Sunday, December 30, 2012

Crimson Avenger and Wing

In my last post I featured the original appearance of the DC Comics hero the Crimson Avenger, who started life as a pulp-style character. As the superhero craze really caught on in comics the Avenger morphed into more of the style of the times and drug his side-kick Wing along with him. Wing had come from the Hankow area of China, which was by 1938 overrun by the Japanese. Wing, who, like a lot of side-kicks of the period, used the same name in both his civilian and costumed identities, sensitized his employer to the problems in China. Crimson and his side-kick Wing were active in various groups during the period leading up to and during the war, including the Law's Legionnaires, the All-Star Squadron and the Seven Soldiers of Victory. The picture shows the pair in their superhero style costumes. For the Avenger I used the body and head from a Toy Biz Daredevil, the legs from a Silver Surfer and the arms from a Superman. Wing was created using the body, arms and head from a Marvel Secret Wars Captain America and the legs from a Toy Biz Robin figure. The top-knots were cut from plastic sheet.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Crimson Avenger

Lee Travis was the young, crusading publisher of the Globe-Leader newspaper in a big metropolitan American city. As with so many overachievers, especially in comics, one full-time job is never enough, so Lee decides to adopt a costumed identity as the Crimson Avenger. One of the origin stories goes that he's attending a charity costume party one night when it's held up by a bunch of crooks. Lee is dressed like some kind of highway-man and, taking his costumed role to heart, pursues the crooks along with his valet and driver, an Asian named Wing. They take out the bad guys and Lee decides to continue his costumed activities as the Crimson Avenger. If this all sounds a lot like the Green Hornet and Kato you shouldn't be surprised. Crimson was sort of DC Comics answer to the Hornet and Kato. Since he first appeared in 1938 it was more reasonable for his creators to be inspired by pulp characters. Later the Avenger and Wing would get caught up in the superhero craze, but that's a story for a future post. I did the Crimson Avenger using the body from a Two-Face figure and the head from a Playmates Star Trek Dixon Hill. Then I fashioned a cloak of T-shirt material, with slits in the sleeves for his arms. Two-Face already had a weapon in one hand and I put a second one in the other so Crimson can really come out blazing away.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Italian UP41 Battleship Design

I've featured a couple of other ship models produced by Shapeways and here's another. This is an Italian battleship design study from 1936 (also known as the 1936 BB), designed with a displacement of 42,000 tons standard a length overall of 826'10" beam of 116'6" and draft of 30'10" with an armament of 9-16" and 12-6" guns and a speed of 32 knots. It was substantially larger than the preceding Littorio class. Although it was never actually named I call it the Livorno. The reason I have two models is because the Soviet Union also looked at the design as something that might have fulfilled their needs. They had purchased several ships and designs from the Italians, which is why a number of their cruisers and destroyers have a distinctive Italian look to them. They had also worked a deal with the Germans for a good deal of naval hardware in their 1939 non-aggression pact, including a complete - although not completed - heavy cruiser. I named by Soviet version Sovetskiy Gruziya for Soviet Georgia. They make nice additions to my Italian and Russian Fleets.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dr. Fate - Female Version

Dr. Fate is a character that goes back to the Golden Age of comics in the 1940's and for most of his career has been Kent Nelson. He was married to Inza Nelson - I always liked that name - and for at least part of the time he had her locked away in a tower while he went off and battled evil. Then at some point Kent and Inza were linked in more than just the married way and could both assume the persona of Dr. Fate. Then only Inza could do it for a while. This image was during that period. I rather liked the appearance and decided to do a figure of her. It was actually an early effort when there were very few female superhero figures on the market. I used a Superior Models metal figure dressed in garter belt, stockings and high heels with hair past her shoulders. I got rid of all that detail and crafted a helmet from epoxy putty, placing a nail point on top, and used some additional putty for her gauntlets. For the amulet at her neck I used a plastic piece from my parts box, probably an aircraft wheel. Then I painted her with glossy paint and then used a cape from a Toy Biz Robin figure.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Human Flying Fish

Vic Bragg, former swimming star, has decided to pursue a life of crime. He hooks up with a Dr. Krill and is surgically modified (sounds creepy to me) in order to battle Aquaman. Dr. Krill (aren't krill food for whales?) can make Bragg capable of breathing underwater so he's amphibious but he needs an extra edge to elude the king of the sea. His gimick? Why he also makes Bragg able to fly - or really glide for a while. So the newly designated Human Flying Fish commits a crime, Aquaman shows up, but the fish guy leaps into the air and boards a helicopter Krill has standing by. Pretty slick, eh?? Well, yeah, but then Aquaman sets a trap Bragg and Krill fall into and that's pretty much the end of their criminal careers. The Human Flying Fish shows up maybe a couple more times but really nothing to write home about before he fades into lame supervillain limbo once more. By the way, in case you were wondering, there really is such a thing as flying fish. They leap from the water and glide. When I was aboard ship the commodore used to pot-shot them with an M-1 rifle - don't think he hit too many though. The figure was made using the body of a Toy Biz Captain America, the head and legs from a Daredevil and the arms from a Superman. I like the CA body because it had scales like Mr. Flying Fish. The glider wings were cut from T-shirt material.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Superman as Samson

I may have mentioned in the past that I've been trying to reduce the footprint of my collection so I have more room on the shelves and can squeeze even more stuff on them. As part of my effort in that reduction goal I decided a while back to redo this figure of Superman. In the Time & Time Again story arc running in 1991-92 Superman travels backwards and forwards through time. In this particular episode he shows up in 1943 a bit disoriented and, because he doesn't seem to be able to get home, decides to make the best of his situation. He joins a circus as their strongman, stage-name Samson, and I'll bet he's the best strongman they've ever had. I rather liked the look of his circus costume so I found a large wrestler figure and a matching Superman head and put them together. I painted the boots and wristbands red and the yellow belt and S-symbol on his chest. But now the big one has been towering over everything else on the shelf, so I got myself a smaller wrestler figure and a smaller Superman head and went through the same process again. The symbol was harder this time because there's a break right there where the figure can move but I manged to paint it on the two sides of the chest. This reduces my "footprint" even more. Always a good thing.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


