Got the song in your head? good. I’d put a picture of Sebastian the crab here, but the Mouse is known to be one litigious rodent…
Anyway, it had to happen eventually. I made a diorama. I’ve never done one before. While I can marvel at and enjoy a good scene as much as the next guy, I’ve always been more practical when it comes to painting miniatures. I do so assuming I will use them in a game someday (see how that has turned out), so keeping miniatures locked in place holds little utility for me. That, coupled with my ambivalence towards scenery-making, has pretty much kept dioramas off my personal hobby list until now.
Behold: The Mermaids’ Grotto. I actually had the idea to do this a few years ago, but shelved it because I couldn’t get excited about making a diorama. I pretty much followed the tutorial from Eons of Battle for constructing underwater bases. The seaweed is made from twist ties; the shells are from a novelty candle that was full of pink sand (don’t ask), and the “rock” is pink XPS board.
All the miniatures are from Reaper’s Dark Heaven line. This one is Children of the Zodiac: Pisces (03300), sculpted by the legendary Sandra Garrity. She was the first one I painted.
This is Pearl, the Mermaid (03078), sculpted by Werner Klocke.
And finally, Coral, the Mermaid (03554) sculpted by Gene Van Horne. This miniature required some cutting and repositioning, as her original pose was this:
As you can see, her tail disappears for a while under the surface of the water. This wasn’t going to cut it in a scene that’s supposed to take place on the ocean floor, so out came the nippy cutters and the green stuff. It’s not a perfect join, but it looks ok.
The octopus and the eel were from Familiar Pack VII, which features a bunch of aquatic critters.
Here’s another shot of Pisces.
Halfway through making this diorama, I realized that my first Fem-bruary submission shows a lot of boobs. Don’t get me wrong, boobs are great; it just wasn’t really my intent to focus so much on them in a month celebrating female miniatures. (I’m not a teenager. It’s just that most mermaids aren’t particularly modest.)
I’m hoping to get a couple more female miniatures done soon, one of which will be my D&D Character of the month; so watch this space.
Roger from Rantings From Under the Wargames Table has organized a tribute to fellow blogger and miniatures enthusiast, Vampifan (Bryan Scott), who sadly passed away earlier this year. I knew Vampifan from his blog, Vampifan’s World of the Undead, and from Painting Challenges like Zomtober and Forgotten Heroes. We tread the same internet and blog byways, but I can’t recall ever corresponding with him directly. I wish I had. By all accounts, he was a great guy, a veteran gamer generous with his advice and encouragement; a good friend, a real credit to the hobby, and a man who will be missed.
This month, to honor an absent friend, Roger has proposed painting a vampire miniature in lieu of simply raising a glass in Vampifan’s memory (although feel free to do that, too). I’ve got a vampire miniature, so count me in.
The miniature I have chosen is one I have had for about 25 years: The Red Duke, by Games Workshop. I bought him right around the time GW split their Undead army into Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings. I chose to go with (though never played) Vampire Counts; the Red Duke was to be my general.
As you can see, he was primed black some time ago, and 25 years of being knocked around in a box has worn some of that off. He also had a cape at one point, but I seem to have lost it. No matter. This Heroclix Hobgoblin shall donate his. You may recall this particular Heroclix has already donated his left arm to my Nexus Forgotten Heroes submission earlier this year. I’ve also removed his head and cut him off the glider. Waste not, want not.
You never know when you’ll need an empty goblin glider. Ask Norman Osborn how dangerous they can be…
Anyway, I don’t want him to go on a boring cavalry slotta base. I’m going for a more dynamic pose: I want him on a rearing skeletal steed! The billowing cape should help the overall effect. I chose a 60mm round base, then added a 30mm base for height and applied some Magic Sculpt to level everything out.
