07/10/98 - 10/28/98

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Record 16
Guest: Tom Wright
Date: 28-Oct-98 12:36 AM
Really great work and fun there Jim. I like how you put your figures in different settings, and your mood lighting, and of course the humour. It's interesting to hear that you are running a Halloween contest for customizing - I'll have a number of things to discuss with you in the near future. All the best, Tom Wright

Record 15
Guest: Jimbob  
Date: 10-Oct-98 06:15 AM
To head off any possible difficulties with the Halloween Customizing Contest, I've purchased an additional 5 megs of web space at Flashnet. I'd already offloaded 4 megs to free web space at Tripod, but that has only kept me slightly beneath my Flashnet quota and is a hassle to deal with. --yawn-- As if you really cared, huh?

On the customizing front, I've refitted my Ultraseven figure with a body from the newly rereleased "Captain Action" series. The articulation count on those figures is slightly less than a Cots (missing ankle rotation), but qualitatively, the articulation is better. It's hard to describe, but mainly it's because of the fit of the pieces. The CA figures have the best hand sculpts of any figure out there(unfortunately, they aren't directly replaceable with any other figure though), and overall the body shaping is the best. The upper arms are weirdly sculpted, but it allows the arms to extend forward and inward at a sharper angle than any other figure.

One of the weaknesses in the body sculpt is the barrel-chest... from profile view this guy looked almost as big up front as some of my 'big uns'! Fortunately, the upper torso is molded in a hard plastic, so it wasn't too difficult to fix this with heat, grinding, sanding & putty. The head was fairly easy to replace with the "vintage-style" neck & head connector, since CA is an elastic-tensioned body design, and the neck socket has a near identical contour. I'd pretty much given up on the Marmit Ultraseven (the limited poseability & non-sticking paint was driving me insane!), so I've used some of those hands on mine, and now mine can do pose doing Ultraseven-ish stuff, like the Karate chop. The excellent CA hands become fodder for some other fiendish experiment...

Meanwhile, the Marmit figure becomes fodder for something else? It's such a slick-looking sculpture(even without hands & feet), that I've thought of using it as a basis for an alien robotic/cyborgic figure. As for Marmit's rubber Ultraseven suit, I might as well make a wire armature, stuff it with cotton and turn it into a true "model". Looks good, but don't touch?

The Urutora Keibitai uniform is also pretty near completion. I've made the insignia, detailed the belt, made his funky white gloves and white leather boots. The part I haven't made is his retro-looking space gun. I've got the reference photos, but can't build up the motivation to produce this gem. Someday (as I mentioned previously)if I find a more accurately-colored material,I may redo the uniform.

For the future, I'm interested in making alien monsters to fit within this scenario. They would offer an interesting challenge of more rubber-suit making, and for robots, styrene techniques.

In retail land, there's so much neat stuff that's come out and more on the way-- it's hard on the pocketbook, fer sure. Recently, Hasbro released a very nice 12" version of the Alien figure. It's very articulated and similar to the Medicom version, at about 1/5 the price. Also, their General Grant Walmart exclusive is veeeery nice-- it's got a vintage-style body (my fave), and decked out in a very high quality uniform, with quite a few nifty accessories. Even though I'm not a fan of Civil War stuff, I really like this figure. Sometime soon, more of this "Timeless Collection" (with vintage-style body) will begin appearing in stores, and I'm certain to buy... Along with the Autumn camouflage Waffen-SS figures that Cotswold will be releasing!

Finally, a cautionary note when purchasing from some customizers. Don't expect the same level of conscientiousness & business ethics that you've come to expect from "real" businesses. The attitude of some seems to be that they'll get around to your order when they can, and that fulfilling their business obligation to you is a secondary priority. That is, as I've learned from others, if they bother answering your e-mail... For the consumer, here's the problem: These guys are friends of the Joe community, so it seems inappropriate to bring formal regulatory pressures to bear. On top of that, since customizers provide unique items, customers often have no other choice and are unwilling to jeopardize their relationship with the customizer by speaking out. So it's a tough situation for the customer. I repeat, this doesn't apply to all customizers; some are very business-like, conscientious and feel genuinely honor-bound to fulfill their obligation in a timely manner. Perhaps in the future, I'll set up a survey so that comments can be gathered about specific customizers. Although I consider myself to be a supporter of customizers, I do have quite a bit of sympathy for the consumer, and believe that they need all the information they can get to make informed purchasing decisions.

