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!
Four posts with no miniatures? This will not stand! Let me fix that…
In December, I usually focus my attention on my “side pile”, i.e. those unfinished and partially-painted miniatures that have accumulated off to the side of my workspace over the course of the year. Some have been primed, others basecoated; some have just a dab or two of color on them from when I squeezed out a bit too much paint and didn’t want to waste it. There they indefinitely sat, clogging my workspace and staring at me accusatorily; until finally, a few years ago, I made the conscious choice to clear the workspace. It’s worked out great.
Yeah, well…I didn’t do that last month.
I painted a LOT of Star Trek miniatures in 2020; both Modiphius miniatures and Heroclix repaints. Since I started playing Days Gone last month, I simply haven’t had the motivation to paint as much (funny how most of my hobby dry spells coincide with periods of video game obsession). But I only had a few Star Trek miniatures left, and I was bound and determined to get them all done by the end of the year.
I have succeeded. First up: the Heroclix repaints.
I picked up these Heroclix to supplement my Modiphius Romulans. They’re not perfect, because I didn’t remember what paints I used way back when; but they’ll do.
Next, I did the same with these Klingons. Everyone can use more Klingons, and I have plans for these guys…
Sadly, I only managed to get my hands on two Heroclix Cardassian soldiers. I repainted the TNG-era brownish uniform to DS9 black, since I like it much better.
Next, some Ferengi salvage crew, and Daimon Bok. These miniatures are obviously based on the early TNG costuming, which was…well, pretty fucking awful. Don’t believe me? Here’s what the Ferengi uniform was on TNG:
Yikes. I’m guessing most of the show’s first-season budget was blown on special effects, because that looks like medical scrubs and cheap carpet. Dig those fur booties.
Finally, the last of the Heroclix: I did a couple of TNG character repaints: Geordi, Worf and Lt. Barclay; as well as a couple of generic TNG-era Starfleet crew.
I repainted Mugato and some Talosians, as well as a whole bunch of generic Starfleet crew for the TOS era.
Moving on, I finally finished the last Modiphius set: the Iconic Villains. I have a lot of opinions about this set, and let’s start by saying I would never have bought it if I didn’t find it on Amazon for an obscenely low price (like $18 or so). The truth is, I didn’t need or want most of these miniatures, and I think there were a lot of better choices available for the “iconic” Trek villains. Let’s go through them, best to worst. These are my opinions, of course…your mileage may vary.
First: Locutus, Lore, and the Borg Queen. All of these are solid choices for iconic villains. What’s more, Modiphius made a Borg Collective miniature set and the Next Generation Bridge crew and TNG Away team, which makes them easy to use in a miniature wargame or for their Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game. I have no issue with any of these. Love them.
Next: Gul Dukat. He’s a great sculpt, and my personal favorite villain in all of Star Trek; so of course I’m happy to have him. The problem is that Modiphius hasn’t done the Deep Space Nine station crew yet, and also hasn’t done any Cardassians (both of which I’m DYING for); so, he’s of limited gaming utility at the moment. Still, he’s Gul Fucking Dukat, and he’s holding Sisko’s baseball, so I can’t complain too much; although it would be really nice if Modiphius made those other sets soon. In the meantime, I think they could have included a villain that would better compliment the sets they have already released.
Next: Q, in his judge’s robes. As far as iconic villains go, Modiphius would have been remiss not to include Q. BUT: why would you need a Q miniature? Q can do anything and is pretty much invulnerable and omnipotent. I get I’m nitpicking here. Star Trek Adventures is a roleplaying game, and anyone using miniatures for that purpose may have need of a Q miniature simply to show where he’s standing at any given time. But it’s not like Q needs to worry about things like difficult terrain or line-of-sight. He doesn’t need to worry about cover saves. He’s Q. Like I said, Modiphius kinda needed to include him, but the miniature is of limited use in a game setting, particularly a wargame. Also, although the judge’s robes are cool, I would have liked to see him in a Command uniform. But that’s me.
Next: the Gorn Captain. Calling him an iconic villain is a bit of a stretch to me. Also, since he’s the only Gorn miniature made by Modiphius (kinda like Gul Dukat is the only Cardassian), unless you want to replay the classic TOS episode Arena, there’s no point in gaming with him. Meh.
Finally, for some inexplicable reason, Modiphius decided to include two Star Trek movie-era villains: General Chang, and KHAAAAAAAAN!!!!. Why they did this when they haven’t released the movie-era TOS crew is frankly baffling to me.
