Friday, January 28, 2011

Ladies, Crusaders, Old Soldiers...and some Sith!

Hope everyone is enjoying the Toy Fair 2011 coverage! I know I'm excited!!!

Seems as though whenever I prepare my next blog entry, I always end up postponing it's launch to add additional images...I'm worse than NASA! LOL! Thought it would be fun to coincide with the Toy Fair own mini toy show - Ha!

Alright, I have a ton of updates to speak of so lets get at it...starting with the Tonnika Sisters.

Below are work in progress images of the sisters with focus on the head sculpts. I have completed sculpting one of them so far. The other will be slightly different, with an identical facial sculpt but altered hair braid. Although the the facial sculpts are identical, I will apply different paint schemes to differentiate between the two. You'll notice one is shorter than the other...this is of course intentional. I plan on retooling the hips and legs for better articulation...not happy with how they work with the sculpt currently.

Hair brading....UGH! Thank you maginfier!!!


Here's one I wasn't planning on working on till much later but some of the talented customizers as of late have inspired me to make my own version of Boba Fett. I'm sure we can all agree that Hasbro just hasn't gotten this guy right. It's always been something wrong with the figues we get, but my biggest gripe has been the "form fitting" helmet Hasbro insists on including with almost every version of Fett for the past several years. I hate that accessory.

So here I go with my interpretation. I will try my best to be movie accurate to the Empire Strike Back costume version...If I can include alternate arms and legs to reflect the minor changes in ROTJ I will do so. Please don't crack down on me if I'm slightly off on a color scheme or the wookie braids aren't long enough...I know there's some major hardcore Fett fans out there and that's cool! I can promise you this...I will be more accurate than any Hasbro version that has come out in this scale. I also want to do a version of Boba from the Dark Empire graphic novel series... oh and of course I will be making a version of Jango as well. No removable helmets, the non-helmet heads will be alternates.

Boba will have the max amount of articlation I can possibly give him but not so much that it will influence the integrity of the sculpt. You can see below that he will have plenty - Ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, ball jointed elbows, swivel forearms, swivel wrists, ball jointed upper torso, swivel waist, ball jointed hips, knees and ankels...WHEW! I think I may be able to get a dynamic pose or two with that kind of articulation don't you? :)

While we are on the subject of Mandalorians, let's revist a piece that has been sitting on my workbench for a couple years now. Finally my Mandalorian Neo Crusader will be completed soon and it has gone through some major changes over the past two years. This guy looks nothing like the original and I'm glad I took my sweet time! This Mandalorian appears in the Knights of the Old Republic comic book series from Dark Horse comics - Flashpoint storyline, issues 7 and 8.

His articulation is a little limited around the hips (not bad) but I may be able to fix that without resculpting anything (oh God - no more rescultping).

He will have two additional "helmeted" headsculpt with alternate lekku positioning. He will also include a "non-helmet" version...which I can use some creative license. Looking forward having some fun with that :)

Alright, lets leave the Star Wars universe for a moment shall we and head for the jungle where our friend Snake is patiently awaiting completion of his sculpt. Unfortunately for him, some major adjustments will need to be made (woah Snake - easy man! Calm down)...

Head sculpt is good to go, torso good to go - arms...stand go! The upper arms are too short and the elbows are to high - the forarms are too long.

Not happy with the hip articluation - would like this figure to crouch and have more dynamic movement. Legs are a bit out of proportion problem though, we can fix them...we have the technology. Snake will have a removable upper torso that will be replaced with a shirtless version - Woohoo! Calm down ladies! I hope to get these adjustments made and completed in the next few weeks so this guy can get painted and out of my hair! The house smells like smoke Snake - easy on the cigs dude!

Alright - back to a galaxy far, far away. More MGS updates coming soon by the way :)

Some more "magnet magic" with Darth Stryfe! I have embeded two magnets in his upper shoulder armor which will allow for a removable "soft goods" cowl! Not sure if you have seen any of the detailing to the removable armor so here's a shot for you which includes the magnet seen in the shoulder area.

