever growing Marvel Family based around Captain Marvel, in his day the most successful superhero on the American comic book scene. As it turned out Mary was actually the sister of Billy Batson, secretly Captain Marvel himself, but after the death of their parents Mary had been raised by the Bromfield's while Billy had been consigned to an orphanage. When Billy had become a radio broadcaster the pair met again and the broken halves of a locket confirmed their identities. As the teenagers were threatened by bad guys and Billy was muzzled so he couldn't speak his magic word, Mary said it for him and was herself transformed into the super powerful Mary Marvel. Along with Captain Marvel, Jr., who was their close friend Freddy Freeman, the trio battled evil as the Marvel Family. The family branched out over time to include cousins and an uncle and who knows what. I've shown two versions of Mary; on the right as she first appeared and on the left as DC adapted her later. Once again I used a Superior Models Sonya for the figure, with a cape from a Superpowers Collection Shazam. The skirt was made from a piece of a plastic bag I glued on the figure and painted. Although the plastic material gives a nice flowing form to the skirt I don't recommend it as a general rule because over time the paint will tend to crack.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Another Sonya conversion. This one is (I think) the second Ms. Marvel - I've sort of lost track over time. Sharon Ventura's mother died when she was young and her military father would really have preferred a boy to a girl. She could never live up to his expectations and he died without their issues being resolved. She then became a thrill junky - you know, skydiving scuba-diving, mountain climbing, etc, etc - girl jock. She had become a member of the motorcycle group the Thunderiders when she met Ben Grimm, otherwise known as the Thing. They got along and when he joined the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation she tagged along, joining the female Grapplers associated group. She was talked into having her strength enhanced by the Power Broker, Inc. but without undergoing the full treatment. She was pursued by Power Broker and somewhere along the way was apparently mistreated, which left a deep and lasting emotional scar. Somewhere along the line she actually turned into a female version of the Thing (sort of a Thingette) and started a relationship with the real Thing - takes a rock to love a rock - ultimately joining the Fantastic Four for a while. She drifted away from the team and Ben Grimm later and I'm not sure what's become of her. This was another Superior Models Sonya conversion requiring a lot of cleaning off of Sonya costume and painting. I used a blue ribbon for her belt.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
This is another conversion from Superior Models Sonya figure. Libby Lawrence was a descendant of the Revolutionary War heroine Miss Liberty in the DC Universe. She was traveling in Poland with her father when the Germans invaded and he was killed but she escaped. Swimming the Channel to England she became an overnight celebrity. Then returning to America Libby became a newspaper and radio commentator, advocating the U.S. join the war and adopting her secret identity as Liberty Belle to fight subversive elements inside America. Obviously an overachiever. She was given a piece of the real liberty bell which she wore in her belt buckle and when the big bell rang her bell also chimed, giving her a shot of Adrenalin that would temporarily increase her strength and speed. I just hope the big bell didn't ring at an inopportune time... woof! Otherwise she didn't really have any super powers. First appearing in Boy Commandos issue #1 in 1942 she qualifies as a Golden Age character. When I did this conversion in addition to removing a lot of the Sonya costume detail I also had to sculpt the gauntlets and the little red collar. As far as I know there has not been an action figure of Liberty Belle produced so I guess unless somebody else has done one mine is the only one in the world. That's kind of a kick!
