Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I have a little confession to make - I like guns. My foreign viewers probably think all Americans are constantly armed and dangerous but that's not true of us law-abiding types. I can't really afford the real ones so I have a number of non-firing replicas and I like to use them at Halloween as part of costumes. Anyway, my birthday is coming up and I finally sprung for a replica LeMat revolver that I had been wanting for a while. This revolver was invented by Dr. Jean Alexandre LeMat just prior to the American Civil War and was carried by many of the Confederate cavalry during that conflict. For the period this was a formidable firearm with nine (count 'em) nine spots in the cylinder for .44 caliber balls and a shotgun barrel for 16 gauge buckshot under the main barrel. The cylinder was loaded with powder (usually in the morning fresh) and a ball was patted into place using the lever on the side of the barrel. The shotgun round was loaded separately. Then percussion caps were placed over each chamber and she was ready to play Hell with Union cavalry! I've placed it next to a Colt .45 caliber Peacemaker to give an idea of scale - the LeMat was a big gun. For the TV series Johnny Ringo (1959-60) the hero carried one that the producer/actor Dick Powell had gotten re-fitted to fire cartridges and presented to the show's star, Don Durant. Also, in the science fiction TV series Firefly the captain carries a side-arm that was modeled after the LeMat.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Candy Clark has been around the Hollywood acting scene for a long time, starting with the film Fat City in 1972. The following year she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting actress for her performance in American Graffiti. More recently she played Matt Damon's mother in the 2009 movie The Informant. I confess I have not seen all of her films but I always enjoy her performances, which always seem a little over the top. She's played a number of crazy girlfriends, most notably to Roy Schneider in Blue Thunder (1983), but also to David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). I also admired her because she wasn't afraid of doing nudity, which a lot of American actresses balk at. Her charms were amply displayed in The Man Who Fell to Earth and as the crazy sister in The Big Sleep (1978). I had an opportunity to meet her in June 1998 here in Maryland at an autograph convention and found her charming.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Watch out!! Captain Video may be watching you! But only in a benevolent way. Yeah, right. Anyway, the good Captain shows up in Ms. Victory's shower (yeah, isn't that convenient) and invites her to take a tour of his Rocky Mountain headquarters. Seems the good captain (aren't there any majors or colonels in comics?) was once a research scientist working on a way to bring sight to the blind when he was made blind himself by a jealous associate. Continuing his work he gave himself 360 degree vision (not really sure how that would work or if you would get dizzy and confused) and got rich making wealthy blind men see again. He created the Rocky Mountain complex with sensors all over the world, invisible to us poor mortals, with which he could monitor for nastiness all over the planet with his trained cadre of like-minded voyeur do-gooders. The captain shows up from time to time in the Femforce and related comics to help save the day. When I decided to do Captain Video I also wanted to do a bunch of his assistants and also the disembodied head he shows up in your shower as. The captain was made from a Toy Biz Cyclops figure that I cleaned up and then sculpted the various costume accessories on. I used a Cyclops head for the disembodied version (at the captain's feet). Then I used a bunch of assorted heads and bodies to make the assistants. In one color story Captain Video showed up with gold costume accents and in another with silver but I liked the silver best so that's the color I went with.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Astron and Astra are inter-dimensional police officers from an alternate earth called Ammon. They sort of pop up in the AC universe when there appears to be an inter-dimensional crime in progress. Astron's real name is apparently Page Connors - I guess the female version of that name is spelled Paige, isn't it - anyway, scans have indicated that Astron has a nearly identical genetic structure to Commando D, so he may be an alternate universe version or maybe a clone or bear some type of relationship because they both deal with inter-dimensional issues. I'm not sure what the relationship is between Astron and Astra, or even if there is a relationship aside from their work, but if an inter-dimensional baby showed up somewhere along the line I wouldn't be the one who was surprised. As part of their job the pair can create dimensional portals through which they can travel and they can also fly. I used a Toy Biz Daredevil for Astron and a Toy Biz Invisible Woman for Astra. I sculpted the helmets using epoxy putty and the holsters are from two Jurassic Park Muldoon figures.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