So Superman was the last son of Krypton. We all know the story about Superman's dad Jor-El trying to convince the science council that Krypton is doomed but no one believes him so he sends his son off to earth just as the mighty planet explodes killing everyone there. Or did it? Later we learn of the bottle city of Kandor that was shrunk by Brainiac and the city that was blown off the planet and was the birthplace of Supergirl, Argo City, and then there's the Phantom Zone with a bunch of bad guys, yada, yada, yada.... Then there's all of the trips Superman makes back to his home world - sometimes seen and sometimes not. Anyway, there's a lot of Kryptonians floating around throughout the DC Comics Universe and I've done a few of them. Here's a sample, along with a couple I used just for fun. From left to right I used two Superpowers Collection Dr. Fate figures with Playmates Q and Picard heads. Then a Superman body with a Riker head and the cape from a Toy Biz Dr. Doom. Then I just added a Flash Gordon from the Defenders of the Earth collection and a Harry Mudd from Playmates Star Trek because I thought they fit in with the others. Can never have too many Kryptonians!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Batman - Little Person

My imagination really is working all of the time!!! I was browsing in a store the other day and ran across this set of figures from Heroclix. I'm familiar with the figures, although I've never played the games, but these were different. They weren't just figures in about 25mm scale (which is where I use some of them) but they almost looked like little people. Brain fart!!! Batman as a little person!!?? What a concept. Little person Bruce Wayne is orphaned as a child and makes the same vow to avenge his parents and battle the forces of injustice. But he's a little person. So he still does it, honing his body and his mind to razor-sharpness, but he's a little person so he really needs those gimmicks because otherwise what crook is going to be terrorized by a little guy even if he is wearing a bat-suit? Talk about finding ways to protect your secret identity - woof. Not sure yet how (or if) to integrate Catwoman or Bane into this concept but I really like it as an Elseworlds sort of scenario. Just always gotta keep thinking outside the box is my motto.

Monday, December 3, 2012


The Legion of Superheroes during the 30th Century contained many strange and interesting members. Perhaps one of the strangest was Wildfire. Originally Drake Burroughs was an astrophysics student but he was caught in an anti-matter blast and was transformed into anti-energy. A professor coaxed his disembodied energy into a containment suit and he decided to try to join the Legion, but he was basically simulating other Leionaires powers so he was rejected. Later he joined a Leion mission and proved his worth and was ultimately admitted. A bit of a hothead, Wildfire did take a real interest in the Leion Academy and worked hard with the trainees. I confess the art on his containment suit changed a number of times over the run of the comic and I sort of picked the design I liked best. I used the head and body of a Mattel Marvel Secret Wars Kang with the legs from a Captain America. I filled in the Kang face and put some little knobs on the sides of his helmet. The rest was painting.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Shining Knight and Winged Victory

Sir Justin was a fresh young knight in the court of King Arthur when he was sent after a rampaging ogre. Accidently stabbing some random tree while chasing a couple of highwaymen Sir Justin releases Merlin the magician. In appreciation Merlin makes Sir Justin's armor lighter and bulletproof - OK I don't know why he would even think to make it bulletproof but what the heck - and gives wings to his horse Victory, who thus became Winged Victory. In his final battle with the ogre Sir Justin kills the beasty but gets buried in an avalanche, going into suspended animation. Revived in 1941 he starts battling the highwaymen of our time, eventually joining the wartime All Star Squadron and the Seven Soldiers of Victory to battle bad guys on a broader scale. He sort of bounced around in time, probably at the whim of the story-tellers, but is actually a sort of favorite of mine as a noble knight stuck out of his own time and just continuing to do what he thinks is right. I feel like that sometimes. I used the body from a Robin Hood Prince of Thieves Little John figure and the head from a Toy Biz Silver Surfer. I sculpted the helmet from Skulpy and made his tunic from T-shirt material, cutting the eagle on his chest from paper and gluing it on. The sword and scabbard are from my parts box. Winged Victory is a Pegasus with the bridle and such painted on and T-shirt material for the blanket and reins.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Urko the Terrible

I mentioned in my last post that I had this giant Superman comic that had a bunch of reprints in it. The story from Action Comics No 261 was about Superman's Fortress of Solitude. As he was giving a tour there was a bust of a guy named Urko the Terrible. Turns out Urko was a self-proclaimed cloud intelligence who hated all other life forms in the universe - terrible indeed. Urko turns the statues of Superman's friends like Lois Lane and Perry White into superpowered minions and sends them against Supes, but he's too invulnerable and it turns into a Mexican standoff. Superman has a confrontation with Urko in space, using his super-breath to propel a sun at Urko. The sun consumes Urko and that's the first and last appearance of that particular villain. Of course I thought Superman had this personal prohibition against taking intelligent life - but I guess it doesn't extend to smart clouds. When I first saw Urko I thought, "Golly, he looks a lot like Ming." Turns out I just happened to have a spare Ming figure so I painted him green, accented his mustache and eyes and drew the star-burst emblem on his chest with a black paint pen. Urko lives again!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Favorite Superman Artists

I picked up a compilation comic recently (Giant 80 page Superman No. 187) that had three stories with my favorite artists. I confess that these stories from the 1950's and 1960's had some of my favorite Superman art in them - check the page. This was how I saw Superman and still do. There's something about the set of the jaw, the way he's depicted in flight that appealed to me and still does. I never really paid attention to who the artists were when I was young and I'm only marginally more aware of them today. In my defense back in the day that artist information was rarely annotated in the comics. Turns out, according to some of the reference material I've checked out, the penciler on these stories was Wayne Boring and the inker was Stan Kaye. This is sort of like my favorite actor portraying Superman was George Reeves and my favorite James Bond was Sean Connery. It was nice to see this art again and I wanted to share - so there ya be....

