Monday, September 26, 2011

A Nostromo Party and More Crazy Fun!

It's the beginning of my favorite month - October! Cooler temps just around the corner here in Tampa and nearing the end of our Hurricane season. Hoildays are coming up - yay Halloween! - I'm broke (who isn't these days) but I'll find a way to enjoy them LOL!:) Anyway....

Special shout out goes to the crew at TORSyndicate for having me on episode 36 of their podcast talking about my madness. great bunch of guys gearing up for the release of The Old Republic MMO.

Proud to be a member - as you can see by the banner placment to the right of this copy. Check out the podcast here.

Alright - In my last entry I hinted about a line I was going to do some brainstorming on...

Well, I did a bit more than brainstorm...

Appropriate timing, the month of October - a month that celebrates ghosts, goblins...and monsters. I'm making an Alien (movie 1979) line of figures...It was inevitable I guess. One of my top-five favorite movies, the mother of all Sci-Fi horror and the return of master director Ridley Scott doing Prometheus next year...I saw it coming a mile away.

A month or so ago I was browsing the internet and came across some interesting prototypes Kenner made back in the late 70s of an ALIEN action figure line. A line that mostly never saw the light of day because of the violent theme involved with the movie and parental complaint. Times have changed and if Hasbro was to create a 1:18 scale series of figures based on the ALIEN franchise today I'm sure the public would embrace it...and the parents wouldn't even notice or give a crap. LOL!

So what would a modern line look like today? We've seen Aliens and Predators in the 1:10 scale (7-8 inch) thanks to companies like McFarlane Toys and NECA. 1:6 scale from Hot Toys...but how about a 1:18 scale? The original characters from the Nostromo or even the Colonial Marines? I know all too well that Hot Toys introduced a single line of 1:18 scale Aliens snap kits that gave us characters like Hicks, Apone, Drake, Ripley and some bugs...but never followed through with a second series. Shame Hot Toys..I loved these figures! I want my Vasquez, my Hudson...we need a BISHOP!...ok you can throw in Gorman and Burke.

Looks like if I want these guys, I will have to go out on my least try anyway! Of course I got inspired, and had quite a brainstorming session to think about what figures I would create...first would have to be the entire crew of the Nostromo - everybody - Ripley, Dallas, Ash, Lambert, Kane, Parker, Bret and Jones (the cat).

And I'm off! Began working on the crew over the past couple weeks - just the head sculpts! Currently working on the main three: Dallas, Ripley, Kane and Ash - get their head sculpts completed, then while I'm working on frames, get the other head sculpt done for Lambert, Parker and Brett.

First up - Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt)

Tom's portrayal of Dallas - cool, calm and collected - where there was a MOTHER running the ship, he was their father. He was one of my favorite characters from the movie - upsetting to see his and Bret's fate from the deleted scenes.

This is a complete sculpt - working out the basics (ears, nose, etes and mouth) in relation to the size of the head. Once completed, I made a cast and refined. Made another and added specific details of the nose, brow, eyes, cheek bones. chin and beard.

Have yet to add the scruffy 70s hair because I will be making three versions of Dallas...

1. Captain (Uniform and a switch out upper torso for a casual version).

2. Dallas in Spacesuit.

3. Cocooned Dallas - not much articulation but will be a great diorama display.

A scale shot below...I don't take enough of these images. Sometimes saying that I work in the 1:18 scale doesn't register with some folks - not a lack of intelligence of their part, simply many don't know what the scale refers to. Sometimes it's best to show a point of measurement next to your work to give perspective - also gives light to the challenges that are faced working on such a small scale.

Next up the science officer - Ash

Funny story with this head sculpt - about a year or so ago, I was interested in doing a series of Bladerunner figures (still am)...and worked a few weeks on a Deckard head sculpt without much success...kept making a sculpt that looked a lot like Ian Holm which at the time had NO INTEREST in! After awhile, I tabled the project and kept the ironic that a couple weeks ago, I went through my projects and found the sculpt, spent some time refining it and came up with what you see below.

Surprised how quickly I got this sculpt finalized - nice not to have to start from scratch. So without delay, I completed the paint application for the piece. First image below is a bit of a teaser :)...

