Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It's Arts & Crafts

The trivia question will be posting tonight at 8pm EST.  Until then, here's a little something to tide you over.

First off, here's my collection of superhero action figures, most of which I've bought within the last few years.  How many can you identify?  The complete list will be at the bottom of this entry!

Remember a while back I mentioned I had bought a Hope Summers X-Men figure and I had gone into Paint Shop Pro to recolor it to look more like a Scarlet Knight figure?  You probably don't so here's a review.

Scarlet Knight-ized

Anyway, about three weeks ago I went to Hobby Lobby and actually bought some red and yellow paint to make this a reality.  I thought it would be a lot more difficult than it actually was.  It did take a couple of hours altogether, though I had to wait after each coat for it to dry.

To start with I bought a roll of masking tape from the dollar store and taped off her head, hands, and the bottom of those giant boots so I wouldn't get red paint all over them--especially the face.  Masking off her head was the hardest part because the hair made it hard to get the tape in there, but I managed it well enough.  Though it was still hard to paint around her head, but the cape covers most of that up.

Anyway, I put the red paint on first and during times that was drying I also painted the cape yellow.  It turns out the cape was the hardest part to paint.  Just because they made it out of a more flexible kind of plastic and the paint does not adhere to it as well.  I mean seriously over 24 hours later parts of it were still tacky.  It makes me think I should replace it with something else.  I was looking to see if maybe I could find a cheap Robin figure or someone who'd have an all-yellow cape and was largely the same size.  Yeah, good luck with that.  Maybe I should just get some yellow cloth and use that.

If I'd been smarter I would have remembered to put each brush in a different water dish so they wouldn't mix.  I can't really say how many coats of red I put on.  Two or three at least.  Then after that seemed done enough I took off the masking tape and put on a few coats of yellow on the hands and boots--not the face.  Unlike the cape, the yellow dried much quicker on the hands and feet, which makes me think it's something wrong with the cape that the paint doesn't dry well on it.  I think I had that problem a bit when I repainted my one Azrael Batman figure red.

And so voila, here's the finished product compared to Rusty Carl's drawing on the book cover:
Not a perfect copy, but close

Obviously I wish the body had more of an armored look.  And the cape isn't quite right in that it takes up too much of the shoulders, but for now it's close enough.  Maybe at some point I could find more of a knight-ish figure and do a head transplant.

Speaking of head transplants, at the same time I was doing this first project I also worked on my other project, turning a Dana Sterling Robotech figure into a Scarlet Knight, Mark II figure.  (The Mark II version is featured in the last book, Volume VIII and mainly changes the secondary color from gold to silver, which actually was inspired by the Dana Sterling figure on my bookshelf.

But the obvious problem is that Dana Sterling is blond and Emma Earl is a redhead.  Maybe I could have just smeared red paint on her hair.  Or even cheaper to just keep the helmet over her head.  But why do that when you can play Dr. Frankenstein?  Duh.

So I hunted down two Black Widow Avengers figures.  I ended up getting them both from my local Kroger of all places.  Toys R Us doesn't really carry Avengers figures anymore and Amazon was charging $15 or more, so they were actually a bargain at Kroger for $10 apiece.  (Which wow, action figures are expensive!  In my day the same size GI JOE figures were like $3 each.)  I got one just to keep and the other I sawed off her head.  Yes, with a hacksaw.  That was a lot easier than I thought.  It was slightly more difficult than sawing off Dana Sterling's head just because her neck isn't as visible.  I wish I'd had some sandpaper to sand down some of the black junk around her head.  Oh well.

With the head off the Dana Sterling figure I again masked off the hands and feet and then painted the rest of her red.  Again I applied a couple of coats.  Meanwhile I glued Dana's head onto Black Widow's body.  I tried model glue but that didn't work at all.  So I got out my old bottle of Aleen's tacky glue, which worked much better.  (It also worked a while back when I transplanted a newer Bane head onto an older model Bane body.)  Though it looks a little funny because the flesh on her head is paler than the flesh on her body, so it's like she got a tan with a hood over face or something.

