27 November 2012

"Broken" - The setting

With the figure well on it's way to completion--I think the putty work has been completed--the time has come to develop the groundwork.

As I mentioned in my review of this piece, we as the end user got the short end of the stick when it comes to the groundwork: a perfunctory, nondescript, kidney-shaped plinth/base. Really? Why even bother?! The design of the figure is taken from that moment when Bane is confidently closing-in on Batman on the walkways of the cistern below Wayne Enterprises' Applied Sciences division (the "Armory"), just before every fan boy's/girl's dream comes true! As I described it earlier, "a setting-specific, iconic moment in the film".

Finding rectangular steel grating in approximately the right scale proved to be a daunting task! I was hoping to find something suitable in photo-etched brass or aluminum, but no luck there. When I was about to settle for a marginally-suitable product, I stumbled across the Tichy Train Group in NC, and their HO-scale HIPS steel roofwalk (product #3077)--one pack was all that I would need.

This is where the "fun" begins. Given that the roofwalk is considerably narrower that the grating panels depicted in the film, I will have to mate three lengths of roofwalk to create one panel of grating. . . twice! As I want the grating elevated, I will have to find a way to raise it off the surface of the display base and provide the necessary support and bracing. Finally, the figure will have to be supported entirely by its wire pegs, as the grating is too "flimsy" to bear the weight of the figure.

More to follow. . .

UPDATE - 28.11.2012. . .  The "framework" for the grating has been cut from brass angle, and reduced where necessary. The lengths of grating (a total of 7) have also been cut, and the first panel/section of grating has been completed. FOLLOW-UP. . . The grating has been completed and assembled, and is now curing. While the figure still has to be fitted to the display base, the groundwork is thankfully done!

UPDATE - 01.12.2012. . .  The mounting "rails" for the framed grating, made from MS, are now done and the grate fitted. The figure has been fitted to the groundwork and base as well. Save for painting and minor touch-ups, the setting work is now done! Back to the figure!! 

25 November 2012

"Broken" - Pre-prime Home Stretch

While I will not be competing or displaying in any future "general" shows, that is no reason to forgo what has been an annual tradition for over 35 years! And as such, after carefully considering the time factor, the degree of progress on the project, and the overall level of [my] interest, this year's Winter Project" will be the self-contained vignette, "Broken", featuring KM Bane.

There is still some work to be done in terms of clean-up, as well as detailing to film standards. Once that is completed, I can permanently attach the head, and prime the figure. I'm thinking that I will be ready to move this piece to the painting table around New Year's. . .

Back to the bench!

20 November 2012

Darth Malgus - Progress Report #1

The remaining proportion issues have been finalized; and the right pauldron and left knee-cop have been roughed-in. Additionally, the [lower] legs have been "bulked-out"; and the original mantle/cappa has been bisected at approximately waist level.

17 November 2012

Darth Malgus - KM Conversion + Kit Bash: Epilogue

Or maybe just "long term". . . I've made considerable progress over the last few days, with the linear proportions of the body corrected; and the gorget, torso, girdle + codpiece, and thighs roughed-in.

As an aside, some of you might be wondering about the "Kit Bash" portion of the project description. Probably an overstatement, this simply refers to the fact that the stock head has been replaced with the head from the KM Bane kit.

More to follow. . . 

12 November 2012

KATŌ Yoshiaki -- update

The revamping of Yoshiaki is now about 70% done. . .

As I feared, work pretty much monopolized my time over the last three weeks--and then some! Throw in a few unexpected "surprises"--courtesy of Mr. Murphy, and I'm quite surprised I'm as far along as I am!

Regardless, I am now in the finishing stages of the kawari-kabuto. A few minor touch-ups remain, but essentially I'm there. The shikoro has been reworked in its entirety: I am now finishing the extensions of the lames, and after that final fitting and lacing. Once that is done, I can then replace some of the lacings of the manju-wa, and start going through the finalization checklist.

As to its release, that will not be until next year. I spoke with Steve this morning, and I expressed to him my concerns about shipping a master sculpture during the Holiday Season. He quite agreed, so this one will be en route to him in early 2013, and it may (probably will?) join the Maeda's as an early Q2-2013 release.