Another sith lord in the works - Starkiller as the Sith Stalker (Dark Lord Version) from the video game The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition. You've seen the completed helmet - still needs some updated version will be seen later. Rright now I wanted to present some of the upper body sculpt...

The back will have tubing and the respirator box with a clear acrylic window! The figure will have an alternate head sculpt without the helmet. If you are familiar with the game you will have an idea what he looks like behind the mask.

I am currently tooling around with the Tuskin Raider Stalker costume as well - hope to have something to show soon.

Onto yet another Sith Lord - Darth Malgus from the upcoming Bioware game Star Wars: Old Republic. You've seen this dark lord in the "Hope" trailer - he will have alternate damaged body armor and an alternate head featuring the respirator seen in the "Decieved" trailer.

I've placed a TON of detail into the chest armor...happy I was able to keep it a seperate piece.

Below is an updated shot of Malgus's shoulder armor, which is attached with clear bands glued to the inside of the piece while having the arm thread through to the shoulder joint. I think I've mentioned this before but I plan to create two additional Sith Soldiers and two Imperial Troops. Malgus has to have a posse!!!

A quick update to my Savage Opress - almost complete with the head sculpt...just a couple more horns to place, some refinement and he will be complete. I will continue on with the body sculpt, starting with the completion of the upper and lower torso. He will have removable upper body armor and interchagable arms. I will also plan on a battle damaged head sculpt (saber scorched horn damage)!

Finally tonight I am revisiting my ongoing work on an ultimate Darth Vader - this time updating articulation and reworking the helmet. The helmet you see below is the older version - just wanted to show the new updated articulation. The feet come from one of the Halo figures by McFarlane toys. These will of course be "dremeled" down and resculpted. The helmet is going through a complete resculpt...and I'm talkin' complete. I work on one section, mold and cast, then a next phase. So far I've completed the mouth piece, nose and helmet plate. Once the helmet is finalized, I will cast again to begin creating a three piece using the magnets I've spoken of in an earlier entry. I will also be working on a head sculpt of Anakin (Vader).

The articulation is such that the crotch plate piece and cloak will cover the non sculpted hip joints - I wish those not to have any sculpting around them which may prevent the figure to achieve a meditiation when siting in a meditiation chamber...oops! I let it slip!! heehee...

One final thought on Vader - just finished reading the Dark Horse comic - Darth Vader and The Lost Command. The first few panels is of Vader (Anakin) stripped of his armor and prosthetic limbs, receiving upgrades and repair from imperial droids. How cool of a figure would that be!? And you know...when I get an idea in my head...Uh Oh! Look out!

I'd say that's enough to last me till the next update wouldn't you say LOL! Seriously, thank you guys and gals for you continued interest in my work - and to all my facebook fans, you guys rock! We're almost at 300 fans - incredible! Always check my Facebook page, Sith_fire30 Creations and Flickr photostream for additional information and tons of more photos. Comments, suggestions and critique are always welcome!

I'm back to looking at the Toy Fair coverage and wishing that I was there! You all have a great rest of the weekend and a Happy Valentines day!


Building the Beast - Savage Opress

"He is ready sisters! Look at the strength...the POWER!"

I must admit, when Lucasfilm announced that they were introducing to the Clone Wars series another Darth Maul-like character as an adversary to the Jedi, I was were many other fans I'm sure. Fortunately I wasn't dissapointed, and the beast lived up to his potential...and in turn, inspired me to begin working on a figural sculpt of Savage Opress.

Below are a series of photos that show the early work into getting the figures' frame constructed as well as some early stages into the sculpt. I wanted to experiment a bit with articulation for this figure - I'm actually wanting to expand the boundaries of articulation with all my figures from here on...finding out what's effective and also what can hender proportion and functionality.

If you've been following along with my updates, you will recognize the image below as a very early draft of my Savage frame...well, I've made a few "minor" changes....heh, heh...

First I want upper torso articulation, preferably a ball-hinged torso...right below the chest and rib cage...but wait a minute, I also want lower waist articulation...also on a ball-hinge. Sounds crazy huh..well thankfully because of this character's size, it's not that difficult. A standard 3.75" figure may be more of a challenge, but not impossible...I will try it out in the future but we're talkin' about Savage right now!