A bit of green stuff, drilling and test-pinning, and I think I’m ready for a re-prime. I’m going to paint the Duke and the steed separately before fitting them together. It seems I may have to use more of the dreaded green stuff to sculpt some reins, as his new, more dynamic pose doesn’t “sit the saddle” the way it was intended.
At this stage of the game, I’m happy with what I have. It looks like this could be a good-looking miniature when I’m done, if I don’t fuck up the paint job. Fingers crossed!
The first God of War game was released in 2005 on the Playstation 2. I played it, and I’ve played every single God of War game ever since, including the latest, released in 2018, also entitled “God of War.“
Here’s a summary of the whole series: you play as Kratos, a Spartan who is the son of Zeus. Ares kills Kratos’s family, so Kratos kills Ares (God of War, 2005). Along the way, and pretty much thereafter, Kratos kills EVERY FUCKING THING he sees. Every monster, mythical creature, hero and god in the Greek pantheon probably gets gutted by Kratos at some point over the course of the next five sequels and prequel (God of War II, III, Ghost of Sparta, Chains of Olympus, and Ascension). Kratos is an angry guy, and killing shit is what he do.
After slaughtering his way through Olympus, Kratos decides to grow a beard, hang up his Blades of Chaos (more on those below) and retire to a nice, quiet life as a mortal somewhere in Scandinavia (it’s not really clear where). Time passes. He marries a woman and has a son, Atreus. This all happens between the previous God of War game, and the latest one.
Of course, leaving Kratos alone would be the smartest thing anyone could possibly do. Naturally, that doesn’t happen. The Norse gods discover who he is and decide to fuck with him. And that’s the premise for the latest God of War game. Kratos and his son murder their way through the Norse realms on a quest to scatter his wife’s ashes in Jotunheim. Of course, there’s a lot of father-son drama along the way. Kratos has kept who he was, or is, from his son all his life; and as you might imagine, Kratos is a somewhat distant and severe parent. He’s way better at killing things than connecting meaningfully with his son.
Ever since the original God of War, I have wanted a Kratos miniature, and I guess the reason I don’t have one is that sculptors are wary of sailing too close to the wind to attempt a “not-Kratos” sculpt, as it’s an easily recognizable IP owned by Sony. While Kratos is hardly a “forgotten” hero in the literal sense, he definitely qualifies for Forgotten Heroes; to my knowledge, no “official” miniature exists. Thus I decided to make my own, but sculpting the Blades of Chaos is far beyond my pitiful skills.
The Blades of Chaos are a pair of chained short swords made by Ares. Kratos whirls them around and things die. See above.
Sadly (yet lucky for me) in this latest incarnation, Kratos has traded in his Blades of Chaos for the Leviathan Axe. I say lucky, but this bummed me out a lot as a player, as for sheer violent delight you just can’t beat the Blades of Chaos. The Leviathan Axe is pretty “meh” by comparison. It’s kind of like playing a Wolverine game and not being able to use Wolverine’s claws; you get a baseball bat instead. Still, the absence of the Blades of Chaos made conversion a lot easier. I quickly found this guy in my pile of unpainted, unopened lead:
That’s Reaper’s Goldar the Barbarian, sculpted by Matt Gubser. He’ll do.
I added a green stuff beard, which is pretty much all I needed to do prior to painting. In the latest game, Kratos runs around with the severed head of Mimir (Kratos severed it for him), which constantly gives you counsel and recites Norse legends and lore for your benefit in an inexplicably Scottish brogue. I used an old GW zombie head for Mimir (or, as Kratos calls him, “Head”), and sculpted his horns from more green stuff.
Here’s the result.
I thought I was pretty hot shit for coming up with this conversion and couldn’t understand why no one else had thought of it before. Of course, someone HAD. One quick trip to Cool Mini or Not and I saw that I was hardly as clever or original as I thought.