Saturday, December 17, 2011
As I explained before when I started customizing figures there weren't a lot of females to start with and I used a number of metal figures. This is another Superior Models Sonya conversion, this time to the alien Kree Doctor Minerva. In the Marvel Universe the Kree are an alien race from the planet Hala in the Pama System, which is part of the Greater Magellanic Cloud, a small galaxy orbiting near the Milky Way Galaxy (that's where we live if you didn't know). They are a humanoid race, the original inhabitants having blue skin, although there is also a pink skinned version who are more numerous but the blue skins are in charge. Dr. Minerva is a Kree scientist who followed the renegade Kree warrior Captain Mar-Vell to earth. As a geneticist she determined that Captain Mar-Vell and her could produce superior off-spring capable of advancing the genetic power of the Kree race. You know, that's a pickup line I've never used and have never had used on me. Anyway, of course, the good Captain M. demurs but I'd say, hey, why not give it a shot. Hot blue-skinned chick - it worked in Avatar. Anyway, Dr. Minerva was a schemer and worked through Rick Jones and Quasar at various times pursuing what she wanted - whatever that was. The costume she's wearing is similar to Captain Mar-Vell's own as well as the first Ms. Marvel. Again, I had to Dremel off a lot of stuff from the original Sonya figure to get it ready for painting.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
This has been a long time coming. The picture is a satellite image taken from one of the commercial photo satellites of the "new" Chinese aircraft carrier. I'm not sure the ship has a name or if the Chinese have released it yet, but the ship commenced sea trials in August of this year and was "snapped" at sea on December 8th. The carrier started life as the Soviet Varyag (originally Riga), which was being built in a shipyard in the Ukraine. When the Soviet Union broke up they no longer had the money to complete her and the Ukrainians really didn't have a need so it sat rusting at the pier for a while. Then China bought the ship, which didn't even have engines installed, and tugs began to tow it out of the Black Sea en route China. But wait... not so fast said the Turks. They didn't trust that a ship that large without power of any kind could be safely towed through the Bosporus and Dardanelles without running into something. As a result the carrier was towed in circles - literally - for about a year before the Turks were convinced (or paid off, I'm not sure exactly how those things work) and it was allowed to continue on its voyage. There were even press reports of unidentified helicopters landing on its flight deck in the Black Sea for unknown reasons and then taking off again before anyone could board it and see what was happening. The ship has been at Dalien for years and now appears to be underway and running sea trials. "Experts" say it will take years before the carrier can become operational with an air wing and everything. The Chinese say it's basically experimental and a trials ship and that they laid down their first real carrier in June 2011. I guess we'll see but I think it was a major accomplishment for the Chinese (or any one else for that matter) to have gotten this ship underway. By the way, the model is an Admiral Kuznetsov, which was the lead ship of the class and is still serving in the Russian Navy. I painted one and included it in my Chinese Navy, although I may have to repaint the flight deck based on this photo.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
OK, which of the two aircraft carriers in the picture is the largest? It would appear perhaps that the one behind, which is the USS Midway, is longer and it might be considered largest. But the one in front, the Japanese carrier Shinano, is actually a lot heavier and officially ranks as the largest carrier to come out of World War II. The Midway was 59,901 tons full load compared to Shinano's 71,890. Midway was 968' long and 113' wide, while Shinano was shorter at 872'8", but the Japanese ship was wider at 119'1", accounting for its greater displacement. Ironically both ships were based on battleship hulls. Midway's dimensions were based on the uncompleted Montana class that would have followed the Iowa's, while Shinano was laid down as a unit of the Yamato class but after the battle of Midway was redesigned as an aircraft carrier to compensate for the losses incurred during that battle. Both carriers had armored flight decks, a first for the U.S. navy, but the Shinano was the second ship in Japanese service to be so equipped, the first having been the Taiho. The Shinano would not be exceeded in size until the U.S. carrier Forrestal was commissioned in the mid-1950's.
