Unnatural History

Anyone who has visited one of the big museums, such as the British Museum or the Natural History Museum in London, will know that not only are they filled with cool and interesting things, but they…are…HUGE. I’m not just talking about the exteriors, but once you walk in through the front doors, you find yourself within a cool, marble-floored hall, whose ceiling and walls stretch away from you – almost to infinity. This sense of scale, of grandeur, is deliberate, as it puts you in the right frame of mind to full appreciate the artefacts that you will shortly be viewing.

Now, back in 2009, Sony released Ghostbusters: The Video Game across various home console platforms, including PS2, PS3, Xbox 360 and the Wii. There were two ‘versions’ of the game – realistic and stylised – depending on which console you had, but the general plot was the same.

It was set in New York in 1991 and the Ghostbusters, with the addition of a new “Experimental Weapons Technician” (controlled by the player), attempted to thwart the convoluted plan of Ivo Shandor to return from beyond the veil and complete the work he had begun back in the 1920’s.

Now, unlike a lot of the games published under the Ghostbusters banner, the script and story for this had been created by Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis, and featured the actual vocal talents of the majority of the original cast, including the notoriously reclusive Bill Murray.

And it was awesome, especially on the Wii, as you actually felt like you WERE a Ghostbuster.

You may be wondering how this video game and my introduction regarding museums are related to one another…or to wargaming, which is the purpose of this blog and probably why you’re here in the first place. All WILL be explained, so read on.

So, one of the levels of this game featured the American Museum of Natural History, star of the first Night in the Museum movie and novel Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (NB: the movie based on the latter – The Relic (1997) – whilst not too bad, moved the action to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, so not the same place.) You got to explore various parts of the museum and bust a variety of supernatural menaces along the way.

This got me thinking that having a tabletop representation of a museum – a museum ‘board’ if you will – would be a great location to play a variety of games on. A heist of a valuable artefact could be thwarted by costumed vigilantes or uniformed police; a group of stalwart, square-jawed adventurers could sneak in to prevent cultists from opening a portal to another dimension and releasing some squamous horror; paranormal exterminators or meddling teens could investigate and eliminate a haunting, whether real or faked. Just think of all the movies you’ve seen that have featured a museum or art gallery as a major location and think of what fun YOU could have with your figures, if you had one yourself…

Now, I am aware that Sally 4th does as part of their Terra Blocks range, under the sub-heading of Exotic Locations, The Museum of Antiquities, which is constructed from 17 100mm cubes, that can be rearranged to your heart’s content, for £17.50.

However, whilst nice, this doesn’t really convey the scale of the big museums to me, so I sat on this idea for a while until I had one of my unbelievably genius ideas. You may be somewhat sceptical at this point, but just you wait and see…

Right, first thing you need is a box, but not just any box. You need a box that is pretty big, robust and deep. I was initially going to use a box file for this, as they’re pretty cheap and easy to get hold of wherever you happen to be in the world, but then remembered that Ikea do black storage boxes for a very reasonable £2.00 each. Obviously, being Ikea, you’ve got to build them yourself, but no tools are necessary, as these are the only parts you get:

As you can see from the instruction sheet, this box is called ‘Tjena’, and comes in three parts; the pre-assembled lid, the sides and folded bottom and a flat insert to go in the bottom of the box for added stability. The box is 13 3/4″ long, 9 3/4″ wide and 4″ tall (or 35cm, 25cm and 10cm, if you use Metric) and looks like this once you’ve built it;

You can now see why you have a insert, as the folded part of the base of the box means it hasn’t got a flat bottom.

Each one of these boxes will represent one hall within our museum, so depending on how large you want your museum to be depends on how many boxes you buy. As each ‘hall’ is only £2.00 (in the UK at least), your playing area and budget will dictate how many halls your museum has.

Once you’ve decided how many halls you are going to have and the approximate layout, you need to cut openings in the relevant walls of your halls, so that the visitors can move between halls. Make sure that the openings in each hall are the same size, so that when you put them together, they marry up. I have decided that as my museum may have exhibits such as prehistoric animals or modern art in the form of giant plastic pigs, the openings need to be 3″ wide and this hall will have three openings, so I cut these out.

The reason I did this first is because whilst the box, insert and lid are coloured black, the card it’s made from isn’t, so the cut parts show the original colour of the cardboard it’s made from. As the next stage involves paint, it’s better to have all the bits you’re going to paint on show at the same time.

As museums tend to have neutral coloured walls, out came my £4.00 can of Wilko ‘Soft Taupe’ spray paint and the interior walls (and the cut parts showing the base card colour) were given a liberal coat, then left to dry whilst I moved on to the next part. And this is what it looked like once it was dry.

However, whilst it was drying, I tackled the ‘floor’. The idea here was to cover the card insert with suitably patterned self-adhesive decorative vinyl. Having found a role of said product that featured 1 inch squares, that looked like floor tiles (and is actually fairly similar to the tiled floor of the British Museum) in Poundland, I thought it would be ideal.

