21 August 2016

Mista' J - Prepwork III: "Boxing Harley"

I am pressed for time, so images will follow at a later date. In the meantime. . . 

First things first, I removed Harley's legs just below the hips. I then removed the "popgun", and cut through her left wrist, freeing the left arm. 

With Harley prepped, I shifted my focus to the box. Initially, I planned to construct the box out of sheet plastic, but I had a block of resin lying about, and went with that instead, if only because of the thermal stability of the resin. The box will be comprised of three pieces + the spring: box, lid, and crank handle. All but the crank handle are essentially done. The spring was made from a paper clip wrapped around a brass rod. 

Back to Harley. . . The arms are thin enough that repositioning can be accomplished by simply bending carefully; ditto for the head. The right hand, however, required pegging, and this is, to say the least, challenging in this scale. 

And that's about it. Scratchbuilding the hammer and sculpting the left hand are next in line; but so far, so good. I am still uncertain about how good of a "fit" the jack-in-the-box is, but at least the prop is well underway. 

More to follow. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

20 August 2016

Mista' J - Intermezzo: The Project

A bit of background to this latest 'wild-card' on the bench. . .

Conceptually, the project was inspired by the season finale of TWD: Negan is essentially a post- Apocalyptic Joker. Originally, I planned to replace the walking stick with a DC-esque "Lucille"-- think Harley's bat wrapped in barbed wire. And I may still make that swap. . .

With the figure in hand, and seeing what I had to work with, the possibilities had to be [re-]consi- dered. And any possibility involved Harley: how could I incorporate the Joker's better half without introducing a second full[-sized] figure? In keeping with the theme of manic levity, I decided to explore the inclusion of a Harley Quinn-themed jack-in-the box!

So I ordered the 35mm Knight Models' Harley Quinn from the Animated Series (35DC114). As with most KM products, buying sight unseen is no small risk: images I had seen of the mini were unacceptably rough. But I again lucked out: the casting was excellent! A little surface granularity, especially below the hips, but since the legs were to be removed, nothing to worry about.

So far, so good. . . There will be a bit of a detour to design and scratchbuild a jack-in-the-box, and execute all the required mods on a very reduced scale, but I am looking forward to it. . .

More to follow. . . 

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

17 August 2016

ICM's Swiss Papal Guard - REVIEW

I apologize for the delay of this review. . . trying to stay focused on the stuff on the bench (i.e., non-historical) . . . 

I am very, very impressed! Packaging, casting, painting guide . . . this is a complete package!! Comprised of 42 pieces + 6 (base[2] + 4 terrain options), the quality of the casting--and engineer- ing!--is superb. Having said that, the prospective end-user must keep in mind that this is an in- jection-molded kit, and this means that the inherent limitations of the production process pre- clude many of the things that today's miniaturists appear to clamor for--and "impolitely" take for granted! Whatever. . . 

My initial reservations  proved to be largely unfounded! Yes, it could use some tweaking--what miniature can't?  But all in all, it is an excellent treatment of a long glossed-over subject.

This is an amazing piece that amply warrants the additional effort that will make it a show- stopper. Do your research and have fun!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

14 August 2016

Mista' J - Prepwork II: The Head

I decided to spend some time today on the focal point of this piece, indeed, any Joker piece(!), the head.

The casting on the face was excellent! A little surface granularity, but nothing to lose any sleep over--and quickly resolved! The coiffure, on the other hand evinced moderate mold deterioration. Again, nothing to fret over; but nothing to be ignored, either.

I started by attempting to restore the the original design, but this did not work: there was either too much metal, or not enough. So I reduced the excess metal to a more classic Joker do, and then enhanced the head-sculpt with MS strands.  PERFECT! Hopefully, the MS will withstand handling, etc., otherwise I will have to replicate the work in Duro.

The Joker's hairstyle is anything but dogmatic, so there is plenty of maniacal latitude! It's also a relatively easy way to make the piece truly your own. And the research is sooooo much fun!!!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

12 August 2016

Ant-Man - Prepwork: The Manifold

With some left-over putty, I filled in the three random air holes in the casting, and rebuilt the portion of the collar that broke-off while removing the helmet. I would point out that the collar would have required reworking regardless, but more on this when the time comes. . . 

I had enough putty left to rough-in the shape of the "backpack"--the Pym Particle manifold. This will be the main additive element of the figure, and--as of this writing--the only item that will be scratchbuilt. 