To make a cape for her I took an old gray sock and cut it to fit.  After the figure was dry I pasted the cape onto her shoulders.  Then I pasted Black Widow's head on top of it so the head would have more area to paste to since Dana Sterling's neck was hollow.  And so voila, a successful head transplant.  It's alive...ALIIIIIIIVE!!!!

Silver and gold...

As for the old Black Widow figure, she would actually make a great Cecelia Rameau, an assassin who turns up in Volumes 6 and 7.  She was probably inspired by Black Widow in Iron Man 2 anyway.

If you're wondering why the boots and head are silver on the one on the left, it's because I wanted to test the silver paint to see how it looked before I used it on the Scarlet Knight figure.  I think I should have made her head all silver like Destro.  Though actually she reminds me of a Silverhawks figure from that short-lived series in the 80s.

Now as promised (not that you care) here's my roster of superhero action figures:

Starting on the left, we have:
  • Rorshach from Watchmen
  • Red Azrael Batman (I painted his cape red instead of gray)
  • Bane (body is Legends of the Dark Knight figure with head from DC Universe figure--it was cheaper that way than to buy a whole DC Universe version)
  • Legends of the Dark Knight Batman (with Spawn-like cape)
  • Superman (normal)
  • Superman Red (from stupid late 90s comics)
  • Green Lantern
  • Scarlet Knight, Mark I
  • Batman (black cape)
  • Night Owl II from Watchmen
  • Azrael Batman (DC Universe 6" version)
  • Azrael
  • Black Widow/Dana Sterling combination
  • Azrael Batman (Legends of the Dark Knight 4" version)
  • Scarlet Knight, Mark II
  • Black Widow
  • Captain America
And the heads are for Terrax(?) that came with the Hope Summmers figure (it also came with Terrax's ax, which Bane is wielding because he's the only one big enough to hold it) and the Legends of the Dark Knight Bane head that I sawed off his body to replace with the more accurate DC Universe head.  (The LDK version had hair but I sawed that off because Bane does not have hair like that, damn it.)

Also since I took this picture I bought a Sinestro Yellow Lantern action figure to fight my Green Lantern.  Though if you actually try to fight them it seems annoying because they use imaginary stuff from their rings and how are you supposed to imitate that with action figures?

BTW, I bought a second Hope Summers figure the other day so I can try the silver paint to see if that will work better.  I got a different kind of red too so I can see how well that does.  I'll have to post a picture at some point.  I'm sure you'll wait with bated breath.

At some point it'd be neat to make a Stacey Chance figure, but for that it might make more sense to use Barbies or similar dolls since she wears ordinary clothes.  I know, I've lost my mind.


  1. I've always wanted to try painting action figures. There is a guy at the mall that takes those McFarlane football figures and repaints then as local high school players. He makes a killing of of them. Something like $100 a pop. Anyway, he said its really easy - I just don't believe him.

    1. I haven't found it that difficult and I know almost nothing about painting. For an artist like you it should be a piece of cake!

  2. You are quite the artist, my friend. This reminds me of my other friend, James, who used to paint little figurines for Warhammer (a fantasy-based tabletop game). He had a dremel tool and quite an impressive workshop. Anyway, he'd buy figurines and saw off the heads and use modeling putty to basically create his own figurine using heads and body parts from a dozen different figures. Then he'd fill in the cracks with modeling putty and go to town with a paint job that blows me away. I swear he had a one hair brush just to dot the irises in the eyes. He used dry brushing techniques and even did the floor that they stood upon. He entered a contest called "The Golden Demon" but didn't even place. Despite all of his hard work, he said the competition was ferocious and the detail on other people's stuff just blew him away.

    Anyway, what you did here for the Scarlet Knight certainly reminded me of that only you are working in action figures and not in lead (now discontinued) or pewter.

    1. My brother does those Warhammer dealies, though I don't think he customizes them like that.

  3. Just for future reference, your paint will go one better and won't require as many coats if you prime the figure first. White matte spray paint from Wal-Mart will work as well (or better) than any actual primer you can buy.

    1. I'm not really set up for spray paint anywhere.

  4. Just take it outside and do it inside of a box.

  5. I managed to guess the names of only six of your action figures.

  6. Pretty sweet collection. And that would be a cool action figure



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