So, I cut a section big enough to cover the insert and overlap the edges, peeled of the backing paper and carefully applied the sticky-back plastic to my card insert, like so;

As the walls of my hall were now dry, I simply dropped my floor into place and had the first of my basic museum halls completed;

And to give a sense of scale, here’s Jake Hudson of the local Ghostbusters franchise facing off against some Oriental beastie stalking the halls of the Rookhaven Museum of Natural History;

Now, it’s not complete, as I am intending on adding skirting boards, light switches and power outlets to the walls, to make it look more ‘real’, but I wanted to get this up on the blog so others could see just how simple, quick and inexpensive creating a large interior space to play in was. It doesn’t need to be a museum – it could be ANY interior. And it doesn’t need to be a room this size – it could be easily divided up into smaller rooms, to represent a secret base or a prison or…well anything YOU need.

And, once you’re done playing, pop the lid on and stack it up with the other halls you’ve built. Robust, quick and easy to build and store, and cheap.


‘Nuff said.

Not-So-Terrible Lizards

Some bloggers are painting miniatures with facial hair this month as they take part in Movember, but one blogger has consistently indulged his love of all things pre-historic with his own themed month – Dinovember – and that is Michael Awdry of 28m Victorian Warfare.

Now, I did kind of say that I’d try to take part this year, but it has become my duty to report the dastardly deeds occurring in Blackwell, I didn’t really feel I could commit to an entire month devoted to dinosauria. However, as one of Michael’s posts for this month did focus on a model I’d sent him, it did remind me that I had a box of these models awaiting whatever devious plans I had for them.

So, inspired by Michael, I thought I’d give a potted history of the range  and show you some of the models I personally own.

Back in 1974, a company called Invicta Plastics based in Leicestershire,  began a partnership with the Natural History Museum in London  to produce plastic models of pre-historic animals…and a Blue Whale, for some reason. This partnership continued for a good twenty years or so, with 23 separate creatures released from Glyptodons to Triceratops, Brontosaurus to Iguanadons. The NHM was still selling these models up until 2004, when the popularity of Walking with Dinosaur, meant that the Invicta models were no longer the ‘current’ idea of what a dinosaur’s stance should be. And because of this, when I visited in 2004, the Invicta models were all being sold at half-price – so I bought a load, with the idea that I could flog the extras on eBay. To be honest, I’d wish I’d bought a larger range, but I went for the ones I thought would be more instantly recognisable and cheaper to send through the post. Surprisingly, the Woolly Mammoths proved to be the most popular, followed by the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Now, this range was unusual for two reasons. Firstly, it the first accurate (for the time) representation of pre-historic creatures and secondly, every model produced (bar the Blue Whale mentioned earlier and the Baryonyx) were actually in scale with one another. Each creature was moulded in single colour hard plastic and had the creature’s scientific name and details of its length molded on its belly. Which led me to the discovery that, roughly speaking, the ‘scale’ of this model range was 28mm.

Unfortunately, the Natural History Museum no longer sell these models and do not have hoppers filled with unsold models tucked away in a dusty corner of their basement – I know because I’ve asked them. I also asked after the moulds, but was assured that they have been destroyed. However as these were in production for a couple of decades, there are a LOT of these models out there, so if you do want some for yourself, check eBay. However, bear in mind that some people seem to think that ‘out of production’ equals ‘really rare’ and subsequently are selling these models at outrageous prices. A good rule of thumb for judging whether the price they’re selling it for is reasonable is to ask what the equivalent size model would cost in resin, metal of plastic (like the ones produced by Schleich). If the price is higher, don’t bother, but keep your eyes peeled, as sellers do sometimes put job lots up, containing half a dozen or so models for a reasonable price.

Of course, before you buy, you’ll want to know if they’re worth the money, so here are the ones I own, pictured with one of my converted UNIT soldiers, to give you an idea of how well they scale in.

First up, a Dimetrodon, a carnivore from the Cisuralian Permian, known for its distinctive sail-like fin;

This is the smallest model I have, but one of my favourite pre-historic beasties, because I think it looks so cool. As you can see, the detailing on each model was pretty good, even on the smaller models.

Next, a Scelidosaurus, a Jurassic herbivore.

Another nice model, which I picked up because I thought it looked suitably reptilian, but without immediately screaming ‘Dinosaur’, so could have other uses.

Next up, we have a Stegosaurus, another Jurassic herbivore.

A pretty distinctive outline on this one, although modern interpretation of fossil records suggest that it held its head and tail more horizontal.

Another favourite of mine, the Tricertaops, a herbivore of the Cretaceous period:

This model, as you can see, is ridiculously well-detailed and will be a joy to paint.

Next, a Megalosaurus, a carnivore from the Jurassic era.

And finally, the big kahuna himself, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a carnivore from the Cretaceous period.

As you can see, he’s a pretty substantial model, towering over my UNIT soldier.

And here’s the whole gang:

So, a nicely detailed range of accurate dinosaur models, that are a perfect scale for 28mm figures, and that were relatively inexpensive to buy for the size of the model.