The putty is now curing in the oven. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

10 August 2016

Mista' J - Review & Prepwork I

I've been in a bit of a Joker mood of late. . . And no, I haven't seen Suicide Squad!

So today I received Knight Models' Joker Comiquette (KDC004) after finding it on eBay at an unbeatable price! Other than the fact that this 2013 release is in their 1/28th scale/70mm range, and the kit is comprised of 8 white-metal pieces (including display plinth), there is no additional introductory information to add.


Despite this being one of the later iterations of this kit, the casting quality is remarkably good! In fact, I would say that the castings comprising this kit are some of the best metal castings that I have from this company!! Regrettably, others have not been so fortunate. . .

As of this writing the foot lugs have been removed, and the legs have been pegged and mounted on the workbase. The coat tails have been permanently attached to the torso, and the torso has been fitted to the legs--in that order! The latter required moderate putty work to maximize the fit and effect a seamless join.

So far, so good. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

02 August 2016

Ant-Man, part I

One of Gentle Giant's 2015 San Diego Comic Con exclusives was a limited edition (500), pre- painted collectible figurine of Ant-Man as portrayed by Paul Rudd in the eponymous film. Price- wise it was a steal! And even at the price that I luckily managed to pick one up long after they were sold-out, it was a steal. . .


The figurine is comprised of  5 pieces: helmet, body, arms, and the display pedestal. Overall height sans pedestal is ~90mm. Casting quality: EXCEPTIONAL!

I would say that it is ~75-80% screen accurate; which afaic means that you get to start the race on the final lap! The main restorative focus will be on the helmet and the Pym Particle manifold (i.e., the "backpack", which was given rather short shrift on the figure), with secondary consider- ation given to the gauntlets and bracers, and the belt. The rest of the piece is more than accept- able: it could use with additional detailing, etc., however, that remains at the discretion of the miniaturist.

So much for the figure, which is now 90% paint-free going into its second day in "the bath". Part II of this introductory review will hopefully follow within the fortnight.

Stay tuned!  

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

01 August 2016

Top 15 Best Comic Book Superhero Films of All Time - 2016 Update

It has been just under two years since I have updated this list. And these last two years have been well above-average given the overall quality of the releases. So much so, that I am com- pelled to expand the slots to fifteen! As before, please feel free to comment, agree--or disagree!, and express your preferences. . .

In order of release. . . 

  • X2: X-Men United (2003)
  • Spider-Man 2 (2004)
  • Hellboy (2004)
  • Batman Begins (2005)
  • The Dark Knight (2008)
  • Watchmen (2009)
  • X-Men: First Class (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • The Avengers (2012)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
  • Deadpool (2016)

ENJOY!!!

19 July 2016

"Hand of the Queen" - Prepwork II: The Doublet

The doublet is the"pedestal", the foundation if you will, for the portrait, hence I will begin by re- working the garment.

The garment as provided is superbly sculpted! It is a perforated and tooled leather shell with silver clasps, covering a patterned fabric lining, This will be reworked to represent black-dyed full-quill ostrich leather.

As I indicated yesterday, I had already removed the "Hand". But before I filled-in the sizeable divot, I began by filling-in the sculpted pattern of the doublet with glazing putty. After applying a medium coat of putty and curing it in the oven, I then proceeded to fill the divot with MS. The MS is now curing. . .

Finally, the "Hand" is over 85% cleaned-up. . . 

More to follow. . .

UPDATE 06.08.16. . . Phase I of the doublet is now done! It took three coats of glazing putty to effectively fill sculpted tooling and establish the foundation for the full-quill ostrich leather. 

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

18 July 2016

"Hand of the Queen" - Prepwork I

The bust arrived today (thanks, Chuck!), and it meets--arguably exceeds!--the self-imposed pro- duction standard/s of NutsPlanet. In a word. . . EXCEPTIONAL!

And I was very gratified by the fact that my conclusion re: the apparent shortcomings of the like- ness was spot-on: this is a VG++ likeness of Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. It could use some tweaking here and there depending on how demanding you might be, but it is more than acceptable straight OOB. As noted earlier and elsewhere, the challenge to realize a convincing likeness will be in the painting. 

The sprues have been removed, as has the "Hand" (to be relocated to the left upper breast). I have also removed the exposed edge of the neckwrap, as well as the visible portion between the edges of the mandarin collar.

More to follow. . . 

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003