As for General Chang, he’s my least favorite miniature in the set; not because he’s a bad sculpt, but because I’m at a loss as to why he’s here. Sure, he was the bad guy in Star Trek VI, and he was ably played by Christopher Plummer, and he’s a Klingon. And…I got nothing else. Who the hell was asking for a General Chang miniature? Again, the fact that he’s from the movie era and Modiphius hasn’t released any movie-era miniatures makes his inclusion perplexing.
Finally, arguably the MOST iconic Star Trek villain, Khan definitely deserves to be here. His sculpt is pretty good overall, although I don’t think he needed to be clutching a Ceti eel (it looks kind of silly). While Khan should definitely be included, they should have made the younger version of him from “Space Seed” to work with the current TOS Enterprise crew and landing party sets. (Heroclix made a young Khan, but he’s a rare miniature that fetches about $50 on the secondary market; or, as I like to call it: “fuck that expensive”.)
So, aside from replacing old Khan with young Khan, who do I think should have made it into the set instead of Chang, the Gorn Captain, and (even though I love him) Gul Dukat?
Gowron. Played by “Crazy Eyes” Robert O’Reilly in 11 episodes of Star Trek: TNG and DS9, Gowron is definitely an iconic villain who should be here. I am personally offended that he is not, because how can you not love Gowron?
Lursa and B’etor: The Duras Sisters are also recurring antagonists in TNG and DS9 before finally meeting their end in Generations (spoiler alert). Both of them would be welcome.
Sela: The Half-Romulan daughter of Tasha Yar would be a welcome addition, too; although Modiphius seems to have had her in mind when designing the Romulan set. The commander is female, and can easily be painted as Sela. (In fact, I did just that, as you know because you followed my link to the Romulans above.)
Harry Mudd: One of the only recurring characters on TOS, Harry Mudd would be an awesome addition to the set. I love both Mudd episodes (Mudd’s Women and I, Mudd“) and would love it if someone made a miniature of him!
These are my choices for iconic villains that compliment sets already released by Modiphius. Assuming they release DS9 and Voyager crews down the road; who should make it into Iconic Villains 2? (I’m not including Enterprise because I’ve only seen the first season and honestly don’t know if there are any iconic villains to include.)
From Deep Space Nine: Kai Wynn (of course), Weyoun, Damar, the Female Changeling, Enabran Tain, Minister Jaro, Liquidator Brunt and Michael Eddington; from Voyager: Seska. (She’s the only one I can think of, and the only recurring villain other than the Borg Queen, and she’s already been done.)
I actually completed a project! I’m happy to say I’m done with Star Trek for now. I have no more Trek miniatures to paint, although I do have a couple of bridge scenics to get to, courtesy of Wargames Terrain Workshop.
Well, it took me long enough, but I finally finished my vampire miniature painted this month in honor of Bryan Scott, a.k.a. Vampifan; a gamer who sadly passed on earlier this year. I chose The Red Duke from Games Workshop, a classic Vampire Counts miniature that I have had since its release in the late 90’s. Had I known Vampifan better (or at all), I probably would have chose something different, i.e. one that looked a bit more like Ingrid Pitt rather than Christopher Lee.
No one tells me anything. I blame Roger.
Anyway, once I got him positioned how I wanted, I gave him another coat of Vallejo black surface primer and did a quick drybrush of Citadel Celestra Grey to underpaint the model and highlight everything I needed to see in order to paint (my eyes ain’t what they used to be). Then I got to work.
Behold the results of my efforts. I have to say, since I started using Instagram and was forced to begin using my iPhone to take pictures, I have noticed that pictures taken with my actual camera really suck in comparison to anything I take with my phone. For some reason, if I try to load my iPhone pictures into WordPress, it doesn’t work. Normally I would blame Roger for this (and everything else); but it’s far more likely that WordPress is to blame.
Please forgive the shitty quality of these pictures, is what I’m saying.
I followed Duncan Rhodes Jr’s GW recipe for vampire skin: Rakarth Flesh base; followed by an Agrax Earthshade wash; highlight with Flayed One Flesh and finally with Pallid Wych Flesh. Of course, the only skin the Duke is showing is his face; but I think it looks suitably vampiric. The armor is a mix of four or five red washes and paints from different manufacturers (please don’t ask me what I used), as well as the same number of gold metallics. The one thing I’m unsure of is the purple…the more I look at it, the more I think it should be black. But I wanted to add a bit of color to the Duke besides red. What do you think?