Whilst the pictures do give you some idea of the detail, various people have taken the time and effort to paint these models and do them justice, so follow the links to the Triceratops, Stegosaurus and Megalosaurus to see what these models CAN look like.

For mine, I’m kind of leaning towards initially using them as museum displays, but basing them so they can come off their plinths when brought to life by whatever Maguffin I come up with. That’s the wonderful thing about dinosaurs, they can be used anywhere.

Until next time.

Forgotten Heroes – Final Issue! (For now…)

When I first conceived the idea of ‘Forgotten Heroes’ back in April, my initial idea was that it would be a bit of fun for people who don’t usually get involved in this sort of thing – no pressure, no ‘competition’ – just a group of like-minded individuals all having a go at making figures of characters that the commercial companies haven’t got around to yet. Little did I know it would prove so popular!

I would just like to personally thank Roger Webb of Rantings from Under the Wargames Table fame, without who we would not have had a central site to display the hard work, ingenuity and inventiveness of those who’ve taken part. If you’ve yet to visit the site, go there now and marvel at the cornucopia of characters  created!

Right, having had some additional hobby time available this week, I’ve managed to complete my three ‘Forgotten Heroes’ and a certain side project I’ve been working on…

So, my ‘Extra Credit’ Forgotten Hero was Stegron the Dinosaur Man, who I made from a Godzilla collectible miniature released to coincide with the 2014 film of the same name. All I needed to do to finish him was paint his base, so not  a lot different from last time we saw him.


Yes, it’s a big orange lizard…wearing jewelry. I think he’s come out very well and matches the most recent depictions of the character.


Not someone I’d want to meet in a dark alley…

Next was Super-Soldier, from the DC/Marvel crossover ‘company’ Amalgam Comics, who is an amalgamation of Captain America and Superman. This was originally a Heroclix Captain Atom, who I gave a belt, fancy boots and a shield to.


Whilst the conversion work was minimal, I’d forgotten that the details of his costume included painting a white star on his chest and back, red and white stripes around his mid-riff and the iconic ‘S’ shield, which took a lot of concentration and a steady hand.


I’m pretty happy that I’ve managed to capture the look of the character, but have just remembered that I failed to paint the straps on the rear of his shield, which luckily you can’t see in the photos above. Might need to get the paints back out…

Finally, we have the Man of Peel himself, Nutty comic’s Bananaman, who was created from a Heroclix Bizarro. This figure required the most conversion, as I had to shave his head, trim his cape, add banana boots and gloves and sculpt his cowl.


As you can see, he now has his red ‘B’ belt buckle and the banana skin lines on his gloves, boots and cape.


Given that I was quite worried about whether he would end up looking like he was supposed to, I think I’ve managed to pull it off and now have a one-of-a-kind Bananaman figure. Which is pretty cool.

And to finish with, here’s a group shot of all three figures.


So, my work on ‘Forgotten Heroes’ draws to a close…until next time. As this was so popular, it will definitely return at some point…I’ve still got several figures I want to do, but have other fish to fry over the next couple of months.

Talking of frying…I have also finished the Jwar Islands ‘Cupid Burgers’ franchise, which sounds more impressive than what it actually is, which is a cart and a grill.

This was a side project for Andy of da Gobbo’s Grotto, who has been beavering away at populating his gaming table with factions and terrain to play games of GCT Studios Bushido. But he hadn’t made a burger cart and grill, so I offered to make him one. And here it is:


The cart was looking a little bare, so I added some decoration along the side, and a couple of hunks of meat hanging from the cart, as the burgers have to be made from something, right? And you would also need to slice the meat, so there are a couple of knives on the cart.

Here’s another shot of the side of the cart, showing the decorations a bit more clearly;


I built the cart separately and was intending on attaching it to the scenic base, but decided it would be more useful as a separate piece. Here’s the scenic base, with completed grill:


As you can see, the flag is in place, but this is also removable, for ease of transportation and storage. The grill itself has been put into place, which unfortunately covers the work I spent on the charcoal – making sure it looked right and was the right colour – but what can you do? As you can see, we have two burgers cooking away – looking pretty much done to me – and a kama resting next to the grill, to discourage those who want a burger for free.

And when you put it all together, it looks like this:


Andy has already hired a feisty Oriental cook to man the grill, so all that needs to be done is for the above to be packaged up and sent winging its way down to him. Looks like the Jwar Islands Cupid Burger stand will be opening soon – down by the docks.

So, as the burger cart and grill is complete and my Heroes are no longer Forgotten, what’s next for the Buffet? Well, having been inspired by Andy’s Bushido posts, I shall be returning to Oriental gaming for July, but Carrion Crow style…

Like the idea of Oriental Fantasy gaming, but your budget cannot currently stretch to buying the rules and miniatures for Bushido? I will be showing you how you can still play the game without shelling out for ANY official products.

