For my first Forgotten Heroes post of 2023, I decided to do Jim Starlin’s iconic hero: Vanth Dreadstar.
Dreadstar started out in Marvel’s Epic Illustrated, before getting his own Epic Comics series that lasted for 26 issues. Then Starlin took it to First Comics, where it was published until they went out of business in 1991. Dreadstar briefly returned for a limited series published by Malibu in 1995. As far as I know, that was the last appearance of Dreadstar in comics, although there is supposedly a TV series in the works. Guess time will tell.
I have a confession to make: despite having almost all the Dreadstar comics, I could never get into the character. Maybe I should try again. Still, I was a huge fan of First Comics, who published some really groundbreaking stuff back in the 80’s; including my favorite comic of all time, Grimjack. First Comics heroes have been my go-to for Forgotten Heroes challenges in the past. I’ve done Badger, Nexus and Jon Sable, Freelance in previous years, and if all goes well, I’l be doing another First Comics hero by the end of the month.
But on to Dreadstar. To make this miniature, I used two old Heroclix models: Captain America, from the original Marvel Infinity Challenge set, and Aquaman, from the original DC Hypertime set. I removed Cap’s shield (cool objective marker!) and his head, and also beheaded Aquaman. Then I chopped off some of Aquaman’s hair and swapped the heads. Finally, I repositioned Cap’s arm. The end result was this:
I made his sword from a toothpick and green stuff, and I sculpted his belt and hood. As anyone with eyes can see, I’m a shitty sculptor. Sadly, I forgot to take any pictures of this miniature covered in green stuff, It was too depressing. Anyway, here he is.
I added an old Space Marine bolt pistol to his hip.
Up close, you can see how shitty my sculpting is. Try as I might, I can’t make that green stuff behave.
Dreadstar’s history is long and convoluted, and like i said, I could never get into it. According to the Fandom page, most of his powers are derived from his sword. It can be absorbed and extruded from his body at will (gross), allows him to speak and understand any language, acts as a shield, and gives Dreadstar enhanced reflexes, rapid healing and the strength of twenty men. It’s also a sword, so I guess it can cut stuff, too.
Despite the sculpting flaws, I’m happy with how he turned out. Like I said, I’m hoping to get another First Comics character done by the end of the month. It’s a very obscure character. Want to know who it is? I’ll Whisper it to you….
A couple of years back, Bill Maher had a segment on his show called “I don’t know it for a fact; I just know it’s true.” He would say amusing things like “I don’t know for a fact that Justin Trudeau moonlights as a tantric yoga instructor; I just know it’s true.” See? That’s a joke, because Justin Trudeau is a good-looking youngish guy who probably gets laid a lot; but he’s also the Prime Minister of Canada.
I don’t know for a fact that Jeremy, a.k.a. Carrion Crow, sounds exactly like Lenny Mclean, a.k.a. Barry the Baptist from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; I just know it’s true. That’s a joke, too, because lest there be any confusion, I’ve never actually heard Carrion Crow speak. Still, I find it amusing to imagine him saying things like “If you don’t wanna be countin’ the fingers you ‘aven’t got, I suggest you get those guns! Quick!”
I don’t know for a fact that Forgotten Heroes is the greatest painting challenge in the history of painting challenges, I just know it’s true; because this year it gave me the opportunity to create one of my favorite all-time villains: the Hypno-Hustler!
From Wikipedia: Antoine Desloin is the lead singer of the Mercy Killers, going by the name of Hypno-Hustler. He and his band were scheduled to perform at a nightclub called “Beyond Forever”. When the club’s manager catches Hypno-Hustler robbing his safe, Hypno-Hustler used his hypnotic equipment on the manager. When it came time to perform, Hypno-Hustler and his band used their hypnotizing equipment on the audience in a plan to rob them as well. Peter Parker was at the club at the time and changed into Spider-Man. During the fight, Spider-Man discovered that Hypno-Hustler’s headphones protected him from his own hypnotic music. Spider-Man managed to remove them from Hypno-Hustler causing him to become a victim of his own hypnosis. When the audience was free of the hypnosis, Hypno-Hustler and his Mercy Killers were webbed up and left for the police.