Anyway, here is the finished result of my efforts. You should be aware that Kratos’s tattoo is done as a mirror image; that is, in reality it’s actually on the left side of his body. However, since the miniature’s left side is pretty well covered by his shoulder armor and the straps that hold it up, I opted to paint it on his right side so it could be seen. No one cares, I know. (Except for the asshole who, twirling his mustache, waits for the perfect moment to spring out and tell me I got it wrong.)
I guess I’m ok with it. I mean. I like the miniature, but to me, Kratos just isn’t Kratos without the Blades of Chaos. (Spoiler alert: you eventually get the Blades of Chaos back in the latest God of War, and the developers must have known that you’d be missing them by that point. Because the next few minutes of the game, wherein you reacquaint yourself with how fucking awesome they are, is one of the most viscerally-satisfying moments of gaming I have personally experienced.)
This wraps up my Forgotten Heroes submissions for the month. Not sure what I’m going to do next, but I have no shortage of projects, and since our Covid numbers are going in the wrong fucking direction here in the US (although not in my state, thankfully), it looks like I’ll be home for the foreseeable future. I should be able to find something…
Continuing the First Comics theme, I bring you another character from that ill-fated publisher: Nexus.
Nexus was another Mike Baron creation, this time with co-creator Steve Rude. Once First Comics went under, Nexus was picked up by Dark Horse and, like other First Comics properties, made its way through several different publishers. I’m not sure who has the license now.
Nexus is Horatio Hellpop, which is either the coolest or stupidest name ever, I can’t decide. He is a guy given cosmic power by an alien force, called the Merk, in exchange for services rendered. In Nexus’s case, that service is to find and kill serial killers. Nexus has the usual superhero powers: flight, super-strength, telepathy and the ability to shoot frikkin’ lasers out of his hands. The Merk keeps Nexus motivated to do his job by making him feel the pain and anguish of the killers’ victims until he tracks down and ends the serial killer; which I guess is a good way to make overtime mandatory…
Much like Badger, I never got into Nexus, either. Maybe it’s a Mike Baron thing, maybe not. Still, I have a few comics with him in it, but I can’t tell you the last time I read one.
To make Nexus, I used two old Heroclix: a Hydra soldier and the Hobgoblin, both from the Marvel Heroclix Infinity Challenge set, not really hard to find (the Hydra soldier is actually tougher to find, and he was a common figure in the set).
I removed both the miniatures’ left arms, and with the help of some green stuff, did a Frankenstein’s monster on them. I also sanded his raised parts down a bit, then mounted him on a scenic base.
One quick repaint later, and Heeeeeeeeeere’s Nexus! The gloves don’t match, but by the time I remembered that I had already painted him and I didn’t see the need to go back and green stuff the gloves. I can live with it.
I have one more Forgotten Heroes submission I hope to complete by month’s end, and this time it’s not a superhero (gasp!). Suffice it to say it’s a character for whom I have long wanted a miniature…
First Comics had a pretty respectable roster of publications. Most were pretty good (Jon Sable; Freelance, Whisper, Tim Truman’s Scout, and my personal favorite: Grimjack), some not so great (I couldn’t get into American Flagg no matter how hard I tried). First secured the rights to publish Lone Wolf and Cub (which they did out of sequence and only for about 60 issues, if memory serves), complete with new covers from greats like Frank Miller and Bill Sienkewicz; they published Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar for a while, and they even got Jon Sable made into an extremely short-lived TV series, Sable, which I have tried in vain to find anywhere in these days of digital streaming.
First Comics went out of business in the late 80’s. Most of their properties were picked up by Dark Horse, at least for a while. I remember being pretty bummed out about their demise. One of their longest-running comics was Badger, created by Mike Baron.
Badger is Norbert Sykes, a Vietnam veteran who suffers from multiple personalities (those of us in the biz refer to that as Dissociative Identity Disorder nowadays). One of his personalities is Badger, an expert hand-to-hand combatant and crimefighter. Badger lives in a castle in southern Wisconsin with a 5th century Druid who he met in a mental hospital. Hilarity and action ensued. I guess.
