For my second Forgotten Hero of 2023, I present another First Comics character: Steven Grant’s Whisper. Along with Nexus and Badger, Whisper actually started out in Capital Comics before being published by First after Capital’s demise. Whisper last showed up in a one-shot in 2006. I own exactly one Whisper comic, and it’s not even an issue of her own series. It’s this Crossroads comic, featuring a team-up between Whisper and Jon Sable, Freelance. Despite having a cool cover, it’s bad.
As a result, I knew next to nothing about Whisper before I decided to make this conversion, so I looked up her story. She’s Alexis Devin, an American, but trained in ninjutsu by her Japanese Yakuza stepfather. As a child she had polio and this training helped her overcome it. Alexis was working as an architect and wanted nothing to do with ninjas when she was drawn back into the conflicts of the Yakuza against her will. I guess there’s more to the story, but that’s the gist of it. She’s a ninja, and it was the 80’s. The world was ninja crazy back then.
To make Whisper, I started with these two Heroclix miniatures: The Punisher and Elektra. I’ve always hated this Elektra miniature because it looks stupid, and like many Heroclix, the factory paint job is abysmal. The Punisher sculpt is pretty bad-ass. Unfortunately, I needed that wall he’s standing on, because I have no ability to sculpt one myself. (The Punisher plays no further role in this tale.)
I started by cutting the spear apart and repositioning her arms. I removed the sashes from the spear, but kept some of the handle for each hand. Then I chopped off her hair and her skirt and filled the gaps left behind.
I spent a lot of time filing down her head. Like many conversions, this one looked horrible during the process. I couldn’t get the image of Elektra with a massive head bandage out of my mind. I reattached the sashes as a belt and some flowing wrist wraps. I shaved down the spear shafts to look more like swords.
I wasn’t about to keep that stupid pose, so here’s where I used the wall. Now she’s leaping from a high ledge, ninja-style.
Once primed black, she immediately looked better.
Turns out Whisper doesn’t have flowing wrist wraps, but I like the look of it as it gives the character an illusion of motion. I didn’t do much to the wall other than weather it a little and give it a slight highlight.
And there she is: Whisper. Overall, I think she looks pretty good. She looks a lot better than that Elektra miniature, anyway…
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….
We are nearing the end of Monster May(hem) 2023, and it’s doubtful I’ll get something else done by the end of the month. (It seems I have yardwork that requires my full and undivided attention in my immediate future.) Despite likely having no further contributions of my own, I thought I would update the blogroll with everyone else’s submissions. I’ll add any stragglers in a few days, but here are all the submissions I am aware of:
Simon, from Fantorical, has started work on a large Wizkids Groot model, and it’s looking suitably Grootlike! Can’t wait to see it finished!
Dave, from Wargames Terrain Workshop, has sculpted a few of his own miniatures for his submissions: a Dragonkin warrior, a Clawed Fiend and a Jerba (a Star Wars beast of burden). He’s also done justice to some GW miniatures: some Dark Elf Khymera (these are sick!), a Slaan Lord on Palanquin and an awesome Chaos Giant (wow!)! That would be enough for mere mortals, but Dave is a hobby machine. He then painted a cool 3D-printed cyclops and finally, the Bitch Herself: the Alien Queen, in supersize! Dave went for a full-size model kit with the old Halcyon Alien Queen model. (Funny thing, Dave…I’m working on a model kit, too…!) It’s GREAT!!!!
Matt, from PM Painting did the creepy Jötunn Moder from The Ritual, and a Fungal Troll that may be one of my favorite things I’ve ever seen him paint (it’s really stunning). That would have been more than enough; but Matt also completed an Undead Goliath from Calden Keep, a Plant Shambler and a Minotaur Lord! Matt works right up to the end, though, so I’m sure we haven’t seen all he has to offer yet. In real life, meanwhile, Matt’s been avoiding bears. The ursine kind, I mean. Solid work, Matt!
Azazel, from Azazel’s Bitz Box has brought his A-Game, as always: he started with a “Chaos Toad Savage” (aka a Reaper not-Slaad) before moving on to some of my favorite D&D monsters: a pair of Gricks by Nolzur’s; following that with a Reaper Dire Boar and a Yugg, which is a particularly loathsome Cthulhu Mythos monster I’d never heard of before! Azazel then completed a giant snake, which really needs to be seen because first: it’s an awesome sculpt, and second: Azazel painted a scale pattern that I am totally copying if ever I get the chance. Then he managed to finish a long-dormant project: an “Abominalpha” for Zombicide: Black Plague, together with a “Weremanboar” and “Actual Cannibal Shia LeBoeuf”; and finally, working right up to the wire, a Shoggoth from Cthulhu: Death May Die! ! Azazel’s stunning paintjobs aside, there are some really cool miniatures here that I’ve never seen before, and that’s not even close to everything ELSE Azazel painted in May! Well done once again, Azazel!