First as you can see in the image above, I took the original frame apart and preped my first ball-hinged piece...all of my ball hinged parts will come from two figures currently out in the market...A VOTC Luke Skywalker or a Medical Frigate Luke Skywalker. You can use either one or the other, makes no difference. You will need: An Xacto knife, super glue, dremel or sand paper (to smooth, straighten and flatten edges), breathing mask, rags for cleanup and possible bandaids..for when you cut the S^%$T out of your finger for the 10th time trying to get a piece to fit LOL!

As will all my new figures, I am adding additional articulation to the hips using the ball joints from the two existing figures I mentioned previously. When I remove the lower torso from the Luke body, I reveal a large opening that, if not careful, can trap a drop of unintentionally placed super glue that can "gum up the works" so to speak as far as leg movement I ad a small "cap" from an existion torso to cover the opening (as seen above). I will be placing the first ball-hinged piece on top. ***NOTE - Later in the images you will notice I removed the cap all together...this is an option but you must be carefull about the glue getting inside the mechanism. I did this becasue I felt the additional piece was knocking off the proportion.***

I have my ball-hinged piece ready to apply...but I have to be carefull of another opening seen at the bottom of the ball hinged mechanism (see above image), that if touched with glue, can make the part useless. Take special care to place your glue away from the opening and only on the edges where the two parts meet. May not be a strong a bond you would like but don't worry...soon you will be adding FIXIT to the area which will strengthen ten fold!

So here it is...first hing applied..I let it dry for a few then work the joint around awhile to be sure no glue found it's way into the parts.

Again I do the same thing adding the second hinge. Looks strange right now but rest assured, with some adjustments it will work out fine for this particular figure frame.

Again I work the joints to make sure all fuction correctly. Finally I add the upper chest is where you will need to make adjustments and be sure of proportion. I eyeball mine...shaving a little at a time off the base of the upper chest but not too close to the peg holes for the arms. It was at this time I decided to remove the "cap" I spoke of earlier.

And here we go! I also removed the original feet and added some better articulated feet from an existing microman figure. These will also be sculpted over. So now just a test of the movement before cleaning up and adding sculpt to the frame...

Classic! - must have Savage kneeling to his master...whoever that may be. Alright! Lets clean him up and get to sculpting!!

Now I got a little ahead of myself and bagan the primary sculpt - What I should do first is to strengthen the glued attachements. But silly me waited to do that a step or two later...suffice to say I had to glue a piece more than once. :(

Alright, here we go - back on track. One that FIXIT sculpt cures around the glued areas, you are good to go and can make him do back bends if you wish LOL! Proceeded to work on the primary sculpt...Head, Shoulders, Neck.

Yes, more striking a pose...

The beginnings of a "Real World" Savage I think....Lets get those horns on!

Completed the two smaller side horns and the three frontal. Also advanced work on the upper body, chest and shoulders. Now the large should the horns be? Remember this is a "Real World" version of Savage...and his horns can have some play to them. He is considered and "animal" a "beast"...why not larger? Also I'm a fan of the movie Legend, and the character Lord of the larger horns are a little tribute to the Dark Lord.

But...unfortunately they appear to be too big...too wild. Cool but not to the proportion of the figure itself. Thanks to my Facebook fans for the vote of confidence in making the changes and reducing the you can see in the below image, majority of the fans voted for B..but it was a very close vote!

So I found a sweet spot in between..not too big, not too short...just right like Goldilocks would say.

So below is the final result - I will go forward and sculpt the remaining horns at this scale. Some additional refinement is needed but I think this size keeps Savage looking like a brute, without the stressfull headaches and neck pain he may recieve with the larger horns. LOL!

And that's where I am presently with this character. I hope to have more updates to you soon but I have some painted figures that are waiting to make an eventual debut. I have some additional work in progress reports that will be posted soon, including the Tonnika Sisters, Starkiller, Sith Stalker and Darth Stryfe.

Always check my Facebook page, Sith_fire30 Creations and Flickr photostream for additional information.

Again - thanks to the fans! You guys rock! Stay tuned for more :)