So: Hypno-Hustler can hypnotize people with his music; but, failing that, he can resort to the toe-spikes and knockout gas he has hidden in his big platform heels. He also plays the guitar.
Hypno-Hustler made his debut in November, 1978 in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #24; and then promptly vanished from comics for 24 years, until Spider-Man: Tangled Web #16 (released in November of 2002). He was created by the great Bill Mantlo; who sadly has been dealing with long-term injuries from a hit-and-run accident in the early 90’s. Bill Mantlo worked on a ton of incredible comics in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, and created some great characters; like Cloak and Dagger, Jack of Hearts, Rom: Spaceknight and (most famous nowadays) Rocket Raccoon; the royalties of which allowed him to finally leave the nursing facility he’d been living in for 25 years and return to home care.
Before we dive in to the miniature conversion process, please feel free to get in the mood with this sketch from Key and Peele, which still cracks me up every time I watch it.
To make Hypno-Hustler, I used this DC Hypertime Booster Gold Heroclix miniature as the base. I trimmed him off his flight disc, but kept the plastic under his feet to give him some height afforded by his KISS-esque boots.
From there it wasn’t too hard to add green stuff and Magic Sculpt to make his afro, chest speaker/amp, belt and shoulder trim. I also added his headphones and tried to define his goggles a bit. Then I gave him a microphone so he wasn’t empty-handed.
But something was conspicuously absent (and no, it wasn’t the Mercy Killers). Hypno-Hustler needed a guitar, and, not surprisingly, Booster Gold didn’t come with one. I looked for a suitable guitar I could cannibalize amongst my many miniatures and bitz. No luck.
My next step was to find a 28mm scale guitar bit somewhere else. I looked at silver charms (for charm bracelets), and found something perfect, except that it was just too big enough to look wrong. I finally looked for manufacturers that make musical instrument conversion bits. I thought for sure Reaper did, but nope. All Fantasy themed instruments, no electric guitars. Eventually, PaulCollins at The Miniatures Page pointed me to two British companies: Spellcrow and Zealot miniatures, respectively.
Although available in the USA through Amazon and Noble Knight, the Spellcrow guitars are a bit too Slaanesh Noise Marine for me (and certainly for the Hypno-Hustler). They weren’t the right shape, either.
In contrast, the Zealot miniatures guitars were awesome. Just what I needed. Unfortunately, they are only available from the company in the UK, and I’m not going to pay that much shipping for one little guitar sprue.
Which means I had to make my own. I know it sucks, but it’s for the Hypno-Hustler; so who cares? I put it on his back, anyway. I was going to sculpt the guitar strap, but it would clutter up the front of the miniature if I did, so I left it out.
And here he is, ready to funk up the place: The Hypno-Hustler! Painting him was pretty easy, as Hypno-Hustler has a limited color palette: white with purple acoutrements. I listened to a lot of Earth, Wind and Fire and Parliament-Funkadelic while I did.
I’m least happy with his base. I didn’t know what to do, so I just painted it like a spotlight. I considered adding glitter to it; but as anyone who’s ever been to a strip club knows (so I hear), glitter gets everywhere.
With Spider-man’s greatest (I said greatest, damn you!) nemesis now complete, I have no excuse not to break out the Super Mission Force any longer. It’s been way too long!
Thanks as always to Carrion Crow for hosting Forgotten Heroes. He did a member of Spidey’s Rogues Gallery himself this year: The Spot! Go check it out, along with a link to everyone else’s fun contributions!
Of all heroes, I didn’t set out to repaint and rebase Aquaman. It came about quite by accident. Recently I had a quick rummage through the bitz box on an unrelated project, and I discovered this Aquaman Heroclix left over from a Forgotten Heroes conversion I did back in 2018. I had popped him off his dial and used the water spout to make the Water Wizard.
(I never throw anything away. That Water Wizard was also made from a Quicksilver body and a Weather Wizard head; the Weather Wizard’s body was used to make the Aquarian. along with a head from a different Aquaman miniature, the hook of which was used on this Pulp Figures conversion. Finally, the Quicklsilver head was used the year before to make Jack Frost, along with a body from a Heroclix Scorpion. As for Scorpion’s head, I have no idea where that ended up.)
