REMARKS 02/27/99 - 06/15/99

Last modified: Sunday, January 7, 2001 6:14 PM

Forward in Time

06/07/99- Surprise! I haven't updated in quite a while, and that's because I honestly haven't had anything worth showing. Busy, busy, busy... work, that annoying, attention-demanding whining cat, and the household stuff I have to do to curry favor with my wife. (Urrrrrgh... The loud & mean-toothed Makita circular saw makes the Dremel seem like a toy poodle!) Besides, I literally couldn't work on Joe projects until I cleaned up, stored, and trashed a bunch of stuff. Having climbed that mountain, I'm filled with a Zen-like bliss. Er...was (past tense). Damn! Isn't there some way to grind stuff without creating dust??? The cycle starts again.

Nevertheless, there are a few things worth mentioning...

I made another small addition to the "Gutting a Dragon" article, and didn't feel it merited mention on the index page. It's about those danged ankles. Hopefully, that's the last one since the article's gotten pretty long and suffers from having been written piecemeal over a period of time. Besides, there's not much left to dissect.

Project-wise, I'd like to believe that I'm putting one of those formerly gutted Dragon figure to good use. I'd made a too-large headsculpt for the petite "Mall Gal" figure, so the largish Dragon figure was a good opportunity to fit it to a body. She goes by the working title, "Queen Dragon Momma" (if you've seen Inframan, you'll know where that came from). But she's really too bodaciously lewd for me to document in progress, since she's extra-chunky and abundantly over-endowed (well, some people like that sort of thing). I'm trying to come up with some tasteful costuming to make her presentable, without resorting to using a tent. But here's a peek anyway. I know you're just quivering with antici...




(You probably know where that came from.)

05/14/99- The really big news is the kewl pics that E. Richard Bonham has been sending my way. I'm sure you're sick of me fawning over his work, so I'd just like to mention that more is waiting in the wings. You may not have noticed, but since many of the weapons are prototypes for mass production by Cotswold Collectibles, they tend to be more full-featured than production castings... as in things like working bolts! Yowza!

Another project under the belt... I was going to make more stuff for the Dark Knight-- a mace, a lance, a crossbow-- but there's only so much junk that he can hold or wear at one time. 1/6th scale is really too large for me to set up permanent dioramas, so I usually don't produce much more than a figure can hold or wear. Loose accessories get bagged, and I've got boxes and boxes of stuff like that. Of course, you never know where your interests will take you, so you can't get rid of anything. It's the packrat mentality.

Speaking of junk, Ransome generously sent me a fabulous book of sci-fi sculptures (pic) created by Ming Hsin Jou. No, no... I'm not meaning that the book is junk, but the sculptures are kitbashes of junk parts! They're Terminator-like creatures--warriorbots, fembots, fatbots, fishbots --around which he's woven an imaginative world of the future. Very inspiring. (Maaaaan, they sure have neat stuff on that side of the world.) Thanks Ransome, and Happy Birthday!

I'm also working up steam to tackle the mountain of WWII customs pics sent to me by Pierfrancesco of Italy. A lot of his custom figures have work produced by his very talented friend, Luciano. Setting up these pics is a bit more complicated from my end, since to see the detail, you really need to view the pics at large size. Stay tuned though.

Parenthetically, I apologize for some of the larger-than-usual project pics that I've posted recently. They take forever to download, huh? I'm now running my 12" monitor at 1024x768 pixels (can you say "eyestrain"?) and callously sized 'em to fill my screen. But I know how folks (myself included) detest having to scroll horizontally, so I'll try to show some restraint in the future.

By the way, miscellaneous kudos go to Anthony O.'s Small Blue Planet for having set up an online store which makes it easy to order online by credit card, with blazing-fast turnaround (ordered on Friday, received on Monday) and decent prices. It's also nice to be able to receive the package at home, rather than being forced to go to the Post Office to pick up an insured package.

Likewise, Gary of Rio Rondo gets a big pat on the back for being concerned about the quality of the hardware sampler I received. No, despite my crummy contrast-enhanced picture in the Three Horses article, the quality was top-notch, and the single broken piece had detail etched finer than a pin's-width! Their reasonable (non-instantaneous) turnaround was due to an out-of-town trip; not that an explanation is necessary, since the short wait was certainly reasonable. (Sometimes I whine too much.) I'd also like to mention that Gary will do custom parts etching in case you need something really special. So check 'em out!