Monday, December 12, 2011
I always thought DC Comics didn't really know what to do with Supergirl. She started life as Kara Zor-El and she had lived in Argo City, which had been sort of blown into space in one chunk when the planet Krypton exploded. Zor-El, brother of Superman's dad Jor-El, is a scientist and with a plastic dome over the city and lead sheeting to protect the population from the deadly Kryptonite radiation resulting from the explosion, the chunk supports the city's people for many years. Then when Kara is 15 a deadly meteorite swarm rips holes in the lead sheet so Kara's parents send her to earth to be with her cousin Kal-El (Superman), the only other survivor of Krypton. So what does Superman do with her? Does he take her into his home as the only other surviving member of his family, or maybe fix her up with a kindly and supportive family like Ma and Pa Kent had been to him? No, he throws her into an orphanage as Linda Lee. He won't even let her be known to the public, keeping her in reserve as his "secret weapon." Sounds pretty lame to me. She does eventually get adopted by the Danvers and she does eventually come out of the closet, but I have to confess a lot of the plot lines over the years were also pretty lame. They turned her into a fashionista for a while with multiple variants of her costume. They put her through high school and college and then had her take up a bunch of lame jobs instead of maybe becoming a reporter like Cousin Supes. I guess they didn't make her barefoot and pregnant, but they did have her mooning over a string of so-so boyfriends. But then during the Crisis on Infinite earths storyline they killed her off. I really thought they could have done a lot more with the character. Anyway, this is the costume that I liked the best and one she wore longer than most. I used a Superior Models Girl Sonya metal figure for the conversion because there were so few female action figures at the time. We must use the tools at hand.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
I've been wanting to do action figures of the Green Hornet and Kato for a long time but I could never seem to get the appropriate parts and such together. I even had the car, the Black Beauty from the 1960's TV series Green Hornet so I was ready to go. Recently I started applying my creative juices to the project and have finally done the figures, but I still have a bit of a problem. Actually the Green Hornet goes back to the golden years of radio, debuting in 1936. There was a Universal Pictures serial in 1940 which I actually have on tape. There were comic books and of course the TV series, then the 2011 movie, which I really wasn't that fond of, but I did review. Since I was using the Black Beauty car from the TV series I decided to model the figures after that as well. The comic and serial Green Hornet had a mask over most of his face. For Green Hornet I used the body from a Spy Kids II Donogan and the head from a GI Joe Flint, with a hat from the Disney version of Indiana Jones. The coat is from a Han Solo on Endor figure but was a little disappointing because I just couldn't get rid of the camouflage dark patches even after dying it. I tried bleaching another one but basically everything faded except the camouflage markings, and then the coat fell apart, so that has been the down side of the conversion. Kato started as a Star Wars Imperial Commander with the head from a GI Joe Airborne (oriental) and a cap from another GI Joe figure. Kato actually came out better than Green Hornet but maybe I can find another coat that will work sometime in future.
Friday, December 9, 2011
When I first started collecting superhero figures there weren't many - especially women. I used Superior Models Sonya figure (featured in an earlier post as Red Sonja)for a number of custom figures, including Marvel Comics original Spider-Woman. Beginning life as Jessica Drew, she was the daughter of Jonathan and Merriem Drew. Dad was a scientist who with a partner named Herbert Edgar Wyndham founded a scientific research center on Wundagore Mountain in the small Balkan nation of Transia. After discovering uranium the scientists became rich but Jessica was over exposed to the radiation and eventually to save her life Wyndham was forced to put her into cryogenic suspension. Jessica's mother died and her despondent father went to England. Eventually Jessica came out of the vat and by a circuitous route found herself working for the evil organization Hydra. Having been mutated in cryo Jessica now had enormous strength, an immunity to all toxic substances and radiation and the ability to generate bioelectric energy bursts from her hands. Eventually freeing herself from Hydra's influence she went to America where she used her powers in a costume to help people. Later she lost her powers, then got 'em back again, then lost her body for a while, then got it back again and eventually decided to chuck the costumed identity and become a private eye. Of course she took up the costume again later but what the heck - you get the idea. It took a lot of work to clean all the costume detail off Sonya but once it was done it was just a paint job. I've always rather liked this figure especially because as a metal figure I could use enamels on her and it gave her a look the matt paints don't always provide.