I have several plans for Ash - This is the first of about three head sculpts I will be doing of this character...

1. Ash - Science officer

2. Ash - Robot reveal. I have an idea of a break away head/neck/upper shoulder piece that would fall back as in the film.

3. Ash - "Milk" . A dismantled Ash, with his head separated from his body, showing the internals. The head will be two versions - One with his mouth open, eyes closed, the other with his sympathetic smile. Will have to include a styrene built table for the body of Ash to rest on. My consider this a "Deluxe" set.

Ash will include a motion detector, headset, surgical tools and possibly a surgeon mask/gear.

Next up is the ultimate lady heroine...Lt. Ellen Ripley.

Fun fact: I had a crush on Sigourney Weaver when I first laid my eyes on her in Alien...the movie was running on HBO and I snuck in to watch it. Tall, brunette and could kick ass with a flame thrower! Very strong facial features but at the same time very feminine.

Had to start from scratch with this head sculpt...and it wasn't easy.

First work up was way off...looked alien. Didn't even complete it - started off all wrong.

Second attempt...getting there. Was trying too hard to express the depth of the eyes, narrowing of the nose and mouth expression. Still looked way off....still looked alien to me. Scraped it.

Third time was a charm (Image below) - although I still need to tighten up a few features, I think I'm very close. I relaxed the look to the eyes and heightened the cheek bones. I strengthened the jaw and narrowed the nose. The brow needs a bit more adjustment but other than that I am satisfied with the sculpt. This piece is going to take me through three series of figures - Alien, Aliens and Alien3 - so I need to make sure it's convincing. I will need to paint up one to find out.

I am currently adding hair to one of the castings as she appeared in the first film. For the first series Ripley will have three unique sculpts...

1. Lt. Ellen Ripley - Warrant Officer (as seen in the jumpsuit image above). She will have a replaceable torso having the top of her jumpsuit pulled down to her waist, wearing the white short sleeve top. She will include an alternate head sculpt with her hair up.

2. Ripley - White Space Suit.

3. Ripley in her space "undies". Am trying to figure out a way to combine this piece with the space suit idea.

Am working on her articulated frame - image below. The frame will be tall and slender. I need to reduce it more and lengthen the legs. This version of Ripley will include a Flame Unit, Motion Detector, Cat Carrier and Jonesy.

I'm a collector of the Hot Toys Aliens Snap Kits and thankfully purchased many additional accessories over the last couple years. Also purchased many of the Kubrick Aliens figures - especially the Space Suits because they are in close scale to the 1:18 scale plus highly detailed. Unfortunately I'm starting to think wether the helmets need to be larger. For the exception of the helmets and most of the armor seen below, the pulse rifles, flame units and motion trackers will not be needed for the first line. They will come in handy when I begin work on some Aliens figures - more news on that later.

As I advance on these figures, I will be making castings of Alien eggs molded from the eggs included in the revoltech line - a very close scale to 1:18. I hope to have enough ready to create a small diorama egg silo for my space suit companions so they can explore and learn all about this strange species - especially Kane ;)

And what about the other members of the Nostromo? All are in the works!

Kane - will be making four versions of Kane...

1. Kane in uniform with headset, cigarette and coffee mug. Alternate replaceable short sleeved torso.

2. Kane in Space Suit - Alternate helmet with attached facehugger

3. Kane "Chestbuster" - Will make use of the table I spoke of building earlier. Two different torsos, one being the alien birth. Looking forward to tooling this version - and it will be graphic!. I've never sculpted or painted blood and gore before...will be a fun learning experience.

Lambert - will include and headset, cigarette, coolant rack and motion detector.

1. Lambert in uniform with Nostromo jacket and cowboy boots , featuring a short sleeved replaceable torso.

2. Lambert in Space Suit

Parker - Will include a coolant bottle, Flame Unit, Motion Detector, food tray and net.

1. Parker in uniform with short sleeved replaceable torso and a second one with torn shirt.

Brett - Will include ball cap and cattle prod.

1. Brett in Uniform - Tropical shirt and ball cap.

2. Brett Cocooned

I have many other plans for this line - a couple dioramas - The commons area and Nostromo cockpit. For right now though, the figures are the thing. These updates will roll into the rest of the work I'm doing so plan to see something new with every blog update for here on out!