Record 14
Guest: Jimbob  
Date: 02-Oct-98 12:17 PM
I don't know if anyone reads this stuff anymore-- heck, I rarely do! That's because I'm spending so much time working on the Halloween Contest. It's a LOT of work, and like an iceberg--only the tip shows. So other things have fallen by the wayside, including my own customizing projects.

I'm continuing work on the 2nd Ultraseven project (the Urutora Keibitai uniform), but the pace is a lot slower than usual. So far, I'm not happy with the uniform or the headsculpt-- gee, that's only everything! Now I've started working on the helmet. It's hard to sculpt a smooth, symmetrical shape from scratch! If I can convert my wishes into reality, it will have a clear visor that's hinged like the one from the show.

Beyond that, I'd really like to make some monsters/aliens from the show, redo my Ultraseven (with the benefit of having the parts & reference of the Marmit version)... make some more WWII outfits... Meanwhile, the 1/6th scale Tiger tank from Mike Cohoon will probably be arriving soon along with an unassembled Hanomag, and I'm looking forward to detailing them (once I find the space to work on them). Oh yeah... I got a Kenner 12" Grand Moff Tarkin, and GAAAAAA! He really needs a new head (at least.)

Meanwhile, there's the Halloween Contest to take care of...

George L. -- thanks for the suggestions for the Grading Poll. I wish it could be both more detailed and uncomplicated to administer. The good thing about the free polls is that they're tabulated instantly at the Freepoll server... otherwise I'd have to collect responses via e-mail, tabulate every response, and upload the results. As it is now, just archiving the stuff is a fairly tedious process: collecting both the grade poll results and the comments, then combining them in html to put at my web space. That's mainly why I've been slow to take up the next poll (and clean up the last one). But I think the idea is a good one, and one which might be useful to people who customize-- mainly as a yardstick to see how their own work might be received by the public.


Record 13
Guest: George
Date: 18-Sep-98 09:43 PM

Greetings Jimbob, curator of the UNHOLY SCRAPBOOK OF THE DANGED

Ive noticed that not much has been posted here in a while so I thought I'd help ya out...=) With the addition of this forum, the GI JOE survey, the Star Wars "grading pit" and now the Sandbox contest....Id say that you are definitely making your page much more "interactive".

I know that you didn't plan of keeping the Grading poll open but I hope that you do so. Although only about 30 people or so seem to be voting, I think that with time it will catch on. Like I said once before,Although I dont really care for grading someone else's work,  this seems to do it in a way that can be very constructive. I have one or two figures that Id like to post just to see what kind of beating they take...hehe. Actually, since Ive been grading others work, I figure I'd see what it's like to be on the other end of the grade. Perhaps in the future you could add some more features to the grading poll. For instance, you could have a grade applied to questions such as whether or not it resembles the character who its supposed to look like?, How the Paint job is?, the originality of the piece? etc. etc. followed up by an overall grade.What do ya think?

I plan on purchasing a Digital Camcorder this weekend so perhaps very soon Ill have my page updated with new images and customs. I've done some work that you may be interested in regarding riding boots and I'd love you opinion on them. Ill let you know when The Jundland Wastes is updated with images of them.

George L.

Record 12
Guest: Phil Thy
Date: 13-Aug-98 11:42 AM
Hey look, the the almighty Jim Bob! I've been admiring your work for quite some time, do you have a job? Just joking. My question is, have you every veiwed Day of the Dead? I think you may find some inspiration there when your running dry on ideas.

(Jimbob sez:) Hey Mr. Thy! (You don't mind if I call you Phil?) Thanks Phil, and yes I do have a job (or I wouldn't be able to waste all those supplies)...I'm aware of the risen-from-the-grave, pierced-flesh, stitched-together genre; it would be fun to sculpt, but frankly I'm sort of squeamish. I like babes with meat on the bones, not rotting off them. That's just my weird fetish though...

Record 11
Guest: Jimbob  
Date: 29-Jul-98 09:06 AM
Here's something that's pretty impressive: The Mann Gallery. It's a gallery of "Art Dolls"; the subject matter is traditional and don't let the "dolls" word scare ya off-- the results are really awesome! Read through some of the artist profiles to see what kind of materials and skills they use to create these things. Wow.

I also added John Cleary's Darkstorm to my Kewl Sites section because he's a really impressive sculptor. It's Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Comics stuff, with a lot of detail.

Not a big deal, but I merged the "PG-Rated" and "Sculpts" sections since there wasn't a lot of material in either. I'm thinking of doing a sculpture next. (Maybe) I'm also testing the thumbnail index thing-- it seems useful, but it increases the page load time.

