Monster May(hem): The Last Straw…

I’ll have to admit, I was getting a little concerned that I wasn’t going to get my “monster” completed before the end of May.

I’d sat down, fully intending on making some in-roads into everything I’d previously started, then discovered that the reading glasses I use for detail painting had snapped, meaning I couldn’t use them.

My mother-in-law had given me one of those magnifier headsets, with removable lenses, so I thought this would be an ideal time to try them out…

Shouldn’t have bothered. For something supposedly designed for this exact purpose, they were remarkably crap. The lenses are too small, so you’re almost cross-eyed using them and whilst they are standard magnifications, I couldn’t find one that met my needs. I ended up going out and buying a cheap pair of 3.5 magnification reading glasses for 99p – whichnis what I should have done in the first place.

So, the only thing I’d managed to do during this debacle was give the figure and base an undercoat of Docrafts Linen.

As this is pale yellowy-white, I thought it would give me a head start on making it look like straw.

I then lined up my yellow and brown paints to see what would be the best colour to go for next. I ended up using an ancient pot of GW Swamp Brown, which is more yellow than brown.

And now we were cooking with gas!

The next stage wad to provide some depth, with a wash of brown. Viewing various images of hay bales online, I decided that probably Docrafts Chocolate Brown would be the best option, so a watery solution of this was mixed, then liberally applied to the model. I also used the same colour, but unwatered, to paint the muddy base.

Looking at the model, I thought it looked a little one note, so went back online to se how others had painted it. Unsurprisingly, the first one that came up was the one from Crooked Dice’s website, followed by one on Brummie’s Wargaming blog and Simon’s version at Fantorical.

Looking at all three, I noted that both CD’s and Simon’s had varigations in the painting, which upon closer inspection of both the pictures and the model itself, I realised were actually branches/sticks lashed into it’s body. Looking at the brown paint I had, I decided they were a bit too brown, so mixed some Chocolate Brown with some Docrafts Dark Grey until I had a colour I was happy with. All the ‘sticks’ were then painted and some of the bindings given a highlight of Linen.

As I wanted the eyes of the Straw Man to look as though they were glowing, I filled the cavities with a generous wash of GW Mithril Silver, followed by a coat of GW Bogey Green, which I also used to touch up the straw round the eye holes, to look as if the light was reflecting from within.

I then turned my attention to the base, giving the broken planks another coat of Linen, then washed the mud part of tge base with Docrafts Burnt Ochre. The planks then got a wash of mid-grey, as wood tends to go this colour if left untreated and then weathered.

I was almost going to call it done, but something was niggling at me. If you’ve ever been to a farm or anywhere that has hay or straw, it doesn’t matter how well bound it is, you always get stray strands scattered about. That’s what was missing.

Luckily, the sewing tin had a reel of cotton the right colour, so several lengths were cut, then PVA painted around the figure’s feet. I then sprinkled these about, adjusting where necessary, until it looked right.

I think it adds a little something.

So, Monster May(hem) done and with time to spare. As I had to wait for the figure to dry, I decided to crack on with AND finish my Action Man-inspired figures.

First, the finally completed Bulletman;

Next, Atomic Man;

And yes, he does have the silver piping on his sleeves;

And finally, what was originally a HeroQuest plastic Fimir, but with a little Carrion Crow magic, is now The Intruder- “Action Man’s Greatest Enemy”;

And as the three above are “Forgotten Heroes” this leads nicely into the announcement for this year’s ‘community art project.’

For those who are not aware of what this is… where have you been? We’ve only been doing this every year since 2016!

Joking aside, if you’ve not taken part before, the “rules” are simple:-

During the month of June, you must produce a recognisable figure of a character that has either not had an official or unofficial figure made of them or has, but you want your own version.

Any scale, any genre – your choice. You want to paint up a GW Imperial Commissar as Marshal Law? Go ahead! You want to sculpt the ultimate version of Venom? Go for it! You want to use a discarded Hulk action figure head to make a 28mm version of M.O.D.O.K.? Um… I may have beaten you to it…

If you want to take part, just drop a comment on here and I’ll add you to the blogroll. Your first post should introduce the character, as if it’s a touch obscure (like when I did Bananaman) people may not know who it is.