Speaking of about some Star Wars updates of some Sith and a Jedi!

First up is Darth Malgus from the upcoming Bioware/Lucasarts game, The Old Republic . Inspired by the brilliant cinematic trailers by Blur Studios!

My last blog entry listed that my Darth Malgus sculpt was complete and has gone on to the painting phase. This is still accurate although through the process I have ended up sculpting three more head sculpts which brings me up to a final total of eight unique head sculpts!!! Check out the side by side shots below!

Below is a couple shots of one of the new head sculpts - a very neutral, cold and focused Malgus - showing no emotion.

The shot above is his transition to a Dark Lord from the pale white Sith Acolyte seen in the next image..I made some paint adjustments to the eyes to achieve the above image. You'll notice I began painting the armor. None of it being finalized of course.

As an acolyte, I'm sure he expressed his rage from time to time - He's a Sith! You don't hold those emotions in!! So I decided to create yet another head sculpt using an existing head from a store bought figure - Mas Amedda for the ROTS line. I made a casting of the head and re sculpted the cranium. I made some tweaks to the face and brow then painted it up....

To be clear - I highlighted the brightness in the eyes for some images to emphasize the sith fire. Very cool effect!

Another scale shot if interested. Nothing fancy - just wanting to show scale.

The next handful of images are some of my favorites since I began working on this figure - actually this has become one of my favorite Malgus sculpts. It's the same sculpt as above but with the face guards added and a new paint application showing the prolific veining across his pale flesh. He appears as he would in the "Hope" trailer.

I must of had Anthony Hopkins from The Silence of the Lambs on my mind when I made the sculpt adjustments to this head - I think it resembles him a bit!...or does he look more like a pissed of Captain Bligh from The Bounty...Ha!

And that is that with the Darth Malgus head sculpts - I've enjoyed making the multiple versions but probably won't be going that far with a figure ever again (yea...right!). Anyway, look for Darth Malgus to be completed for the next blog entry!

Let's stay on target and talk more of The Old Republic with my next work in progress figure - Jedi Satele Shan! An avid adversary of Darth Malgus.

Completed the head sculpt from a cast I was going to originally use for Jedi Sian Jesiel - sans the fur texture. I cleaned up the casting a bit, re-sculpted the pulled back hair, recasted and sculpted the hair draped down the sides of her face.

The body frame will remain slender with the neck exaggerated a bit to make room for the high shoulder armor. Once complete, the proportions will make sense. I'm planning to paint up the head sculpt in the next few days...

Last but not least...Finally an update on my 1:18 scale Darth Vader...

Working on finalizing the soft good material and how it lays across the shoulders. The helmet is complete. I plan on painting a sample this week. Have several different tweaks to make to Vader before preparing for paint application.

The chain around Vader's neck is a real metal chain! - A bronze battleship chain I purchased on eBay then painted over using stainless steel acrylic paint.

Some action poses of the Dark Lord to show the articulation. Still much to cover before I can claim this piece is complete. I am still working on the helmet variant exposing Anakin's head. Should have much more to reveal in the coming weeks.

(SIGH!) Thats all for this update folks! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and get caught up on my progress. If you want to keep up with daily updates and progress of my work, check out my facebook page - Sith_fire30 Creations
- hard to believe my Facebook page has surpassed 850 fans! Thanks to all who support my work - all my friends, fans and fellow artists, YOU ROCK!

Not a fan? You kiddin'? Stop by my Faceboook page and join us before it's too late (just being dramatic)!!! Sith_fire30 Creations

That goal of 1000 fans before the end of the year is looking more and more a possible reality...but understand that I'd rather have true fans, friends and fellow artists than just a number so if it happens, it happens.

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As always if you have any questions, suggestions or comments, please feel free to contact me here, my facebook or my e-mail - My email may be the best way to go - I check that daily. Hope to hear from you!

Stay tuned for more updates this month - shooting for two more...especially as we get closer to Halloween. Hope the Great Pumpkin visits this year...tired of a bag of rocks.

Ladies and Gents - Au revoir!