Badger was too batshit-crazy a book even for me. Despite my love of all things martial arts, I just didn’t dig Badger all that much. Not sure why, but that hasn’t stopped me from making Badger for Forgotten Heroes this year. Here’s how I did it.
It wasn’t hard. I used these two Heroclix: Nighhtwing and a one-armed Fury (don’t know where she lost her harm), both from DC Hypertime.
One quick head swap later, and he’s already starting to look like Badger. I filed off some of Nightwing’s costume for easier repainting. I debated losing the escrima sticks and just going with clenched fists, but Badger is an expert with all martial arts weapons, so why bother?
I repainted him as Badger, and voila! First Forgotten Heroes submission done for 2020! I have another one in the can already, and I’m hoping to get a third submission completed by the end of the month. Check back here in a few days for my second submission!
I must thank my friend Carrion Crow for coming up with Forgotten Heroes. It is a challenge in more ways than one. For example, last year I converted my very own Wundarr the Aquarian, who I consider to be one of the worst Marvel characters ever. Even though my results weren’t great, I was pretty proud of myself for converting such a terrible character. The Aquarian was met with much amusement, and I thought I would never find another character so lame.
Until now, that is. May I present: La Bandera!
Some background. Once upon a time, Wolverine (along with the rest of the X-Men) was supposed to be dead, so he ditched the superhero life to open a bar in seedy Madripoor. He took the identity of “Patch” (Logan with an eyepatch, get it?) which shouldn’t have fooled anyone with vision better than Mr. Magoo, considering he kept popping his claws all the time. To make matters worse, Wolverine soon started dressing up as fucking WOLVERINE, and everyone sat around scratching their heads at the strange short guy in the Wolverine costume. No one seemed able to put two and two together and come up with “Hey…that guy is Wolverine.”
Anyway, at one point, Wolverine travels to the South American dictatorship Tierra Verde, hot on the trail of Roughhouse, a Madripoor-based bad guy he beat the shit out of a few times. Roughhouse was kidnapped by a guy named Geist, who was a Nazi “scientist” who was working for Caridad, the mustachioed dictator of Tierra Verde. Geist was experimenting on people in the hope of creating a superhero for Tierra Verde at Caridad’s request.
Sigh. Enter La Bandera, a teenage girl who was born in Cuba to Castro revolutionary parents, who then moved to Miami, where her father became a drug addict and died of a drug overdose. When she got to be a teenager, she manifested her mutant power, inspiration. She can influence the emotions of others, so she used this to inspire the common folk to fight drug dealers in Miami. Oh, and she can also shoot power blasts through a stick she carries, but these seem to be dependent on how may people she is currently inspiring. When their morale tanks, she loses this ability.
Yawn. Moving on, La Bandera pissed off the Kingpin, because her rabble-rousing started fucking with his bottom line: his Miami drug profits. So he hired Tiger Shark to kill her. But before Tiger Shark could, she traced the drugs to Tierra Verde, and traveled there to inspire the populace to overthrow their evil dictator, Caridad. Wolverine saved her from Tiger Shark, who was in the process of removing La Bandera’s head from her shoulders. Then he saved her from Geist, who, in addition to a Nazi scientist and expert barber, turned out to be a giant, evil fungus. Then they overthrew the dictator together and saved Roughhouse.
This all took a very long seven issues of Wolverine. There was more to the story (Caridad suffers from migraines and his ex-wife, a nun named “Sister Salvation”, is the only one who can soothe his pain) but just forget it. If you’ve never heard of La Bandera, you have missed nothing. But the reason is because she, and the story she rode in on, sucks out loud.
La Bandera is one of those annoying, purposeless characters that festooned the X-books throughout the late eighties and nineties. She’s a stereotype (a Cuban-born revolutionary), but at least we are spared the “Claremont-ization” of her speech patterns (a la Black Tom Cassidy, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Moira MacTaggart, Gambit and countless others…) because she was created by Archie Goodwin, not Chris Claremont; but although there’s nary a “Madre de Dios!” to be found, she’s still pretty damn lame.