AND I will be finally revealing my own set of skirmish rules, which I will be using to run a game in which a Samurai and his retainers attempt to cross a bridge, as an alternative to using the Bushido rules…

AND there will be more Japanese-inspired goodness, as I try my hand at sculpting personalised Chibi-style figures, after some people got a bit excited (and jealous) of this

Bring your chopsticks, as it’s an Oriental Buffet next month!

Super Dinosaur Banana Forgotten Heroes!

Since my mid-week announcement that I was adding another character to my ‘Forgotten Heroes’ roster, I have managed to progress quite well with all three characters. When we last saw Super-Soldier, he looked like this:



I would just like to say that the quality of this ‘photo is down to the frankly crappy photo-editor App on my phone. The actual photo was in focus, but wasn’t particular close, so I fiddled with it using the App and it ended up looking like this. In future, I will take better pictures.

Anyway, Super-Soldier now looks like this:


And from the rear:


So, he just requires some washes and a bit of detailing, including the ‘S’ on his shield, which I’m not looking forward too.

Next, when we last saw Bananaman, he looked like this:


I was a bit concerned that he didn’t really look like he was supposed to, but colours do make a difference, so a little bit of paint and he now looks like this:


Certainly looking like he’s supposed to now. And a rear view, showing his split cape;


I’m pretty pleased with how he’s come out. As with Super-Solidier, he just needs a few washes and some detailing, including a tiny red ‘B’ on his belt buckle.

Now, my last post introduced you to my ‘Extra Credit’ Forgotten Hero’, Stegron the Dinosaur Man, for which I had decided to use this Godzilla collectible figure as a base:


As I knew not only how I was going to paint this one, but also how I was going to add the extra details to make it truly Stegron, work has progressed well, as you can see below:


So, as Stegron is a stegosaurus-man, one of the defining attributes of this particular dinosaur is the spinal plates, which the base figure already had. However, The other defining attribute is the tail spikes, which the model didn’t have. So, out came a push pin (a very useful tool for making holes through plastic figures) and two holes were made through big G’s tail. I then inserted two pre-cut and pre-bent lengths of wire paperclip, the ends which I’d filed to points. And we now had the necessary tail spikes.

Now, Stegron also sports a couple of gold bracelets – no idea why. For these, I used the same method I used when creating He-Man’s wristlets way back in July 2015. Taking a cotton-bud stem, which is essentially a thin plastic tube, I cut two sections the length of the bracelets I wanted to create. Once these teeny tiny bits of plastic tube were cut, I then cut the tube length-ways and pried them open. I then clipped these two ‘bracers’ to Stegron’s wrists, adjusted them so they were in the right place, and then glued them. Then I painted him, as can be seen from the pictures above and below;


I think he’s come out rather well. He just needs his base tidying up a bit and he’s done.

That’s all for Forgotten Heroes, but as I’ve also been working on Andy’s burger cart and grill for his Bushido games, I thought I really ought to show my progress so far with it.

Whilst it has mainly been painting, I did ask whether Andy wanted the ‘flag’ to be in English or Japanese Kanji – he obviously went for Kanji, so I had to do a bit of Internet research to find the appropriate ones. The model below is assembled for photographic purposes only, as the flag is a separate piece which plugs into a socket on the base and the cart is actually a separate piece too, as this made it easier to paint;


So, the top two kanji are for ‘beef’, the third one is for ‘bread’ and the heart is the corporate symbol of Cupid Burgers, as are the beautiful shades of pink!

The cart requires some decoration, as it’s a little bare at present, the grill needs another coat of Linen, then the necessary symbols added. The actual grill itself, which will sit on top of the cylindrical base, still needs painting and adding, but I need to finish off the charcoal coals first. Then just comes a few bits and bobs to finish it off, such as burgers, buns and maybe some cooking utensils.

So, everything appears to be progressing well and looks like it will all be finished by the end of June – unless I have another ‘brilliant idea’ and decide to do another character…

Forgotten Heroes – Extra Credit

Even though I went off at a tangent last week and built Andy from Da Gobbo’s Grotto a burger cart and grill for his Bushido games, I am well on my way to completing my two pledged ‘Forgotten Heroes’ – Super-Soldier and Bananaman.

Having slapped some base colours on both figures, I am happy that Bananaman does not require any further trimming of his banana ‘horns’, as once the paint was on they looked fine. However, referring to my copy of Super-Soldier #1, I realised that my version needs a haircut, as his mask cover the back of his head, so I need to file down his hair before applying the next coat of paint. However, you will have to wait until the weekend for pictures of that…

As I have some extra time, which is always a blessing when it comes to hobby stuff, and everyone else seems to be either further ahead than me or producing more characters (for details of their progress, check out the official Forgotten Heroes site), I thought I’d try an earn some ‘extra credit’ by doing an additional figure. I did have a couple of potential back-up figures, but the first I’m still not entirely sure how to do and the second I wasn’t particularly enthused about.

Luckily, an additional figure I purchased on a whim when ordering my last batch of ‘clix from Blue Rat Games gave me an idea. A quick bit of online research and I realised that this figure, suitably repainted, would make an ideal proxy for the more recent depictions of this character.

