Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Best of all Possible Timelines

I've been meaning to post about the chain of events set off when I posted my Inspector Spacetime custom figure. I shared a link to him over at Reddit the same day, and was immediately contacted by Mark from PixelDrip Gallery asking if I'd be interested in exhibiting the Inspector and Constable Reggie at the Six Seasons and a Movie Art Show in Los Angeles.

I had about a week and half to get the figures packed up and shipped out, and meanwhile the wife and I were trying to decide if we should make a last minute trip out to LA to present for the show and reception. We came to the conclusion that there's not a lot of guidelines out there to tell when you're "successful" at something as niche as custom figure art, and that this certainly seemed like as good a goalpost as any. So we arranged to meet some friends out in California and went for it.

It was an amazing experience. You can check out coverage of the show here and it's really worth a look for all the amazing art that the show Community has inspired. There were sketches, paintings, nesting dolls, dioramas, pixel art, comic books, and even a playable "Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne" video game. I got interviewed to for the documentary about the event, we met some great peole, and saw some amazing art.

And that was just the daytime gallery exhibit. That night, there was a reception for artists and special guests. We saw Gillian Jacobs (Britta) and Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley)being wonderful and gracious to the artists and fans. We bought some prints of Annie and Britta by the amazing Megan Lara. I got to sign the giant thank you portrait for show creator Dan Harmon. It was a really amazing day.

The ONLY downside was, and I guess is, that I'm still learning how to deal with my hearing loss. In normal day to day situations, it's easy enough to adapt. I've still got most of my hearing in my left ear, so it just takes a little maneuvering usually to find a spot where I can hear well. In any sort of crowd though, all I get is noise, which made mingling in the busy evening reception almost impossible. It was a bit of sucker punch to have come all that way to feel so cut off from everything going on around me, but we made the best of it. I wish I could have mingled a little more with the other artists, and would have had the nerves to tell Gillian and Yvette thank you in person, but being functionally deaf in that situation is just something I haven't learned to navigate yet.

We had a great time, I got to show some dear friends what it is I do, and really left the whole thing feeling like I was starting to figure out where I can go with this whole hobby/art thing.

But there was another surprise waiting! Travis Richey, the actor who plays Inspector Spacetime, had seen the figure and even commented on it! He really did use it as his Facebook profile picture! And best of all, in some of the footage from the event, you can see him inspecting the Inspector up close and personal (right around 2:05 in the vid)!

Anyway, school starts back up tomorrow and I wanted to take the time to document my thoughts on all this and brag a little. It's always exciting when this quirky little hobby of mine gets recognized by strangers as something fun and worthwhile, and I'm incredibly thankful the chance to participate in such an amazing event!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Doctor Venom - Evil Scientist

I'm working on expanding the science division of my COBRA collection. I thought the Volcano-Viper, Hazard-Viper, and Techno-Viper were all amazing additions to the line, as well as the Zombie-Vipers and Compound Z accessories. I'm enjoying filling out COBRA's research ranks with incorporated characters like Miles Mayhem and Doctor Scarab but wanted to get some of the classic COBRA science characters back into action.

I actually really liked a lot of what the Club's version of Dr. Venom looked like, and when it was pointed out that the head actually a retooled Liu Kang I knew I could make my own. I think mine has a few improvements over the official release, and I was extremely happy with how the test tubes came out. They're lightsaber tips with the top flared out by pressing it against the metal tip of a hot glue gun, and the result is pretty convincing! Going to try to get a quick tutorial up on how easy they are to make soon, as I plan to do a few more scientist for my collection.