I finally saw some Premo polymer clay, but didn't buy any. If anyone's tried this and knows how it compares to Promat, I'd appreciate the feedback. (I suppose I could buy some, or hang out at the polyclay newsgroup, but this is so much lazier... ;^) Nevermind: I got this from DejaNews, by Donna Kato (of Prairie Craft):

"Polyform recognized the need to improve Promat - it is such a heat sensitive clay - while working on sculpture, for instance, before one could finish a piece, parts which had cooled would crack! It was very strong, but it had some problems. It wouldn't cane large - the sensitivity to heat made it virtually impossible to move a cooled center. The goal was to create a clay which would address these difficulties, while not sacrificing the postivie aspects of the clay. Let's not forget Polyform has a tremendous chemist on hand (Jorge Sanchez - also the father of Super Sculpey, Sculpey III, Granitex, Sculpey Flex, Promat and Premo Sculpey) and he worked his tail off on this one.

The colors are great, it is easier to condition and reduces much better. It isn't quite as strong as the old Promat but is on par with Fimo.


Amen! Promat is painful to condition, and the cracking is really depressing. I just ordered 3 lbs of Premo from Prairie Craft, along with a sample pack of Sculpey Flex (a new-fangled novelty clay). I'll report back with my findings...

Record 10
Guest: George L
Date: 27-Jul-98 01:46 PM

Well hello there oh mighty Jimbob-Wan. I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this type of question or if you prefer it over private email, so just lemme know if this is how you intended to use this guestbook. Im also submitting it in hopefully i wont screw it up. Anyway...on to the question:

(Jimbob sez, in black): Heck George, this is great...see? If someone else asks me the same weirdo question, I can say "Read the @#$%@!!! manual!" Besides, I can answer things like this and get paid for it, instead of doing it at home when I'm really busy! (Hope my boss ain't reading)

This weekend I dragged my 13 year old niece into Toys R Us with me so I could purchase a "working out Barbie" with minimal embarrassment. After getting home and taking a look at seems like it has the potential to be a great basic female body. The articulation isn’t quite as good as a Cotswold...but its pretty darn good for a 7 dollar Barbie doll. The hands and feet will definitely need to be replaced. And the body will need to bulk up…especially around the arms…and perhaps the waste unless you wanna go for the Clayburn Moore look.

I know at one point you had one of these in your collection and I was wondering if you ever did anything with it? If so, how did you handle the articulation or bulking up of the figure? I planned on using epoxy putty but wasn’t sure if you know of a better way.The arms seem to be somewhat limited in how far they can bend...did you do anything to fix this? I was thinking of cutting away the plastic at eh end to allow for the joint to fold in further.

Ahhhhhh... the old "it's not for me" trick... My wife & I have an imaginary kid named "Hooter". Anyway, we're talking Barbies here-- When I last messed with her, I was fitting Alien body parts onto her and seeing how she looked with her legs bent, kinda doggie-style. I'd already whacked off her hands and shortened her thighs. The problem is, by the time you scale her limbs down to normal, she is one short gal! (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) She really wouldn't make a very impressive Alien Chihuahua though. (Maybe I'll get a second one and fuse some extra arms onto her.) Another thing is--it's easier to remove material than it is to add it-- especially when you're dealing with parts that have friction contact, like the waist. If you do it with putty, then with a little bit of flexing, the putty will show through the paint, and it's usually white. You may be able to get a little more flex out of the elbows by shaving the inside, but there's a point where it starts to look weird (too thin).

As you mentioned, you'd have to redo the wrists, the ankles & the neck. Sooooo... Although the figure's articulation feels good (very smooth), there are easier figures to mess with if you can find 'em. My faves are the Masterpiece Edition and Vintage figures, followed by Cotswold. I don't think I'd do a CC figure again because it's too much work for a figure that can't stand up. (not trying to be snide, but I really believe this). Another kinda cautionary thing about the Barbie has to do with the way her legs are tensioned. I'm not sure about this but it looks like a wide black rubber band. It looks like a part that might be tough to come by when the rubber finally rots. I could be wrong about this though.

On a somewhat related subject, as I told you before, you Fak-Q is excellent. The body hardly resembles a GI Joe, especially around the lower stomach area. How 'bout next time you make one similar, you include some photos of the body before you dress her. I know, I know, your probably saying to yourself "damn...this guy needs a girlfriend" But rest assure, Im married to a beautiful woman...( and hopefully she'll never read this post=)

Yah, right... ;^) Uhhhhh... to be honest, they all look better with the costuming. The Voodoo Gal's naked figure looked pretty good naked, but I don't think FAK-Q's does. For one thing, she's got smaller boobs and broader shoulders. I think I mentioned somewhere that I swapped her original ME body out for a vintage one-- it really was necessary for the size. There's no way you can make the hips/torso seam look really good. The main reason is that it's really just a ball joint, so it has to be round. With my smaller format "Sith Queen" figure, I was willing to sacrifice this joint for the look, and it really is a sacrifice... You lose a lot of posing ability when you do this.

And last but not least…from what I’ve seen you seem to be into WWII. If you haven’t already seen Saving Private Ryan…you should do so. It’s an extremely powerful movie.

20 minutes of guts galore, from what I've heard! Yargggg. If you like cheap sci-fi/horror thrills, rent "Phantom". Modern B-movie, and entertaining... sorta like John Carpenter's Thing & X-Files, but much less classy.

That’s it for now….see ya! - George

And thank you George! Y'all check out George's cool web site-- he's an excellent customizer who's much more than a customizer--he paints really well!!! --Jimbob

Record 9
Guest: Clayton Cameron
Date: 21-Jul-98 11:18 AM
Just posted a drawing of Fak-Q I did, check it out at my site. Jimbob's characters are great to draw, so there'll be more on the way. Be noted, though, all are originally Jimbob's idea and creations. I just wanted to illustrate them :) -Clayton

(Jimbob's reply:) Kewl! Thanks for the submission Clayton. I've set up some webspace at Tripod, and am testing its potential as a host for guest submissions. Here's a link to a downsized version of Clayton's graphic at the Tripod site. --Jimbob

Record 8
Guest: Jimbob
Date: 16-Jul-98 12:16 PM
The FAK-Q project's not done yet and I couldn't resist the urge to post almost-finished pictures. I'm working on a wordy article about costuming considerations-- it explains some of the decisions I made, but to keep folks from nodding off, I hope to spice it up with some juicy pics. Gawd, this is a fun project! (By the way, the Alien creature seen in a few of the pics is Tsukuda's from Alien 3. It's a huge piece of plastic!)

Francis Tavares has updated his web site with his killer WWII Normandy uniform! He's also added some cool pics of German snipers, and a wooden GI Joe which he constructed out of desperation... This is one heckuva talented guy!

Toys: You MUST BUY the X-Files figures (even if you don't watch the show). These have some of the best facial sculpts I've seen, and the accessories are reallllly cool. You might need a magnifying glass to read the badge that says "Special Agent Fox Mulder".

Clayburn Moore's Witchblade figures are nice, but there's just so much really good stuff produced these days that they seem sorta ho-hum. Definitely not the pulse-quickener that his Lady Death figures were (for me). So I passed...

Finally, if you do Garage Kits-- Steve West's Demoness is one worth having, and very well priced for whatcha get. His sculpting reminds me of mine... except he's better!

Record 7
Guest: George L
Date: 10-Jul-98 10:07 AM
Oh mighty Jimbob-wan, far be it from me to give you tips on how to sculpt heads, since your one the the best Ive seen, but I had an idea that might make sculpting likenesses and symmetry easier. Since you seem to have the ability to take instant photos of your work with your camcorder, you could take a frontal and side shot of your basic head sculpt. Then, using an image editor like Microsoft Image Composer, you could take the actual picture of the person and your picture of the head scult and overlay them. By enlarging them to the same size in relation to one another and making them somewhat transparent, you could see whether the noses, eyes, lips etc etc line up or not and then go back and make adjustments on the sculpt. I would try this myself but I dont have instant access to pictures of my works in progress. Like I said..this may be a dumb idea or a lot of work...but fi anyone can make it work its you. Later.

(Jimbob's reply:) ...Why didn't I think of that? George, what you describe sounds similar to the technique used for scaling models (like using a 1:35 kit to scratchbuild a 1:6 scale one). It would probably be easier to scale the photo to the desired size and use calipers to transfer the measurements to the clay. This would be fairly easy if you had some good "mugshots" (blueprints) or a 3-D model. As you may have noticed, the pics of Ms. Strain all look different-- her nose length, for example. It doesn't seem to make sense-- after all, it is the same person! My natural (unscientific) way of dealing with this is to look at as many pics as possible and try to identify the "essence" of the character. Sometimes it actually works! Along those lines... the veiled swipe I took at Boris Vallejo came from hearing that he traced photos. Apparently that's one of those snooty art-world things that's looked down upon. I gotta admit, it does sound sorta cheesy. But who can argue with the results? I'll have to try it with calipers next time... (Thanks for helping me think this out!) --Jimbob

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