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ol-Vir from Daxam

Daxam is a world where the people are humanoid but, similarly to Kryptonians, when they are exposed to certain gravitational conditions and the influence of a yellow sun, they gain superpowers. However, unlike Kryptonians who are weakened by Kryptonite, Daxamites are brought low by lead. Guess there's not a lot of that where they're from. In the 30th Century Darkseid, a really bad dude and major villain in the DC Comics universe, grabbed a Daxamite named Ol-Vir and had him carry out several missions for the him. Ol-Vir joined the Legion of Super-Villains for a time and fought the Legion of Superheroes, but was defeated. I used various GI Joe parts and head for Ol-Vir and some epoxy putty for the collar on his uniform.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Thought Terror

The Thought Terror is a Golden Age Hawkman villain who has the power to hypnotize people with a stare. He charges people to predict their futures and then hypnotizes them into going off and doing whatever he predicts. He has a cadre of hypnotized henchmen to assist him in his nefarious activities. Hawkman discovers what is going on and goes after the Thought Terror with a shield - like the one Perseus used to approach the Gorgon Medusa by looking at her reflection in the shield. In this case, however, the Thought Terror inadvertently hypnotizes himslf in the end. The story was originally published in Flash Comics #4, April 1940. I used some GI Joe body parts for the figure and the head of the cowled version of Cobra Commander for the, then made a robe for the character from T-shirt material and found a belt in my box of spare parts.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kal-El and the Eradicator

In a story arc from the 1980's Superman encounters a fellow called the Cleric on a space adventure and learned of a device called the Eradicator, which had been created on the planet Krypton. The device got him back to earth, but unfortunately it began to influence his thinking. It brought out the Kryptonian in Supes, who began to reject his earth upbringing. He even changed his costume to the version you see depicted here and started calling himself by his Kryptonian name, Kal-El. Jonathan and Martha Kent grew worried and went to Metropolis where they discovered their adopted son was growing more distant and less human. Kal-El takes his foster parents to his Fortress of Solitude in the Antarctic where a showdown takes place, with his parents influencing him to recapture his humanity and the eradicator trying to... well... eradicate them. Humanity triumphs and Superman resumes his old outfit and tries to dispose of the Eradicator by casting it into the sun. He's only partially successful and the "spirit" of the Eradicator makes a comeback later. I rather liked the costume change, which was designed to fit in with the reimagining of Kryptonian mythology going on during this period. I used a Superpowers Collection Superman figure, filing off the detail and repainting it and then adding some cotton along the arms to simulate the material in the picture. I think I used a little too much, but that's just my artistic license coming out of me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


So Hurricane Sandy was approaching and I worried that I might lose power and if that happens I can get water in the basement. I have lots of boxes down there (mostly filled with action figures) so I decided to move everything upstairs for the duration. Fortunely (and unlike a lot of people further north) I did not lose power so now I've started moving everything back upstairs with less uegency. However, in the process I hit one of my shelves full of action figures with a box and every figure on the shelf came down, along with a number on other surrounding shelves. As I was putting all that back together I stumbled across the Spymaster figure that I hadn't thought about for a long time. It was actually one of my early figure conversion projects. Spymaster was basically a mercenary for hire and worked for Zodiac, rogue SHIELD agents, Justin Hammer, Madame Masque and AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics), mostly battling Iron Man, SHIELD and Daredevil. The first one got killed off and there was a second Spymaster - after all it was a pretty good villain name. I used a Toy Boz Daredevil body with a Spider-Man head to make the figure. I can tell it's one of my early efforts because I used enamel paint, which I gave up after too long for acrylic - on some plastics enamels will never set up properly and remain forever tacky. I do so like taking a walk down memory lane - even if brought on by a hurricane!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Superman Cultists

Following the death of Superman in that story arc during the early 1990's four replacement Supermen arose. One was a clone who would eventually be known as Superboy and one was Steel - John Henry Irons, who built a suit of armor for himself. The other two superpowered replacements included the Cyborg Superman and the visor Superman. Cults arose around these latter two and there were actual demonstrations before the large statue of Superman commorating his life and death. At this particular demonstration you can see the cyborg followers on the right with the left side of their faces colored to match the Cyborg's appearance. On the left are the worshipers of the visored Superman and they are wearing goggles to better celebrate their hero. I decided to throw in a kid in the middle who's just wearing a Superman T-shirt and is really caught inbetween the two demonstrating groups. The girl on the right is from the line of Breyer horses and the kid is from the Speed Racer movie figures but the rest are mostly GI Joes. I used some material I specially purchased for the purpose, made a pattern from paper and then traced out all the robes and then sewed them together. I printed out the Superman symbols and glued them on the fabric and I painted the "cyborg" side of the faces of that group. I made the placards from paper glued on sticks. It was a little different group than I'm used to making but they seemed important to the "Reign of the Supermen" storyline and they were kind of fun to make. It also shows how quickly some of these cults can suddenly appear.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Soviet Battle Cruiser Kronstadt

I've mentioned the company Shapeways before (see under Ultra Carrier post) and I continue to be impressed with the range of products that are being offered there. Individuals are able to realize their fondest creations and that results in some interesting ship models. The Kronstadt represents another model of a ship that was never completed. Not a fantasy model since it was laid down (along with a sister ship Sevastopol) but when Germany invaded both hulls were damaged beyond repair on the slips and thus never completed. The Kronstadt class was designed in reaction to the German pocket battleships of the Deutschland (later renamed Luetzow) class, the most famous of which was the Graf Spee. The pocket battleships were fast for their day and were armed with six 11" guns so basically they could outrun anything they couldn't outgun during the period. The French built the battleships Dunkerque and Strasbourg to run down the pocket battleships and the Kronstadt class were designed for a similar mission. They were to be 35,240 tons standard, 816 feet long and 103 feet wide and capable of 33 knots. They were armed with nine 12" guns, eight 6" and many anti-aircraft mounts and had 9" belt armor. They were somewhat similar to the later American Alaska class. The model is very nicely detailed and I'm hoping that eventually someone on Shapeways will do a model of the Sovetsky Soyuz class battleships to compliment these.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lori Lemaris