I've got a bad feeling about this... George Lucas' latest. I've tried to avoid learning about it, haven't read reviews, but purchased a few figures after the midnight madness' dust settled. My impressions: many ho-hum designs, nothing that really knocked my socks off and seemed like must-haves. Maybe it's because I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm convinced that many of the Trilogy's designs stood on their own merit, without attachment to the movie. I'm not even gonna comment on the "Fraggle Rock" aspect... Still, it's great to have another installment coming from Da Man. Heck, I loved Return of the Jedi, Ewoks & all...

04/25/99- The last few weeks have been weird. The Littleton, Colorado tragedy rests heavily on everyones' minds. Despite whatever unresolvable questions there might be about the motivating factors for that catastrophe, I can't help but feel somewhat apprehensive about the material in this web site: much of the content focuses on the less-than-wholesome aspects of our world. Stuff like that makes you wonder... until you justify your efforts with the observation that there are, and will always be nutballs out there. The overwhelming majority of people are capable of accepting a wide range of stimuli and remain functional members of society. Still, I'm glad that I'm in a medieval phase now, because it puts some distance between what I'm working on and the real world. Yes, those were the good old days; back when people were civilized and bashed at each other with swords and axes.

We've recently been adopted by a stray cat... awwwww. That kind of thing makes you all gooey inside. But I'll resist the temptation to post pictures of sweet Pookie/Lil Shit/Butthead... instead, I was thinking about the possibilities of doing cat customizing... have you ever seen an armored catsuit? Or an article about spaying your cat with a Dremel Mototool? Okay... sorry, that's sick. I don't want to give anyone any ideas!

Hey, Ransome sent me another picture of a British Paratrooper, and I've put it up at the bottom of page 1 of his gallery page. As usual, he's done some most excellent work!

I'm trying to get motivated to plunge into my next project-- another armored figure. (Sorry, the babe project is on the back burner.) This one will likely be even more fantasy-oriented, since I'm not working from a single source.

Finally, musings from the strange thought factory: Working on the quasi-historical stuff has made me think about how quickly civilization has engulfed us. The Middle Ages weren't really very long ago, and our growth in technology, population, and ability to harvest the resources of the world have grown geometrically. Next, think about the fact that the universe is inconceivably huge-- there have got to be other sentient species out there somewhere-- yet, we don't have any solid evidence that there are. A depressing thought occurred to me: Maybe sentient species, as a typical pattern, don't get it together quickly enough to be able to focus their worlds' resources on the longevity of the species? Maybe resources are squandered and too depleted by the time civilizations recognize the need to leave their worlds and locate new sources, so that technology and civilization can continue to grow?

On the other hand, maybe they go on to develop invisibility rays so that they can hang out and watch us while we shower... Ack Ack Ack!

04/10/99- Most of the Excalibur armored figure is done, sooner than I'd expected. It wasn't so much a matter of finding the free time, but making it-- the Easter weekend, a couple days of vacation, waking up at 3 am... basically, living the project for a few weeks. My wife's been putting in some long hours at work, so at least I'm not feeling guilty about neglecting her. The yard, house, & car are another matter though...

I've received a few comments about making this for sale. Besides the legal copyright issues and the fact that I'm not set up as a business, the amount of work would drive me insane. Unlike a sales-oriented customizer, I don't do things for repeatability or ease of production. For example, most of the clay sculpts used for forming the styrene are now in chunks and crumbs. Also, the vacuforming was only an intermediate step to provide the basic shapes; the finishing process was the other half of the job. Making one of these things is fun since you're driven to see it finished, but making multiples would be really boring. Besides... then I wouldn't be able to work on other stuff... like my inspired combination of the movie's Morgana (Le Faye) and baseball's Morganna (The Kissing Bandit). Hubba hubba. Research for that project promises to be interesting. Before that though, I suppose I should fix the fence and do something about the yard.

Hey, here are some cool customizing web sites which you should check out:

03/15/99- No new projects are currently in the hopper, although I've had some ideas. I rewatched Excalibur the other day... Man, what a great flick! There are a lot of possibilities with that one, besides all the neat armor-- Merlin, Morgana, Arthur as squire... But somewhere in the back of my mind, I'm a little deterred by the fact that Cotswold's got some great real steel armored suits, and Resaurus will be producing economical plastic ones. Then there's the matter of armor construction: You could probably make a passable facsimile of the steel plate by using either Testor's Metalizers or Bare Metal Foil over resin. The chain mail part would be more difficult to do convincingly, short of the tedium of knitting together metal links (staples?). Gad. I'm not a masochist! I think that a flexible casting of the pattern wouldn't have the proper weight to drape correctly. Anyway, it's interesting to think about. I've also recently watched Kagemusha (I actually watched something "cultured"???) so I've also been thinking of Samurai armor. Here's a good example of the incredible variety. Cool huh? I don't know if I'll ever get around to making any of this stuff though.

