Friday, June 29, 2012
OK, not a sex change, just a change of disguises. The story goes (from Detective Comics No. 49, March 1940) that Bruce Wayne's current girlfriend Julie Madison (stage name Portia Storme) is shooting a movie but is threatened with death by the Golden Age Clayface. Batman and Robin step in and the Boy Wonder takes Julie's place dressed in a cloak and protected by padding. When the cloaked figure is shot with an arrow by Clayface Batman intervenes and captures the bad guy and it is revealed that Robin has been masquarding as Julie and Julie has been wearing a Robin costume. I rather liked the idea of a girl as Robin so I did a conversion using a Robin figure, who's chest I enhanced by use of epoxy putty. Then I used the head from a Hannah Dundee figure from Tyco's Cadillacs and Dinosaurs line.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I've written about Marvel Comic's Nova Corps before - if you don't believe me check out my post on Nova Samaya. In the pages of Annihilation Prologue No. 1 there's a picture, which you can see in the photo, of part of the Nova Corps Fleet of starships. Since I frequently include cars and ships and airplanes and spaceships (as appropriate) with my figures I thought I would build a small fleet of ships to go along with my Nova Corps figures. After browsing around I discovered some ships made by Ninja Magic for their own universe and thought their Jun-ila group of ships would serve my purposes. Most of the ships pictured are from this line, although the two at the right top in the picture are Gorn from a couple of other lines I believe. The small one at right is from the old Fasa line and the big one I'm not sure - had that one laying around incomplete for a long time. Anyway, I painted them in the Nova Corps colors and voila!!! There's the small fleet.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
The Taskmaster was a Marvel Comics villain who had so-called "photographic reflexes," which allowed him to watch someone perform a physical technique, either sports of martial, and then immediately become a master of it. Boy, would that have made my school years a lot less trying! He concentrated on watching superhuman performance and then he set up a school to train thugs in techniques and then farm them out to various criminal organizations. He's been shut down a number of times but always seems to stage a comeback - just like all comic book good villains should. It took the toy makers a long time to make a figure of Taskmaster so I had done one myself (on right) using a Toy Biz Daredevil body and the arms and legs from a Captain America and the head from a Doctor Doom. I used various little parts from my parts store and made a cloth cape with brass nails to attach it to the body. Then they came out with a Taskmaster figure in the 3 3/4" scale, which is quite nice, but with weak leg joints and a heavy cape it tends to try to recline while standing up. I may have to brace it up.
Monday, June 18, 2012
So how many of you knew it was the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812? How many of you knew there was a War of 1812? Well there was such a war and it gave us freedom of the seas from Great Britain, who had been shanghaiing our sailors, the Star Spangled Banner as a national anthem and Andrew Jackson as president-he's the one on the twenty dollar bill. The bombardment of Fort McHenry at the entrance to Baltimore harbor was one of the pivotal battles of the war and when the fort did not surrender afterwards the British retreated from Baltimore. In the morning Francis Scott Key saw the flag flying and wrote the lyrics. Anyway, there is a big celebration going on in Baltimore this week and it includes a number of "tall ships" from a number of countries. A friend of mine and I went this Sunday and had a great time, touring a few of the ships and getting in the spirit of the occasion, including watching the Blue Angels naval flight acrobatic team do their stuff over the city. The pictured ship is the Colombian sail training ship Gloria. She has a crew of 10 officers, 41 enlisted and 88 cadets, who are learning the ways of the sea. In addition to the sails she also has a diesel engine that propels her at about 10 knots. Tall ships do have a certain romance about them that is undeniable.
Friday, June 15, 2012
The other day I posted a picture of some models from Shapeways.com but I thought I'd follow up a little today. The Indian carrier Vikramaditya is a conversion of the Soviet Admiral Gorshkov (originally named Baku). The deal for this carrier has been in the works for nearly a decade and it has emerged as a fully clear flight deck carrier, which it was not as originally built (in foreground in picture). The Baku as built had surface-to-surface missiles and guns up forward so that only the angled deck was clear and permitted flight operations for the ship's helicopters and Vertical Take-off and Landing jets. The Vikramaditya is scheduled to operate Mig-29 fighters that will be taking off with an assist from the ski-jump and then landing with arresting wires. India should be pleased with the outcome. The Vikramaditya is from Shapeways.com and the Baku from Superior Models.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
I'm always on the hunt for new sources of 1:2400 ship models and recently I stumbled across this site called Shapeways.com. Among a lot of other stuff they offer ship models in a variety of scales, including 1:1200, 1:1250, 1:2400, 1:3000, 1:4800, 1:6000 and then a few larger ones in the 1:700, 1:600 and even 1:500 scales. Some of the larger scales are mostly airplanes but the smaller ones have a lot of ships. They also have spaceships for those who are so inclined - and sometimes I am. Anyway, I sent them an order and a couple of weeks later I got my ships - they actually make them just for you. They are different plastic materials and are very light - in fact if you blow hard you would blow your fleet away. Solution - don't blow on your ships!! Pictured at top is the Indian carrier Vikramaditya - formerly the Soviet/Russian Baku and then Admiral Gorshkov, which has just begun sea trials and is due to be delivered later this year. Next is the French nuclear carrier Charles de Gaulle, which is pretty unique. Then to the left is the Italian carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi, which I had a few Superior Harrier models for. The ship in front is the advanced destroyer Zumwalt, which is under construction now. Then the little guy to the left is the Thai coastal defense ship Ratanakosindra, two of which were built in the 1920's and lasted into the 1960's and 1970's. I like the detail and the ships in the line fill gaps no other company currently is filling. Definitely worth a look.