This is the fourth and final character from AC Comics super group the Ravagers. The Mercenary takes a medical center hostage in Newark, New Jersey in order to lure the Scarlet Scorpion into a fatal trap. The two of them seem evenly matched, with superhuman strength and the Mercenary has computer-perfect coordination and the ability to master any physical skill in a few hours - probably making him real handy around the house. Except in this case he means fighting skills. Plus he has a really nice shield with a skull and cross-bones on it to really scare the rubes. One problem though - the Scorpion can see well in the dark so when the cops cut the power the Mercenary is suddenly at a disadvantage and is quickly dispatched. Should have invested in a pair of night-vision goggles. The Mercenary was made using a Spider-Man figure, which I painted in the camouflage pattern, and I found a shield in my parts box that, with a little putty, made a nice shield for him. I think the Ravagers were revived sometime later but I haven't seen the later incarnation yet.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
For my third installment in the AC Comics Ravagers super powered group I present - ta da - X-T, which he informs Dragonfly stands for Extra-Terrestrial (catchy name, don't ya think? - I guess ET was already taken). Then he claims he's from the planet Venus, which, if you didn't know, has surface pressure that has crushed more than several spacecraft sent from earth, has more volcanoes than all the inner planets combined and rains sulfuric acid. Anyway, we know he's just a human paranormal anyway. However, he can freeze the air around Dragonfly with beams from his eyes, can become intangible, can fly and has super strength. But in their battle at the Kennedy Space Center Dragonfly tricks him into entering a chamber that simulates the Venusian atmosphere (not sure why they would have one of those, but what the heck), which robs X-T of all his powers and she knocks him out. I made X-T using the body of a Superpowers Collection Green Lantern and the head of a Martian Manhunter. He actually has a pretty interesting look.
Monday, January 23, 2012
This is the second installment in my review of the Ravagers super (hero) team, who battled Femforce and company. This guy is named Automag and his technically advanced suit of armor provides him with super strength, flying ability and he can fire miniature missiles from his wrist cannons. He battles Stardust over Mount Rushmore - probably as scenic a setting for a battle as any - and at first is kicking her butt because everything he throws at her knocks her head over heels, while her own Starburst bolts seem to be absorbed by his armor making him stronger. She finally figures out that the best approach is the brute-force tact, using a large rock to deflect his missiles, firing a bolt at the ground under his feet to tip him over and finally just using her bare hands to rip the armor off him, leaving a rather pathetic little man where an armored warrior had stood only moments before. Frankly I don't know where I got the figure for this one - probably just a random figure I picked up in a used toy store. I did mount a blaster on his wrist, painted him silver and his visor red and there we have Automag.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
The Ravagers are a superhuman, paranormal group that was essentially hired to battle Femforce and their allies. General Richard T. Gordon, who is Femforce's overall boss, decides the "team" needs a little lesson in humility. He approaches Dr. Lieber, who apparently specializes in paranormal human production, to send over his team to do the job. These are the Ravagers - Mars, Automag, X-T and The Mercenary. I thought I would present them one at a time and I'll start with Mars, self-proclaimed God of Battle. He takes on Captain Paragon, whom he battles to a stalemate, using his Star-Sceptre - that's the mace he's holding. Paragon assumes Mars draws his strength and invulnerability from the sceptre but through trial and error - equaling a few hard knocks - realizes that Mars is the dry-cell battery charging the sceptre. Paragon figures Mars is probably weakened as he's charging the sceptre and chooses that moment to strike, dropping Mars like an old rag doll. I made Mars using a Hercules TV series figure, painting his hair and lower extremities, I also painted the straps around his lower arms, which was the hardest part of the conversion. The mace I got from my parts box.