Meanwhile, Back on Eternia…

As regular followers and visitors will be aware, July is “He-Month” in which myself and Roger Webb will be attempting to complete some 28mm representations of characters from the Masters of the Universe franchise.

As I had already stolen a march on Roger, having suitable conversion fodder culled from the HeroQuest boardgame, I was pleased to note that Roger had posted his first update on this project over on his blog – Rantings from Under the Wargames Table. Curious about which figures he was planning on using, I opened the blog to be confronted by a dozen or so naked dollies he’d purchased from Bronze Age Miniatures. Rather than converting existing figures like myself, he was going to use his superior sculpting skills to add the necessary details to these muscular templates. A further post from Roger yesterday showed his progress, so far, with his sculpting.

After some gnashing of teeth, I realised that in order to match his output, my figures needed a little more ‘oomph’. Repeating the mantra “it’s not a competition…”, I first turned to my Skeletor figure. Whilst the general look of the figure would, with a suitable paint job, be recognisably Skeletor, the pose of the miniature had been bothering me for a while. Rather than saying “Cower before my might, puny Eternians!”, his pose seemed to suggest he should be saying “Vote Skeletor!” or “I’m open!” Alternatively, he could be performing in an Eternian Village People tribute band…

Reviewing the source material, I realised what was missing – his distinctive skull-topped staff. Therefore, I needed to find a suitable spear or staff wielding hand-donor, to which I could add a suitably scaled ram skull to.

As all wargamers know, over our hobby life, we accrue a large number of figures. These may be part of a boxed game, purchased for a planned-but-now-stalled project or just bought because they were cool. These then languish in a box somewhere, until a use is found for them, such as becoming a hand-donor for an Eternian sorcerer.

However, after an exhaustive search through my collection, I discovered that I had nothing suitable and was almost resigned to leaving him as is. That is until I remembered a failed experiment involving a GW plastic skeleton, some clingfilm and my wife’s hairdryer…

Having previously noted that certain plastics shrivel when exposed to heat, the idea was that the clingfilm would shrivel around the skeleton, creating shreds of flesh. What I’d failed to remember was that clingfilm (called Saran wrap in the U.S.) is designed to be resistant to heat and therefore has a higher tolerance than the plastic used to manufacture wargaming figures. The result was hot clingfilm and a slumped, slightly deformed skeleton. Not being one to waste a perfectly serviceable figure, it was partially flocked and then painted to resemble a partially decomposed corpse rising from its swampy grave, as shown below:

Swampie

Applying the same principle, if a small amount of directed heat was applied to Skeletor’s right hand, it should soften the plastic enough to enable me to bend the fingers and thumb into the approximation of a fist, to which I could add the staff. Luckily, as I had already applied a couple of coats of paint to the limb in question, this worked exactly how I intended. A later experiment indicates that naked flame applied directly to unprotected or unpainted plastic wargames figures results in them catching alight and melting into a charred lump, similar to every attempt I’ve made to use a barbecue. Ladies, if a man can’t cook, he won’t suddenly turn into Gordon Ramsay just because you’ve stuck him outside with some raw meat and tray of charcoal…

Creating a suitable channel for the staff with a push-pin and, incidentally, stabbing myself in the thumb in the process, I then ventured into the Aladdin’s cave of crap known as my loft, as I was certain that lurking in one of the boxes up there were plastic farm animals that may yield a suitably scaled sheep head. No luck on this front, so I turned to my ‘box of bits’ for inspiration.

The staff was then constructed from; a piece of stiff wire from a straightened paper clip, a small bead appropriated from a jewellery making set, two plastic skeletal horse tails and a plastic human skull filed down into the approximate shape of a ram’s skull, the last two both sourced from the venerable Skeleton Horde boxed set from Games Workshop, which I still have multiple sprues from.

I then glued the staff into place and slapped some paint onto the figure, just to ensure that it all worked as a whole. This is where we currently are with Skeletor:

Skeletor

I’m pretty happy with him so far, and feel that he just needs the detail painting to finish him off.

On to He-Man, who I was having a few issues with, as noted in my previous post. Having sculpted the harness onto the figure using Milliput, a review of the miniature revealed that I had been a little generous in my application of the putty and, rather than a harness, it looked like a life-jacket. Luckily, as Milliput sets rocks-hard, the application of needle file and craft knife soon reduced this to a more suitable thickness. The next problem was his wrist-guards. Whilst I could have just painted them on, this felt like cheating, so having dismissed Milliput as an option, I was contemplating the flexible properties of baking foil when something in my ‘box of bits’ caught my eye. This provided a solution that was both simple and elegant…

The item in question was a thin transparent plastic tube, removed from an exhausted ballpoint pen and previously used to add a drain pipe to one of my model buildings. I theorised that if I cut a suitable length of said tube, slit it lengthways and opened it up, this could then be ‘clipped’ onto the figure’s arm, instantly providing a wrist-guard without too much faffing about. And whilst there was some adjustment needed, this worked exactly as I had hoped. So, a bit of paint and this is where we stand with He-Man so far;

He-Man

Feel free to bow down and worship the genius that is Carrion Crow…

Now, whilst the above two are the most iconic characters from the Masters of the Universe franchise, neither are my favourite. My favourite, and the one I owned the action figure of, was Man-at-Arms. Not the cartoon version with the moustache, but the action figure version, with his funky partial armour and angry clean-shaven face.