Snapfit, from Da Green Horde, comes in under the wire with a classic GW River Troll and a converted Reaper Troll, and they look great!. Snapfit says they’re called Fellwater Troggoths nowadays, and I have no reason to doubt his word. Thanks for participating this year, Snapfit! Don’t be a stranger!
Jon, from Jon’s Hobby Desk, rejoins us this year with some late postings (or, as he says, a head-start on next year). He did a couple of big ‘uns: a Wizkids Nightwalker and The Rancor, from Star Wars Imperial Assault! Thank you, Jon!
Tom, @The_Goodground painted a demon, a storm elemental, a Rat Ogre, an objective marker so monstrous it counts as a monster, a vulture demon and a Lovecrfaftian Gnoph-Keh, before turning his attention to House Cawdor and Necromunda, abandoning the world of Monster May(hem) and moving away into the East, where, like the Blue Wizards of the Istari, he passes out of our tale to fates unknown. You can see all his miniatures on his Instagram account!
Malcolm, @mdcampbell_dunwichcreatives painted four monsters, a Runequest Walktapus, a classic Grenadier Shadowrun miniature, the Feathered Serpent (beautiful plumage!), a Reaper Carrion Crawler…and…wait forit: Baba Yaga’s Hut! (Not the Reaper one I did a couple of years ago, a new,3D print that I like better!) He’s posted three on Instagram account so far, and you can see all of them in my #miniatures channel on the Discord server, if you have access. If you don’t, ask!
Mike, @sasquatchminis completed a Nolzur’s White Dragon, which he intends to use for Icespire Peak, and it looks fantastic! He posted it to his Instagram account and in my Discord server, so check it out!
And finally, me! I did a Skeletal Dragon and a Spiny Death Worm, both of which you can see in previous posts. I planned on a couple more, but it’s not happening this year.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for any late submissions, so this might not be the final list. Thanks so much to all who participated in Monster May(hem) this year. For those who didn’t get the opportunity, no worries: I fully understand how real life can get in the way of time spent at the hobby desk! Assuming I’m still alive next May, Monster May(hem) shall return (and if I’m not, I expect one of you to pick up the standard and lead from the front)!
For my final submission for Tom’s #paintanadventuringparty challenge on Instagram this year, I only had one character class left: the monk. This old RAFM monk with dog is no longer available anywhere I can find. He’s such a great miniature, I thought he was due for a repaint.
I briefly considered painting him red and green and basing him on snow in honor of the Christmas holiday, but why ruin the utility of such a great sculpt? I decided to keep the colors pretty much the same, but maybe add a little shading and highlighting, techniques unknown to me back in the 80’s when I originally painted him. I kept the dog more or less the same, too.
He has such a great face. I generally don’t bother much with faces beyond the typical trio of flesh-colored paints and a wash, but in this case I added some rose to his cheeks and nose. This fellow look like he enjoys his booze.
Rather atypical of me to have completed a challenge so early in the month, but I’m making up for all the lost time this year.
I love this challenge, whether I call it Character of the Month or Tom calls it #paintanadventuringparty. I think I will continue it into next year. This year I used all old-school miniatures for the challenge, next year I’m thinking I will try something new: no humans! So, every character class will be represented by a demihuman race: elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, maybe even half-orcs and half-elves. Maybe.
No tortles, tieflings, dragonborn, half-giants, tabaxi, aasimar, kenku, warforged or anything else equally stupid, though.
Not to be confused with the Mistress of the Dark who recently made an appearance on Roger’s site, this is an old (1989) RAFM miniature that is no longer in production and doesn’t seem to be available anywhere anymore. She is my Character of the Month for Tom’s #paintanadventuringparty challenge over on Instagram. I’m calling her a sorceress.
Here’s a secret: I didn’t paint this miniature: I REPAINTED her. Way back in 1990 or so, I painted her using those wonderful Testors enamels I still have nightmares about. She actually didn’t look too bad, all things considered.
I remembered to snap a picture of her before I repainted her; but not before I added her to this base.
