Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Trap Jaw Mini-Comic Custom Action Figure Art - Masters of the Universe Classics

For those of us who were fans of Masters of the Universe before the Filmation cartoon began airing in 1983, our first experience of many of the characters came from the mini-comics packed with each action figure. In these comics, the character's appearance often differed greatly from the very action figure it was packaged with. Trap Jaw is one perfect example as both his design details and his coloring were dramatically different.
 photo comic_cover_zps8dabd392.jpg  photo trapjaw_vintage_zpsdc641608.jpg

The obvious differences include the action figure's green face and blue skinned body compared to the comic version which had a yellowish-green skin color. The toy was also more heavily armored on the legs while the comic version featured the standard Masters of the Universe muscle legs and furry boots.

So when "Comic Trap Jaw" finished in 3rd place, in the 2013 MOTUC Fan's Choice Poll, I decided to give him a second look. On closer examination, I discovered other small details that make the comic version of Trap Jaw even more unique. First, the Frankenstein-esque "bolts" on the sides of his helmet seem to suit the character's cyborg look while the metallic jaw makes his bite (and the "red meat" inside his mouth) appear even more menacing. The striped trunks even add to his "criminal" background in a subtle prison-uniform kind of way. But one detail almost missed my attention, the ram's head relief on his belt which replaces the pirate-vibe created by the original skull and crossbones. (...and begs the question of a possible connection to the ram skull-head of Skeletor's Havok Staff.)

 photo pieces_zpsd4706d30.jpg
Before he was part of the Fan's Choice Poll, Mini-Comic Trap Jaw was slotted to be part of the Toys R Us MOTUC/DC two-packs. But with that line's cancellation and since he didn't win the poll, I knew he wasn't going to be released officially. I really loved this figure as a kid and loved his story from the mini-comic even more so I HAD to make him.
 photo 10_zps93eacdc8.jpg

 photo mini01_zpsbe0710f2.jpg

 photo 01_zps22dc393a.jpg

 photo mini03_zps320f23ae.jpg

 photo 04c_zps3069243e.jpg
In the comic, the wraps on his boots were white. I made them a dingy gray to better match the battered metallic look of his metal components.
 photo mini02_zps54a6aef8.jpg

 photo 00_zps1b679baa.jpg
I removed the skull and crossbones on the belt by carefully sanding it off. I sculpted the ram's head in it's place. The most difficult part of this piece was matching the yellow-green skin tone on the forearm and the lower legs. (I'm a stickler for color matching.) Other than that, he was a labor of love and he's loaded with subtle details like washes, highlights, and spot varnishes to really bring out his sculpted details.
 photo 02_zps8324f48d.jpg
Instead of just painting stripes on the trunks, I followed the contours of the fur to make it look more natural. (As natural as striped purple fur can look.)
 photo 03_zps66910be4.jpg
I hope you dig him. If you do, leave a comment, follow my blog, or follow me on Twitter at the links at the right side of the page. Until next time, I remain The Insidious One.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hordak (Blue) Filmation / MOTUC Mashup Custom Action Figure Art

I like the design of the gray-skinned vintage Masters of the Universe Hordak figure. And while I more often than not find Filmation's changes in both the design and coloring of my beloved Masters to be uninspired, their color changes on Hordak work for me on many of levels. photo hordak_vintage_zps9f243384.jpg
Despite their simplifying the face details, making it less organic and more mechanical looking, the starkness of the white color makes him even more demonic and maniacal. (I can't help but hear the They Might Be Giants song "Turn Around" in my head whenever I see it.) Their skin color change from gray to blue also livens up what was originally a very muted color palette.
 photo hordak_film_zps390f7127.jpg
I've seen some fantastic Filmation Hordak customs on He-Man.org and elsewhere including an incredible sculpt  of the Filmation style head by Kevin Kosse. But I wanted to do Hordak a little differently: First, I didn't want to paint his entire body blue. No matter how much you prep, sand, prime, and seal it, you can't avoid some level of paint chipping, especially on joints. To minimize this, I chose Webstor as a base body. Second, I love the Four Horsemen's MOTUC sculpt but I was curious to see what the head would look like in stark white with dry brushing to really bring out the sculpted details. Finally, the forearm canon of Hurricane Hordak gave me the final component to truly make this piece a tribute to both Filmation and MOTUC.
 photo 01_zpsc37bd71a.jpg
While the structural cues are mostly Masters Classics, I gave him the double arm bands and sculpted a simple bracer for his left wrist to give him some key Filmation details. The "bleached bone" white face was painted in several stages starting with a medium gray and working up to the bright white details on the uppermost surfaces. I also gave his red costume elements the proper treatment with a very bright red base and a wash so they would really pop-off the black just as they did in the cartoon.
 photo 02_zps275b9f9b.jpg
Inspired by ActionFigurePics.com's tutorial on using laser pointers in photography, I experimented a bit achieving some pretty cool blaster effects.
 photo 06_zps60875cb3.jpg
I modified a red tinted plastic rod for this shot. It looks good on it's own but the laser really brings it to life...or should I say death!
 photo 00_zpse6617ec2.jpg
"...and his face which was a paper-white mask of evil sang us this song..." - They Might Be Giants
 photo 04_zps84dba425.jpg
"Grayskull, you will be mine!"
  photo 03_zpsd0303c72.jpg
I hope you dig him. If you do, I've made him available in my Etsy store. Click here to purchase him. Also, leave a comment and be sure to follow Insidious Customs at the links at the right. Until next time, I remain The Insidious One.