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Another conversion that grew from "the Barbarian" Conan-like metal figure was the early version of Bloodstone. As Marvel Comics tells it during the Hyborean Age that spawned Conan a meteorite crashed to earth in Northern Vanaheim on the European continent under the direction of an alien entity. An agent of the entity named Ullux'l Kwan Tae Syn (repeat that one five times fast) discovered that one of the locals had found the meteorite first and the two of them battled over possession. The meteorite was smashed, there was an explosion that killed the native's tribe and a shard (called the bloodgem) became embedded in the native's chest. It had the effect of making this fellow immortal and probably giving him a number of other attributes. For the next 10,000 years the native, now calling himself Ulysses Bloodstone, searches out Ullux'l Kwan Tae Syn seeking revenge for the death of his tribe, which seems a little single minded of purpose to me, but very loyal. Along the way he learns most of the languages on the planet and amasses a vast fortune with which he establishes support cells around the world as he searches for Ullux'l Kwan Tae Syn and battles every other monster he runs into along the way. This is another one of those immortal characters that roams the world in the present day similar to DC's Immortal Man and Street & Smith's Chuck Magnon, about whom I've already posted. Bloodstone seems to have eventually been killed because his skeleton with the hole where the bloodgem fit still in his sternum shows up in a series of Captain America comics, but his appearances were generally rather spotty. I did the primitive version from a Barbarian figure by Superior Models and the modern version from the head of a Ken Masters figure and the body from a Destro. The bloodgems were red crystals.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Today, December 7th, 2011, a date which has lived in infamy - or at least 70 years after that date. I didn't want the 70th anniversary to go by with saying something about it. I wasn't alive for it but it was a pivotal historical event in the nation's lifetime. I thought I would say a few words about the battleships that were there and what became of them. If you look at the top picture on the right hand side is the Nevada, then next left is Arizona, then Tennessee with the West Virginia outboard, then Maryland with the Oklahoma outboard and then California. Forward left is the Pennsylvania which was actually in a dry dock and not along battleship row. Most people probably know that Arizona blew up and that most of the hull remains on the bottom at Pearl with a large white memorial over it. Nevada got underway but was damaged so bad it had to be grounded. Oklahoma was torpedoed and rolled over and sank with only its hull remaining above water. It was later raised and was being towed back to the states for scrapping when the tow broke and the ship sank somewhere in the northeast Pacific in bad weather. All of the rest were raised and/or repaired and returned to service. In the bottom picture we have from right the Maryland behind, which only received two bomb hits and was back in action in early 1942 along with its sister ship Colorado, which had not been at Pearl Harbor on December 7th. West Virginia is in front on the right and it received an extensive rebuild, it's beam being increased from 106' to 114' to accommodate additional anti-aircraft armament. Behind are the Tennessee and California, sister ships that were rebuilt as West Virginia. Then there's the Pennsylvania and Nevada, which both were repaired and modernized. So of the seven battleships at Pearl Harbor on the day of infamy, all but two returned to active duty and gave good service for the rest of the war. West Virginia even had the honor to be one of the allied ships in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945 at the surrender of Japan.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
In the early days that I was collecting superhero action figures there wasn't a lot of figures to work with. In the late 1970's and early 1980's there were DC Pocket Superheroes from Mego that stood about 4" tall and the slightly larger Mattel Marvel Comics Secret Wars figures and then of course the about 5" tall DC Superpowers Collection line. There weren't that many figures and only one female figure - Wonder Woman. So when I started to get restless and wanted to add more figures to my collection I started working with some of the metal figures I had access to. A few days ago I featured Conan and showed the Superior Models Barbarian figure. When I wanted to do the jungle lord Ka-Zar I decided the Barbarian was a good place to start. Ka-Zar started as one of those Tarzan-like characters - mother dead, scientist father harboring a secret and killed, abandoning the young Kevin Plunder in the mysterious Savage Land. This is a place within Antarctica where there exists a primeval land of jungles. Dwelling there are denizens of many epochs of history and prehistory, including dinosaurs and cave men and one sabre tooth tiger - the last of his kind, who "adopts" the orphaned Kevin and who he names Zabu. The boy and the cat forge a bond that remains powerful into Kevin's adulthood, when he takes on the name Ka-Zar. He eventually comes to understand his heritage and sort of commutes between the Savage Land and the outside world, always with the faithful Zabu at his side. I like the Savage Land because it mixes dinosaurs, aliens and everything else into one setting and there's always some superpowered bad guys showing up to keep things interesting. Ka-Zar was made from a Barbarian figure, but I replaced the sword with a knife and filled in the sandals to make boots. I also took the large belt around his waist off. The sabre-toothed tiger I found among some prehistoric animal figures.