Talk about star-crossed lovers - a young man from another planet away from his adopted home for the first time attending college, meeting a strange, exotic and beautiful young woman in a wheel chair and falling in love, only to find out she's secretly a mermaid. Didn't they do a movie of that called "Splash?" Anyway, that's how Clark Kent (aka Superman) first met Lori Lemaris. Her race of merpeople had gotten separated from their home of Atlantis and she'd been looking for the path back. Later Superman, through his buddy Aquaman, finds the way back to Atlantis, but Lori is injured and an Atlantian doctor nurses Lori back to health and of course she falls in love with him! Supes just can get a break with this girl. Over the years Lori has sort of come and gone through the DC Universe, although I'm not sure she's made any appearances since the Crisis on Infinite earths. But I remember the original story from my youth and wanted a Lori in my collection. My first choice was the metal figure on left by Superior Models, but later I found the Epoxy resin figure at right and moved that one up to the Lori position, with the other one becoming just another mermaid - one can never had too many mermaids in one's collection.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Professor Ivo and the Rainbow Tornadoes

Professor Ivo is a villian who has been menacing the DC Universe for decades now. He was tormented by the idea of death and managed to concoct a serum that would give him eternal life. Of course, like most things in life, it had side effects, in this case turning him into a really ugly guy. He's alternated between being ugly and being OK over the years and has distinguished himself creating androids. He made Amazo, who fought the Justice League to a standstill and also Tomorrow Woman, who I don't know much about. However in JLA #'s 2 & 3, November-December 2006 he created a boat load of Red Tornado duplicates, but in different colors. Apparently the Yellow one has sun-like powers, the blue ones project winds and the green ones project lightning. I'm not sure about the black and red ones. Anyway, they all seem to spin. In one two page splash panel 26 of them attacked the JLA. Now I just couldn't resist the possibilities so I acquired 26 Superpowers Collection Red Tornado figures and painted 20 of them - you guessed it, I left the red ones red. I know, I get carried away. The Professor Ivo figure was made by combining a Bruce Banner body in lab coat and the head from a Star Trek Barkley.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gentleman Ghost

I thought for Halloween I'd feature a ghostly figure in the DC criminal underworld. The Gentleman Ghost supposedly started life as Gentleman Jim Craddock who operated as a highwayman during the 1800's. He was brought to justice and on the gallows he swore to get revenge on those who condemned him. When he dropped through the chute he ended up in modern London. Making good on his threat the Gentleman Ghost went on a robbing spree all over Europe and eventually migrated to America, where his criminal activities continued. He came into conflict with Hawkman and Hawkwoman but, although they frequently thwarted his activities, they were unable to actually lay hands on him, perpetuating the idea that maybe he is a spectre. I thought he was an interesting chanrter but had a problem with how best to do the figure. I ended up using a Superpowers Collection Joker figure and the top hat from a Dr. Maquino from the Swamp Thing figure range. I connected the hat with a clear plastic pole and punched out the monacle with a hole punch on blister pack material, attaching it to the figure with a bit of wire so it looked like it was standing up to the eye. I used a christmas decorative bow for his bow tie and a bit of lace for the front of his shirt and T-shirt material for the cape. Hope you enjoy and have a Happy Halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Magenta - Frances Kane

Frances Kane grew up with Wally West, who started his superhero career as Kid Flash and in adulthood adopted the mantle of the third Flash. Frances was out driving with her brother and father when her magnetic powers kicked in and their car went over a cliff. Dad and brother were killed but Frances survived unharmed, making her mother think she was a demon or something. Frances later learned to manage her magnetic powers and for a time joined the Teen Titans and reignited the crush she had on Wally. They had a fling but she turned out to be a bit emotionally conflicted over the whole thing and has sort of dropped in and out of his life. She's also turned to the evil side on occassion, apparently not consciously, but that was later in her career. The pictured costume was from her earlier years as a super heroine, named Magenta because it's sort of magnetic sounding - isn't it? The figure is a 90mm metal female figure from Superior Models that required a lot of work. I had to remove all the costume details and the long hair and then used epoxy putty to make the head mask.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kismet - on my side?

Hurricane Sandy is approaching. I've received automated calls from my power supplier and my insurance company - never a good sign. The Frankenstorm looms so I thought I'd call on the good grace of Kismet - a cosmic entity within the DC Universe. Kismet appeared in a scattering of comics over the years, originally a peer and lover of Dominus, she was once transformed into a female superhero named Strange Visitor. She is virtually omnipotent and can manipulate time, space and reality to achieve anything she wishes. She seems to have taken a more than passing interest in Superman over the years. Maybe she'll take more than a passing interest in me and save me from Sandy. What do you think? More to follow. My Kismet was made from a Toy Biz Phoeniz, from which I removed the belt and then painted. Lots of white dots. The cape is made from T-shirt material. May Kismet be with me....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wonder Girl

Talk about a kid with a lousy start in life. Father dead, mother dying gives her up at an orphanage, foster father dies, foster mother gives her up, a baby broker tries to sell her, fire kills care-givers! Wow!! If anyone knew this kid's history they'd go nowhere near her. But Wonder Woman stumbles upon the girl and takes her to Paradise Island where she's raised and trained as an Amazon princess. When she becomes a young adult she re-enters our world and joins the Teen Titans as Wonder Girl, adopting the secret identity of Donna Troy. Several versions of Wonder Girl have been done as action figures and she has changed superheroine identities over the years, but a good first edition Wonder Girl costume seemed to be lacking - so, with my usual aplomb, I lept into the breach and made one. This was a rather difficult conversion. I used a Prisoner Princess Leia figure, removing the skirt and filling in holes, removing costume detail, resculpting the hair and pony-tail before painting appropriately. I really like the way it came out and it remains one of my favorite conversions.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Jimmy Olsen - Steel-Man

