NO GUTS, NO GLORY

Last modified: Saturday, January 6, 2001 6:20 PM

 

 

Say that in your best Ahnuld voice.

Here at Cliché & Pop Culture Central, we've got plenty more where that came from: "Who wants to live forever?" "Fock you, asshole." "Recasting sucks!" Whoops, sorry-- wrong article. The jist of it all (or the crux of the biscuit) can best be summarized with a wise saying provided by bro MERK: "Deeds Speak!"

This is the mindset of the Hero (and no, it's not supposed to be Ahnuld). There are very few of those around in this day and age, at least as described by Lee Anders in the foreward of "Beauty and the Beast", a collection of Chris Achilleos' artwork. I won't bore you with a blow-by-blow of the ethos, but it should be sufficient to say that a Hero is a self-reliant person of action and deeds who isn't afraid to take risks and who willingly embraces the consequences of his actions.

I've eaten 8 pieces of Popeye's fried chicken in one evening and suffered the consequences at midnight, but I ain't no Hero. But I respect the qualities and try to emulate the spirit of it in the skinny guy wimpy activities of my daily life.

I don't want to offend anyone, but I do wonder why people ask so often instead of just doing and finding out? Doing is so much quicker. Can you slit the trigger finger of a 21st Century figure's hand? Well, duhhhhh... Of course you can! You can slit them all apart, file them rounder and insert pins in them to approximate the function of the infamous Dragon poseable fingers. You can even do the "Look Into My Eye" pose shown above (which everyone's been waiting to see on the 'Net since Dragon released their poseable fingers). You don't need to be told you can do this, you just get the idea and do it. But will they break? Well, if they do, those are the breaks. Who wants to live forever?

This applies to polling for production too... Much simpler to go with your instincts, make the damn thing and then sell it. Either way, there are no guarantees. If you trust your instincts, there should be no question in your mind. If you screwed up... well, dem's da breaks. Live with it and go to Plan B. Talking stuff to death often substitutes for action. Life's too short. Deeds speak.


03/30/00-- Working on a figure like this puts you in that "take no prisoners" mindset, so of course it comes out in the text. Heroic customizing??? Har, har. What was I thinking? Now that I've gotten that out of my system and offended bunches of people...

The picture above shows the evolution of the costuming... as usual, this is a rough draft as I'm working out the costuming details on the unfinished figure. For the website updates, I'd envisioned presenting an evolution of costuming, finally ending with a Death Dealer look-alike. I changed my mind because I like the current headgear better. It's the Frazetta design of "Darkwolf" from the animation "Fire & Ice", but with some paint could be transformed into the one that Jaguar God wears. I think it fits in better with the Primal World concept, looks unique, and doesn't hide as much of the figure's personality. Ol' Death Dealer is just two red glowing eyeballs. I did make an extra large version of the Death Dealer axe though. I'm having trouble with the loin-thing. I didn't want to do another leather loincloth, but the rabbit fur version looks kind of like a tutu. Not very heroic looking.

From the picture at the top of the page, you get an idea of the headsculpt underneath-- it looks sort of American Indian, but it's just a reworking of yet another Rommel headsculpt casting (I get a lot of mileage outta that one). It takes a lot of reworking to erase the recognizable features of the original, since facial structure can vary so much. If you just change the shape of the nose or something minor, all the other structural features remain intact-- I still see "Rommel" when I look at this one from side profile view.

As with Primal Man, this guy started life as a CC figure-- the Harley Dispatch rider, specifically. However, this time I used the arms from a 21st Century figure because the elbow swivel worked more smoothly and the hands wouldn't have been as much work to repair, plus they're interchangeable (not a real biggie since the fingers are pinned). I'm not so sure this was a good idea though since the balljoint muscle of the 21st figure is puny in comparison to the CC and has a weird shaping on the outside. The 21st figure's chest is smaller too, which is why I didn't use it. (By the way, the 21st figure is glued together more aggressively so it's harder to take apart cleanly. The interior is almost identical.) The basic conversion of the figure went very quickly since I stuck with the Primal Man plan, but it's all the sculpting and adjustments that take the lion's share of time. I confess to bluffing my way through the musculature-- I've never studied anatomy, and really am not into looking at photos of big-boobed men (ha ha). So I used art books by Frazetta, Ken Kelly and Joe Jusko. The only real photos of muscles that I looked at were of Chyna... :^)

 

04/02/00- Frank Frazetta's feelings about Verotik's Death Dealer comics in Icon (edited by Artie & Cathy Fenner) are pretty juicy: "...Written by (Glen) Danzig and illustrated first by Simon Bisley, then Liam Sharp, the Death Dealer comic is an ugly adolescent sex/power fantasy. Reveling in its imagery of severed limbs, fountains of blood, and sujugated nude werewomen, Verotik's interpretation quite simply misunderstood Frazetta's art, intent, and character. Danzing and his artists responded personally and viscerally to their source material, totally missing the intellect behind Frank's work..."

Well, I hope I'm not making that mistake here! I guess I'll forego the severed limbs and fountains of blood. Subjugated nekkid werewomen? Awwwwww... do I have to? At least with these static pics, you suggest and folk's imaginations fill in as many depraved details as they want. Actual storytelling is an intensely personal thing.

I solved the tutu loincloth problem by dousing it in spray. Rabbit fur is just too fluffy, which is a good thing when it's actually on the rabbit. It got me thinking though-- when I get on these genre binges, I like to go to shops to scope out stuff. I already have my art books & videos, I don't need any beads for this guy and I've seen what they have in the leather and craft shops. Prospecting for Primal World accessories at TRU isn't very productive either. However, there's one great untapped resource for inspiration and unique, authentic source material: roadkill. Think I'll pass on that though.

The belt, axe and bracelet centers are made of styrene, painted, and weathered with a combination of rust and black washes. The bracelets are made of aluminum, but by itself the material is just too shiny and looks out of place. That's why I made the styrene wraparound centers for them. I suppose I could have made the axe handle out of wood, but it was much easier to squash and putty over a styrene tube.

I spent a lot of time agonizing over the boots, which was probably unnecessary. I wanted to make them removeable since I still need to paint the guy. Part of the problem is that there are so many ways to approach this: They don't have to be made like real boots since they're supposed to be primitive, and I don't have any real samples or pics to give me even a vague direction. So they're just leather scraps for the sole, the back calf piece and the foot top and front shin piece. They're glued together (for that special authentic touch!), but one side of the shin section is left open, and the straps wrap around to secure it. It's one of those patternless "design as you go" things. A stickler for quality and authenticity would probably sew them, but I don't know of a material which looks like leather instead of thread at that small size.

A truly wonderful thing about this Primal World stuff is that everything is so rough-hewn, which suits me just fine. Unlike most of the other genres, perfection is a liability and the grubby homemade look fits in best. I've admitted before that sewing isn't my strong point, so lately, I've gravitated to styles which let me avoid that unpleasant truth. And when comparing my WWII stuff to this, I can't say either is better; they're just vastly different.

 

"It's damned hard to look heroic when your costar is playing with your buttcheeks..."

04/06/00- To satisfy the requirements of foreshadowing and in keeping with the spirit of "Something Old, Something New", I've done a few revisions to the "Mall Babe" figure. She was one of those figures that wasn't tied to any particular "world". Her skimpy costuming made her a natural for the contemporary "Decadence World" theme -- a whip, handcuffs & a few articles of a nurse's outfit and she was ready to moonlight as one of the "Blister Sisters".. I dunno. Maybe it's because the modern world lacks dramatic grandeur, where costuming doesn't really mean anything because it can be anything? Maybe it's because my interests are currently elsewhere? Maybe I just got bored? Whatever. I saw that the Primal World environment offered her a more meaningful role in doll life, so here she is. For her though, it's probably just another acting gig...

So it's true... I never really "finish" a figure, but that's the nature of 1/6th customizing. One of the things that I re-noticed upon taking a few pictures was that her arms were too long! The shortening of the figure created this problem and I'd originally cut down as much of her forearms as I'd felt was safe-- a little over an 1/8th of an inch. But the bicep section was still too long and that's a more difficult adjustment on the vintage figure's articulated bicep design. Being a little bolder now, I jumped in and sliced about 1/16th inch off of each half of the bicep-- the tricky part was in getting the cut perpendicular to the joining pin so that the parts would rotate smoothly against each other without huge gaps.

Revising the costuming is a blast. I spent a lot more time on this than I should have, and the changes probably don't reflect it. I replaced the original weird and kludgy kneecap thingies with black fur tamed with the spray. The headpiece was taken directly off of my old "Mistress of the Whip" sculpture, and reassembled with beading wire and soldered together. At this point, I think it needs more... of something(?). I added a triple strand necklace out of tiny #13 iridescent black beads-- this turned out to be a damned good design decision, IMO. It intersects her three bra straps like a spiderweb, and plays symmetrical counterpoint to the shaping of the headpiece. I'm always happy when I stumble across those harmonious design things, so I can say artsy-fartsy stuff like that.

I tried... I tried really hard to integrate some interesting-looking snakeskin into her outfit, but I couldn't make it work. It just never looked right. I also experimented with shoulderpads to hide her shoulder seams, but those didn't look right either. I extended the metallic material gloves up to her biceps to hide those seams. Blech... It's difficult when you want to believe, but another part of you knows it ain't right. Finally, I covered the metallic arm coverings with the leopard print scarf (which I hadn't used because it's too thin and translucent) and tah-dah! It worked for me. The spray mount adhesive gives the composite material just the right flex and weight. So I added the leopard print to her loincloth and bra. Yowza.

So there she is... she doesn't look terribly different, but I think she fits in better mebbe as some kind of high priestess or jungle princess or whatever... I think it's from one of those Edgar Rice Burroughs books.

"Honey, you don't need to live the part... all that raw meat is just loaded with iron! After the shoot we'll stop and get some Fibercon, okay? "*

 

*For the record, I've never used Fibercon. My reaction to eating heavily charbroiled rare Rib Eyes seasoned with gobs of pepper, salt & garlic is just the opposite-- similar to eating the 8 pieces of chicken, only not as bad. Not that it's a better way to go (or not go). I just thought you should know...

 

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