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!
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…
One of the characters I missed in the Modiphius TOS Crew set was Yeoman Janice Rand. Although she only appeared in eight episodes of TOS, I always felt like the character had a lot of potential beyond what she was allowed to do, which was mostly be “eye candy”.
Sadly, Grace Lee Whitney, the actress who played Yeoman Rand, passed away on May 1, 2015 at age 85. She didn’t have an easy life, particularly after her departure from Star Trek; but she returned to play Janice Rand in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986). She was also a regular on the Trek convention circuit. A recovering alcoholic, she spent the last 3 decades of her life carrying the message to the alcoholic who still suffers, helping others with alcohol and substance abuse issues as a counselor in California.
I discovered Heroclix makes a Yeoman Rand (above), so naturally I bought it to repaint and use with the Modiphius miniatures. (Not having any use for the dial I rebased her, too.)
Here is my finished repaint. Hardly perfect, but better than factory direct. I had a hard time getting the black nylons to look right, so I just went with bare legs instead. For some reason, her eyes look much more pronounced in this picture than in real life.
Heroclix is due for another Trek release later this year, and I have to say some of the miniatures look very promising, particularly as the Modiphius TNG bridge crew was such a letdown. I’m hoping the ‘clix set has better versions of some of those characters.
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?
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.)
As Movember draws to a close, I have officially painted all of my pulp miniatures! For this last installment, I present some ventriloquists!
Technically, only ONE of these is a pulp miniature…yet when painting him, I was surprised to find that I had two more ventriloquists in 28mm! It’s an odd genre of miniature to own, after all. How many ventriloquist miniatures do YOU own? I’m betting not three.
First, straight from his tour performing for the crown heads of Europe, The Great Adamski! This miniature comes from Black Army Productions, a small company that makes some interesting miniatures. This guy came with a couple of hand options; he could have either had a second puppet or a gun behind his back. (I went all in on the dummies.) Adamski also satisfies my Movember requirement: check out that handlebar mustache! His Cossack dummy (the one behind his back) is sporting some impressive lipwear as well.
Next, a zombie ventriloquist from Horrorclix, because why not? I repainted him because as expected, the factory clix paint job was somewhat…sub-par.
Lastly, a relatively new-ish Batman villain, THE Ventriloquist (and Scarface). This miniature was repainted completely, but I forgot to take a “before” picture.
The Ventriloquist (and Scarface) is pretty dumb, even for Batman’s rogue’s gallery. The Ventriloquist himself is a mild-mannered milquetoast; it’s Scarface, the dummy, who is the real ruthless bad guy. From the DC wiki:
I find him annoying because Scarface can’t pronounce the letter “B” (on account of the Ventriloquist not moving his lips), so he substitutes a “G” sound. This gets old pretty fast, especially when you’re reading speech balloons. “Let’s rog the gank, boys! And watch out for the Gatman!” Ugh.
Anyway, that wraps up Movember…I’m still mulling over a project for December. Watch this space!
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.