Perfect for Forgotten Heroes. Although her national allegiance isn’t clear, she’s definitely a patriotic character, as she inspires feelings of nationalism in others. so, she’s kind of a patriotic everyman. And she has a colorful costume. That’s about all I got.
As my base figure, I used a Heroclix Nikki. I have no idea who the hell Nikki is, but she’s apparently affiliated with the Defenders. She’ll do.
I removed her from her dial and took her arm off at the shoulder. I considered just clipping off the gun, but her arms are so thin I was worried about attaching a staff to both sides of her hand. So I opted to just remove the hand and replace it with this GW skink spear hand. I removed the spear head and hoped no one would notice that La Bandera has a freakishly-large right hand, and that it only has three fingers.
Then I started applying green stuff and magic sculpt to build up her poofy sleeves. Although I suck at sculpting, I took my time. I built it up in several sessions rather than trying to get it all done at once.
Finally, I sculpted her mask and her flowing belt and mask ties. This took a while. I rolled out the magic sculpt in a long ribbon, flattened it out, twisted it and let it dry. Then I clipped it and super-glued it to the miniature. A final dab of putty secured both belt and mask tie in place.
Finally, all that was left was to paint her. You may notice that my paint job doesn’t match the artwork above. That’s because throughout that excruciating seven-issue run, La Bandera’s costume lacked a consistent color scheme, which may have been a printing error, or may have just been indicative of how much anyone working on her story gave a fuck. I went with the one that was shown the most. I’m not happy with her mask. Perhaps I should have just painted her face instead of sculpting a mask, as it looks a little weird. But I take comfort in the fact that although I’m probably one of the only people in the world with a La Bandera miniature, I will, in all likelihood, never have to use her in a game.
Unless she teams up with the Aquarian. Damn. Now I’m thinking about it.
That brings my Forgotten Heroes submissions to an end for this year. I really wanted to do General Glory from the post-Legends JLI, but I didn’t have the time. Maybe next year, although I’m pretty sure the Crow will have a new challenge by then…
It’s June, which means it’s time for Forgotten Heroes. This year is a bit different from what has come before. This year, the theme is “Patriot Games”; all submissions must be “patriotically” themed, i.e. wearing a costume that reflects their country of origin.
With that in mind, I have decided to make a miniature for my favorite Street Fighter, Zangief.
From the Street Fighter Wiki: Zangief , also known as the “Red Cyclone”… is a national Russian hero who is always seen fighting for the glory of his country. Zangief is a massive fighter, weighing 400 lbs and standing slightly over 7 feet tall, placing him among…the tallest characters in the entire Street Fighter roster…Zangief has been portrayed with a beard and a mohawk, along with a uniquely-shaped formation of chest hair on his torso and on his shins. His massive frame is almost entirely covered in scars from his bouts with brown bears in the barren and remote area of Siberia.
Yeah, that’s right. When not utterly crushing his enemies, Zangief wrestles bears. For fun.
Zangief doesn’t have a patriotic costume, opting instead for wrestling tights. BUT, anyone with even a passing familiarity with Zangief knows he’s from Russia. Plus, his wrestling moves all have Russian names, like “Borscht Dynamite” and “Siberian Express”. I guess this is cheating a little, but I’m going for the spirit, if not the letter, of the rules.
Zangief’s first appearance was in the classic Capcom arcade game, Street Fighter II: The World Warriors (1991). Since then, he’s been a playable character in 14 other fighting games, and even showed up in the Street Fighter anime cartoons and movies, the (horrible) Van Damme Street Fighter movie, as well as a cameo in Wreck-It Ralph. He’s also made it into various Street Fighter comics (published by Malibu and Udon).