Speaking of purple, THIS happened while I was in the midst of painting: I spilled my Druchii Violet wash all over the place, because I accidentally swatted the shitty GW flip-top bottle cap and knocked the whole pot over. Fuck you, GW. Between your paints that dry up far too quickly and your fucking stubborn resistance to dropper bottles, I’ve about fucking had it with your planned obsolescence business model. Know what I’ve never accidentally spilled? ANY PAINT IN A FUCKING DROPPER BOTTLE. Like Vallejo. Or Army Painter. Or Reaper. Or any cheap-ass craft paint I can buy at Wal-Mart. All these paints seem to last a hell of a lot longer, too. Coincidence? DOUBT IT.
Sorry. I’ve been drinking.
One thing I am really happy about is using the cape from the Heroclix Hobgoblin. I did this out of necessity, because I somehow lost the Red Duke’s own cape over the years. (Very unlike me. I’m sure it will turn up somewhere.) I think it looks a lot better than his “official” cape would look; and it adds a bit of realism to the motion of the rearing skeletal steed. (Also, it turns out I didn’t need to sculpt any reins, so…yaay me!)
As a small bonus, I also repainted this Horrorclix Nosferatu. Unlike the Red Duke, it took me about 30 minutes in total to rebase and repaint him, so it’s hardly a huge accomplishment. Still, I thought I’d include him in my Vampifan tribute.
True to form, I waited until the last possible minute to post these miniatures. I hope Vampifan would have liked them. It’s Halloween, and if there wasn’t a pandemic, I’d be expecting trick-or-treaters at my door in a few hours; but it’s looking like it’s going to be a quiet night.
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!
The following excerpt is from my forthcoming book, Domo Arigato, Mr. Mugato, soon to be available at fine booksellers everywhere.
From a small part in a popular 60’s science fiction show to the entertainment tour-de-force he is today, Mugato has been a giant on stage and screen over the last five decades. I caught up to him in London, where he was in the midst of a two-month engagement at the Southwark Playhouse. His portrayal of Torvald in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House has been called a masterclass in the Stanislavsky method.
AP: Mr. Mugato. It’s truly an honor. Thank you for meeting with me.
M: Please. Call me Mugato.
AP: Thanks. Sorry, I’m just a little nervous.
M: Don’t worry. I don’t bite. Not anymore, anyway (laughs).
AP: Do you mind if we talk about Star Trek?
M: Why would I mind?
AP: Well, it’s just that some people have said…
M: That I don’t like talking about it? Nah. I’d like to think I’ve done better work, that’s all.
AP: Of course. But…
M: Ask your questions, kid.
AP: Do you remember how you got the part?
M: Right place, right time, I guess. In ’67 I was working as a caterer in the Hollywood hills. Serving drinks, wiping tables…you know. One night I was working a party at Roddenberry’s house. He must have liked my look, because he told me to come to Desilu the next day. Couple of hours after that, I was tackling Bill Shatner on planet Mongo, or wherever the hell they were that week (laughs).
AP: And from there a star was born.
M: Not quite…I got offered a lot of parts after that, became the toast of the town. Everyone wanted me around. I was Hollywood royalty. But then came the seventies…
AP: Right. The blacklisting, because of the war.
M: Well, they didn’t call it that, not officially. Everyone was still raw from the fifties. But, Jane (that’s Jane Fonda; I call her Jane) Jane and I sure as hell couldn’t get any good work once everyone found out how we felt about the war. If that’s not a blacklist, I don’t know what it is.
AP: Still, you managed to find work…
M: Sure. My unique look gave me an advantage. I’m lucky. I’m a humanoid, apelike creature with a lethally venomous bite, so obviously I can play just about anything. It’s tough to typecast me, so no one ever tried. Melvin hired me, then Russ…it was an interesting time.
AP: You mean Melvin Van Peebles? And Russ Meyer, right?
M: You got it. Mel gave me that part in Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song and Russ gave me the lead in Watch It Jiggle.
AP: Do you regret any of those movies?
M: Nope. Both gave me the chance to show my range as an actor, and Russ helped me understand that I like boobs. (Chuckles).
AP: About that…over the years you’ve been linked romantically to Raquel Welch, Uschi Digard and Serena Grandi, to name a few. But the most persistent rumor is that Carly Simon’s famous song, You’re So Vain, is about you. Is it?
M: I dunno. We dated for a while. You’d have to ask Carly. Anyway, I don’t kiss and tell.
AP: In an April, 1987 interview with Cinema Verite, Stanley Kubrick claimed that the five greatest actors of the last 100 years were Olivier, Welles, Streep, Day-Lewis…and Mugato.
M: I saw it. That was kind of Stan to say.
AP: What do you think?
M: I mean, I’m flattered, but I think Bobby D and Marlon got screwed (laughs).
AP: Yet you never worked with Kubrick, even though it’s rumored he had you in mind for Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket.