Jimmy Olsen visits Professor Potter, who has been working on a sphere-shaped Dimension-Travel Machine. Of course Jimmy blunders into some of the equipment and ends up in a parallel universe on an alternate earth. Today parallel universes are pretty commonly known but this story was written in 1966 when they were a little more unusual. In the alternate earth Jimmy appears in, Benedict Arnold was a war hero and second president of the United States, Perry White was a matador, not a newspaper editor, and Clark Kent works at a World's Fair where Lucy Lane is a computer specialist. But some things never change - Lucy is still only lukewarm for Jimmy. But the Olsen kid does - somehow - develop super powers just like Superman on his own earth. He battles a group called the Luthar League, standing for the League Using Terror, Havoc and Robbery (sounds like a pretty lame acronym), which is led by a fellow dressed just like the Joker. Turns out the League leader is really a disguised and evil Clark Kent who steals Jimmy's superpowers but is ultimately defeated by the freckle-faced ex-superhero. Professor Potter shows up and convinces Jimmy to return to his own world, which is probably a good thing in the final analysis. The Steel-Man costume on the cover differs a little from the version inside (not particularly uncommon during this period), but I liked the cover version the best. I used a Batman Returns Batman to make the figure, but really had to clean off a lot of the detail from the figure. I used a hole punch to make the belt buckle and cut the cape from T-shirt material.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Commissioner Gordon

What do I need to say about Commissioner Gordon? He was there from the very beginning of Batman's career - even Perry White couldn't say that. He's been moved aside and I think thought dead at one time or another over the decades, but he has been a mainstay of the Batman universe for a very long time. So I'll concentrate on the figure. When I came to this project my main concern was the glasses. Glasses are a pain in the neck! I had used a Coneheads Seedling figure for the body and the head from a Cops figure, which I gave gray (read white) hair and mustache. Then I had to work on the glasses. I used a couple of links from a spare chain I had around that were the right size. Then I cut a third link to make the bridge between the two and cemented them together with epoxy glue. Then I used straight pins for the side pieces, which helped because I could stick them into the plastic alongside the ears. I painted the glasses gold and there you have it!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Princess Yasmini

Wonder Woman is visiting the zoo with a couple of kids and they tell her about a talking lion. Despite her incredulity she investigates, leading her to Cairo, Egypt and the lair of the Hindu Princess Yasmini. Turns out the lion talking was a radio transmitter in the poor creature's intestinal tract giving instructions for a nest of spies. Princess Yasmini is the ring-leader and she tries to put the moves on Steve Trevor, WW's main squeeze, so needless to say the battling Amazon steps in to bring an end to the ring. Wonder Woman would have taken the Princess captive but she swallows poison in the end of the story so I guess justice is thwarted. The figure is an El Viejo Dragon Girl 90mm figure called the Indian Dancer. I had been looking for something I could use for Princess Yasmini and then I saw this and liked the look of her. She's my Princess Yasmini at least. I mounted her on a base and painted her rather like the outfit she was wearing in the story.

Monday, October 15, 2012

USS Langley

The USS Langley (CV-1) was - surprise, surprise - the U.S. navy's first aircraft carrier. A whole generation of navy pilots leading up to World War II got their initial flight training aboard the Langley. Langley started life as the collier Jupiter, completed in time for World War I, then converted to an aircraft carrier in 1922. In the late 1930's she was getting old and at 15 knots was pretty slow for normal carrier operations of the period so the navy converted her to a seaplane tender with the change in designator to AV-3 in 1937. During the conversion the forward part of the flight deck was removed exposing the original bridge from her collier days. Langley was a victim of the Japanese early in the war, being sunk on 27 February 1942 - initially hit by airplane attack and then scuttled with torpedoes from a U.S. destroyer to keep her from falling into enemy hands. Previously the only company to make a model of Langley was Panzerschiffe (background in picture) in epoxy resin, but recently GHQ has produced a version (foreground) in metal and more detailed. I have just completed the GHQ model and thought I would show it off. A friend of mine said he wished someone would do the original Langley carrier version, and that would be nice, but I would like to see that plus a model of the original Jupiter collier. If you have to dream then ask for the stars is my motto.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Satan Girl

In the 30th Century the Legion of Superheroes is composed of both male and female heroes. Then the female members of the Legion are suddenly struck with a crimson virus. A masked female named Satan Girl (not a very heroic moniker if you ask me) suddenly appears and brags that she has given the girls the plague and if the boys don't make her a Legion member all the girls will die. The boys call on Supergirl, who happened to be heading to the 30th Century anyway, and she struggles with Satan Girl. They seem to have the same powers so Supergirl thinks she must be Kryptonian, but when she throws a lead box containing green Kryptonite at the girl and it shatters it appears to have no effect on Satan Girl. As it turns out in the end Satan Girl and Supergirl are really one and the same. On her way to the future Supergirl was exposed to red Kryptonite, which always has strange effects on the Kryptonians exposed to it and in this case split Supergirl into two people. The other one wanted to live on past the 48 hours of the Red-K's effects so she adopted the Satan Girl identity. If she managed to kill Supergirl within the 48 hours she would be the one who survived. She even created a lead Satan Girl suit of armor to protect herself from the Green Kryptonite and fool the girl of steel. But in the end all her machinations availed her naught and Supergirl was reunited with her errant self and the Legionaire girls were cured of their Crinmson virus when the 48 hours were up. I made Satan Girl from a "Happy Meal" Catwoman figure. I've used this as the basis for a number of figures (see the Midnight Ladies post) so it comes in really handy. I removed the pointy ears and the belt, used epoxy putty to fashion the tops of her boots and painted her like Satan Girl. The cape was made from T-shirt material as usual.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Supergirl Variants

I'm convinced DC Comics never really knew what to do with the original Supergirl. They kept her in Superman's shadow for a long time after she first appeared, being used only as his secret backup. Then when she was known they fiddled around with her. Sometimes her powers would act up. She would take on Superman's villains and come out second best. They tried to make her hip and give her an array of costume choices (comic cover is from Adventure Comics No. 397, September 1970). Then to add insult to injury they killed her off in the Crisis on Infinite earths, implying she wasn't really needed in the DC Universe at all. In my last post I featured a story of Supergirl (and Superboy) Day adventures. I liked the idea of a bunch of girls dressed up as Supergirl on her special day. But I thought when I came to doing some of them I would jazz up the costumes a bit, just like DC had done with the Girl of Steel. The back row of figures are just standard Supergirl figures with heads switched. The front row is a little more experimental, including one from Marvel's Invisible Girl/Woman. This is a group I'll probably add to over time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Similar Super Covers