Parts Recipe:
Liu Kang - Head
James McCullen XXIV - Torso/Tie
Shipwreck - Legs
Rex "The Doctor" Lewis - Labcoat
Wedge Antilles - Arms
Dr. Mindbender - Laptop
Red Skull - Luger (in holster)
Lightsabers - Test Tubes

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cover Girl - Armored Vehicle Expert

The era between the original ARAH style GI Joes and the current style figures was pretty unimpressive to me. Hasbro was trying to decide where to go with the style of the figures, and while there were plenty of missteps, there's occasional figure that was a precursor of what Hasbro could do when they put their mind to it. Cover Girl's updated look got a lot right, and other than updating her articulation there's wasn't much I thought needed to be improved upon. A similar take will be available through the fan club's subscription service, but I've decided make my own. While I'm glad I tried to adapt her torso to fit on the new hinged lower body/waist, ultimately I think it would have been fine to keep the o-ring waist here. It was a learning experience, and while I like to keep my Joe figures as close to the standard format as possible, I don't think makes that big of a difference with the way her untucked shirt works.

Parts Recipe:
Agent Courtney Krieger - Head, Torso, Arms, Boots
Cournet "Cover Girl" Krieger - Legs, Boots

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Slice - Arashikage Mercenary

If you asked me a few months ago if I thought I needed more Ninjas on my GI Joe shelf, I'd have told you no. Then the Retaliation line hit (before it was pulled) and my surprise favorite was the Red Ninja. It could be that I just never found Renegades Storm Shadow and didn't realize what an amazing sculpt Hasbro had come up with, but I ended up getting a few of them and loved how well they posed. With the accessories from the Ninja Shodown set I had an instant Arashikage army, and finally found myself interested in the martial arts aspect of the GI Joe universe. Slice was an obvious choice for a quick custom to add a leader to the group, and I stuck pretty close to the original look with a few added accessories.

I see what's left of the Arashikage clan working as mercenaries along side COBRA's own "in-house" martial artists, with Slice being the de facto leader of the Red Ninjas.

Parts Recipe:
Red Ninja - Base Figure
Ninja Showdown Red Ninja - Mask and Sugegasa
GI Joe Trooper - Cloak

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monkeywrench - Dreadnok

Monkeywrench's 25th style release in the Rise of Cobra line was a pretty major disappointment. Considering that almost every other Dreadnok release we've gotten before or since was much closer to their original design, I decided I needed to make some improvements. Not a major project, and I know I'm stealing the head choice from someone else (probably multiple someone elses, though I can't remember who at the moment), but it brings him a little more in line with the original figure. If I can get some more Tunnel Rat bandannas, I'll add them to his jeans.


Parts Recipe:
Monkeywrench - Torso, Upper Arms, Dogtags, Bandolier, Hip accessories
Zartan - Arms, Gloves
Accessory Pack #6 - Rifle
Torch - Legs
Crimson Guard - Boots
Croc Master - Pistol
Obi-Wan Kenobi - Head
Luke Skywalker - Vest

Scorch - Dreadnok

Scorch is an update of the 2005 version of Torch. I decided that other than their similar weapon, this version was rather distinctive from the original character so I made him a new character when I translated him to the current body/articulation style.

Hired muscle from Juarez, New Mexico, "Scorch" ran with various smuggling operations before he hooked up with the Dreadnoks. Having passed initiation, he decided to challenge Torch for his title. You ever seen two men duel with flamethrowers? It ain't pretty. Torch managed to defend his title and keep his name, which earned him the right to pick the new recruit's handle. As a sign of respect for his skill with fire, Torch dubbed him "Scorch." The two maintain a bit of a rivalry, but Scorch is now a trusted asset among the original Dreadnoks.

It was fun to take the parts and elements I liked from the 2005 figure and tweak the rest. The flame pattern on the older figure is a great idea, but poorly executed, and it was a fun challenge to try to improve upon it when I designed Scorch. I was especially pleased to learn the flamethrower backpack actually fit into Barbecue's harness, making adapting it to fit the new torso much easier.

Parts Recipe
Torch - Head, Arms, Belt Buckle, Tanks and Flamethrower
Beachhead - Torso
Resolute Beachhead - Collar
Storm Shadow - Legs
Sgt. Airborne - Hands, Feet
Barbecue - Tank harness