So, the ‘Extra Credit’ character I will be attempting to complete before the end of June, which will especially please Michael Awdry of 28mm Victorian Warfare fame, is…

Stegron, the Dinosaur Man!

Stegron first saw print in Marvel Team-up #19, published in March 1974 and was created by Len Wein and Gil Kane. In his first appearance, Vincent Stegron was hired by S.H.I.E.L.D. to work with Dr. Curt Connors (better known as the Spider-Man foe the Lizard) to analyze dinosaur DNA sourced from the Savage Land. Inspired by the experiment that transformed Dr. Connors into the Lizard, Stegron stole some of this DNA and injected himself with it. As you do. Unsurprisingly, he was then transformed into an orange-skinned dinosaur-man, who was mentally able to control dinosaurs. Transporting several of these to New York from the Savage Land, he planned to take over the world by transforming the human race into dinosaur men like himself. It took the combined efforts of Spider-Man, the Black Panther and Ka-Zar to stop him.

Even though Stegron is very derivative of the Lizard and decidedly funky, he has regularly popped up on many occasions since then, primarily as a foe of Spider-Man, but also acting as the protector of the Savage Land in concert with Ka-Zar on a number of occasions. Initially, his appearance was more stream-lined and human-looking, but more recent depictions show him more bulked out and dinosaur-looking and this is the version that I’m going to try to replicate.

So, what was the additional figure I picked up that will be (hopefully) transformed into Stegron? This one:

This is the 2014 movie version of Godzilla from NECA’s tie-in range of collectible miniatures, specifically the ‘Atomic Breath’ variant. It’s a nicely detailed miniature and cost me a grand total of £2.49, which given that’s it 2″ tall, is a bit of bargain. To give some idea of scale, here he is next to a 28mm HeroScape Spider-Man figure:


He’s a bit of monster, isn’t he? As you can see, I’ve removed his ‘Atomic Breath’, which was just a case of tugging it free. This has joined my bits box, as I’m sure I’ll find some nefarious use for it. To complete his transformation from iconic Kaiju into orange-hued Spider-Man villain, he ideally needs tail spikes and a couple of bracelets, which all the best ‘dressed’ dinosaur-men are sporting this season. I have some ideas on how to achieve this, but we shall see exactly how successful I am. Other than that, it will be just a case of repainting him.

Join me at the weekend for updates on all three ‘Forgotten Heroes’, as well as a further update on Andy’s burger cart. As Stegron would say “When I’ve got a monster appetite, only Cupid Burgers can satisfy my primal urges.”


Dinosaurs are Red, Orko is Blue…

As the last few days of September fade into the Season of the Witch, it’s time to bid farewell to Eternia once more, as the second round of He-Month draws to a close.

Those who have been following both myself and Roger Webb’s progress on our slight obsession with re-creating the denizens of Eternia in 28mm will know that Roger has already completed his three characters – namely Man-at-Arms, the Sorceress and Orko. The results of his hard work and talent can be viewed over at his blog, Rantings from Under the Wargames Table. Go directly there now – you won’t be disappointed!

Due to the fact that I decided to add to my modest target of three Masters of the Universe characters – namely Fisto, Beast Man and Orko – by setting myself a further target of converting a cheap plastic dinosaur into a representation of Devil Dinosaur as he appeared in the Nextwave title from Marvel, I could have been setting myself up for a fall. Or in modern parlance, an Epic Fail. However, as my work decided to upgrade one of their essential computer systems this weekend, this resulted in an “extra” day off, so I leapt out of bed, paintbrush gripped between my teeth like an artistic pirate and in a flurry of activity, I have now finished everything! That’s right, not only do I have three completed Masters of the Universe characters, I also have my Devil Dinosaur finished!

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the results…

We’ll start with Fisto, the unfortunately named heroic warrior, who since the Masters of the Universe cartoon finished, has moved into adult entertainment, which unsurprisingly didn’t require a change of name…

Fisto Fin

Rather than use my standard white backdrop, I decided to go for a more scenic backdrop this time round. Only real difference from my last post is that he’s had his base painted to match the rest of my Eternian models. I decided not to attempt his eyes, as I felt if I got it wrong, then he would look like some kind of crazed redneck…

Next we have Beast Man, whose control of almost all natural animals led to a career as an animal trainer once the royalties from MOTU dried up.

Beast Man Fin

Having realised that the washes I’d previously used failed to bring out the needed details, I went darker and am now happy with the results. I have also added details, such as his claws, studs on his harness, a black ink wash on his whip and actually managed to do his eyes, including the blue eye-shadow(?) that he sports. A quick paint of his base and he joins Skeletor on the side Evil. Whilst some were surprised at my choice of base figure for this conversion, now that’s he’s finished I think we can all agree he IS Beast Man!

