Thursday, June 28, 2012

Prince Adam 200X Custom Action Figure Art - Masters of the Universe Classics

When it comes to the Masters of the Universe Classics toy line, I'm what some call a "purist." This means, I do not support the inclusion of 200X (Mike Young Productions) era elements in the line such as Whiplash's second head, the character Chief Carnivous, and Fisto's giant sword and extra tiara wearing head. Don't get me wrong, I loved the MYP cartoon and the 200X toys but I feel that the "hyper stylized" look of that era does not mesh with Classics. However, I know there are many fans that cherish these elements in MOTUC and would like to see even more of them.

So when Vykron was revealed, many people were excited to see that his gloves/bracers were very reminiscent of Prince Adam's gloves and He-Man's bracers from the 200X line. Fans at and on the Matty Collector message boards speculated that a 200X inspired Prince Adam might be in the works.
And while the styling of the gloves is very similar to Adam's, their size would preclude that this new Prince Adam would utilize the standard muscular MOTUC body buck and not a new slimmer one. Ultimately, it might be an interesting look, but I feel that the real magic of the 200X design is that Adam is a skinny-kid that physically transforms into the massive form of He-Man. If you take away the skinny-kid element of the design, is it even worth doing a  200X variation?

That got me thinking how I could make a MOTUC/200X Prince Adam mash-up that would not only fit the MOTUC look but also have a smaller skinny-kid body. Below is the result.
Photobucket Photobucket
Since the idea was to combine 200X elements with Classics styling, I kept his hair long to give him a little more savage and less-animated look. However, I did have to trim it a bit so it would fit better with the high-collared vest. I also chose to reinterpret the shirt details to blend them into Classics.
This figure is for all the MYP/200X Classics fans. I hope you dig him. If you do, or if you don't, leave a comment below.
I put a lot more work into him than I anticipated but the end product was definitely worth it. Until next time, I remain The Insidious One.

Ninjor Custom Action Figure Art - Masters of the Universe Classics V2

My first Masters of the Universe Classics Ninjor turned out pretty good, but something was missing so I decided to make some changes. While I like the bold coloring of the sticker on his shirt, I felt that an iron-on transfer would look better because it is more flexible. And while I did like the look of the modern Tenchu-style ninja half-mask, there's something to be said for a full on ninja hood. I made the hood as a separate piece so you have both options as well as making him mask-less.
Photobucket Photobucket
Now that's more like it! I hope you dig him. If you do, be sure to subscribe to my blog at the links on the right. Until next time, I remain The Insidious One.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Little Differences: Stinkor Arm Fix Masters of the Universe Classics Action Figure

Vincent: It's the little differences. I mean, they got the same $#!t over there that we got here, but it's just – it's just there, it's a little different.

I was really looking forward to Stinkor in Masters of the Universe Classics. He is based on a goofy vintage character whose "power" was bad odor and whose figure was made from parts of other figures. Knowing firsthand how fast the toy industry moves, I applaud the designer's creativity. I can only imagine the boss coming to the designers saying, "We need six brand new, totally unique characters by next week and we don't have any money for tooling so use existing parts!" They turned what could have been a lemon into a stinky smelling glass of lemonade.

However, when sample photos and Pixel Dan's video review of the new MOTUC version surfaced, it was clear that the figure's right and left  forearms had been swapped. Fans assumed this was yet another manufacturing error. However, Scott "Toy Guru" Neitlich, Brand Manager for MOTUC said it was a purposeful change to make the figure stand-out from other figures that shared similar forearms. Either way, the forearms look terrible this way and they're anatomically wrong.

What's a fan to do? Live with it? No, way! A simple part swap and a little paint will do the trick. Don't be frightened. I know you can do it. I'll even show you how, step-by-step, and tell you what supplies you'll need. As you can see below, the end result is well worth it.

What you'll need...
1) Hair dryer AND/OR large coffee cup, tap water, small spoon, and microwave
2) Paint
• Games Workshop Light Gray
• Games Workshop White
• Games Workshop Black
• Testors Matte Acryl
3) #001 Brush
4) #4 Brush
5) Plastic lid or Clear Package Blister From an Action Figure (Something small and neutral colored to mix your paint on.)
6) (OPTIONAL) Non-acetone nail-polish remover and cotton swabs

Step 1: Remove Those Funky Forearms
Hot Water Method: Warm-up a cup of water in the microwave for 3 minutes. Submerge one arm in the water for about 30 seconds. Using your fingers, pry the sides of the elbow joint off of the little peg that holds it in place. Do them one at a time and then slide the peg out from the center of the joint.

Hair Dyer Method: Set the hairdryer to hot and warm-up the elbow. Keep the hairdyer moving back and forth over the elbow. Slowly warm it up or you may damage or permanently deform the plastic. Pry the sides of the elbow off the peg. Do them one at a time and then slide the peg out from the center of the joint.