Zangief is a bit different than your typical fireball-throwing street fighter. For one thing, he’s slow. He likes to get up close and personal, grabbing his opponents and administering his signature move, the Spinning Pile-Driver (seen above). Once he gets close, you’ll wish he wasn’t. Zangief does the most damage of any fighter by far.
Zangief’s far from forgotten, and he’s technically not a “hero”. But he’ll always be my hero. The Red Cyclone taught me all I know about fighting. Just last week I head-butted a guy and gave him a spinning pile driver (again, see above) just because he fucking annoyed me. He’ll know better next time, once he gets out of traction.
There has been a miniature of Zangief issued already for the Heroclix Street Fighter line. But as you can see, it really sucks. So I decided to make my own.
I started with a Heroclix Blockbuster miniature, from the Uncanny X-Men series. He’s big, and he has wristbands and boots like Zangief. They’re not perfect swaps, but they’re certainly close enough.
After I removed him from his base dial, I did a quick application of some green stuff and magic sculpt. I was able to sculpt his mohawk, beard, chest hair and his (really fucking weird) shin hair. I’m no Dick Garrison, but I can handle sculpting messy body hair and a mohawk. (I still wish I could sculpt better.)
Here’s what he looks like. I’m mostly happy with him, but it’s easy to see his beard and chest hair and think it’s just a huge beard. I sculpted a square-ish beard rather than a pointy one (Zangief’s beard changes depending on who draws him). I think if I had sculpted a pointed beard (or just got a ‘Clix Zangief and did a head swap) it would make it easier to differentiate between beard and chest hair, but who cares? (I do.)
Here’s the Red Cyclone about to deliver a Soviet beatdown to E. Honda (Hasslefree’s Tetsuhara)…
…and here he is, about to ruin Ryu’s day (Heroclix Ryu).
MUSCLE POWER! Horosho!
I’m going to try to get another Forgotten Heroes submission in by the end of the month, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to pull it off as it requires much more sculpting. Other than that, I have decided that June is Superhero month here at Dead Dick’s Tavern. In addition to Forgotten Heroes, I’m going to paint my steadily-increasing collection of Knight Models and repaint more Heroclix!
Kraven the Hunter is one of my favorite Spider-Man villains. I admire his lion-face vest, his zebra belt, his leopard tights and his cute green booties.
Sergei Kravinoff was considered by many (especially himself) to be the greatest hunter in the world. If it was alive and worthy, he hunted it, from big game animals to great cats to superheroes. Kraven was particularly fixated on Spider-Man, who cleaned his clock on more than one occasion. Kraven even helped start the Sinister Six hoping that with a little help he could say he defeated Spider-Man, but it never really happened for him.
Eventually, Kraven lost his shit and decided it wasn’t enough to just beat Spider-Man, he had to BECOME Spider-Man. Thus kicked off the “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline, which was pretty dark for Spider-Man, wherein Kraven “kills” Spider-Man and assumes his identity, running around New York crippling and killing criminals in an attempt to fully understand what it means to be the ultimate predator, The Spider. Then he eats a gun and blows his own head off. End credits.
The story, which ran through three Spider-Man titles back in 1987, was actually pretty good, and is considered one of the best Spidey stories of all time. Some have criticized its dark tone as being Marvel’s response to the critical acclaim of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen, both published by DC the previous year. Maybe there is some truth to that. It’s certainly more adult in nature than what Marvel was publishing at the time, and it was set in the general continuity of the Marvel Universe. I liked it because it was drawn by Mike Zeck (Secret Wars, Punisher), and I love me some Mike Zeck art.
Since Kraven’s demise, which as far as I know is still permanent, his mantle was taken up by his son, Alyosha. I know nothing about Alyosha Kravinoff, so check Wikipedia if you want to know more.
Anyway, I actually wasn’t kidding when I said I like Kraven as a character. He’s definitely a second-stringer in the Spider-verse, a tier down from Green Goblin, Doc Ock and Venom (who I can’t stand). He’s more on the level of Rhino, Electro and Scorpion, but he has a unique charm all his own.