Now for the floating elf who some love to hate, Orko. Whilst his dream was to headline a Las Vegas magic act, Orko was reduced to becoming a children’s entertainer, until his growing bitterness and disillusionment led first to the bottle, then harder substances. That’s right, Orko broke bad…

Orko Fin

Whilst opinions are divided on the character of Orko, I have to say of this batch of Eternians, he is my favourite, as I think I’ve nailed the look and colours of the character almost spot on. Since last time, I’ve given his hat a darker wash, applied a wash to his scarf, painted his eyes and his ‘O’, which I was dreading, but actually managed first time without mucking it up. Go me!

So, time for the obligatory group shot of all the characters completed so far. First the Heroic Warriors…


So, left to right, we have my versions of Fisto, He-Man, Orko, Man-at-Arms and a slight re-imagining of Teela. Now the Evil Warriors…and Zodac.


Having realised that I’d not got Zodac’s helmet quite right, I took the opportunity to add the cheek panels and chin strap, so he looks more like his cartoon and toy version. The reason he’s pictured with the ‘baddies’ is that there would have been too many in the previous picture. As with Roger’s creations, I seem to be “hero-heavy”, so when He-Month returns in the New Year, I’ll be looking to add to the ranks of Evil. But there will be at least one more Heroic Warrior too…but you’ll have to wait to find out who the next batch of characters will be, as I think I almost broke Roger this time round.

So, that’s the Masters, what of Devil Dinosaur? Well, whilst a large-scale figure makes adding sculpted details a lot easier, it also means that they take longer to paint. However, I have to say that the time and effort I’ve put into this crazy idea seems to have paid off. So, just to remind you all of what the goal was for this side project, it was to re-create the version of Devil Dinosaur that appeared in Issue #12 of Nextwave, who looked like this:

And this is what I came up with:

Devil Fin 1

Dvil Fin 2

Devil Fin 3

And because his stance makes details of the front of his robe, including his belt, a little difficult to see, a close-up:

Devil Fin 4

Yes, it is bonkers and I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to use him for yet, but I’m really pleased with how this side project came out.

So, October beckons and I’m currently in several minds as to what to do next. Knowing me, it will probably start off as one thing and mutate into something else… But it is a Buffet and you never know what you’ll be served!

Comments and feedback appreciated, as always.

Masters of the Cretaceous

As He-Month 2 enters its final few days, whilst I was easily going to complete my three Masters of the Universe figures by the end of the month, a lapse of judgement led me to believe that I could also complete a conversion based on the Nextwave version of Devil Dinosaur, as noted in my blog entry entitled “I Hate Monkeys”

And as my co-conspirator in this month’s project, the talented Mr Roger Webb, had posted his final week’s post for this over at his blog Rantings from Under the Wargames Table, showcasing all the figures he’d completed from both of our rounds of He-Month, I felt even more dejected. Especially as his actually look like the characters, rather than the cheap Mexican knock-offs I’ve cobbled together…

However, as I have been given an unexpected day off on Monday, and I’ve managed to complete the majority of the home maintenance tasks required of me by my wife, I may still be in the running…

Anyway, not a huge amount of additional work has been done on my Masters of the Universe conversions – read on to find out why.

We’ll first revisit Beast Man, who has had a little bit of tidying up done, where colour from one section had bled into another and he’s received several washes, to enhance the detail of the sculpt. However, it appears that the colours I chose weren’t strong enough, bar the blue for his loincloth, so it actually looks like I’ve done nothing.


Orko has also had some washes applied, which were more successful, but it appears I’m a bit wary of painting his eyes and ‘O’, so he’s had a little work done on him, but not a great deal.


Fisto, on the other hand, I have been more successful with, although he did cause me a few issues. Fisto’s tunic has horizontal stripes of silver and purple, with a central vertical silver stripe running down the centre of his chest. Pretty simple to paint, yes? Well, that depends on the figure’s pose, as the DC Heroclix Mammoth figure I’d chosen as my proxy is hunched forward, which means very little of his chest and abdomen is showing. Having initially painted his torso purple, I tried painting silver stripes on. This did not go so well, so I painted his torso silver, then painted the purple bits on. This went better. I then went back and repainted his right leg where I’d managed to get both purple and silver paint on his upper thigh. And now you can understand why the other two didn’t receive as much attention.

Anyway, bar his base and possibly his eyes if I’m feeling brave enough to attempt it, he’s done;


And here’s a picture of his back and those, accursed lines:


Seeing him on the screen like this, makes me think that this figure would also make a good proxy for this character and toy from my youth:

So Roger, if you want a suitable foe for your Bullet Man, the Mammoth figure might just work…

Now, whilst Fisto caused me some time issues, he wasn’t the main reason why I’m a little further behind than what I’d hoped. That’s right, I’m blaming Devil Dinosaur…

So, when we last saw this model, I’d repositioned his arms, added his accessories, sculpted his cravat and begun work on his robe. Well, the putty and tools were out again and I have now finished his robe, including overlapping it at the front, the belt suitable tied at the front, flappy sleeves (which caused a certain amount of swearing) and some attempts at creases/pleats where they would naturally form.