Monday, June 11, 2012
I haven't really pondered where George Lucas came up with the hair style we first see on Princess Leia in the first Star Wars movie - Whoops, I guess it was the fourth movie. Whatever. Anyway, I have seen a similar hairstyle on Sarah Douglas in the movie People that Time Forgot, which was released in August 1977. Star Wars was released in May 1977 and they were both made in England (or at least parts of them were) so chances are that some of the same hair stylists were working on both movies. Then I came across a couple of early appearances of Batgirl/Barbara Gordon in issues of Detective Comics and low-and-behold - ear-muffs! In the late 1960's. Don't know if there was any influence there or it was just a fluke but it's always sort of fun to speculate about. Anyway, it worked out for a nice Babs Gordon conversion to use the head from a Princess Leia in white outfit coupled with a Leia on Bespin body. I think the force was with me.
Friday, June 8, 2012
A man's life is in the balance and Kid Eternity travels to earth to intervene before the fellow dies fifty years too soon. Along the way he encounters a horrible, beastly brute of a man named - well - Brute. Turns out the Brute is an arch criminal who is diverting chemicals for his own nefarious reasons. Kid Eternity battles the Brute, calling up different characters from Eternity to aid him, and in the end justice, and the Kid, prevails and the fellow who came near to dying too soon will get that fifty extra years of life. Brute was sort of one of those mindless, force of nature kind of guys who runs roughshod over anyone who gets in his way. For the figure I used a Mission Impossible Ethan Hawke body and the head from a Cops figure that had that sort of leering, criminal expression on his face. I even used my paint pen to give the Brute five-o'clock shadow and arm hair.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
In a story of intrigue and the movements of a mysterious briefcase Kid Eternity moves in strange circles and in the end confronts an Asian of unknown nationality or allegiance. Looking back at comics during the Golden Age reveals some of the racial stereotypes of the period. Blacks were typically played for laughs and-especially following Pearl Harbor-Asians were often depicted as the Yellow Peril. In this Kid Eternity story from 1947 that is still the case. Gargot is the leader of a small nest of agents provocateur trying to obtain the briefcase through any means necessary. Kid Eternity ends up calling out the Light Brigade to bring them to task. Gargot himself was made using a Spy Kids-2 McDonough figure and the head from a GI Joe bad guy named Mindbender.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
In this adventure Kid Eternity encounters a long lost tribe of Amazons and their mates. Although in the story the ladies all dress in similar attire with bronze bras, blue skirts and red capes, I decided I liked the more traditional attire so my group of Amazons is dressed accordingly. These include two figures from the Phoenix Follies line (upper right and lower left), a Superior Models figure (upper left) and the lady in the robes (lower right) I can't remember the manufacturer of. All are metal miniatures. In the story the women of this particular society certainly rule the roost and the men-folk have taken on the more traditional women's roles of cooking, cleaning and passing gossip around the hearth. For the men I chose a metal miniature of Socrates (on right), although I'm not sure he was ever noted for his dishpan hands, and a senator from a Roman chess set made of plastic. I actually like using chess pieces for some minor characters where they fit into my collection. It gives another area of diversity in selecting appropriate figures.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Kid Eternity needs to drive off a band of rowdies so who does he call up? Why, the Alamo Defenders of course. Led by Colonel Travis (on the right) and including the famous mountain man and senator Davy Crockett. The artist who drew this particular story had all of the defenders dressed in buckskins but I doubt that would have been the case and most of the depictions of Travis I've seen have him in uniform. I'm not sure that Crockett wore a beard much but I had a mountain man figure (from Superior Models) and I thought he would fit in nicely with the period. The Travis figure was made from a Zorro Captain Ramone (I think it was) and the head from a Han Solo. Not too much else needs to be said about these guys.
Friday, June 1, 2012
When Charles Martel was called up from Eternity by the Kid I confess I didn't know a lot about him. Come to find out he was a brilliant general and administrator who was humble enough to turn down titles such as King and Consul for the more austere Duke and Prince of the Franks. Appearing on the scene in the early 700's, Charles had the rare gift for the Middle Ages of being both a strategic and tactical master, capable of adapting his tactics on the fly in the heat of battle. In a number of instances he triumphed despite the fact that he faced superior numbers and weaponry. Arab conquests in the 7th Century had disrupted Mediterranean trade routes leading to a decline in the European economy. If Charles Martel had not halted Islamic expansion into Europe from 732 onward it could have led to economic disaster for the Europeans. Certainly a pivotal charater of the period and as it turns out the grandfather of Charlemagne. The figure is a French pewter figure of Charles Martel I painted.