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Roger Brant is an American soldier who loses his legs and is trapped in an ancient temple in Vietnam. The otherworldly Chen Lo gives Roger the secret to tapping into a million dead souls who were apparently murdered in the temple and he becomes the Shade. He seems to be able to fly, become intangible, create mental images and is supremely powerful. He also seems to be able either to change size or to make people perceive he can do that; and let's face it, with that kisser he could probably scare the crap out of almost anyone anyway. Roger goes to work for Fremont Industries, run my Femforce member Tara Fremont and her father, where the Shade and Tara end up knee deep in rotting corpses and zombies. Shade is also linked in several adventures to Nightveil and helps out when earth is invaded by the female forces of the planet Rur (see Stardust post). I decided to do three versions of Shade, including a 10", a five inch and the smaller two and a half inch, all made from different sized Toy Biz Silver Surfer figures.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Every universe has its share (sometimes more than its share) of butt-heads (trying to keep it clean - don't want to be reported for rude language). In the AC Comics Universe these four guys are the male chauvinist pigs (MCP, as if you didn't know) of the superhero crowd. They boast and brag and attempt to take up all the air in the room and in the end they usually get their butts handed to them on a silver platter. Usually by the girls - Oh, the shame!!! The guy on left is the leader of the Justice Squad, name of Atoman, who seems to have a lot of strength powers and I think he can fly - with or without booze. Next to him is Speedbolt, who reminds me a bit of DC Comics Impulse, but anyway, he's the team's speedster, usually tripping over his own feet, or the accent rugs. Next right I first saw named Nightman and he seemed to be a "Batman" type, but he has never really demonstrated any real detective skills. Later I heard him called Carbonator and he had some weird power of generating clouds of soot. I suppose if he can't beat the bad guys he could at least leave their house in a mess. And then on right we have either Magic Lantern or Beamer, depending on which comic you read. I think he's suppose to be some sort of Green Lantern but I've never really seen him do much. One of the girls ripped the symbol off his chest and that really freaked him out so maybe that's the source of his power. I made Atoman from a Toy Biz Black Lash figure, which required major Dremeling. Speedbolt was made from a Mattel Secret Wars Doctor Octopus figure with a head from my unident heads box. Nightman/Carbonator was made from an Animated Batman; I used some paper to make the tops of his boots. And finally for Magic Lantern/Beamer I used a Superpowers Collection Green Lantern; I fastened the cape to his chest with brass nails that work very well for that purpose.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
I have never really liked the commercially available figures in 3 3/4" format that have been done of Susan Storm Richards, big sister of the Human Torch and (sometimes) loving wife of Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. I always thought the uniforms (see lower pic) were kind of clunky (one on right is from the Showdown game system and one on the left from a boxed set with Reed and Ben Grimm). But then her outfits in the comics were sort of like that so I didn't think too much about it. Then I discovered FF #376 from 1993 (see top pic). I liked this costume so much I did a custom figure of it and here we are. She only wore this version for a few issues but at least I captured her and she will live long in my collection. Cheers, Susie. The figure I used was a Ms. Marvel with the short hair.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Starting life as Laura Wright, she was born in 1924 (oops - telling her age) and began her crime-busting career in the 1940's as the straight-shooting Blue Bulleteer. She spent some time in another dimension with her mentor, the Wizard Azagoth, who trained her in the mystic arts. She is perhaps the most powerful member of Femforce, not only possessing the ability to fire bolts of sorceress energy, erect ectoplasmic protective shields, open portals into extra-dimensional space and she can levitate herself and others. She is also sensitive to magical disturbances and can track them to their source. Most of her powers derive from her Cloak of Darkness, which is a powerful tool that always threatens to take over the wearer so she must be ever alert that her good intentions are not being corrupted by the cloak. She has a mansion in the Florida everglades which sort of hovers above the ground, which would probably be good for keeping water out of the basement and not being effected by earthquakes. She's a magic user in the same class with Dr. Strange in the Marvel Universe and Spectre in the DC. I used the WILDCATS figure Voodoo to make Nightveil, cutting the cloak from T-shirt material and binding it with silken cord.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