BTW, you can thank me for not including a long, boring essay about "Political Correctness" here!

03/07/99- I've just uploaded some pics sent by Ransome Chua... Wow! I really wanted to showcase his work here because he's incredibly talented and doesn't have a web site... and the world needs to see his stuff! I periodically receive pics but I don't have an unlimited amount of web space (actually, I don't know how much space I've used and I'm sure I've already exceeded my allotment), so I don't automatically post everything that's submitted. That can make it slightly awkward for me to respond to a request to post something... ettiquette-wise, it's much cleaner to just send pics, and if I want to post them, I'll get your permission. I'm pretty conscientious about getting permission and giving credit. Every so often, depending on the nature of the picture (a picture of a manufactured product for example), I might not seek permission, but I'll still give credit for the submission.

I guess the "Mall Babe" project is finished...? I sure had a lot of fun with that one! I hope that no one was offended by the blatant attempt to appeal to purient interest, but I love to poke fun at our awkwardness in dealing with the issue of sex & nudity. In my opinion, stuff like that doesn't innately hurt or traumatize anyone (society's attitude does that)-- I mean Geez... this is what we were born to do! Nevertheless, I do try to keep it safely outside the realm of soft core porn. Hey, know anyone that makes 1:6th scale dildos??? (ha ha)

I guess I should 'fess up-- Mall Babe's actually got two heads. I added the cybernetics to the first casting. It's silly, but I didn't want to think of her as a robot, and even though you can't see that stuff through the hair, it matters because I'd know... (It's really absurd when you stop and think, "Hey it's just a chunk of plastic anyway!!!") Weird.

02/27/99- You may have noticed that the updates have been coming slower lately, and I've been doing more "filler" articles than actual projects. This is partially due to the fact that I've already got so much stuff, so it's harder to think of what I'm dying to make next-- and where to store it in real 3-D space. Did I mention how much dust this stuff collects??? In the future, I'll probably be doing fewer WWII customs since I already have quite a few, and there are others out there who do a much better job of it -- I hope to post examples from a guest artist in the near future! And needless to say, I'm terribly excited about the upcoming Dragon/DML figure. Nevertheless, I have been working on something, and whatever it turns out to be, I'm sure that it will be "full-figured"... prolly raunchy too.

Here's a link you should check out: Seiji Sawatari's customs website. This features great WWII custom stuff by Japanese customizers, including headsculpts, German & Japanese outfits, and a customized flight helmet. Seiji himself has done an outstanding James Coburn headsculpt. Very cool.

I've received a few messages asking why I haven't done a review of Action World Collectibles' Tiger Tank... Well, I would if I could. To date, I've only received the chassis, which wouldn't make much of a review. According to the web site, they're hard at work getting backlogged orders out, so perhaps some day... To be fair, this waiting seems to be fairly common with many customizers-- it's easier to name the ones which have distinguished themselves for timely orders: Tom Calhoun's Adventure Gear has earned an outstanding reputation in this regard. Anyway, I felt I should mention this because I've appeared to endorse stuff in some past articles, and I'm not likely to go back and revise any of them ('cuz who could find anything in this web site?). So, with the lack of any centralized & up-to-date customer feedback survey on customizers, the only thing I can say is be cautious, and expect to wait... and wait... and wait...

Finally... on a more soapboxish note: Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance I'd intended to complete a long-winded article on my position about Nazis, offensive material and being "politically correct", but I got snagged up in hypocrisy with my "objectification of females" here... How embarrassing. Nevertheless, I do feel that demonizing the concept of "Political Correctness" is inane, since the basic intent is to respect the sensitivities of others, especially about serious issues-- something which we have no right to decide for anyone else (biological imperatives aside, heh heh). Makes sense, huh? I figure that if you refer to "dolls" euphemistically as "figures", you're already up to your crotch in the spirit of Political Correctness. So all I need to do is reconcile the sexism thing... damn!


Forward in Time