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Another character spawned out of the writings of Robert E. Howard, Red Sonja was a simple village girl of 17 when a band of mercenaries burned her home, killed her family and the leader brutally raped her. When she cries out for revenge the red goddess Scáthach appeared to her and granted her incredible prowess with a blade and other weapons so long as she did not lay with a man who had not defeated her in fair combat. (Remember, I don't make this stuff up.) She began appearing in Marvel Comics Conan series in the 1970's, getting her own title for a while. She's even appeared in a rather lackluster movie version and been revived in the comics since then. In the sword and sorcery genre she's sort of the archetypical female with a blade who can best most of the men she comes in contact with. She had a sort of running combat with Conan over the years. The figure is from Superior Models, which is called The Girl Sonya, which I have painted up to resemble Red herself. However, instead of the scale mail bikini she is normally depicted with in the comics the figure has a chain mail bikini. I can't think either of them on bare flesh would be very comfortable, but it looks pretty good so I guess that's what matters.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
The Midway class carriers were commissioned right at the end of WWII. They were the Midway (CVB 41), Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB 42) and Coral Sea (CVB 43), with the "B" after CV standing for large. The first company to do a 1:2400 model of them a number of years ago was Seabattle of Austria. Recently GHQ released their own version of the Midway class so they make a nice comparison. The Seabattle model in the rear always bothered me a little because it stood so high out of the water. The Midway's were the first U.S. carriers with armored flight decks, a valuable lesson from WWII, and as such they rode lower in the water than the previous Essex class. The GHQ version in front seems to capture that better than Seabattle did. Additionally, the GHQ model is based on the Midway as she appeared right at the end of the war with 5"/54 guns and 40mm anti-aircraft (AA) armament. The Seabattle version is from the 1950's when the 40mm were replaced by 3" AA. You may also be asking why the GHQ version has planes on the deck and the Seabattle doesn't. That's simply because no one manufactures 1:2400 jets from the 1950's period - the GHQ is carrying the F4U/Corsair, which was its primary compliment when commissioned. I thought these two models were a good example of how different companies can do quite different versions of the same ship.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
In my last post I featured Conan the Barbarian. In his Hyborean Age adventures Conan took up with a veritable multitude of women. Some of these were shrinking wallflowers and some of them were nearly as tough as Conan himself. One of the latter was Belit, Queen of the Black Coast. A white woman with a crew of black pirate men who worship her as a Goddess, Belit is the terror of the Black Coast, raiding and pillaging and taking many a hapless merchant ship by storm. Her ship, the Tigress, is known and feared along the Black Coast. Conan is passenger on a small merchant ship when they sight the Tigress on the horizon. The ship's captain tries to make a run for it but in vain, as they are quickly overtaken by the Tigress. Conan battles the pirates and distinguishes himself in the eyes of both the pirates and their female captain. After the battle Conan is offered a position in Belit's crew and, after a test of strength with her largest crewman, Conan succeeds in winning his life, a position on the ship and a warm spot in Belit's bed. What a guy!!! I had been looking around for a figure I could use for Belit and found this one produced by Jerry Worcester, who made and sold his own line of miniatures. I haven't seen him or them in many years (this figure is dated 1992) and suspect they are no longer available. It was the closest I could come to a figure to represent the Queen of the Black Coast.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
...the Cimmerian, created by Robert E. Howard in the Early 1930's for the pulps has proven a very popular and enduring character, as evidenced by another recent movie. I first became interested in the character in the 1970's while reading the Marvel Comics series of stories. Conan came from the fictional Hyborean Age, populated by a mix of influences from barbarian tribes, which spawned Conan himself, to lands of Arthurian-type legend, black Africans, Arab traders, Mongul-type warriors and various other elements spanning thousands of years of history and technology all sort of rubbing elbows in one world. Conan is a thief and a pirate who ends up ruling his own kingdom. Along the way he romances a considerable legion of comely young lasses, who are either frightened debutantes or adept warriors like himself and slays a lot of men and monsters. As for the figure presented, he was sculpted by Ray Lamb and produced by Superior Models as "The Barbarian," and was never called Conan, although he certainly seems to resemble the John Buscema drawing. In the picture his sword is hard to see but it got bent during the earthquake and a tumble from the shelf.