To be honest, I’m really pleased with the results and did the standard tour of the house, showing it to members of my family, with responses ranging from “Cool!” to “whatever…”. I even received an unprecedented compliment from my wife, whose usual comments regarding my hobby are along the lines of “why are you wasting your time on that crap…”

So, without further ado, here are some stills from Devil Dinosaur’s photo shoot – he’s such a diva…




So, as the sculpting is now done, come Monday I should be able to get some paint on him. My intentions are to complete all three Masters of the Universe figures and finish off Devil Dinosaur as well and post on my blog about it. By the end of the month.

Seems fitting that I’m painting a Devil, when I appear to be paving the road to Hell…

Comments and feedback appreciated, as always.

Cow Tools

As regular readers will know, I set myself a relatively modest goal for He-Month 2, namely to recreate in 28mm the Masters of the Universe characters Fisto, Beast Man and Orko, mainly because Orko would be effectively sculpted from scratch and I wasn’t entirely sure if my sculpting skills were up to the job.

However, as stated in my previous post, I was rather further ahead than I expected, so rather than sitting on my laurels, decided to assign myself a side project, which was to re-create the version of Devil Dinosaur that appeared in issue #12 of Nextwave.

Just because…

So, as my sculpting tools consisted of toothpicks, a craft knife and my big fat fingers, upon the advice of a more experienced sculptor, namely Mr Roger Webb of Rantings from Under the Wargames Table fame, I decided to try to find some “proper” sculpting tools. If you want to see what can be achieved with correct tools and talent, go take a look at Roger’s blog and prepare to be amazed.

Having wandered the aisles of The Range for a good twenty minutes, discovering that Fimo modellers apparently use plastic spatulas to sculpt with and cake decorators pay through the nose for silicone-tipped sculpting tools, I left disappointed. Returning home, I scoured the Crow’s Nest for various pointy or shaped items, intending to use the gathered “tools” as proxy sculpting tools. However, when I laid them out, I was reminded of this Far Side cartoon:

Hence the title of this post…

However, I then paid a visit to The Works, which is a UK discount art/bookshop and found a pack of four silicone-tipped colour detailers in their art section for £3.00. That’s 75p each! Bargain! The results of my attempts to master these new tools can be found further down the post…

Bur first, let’s see where I am with my Masters of the Universe conversions.

First, Fisto. When we last saw him, I had completed the additional details I wished to sculpt on him and undercoated him. I then very cleverly took a photo of this cream-coloured miniature against a white background, which, as pointed out by a friend of mine, wasn’t the best idea…

However, as Fisto has now got a bit more colour on him, the white background is fine this time:


I’m pretty pleased with how this has turned out, as when it was undercoated it looked a little…blah. Now he has the majority of his colour, he looks a lot better and much closer to how he looked in the cartoon. Just needs a bit more detailing and I think he’ll be done.

Next, Beast Man. As with Fisto, this too was undercoated when we last saw it. Now that it has some colour on it, it just proves the point that sometimes if you have a figure that’s ‘almost’ the character, using the correct colours can really help with the conversion. See whether you agree:

Beast Man 3

I’m really pleased with how this figure has turned out, as whilst the majority of the ‘conversion’ work was just a re-paint, the choice of the base figure and the correct colours has really made this into Beast Man, as far as I’m concerned.

Our final denizen of Eternia is the floating elf known as Orko. I’d finished sculpting him last time, and he’s now had an undercoat of white and been block-painted with his base colours:


As I was particularly pleased with how his hat came out, I decided to take another picture, just to show this off;


I think this is the best of the three, as it resembles the character almost exactly. Final detailing, including the painting of his ‘O’ (which I’m not looking forward to) and he’s done too.

So, that’s the progress in Eternia, what of dinosaurs of rosy hue?

I took the original plastic figure and the first order of the day was to remove the prominent eye ridges, then roughen up the areas where I’d sliced them off, to ensure they blended back into skin of the head. I also removed the prominent mold lines running down the front of each leg.

As the figure’s arms/forelimbs were in the wrong position, these were cut off, re-positioned and glued into place. As the sleeves of Devil’s smoking jacket would cover the joins, I wasn’t overly concerned that rotating the limbs had created an overhang, as the cross-section of the limbs was oval, rather than circular.

Now came the tricky part – his gun and champagne flute. A rummage through my bits box uncovered several metal weapons, but these were more suitable for Space Marines than dinosaurs (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write…). The box of 3 3/4″ G.I. Joe figures weapons provided a couple of potentially suitable handguns, but these were automatics and a little large. Then inspiration struck and I started rummaging through my box of Lego and uncovered a spare revolver, which I believe was part of the Adventurers range. Just the right shape and size. The champagne flute was made from another length of spent ballpen plastic tube, which was heated, stretched and twisted until it sort of resembled a wine glass. Not entirely happy with it, so this may change later, if I come up with a better alternative.

Next, Devil needed some thumbs, as the dinosaur model only had two digits and Devil Dinosaur has three. The ends of a GW Skeleton Army archer’s bow look suitable claw-like, so these were appropriated and glued into place.