I will hopefully have images up before too long. In the meantime, I leave you with images of the original sculpt as a comparative baseline--and a hopefully pleasant stroll down memory lane:

Darth Malgus - KM Conversion + Kit Bash

I've been nose to the grindstone since I got up this morning, so I thought it was time for a little mindless, albeit constructive, grind session. . .

I acquired KM Anakin Skywalker (KST002) back in September. My original intent was to use this as a base figure to convert to the Emperor Palpatine: simple, effective, unique. I shortly thereafter acquired KM seated Emperor Palpatine, and while this in and of itself did not preclude doing a walking one, I am not so great a fan of the Emperor (aka Darth Sidious), that I needed two renditions of the character in my collection.

But first the review. . . This is an all-metal figure cast in 4 pieces + base. Given the issue # (341), I dodged a major bullet: the casting is quite clean, and the detail commendably sharp throughout. In fact, the only real criticisms about this casting are both sculptural in nature: the proportions are off, and the hands were given a short shrift. 

So, what to do. . . One of my favorite characters of the SWEU is Darth Malgus, a prototypical conflation of Anakin/Darth Vader that flourished ca. 3650 BY (Great Galactic War in the era of the Old Republic). As it is unlikely that anyone will produce a miniature of this character--and I can but drool over Sideshow's masterpiece--I figured why not?

To date I have ground-out the head in the cowl, as well as removed the extraneous portions of garments on the upper legs. The legs have been tentatively glued together and pegged, and the neck opening for the head has been drilled-out.

More of an introduction than anything else, this will be a VERY L-O-N-G term project that I will work on as time and inclination allow. . .

Darth Maul 2N - Progress Report #3

I have begun to work "out" the tunic, and reworking the drapery of the torso. I have also completed all the pegging required of this kit--which suggests that the end to the pre-prime prep is nigh. However, as always, easier said than done! While the end is undeniably now in sight, there is yet much work to be done.

Seeing the rebirth of this figure is quite rewarding. It makes one wonder why KM elected the manneristic grandstanding of the original design over the iconic understated 'presence' evinced in the final duel? This, as so many things concerning this manufacturer, probably will never be sussed. . .

10 November 2012

Gobsmacked in Gotham?

A friend and colleague contacted me yesterday wanting the low-down on KM' Bane. I told him that I, least of anybody, would sugarcoat a KM review; and that, IMHO, it was one of their best offerings of late, if not ever. I also underscored the unfortunate reality of low # vs. high # releases (I received #23), and that production qc is at best an afterthought. . .

And then he dropped "the bomb": he also wanted to let me know that trying to access the figure's page on the KM site using the link I provided in my review led to this "error" message: Product is no longer available. I immediately made my way to the KM site, and sure enough, if you click on the TDKR link in the sidebar, it comes up empty! If you use my link, you receive the same "error" message he did.

So what is going on here??? Did KM "lose" their TDKR license? Did some of the other licensees raise a hue and cry over conflicts of interest? Did they "trade" it for rights to Arkham City? Or is it simply that this portion of the website is getting re-worked in anticipation of new releases?

I have a feeling answer lies somewhere with the first three. And if it does, then that means that Bane and Batman will soon join their colleagues in a galaxy far, far away. . . the galaxy of oblivion! So if you're interested in acquiring either of TDKR offerings, act quickly!

FOLLOW-UP - 25.11.2012. . .  False alarm! . . . Much ado about nothing!! TDKR page is up again as if nothing had ever happened. That still leaves the question as to why the "technical glitch" was overlooked for a fortnight, but I guess we must keep in mind whom we are talking about here. . .

06 November 2012

Darth Maul 2N - Progress Report #2

I have just finished pegging and fitting--though not permanently attaching (this may not take place for a few weeks)--the torso to the lower body. And a watershed such as this warrants a new entry in this [b]log. . . 

The finishing of the reworked lower body continues--and probably will for the foreseeable future. Everything is in place, and the structural putty-work has been completed. Now it is a question of thinning down the numerous addenda to a visually-acceptable scale, and trimming everything to size.

The boots will have to be "tweaked"; but this will be done throughout the course of the project rather than in one fell swoop. 

Back to the bench!