So, as I am currently enjoying “He-Month”, it seemed inevitable that I would attempt a version of Man-at-Arms. However, you’ll have to wait until the next instalment to see him and he won’t be exactly how you remember him…

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8 thoughts on “Meanwhile, Back on Eternia…

  1. Excellent work Jez they both look the business, and once again you are streaking ahead of me, He-man actually looks like He-man, I know this is the idea but I’m just really impressed how much you figure does look like He-man now!, and as for Skeletor, well as I said in this weeks posting, perhaps I should have taken you up on you kind offer, it would have been so much easier, I’m loving the yellow skull by the way, I’ve been thinking about this myself, and cant decide whether to go all out like you have or just “Yellow” tint the skull slightly up from usual skull colours, yours does look good though…..Hmmmmm

    I sadly cannot use Milliput as I am highly allergic to it (as I discovered a few years back, with blotchy hands to prove it), Man at Arms was also one of my future projects, though I’m not sure who I’ll attempt next, as I’m trying not to think about it and get distracted from the figures in hand, (I have the attention span of a goldfish I’m afraid) I rather pleased Simon Moore isn’t painting his Antediluvian mini’s at the moment or I’d probably be off after them as we speak.

    Keep up the good work sir, I really want to see the two figures finished now (just not too soon).

    Cheers Roger.

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    • Thanks Roger. I decided to go for the yellow skull as he does have it in both the cartoon and the action figure and when I just painted it an off-white, it looked…wrong. Currently undecided whether to go for cartoon look, so just black details on the skull or the action figure look, which had hints of green, although it did kind of make him look like he was wearing make-up…

      He-Man is also almost done, although I decided not to go for the page-boy haircut, just leaving the hair length as is. This makes is below shoulder-length, so this is He-Man who decided to grow his hair.

      I’m really pleased with my Man-at-Arms proxy, as I feel it’s a more realistic take on the character. I am also planning on repainting Raelin the Kyrie Warrior from the Heroscape set as a She-Ra/Teela hybrid, which of course will be called She-La. The remaining figures that will be joining my Eternian Knights are figures that I’m not converting, just painting in suitable colours to make them look like they were mass-produced in China. Think of them as figures that could have been made, but weren’t. I’ll tease you with the suitably Mattel-ish names -Bad Juju, Rhinox, Serpentina and Eye-Saur – and leave you to speculate on what these could possibly be…

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  2. Great going Jez and Skeletor is an especially impressive model with the yellow skull etc. Great work. I’m also very pleased to see how well He-Man is coming along. I think both these figures will look stonkingly good once the varnish has dried 🙂 I liked the moustache-wearing Man-At-Arms, but I’m still looking forward to your conversion (you tease!!). Keep it up you’re going great guns.

    P.S. If you think Roger is suddenly starting to take things too seriously then mention MoVember and a certain model of a chap from Nazareth. That’ll quieten him down 😉

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    • Thanks Simon. I’m pretty pleased with them so far and this is proving to be a fun project. Whilst my sculpting skills may not be as advanced as Roger’s, I do appear to have a talent for utilising bits of junk to enhance figures. My friend keeps telling me I should post a tutorial for the scratch built fire hydrant that appeared in one of my Heroclix posts, which I may do. You’ll have to wait for my Man-at-Arms, but he will be worth the wait. 😉

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  3. Hi Jez, I really want to see how you made that fire hydrant now you know!

    I must admit I like Man at arms with the moustache as well (I might save him for mo’vember’, “Jesus Christ” Simon are you still going on about that (pun intended).

    Too seriously! I never take anything seriously, I’m making He-man figures at 46, and you say I take things too seriously, well really (ha ha!!).

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    • There will be a future post on scratch-building street furniture for urban gaming. Plus another on making cheap modular street tiles. Obviously after the important decision on whether Man-at-Arms should have a moustache or not. 😉

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  4. Pingback: Super Dinosaur Banana Forgotten Heroes! | Carrion Crow's Buffet

  5. Pingback: Super Dinosaur Banana (Jez Winstanley) – forgottenheroessite

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