I did a previous post on a Captain Freedom from the Golden Age from Harvey Comics - just check if you don't believe me. Anyway, this Captain Freedom is from AC Comics, only there's a bunch of him. Cloned from the DNA of a famous scientist, with incredible will-power and physical and mental training, as many as a hundred of the clones were dispatched to various countries all over the world as a symbol and to fight for freedom. In one story arc there was a plot to dispose of as many of the Captain Freedom's as possible and at least 32 were killed, but I guess whoever created the first batch could knock out a few more as necessary. He (they) have operated with Femforce and some of the related groups over the years, although I'm not sure they are actually members of any particular group. Their base of operations appears to be an underwater city called Oceanus, which I've only seen once or twice but which is referred to a lot. One of the good Captains serves as the security officer on Oceanus. When I decided to do this version of Captain Freedom I wanted to do multiples to account for at least a few of the clones. I ended up doing four because you seldom see more than between three to five at any one time. I did them all using Toy Biz Daredevil figures, adding the little shield belt buckle using a piece of sheet plastic. I've noticed that sometimes they have a yellow stripe down the side of their leg and sometimes not. I did the version without the stripe.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Sometimes I come to certain comic story-lines late in the game and then go back and catch up a bit - and so it was with AC Comics. When I first encountered this character in 1993 he was calling himself Dimension Commando and then when I rediscovered him in a 1985 story-line he was referred to as Commando D. As it turns out this is another of those aliens, this time from the planet Altrannas. Sort of like Battlestar Galactica as we encounter this planet it is about to be over run by the reptilian shapeshifting Vardax. This guy named Kon-Nor is given a double dose of all the planet's knowledge and he's locked inside a compartment which is locked inside a ring which is given to his girlfriend Dorna and they head to earth. Of course, where else would you go with all the advanced knowledge of your dying race? Of course the girl dies, wiping out the future of that genetic strain, and the ring comes into possession of a teenager named Denny Brant, who can now call forth the good commando whenever he needs him. (Sounds a little like the Captain Mar-Vel-Rick Jones story-line from a number of years ago.) Kon-Nor took on the persona of Commando D and started paling around with the Sentinels of Justice. By 1993 Denny seems to have fallen by the wayside and the Scarlet Scorpion is in possession of the magic ring. I used a Toy Biz Daredevil to make the D-Man. I haven't done Denny yet, although he's sort of on my long-term maybe gonna do list.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
I sort of like this character because he's an everyman. According to the canon there was a Scarlet Scorpion fighting bad guys back in the 1950's and 60's. The first one was actually Inspector Trent, who apparently went from costumed vigilante to police chief. Fast forward to 1984 and Mike McClusky, a sixteen-wheel truck driver gets on the bad side of some bad guys. They think he heisted a shipment of whatever it was they were shipping and so they do what bad guys usually do - they torture him, and then shoot him and dump the body. Except this time Mike the victim wakes up!! Turns out he has superhuman healing properties and super strength. He goes off on a crusade to catch the bad guys and happens to run into Inspector Trent, who just happens to know where the Scarlet Scorpion's equipment is stored. Now dressed as the Scorpion Mike is on a crusade. I ended up doing two versions of the Scarlet Scorpion, although not specifically targeted at the two separate individuals, but mostly based on the various artistic representations. The more pumped version is from a Toy Biz Gladiator figure while the other one is a Toy Biz Flash.