Step 2: Swap The Hands
You could do this as part of step one but if you didn't, warm-up the wrists as described above and gently pull them out. Do not pull them straight out, work them out slowly bending the hand to ensure that the peg holding the hand in place does not break or tear.

Step 3: (OPTIONAL) Remove The White Paint
This step is purely optional but I did it because I wanted to minimize paint rub inside the joint which was painted white. To do this, take the non-acetone nail-polish remover and fill the cap halfway. Then take one of the cotton swabs and dip just the tip in the nail-polish remover. Rub the tip of the cotton swab onto the white paint. As you rub, the white paint will adhere to the swab and so you will have to change it frequently. If you don't you will simply spread the white paint back onto the piece. Be careful not to get the nail-polish remover on any other paint as it will ruin it. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the part in cold water after you have removed the paint as any residual nail-polish remover can damage the plastic. (If you're more experienced, you can use acetone based nail-polish remover. It's much stronger and removes the paint without as much elbow grease which means you have to be twice as careful with it.)

Step 4: Paint It Black
If you skipped step 3 or you weren't able to get all of the white paint off, paint the inside of the forearms black using the #4 brush. Pay particular attention to the area where the black meets the gloves. There is a natural ridge created by the gloves that will help you stay off of the red paint.

Step 5: Assemble Him Like His Momma Intended
Slide the peg back into the elbow joint, then, using the hair dryer method as described in Step 1, warm up the forearm. Pull back the sides of the joint and then pinch them around the peg. If you  have trouble getting them to fit on the peg, wrap the joint in a towel, and apply pressure with a pliers. (The towel will prevent the pliers from digging into and damaging the plastic.)


"Get a load of THESE pits, baby! They don't call me Stinkor for nuthin'."

Step 6: The Empire Stripes Back!
This is the step most people fear. But it's honestly the easiest. If you've made it this far, painting the stripe on his forearms is just icing on the cake. The fact that it's an irregular organic shape, it is very forgiving and does not need to be exact. The stripe is also not 100% pure white which is why you will need to use the #4 brush to mix one-part grey and two-parts white paint on your plastic lid or blister. If the color isn't right, add grey or white until you're close enough to the color of his stripe.

Then, using the #001 brush, trace an outline on the forearms following the pattern on the upper arms. If each jagged shape is a "tooth," the forearms should only fit one "tooth" on each side. See the close-up photos of my forearms below for reference.

After you've created your outline, fill it in with your brush staying in the lines you created. For that extra touch to match the original deco, be sure to paint the inside edge of the joint too. When your paint is dry, put a light coat of Testor's Matte Acryl over your paint. It will help prevent wear, fading, and chipping. But be careful not to use too much as it will pool and leave a white residue.

Now Stinkor is anatomically correct and ready to stink up your collection! You may have noticed my Stinkor's shield looks a little different as well. I painted the inner and outer rings as well as the shield rivets with a clear gloss varnish to make the details "pop" as some say. ;-)

I hope this tutorial helps you. If it did...or didn't, leave a comment below. Nobody should have to live with an anatomically incorrect Stinkor and I hope you see once again how the little difference can make a big difference in your collection. Until next time, I remain The Insidious One.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cover Girl Custom Action Figure Art - G.I. JOE Pursuit of Cobra

I've created sundry Cover Girl customs for clients all over the world. Because I NEVER make the same figure twice, they each have their own subtle charm. And while I'll never say that one is the definitive Cover Girl, this one comes pretty close.
She was commissioned by a client who requested that I paint her in vintage colors, add boot details from the vintage figure, and add a wisp of hair in front. Other than that, my conceit was to combine my Cover Girl formula with modern-style or Pursuit of Cobra-style elements. I also  wanted to make the jacket really streamlined and shorter so that it really looked like a women's-cut leather jacket.
I really worked this figure, dremeling the torso details smooth so the jacket would fit more snugly. Then I cut the jacket even smaller and carefully dremeld out the interior so that it would lay closer to the body. The vintage boot details and hair wisp are sculpted. As I sculpted the wisp, it turned into a longer bang that looks as if it just fell out of place.
She is completely custom pained. This time, I decided to make her skin a little paler to give her that former supermodel milky-white skin. The hair was painted in several layers starting with a brown, then going to a darker wash, then dry brushed reddish brown, and finally a light highlight of pure red. The final detail is my custom made decal "wolverine patch" on her left sleeve.
She took much longer than I anticipated. Thankfully, the client was very understanding and ultimately the time paid off in the finished look. The only drawback; the more modern-style legs are slightly longer than others I have used. This means she doesn't sit completely inside the vintage Wolverine vehicle. But you have to admit, she looks pretty good sitting on top of it.
I hope you dig her. If you do...or you don't, leave a comment below. Or you can type Cover Girl in the search box on the right to check out more of my Cover Girl customs. Until next time, I remain The Insidious One.