As you can see, I went with a more “Egyptian” theme to her this time around as opposed to the Frazetta-style in which she’s so obviously sculpted. I was likely inspired by all the Egyptian goings-on in The Old Ways Podcast’s Masks of Nyarlathotep game.
Only five more character classes to go for the year: Bard, Monk, Wizard, Warlock and Paladin. Which one will be next?
Well, another Monster May(hem) has come and gone; and once again, I am so happy to welcome everyone who participated, both out here in the blogosphere and on Instagram! After a glacial start to the month, I managed to crowbar in a few more monsters at the eleventh hour. Not the way I like to work, but it’s what life dealt me this month…
It was a Nolzur’s kinda year for me, as 75% of my submissions this year came from that exceptional (as far as monsters are concerned, anywway) line of miniatures. I posted my Manticore previously; but since then, I’ve completed three more miniatures, starting with this Cave Bear.
What’s that? Not a monster, you say? Merely an animal? Well, my Lamentations of the Flame Princess players might disagree with you, as they recently came face-to-slobbering-face with one of these, which happened to be rabid, to boot! That could have ended in a very different way, but they managed to drive it off in a hail of black powder and lead bullets!
I used mostly Citadel paints on this. The bear was primed black, then painted Mournfang Brown,, highlighted with Deathclaw Brown, then washed in a 50/50 mix of Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil, then drybrushed with Vallejo Ivory. A final wash in the recesses with some straight Nuln Oil and it was done. I used some Woodland Scenics leaves on the base and I think he looks ok (although not as fierce as the one in my game, perhaps).
Up next, this Venom Troll; the submission of which I have the most pictures, but the least to say. I actually bought this months ago because I thought it would look good as a boss zombie. I was going to paint her (?) with mottled, zombie-like flesh; but I decided to go with a standard-looking greenish troll instead.
Her skin tone was achieved by using two types of Vallejo greens washed in old GW yellow wash, then the recesses were done in Athonian Camoshade. Her gross pustules are dripping GW’s Nurgle Rot, but you can’t really see it against the skin. Oh, well.
Finally, I repainted a Wizkids factory paint job on perhaps my favorite Lovecraftian monster: The Great Race of Yith. Why should Matt hog all the Mythos monsters?
Here is what it looks like out of the box. (Of course I didn’t take a picture of my actual miniature first; but this is what they ALL look like.) Big surprise: the miniature is great, the paint job sucks. Pretty bland, and a far cry from Lovecraft’s description, which is: They seemed to be enormous iridescent cones, about ten feet high and ten feet wide at the base, and made up of some ridgy, scaly, semi-elastic matter. From their apexes projected four flexible, cylindrical members, each a foot thick, and of a ridgy substance like that of the cones themselves. These members were sometimes contracted almost to nothing, and sometimes extended to any distance up to about ten feet. Terminating two of them were enormous claws or nippers. At the end of a third were four red, trumpet-like appendages. The fourth terminated in an irregular yellowish globe some two feet in diameter and having three great dark eyes ranged along its central circumference. Surmounting this head were four slender grey stalks bearing flower-like appendages, whilst from its nether side dangled eight greenish antennae or tentacles. The great base of the central cone was fringed with a rubbery, grey substance which moved the whole entity through expansion and contraction.
I didn’t have the time to do much about the four slender stalks surmounting the head, but I could sure do a better paint job. Here it is, with a Pulp Figures reporter (a.k.a. hapless Mythos investigator) for scale.
I fell back on my old-school Tyranid scheme for the body. For the snakelike appendages, all I had to do was give him a thorough wash of Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil. The head was colored with Yellow Wash and the eyes painted black and given a coat of gloss varnish. I painted the claws black and drybrushed them crimson, and added some highlights to the pink trumpet thingy.
This is technically a repaint, but I’m calling this a submission, because it’s my challenge, so nyah nyah.
Here are the wonderful hobbyists who took part this year, along with a list of their impressive achievements. I will update this list over the course of the next week or so as the inevitable straggling entries make their way onto the web.
Jeremy, aka Carrion Crow; from Carrion Crow’s Buffet, has finished his Straw God from Crooked Dice miniatures! It looks smashing and boasts some impressive base work. Jeremy is hosting his own challenge this month, one I look forward to every year: Forgotten Heroes! Drop by his blog to check it out and join up! It’s a blast!
Roger from Rantings From Under the Wargames Table, sculpted Jason Voorhees from scratch; then did an amazing job and lavished much attention on the bony growths of a “Generation 1 Mutation” from Deadzone. I was unaware of this figure, but it’s awesome. I don’t play Deadzone, but I’m already thinking of a ton of uses for this beast in Supers or Scifi games. Well done, Roger!