M: Yeah…Stan thought I’d be all over that because of my not-so-private stance on Vietnam. But I was ready to move on from that. I was doing a lot of coke at the time, too. That’s probably what cost me the lead in Children of a Lesser God earlier that year. Still, Bill Hurt did ok, I guess. So did D’onofrio.
AP: That brings us to the nineties…
M: Yeah, look…not to be rude, but I have a curtain call in 10 minutes. I do mostly theatre now. Back to basics. But remember, I didn’t get my start in the theatre. I’m doing things in reverse. Make sure you write that in your book.
AP: OK, one last question?
AP: Why don’t you go to Star Trek conventions?
M: You’re kidding, right? (sighs). Look, I was practically a kid when Star Trek aired. Bill, De, Leonard…they were ok to me, but I wouldn’t call them my friends. Jimmy Doohan and I once ran into each other over at Pink’s, getting hot dogs. That was years later. By then I was a bigger name than him. But hey, Jimmy was all right.
The short version is that those guys and me…we only worked together long enough for me to attack Kirk and then get disintegrated. There wasn’t much chance of a recurring role after that happens to your character, and I was in demand elsewhere. I guess I’ll always be grateful to Roddenberry for giving me my shot. But I took it and managed to do pretty well. I managed to make some decent coin in this business, and I’m not looking back. Those conventions are just…sad. Anyway, thanks for dropping by, kid.
Thus, for a brief time, I had been in the presence of a master of his craft. I still had a million other questions for Mugato, but that was undeniably a dismissal. Regretfully, I shook his three-clawed paw and took my leave.
Monster May(hem) is winding down, and I’m happy to say I still have one more contribution to make, most likely on the last day. But…it’s my big ‘un this year, so if all goes well I will be happy indeed.
Be sure to check out all the other participants. Harry posted some pictures of his completed High Elf Dragon, Matt made the most terrifying (and clever) monster of all, and Ken completed a couple of Displacer Beasts that look great! That just leaves His Crow-ness, and I have faith he’ll deliver by the end of the month. (But even if he doesn’t, he’s been up to some pretty impressive Dr. Who gaming and diorama-making over on his site. You should go there and see.)
Beware! Despair! Rrrraaaaaang is upon us!!! Rrrraaaaaang, Destroyer of Worlds! Rrrraaaaaang, Bringer of Doom! Rrrraaaaaang, Devourer of Civilizations! Rrrraaaaaang! Rrrraaaaaang! RRRRAAAAAANG!!!!!!!
A bit of background: when I was in college, I spent a fair amount of time in the Fine Arts building, as one of my best friends was an illustration major. One day, I noticed something odd affixed to a wall in the main lounge. It was an orange. Someone had drawn a mean face on the peel and stuck it on a hook. They put a small, open box below the orange. It contained several coins of varying denominations. This, proclaimed a nearby sign, was Rrrraaaaaang, and he was a fearful god. Only through donations could Rrrraaaaaang be appeased.
Well, Rrrraaaaaang remained on his hook throughout the entire school year, long past when he became a withered, hardened husk of an orange with a sunken, glaring face. I think the custodians must have had a sense of humor; either that or, like the art students, they feared Rrrraaaaaang’s wrath should his physical body be molested in any way. I think there may have been about $2.00 in coins in that box by the end of the year, which is pretty impressive, considering college students are notoriously poor, and many are not above stealing change to raid a vending machine. Even so, none dared to defile the offerings to Rrrraaaaaang and risk his displeasure.
Rrrraaaaaang did not return the next semester. He vanished into the ether, as gods often do. He offered no explanation to those of us he left behind. I firmly believe Rrrraaaaaang will return one day, to visit divine retribution upon us all.
Until that time, I bring you my version of the great and terrible Rrrraaaaaang. My Rrrraaaaaang is an early Reaper miniature, Conjunctivus, the eye beast. He is a versatile monster, able to bring death and destruction in a variety of game settings.
This miniature has been awaiting completion for years. In fact, I began composing a Rrrraaaaaang post in April of 2018, and he already had a basecoat on him back then. I’m glad he’s finally done, and I hope I can get to some other long-incomplete projects before the end of Monster Month.
Check out all the other participants in Monster Month. Dave Stone converted an awesome Kroot beast for Warhammer 40K, then did an amazing paint job on an Oriental Dragon he sculpted himself! That’s two submissions, one more than me so far, and I’m the guy HOSTING the challenge! Way to go, Dave! Coyotepunc completed a Reaper Frost Giant and it looks great! Matt painted a Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath named Tracy. (Really!) Carrion Crow plans on painting some miniatures sculpted by Dick Garrison himself, another participant! Visit everyone’s blog and see what they’re up to!
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!
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.