The entire time I worked on this conversion, this song was running through my head. It will run through your head too, if you listen to it. It’s insidious, and you will grow to like it. It drove me so nuts I looked up the video on YouTube. It reminded me how much I love this movie, because…Julie Adams. I know, right? What is it with girls named Julie? Adams, Newmar, Christie…it’s a good name, is what I’m saying.
Anyway, I had some “seaweed” and some shells left over from my Under the Sea diorama last month, so that got me thinking of making another underwater base. Since Aquaman is at his coolest in his element (as cool as he can be, anyway), it seemed appropriate to base him underwater. Again, credit to Eons of Battle for the base tutorial.
And here he is. I painted his stupid water hand to look like flesh so he would better resemble the classic, lame-ass Aquaman we all know and mock. (“Go talk to some fish!”)
Here’s my attempt at making Aquaman cool; although if Jason Momoa can’t do it, who am I to think I can? He was a fun little project in the midst of some others, and it’s been a while since repainted some ‘Clix. It’s a bit of an amuse-bouche for June…when Forgotten Heroes comes around again!
It’s been a while since I did a Heroclix repaint, and this time it’s another of Batman’s rogues gallery: Jervis Tetch, aka the Mad Hatter.
From DC FanDOM: Jervis Tetch, formerly a research scientist, is completely smitten with the works of Lewis Carroll. As his criminal name indicates, he takes the appearance of the Mad Hatter from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. He is an insane neuroscientist and developed hardware that can control the brain and induce hypnotic states, and often uses hats or other headgear for mind control.
Originally, the Hatter was a villain who committed robberies using his mind-controlling hats; nowadays, his motivations are a lot darker, as in addition to hats, he seems to be obsessed with kidnapping little girls named Alice. (Yep. It’s exactly what you think.)
This version of the Mad Hatter comes from the original DC Heroclix Hypertime set. He’s a redhead and he looks like a leprechuan; a bit too colorful for my tastes.
Here is my repaint. The Hatter is flanked by two miniatures from Lucid Eye’s Beast of Birchwood line, the “Sleeping Hare” and the “Sleeping Field Mouse”. I gather this game is a Victorian horror-themed skirmish game, so they fit right into Tetch’s Wonderland obsession as the March Hare and the Dormouse, thugs in his employ; or perhaps, more fittingly, under his mental control. What tough guy is going to willingly dress up as a bunny, after all?
Last month, while unwisely browsing eBay’s listings, I stumbled across this Ben Grimm miniature:
Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, I ask you again: What time is it?
I think we all know what Mr. Grimm would say.
Knight Models is a Spanish company that makes those terrific (and hugely overpriced) miniatures for the Batman Miniatures Game. (I splurged and bought a Killer Croc, because I really liked it.) For a brief time, they had the license to produce Marvel miniatures, too. I very much covet their Hulk model, and I would love to get one. But man, are they pricey on the secondary market! Most eBay listings for the KM Hulk start at around $75. That’s a shitload more than I want to pay for ANY miniature. (I don’t pony up that kind of cash to GW; I’m not about to give it to someone else, either.)
This miniature of Thing was listed on eBay for $25 with free shipping. It was mint in the box. I bought it. I’m glad I did.
First off, he’s huge. At 75mm, he’s way bigger than a Heroclix Thing. (I find the Heroclix “big guys” to be kind of small, but YMMV.) More on that below.
He’s a three-piece casting: the legs, body and left arm. The miniature required some filing and filling with green stuff to fit together properly. Not a big deal, but it was an essential step. I primed him black.
I based him on a 40mm Micro Arts Studio urban base and gave him his first basecoat: Citadel Ratskin Flesh for the orange rocky skin, and P3 Exile Blue for his speedo.
Here he is completed. I highlighted his skin with Citadel Macharius Orange and a drybrush of Fire Dragon Bright, before giving the cracks a wash of Army Painter Strong Tone. His trunks were highlighted with Vallejo Prussian Blue and Reaper Dragon Blue.
Here’s the Fantastic Four from the early Clobberin’ Time Heroclix set. As you can see, Thing doesn’t look too bad.