Kraven doesn’t technically have any super-powers, but through ingestion of rare herbal potion he can do some pretty cool things. He was able to run super-fast for long periods of time. He was also an Olympic-level athlete and a superb fighter, who preferred archaic weapons like knives and spears over guns (which he considered dishonorable). He was the greatest hunter in the world, able to track his quarry using enhanced senses, much like Wolverine. His aging process was slowed dramatically; at the time of his suicide, Kraven was over 70 years of age, but was in the peak physical condition of a man in his 30’s.
Kraven is one of the villains in the old TSR Marvel Super Heroes adventure Lone Wolves, which I will shortly be converting to Super Mission Force. In other words, I had several reasons to do what I did, which is repaint a Kraven Heroclix miniature.
Over the years, Kraven has had several Heroclix sculpts. Above is the original version, from the Critical Mass set. I removed him from his dial and stuck him on a base. To be clear: this is the original paint job and NOT my work. This is what came out of the blister pack back in 2003.
Here is my repaint. I decided to give him some real knives instead of the weenie dagger he had strapped to his thigh. I got rid of that, then I put some old GW space marine knives in his hands and sculpted some sheaths out of Magic Sculpt. I considered giving him a spear, but I think his two-fisted knives look pretty good.
Here is my Super Mission Force build for Kraven the Hunter:
Kraven (Brawler) Major: Scrapper, Minor: Fast, Super Agility
(I gave him Fast because Kraven can reportedly run as fast as a cheetah for short periods of time, and this increases his Move to a 13, which I think fits. I could swap it out for Enhanced Senses; either one would work.)
Earlier this year, I had a bad bout of Gaslands Fever (not to be confused with Pac Man Fever, which is a different thing altogether). I converted 7 cars, 2 buggies, an armored bus, a monster truck and a war rig, but I didn’t have a chance to make any performance cars. I still haven’t played the game, but I’ve read enough After Action Reports and watched enough game videos to know that performance cars are pretty damn effective!
Nonetheless, despite my hiatus from Gaslands conversions, I never stopped looking in the Matchbox and Hot Wheels aisles in every store I went. I gave into temptation a couple of times and bought more cars, knowing I would soon be back to converting them.
Here are my first two performance cars: The Piranha Brothers, Doug and Dinsdale! Astute readers my realize that these are based off of the same car: the Hot Wheels “Crescendo” racer. I wanted them to stand in contrast to the rusty death machines I’ve converted so far. In my world, performance cars are sleek and elegant, and drivers of performance cars actually care about their vehicles. Thus, I didn’t do much to these cars other than repaint them. I didn’t notice the “Tron” colors until just now. I made some thematically-appropriate circular buzzsaw blades out of plasticard and stuck them to the bumpers, and stuck the obligatory machine gun on the roof. I painted the piranha emblems on the hood freehand.
Dinsdale lives in constant fear, convinced he is pursued by a giant, hedgehog-like car called Spiny Norman. Know what? He’s right!
Spiny Norman was inspired by the Buzzard Clan in the PS4 Mad Max videogame. Their cars are all rust and spikes, and I was responsible for blowing up many dozens of them in my recent playthrough of the game.
Spiny Norman started out as a Matchbox 1968 Ford Mustang with an off-road chassis. I clipped off the ends of toothpicks and pushed them through the patterned craft foam to make the spikes on the doors and sides. I trimmed bits from a needlepoint screen and used them as long strips of spikes to line the roof. I snipped some spear-pointed cocktail sticks for hood spikes. Finally, I used some old bolter bayonets from some Rogue Trader beakie marine sprues for the bumper blades. Then, as usual, I layered the car in metallics, washes and good old-fashioned rust dust.
Although I’m fond of Grond, the War Rig, Spiny Norman is my favorite Gaslands conversion that I’ve done so far.
