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


These pics were submitted on 03/06/00 by Lance, who as the title sez, makes movies with his own custom figures. As you can imagine (and see), there's a lot of work involved-- much more than simply figure customizing. Basic elements of moviemaking are broad territory and hard work; planning, scriptwriting, lighting, camerawork and editing. Animation adds another level of complexity (and tedium). Add to that the stuff that needs to be made for the camera, like sets and figures, and you've got a tremendous and time-consuming undertaking. Congratulations, Lance! (who celebrates his 260th birthday this month... har, har!)

"...In case you are wondering I made the little movie camera from scratch, and no the cameraman it is not a self sculpture of me."


"...Here is some pics of "in production". See if you can spot the WW2 dictator's head. Some years ago I handed the finished product to Ray Harryhausen at a convention. He was speechless for a moment and said " I thought I'd seen every kind of animation model imaginable, but never an Adolf!"


"...Here is one more with scenes from my version of Phantom of the Opera."



As I mention in my "straight-shooting" (grin) e-mail page, I appreciate submissions and will gladly post 'em if they meet my own vague but highly snooty standards ('nother grin). Ron submitted these photos of his fine work-- I initially thought it was a single piece casting, but then he provided the abundant details about its actual construction. This is a great example of what customizing is all about. (He also gets 10 points for noticing that my BC-611 radio was undersized! Good eyes!)

TANKER'S HELMET submitted by Ron, 02/29/00
"...The tankers helmet was made from a baseball helmet out of a gumball machine, Texas Ranger team to be exact. The ear pieces are seperate and the trim you see around the ear pieces and front crown is actually thin vinyl and helps secure the ear pieces to the crown on the inside. I heated up some sheet plastic and formed it over a small glass bottle to get the compound curve I needed. The arms you see going from the temple to the ear are made from sheet brass. The function of them on the real thing was to push the speakers closer to the ear, they were made from spring steel with a leather covering. You can't see them and the picture of the rear didn't come out but in the back there are 2 straps made out of sheet brass too. They are glued down at the top only so the goggles strap can be slid under them. The real one had them but since I can't make real snaps I had to simulate it. The various snaps and buttons are made from Sculpey, baked and glued on. (They were a real pain and I hate to guess how many I lost trying to get them in place). The helmet wiring is made from 30 gauge wire wrap wire. It's solid core and retains what ever shape you put it in.

The real helmet was made out of fiberglass with a leather liner similar to the german helmet liner. The strap across the top was leather to protect the fiberglass shell. The back piece is secured to the top by rivets and the ear pieces are attached by leather to the top. The ear flaps have limited movement and are held closer together by the straps in the back which are elastic. The real ones were normally pianted O.D. as my model is now. My guy also has black rubber goggles which were trimmed down to make them fit better and conform more to the face.

...I forgot to mention that the wiring was cloth covered on the real thing and a separate harness that could be replaced if necessary. I'm not sure about the color but the flight helmet I have has a tan cloth covered wire harness and gets dirty real quick which would make it dark colored real quick too!

Tank crews often painted their names on the back of the helmet too! It may have been to personalize them or identification in the event of -..."

(Photo of actual 1:1 scale helmet.) Ron has since repainted his helmet and like everyone else, is anxiously awaiting 21st Century Toy's Stuart tank. Excellent work, Ron! (Patches were produced by Mike T. Cherry)