But HERE is the Knight Models Thing with the rest of the Heroclix FF. Much better, don’t you think?
I plan on using the Knight Models Thing in any supers game where his large size doesn’t obviously conflict with other models of similar scale; in other words, I wouldn’t use this KM Thing in the same game I use a Heroclix Hulk (that would just be dumb) Instead I’ll use the ‘clix Thing for that.
There are presently two Knight Models miniatures I desperately want to acquire: the Hulk and Solomon Grundy, both seemingly impossible to find for sale at a reasonable price any longer.
Juggernaut is a classic X-Men villain, a physical titan who is counterpoint to his brother Charles Xavier’s mental mastery. Unfortunately, he often hangs out with Black Tom Cassidy.
Black Tom is the cousin of Sean Cassidy (not to be confused with Shaun Cassidy, the Hardy Boy), better known as the X-Men’s Banshee. Black Tom was created by veteran X-Men scribe Chris Claremont, a man responsible for many great X-Men storylines and characters. Unfortunately, he’s also responsible for many horrible X-Men characters (like Black Tom Cassidy), as well as the nightmare “alternate-reality/timeline” clusterfuck that characterizes the X-books to this day.
I have mixed feelings about Mr. Claremont. On the one hand, his X-Men work with John Byrne in the late 70’s/early 80’s is iconic. But then, in the 90’s, he created Gambit.
No matter how conflicted I feel about Mr. Claremont, my feelings about Black Tom are crystal clear. Like many of Claremont’s characters (Moira Mac Taggart, for example), Black Tom suffers from ridiculous ethnic stereotyping. He’s all “begorrahs” and “boyos” and “blimeys”. I get that he’s a comic book villain, but fer Chrissakes, man. Black Tom also channels his powers through a shillelagh, because of course he fucking does.
In case you can’t glean as much from the tone of this post, I actually hate Black Tom Cassidy more than I hate Gambit (I didn’t know that was possible). Nevertheless, he hangs out with Juggernaut, so….
Here are my Heroclix repaints of Juggernaut and Black Tom. I look at these and while I’m happy with the repaints, I have a slight problem…Juggernaut is way too small. According to the Marvel wiki, Juggernaut is 9’5″. The fact that he’s hunched over (no doubt plodding forward) doesn’t help, but I feel like Juggernaut should be HUGE. Take this screen shot from the Marvel Super Heroes video game:
Yeah. That’s Juggernaut. Not someone slightly larger than Black Tom Cassidy. He can fit his whole hand around Iron Man’s waist! (In the video game, he’s actually bigger than the Hulk.)
There are other Heroclix versions of Juggernaut, but, IMO, this one is the best sculpt. I wish it was bigger, but I’ll live with it.
As far as Black Tom goes, his sculpt is fine, although the flame coming out of his shillelagh (why does that sound dirty?) is made out of that translucent ‘Clix plastic I hate so much. I painted flames over it, for better or worse.
Here are my Super Mission Force builds for Juggernaut and the reviled Black Tom Cassidy:
Juggernaut: (Super) Major: Super Strength, Minor: Armor, Density Increase, Resistance, Tough
Special Rules: Unstoppable: Juggernaut’s Density Increase power is ALWAYS on. He doesn’t have to activate it, nor can he choose to deactivate it. This makes him immune to knockback at all times. It also means he can’t charge, only move at his normal rate. Juggernaut can be Entangled, but only until his next activation. He automatically wins any opposed roll to escape an Entangle. He just plods forward. Juggernaut can be grappled normally. (If you want try grappling Juggernaut, good luck.)
Black Tom Cassidy: (Blaster) Major: Power Blasts, Minor: Clever, Rapport (Juggernaut)
Note: this is the old version of Black Tom, the one I know and hate from a few decades ago. Apparently, Black Tom is now part wood, and can control wood. If you prefer, I guess you could give him Armor and Melee Specialist instead of the minor powers I gave him to reflect his current version. He’ll still suck, though, because he’s still Black Tom Cassidy.
It’s funny how sometimes projects get completed without any clear plan whatsoever. From the crime-filled alleys of Gotham City: three of Batman’s most notorious femme fatales: Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Lady Shiva!