Any questions regarding this, feel free to ask. At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun, so no need to take it too seriously and, if you do rake part, at the end of June, you’ll have a unique figure that no one else has.

Roll on Forgotten Heroes 2022!

Men of Action

In my last post, I noted that I had also almost completed the Roger Webb sculpted “Ballistic Man”, which was one of three superhero figures Roger created for his company, prior to closing it down a couple of years back.

As mentioned in that post, and in some of the comments, this sculpt was based on the 1977 Bullet Man action figure, part of the Action Man Team – along with Tom Stone, Atomic Man and Action Man himself.

I did mention that I had considered creating a few more characters to accompany Bullet Man… and, as usual, this idea niggled away at me, so I began to scour the Internet to see if I could find suitable proxies for some of the other characters.

Having found a suitable figure to represent Action Man and a figure from the same range that, with some modification, will become the Intruder, I went looking for Atomic Man.

For those not familiar with “Atomic Man”, he looks like this:

Action Man Atomic Man 1977

My usual source for suitable conversion fodder are HeroClix figures, but we no longer have a reliable secondary seller of these here in the UK and whilst the figures ARE available in the U.S. for reasonable costs, the shipping costs are pretty steep, so this was ruled out.

“Mike Power – Atomic Man” was basically Hasbro’s own version of the Six Million Dollar Man, as they had noted the success of the 13″ Kenner licensed figure and decided to cash in on this themselves. When Palitoy added it to the Action Man range, they added the flock hair, push-button “Atomic Pacemaker” and gave him a different outfit.

As this character was based on the Bionic Man, I knew there were two UK based companies that produced not-Bionic Men.

First up was Crooked Dice, who do a two-pack entitled Cyborgs 1 for £8.00, which contains versions of both Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers:

The advantage of this figure was it did highlight his cybernetic enhancements, but it IS obviously Steve Austin and do I really want to pay £8.00 for a figure that I’m planning on converting anyway and one I don’t want?

The second option was Killer B Game’s Agent Atomic from their Geezers Royale range, at a very reasonable £2.00:

A bit closer and certainly more reasonable, but still not quite there.

So, I obviously went with secret option number 3 – make your own.

For this, I dug out my box of HeroClix figures that have yet to be assigned to a specific purpose and found this:

This is the Hydra Infiltrator, of which I had two. Liked the pose, just needed to subject him to some surgery. We CAN rebuild him… for no dollars.

The head is obviously all wrong, so this will provided by Mr. Fantastic:

All miniatures representing superheroes with stretching powers SUCK, so I felt no remorse in removing Reed Richards head – something Dr. Doom has never been able to do.

The final component was a cybernetic forearm, supplied from a Warlord Games plastic Cyberman, as although I wanted to try and retain the flavour of the character in his jumpsuit, I did want to show that he was enhanced in some way:

I went for the open hand arm, as I thought this would be a better look.

Now, as I do not currently have any superglue, various alternative glues were tried and the end result was the advice that you should never buy pound shop or dollar store un-branded glue, as it’s shit. I ended up creating ‘pins’ out of lengths of paperclips, so that the head and forearm wouldn’t break off with handling and used decorator’s grip adhesive (i.e. No More Nails) as the glue, which not only sets pretty quick, but also fills small gaps. I really ought to use this first, rather than fannying about with sub-standard glues.

Or not be so tight when it comes to buying glue…

Anyway, after the glue debacle was over, I carved off the obvious tunic, filed down his thighs a bit, tidied him up a bit, then ran out of time for that evening.

So, first a shot highlighting his robotic right forearm:

And a final shot showing the assembled figure, which I could not get the whole figure in focus for:

You can just imagine him saying “Yes, I am Atomic Man. And I AM going to fuck you up…”

So, pretty pleased with progress so far. Need to pop him off his chunky ‘Clix base and rebase him, then should be just a case of painting him in his distinctive black jumpsuit with silver stripes.

Join me next time, for more micro Action Man goodness!