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Lest anyone think the AC Comics universe is peopled only with voluptuous women (which wouldn't really be such a bad thing) and midget men, I thought I'd present a few of their male heroes. This one is sort of the leader of the pack. Captain Paragon apparently started life in the 19th Century old west as Charlie Starrett, who also assumed the "Robin Hood" persona of the Latigo Kid. In the 20th Century a secret foundation turned him into the superpowered Captain Paragon. In this guise he fought the Nazis in WWII and battled communists in the Korean War before being cast into suspended animation by the Black Shroud in 1952. Thirty years later he's revived by ladies from the planet Rur (read by Stardust post) and rejoined the superheroing world. Now married to Ms. Victory (see my Ms. Victory post) he's still battling the bad guys over a hundred years later. I've done three versions of the good captain, all pictured. Sometimes he wears a cape and sometimes not. A later incarnation had him sporting longer hair, for which I used the long-haired version of Superman. In the middle is a conversion using a Toy Biz Green Lantern and on the right is Toy Biz Silver Surfer body with Daredevil arms and Captain America legs and the head from a Peter Parker. I love a little variety in my conversions.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Miniature heroes haven't been as popular in the modern age as they were during the Golden Age. The only one that springs immediately to mind is the modern Atom. However, as part of their Vault of Heroes story line AC Comics "revived" a supposed Golden Age hero named Microman in the early 1990's. The way he tells the story Microman started life as research scientist Dr. Carey Roberts who, along with his assistant Doris Dalton, was conducting research into electromagnetic fields in 1941. He stumbled upon a parallel dimension and created two portals - one small and then a man-sized one. Venturing through the larger one he's overcome by deadly spores from a plant so Doris grabs a couple of gas masks that just happen to be handy and rushes into the strange dimension to rescue Carey. She revives him but the large portal closes and they can only return through the smaller one. Yep, you saw this coming didn't you?? They come back reduced in size to about eight inches. Upset but undeterred they determine to become crime fighters - what else - as Microman and Microgirl and did pretty well for a decade. Then Microman decided to join in the Vault of Heroes project (more on that later) and goes into hibernation for a few decades until he's revived in the 1990's. There doesn't seem to have been a Microman in the Golden Age so I'm sure AC was really using the Centaur Comics Minimidget and his girlfriend Ritty - neither pair could resume their original size and were stuck as "midgets." I don't know what happened to Microgirl but Microman did have some adventures with the girls of Femforce. I used a small metal heroes Cyclops figure, which had goggles like Microman, and cleaned the rest of the detail off his costume. I put She-Cat into the picture to give you a sense of scale.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
I rather like Rayda because she got her electronic powers during the first Gulf War. Dyna Moris was a patriotic young lady who's hero was Ms. Victory and who's mission was to serve her country. While stationed in Saudi Arabia she was trying to save civilians during a Scud missile attack when there was an explosion at a nuclear facility. She was caught in the explosion but rather than turn radioactive and die like most people probably would she became a human dynamo. She's able to generate massive electrical discharges and her reaction time and muscle control are greatly enhanced. Rayda can process any electrical energy that she comes into contact with and can generate bolts from her eyes and hands and can even generate an electrical field across her entire body. She rides a custom motorcycle powered by her own electrical energy. Model and actress Julie Michaels (pics on right) made personal appearances in the Rayda costume a few years ago. I used a Toy Biz Alpha Flight Aurora action figure for Rayda, but the real problem was trying to get the stripes on her costume right.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
I stumbled across the picture at left and it sort of inspired me. It looks like something published by AC Comics, who took over a number of the jungle girls from the Golden Age over the years. Since I had done all four of the girls I thought I'd just put them together as a nice comparison. The figures are, starting from in back, Rulah, then bottom row left to right we have Camilla, Tiger Girl and Cave Girl. The astute observer will notice that I've used the same body (Toy Biz Savage Land Storm) and mixed up the heads. Rulah has the head of an Alpha Flight Aurora, Camilla has a Dagger head, Tiger girl has the head from a Hercules Atalanta and Cave Girl has the head from a Toy Biz Psylocke. They represent three Golden Age comics houses but I'm not a gonna tell - a coveted no-prize will go to the reader who can name the publishing houses for each.