These miniatures were in the freezer bin wherein all the Heroclix models I intend to repaint and rebase currently reside. A couple of months back I was painting up some Hasslefree martial artists, and I thought a Heroclix Lady Shiva might make a good addition to the theme. I fetched her from the freezer and rebased her, intending on repainting her whenever I got the chance. No rush, you understand. Just a miniature to add to when I had some extra paint I needed to use.
Then I picked up some miniatures in a Craigslist lot that included these AD&D hyenas. I immediately thought of Harley Quinn, and into the freezer I went yet again. A quick rebasing and she joined Lady Shiva in the side pile.
Then, while playing Arkham Knight on the PS4, I thought about the Heroclix Catwoman figure who was cooling her heels in the freezer. I took her out and rebased her with this Reaper cat familiar, and off to the side pile she went.
As fate would have it, these miniatures got painted at pretty much the same pace: a dab here and there while I did other things. Then one afternoon I took them out of the side pile and finished all of them off. I added some highlights and shading to the pre-painted hyenas and the Gotham Girls were done! I’m not wild about how Lady Shiva’s raccoon eyes look, but she’s ok for tabletop gaming. Maybe I’ll touch her up a bit. I’m also thinking of adding some gloss varnish to Catwoman’s costume and whip, but I’m not sure yet.
Incidentally, if you’re wondering about the conspicuous absence of a certain red-headed botanist-turned-arch criminal, all I can say is stay tuned. She’ll be here soon!
I find the Knight Models 32mm Batman miniatures to be terrific sculpts, but they’re generally too pricey for me to justify their purchase, except in rare cases. I caved and bought the Frank Miller Batman, for example, because I just had to have it. Same thing with Killer Croc, here.
This version of Croc is based on the Batman: Arkham series of video games by Rocksteady. In total, there are four games. Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, Arkham Origins (a prequel), and Arkham Knight, which closes out the series. Croc appears in every game as a boss except for Arkham City, where he is mentioned, but doesn’t actually appear. (Technically, he doesn’t appear in Arkham Knight unless you purchase the DLC Season of Infamy, which is so good and so worth it I don’t know why you wouldn’t.) In the comics, Croc started out as a big ex-wrestler with a skin condition. He has since devolved through a half-man/half-reptile all the way to a full blown human/dinosaur hybrid complete with a tail!
This version most accurately reflects Croc’s appearance in Arkham Asylum (no tail yet), the first game in the series. Much like the game, I love the miniature, too. I posed him with a couple of reptilian friends. The one on the left is a child’s toy I got at a flea market somewhere. I’m pretty sure I got two, but I can only find one. The other one is a large Dungeons and Dragons Dire Crocodile. I bought it for use as a Pulp monster, but when I decided to paint Killer Croc I thought it was a good excuse to paint the Dire Crocodile as well.
The Dire Crocodile is quite large. Here he is next to a 28mm Reaper Inkeeper. I built a lip of green stuff around his base and applied scenic water with an eyedropper (sayonara, eyedropper). Three days later, the water still hasn’t cured and it sticks to everything it touches. Hugely annoying. Looks ok, though. It will look better when I can add some flock/leaves to the rim of the base, whenever the “water” dries.
Speaking of huge, even scaled at the 32mm range, this Killer Croc is gigantic. Here he is posed with a Heroclix version of himself. (I’m a big fan of Heroclix for many reasons, but I think everyone seeing this picture can understand why I splurged on the Knight version of Croc.)
And here he is with a Reaper Ogre, a Heroclix Hulk, and a Heroclix Question. (Incidentally, here are my repaints of Hulk and The Question.) The Question model should give a good indication of how a “normal” 28mm model looks next to Croc.
This is somewhat problematic. Croc is big, but he’s nowhere near the size and mass of the Hulk. From a scale perspective, I find this irksome. Doubtful I would ever use them in the same scenario, but still…
I tried to repaint a Heroclix Solomon Grundy recently, but standing him next to Croc was laughable. In the comics, they’re about the same size; so too in the Knight Models range. But mixing and matching Knight Models with Heroclix may work fine with normal sized figures, but not so well with big guys like this.