As usual, I found it impossible to keep up with Matt from PM Painting. The guy never stops painting monsters (at least not in May). In order, Matt completed a Queen of Hell, an avatar of Hastur, some Hell Hounds, a Tomb Tapper, a Rock Troll, a swarm of Muccins, a Chaos Dragon Ogre, a Reaper Bathalian Centurian, an old-school Chaos Slaanesh rider and a Keeper of Secrets. I can’t say enough good things about them here, so I’ll just point you in the direction of Matt’s blog. Trust me, every one of them is worth a look. And a hearty thanks to Matt for really rolling up his sleeves (as he does every year).
Edit: Not content with letting his impressive tally stand, Matt also completed another submission after zero hour: a possessed Chaos Dreadnought for Warhammer 40K. It’s both a paint job and a conversion; Matt turned an old-school Space Marine Dreadnought (and I mean OLD SCHOOL, i.e. Rogue Trader-era) into a demonic war machine. It looks so cool!!!!
Azazel from Azazel’s Bitz Box is another inspiring overachiever; he started with a Burrowing Horror; then moved on to a Byakhee, some Earth Elementals, a Spawn of Ungoliant ( I love this one), a couple of Yetis and some Citadel ogres from one of my favorite sculptors, Bob Olley! He also managed to find time for a Chaos Minotaur and a Mordor Troll; but not before he did some incredible work on some Ghostbusters stuff: Gozer, Slimer, the Demon Dogs and yes, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. (Jeremy, if you haven’t checked this out yet you’ll love it!) Thanks, Azazel; for showing up again this year and for really bringing it!
“Mr. Star Wars”; a.k.a. Dave from Wargames Terrain Workshop (I think that might stick, Dave) once again displayed his sculpting skills to great effect this year. Last year’s Krayt dragon was so incredible it deserves another mention here; but this year Dave scratch-built a TON Star Wars monsters (not in order): a purrgil (space whale); a blurrg, a sand ape and a sand bat, all from Tattooine; and a krykna (giant space-spider) that I think I saw on The Mandalorian. He also scratch-built and painted Ziro the Hutt, Jabba’s somewhat effeminate cousin who sounds like he’s from Louisiana. (I hear it, anyway.) And that’s just what he sculpted himself. He still found time to paint a pair of Wampas, gibbering horde and a chaos spawn. Dave: as always, lovely and inspirational work.
Tom from over on Instagram was back for a second year, contributing several monsters from various miniatures games: a “corrupted were-deer”, a werewolf, a gibbering mouther, and a (really disturbing) bug person. Check out Tom’s Instagram account; he’s another guy who never stops posting miniatures!
Thanks to all the newcomers this year! Jon from Jon’s Hobby Desk painted a big, gross Nurgle-thing called a Glottkin, and surprised us with a half-dozen giant spiders! That’s NINE monsters for Monster May(hem)! Think my math is wrong? Go visit Jon’s blog!
Simon, aka Blax the Kleric, from Fantorical Wargaming, completed a bevy of cool Crooked Dice miniatures, further rubbing my nose in how unfortunate I am to live in a country with no Crooked Dice stockist! In between various other projects, Simon painted a massive Mighty Simian, the popular-with-good-reason Straw God, and two Harryhausen-esque Bronze Titans! Lovely work, Simon! please come back next year!
And finally, Malcolm, also from Instagram, painted a Reaper basilisk and a Nolzur’s wyvern. Malcolm is a gaming buddy of mine who lives in far-away lands (i.e. the Midwest). I have a feeling we’ll see him around these parts again…
Please support these hobbyists by visiting their sites (or IG accounts; you don’t need an account to have a look) and leaving a comment or two. I count myself fortunate to know so many talented and welcoming people in our hobby!
So, what’s next here? Well, if all goes as planned, June will include a return to Star Trek to find out the fate of Lieutenant Barclay, as well as more Pop Culture. Oh, yeah…and there’s one more thing…
I’m used to storms here in New England. Unfortunately, sometimes they screw with my painting time. Since I had no power to Piper’s Painting Pit on some key days last month, I was unable to get my entry for Dave Stone’s “Apocalypse Me” challenge done on time. Here she is, better late than never; and no, she doesn’t look like me at all.