(Apologies to my friend Dick Garrison for the late Gaslands posting, as I told him I’d work on some cars during October. I did, I just didn’t get around to posting them until now.)
Those of you who drop by Dead Dick’s Tavern may know that lately, I’ve been playing Mad Max on the Playstation 4, which, in turn, has made me want to play Gaslands very much. With the end of my Time Trap Super Mission Force campaign, I only have a couple of weeks before September, when I, Dick Garrison and Blax the Kleric are all committed to a painting project soon to be revealed here.
At least I hope we’re all still committed. We are still committed, right guys?
Anyway, I have a short amount of time for other projects, so I decided to do something Gaslands-themed in honor of Mad Max. However, it’s a different movie, and one of my favorite movies of all time, that gave me the inspiration for this quick project: Escape From New York.
I decided to make the Duke’s car.
If you aren’t familiar with this movie, I’m not going to summarize it here. Just see it as soon as possible by whatever means necessary. That’s the Duke of New York above, played by the late, great Isaac Hayes. The late, great Harry Dean Stanton is next to him, as is Adrienne Barbeau. She’s not late, or great. She’s fucking amazing, and I was, and still am, madly in love with her.
One look at that picture above and you notice two interesting things. And no, I’m not talking about the two things you think. I count those as a pair and therefore one thing. The other thing is the Duke’s gun. I’m no gun expert, but I have to wonder why you would put a long-range optical scope on an Ingram Mac-10 submachine gun. I doubt you’d be doing much sniping with that…but I guess it looks cool.
Anyway, this is the Duke’s car:
A 1977 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. The Duke pimped it out with some hip chandeliers on his hood, because hey, he’s the Duke of New York. He’s A #1.
I had this. It’s a limousine, not a Cadillac Fleetwood, but I immediately thought of the Duke’s car when I got this in a bag of toy cars from a thrift store. Some of those have since become other Gaslands conversions, but this one…well, this one was put on hold. After all, the Duke’s car is far from the wasteland rustbuckets I’ve converted thus far.
The Duke has class. He’s A #1.
Of course, this all but requires the Xzibit “Yo, Dawg” treatment…
One look at the chandeliers on the hood and I knew that duplicating them would be beyond my meager modeling skills. So, I tried to find dollhouse furniture that would be in scale, but believe it or not, Matchbox cars are way smaller than standard dollhouse furniture. Also, dollhouse furniture is fucking expensive, so I resolved to make my own.
I took the car apart and primed it with some Rustoleum camo paint. I drilled some holes in the hood, then used these bead pliers, which I didn’t even know I had, to bend and crimp some floral wire for the frames. I used these cheap glass beads for the lights. (As a side note, I also make lovely bracelets in my spare time. Not really.)
One look at these light fixtures and you can see they’re not 100% accurate replicas of the Duke’s hood ornaments, but as I said above, those are beyond my skill. Then again, this limousine is bigger than the Duke’s caddy, so I guess it doesn’t matter. Let’s just say this car was “inspired” by the Duke’s car.
You may ask me, “Hey, Piper, why did you go through all that bullshit when you could have just used a three-prong fishhook for the lamp frame?” To that I say: I thought of that. But I couldn’t find a small enough fishhook without buying a lure (I am not a fishing enthusiast and I don’t own any fishing tackle), and I didn’t want to do that, considering I already had the floral wire. So that’s why.
If anyone cares, I painted the car with a base of Vallejo Bronze before giving it a wash of GW’s Nuln Oil, then I highlighted the whole body with P3 Radiant Platinum. The chrome fixtures were painted with GW’s Mithril Silver, and the lamps were done with Auric Armor Gold.
I don’t know how it would fit into Gaslands, because there are no limos in Gaslands, and this one looks particularly vulnerable, having neither weapons nor armor. I’d probably just call it a bus. Maybe it’s the ride of a wealthy race patron.