Which means I’m probably going to have to buy the Knight Models version of Grundy. And while I’m at it, their version of the Hulk. But at $35 apiece, that’s a lot of cheddar for only two miniatures.
Luckily, ’tis the season. Black Friday is in two days….who knows?
Here’s my latest team for Super Mission Force: The Champions of Los Angeles! L-R: Darkstar, Ghost Rider, Angel, Hercules, Iceman, and Black Widow!
The original Champions debuted in the mid-70’s, and to call them a lackluster team would be an understatement. Despite some interesting roster choices, the Champions never really gelled as a title or as a team. Nonetheless, I figured I’d give them a little repainting love. (Actually, that kind of happened by accident. I had painted up Black Widow and Darkstar for unrelated projects and realized I had one-third of the team. I decided to paint the others up when I could.)
Angel isn’t completely faithful to the Champions version, which is a good thing. Angel’s costume back then was one of the most hideous costumes ever to grace a superhero (look it up). This one is much better, and I am a big fan of this particular sculpt of Angel. Keen-eyed visitors to Dead Dick’s Tavern may recognize some superhero overlap: Darkstar was painted some time ago along with the rest of the Soviet Super Soldiers for my Breeder Bombs campaign, while Iceman was also done a while back. Last post he made an appearance as one-third of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.
Both Iceman and Ghost Rider contained that translucent plastic I loathe so much on Heroclix models. With Iceman, it’s his whole body and the ice slide he rode in on. It wasn’t much of a big deal to just dry-brush him with white and build a base out of frosted sea-glass, the same technique I used on the Penguin and Mr. Freeze. The base took longer than the model itself. (As a side note, I’m particularly happy with the way Hercules looks. His original clix paint job was underwhelming, to say the least.)
Ghost Rider had that translucent yellow plastic everywhere on the model where there is flame. I painted proper flames on his head and bike and this is the result. Originally, I thought this model was a tad too small to be in scale with the rest, but it’s not so bad after all. (The whole time I was painting him I was humming the Rollins Band’s version of “Ghost Rider Motorcycle Hero”.) I contemplated adding a chain, but then remembered this is the original Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider, so no chain needed…which turned out to be good, since I was considering buying some spiked chains from Reaper, only to find a pack of them costs 10 bucks! A bit steep for bits I will probably only use once. I also thought about making the flame trail go all the way to the end of the base by sculpting extra flames out of green stuff, but I lack the confidence and skill to do so. Oh well.
I’m much more likely to use the individual models in games rather than basing a scenario around this particular team, but you never know what could happen!
I was born a bit too late for the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon, although I watched it in syndication faithfully. When I was a young lad, this is what we had for a Spider-Man cartoon: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends! The problem, of course, is that that’s a terrible title for what turned out to be a terrible cartoon, and Spider-Man’s friends were not all that amazing.
Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends aired on Saturday mornings here in the USA, back when they played cartoons on Saturday mornings. It starred the voice talents of June Foray as Aunt May and the great Frank Welker as Iceman. It also featured narration courtesy of smilin’ Stan Lee. And yet, it still sucked.
The series ran for 24 episodes, and is technically the first appearance of Firestar (whoopee!). I say it ran for 24 episodes, but I’m pretty sure my local network affiliate only had access to two of those episodes, because it seemed like they chose to alternate between these two episodes every week. I speak of season 1, episode 5: SWARM!, and season 1, episode 7: Videoman. I’ve seen both of these godawful episodes more times than I care to remember. Until recently, they were available on Netflix, but that seems to no longer be the case here in the USA.
The series had a couple of ok episodes, one featuring Captain America, Sub-Mariner and Dr. Strange and one featuring the Uncanny X-Men (in which Wolverine was inexplicably Australian). But all in all, it was mostly about Iceman and Spidey fighting over Firestar’s attentions. Kinda like if Firestar was Archie, and Spidey and Iceman were Betty and Veronica. Oh, and they had a cocker spaniel who was even more annoying than they were.
Anyway, I have had a painted Spider-Man for a while, and I recently painted up Iceman for another project. So I figured I’d paint Firestar for the hell of it. And here they are.
Watch out, true believers! It’s Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends!