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



04/15/00- Well, geeesh! Ugly SOB, huh? This isn't my cup 'o tea and I'm still not into devil worship, but this was the next logical thing to make, story-wise. Someone had to do it. Instead of turning Max Steel into a shrivelled up pot-bellied man, he's becoming a generic demon lord. It's a well-established character and the best rendition I've seen is Tim Curry as "Darkness" from the movie Legend. This one isn't as exaggerated, and I confess that I rarely contribute anything innovative to my projects, design-wise. That's what the professionals get paid for.

This is an extremely preliminary pic; the horns aren't even permanently stuck on the uncured putty, and there's Dremel dust all over 'em. Once again, I used the beads for eyes but this time with a rose-colored stone (doesn't matter 'cuz the contrast is bumped up on the pic for effect).

It doesn't appear that the Max Steel head is designed to be removeable: From what I can see, the head is jammed onto what looks like a semi-circular molding which acts like the barbs on a fishhook. The piece fits going into the head, but would be a bugger to remove intact, since you can't compress the flanges from the outside-- it's a thick piece of plastic, so pliers probably would be needed. Or you can just break the suckers. It's the rings below that which actually interlock with the head though. They hold the head so that the concave inner neck surface of the head presses against the body's neck. The top piece articulates within the neck in a ball & socket fashion. So once you remove the head, the tension's gone, and the top piece flops around. I originally didn't bother removing the head and just sculpted over it. Like I said, this saves you beaucoup time instead of sculpting from scratch and doing the molding and casting thing.

The figure is pretty much ready-made for this kind of project so I don't have a lot to say about it. I'll probably tone down the exaggerated muscleage. You notice a few things once you start "digging in" though. I'd previously praised the proportioning of the figure (for a heroic figure), but as usual, there's always something. His arms are too short (and less significantly, the girth of his forearms is different). Of course, something needs to be done about his itty-bitty feet. With luck, the costuming will take care of a significant number of the plentiful seamlines. It's a guy figure, so I don't mind covering up skin, as long as the decorations don't look too contrived.

I was dissatisfied with the original sculpt, so I changed a few things. Although I liked the horns projecting downwards, they totally spoiled the side profile of the face. Seems like a strange consideration, but in the 3D world you should consider that things won't always be seen from the frontal angle.

I'd originally wanted the slightly bemused expression, but it didn't make him look mean enough. I tried modifying his brow and his nose, but the only thing that worked was giving him the snarly mouth. I finally had to remove the head to backfit his teeth; doing this for setting the eyes would have made the job a lot easier. Refitting the head proved to be too difficult, so I slit the rear and glued it back together. That made it much easier.

04/21/00- A few costuming difficulties have slowed progress on this project. Once outfitted with the pink tutu, DL refused to remove it, snarling something about having found his "true inner self". Just between you & me, he's a lousy ballerina-- his cloven hooves snag on the wooden surface and he makes a horrible clatter when he's prancing around. But I prefer that he come to this realization on his own.

The cataclysmic tumult which signaled the end of the Late Middle Plastiscene period had shattered the stifling dominance of the Collectica classica and its ally, Clonus falldownus, who had repeatedly violated Fudd's First Law. The dawn of the Early Late Plastiscene period saw an explosion of new and diverse plastic fauna and silk flora, locked in a desperate stuggle for dominance of this new world.

One contender was Smileymax bulgus, a third-generation arthropod offshoot of the Barbiken family and distinguished by his neon high-tech lifestyle and innocent smile. These adaptations, while allowing him to muscle aggressively into the mainstream, proved to be a liability under the more austere conditions of life out of the box. Exploiting his formidable muscleage and doffing his pleasant demeanor for fangs, horns and spikes, he evolved into Feralmax bighornus.

For more than a week he dominated the Middle Early Late Plastiscene period, until he became boring and tiresome. He came to be jeered by his peers and colleagues as "Been There, Done That". Unable to mate because of lack of genitalia, Feralmax bighornus longed for the happier days of his innocent smile and colorful outfits, when at least he had big guns and rockets to compensate for this cruel physiological omission.

(right) Feralmax bighornus pauses to flex his bulging articulation seams, wondering what's under his funky skirt and why his bottom half got covered with rabbit fur. He misses his pink tutu, it being a "family heirloom" of sorts. Giant upsidedown branches watch over him like a turtle.

04/24/00- Okay, you've probably figured out that I've been less-than-enthusiastic about this project. Beyond the headsculpt, there hasn't been that much new or exciting about it. I've been rewatching Discovery Channel/BBC's "Walking With Dinosaurs" documentary over and over-- great stuff! And doing the Internet thing. And working on gutters & the yard, which hasn't been much fun, but is necessary. It's hard to get motivated to work on something if you're not excited about it, when you don't really have to... but then, when you're really excited about a project, there's the problem of rushing and doing a crummy job. Catch 22.

As mentioned earlier, the head was pretty standard fare: Slice off the back of the head, set the eyes & teeth. I also backfilled it for rigidity and so that I could alter the original headsculpt's shape (with its pouffy hair) and not worry about grind-through holes. A curved styrene dome was formed, glued to the back of the head and puttied over. Hopefully, one of the eyes won't get dislodged, or I'll have to rip open his skull again.

I didn't revise any of the figure's inner workings, so the bodywork was kinda boring. It was mainly a sculpting job to tone down the exaggerated muscles. There were only a few embellishments made to the figure, like the extra muscles around the back of the neck and a few spikes thrown in here & there. Yawn.

The legs were more fun with the doglegged shin & cloven hooves thing. The unknown about this is that you have to do all this work before you can find out if the figure's going to be able to stand on its own when you're done-- or whether it's going to look halfway decent. Surprisingly, the figure actually stands better now, but then I didn't even try to articulate the dogleg joint: The hooves are articulated like the original feet. The ankle rotation joint was eliminated because it wasn't necessary. Besides, after cutting the shin in half, the rotation anchor was right at the cutline of the lower half of the shin-- it would have been difficult to preserve that and join the two halves securely. Like I said, it wasn't necessary though since the thigh provides as much rotation as this figure would need.

Putting the rabbit fur over the legs (which I'd previously sculpted with weird bumps-- oh well...) was a good idea because it hid ankle, knee and upper thigh articulation seams. It's great when it works out like that. It disappears into the hip section underneath the tattered cloth, so who knows what's hiding under there? (zilch.)

Costuming this figure has been one of the most agonizing aspects of the project. It made me realize that generally, costuming for this world is extremely limiting since it's got to fit in with a plausible level of "tech", which for this world, is decidedly low-end. The short list of natural materials & ways you'd use them encourages redundancy, which is something that I don't really like. Fancy armor, metal & leatherwork isn't really appropriate for this particular level of primitive. So it's been difficult to figure out ways to cover this dude's shoulder articulation seams. I've tried a few obvious things-- a cape/shawl thing similar to the one "Darkness" wears, shoulderpads -- but they didn't look right. That makes me unhappy. I may end up trying the fur solution...

One of the (failed) solutions I investigated is worth mentioning because it might be useful in another situation: Hot glue. I extended the shoulders with hot glue over the arms (covering the upper arm with teflon tape so the glue wouldn't stick). This covered up the original seam line, effectively breaking it up and transferring it further down the shoulder. The glue is flexible so the arm rotation wasn't inhibited. Unfortunately, stressing it with full 360 degree rotation of the arm caused it to tear. That, and the fact that I wasn't too crazy about the transferred seamline made me abandon the idea.

Although I didn't want to borrow from "Darkness" too much, the idea of the tattered loincloth seemed like an unavoidable filch. I used a heavy weaved yarn-like cloth for this because it tattered easily and draped well.