Out came the Milliput and my new sculpting tools and I began. I decided to do the cravat first, so a strip of Milliput was wrapped around his neck, with a big blob at the front to represent the folded over section. These were then smoothed, teased and formed into the requisite shapes, although I was having difficulty with the front of the cravat, as I’d glued his arm almost in front of this and was having issues getting smooth pleats. Of course, I then managed to knock of the offending arms by accident, as it had only been superglued in place, rather than pinned. I started to curse, then realised that this actually worked in my favour, as I could now reach the front of the cravat and the arm could then be reattached afterwards.

Having mixed up a fair bit of Milliput, I then decided to begin to add the body of the jacket above the “waist”, the intention being to do this section first, then the part below the waist at a later date. Luckily, the amount of Miiliput I had mixed was just enough to do the main part of the body, with straying into the potetially tricky area where it will overlap in the front.

I apologise for the lengthiness of the above description, as I failed to take any WIPs pictures, so only have a couple of the stage I have reached now:


and a front view:


You’ll notice he’s now got a slightly wonky foot, due to being shown to a friend, which involved being transported in a figure case which was apparently not deep enough. This shall be sorted before we see him again.

So far, I’m liking my new tools and this particular project will allow me to become familiar with them, so hopefully I will get better.

However, where else are you going to see a figure like this?

Until next time, thanks for visiting. Comments and feedback appreciated, as always.

“I Hate Monkeys.”

If you’ve come here expecting to see 28mm Masters of the Universe conversions, whilst you’re in the right place, you’re on the wrong post…try any of the previous posts for this month.

However, if you’re a first time visitor or have visited to see what my itchy fingers and feverish imagination can come up. read on…

As was pointed out to me by my co-conspirator for “He-Month 2”, the talented Mr Roger Webb, (whose far superior sculpting skills can be found over at Ranting from Under the Wargames Table) the modest target I’d set for myself for September was likely to be completed well before the month was out. Not being one to sit on my laurels, and having already planned what I was going to concentrate on for October, I needed something to occupy my hobby brain for the remainder of the month.

A random conversation with Simon on his blog Fantorical, which is well worth a visit if your interested in superheroes, Dr Who, Battlestar Galactica, zombies, etc. led to the discussion of a certain relatively obscure Marvel character and his appearance in a Warren Ellis penned title back in 2006…

The comic series was titled Nextwave and featured four second-string Marvel characters, namely Monica Rambeau (Captain Marvel), Tabitha Smith (Boom Boom), Aaron Stack (Machine Man) and Elsa Bloodstone, with the addition of a new character called “The Captain”, who couldn’t remember his real name. These characters formed the Nextwave squad, who were formed to combat Unusual Weapons of Mass Destruction unleashed by the Beyond Corporation. The series was violent, irreverent and whilst appeared to be set in the mainstream Marvel Universe, had flashbacks featuring characters acting wildly out of their established character, and may not have actually happened.

It was also, for a long-term Marvel fan such as myself, very, very funny.

Anyway, in the final issue of the series, it was revealed that the criminal mastermind behind every scheme the Nextwave squad had face was none other than…


That’s right…Devil Dinosaur. But not as you’ve ever seen him before. And this image explains the title of this post.

My conversation with Simon ended up with me stating that I wanted a figure to represent this character, as he appears above. So, having some spare time during He-Month, I decided to have a go…

Obviously, the first thing I needed was a suitable figure to convert. As there was a good chance I was going to cock it up, I decided my base figure needed to be cheap. Also, as Devil Dinosaur was supposed to be a ‘small’ Tyrannosaurus Rex (25 feet tall, apparently), it didn’t need to be very large. A trip to my local Wilkinsons store, who I noted had increased the size of their toy department in readiness for Christmas, led me to their hard plastic figures, which included dinosaurs. As with all inexpensively produced toy dinosaurs, they were all roughly the same size, so no chance of being in scale with one another and were of varying accuracy and quality. However, sometimes you do find one or two gems amongst them and, after spending a whole £1, I was the proud owner of this chap;


According to the writing on its belly, this model is a Dilophosaurus, which those of you who have seen Jurassic Park will know, is the crested, poison-spitting dinosaur that killed the computer programmer. Which is looks nothing like, or the scientific reconstructions of said dinosaur. However, having said that, it is a particularly nice model, that actually looks like a dinosaur. As with all injection molded figures, there are obvious mold lines, the main one being the one around it’s ‘waist’, which would have to be filled prior to gaming with it. But surface detail is good and I can imagine if you were gaming with dinosaurs, this would make a good (and cheap) addition to your collection.

However, for my purposes, as I’m going to be converting it into Devil Dinosaur, I need to remove the ridge above the eyes, reposition the arms, find a suitably scaled revolver, try to work out how to make a suitably scaled champagne flute, and sculpt on a cravat and smoking jacket, before I can even start applying paint.

And you thought that the Masters of the Universe project was crazy…

So, He-Month 2 and the Devil Dinosaur will run alongside one another for September, and will hopefully all be finished by the end of the month.

Thanks for visiting. Comments and feedback appreciated, as always (even if it’s to question my sanity…)