I've been trying to get this uploaded since yesterday but finally had to load the covers individually. Just another "technical difficulty" in a life replete with them. Anyway, the Adventure Comics #392, April 1970 Supergirl tale is a comic I've had for a long time but recently I stumbled across an image of the cover from Superboy #48, April 1956 and noted certain similarities so I bought the issue on ebay. In the older Superboy tale Clark Kent (secretly Superboy) is being severely chastised by the hot young blonde teacher for not wearing a Superboy costume like his classmates. In the later Supergirl story Linda Danvers (secretly Supergirl) is being chastened by her bespeckled male teacher also for not wearing a super suit like her classmates. In both stories there is a Superboy or Supergirl Day proclaimed and that's why everyone is wearing the suit. In both stories there are reasons why the hero/heroine are not wearing their costumes, although the reason for the whole celebration is more nefarious in the Supergirl tale. A couple of things sort of jumped out at me from the two covers and stories as cultural commentary. First off, in the older tale, although it's Superboy Day, both boys and girls are wearing the suit, while in the later tale from 14 years later only the girls are dressed in the Supergirl costume - guess they didn't want to have the boys in drag. Culturally it is interesting to note that all the kids on the Superboy cover are white while there is actually a black girl on the Supergirl cover. This was not particularly uncommon back in the 1950's where blacks only used to show up in jungle comic tales as the natives. I actually used the Supergirl cover as inspiration for some conversions, but more on that in a future post - I didn't want to clutter things up too much. As I was reading the Superboy story I seemed to remember it from my youth and probably had the comic at one time, but it wasn't a tale I really remembered. I may need to start working on a few suitably costumed young men and women action figures as supporting cast for Superboy now.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

500th Post - Celebrating with Kayla

Just to let everyone know that I do get out now and then and don't just sit here blogging and playing with my toys. The other night Hooters was celebrating their 50th Anniversary and I spent some of the evening with my favorite Hooters Girl named Kayla - celebrating. Had a fun evening out and thought it would be fun to make the 50th celebration my 500th post. I'd also like to thank Kayla for letting me use her name and image.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pumpkin Gang

This was a story from the time when Clark Kent was Superbaby - I'm guessing a few years old but not in school yet. A group of three criminals disguised with pumpkin heads separately hold up a bank, a jewelry store and a museum, then rendezvous at a futuristic city built outside of Smallville as a prop for a movie. The movie was never made but the city and the props remained after the director died. The Pumpkin Gang are using it as a hide-out but little Clark is using it as an amusement park. When the crooks try to shoo the kid away they try out some of the science fiction props and they appear to work because Superbaby employs some of his developing super powers. For example, when the gang employs an invisibility projector the noise it emits scares the tyke and he flies away at super speed, making it appear the kid became invisible. Police officer Parker stumbles upon the activity and ends up being quite the hero by "single-handedly" apprehending the gang - with just a little bit of surreptitious aid from the tyke of steel. This was a long-term project because I had bodies I could use but finding three pumpkin heads that would fit them was the problem. The bodies, from left to right, were from Bruce Wayne, Toht and The Question and the pumpkins were from a variety of sources.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Doctor Light

This character is relatively refreshing because he didn't start life as some petty criminal and developed some kind of powers or equipment to aid in his pursuits. No, Doctor Arthur Light was a bonafide scientist, a physicist, but one who wanted to turn his scientific knowledge into a life of crime. He was working on a device that he hoped would let him see the future, but instead it allowed him access to other planets, including Thanagar, home world of Hawkman and Hawk Girl. He managed to use the device to teleport himself to Thanagar, steal some of their advanced technology and return to earth, where he converted the equipment into devices to use in crime. Hawkman became aware of the theft and came to earth where he defeated Dr. Light and recovered the equipment, but not before the not-so-good doctor had created some crime devices. He could, for example, fire a solid beam of light like a battering ram, create space and dimensional warps, generate convincing optical illusions and even a device that allowed him to walk on light. But ultimately to no avail. He came up against the Justice League and was defeated. He fought individual members of the League and was defeated. He even fought the Teen Titans and was defeated. Finally he just packed it in as a bad idea and gave up his life of crime. See - not so dumb after all. The figure was made using the body of a Toy Biz Silver Surfer, the legs from a Daredevil, the arms from a Captain America and a head from I'm not sure who. I created the wing on top of his head from plastic sheet but most of the detail on his belt was painted on. I used T-shirt material for the cape. Wish I could remember who the head was from - it's a really good head.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Melancholia - A Modest Review

I don't usually review older movies (this one's a year old) but I just saw it the other night and it really impressed me. It's a movie about the end of the world. A giant earth-like planet has come into the solar system and is approaching Earth. Some believe it will do a fly-by and we'll be safe but in the opening it shows the two planets colliding so that sort of gives it away. The movie is really about how people deal with the prospect of imminent doom. The movie follows two sisters, Justine (played by Kirsten Dunst), and Claire (played by Charlotte Gainsbourg). As the movie opens Justine is getting married and there's a night-long reception at the castle where Claire and her husband John (Keifer Sutherland) live with their young son Leo. Before the night is out Justine has a fling with a strange young man and by morning the husband leaves by himself. Justine falls into depression, which is apparently the reason the director (Lars von Trier) made the movie in the first place - because he suffers from depression - and her struggle with that, and how Claire tries to help her through the depression. The film then wends its way to the inevitable conclusion, but both actresses carry it along with style and grace. There are some stunning images, especially when you see the moon on one side of a long-shot frame and the planet (called Melancholia) shining on the other. There's no hysterical running around or trying to build a spaceship to carry parts of the human race somewhere else. It's a very introspective experience. I liked it far more than I would have anticipated.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Raymond Maxwell Jensen was kind of a loser. Losing three jobs in a year he finally landed a handyman job at a government lab. When Superman carried out some experiments at the lab with radioactive materials from space he had some leftover crap. Jensen was assigned to dispose of this material but, being a little larcenous, supposed that anything that had Superman's attention mighty be worth something. When exposed to the radiation he was hideously burned and turned into a human atomic furnace, burning up energy at a ruinous rate. If he hadn't absorbed energy from people around him he would have perished. Then he decided that if he really wanted a good feed he should go after Superman. He did but Superman possessed so much energy that this human parasite disintegrated because he couldn't absorb so much so fast. Of course a good villain doesn't just go away that easily so an alien encountered his energy signature and reformed him - only physically, not morally. So the Parasite has made a number of comebacks and probably will continue to do so. I used a Toy Biz Silver Surfer figure for the conversion, which basically amounted to a paint job.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Turtle Man

