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.