Tuesday, March 29, 2011

John Carter of Mars....where art thou?


















Alright...enough is enough.


First off, I can't help but love Edgar Rice Burroughs Martian tales. I read the stuff when I was eleven or twelve, and it made an indelible mark on me. I re-read them a few years ago, and despite the supposed sophistication that accompanies 'growing up', the books still have a hold over my imagination. Retrofitted flying ships that once sailed the vast oceans of a dying world, four-armed green martians that are considered short when they're twelve feet tall, and everybody is naked all the time...all of this is prepubescent junk that should be shooed away by the grind of real life. But the love persists. Burroughs can't help but dump his own dated worldviews into his work, and race and gender relations in these books are, to put it mildly, less than modern. But it is the sheer imagination of his Barsoomian tales that holds me in thrall. Reading more reasoned science fiction of today, or consuming the Star Wars variety of space opera seems to pale in comparison to the force and madness of John Carter's insane exploits. They are violent, overwrought, and utterly unmatched in terms of unbridled imaginitiveness. And besides, it's pretty hard to shake a crush on Dejah Thoris...lord knows Carter has killed thousands of beings that stood between him and the love of his life.



What is this post about? It's about the Disney film that is currently in post-production. We're now less than a year away from its release, principal photography has been wrapped for some time...and that's all I or anyone else seems to know. The talent involved makes me very excited about what they can pull off (Stanton and Andrews are Pixar people, and Pixar is about as reliably excellent as a Hollywood production company can be), Michael Chabon had a go at the script, and they have Willem Dafoe playing friggin' Tars Tarkas! But...where's the news? Where's the buzz? John Carter is a century-old property, but most people on the street have never heard of the character. It seems to me that, if you want a film to be a monster hit, shouldn't there be more to sink your teeth into with regard to news? Maybe some concept art? A picture of Willem Dafoe in pajamas with ping pong balls glued to him? Something...anything for goodness sake.



So, Disney...I've given you a sliver of the blogosphere...howsabout you give us a picture or two of what's going on with John Carter of Mars?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Biplane Complete
















Here's the completed plane. Glad this build is over, and despite the fact that it's not very accurate, it was a lot of work and I learned a great deal from its construction. It's a real confidence building piece in many respects.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Last Crusade Biplane in Styrene







































































































I applied the principles I used in the cardboard test to styrene. Lots of sanding and puttying, trimming and problem solving. I find that as I go, I am running more and more into the limitations of styrene as a material. I posted this on a few forums, and a number of people suggested perhaps transitioning into balsa wood or basswood. That may be the next frontier for me, but for now, styrene will do. Lots more work to do (cockpit detailing, gunner station, landing gear, etc.), but I am enjoying this project...and learning a whole heck of a lot of new tricks. It's certainly been a challenging build thus far.

Last Crusade Biplane in Cardboard?





























I will return to figure customizing one of these days, but while I was in the mood, I wanted to tackle another Indy project. This time, I settled on making the Last Crusade Biplane. Before I scored my first piece of styrene, I did a quick n' dirty test run using cardboard. The best part is that it took, like, two hours to make this! It's ugly, but it helped me get my head around how I was going to make the final product. The best part is that I think this sort of thing will come in handy as my son gets older...I really look forward to making him things like this to totally destroy. More to come shortly!