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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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.