Monday, January 28, 2008

AT-ST complete!




Here it is! All told, it took me about a week to complete. The bottom is the interior cockpit detailing. I love making this stuff, but it takes up so much bloody room...this thing is just over two feet tall, and now I have to store it. I don't know what I'll do when it comes time to move back east.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

My next big project...AT-ST!









Prior to this project, I had constructed an X-Wing and a TIE Fighter in much the same way. My basic materials are styrene and modelling cement. When I decided that I was going to move ahead with this project, I really had no idea how it was going to turn out. I've made sure to document my progress, from initial sketch (done at work on my lunch break...hence the blue pen on wrinkled paper) to the assembly of the basic elements. I've actually completed this thing, and I must say I'm happy with how it turned out...I just need to get my camera back!



Some original characters...









On occasion, I get tired of screwing around with other people's characters and go on a tangent. As it happens, some of my favorite customs are produced when I do this.
First up is Edmund LeGash. A mysterious guardian of an outlying village, this grotesque yet kind-hearted monster is made from armature wire, fabric, shredded paper, leather, and is sporting a head crafted from Super Sculpey. The hands and feet are from the fodder bucket, and the armour is styrene. The second picture of him is in full armour with face plate in place.
Next up is Whistlefax, the haunted robot. His story is that he's possessed by the soul of a long dead soldier who seeks revenge on those who plunged the world into a nuclear holocaust...pretty silly, eh? He's made from a Marvel Legends Gambit, a Magneto helmet, and epoxy putty and spare parts.
Lastly is Thaddeus, who is a character that I had not developed a story for...I was more riffing on a Chinese dragon design, and then went sideways into what you see here. The head is an original sculpt in Super Sculpey, the body is a Marvel Legends Blackheart, and the rest is fabric and odds and ends from the fodder bucket.
These projects really do break up the monotony of my favorite licenses properties, and I always like to keep these guys in the back of my head, slowly weaving tales and adventures for them.
Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Some Star Wars...both old and new.



Like millions of other nerds, I'm a big fan of Star Wars.
One of my favorite aspects of Star Wars are the wonderful production illustrations that Ralph McQuarrie created to sell the film to Fox back in the seventies...his designs influenced the final film, but they also had a style that was only represented in the original paintings themselves. Which explaines why the above figures of Artoo Deetoo and See Threepio look so odd. Completed nearly two years ago, I took some of the elements of McQuarrie's initial droid designs and combined them with my own ideas.
For Threepio, I modified a Vampire Hunter D figure, resculpting much of the body to turn the female character into something more androgynous and closer to the Futura Automaton from Metropolis (a major influence on Threepio's design). I added some hands and feet from another figure, and voila! My own take on the protocol droid we know and love (or hate) so well.
Artoo was different. He's composed primarily of a loctite super glue canister, a vending machine dome, some legs from an 'Alien Racers' figure, and some Ichabod Crane accessories for the various attachments. The various panels were made with vinyl, and odds and ends were harvested from my spare parts bucket.
Yoda is included here because he's my latest creation. He's primarily composed of armature wire and cloth, with a head sculpted from Fimo and hands from epoxy putty. He stands about 2 1/2" tall (or thereabouts).

Monday, January 14, 2008

I love the Rocketeer!



Those who know me, know that one of my favorite things is Dave Stevens' creation The Rocketeer. The comic book series is pure comfort reading for me...I revisit the eight issue series a few times a year, and I have a real soft spot for the Disney movie from 1991. I don't know what it is...there's just a part of my brain that is completely at peace whenever I go along with Cliff Secord on his crazy adventure. It doesn't hurt that Dave Stevens has as clean, practiced drawing style that evokes Alex Raymond and Frank Frazetta, and I tend to become wrapped up in anything that's set in the 1930's. Its just so obvious that Stevens has a deep love for the period, and wears his love on his sleeve by referencing the pulp progenitors of his character, be it Commando Cody, The Shadow, or Doc Savage. I can't recommend it enough.

When I began customizing, I knew I wanted to make a Rocketeer once I felt I could do a decent job. Back in the spring of 2006, I finally had what I needed to proceed. First off, fellow customizer extraordinaire and frequent collaborator Joshua Izzo was kind enough to provide me with two key elements: A resin cast of a bendy Rocketeer figure helmet, and a mangled rocket pack accessory from a Muppets 'Super Beaker' figure (which bears a striking resemblance to the rocket design from the Disney Rocketeer film). Combining these elements with a Marvel Legends Nick Fury figure, some epoxy putty, and some leather, I forged ahead and made my plastic representation.
I decided to go with the movie design of the rocket pack because, to be honest, I prefer it to the much simpler look of the device in the comic. The rocket actually required the most work...the majority of the surface detail was resculpted to resemble the prop from the film.
All in all, I'm quite happy with the result.

The Dark Crystal: Chamberlain and Aughra




To start, I figured I'd show some of my favorites.

I'm a huge fan of Jim Henson's work. I think he was one of the most innovative and creative artists of the 2oth century, and had a unique and refreshing perspective when it came to creating programming for children (namely, respect for his audience). To me, The Dark Crystal is his crowning achievement. The pairing of Henson's story and creature effects with Brian Froud's incredible artwork created one of the most visually unique films I've ever seen. And so, with my fandom in tow, I set about creating three-dimensional representations of the characters.

First off is SekSil Lord Chamberlain. This snivelling and ambitious rat was without a doubt the most memorable character from the Dark Crystal, and I felt would be an engaging technical challenge. He was made using armature wire, cotton batting, and layered cloth. The head is Super Sculpey, and the hands were modified from some parts I had in my fodder bin.

Aughra, the wise, Yoda-like sage who provides Jen the Gelfling with what he needs to begin his journey, was constructed using very much the same methods as I described above for Chamberlain. The head sculpt combines Sculpey, epoxy putty, and Apoxie Sculpt to create the finished product. I think, in many regards, she is my most accomplished sculpt work to date.

A custom blog?

I've been posting my custom action figures on various forums for years now...I figured I'd might as well establish something a little more 'stable'.

I suppose something of an introduction is required. My name is Bruce, and I am originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia but (like so many like me) headed out west and am now living in Victoria, British Columbia. My lovely wife-to-be landed a job, and I came along in hopes that I would have the same luck. I did indeed land a job, but not in my particular field (librarian by training, paint store clerk by reality).

Very exciting tale.

Anyway...customizing is a queer hobby. It involves taking action figures, modifying them with all manner of media, and making new characters out of them. I've tried various approaches, used all kinds of materials, and in the end have developed something of an obsessive approach to this strange pasttime. I stumbled upon customizing years ago (around 2000) when I initially visited Iron Cow Productions (http://www.ironcowprod.com/main.html). At the time, this guy was also paired with a fellow by the name of Cason Pilliod (here's his website: http://www.pilliod.net/main.htm), and I was impressed by their craft. The rest, as they say, is history. Over the years, I acquired many of the required tools (dremel, epoxy putty, super sculpey, knives, sculpting tools, a collection of parts and action figures collectively known as 'fodder'), and I began hacking apart figures, recombining them, and making my own creations.

Lately, I've branched out into creating figures using armature wire and cloth, as well as constructing vehicles out of styrene (one of my favorite things in the world). Lord knows I've wasted hundreds of hours doing this...and I guess I'm using this as an avenue to share my madness.

Enjoy!