Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ape Painting

While waiting for the inevitable, between household business and naps, I decided to tackle a painting this weekend. Nothing spectacular, but it was about time for me to try out the ol' paint brushes and make a feeble attempt at practice. Since the Ape thing won't get out of my head, I figured it would make a decent subject. If any prestigious art galleries are looking for a crude amateur painting of a rifle-wielding Ape, feel free to email me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hail Caesar!!

Did you know that humans suck? Just ask this guy! This'll be my last Ape for a while, but I really enjoyed making these customs. Plus, it finally prompted me to pick up the Planet of the Apes box set, and watch the really strange TV show from 1974. After the first film, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes is by far the best of the series. And it's mainly because of Caesar as played by Roddy McDowell. Conquest is without a doubt one of the craziest films I've ever seen from a major studio...watching it really is a revelation of how different the world is today than in 1972...we've become so coddled and sheltered in so many ways. I've heard that Fox is looking to make a film based on Caesar's would be interesting to see if they could match the madness and potency of J. Lee Thompson's no-budget direction and the driving political commentary of Paul Dehn's script. With the exception of the "Cat and Dog Plague of 1983" bit, Conquest is a worthy bit of hard sci-fi cinema. Hail Caesar!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Death Dealer

Cue the death metal! I made this sweet fella two years ago...I was on one of many Frank Frazetta kicks at the time, and thought it would be a lot of fun to create an action figure of his iconic creation. Marvel Legends Sabertooth is the base (I think), and the armour is styrene and vinyl. The helmet is epoxy putty, and the horns are from a Marvel Legends Maestro (now that I look at them, they kind of look like big croissants stuck to his head). The axe is kebab stick and styrene, and the shield is styrene as well. Lots of fun, this one.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Crossroads and Hellhounds

Thought it was time for something a little different. This is another oldie...I made this three or four years ago for a 12 year old kid who loved Robert Johnson...I thought it would be a neat project that would mix things up from the usual superhero fare that I was mostly making at the time. He wasn't time-consuming, but the resculpting of the head was tricky, and the cloth work was a challenge for me at the time (I hadn't yet figured out a good method for making pants). One thing making this custom did do was prompt me to pick up a collection of Johnson's songs to get me in the right frame of mind while making him. Not a bad thing. The figure I used is beyond memory. The head is a heavily modified Professor X (the Patrick Stewart version, believe it or not). The guitar is from a McFarlane Toys Elvis...I wish I would have made it from scratch, but this was before I started utilizing styrene in my customizing, which would have been my material of choice.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dr. Zira

Dr. Zira is a great character. Smart, resourceful, courageous, and principled, and given considerable warmth and life by Kim Hunter's performance, she really is the heart of the Apes films. For my custom, I didn't want to try to make a 'sexy' Ape (since that creeps me out), but more wanted to suggest her gender through gesture, expression, and (primarily) through the eyes. I used a Marvel Legends Mystique as a base, with other parts thrown in. The headsculpt was built on top of Mystique's head, so as to utilize the eyes (almost like I was applying Ape prosthetic). So, what you see is mostly original sculpt, with the exception of the shape of the eyes. I wanted her to be wearing a similar outfit to Cornelius, but with her own added accessories. The jacket was a fun departure, and her red medical bag added a touch of color.

Monday, September 7, 2009

General Ursus

According to the Internet Movie Database, the role of General Ursus was offered to Orson Welles, who declined it. I guess I see this custom as a "What If?" opportunity, because Welles was the basis of inspiration for my take on Ursus. I love the good General's design, so I didn't really get all that creative with the headgear and armour. The base figure is a Doctor Octopus from a few years back, with extended legs to add height, lots of epoxy putty added to the shoulders, chest, and gut, Punisher gloves (to match the Gorilla Soldier's) and Marvel Legends Cable's boots (because they rock). The head and helmet were sculpted in Apoxie Sculpt and Epoxy Putty, with leather and styrene details making up the armour. Ursus's arsenal was my variation on a double barreled shot gun and a really nasty pistol...I wanted them to look like hunting weapons. This one was a lot of fun.

Friday, September 4, 2009


I needed to get an Ape in goggles, and Cornelius seemed like the best choice. The way I figure it, he's a scientist, anthropologist, and archaeologist, and this outfit that I have him in is what he'd wear while digging up ancient artifacts in the Forbidden Zone. The goggles are useful when he's travelling through the desert terrain (sandstorms, you see). I wanted to echo the chest/shoulder piece that Zaius is wearing, because I figure both him and Cornelius are employed by the Ministry of Science...maybe it's some kind of standard issue uniform. With Cornelius's headsculpt, I wanted him to seem a little friendlier than my first two Apes, so I softened his expression and risked baring his teeth...which is always tricky with a headsculpt. I liked the way it turned out, even if it's on the edge of being goofy. The base figure is a Marvel Legends Gambit with Banshee hands and feet spliced together to make for Chimp feet. I kind of like the way the outfit and goggles look on him, and I sort of imagine him and Zira riding in some sort of rusty hover bike into the desert, looking for evidence of missing links between Ape and Man. I guess I like the idea of pulling in Rod Serling and Pierre Boulle's vision of advanced technology into Ape society. I imagine the Apes living in vast, metallic cities that are built around and between lush jungle seems to me that an Ape would not want to cut down trees to use for wood (except for the Gorilla of course, who's rifle stock is made of wood).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dr. Zaius

Dr. Zaius really is one of the greatest cinematic characters ever. I try not to say this from the perspective of a fanboy, or a sci-fi fan...but from a genuine place of admiration for the people who wrote the screenplay. Zaius is a villain, but also something of a misguided hero. His convictions and values run counter to my own, being that he is ultra-conservative in his outlook, and yet his motivations have a very real and reasonable basis. He seeks to supress truth and subject a population of creatures to slavery, and yet he does so because be believes these creatures will inevitably destroy everything in a wave of violence and death. In many respects, Dr. Zaius sees the worst of humanity because, in the universe of Planet of the Apes, it is our worst impulses that triumph over our own survival as a species. And yet...we can't love Dr. Zaius because he ignores all that is potentially good about humanity. What a brilliant character...his ambiguity makes him a classic in so many respects. Anyway, here's my take on the good Doctor. The head is an original sculpt using Aves...I tried to capture more Orangutan than John Chambers make-up, but I also wanted to make the character unmistakable, thus incorporating the beard and haircut. I wanted to capture a pedantic, smug, and academic look, but also have something of a sinister intent in the eyes and facial features. The base figure uses a Spider-Man from many years ago, and the feet are Marvel Legends Magento hands (all the way back from series 2). The suit is the usual fabric and leather. He stands about 6" tall (1:12 scale).