Friday, January 6, 2012
In the Femforce universe one figure stands out and that is Synn. Due to some bizarre accidental confluence of chemicals and factors (sort of like Barry Allen getting splashed with chemicals just as his lab is being struck by lightning turning him into the fastest man alive) including hallucinogenic chemicals, high voltage electricity and her own rather bizarre persona, Synn can turn the most random thought into tangible reality. However, due to a childhood of abuse and then her own abuse of drugs, she is rather unfocused and suffers from a short attention span. She can conjure a giant eagle to take you to the highest building in the city, but when she loses focus the eagle will disappear and you'll be stuck at the top of the building. Cool beans! By the way, cool beans is her trademark expletive. Although basically good hearted and intent on doing the right thing she has a real bad tendency for gullibility and misdirection by those who have a more demonic bent of character. When AC Comics was introducing an entertainment magazine called Synn Watch a few years back they asked me to do an article on customizing action figures. For the article I did Synn, using a Toy Biz Invisible Woman and the head from a Black Cat. The result is in the illustration.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Nancy Arazello blundered into the path of a bolt of energy from Zzarra, an other-dimensional insect Deity, merging her existence with a beautiful silver-haired goddess who could fly, possessed superhuman strength and move objects telekinetically. If it was me who stepped in front of the damned beam I'd have just turned into a pile of goo. Another heroine from the pages of various AC Comics publications, Nancy sort of struggles with her persona as she battles various bad guys who all seem bent on destruction and pillage. She initially appeared in 1983 and has sort of moved in and out of the Femforce universe since then. I'd almost call her a second-stringer, but she does have that silver hair and those green goggles/bug eyes going for her so that is a plus. I used another Toy Biz Jean Grey figure, Dremeling the belt off and painting her white and black. I used epoxy putty for the goggles/bug eyes and painted them gloss green enamel. I don't generally use enamel on plastic because it tends never to set properly, but use on expoxy is fine and in this case gave me the effect I was after.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Tara Freemont is another one of those really wildly rich people who decide to dedicate their lives to a worthy cause. I wonder, are there really people like that in the world today. There have been in the past but now I wonder. Anyway, Tara is sort of AC Comics answer to all the Golden Age jungles girls, a few of whom I've featured here in the past. Tara is described as a tireless environmental activist (probably vegan). She aided Femforce during one of their cases and has remained with the group ever since. Tara's father is the mega-wealthy industrialist TC Freemont who bought her an island which she maintains as a nature preserve, including the odd prehistoric monster or two. Tara's only "superhuman" abilities are a strange "empathy" with animals, and the ability to grow to enormous heights (see inset graphic), brought on when she was tricked into drinking something called the Garganta formula. When I wanted to do an action figure of Tara I decided to do a couple of sizes. The smaller one is a conventional Toy Biz Storm figure with the head from a Dagger with the hair painted black. The larger figure is an epoxy resin 120mm figure, I think from a company called Soldat, which I'm not sure still exists.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
I thought for the first day of 2012 I would lighten things up a bit and what could be brighter than Stardust - another entry from the AC Comics stable of Femforce characters. But this one's a bit different! She's from the planet Rur - so she's a Rurian. Not a human, but a Rurian. And, according to Stardust herself, on Rur they have only one gender (obviously hot female), who develop from embryos in the bowels of the planet itself. Saves on labor pains and pesky stretch marks I guess. Of course, when she comes to earth she seems to be (based on the stories I've read) "compatible" with the males of our planet. Not to say, except for the pointy ears (guess I could call them Spock or Hobbit ears) that she looks like pretty much any other hot human female on planet earth. And she's "compatible." I wonder what sparked that particular evolutionary path. Maybe we'll never know. Anyway, I used a Toy Biz Marvel Spider-Woman for the figure and did a repaint. Since the hair covered those Hobbit ears of hers I didn't have to deal with that particular physical feature. I think she looks "compatible," now don't you???