Forgotten Heroes 2018 – The Greatest Spaceknight of Them All!

June is here and that can only mean one thing here at the Buffet – it’s Forgotten Heroes month!

For those of you new to this blog, this annual event is now in its third year, after I came up with this crazy idea back in 2016. Full details of what it is and what the rules/guidelines are for this celebration of the overlooked and unloved can be found in this post, so I won’t go into too much detail here.

Now, last year I created a whole team of superheroes, namely Image Comics’ Mystery Incorporated from the 1963 mini-series, who were a pastiche of Marvel’s Fantastic Four. If you’re interested in this “Quantum Quartet”, they can be seen in their finished forms in this post.

This year, as my time seems to be a little less available than previous years, I’ve decided to just produce one figure. And the character I’ve chosen this year is Rom: Spaceknight!

Rom has an interesting history, as the character was originally created by Scott Dankman, Richard C. Levy and Bryan L. McCoy for Parker Brothers in 1979. This was the first ‘action figure’ that the company had ever produced, as they were primarily a publisher of board games.

Image result for rom spaceknight toy

As action figures go, Rom was a bit rubbish, as it only had limited articulation at the ankles and shoulders, but what it did have was electronic lights and sounds! Woo-hoo! However, it was essentially just a large hunk of silver-grey plastic, with different ‘tools’ that Rom could hold, which made different noises when they were plugged in to him. Yes, it was a ‘space’ toy, but you could have far more fun with an Action Man, the acceptable face of dolls for boys.

(And before anyone gets a bit miffed with me referring to Action Man (or G.I.Joe) as a doll, if you owned one, just how many different outfits did you have for him? And how often did he get changed? He was a doll – just a manly, rugged doll with a scar on his face.)

To drum up sales for the toy, the character was licensed to Marvel Comics in 1979 and in December of that year, the first issue of Rom: Spaceknight was published, written by Bill Mantlo and illustrated by Sal Buscema.

Image result for rom spaceknight comic

The comic book ran for 75 issues up until February 1986 and the character of Rom was fully integrated into the Marvel Universe. The comic actually lasted longer than the toy it was originally created to support.

Now, as the character was only licensed to Marvel, the rights to the character were retained by Parker Brothers, who subsequently became a subsidiary of Hasbro. So, whilst the comic book established him as a character within the Marvel Universe, created a supporting cast and back story for him and introduced the alien race known as Dire Wraiths, whilst all of the Marvel created characters CAN be used by Marvel, Rom can’t. So, you won’t see an official Heroclix miniature of him any time soon. He truly is a Forgotten Hero.

However, a massive cyborg warrior in gleaming silver armour, armed with a Neutraliser to banish those Dire Wraiths masquerading as humans to Limbo, is just too cool to remain forgotten, and whilst the toy was a little underwhelming, the iconic image from the cover of his first issue just begs to be replicated in miniature, so that’s what I’m going to attempt.

My base figure for this conversion is the Marvel Heroclix Aleph, from the Avengers Assemble subset:

As you can see, picking a base figure that is as close to the original as possible always makes your life a bit easier. My intention is to re-position the legs to get that iconic wide-legged stance, remove and re-position both the head and the left arm and add a scratch-built Neutraliser to his left hand. The various illustrations show him using it in both his left and right  hands, but I want to mimic the image from the cover of his first issue as much as possible, so he will be left-handed.

I saved the axe-head from the Drax Heroclix figure I converted into Trapjaw, as this is made from transparent red plastic, specifically with this conversion in mind, as I will be using it to create Rom’s visor and the end of his Neutraliser. Well, that’s the plan anyway…

Until next time…

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15 thoughts on “Forgotten Heroes 2018 – The Greatest Spaceknight of Them All!

  1. Pingback: The Greatest Spaceknight of Them All! (Jez Winstanley) – forgottenheroessite

  2. What a great choice Jez, I remeber ROM from his appearences in Star Wars weekly, back in my childhood (the first one that is!). Best of luck with this, I’ve re-posted it to the FH site.

    Cheers Roger.

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    • Thanks Phil. To be honest, I’ve never read an issue of Rom, but was always struck by his ‘look’ and feel that the completed figure can be used for many different types of games.

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    • I had a feeling you might approve, Simon, as you do have an infestation of Dire Wraiths – someone’s got to get rid of them! I hope that my version meets with your approval.

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  3. There is a whole generation of kids stuff I seem to have missed. When I was a kid I completely missed comics and action toys. I guess I was quite boring because I was reading Dickens (I loved that whole Victorian world he bought alive so vividly) and George Elliot, Hardy and the Bronte sisters. Later (about 14) I found Tolkien, Fritz Leiber, Burroughs, Heinlein and Lovecraft. My only comic book memories were when I was very young…. the Beano, Dandy, and Warlord. Interesting post Jez, but sadly I can`t share it with any knowledge of it, as its foreign soil to me hehe.

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    • No worries, Steve. As I was exposed to comic book heroes at an early age, with the Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman and Spider-Man tv shows, finding that you could read about their adventures in comics that were available in your local newsagents led to a life-long love of the genre. Fantasy came afterwards, and it wasn’t until much later I developed a taste for classic literature – probably because during my school years it was ‘forced’ on us. We all take different routes and mostly end up in roughly the same place.

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  4. that marvel avengers aleph does look very good as a base framework figure. I can see myself taking him and turning it into at least a half dozen things that come to mind. hes a nice choice.

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    • The advantage of the less well-known characters is that they’re not iconic enough to be instantly recognisable if you use them for something else and they’re also usually cheap. Aleph would make a good robot for a variety of games and as he’s pretty big, would be quite imposing on the table.

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  5. It’s a bit eerie, Jez,! I considered doing ROM myself for this year’s challenge, but I couldn’t find a suitable base miniature. I didn’t even see the aleph! I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with him.
    My brother owned the ROM toy. He was a stand-alone toy (i.e. not a toy line), so if you bought ROM, you had a complete collection. I remember he made gaspy breathing sounds among other electronic beeps if you pressed little buttons on his back.
    I never read any ROM comics, but I do remember his appearance at Rick Jones’s bachelor party…good times.

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    • When I saw Aleph, my first thougbt was how it would make a good base figure for a Rom conversion, so he was bought with this in mind. Same with the Heroclix Stonewall figure, who will, at some point, become Captain Mexico. I’ll sometimes see a figure and I’ll immediately know what it’s destined to become.

      I never owned the toy, but had a friend who did and therefore got to examine it and decide that it wasn’t all that. As robotic ‘action figures’ go, it was a bit rubbish. I much preferred V.I.N.CENT from “The Black Hole” movie – that was a cool design!

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