This lovely lass is “Hungry Bertha”, an OOP Horrorclix miniature from the Freakshow set. As many of you know, repainting and rebasing Clix is something I quite enjoy. So I decided to make Bertha look a little better, paint-wise, and a little more zombified. That way she could (theoretically) be my entry for Zombtober, too.
The lollipop stuck to her backside is a nice touch, as are the mysterious and loathsome slime trails emanating from her various folds. Lovely.
Anyway, I decided to add some gore to her base…a few GW zombie bits, some green stuff intestines…you get the idea.
Add copious layers of Blood for the Blood God, some gloss varnish on her lollipop and slime trails, and here is the result.
This close up shows that I should clean up her eyes a bit, methinks.
Upon reflection I thought it might be fun to make a diorama out of Bertha here, with her teetering upon a veritable mound of body parts and gore; but I was under the gun as it was. This will have to do for now. Still…it’s a thought for later.
Jon Sable: Freelance was a comic book (and a comic book character) created by Mike Grell, the same guy who created DC’s Warlord. It was one of the First Comics flagship titles and ran from 1983-1988; with another series, simply titled Sable, following afterwards. (That series didn’t last very long.) Unusual for its time, Jon Sable: Freelance was wholly owned by Mike Grell; who presumably still owns the rights to this day.
Jon Sable has had a somewhat bumpy publication history. Once First Comics folded in 1991-1992, Jon Sable didn’t get another comic book series until 2005, when IDW published a six-issue miniseries. The character hasn’t been seen in a comic book since 2010.
Jon Sable was an Olympic athlete at the 1972 Munich games. After witnessing the massacre there he moved to Rhodesia where he used his training as a mercenary and bounty hunter to organize safari trips and become a game warden (because why not?). His family was murdered by poachers, so Sable killed the poachers and moved back to the US to resume work as a freelance mercenary. When he’s working, he paints his face, dresses in black and carries a 1917 Broomhandle Mauser, which he uses to shoot people. When not working, he hides in plain sight by masquerading as B.B. Flemm, an author of children’s books. Yes, he writes the books and supposedly, they’re pretty good, because his publisher is always on his ass about his deadlines, even though she knows he’s really a merc-for-hire and not a children’s book author.
There was a (mercifully) short-lived TV series, Sable, that ran for only seven episodes in the 80’s. It’s based on the comic, with some minor differences, like a character called Cheesecake who is a hacker who (wait for it) likes cheesecake; and the fact that Sable is the alter-ego of author NIcholas Fleming (not B.B. Flemm), not the other way around, as it is in the comic. The series starred Lewis Van Bergen as Sable, who you may remember from nothing you’ve ever even remotely given a shit about; and a young Renee Russo as Sable’s publisher, Eden Kendall. I remember watching it in high school as I knew about the comic, but I forgot about most of it until Tom found the pilot episode on YouTube and told me about it. I warn you…it’s a tough slog. Van Bergen’s 80’s mullet is truly extraordinary, however, and it may be worth the watch for that alone.
For my Jon Sable conversion, I was going to use these two Heroclix: Daredevil and Quicksilver. (Quicksilver has served me well in past Forgotten Heroes challenges; I used his head for Jack Frost and his body for Water Wizard before). I also needed to find a 28mm Broomhandle Mauser; which you think would be easy. It’s not. I had to buy this weapon pack from Pulp Alley to find one.
Before I got the Pulp Alley accessories, I noticed this Bullseye Heroclix. He’s carrying a submachine gun that could pretty easily be converted into a Mauser. D’oh! I decided not to use Daredevil or the Pulp Alley accessories after all.
One quick head-swap and some filing, and here’s the result. Kinda looks like Jon Sable already. I also cut off a bit of the back of his gun, so it looks more like a Mauser pistol.
Here’s the finished result. It wasn’t particularly difficult, considering Sable’s “costume” is a black outfit with a holster for his pistol and some face paint. Sometimes he uses a knife, too.
This close-up shows I wasn’t as thorough as I could have been when filing off bits of Bullseye’s costume. In my defense, I can’t see shit anymore. Now that I’m aware of it, I could fix it. Or not, considering I’ll never use Jon Sable for anything, ever.
Forgotten Heroes has provided me with a chance to make miniatures for several First Comics heroes: Badger, Nexus, and now Jon Sable. Add one of the Grimjack miniatures my friend Jeremy (Carrion Crow) gifted me with, and it’s almost the full roster! Still, I hesitate to really call this a submission, as it took almost no time to complete once I had the idea.
I have at least one more entry coming this month, possibly two. In the meantime I look forward to seeing what everyone else is doing!