The very first villain in the very first Silver Age Flash story back in Showcase No. 4, September 1956 was the Turtle Man. While he would later go on to accumulate more paraphernalia, he started out as a slightly rotund, slow moving and even slower speaking criminal who took his time in committing crime. Turtle Man... believed... that... moving... slowly... would... help... him... in... committing... his... crimes.... In that first issue the Flash proved him wrong. Turtle Man also had costumes with a turtle-like shell on his back and so on, but as slow as he moves it probably would have taken him forever just to get dressed. I will confess that sometimes I take the easy path to creating characters. In this case I thought Turtle Man looked a lot like the Jurassic Park Nedry figure so that's what I used and after a little paint job I had my Turtle Man.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Phantom Atom

While conducting an experiment in his lab at Ivy Town University Ray Palmer, secretly the Atom, is caught in an explosion that exposes him to radiation. This radiation creates a Phantom version of Ray/Atom with all of his size-changing powers. The Phantom, as one might expect, explores ways he might become tangible, even if it's at the expense of his prototype. The Phantom learns that he can use an opal ring to exchange places with the real Ray/Atom, but in the ensuing battle the real Atom throws the ring into a raging fire. Then Ray/Atom turns the Phantom's size-changing device on his belt down so that the Phantom basically shrinks away into oblivion. Sounds like a tidy way of disposing of the body. But don't feel too bad - the Phantom had learned that if it didn't switch places with the real Ray/Atom it would have died anyway. Don't you feel better now? I created my original version of the Atom using a Superior Models 25mm figure called Captain Crusher. It took a little filing to clean up the costume a bit but overall was a pretty straightforward conversion. When I discovered the Phantom Atom story I basically repeated the process using paler paints.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Ira Quimby was another one of those small-time, mostly not very successful, criminals the comic book universe seems to be positively replete with. Then the fellow whose crimal friends referred to as I.Q., both as his initials and because he wasn't very bright, visited the museum. Suddenly he was having flashes of brilliance and was creating various devices to aid him and his buddies in their criminal endeavors. That included his aeroshoes, which allowed them to "skate" on thin air. Now why didn't he just market the aeroshoes and make a fortune? If he was so damn smart why didn't he figure that out? Anyway, I.Q.'s crime spree turned out to be powered by alien stones at the museum that, when exposed to sulight, gave him those amazing mental powers. Of course he was ignominiously defeated by Hawkman and Hawk Girl and sent to prison. Then he broke out and then was sent back to jail. Oh, I'm sure you see the trend. Should have marketed those aeroshoes.... When I came to doing a figure of I.Q. I selected various GI Joe parts for the conversion. The main challenge was the goggles he wore, which I made from epoxy putty. Maybe some day I'll find something I can use for his aeroshoes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


For those of you who were around and could watch the TV from your cribs in 1990 there was a show on the tube called Flash. It was a version of the Scarlet Speedster which was rather neat in some ways and a bit lame in others. Over the course of its run there was a war (Desert Shield/Storm) and a few other things which served to pre-empt a number of episodes and I think they also moved it around the schedule. This is a process that networks use to kill a show they find too expensive to produce. Anyway, one of the characters on the Flash show was a clone of Barry Allen (aka Flash) created in a lab by a couple of bickering scientists. I think they were trying to create a more advanced bike-messager service or a super soldier or something. They managed to get a sample of the Flash's blood and quick-grew a clone who, while physically advanced, was virtually child-like emotionally. They named the clone Pollux, after the mythological twins Castor and Pollux, and they gave him a uniform similar to the Flash's except it was blue and had their own company logo on the chest - not a real good idea if they were trying to conceal the identity of who created the clone in the first place. Anyway, in the end the clone sort of sacrifices himself for the greater good and the scientists get bumped off so Flash is the last one standing. I rather liked the look of the character and the logo on his chest. I used a DC Infinite Universe 3 3/4" Flash figure (what else?) and painted it appropriately, including the different chest symbol.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Evil Star

The man who would eventually call himself Evil Star was born on the planet Aoran, orbiting the star-sun Acrux. He was married with a daughter but he was restless and dissatisfied. Problem? He didn't want to die. Unlike most of us he actually did something about it, creating the star band (that thing on his wrist), which used the power of the stars to energize its wearer and lengthen his life span. Unfortunately there was a side-effect - isn't there always? - that caused him to commit only evil acts. Thus he was untroubled when his wife and child grew old and died and when the people of Aoran rose up against him he destroyed them all. Talk about evil!! Anyway, he wanted to spread his evil throughout the universe but realized that he would be butting heads against the Guardian of the Universe and their Green Lantern Corps so he set out to destroy the big blue heads on Oa. That brought him into conflict with Green Lantern Hal Jordan, who succeeded in defeating Evil Star and his mindless "Starlings," smaller versions of himself who carried out his every whim. When creating Evil Star I used the body from a Superpowers Collection Green Lantern and the head from a Lex Luthor. I cut the star mask from a piece of card and found a piece of guided missile that would make the star band on his right wrist. The cape is made from T-shirt material.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Thing from 40,000 A.D.

As presented in the pages of Superman No. 196, May 1967, an object crash lands on the outskirts of Metropolis and a protoplasmic blob emerges. An intelligent blob from the year 40,000 A.D. - hope that's not what we're destined to end up as. On the plus side it's capable of assuming the guise of virtually anyone or anything it comes into comtact with. First it takes on the shape of a tree, then a soldier, then some scientists and workmen as it begins construction of a time schere that will return it to 40,000 where it plans to rule the world. Now what else would a shape-changing protoplasmic blob want to do but rule the world? I ask you! At any rate, it really starts getting into trouble when it first imitates Clark Kent and later Superman himself, battling the man-of-steel toe-to-toe. Then Superman remembers that they are near a tower where a certain test is about to be conducted - how convenient - and when the nuclear explosion takes place there is only one Superman left standing. The real one we hope. I wonder what this episode says about Superman's oath not to take life. I mean, he knew the blast was about to occur, he could have warned the damn Thing. Ya think?? Anyway, aside from a couple of plastic eyes I got from the craft store, the Thing is made from Skulpy, kneeding white and black together. I stuck the eyes in to make places for them in the soft clay, then removed them and baked it in the oven, replacing the eyes when it had cooled.

Friday, September 21, 2012


David Clinton had been a petty crook all his life and spent a good deal of time in jail for it. He decided that the reason he kept getting caught was because he didn't plan well enough and, admiring the clock-work precision of things in jail, he decided to link his crimes to clocks. Studying everything he could about time pieces and working on his plans in the prison workshop (maybe he should have just got out and got a job) Clinton started creating a variety of clock-themed weapons. These included an exploding hourglass, a wristwatch that fires its sharpened hands and a device that could actually slow time itself, as well as his normal mode of transport - a flying sun-dial. Calling himself Chronos he began his crime spree in Ivy Town, bringing him into conflict with the Atom. Guess what?? He ended up being defeated by Atom and sent back to jail. Repeatedly. These guys really need to find themselves another line of work. For the Chronos conversion I used a Mattel Secret Wars Daredevil figure and the head from a GI Joe Destro figure. There is actually a lot of detail to his costume, with the striped pants, arrows on his arms and the symbol on his chest. I used the yellow cape from a Toy Biz Robin cape to finish him off.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ocean Master

This conversion is a case of sometimes procrastinating can actually payoff. Ocean Master was a villain of Aquaman and on top of that was also his half brother. I suppose it would be like any kid growing up in the shadow of a more capable or talented sibling, it can really screw you up in the head. And so it was with Orm Curry, half brother to Arthur Curry, who's father had met and mated with a mermaid. He had remarried and then Orm came along. Angry and resentful Orm created the Ocean Master persona for himself and began exploiting the oceans in a negative way, including the looting of Atlantean cities. This, of course, brought him into conflict with his brother, Aquaman, on numerous occasions. My biggest problem when I was looking at doing this conversion was the helmet he wears. Finally I found one as an accessory to another figure (I really do not remember which one) and then I used a Toy Biz Daredevil figure for the rest of it. Aside from the helmet, which I did not want to try to build from scratch, it was basically just a paint job. For the cape I used T-shirt material with a piece of cord attached, held in place by two brass-headed nails.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Top

The Top was a member of the Flash's "Rogue's Gallery." He was born Roscoe Dillon and since his boyhood he was always fascinated with tops. When he grew up Dillon became a criminal and during one of his sojourns in jail came up with the idea of using tops in his criminal pursuits. Not sure why he didn't decide to just go into the toy business but I guess that's just how he rolled. Anyway, the self-styled Top created tops that exploded, or emitted smoke or blinding light and tops that created illusory images and ensnared people with strong wires or tops that created cyclonic winds. He also learned how to spin himself at high speed and discovered that doing so enhanced his intelligence. Remember folks I don't make this up. Anyway, all this spinning didn't keep him safe from the Flash, who kept throwing him back into jail - shoulda opened that toy store, just like I said - but the spinning did eventually effect his brain and, coupled with the Flash's super speed, ended up killing him. The figure was made from a Mattel Secret Wars Wolverine figure and the head from a Challenger sports figure. I did the lines around his body free-hand, which was really tedious and made me slightly cross-eyed for a time. And before you ask, the figure does not spin.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rainbow Raider

Roy Bivolo loved art and painting but there was one catch - he was color blind! His optometrist father looked for a cure but on his deathbed all he could offer were some "prisma-goggles," which ultimately gave his son considerable power over colored light. Embittered (I'm glad not everyone with color blindness is this bitter) Roy turned to crime. He learned that the goggles could exploit people through the various colors: red light caused anger, blue caused sadness, green caused envy, yellow caused cowardice, black light sapped an opponent's energy and color and white light could blind people. He could also create solid objects out of light, including the rainbows on which he traveled. As Rainbow Raider Roy embarked on a life of crime, although it was normally a life behind bars. He took on the Flash - off to jail. He took on Batman and the Flash - off to jail. He took on Green Lantern - you guessed it, off to jail. Well, he may have been bitter but he obviously didn't give up easily. The hardest part of making Rainbow Raider was the goggles, which I crafted from epoxy putty. Then I Dremeled the detail off a Superpowers Collection Flash figure and did a lot of colored painting. I'll but Roy wishes he could have done that!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Radiation Roy

I don't normally link my blog posts to what's happening in my life, but yesterday I underwent a CT scan where they inject the radioactive iodine into you and see what lights up. So I thought I would feature a radiation-themed villain, Radiation Roy, member of the 30th Century Legion of Super Villains. He had a genetic abnormality passed down from his Russian ancestors - and we know they had a few radiation problems - which caused him to develop an overenergized metabolism which he can release in the form of a radioactive paralysis beam. He applied to the Legion of Superheroes but they thought his power was too dangerous, so he applied to the Legion of Super Villains and they rather liked his power. The figure was made from a Mork from Ork body and the head from a GI Joe Salvo figure. The shoulder frills were cut from card, which I painted.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CAW - the Rank and File

Yesterday I posted about the terrorist organization known as CAW - standing for the Criminal Alliance of the World. Since in my previous post I featured the leadership I thought today I'd feature the minions. I mean, every really important criminal organization needs minions or troops. Al Capone had them and the drug lords have them so everyone needs them, right? And look at those spiffy uniforms!! Al Capone's boys maybe got a suit and a pearl grey hat to wear, but these fellows have actual super villain type uniforms, complete with the emblem on their chests spelling out CAW so everyone will know where they're from and who they represent. Probably makes it easier in the line-ups. For the figures I used four different Toy Biz Daredevil figures and the heads from two Visionaries (the figures weren't much but I really liked the heads), as well as Punisher and Superman. I mean, there's nothing wrong with a bad guy having a resemblance to Supes, now is there?? The hardest problem with this conversion was the CAW emblem, which I did freehand. Gotta love those paint pens.